What Is An Ionizer? How Does It Work? It is Dangerous?

Many people are confused about the negative ion generator and are not surprisingly so. Frequently asked questions include how does an ionizer work? Is it better than an air purifier or ozone generator? How safe and reliable is the technology? Does it have any side effects blah blah blah...... Fret not as all of these popular questions will be answered one by one. As an added bonus point, we will throw in a definite answer on what is the best type of air purifier for home.
Short answer
Clean the air via charged ions. Air purifier is better.


How Does An Ionizer Work?

Ionization is the process where an atom/ molecule gains or loses an electron. An Ionizer works by electrostatically charge negative ions internally and disperse them into the air. Like a magnet, the released negative ions will merge with positive ions particle in a room. This includes dust mites, mold/ mildew, pollen, pet dander, bacteria, and viruses. The bonded ions will fall due to the increased weight leaving the air free from any contaminants. Owners will have to vacuum/ clean up the particulates on the ground, wall, or sofa before it stirs back up again.

How do I know if ionizers really work? Most of your allergic reactions will lessen or fade away in a few day’s time. Also, there is a hint of burn ionized air smell that one will get used to it.

Debunking Air ionizer Dangers

Let’s start with a few clear statements. Ionic air purifier is 100% safe with no side effects as it’s proven time and time again. Ionizer would not make you sick as it disperses only negative ions. In simple terms, negative ions good, positive ions bad. The reason some reports stated otherwise is those “fake” ionizers. They are the so-called Ozonizer that is masked as an ionizer or integrated with the ionization feature. Nothing’s good when you mix with the bad crowd. The problem with Ozonizer is that they rely on ozone to perform its purification. Inhaling to even a small amount of ozone is bad for our health particularly to the lungs.

Blueair ionizer animation
Example of Blueair HEPAsilent Technology

Air Ionizer Benefits

Probably the only site that asks you to be less positive! By now we should all agreed that breathing in more negative ions and less positive ions are beneficial to our health and well-being. Using an air ionizer will balance things up by introducing more negative ions into the air. There are still a few more advantages an ionizer can bring to the table that no other air cleaner could.

  1. Evergreen technology that does not rely on any filter. You will save up a lot on the filter replacement cost.
  2. Pairs well with a HEPA air purifier or as an Electrostatic Recipitator.
  3. Boost body immune system on seasonal allergies like hay fever, cold, and even migraine.
  4. Protect our lungs and respiratory tract from inflammation.
  5. Helps you sleep better by relieving tension. Mood booster!
  6. A natural antidepressant for a person suffering from depression.
  7. Stay sharp. Improve mental focus and clarity through the increased flow of oxygen.
  8. Elevate person health, energy level, and well-being.
  9. Revitalize cell metabolism and speed up healing rate from injury.
  10. Normalize respiration rate that helps reduce stress and blood pressure.

According to Clean Air Optima, did you know the lack of negative ions can cause serotonin hyperfunction syndrome or irritation syndrome (SIS)? Debilitating results of surplus positive ions include dizziness, migraine, nausea, heart fluttering, hot flashes, or shivering. It can also cause mental tension, insomnia, fatigue to depression. Inhaling to excessive positive ions can cause irritation to the airways. On a bad day, it can aggravate asthma, bronchitis, hay fever or rheumatism.

What Is An Air Ionizer?

AKA Ioniser, Ionic air purifier, Ion generator, or Negative Ion air purifier. An air ionizer is a device that cleans the air by discharging 20,000 and 200,000 ions per second to bring down airborne particulates. There are 2 common types of ionizer in the market. First, an electrostatic precipitator that comes with an extra collector plate. The "plate" collects the drop contaminants rather than leaving them falling all over the place. The purification process is eco-friendly thus you can reuse the plate over and over again. Second is an air purifier with an ionizer that pulls in and captures fallen ions onto its filter. Most of the HEPA filter is not reusable but it's proven to be much more effective trapping the fallen. Some ionizer produces a very insignificant amount of ozone that can be safely ignored.

With no short of options in the market, here are our best ionic air purifiers pick that is effective, safe, and CARB-approved.

Frequently Asked Questions FAQ

Ionizer VS Ozone Generator

An ionizer is not an ozone generator even though some manufacturers market them as the same. The former produces ions while the latter produces ozone. Ionizer only causes the contaminant to fall while the ozone generator disintegrates them. While at this stage ozone generator might seem more superior, it is in fact very dangerous and detrimental to our health. Why? Because ozone is a highly reactive gas that can be unstable when mixing with other compounds. In-proper use of the device can lead to high exposure of ozone that in-return will damage our lung's tissue. Ionizer is a far safer method than combines well with an air purification system.

Air Ionizer VS Air Purifier

Both devices strive for clean air by removing airborne irritants. That's all the similarity ends as they utilize a different set of technology. Air ionizer electrostatically charges and merges ions causing them to fall to the ground (or anywhere in between). Conventional HEPA air purifier pulls in impurities and traps them in the filter. Needless to say, an air purifier is far more efficient than a standalone ionizer in clearing out contaminants. There are some elements of advantages air ionizer holds that we alluded earlier. My question is, why not both? There are many excellent HEPA air purifiers with ionizer feature coming from Honeywell, Blueair, or Rabbit Air. You just have to find the right balance between them.

Do Ionizers Kill Mold or Get Rid of Dust?

Technically ionizer does not "kill" any microbes or any particles. The device's negative ions emission causes ions to drop due to the increased weight. Without an air purifier or collector plate capturing the fallen particulates, the mold, dust or any irritants will still be in the room. It will spread on the wall, sofa or floor until you vacuum it up.

Max Fernandez

A loving father and a dedicated reviewer for airfuji.com with more than 1000 air purifiers under his belt. Max Fernandez is also one of the million patients currently suffering from asthma. Feel free to nudge him if you have any questions.