Should I Get An Electrostatic Air Purifier To Clean My Air?

Clean air is vital to good health. Breathing in pollution-free air leads to improvements in allergy symptoms, skin appearance, digestion, mental health, and even life expectancy.

One of the most effective ways to ensure that your indoor air is clean is to use an air purifier. But, which kind is best for you? That depends…

There are a variety of ways air purifiers can clean the air. Arguably, the most common type of air purifier is one that uses a HEPA filter, but there are also many air purifiers that utilize activated carbon and UV light to ensure that you are breathing clean, healthy air.

Today we’re going to focus on electrostatic air purifiers. Electrostatic air filters and purifiers are known for working effectively against industrial fumes and home allergens.

While they can be very good at removing pollutants, these systems are not without their drawbacks… 

How Do Electrostatic Air Purifiers Work?

An electrostatic air purifier consists primarily of wires and collection plates, with high voltage applied from an electrostatic field between the wires and the collecting plate, charging the air electrically and ionizing them in the process. Electrostatic precipitators, or electrostatic air purifiers, are air purification systems that utilize electrostatics to grab and hold onto various particles.

These systems contain a series of wire collection plates. Using the high voltage coming from the electrostatic field between the two, it ionizes the air and enables the device to catch them on their collecting plates. These particles are left stuck to the collecting plates while the clean air goes through to the other side. Once the plates are full, the dust and other airborne particles that have been collected by the electrostatic air purifier must then be washed off and/or disposed of in an eco-friendly manner. 

How Effective Are Electrostatic Air Purifiers?

Electrostatic air purifiers come with many benefits. First of all, they are extremely effective at removing most small airborne particles.

They are also very cost efficient. While the initial price may include an installation fee, there are no filters or other parts to replace, as in most other purifiers. 

It is important to note that you will need to clean the collection plates regularly. But, as long as you keep these air purifiers clean and in optimal working condition, they will be an effective and affordable solution to removing dust and other allergens from the environment.

Electrostatic vs. HEPA – How Are They Different?

If you’ve looked into air purifiers even just a little bit, you are probably familiar with the term “HEPA”. HEPA stands for high efficiency particulate air filter. HEPA air filters are able to remove at least 99.97% of airborne particles with a size of 0.3 microns (µm) from the environment.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the differences between electrostatic and HEPA purifiers


  • HEPA air purifiers use filters that need to be changed periodically to ensure the device’s effectiveness.
  •  Electrostatic air purifiers are a one-time purchase.


  • Electrostatic air purifiers are used in more industrial settings because some can be installed directly into an HVAC system.
  • HEPA air purifiers are found in many medical offices, hospitals, and other settings where stricter attention to detail in air quality is required.


  • Most electrostatic air purifiers have a 60-80 percent first-pass efficiency rate, meaning that they will improve your air quality over more time. Electrostatic air purifiers will also typically have to run slower to be more effective because if air passes through them too quickly, particles may not be removed from the air. 
  • Air purification systems that use HEPA filters have around an 87-99 percent first-pass efficiency rate, meaning that these air purifiers will catch more particles faster. 


Drawbacks of an Electrostatic Air Purifier

While there are some definite advantages to using an electrostatic air purifier, there are also some serious drawbacks.

  • They need to be cleaned up to twice a month often to remain effective.
  • While they are effective at removing airborne particles like dust, dander, and other allergens, they cannot target substances like bacteria, viruses, and other harmful gases the same way that HEPA purifiers and UV purifiers can, meaning that things like the smell of tobacco smoke and other similar pollutants are likely to remain floating in the air.
  • They emit ozone. 

Why does it matter that Electrostatic Air Purifiers emit ozone?

While Electrostatic Air Purifiers are not as harmful as purifiers like ozone generators, they still present a health risk because of ozone emissions. 

Ozone is a by-product of the charging process that is used to collect airborne particles in Electrostatic Air Purifiers. Ozone is not meant to be breathed in and can be harmful to your lungs, bronchial tubes, and skin.

Which purifier is best for my home or office?

While electrostatic air purifiers are an effective solution against allergens and offer convenience in the form of washable plates, they are not without their drawbacks.  Their inability to catch things like viruses, bacteria, and odor from smoke, along with the fact that they emit ozone make them less than ideal for personal use.

Electrostatic airs are a great solution for industrial settings because they can be directly installed into HVAC systems and cleaned regularly. However, if you are looking for an air purification solution that is suitable for your home, office or medical or lab environment, a HEPA air purifier may be a better solution.

Visit our air purity blog to learn more about HEPA and other types of air purification.

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