Air Purifier vs Air Scrubber - What's the Difference?

Air Purifier vs Air Scrubber - What's the Difference?

Air scrubbers and air purifiers fill the same purpose - they are made for improving indoor air quality. Both make areas safer and more comfortable for occupants by purifying the air. However, air purifiers only capture airborne particles, whereas an air scrubber captures both airborne and surfaced particles.

Whether you should get an air purifier or air scrubber depends heavily on which industry you work in, and the kind of pollutants you’re dealing with.

Residential air purifiers do not necessarily provide adequate protection that is needed for a commercial application like a classroom, gym, or business office. Air scrubbers utilize negative ions that lodges themselves to both airborne and settled particles like construction dust and mould spores.  Therefore, air scrubbers are preferred for:

  • Remodelling & renovation
  • Healthcare settings
  • Restoration & remediation
  • Mould removal & air abatement
  • Hotels, event venues and restaurants
  • Pet grooming salons
  • Classrooms and senior living residences


Most air scrubbers contain multi-stage filtration, either three stages or four stages. All XPOWER air scrubbers are equipped with two pre-filters that capture 90 percent of medium to large contaminants, and a HEPA filter which removes 99.97 percent of 0.3-micron-sized particulates, such as bacteria, viruses, allergens, and sub-micron sized dust.   

Some air scrubbers contain a fourth filter called Activated Carbon Filter. This filter will additionally capture volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including soot and smoke, food odours, fumes from paint and paint thinners, sewer odours, and many other compounds.

Traditionally, air scrubbers have been used predominately in industrial settings. They were not designed to look aesthetically pleasing and would be very noisy.

This has been changed in recent years, as XPOWER now offers air scrubbers in a high-end, minimalistic design that is meant to blend into the environment of a hotel lobby, classroom, or medical office. The air scrubbers have also been equipped with multiple speed-settings and has a much lower noise level than you would normally associate with a commercial air scrubber. And they are energy-efficient, which means the operational cost is lower now than what it used to be. 

So, as noted above, the choice between air scrubber or air purifier depends on what kind of pollutants you need to capture and which industry you work in. Our preference and recommendation would be to use air scrubbers for commercial settings and at home if you have special needs like severe allergies or live in an area that has poor air quality due to wildfire smoke or smog.  

We hope you found this helpful! Do you have a question about air scrubbers? Please send us a message!

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