Air Purifier With Ionizer Dangers



I first bought an ionizer air purifier back in 1978 to help with allergies and asthma. Did it work? No. It irritated my lungs and in a moment you'll know why. That was long before the Sharper Image Ionic Breeze air purifier made the term Ionic Breeze and "ionizer" synonymous with air purifiers. ionic Breeze was taken off of the market for this very problem. Before you run out and buy one I'd like to clear up many of the misunderstandings between ionizers, ozone, negative ions, and what each can do.

Air Purifier with Ionizer Plates

Many purifiers now use some form of charged washable plates or grids to clean the air. They are also called: "electrostatic", "electronic", Truman Cell, "Ionic Breeze" and others using the term "ionic". An air purifier with ionizer plates work by creating a positive and negative charged across the plates (or grids) to attract dirt and pollution like a magnet. Popular brand names include Oreck XL, Friedrich, and Ionic Breeze.

While they are inexpensive to produce and to maintain (no replacement filters) they however have a downside: since most dust and pollen does not have a strong electrical charge an air purifier with ionizer plates fails to work well for allergies. Some of them can also harm your lungs by producing Ozone. More on that in a moment.

Negative Ionizers

This differs from ionizers in that it only produces the negative side of the charge. However in this case the negative is really positive (It doesn't produce ozone). Instead of attaching dirt to plates negative ionizers create free-floating negative ions that go out into a room where it can killing odors, clean the air, and creates a healthy effect on the body.

Here's a small negative ionizer

Ozone Air Purifiers

Ozone generators work by taking oxygen (Oxygen is O2 or 2 molecules) and it adds a 3rd oxygen molecule (Ozone is O3). It's this 3rd molecule that acts like a killer going out into the room to disable mold, smoke and odors. The downside is that too many ozone molecules can irritate sensitive lungs. Popular Ozone Generator Brands include Ecoquest and Living Air (now renamed Vollara).

if you have a smoke, odor, or mold problem you might want to look for an inexpensive ozone air purifier like this one.

Pros and Cons of Air Ionizer Purifiers

Pro's 1 - Washable plates

2 - They work well for smoke and odor

3 - Inexpensive to Maintain

Con's 1 - Overpriced

2 - Works poorly, if at all, on dust and pollen

3 - May create dangerous Ozone

4- Will not help with viruses, mold, or germs

"Richardson" Air Purifier Rating

1. Technologies Included: (out of of 10 technologies) 1

2. Particle Removal (Allergens, Dust) 3

3. Immune System Threats (Germs, Virus, etc.) 1

4. Gas Removal (Odor, Chemicals, Smoke) 8

5. Longevity/Quality 6

6. Noise Levels 4

7. Ease of Use 10

8. Warranty 3

9. Customer Service/Reputation (reviews) N/A

10. Price Value 4

My Rating Score: 40 = Fair


If you're going to get an ionizer, stick with "grids" rather than "plates" (like you find in the Oreck) as grids produce less or no ozone.

Are you a smoker? An air purifier with ionizer plates may be a good option if you are a smoker. Here's why - it clears smoke effectively and you'll save money because you won't have the expense of changing HEPA filters (HEPA does not work to remove the smoke fumes, only the tar and nicotine). If you want to get rid of dust and pollen along with smoke then I'd suggest you get an air purifier with electrostatic and HEPA. The electrostatic will help with smoke and extend the life of the HEPA.

The Video Below is one such model that includes electrostatic, HEPA, Carbon, UV (for germs and viruses), Tio2 and negative ions as well.

Air Purifier With Ionizer Comparison Chart

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