HEPA Filter Air Purifier: Pros, Cons, and How It Works

The Benefits Of Using A HEPA Filter Air Purifier And How It Can Improve Indoor Air Quality

The air in your home contains numerous contaminants, such as dust, pollen, and pet hair. These are especially harmful to those suffering from asthma or allergies since they can aggravate or induce lung-related illnesses. If you or any family member has respiratory problems, it’s a good idea to invest in a HEPA filter air purifier. Doing so can help get rid of the air contaminants in your home. 

This type of air purifier has become popular over the years because of the concerns of homeowners over indoor air quality. A HEPA filter is an indispensable component of an air purifier system that can help improve the overall air quality of your home. 

In today’s article, we’ll take a closer look at the HEPA or High-Efficiency Particulate Air technology. Likewise, we’ll explore how it deals with the different types of pollutants in an indoor environment.

What Makes HEPA Filter Air Purifiers Different From Other Types Of Air Purifiers?

Each air purifier company incorporates their products with a specific air purification technology. These technologies include HEPA, carbon, ionizer, and PECO filtration systems. Some companies also developed their own unique technology. 

Knowing the differences between these filtration systems will ensure that you’ll end up with the best possible air purifier for your home. And if you’ve been shopping around for one, you’ll most likely come across the term HEPA filter.

As mentioned, HEPA is the acronym for High-Efficiency Particulate Air. An air purifier with a HEPA filter uses a fibrous filter that can trap very fine particles. The filtration system was created when the atomic bomb was being developed to help prevent the spread of tiny airborne radioactive particles.

Today, it plays a significant role in air purifiers used in homes as it filters harmful particles that are linked to respiratory illnesses, cancer, and heart disease. These include, smoke, air pollution, molds, pollen, dust, and pet hairs. Moreover, HEPA filters can remove large particles almost perfectly. But as efficient as HEPA filter air purifiers are, they can’t filter out odors, gases, chemicals, and other toxic modern-day pollutants.

What Is HEPA Standard And True-HEPA Filter?

There are plenty of misconceptions regarding the HEPA standard. Does a filter or air purifier truly satisfy the HEPA standard? What can HEPA filter do and what can’t it do? 

The minimum European standard set for a HEPA filter for purging the air of particles with a size of 0.3 microns is at least 99.5%. Meanwhile, the US standard is 99.97%.

In today’s market, you will find air purifiers labeled with true-HEPA, HEPA-like, and HEPA-type. Although they may sound the same, they are actually not. 

A true-HEPA filter meets the said standards and can purify the air with precise accuracy. On the other hand, air purifiers with HEPA-type or HEPA-like filters are less likely to meet these standards. Thereby, these devices are inferior in comparison to those with true-HEPA in terms of effectiveness. Likewise, they will not be able to remove pollutants in the air like a true-HEPA would.

How Does An Air Purifier With HEPA Filter Works?

HEPA air purifier gets rid of particles as the air passes through the various filters of the device. The filters are made from glass fibers that are turned and twisted in multiple direction. This results in a fibrous web capable of eradicating airborne particles while making sure that they are not released back into the air. 

Similar to all air purification methods, the two principal components of HEPA filter air purifier are the filtration system and fan. The fan is what regulates the air. It sucks the air in and blows it out back into the now pollutant-free air. 

To complete the entire process, the filtration system goes through four steps. This is to ensure that all particles get trapped as they travel into the fibrous web.

The steps are the following:

  • Direct impaction. Pollen, mold, dust, and other large contaminants will stick to the fiber as they come in direct contact with it.
  • Sieving. The particles that are sucked in with indoor air that goes through between the fibers are efficiently checked. That’s because the gaps are much smaller in comparison to these particles.
  • Interception. Air can make its way around the fibers and reroute. However, the surfaces of the fiber will capture and trap the particles. 
  • Diffusion. During this final stage, the ultrafine particles that eluded the initial collision stick to the fiber since they are more likely to collide with gas molecules.

Benefits Of Using HEPA Filter Air Purifier

  • Its biggest benefit is cleaning the air, which is beneficial for any allergy or asthma sufferer while helping the overall health of the entire family.
  • Highly effective at getting rid of even the most toxic pollutants and contaminants.
  • It does not emit or produce byproducts.
  • This type of air purifier is 99.97% effective and can trap particles as small as 0.3 microns. Plus, the particulate matter will not be released back into the air.
  • HEPA filters have a lifespan of around 2 to 3 years. Other filters like carbon will not be able to last as long.


Like with any air filtration system, a HEPA filter is not perfect. Its upfront cost is probably the most common hindrance for homeowners. Replacing the filters may hurt your budget a bit as well, depending on how many times you’ll change them. Furthermore, it is not capable of trapping odors, fumes, chemicals, and gases.

Regardless of these cons, an air purifier with a HEPA filter is an excellent investment if you want your home to be healthier. The advantages it presents simply outweigh these cons.