HEPA vs UV Air Purifier: What’s the Difference?

Homeowners spend a lot of time in their homes eating, sleeping and even working. Because of that, indoor comfort is important. When most people think about maintaining their indoor climate, they consider their HVAC system. A proper HVAC system will maintain the desired temperature in your house.

However, besides the temperature, air quality is also important to consider – that’s where an air purifier comes in.

There are several types of air purifiers on the market that can help you improve the quality of your indoor air. In this post, we’ll focus on the two most common options – HEPA vs UV air purifiers. This article will analyze the differences between the two types and help you choose the best option for your home. 

So, if you are looking for an air purification system but are unsure about which type to choose – HEPA vs UV air purifier – read below for more.


What is a HEPA air filter?

Air filters are an integral part of every HVAC system, and a HEPA filter is one of the best types available on the market today. 

A HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter is one of the most effective air filters due to its ability to filter out tiny particles from the air. HEPA filters eliminate 99.9% of particles from the air in your home. 

You may not think about it, but many small particles find their way into your home every day. These particles include dust, dirt, bacteria, pollen, chemical compounds, fungi, and viruses. Once these particles mix in with your indoor air, they can pose a risk to your health and your family’s health. 

Most of these particles are tiny and undetectable without a microscope, which is where the HEPA filter comes in handy. It filters the air blowing into your home and removes a high percentage of unwanted particles, providing you with much better indoor air quality as a result. 

What is a UV air purifier?

A UV air purifier is a device that uses ultraviolet light to eliminate pathogens such as bacteria, fungi, and other biological organisms from the air. 

UV light radiation damages the DNA of these pathogens and ultimately prevents the microorganisms from reproducing and growing. This is especially helpful in cleaning the air during flu season as it can decrease the risk of contracting airborne viruses, including the SARS-coronavirus.

With time, the populations of harmful microorganisms die off, leaving your home safe and comfortable. 

HEPA filter vs UV air purifier: What are the differences?

Now that we’ve given a brief overview of HEPA vs UV air purifier functions, let’s see how they compare on things like overall air quality, efficiency, and cost. 

1. Air quality

A HEPA air filter is one of the top devices in the air filtration market. Many HVAC professionals often recommend HEPA filters to homeowners as they work well to improve indoor air quality and overall health.

The HEPA filter traps particles from the air, including dust, dirt, and pathogens. It’s crucial to replace the air filter regularly to prevent blockages and keep your filter functioning well. A drawback is that some infectious particles can be released back into the air as you replace the filter, so wearing a mask is advised.

The UV air purifier eliminates pathogens from the air altogether, so your home will be free of bacteria (including odor-causing bacteria), viruses, and mold. 

2. Price

Price can be a determining factor when comparing HEPA filter vs air purifier systems. Most HEPA filters range from $16 to $95. The exact amount will vary within this range based on the brand and any additional features included to enhance the filter. 

Most UV air purifiers range from $800 to $1500. While these filters cost more, they are much more effective at taking harmful microorganisms out of the air to keep your family safe. 

Similar to the HEPA filter, the exact price depends on the brand and the device’s overall quality. UV air purifiers can be pricer, so consider your budget before purchasing one. While there are some cheaper air filters on the market, investing in a UV filter is a great way to ensure the best air quality for you and your family. 

3. Noise levels

When considering a HEPA air purifier vs a UV light purifier, consider what noise levels you are okay with. HEPA filters aren’t noisy. If you do hear anything, it will likely just be the fan of your HVAC system that holds the HEPA filter. 

UV air purifiers, on the other hand, are a bit more noticeable noise-wise. While the unit does make some noise, it’s not typically disruptive. In fact, a UV air purifier can often double as a white noise machine. Modern UV air purifiers create even less noise and work well in home offices or bedrooms where quiet is needed. 

Since air purifiers are often part of or supplementary to your heating or cooling system, the best way to ensure low noise levels at home is to choose the right HVAC system.

4. Efficiency

If you or someone who lives with you is at an increased risk of contracting a cold, the flu or Covid-19, it’s wise to have necessary precautions in place. 

HEPA filters trap particles of varying sizes and types from the air. However, they are not 100% efficient as there are still some particles that can still end up in the air you breathe. The efficiency is greatly affected if you don’t replace your HEPA filter regularly. 

When comparing a HEPA filter vs an air purifier that uses UV light, the UV air purifier has a high success rate in removing pathogens from the air. This can greatly reduce the effects of allergies and asthma. 

5. Dust and dirt accumulation

Accumulation of dirt and dust is another crucial factor when comparing HEPA filter vs air purifier systems. A HEPA filter removes particles from the air and traps them in the air filter.

A dirty HEPA filter can cause all sorts of problems in your home. For instance, a blockage will hinder filtration, which can affect indoor air quality and potentially cause health issues for your household. 

A UV air purifier doesn’t have an air filter in the unit, so you won’t have to worry about replacing a dirty air filter. If you have this device, you may still notice the accumulation of dust and dirt in your home, as the UV filter cannot filter them out. 

Both HEPA and UV air purifiers are a helpful addition to regular household cleaning routines. However, they should never replace cleaning surfaces regularly, especially during the allergy, cold, and flu seasons. 

HEPA filter vs air purifier: Which one should you choose?

When comparing a UV air purifier vs a HEPA filter, the above factors should help you see which option may be best for your living space. 

If you live in an area with high levels of dust and dirt, HEPA air cleaners are a good option. However, to decrease the risk of pathogens like bacteria and viruses, a UV air purifier is your best bet. Help keep your family safe and healthy; install an air purifier today! 

Need help deciding which type of filter is best for you? Book an appointment with one of our HVAC professionals, and we’ll help you get the best solution for your home.  

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