How does an air purifier work?

The past few years has raised our awareness of how important indoor air quality is. With it, popularity around air purifiers has grown – but few know the mechanics behind air purifier technology. So, what is an air purifier? And how do they work to keep the air we breathe healthy? We break down the components of Dyson’s air treatment technology, alongside the different kinds of pollutants found in our homes. See why air purifiers are the best defence against compromised air quality, and which of the Dyson range suits your home.

18th November 2022
Dyson air purifier range

What is an air purifier?

An air purifier functions in two main ways. First, dirty air is drawn into varying filters, which capture and trap differently sized particles alongside gases like VOCs. The purified air is then continuously projected around your room. Only a Dyson purifier contains Air Multiplier™ technology, which draws in litres of air with airborne pollutants and projects the purified around throughout the room.

An air purifier engineered with HEPA H13 and activated carbon filters can work effectively against pollens, fine particles, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), viruses and bacteria.

How do air purifiers work?

Given that most air pollution is invisible, you might be wondering ‘do air purifiers actually work?’. Air purifiers are designed precisely to tackle the health risks we can’t see. While many purifiers are engineered with a filter and a fan, Dyson’s purifier technology can actually detect pollutants in the air, before filtering them out in stages.

A Dyson air purifier has different layers of filtration to create the cleanest air possible.

  1. Whole-machine HEPA H131 filtration system captures dust, pollen bacteria and ultrafine particles the size of 0.1 microns.2
  2. An activated carbon filter removes gases and odours which emit from common household items, cleaning sprays and cooking appliances.
  3. The Dyson Purifier Hot+Cool™ Formaldehyde contains a selective catalytic oxidisation filter, which captures and destroys formaldehyde.3

Air purifier functions

Now that we know how air purifiers work, let’s deep dive into the potential harms that a Dyson purifier can eliminate. Indoor air consists of a combination of pollutants – each with their own sources and potential dangers. Many of us only think about outdoor pollution, but Dyson’s research into air science reveals the chemical and bio pollutants that build up in homes.

  • Bacteria and viruses

    Our awareness of virus and bacteria accumulation has expanded since the Covid-19 pandemic. Bathrooms, living rooms, kitchens and bedrooms can all host substantial levels of bacteria. When airborne, germs can travel long distances – even across rooms. Disinfectant can aid in removing this particulate matter, but air purification helps to trap and replace compromised air.

  • Volatile organic compounds

    VOCs are organic gases which emit from items like cleaning products, paint, hairspray and other personal products. Combining carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, volatile organic compounds need to be captured in order to protect overall home health. Frequent exposure to this pollutant can cause irritation to our nose, eyes and throat.

  • Formaldehyde

    A colourless gas which is almost always present in homes. Formaldehyde can be released from materials like plywood and fibreboard, insulation, paint, wallpaper, varnishes and household cleaning sprays. High level exposure can have adverse effects on health4, but the size (500 times smaller than 0.1 microns) of formaldehyde makes it difficult to capture.

  • Nitrogen dioxide

    It’s likely that you’re already aware of this pollutant and its health risks. A reddish-brown gas, nitrogen dioxide is produced industrially in massive quantities. In the home, the pollutant emits from gas appliances, open flames, wood burning stoves and cigarettes. It can also enter into homes through large-scale fossil fuel combustion.

  • Dust

    Dust is what most of us look for when timing our cleans. Present in this particulate matter are biological components like dander and dust mites, alongside microplastics. You might not be aware that much of the dust in homes is invisible to us.

  • Particulate matter

    These pollutants can be either solid or liquid form. To classify the range of particles, different categories have been created. ‘PM10’ particles like pollen and allergens are small enough to enter the lungs. PM2.5 are microscopic particles sourced from industrial emissions, bacteria and fungi. PM0/1 refers to unstable particles which can grow in size. Dyson air purifiers have been engineered to remove airborne particles – so you can breathe cleaner air. Learn more.

  • Pollen

    A source of irritation for many of us, pollen is often thought of as an outdoor threat only. However, tree, flower and grass pollen can easily access homes through ventilation – also being carried in by pets and on the soles of shoes. Inhaling pollen can both trigger and worsen allergies.

  • Mould spores

    Unlike pollen which is seasonal, mould can occur in homes year-round. Mould refers to a group of fungi which grow into a visible, web-like structure. Exposure to fungi can cause allergic reactions to people – including sneezing, itchiness and asthma. A Dyson air purifier can help to address this allergy-inducing filament.

Only a Dyson works like a Dyson

  • A close-up of the LCD screen on a Dyson air purifier.

    Senses and reports automatically

    Most indoor pollutants can't be seen or smelled. Dyson air purifiers constantly monitor your indoor air quality – automatically sensing airborne particles and then displaying real-time reports on the LCD screen for proof of cleaner air.

  • A Dyson purifier on top of a box with no pollutants leaking out.

    Whole-machine sealed

    In our latest air purifiers it's not just the filter that's sealed to HEPA 13 standard, it's the whole machine.7 This prevents pollutants from being expelled back into the room after they've been removed from the airflow. So what goes inside, stays inside.

  • A man and woman setting the table in an open plan kitchen and dining area

    Purifies the whole room

    Only Dyson air purifiers are engineered with Air Multiplier™ technology, to draw in distant pollutants and project 290 litres per second of purified air into every corner of the room.2

  • A Dyson machine in bedroom night time cooling off person sleeping in bed

    Night mode

    20% quieter than the previous model, so you can rest easy. Select Dyson Purifiers have night mode to purify using the quietest setting, with a dimmed display and are also MyDyson™ App compatible so you can set timers based on your sleep schedule.

Explore the Dyson difference

Dyson’s air purifiers demonstrate their work in real-time. Real-time reporting shows the pollutants sensed in the space, and the amount captured. Explore the separate features in the Dyson air purifier range.

Learn more

Found this article helpful? Discover how to effectively clean your mattress next.

Press Contact

ANZ Press Office
Email: aupressoffice@dyson.com

Dyson Newsroom

The latest news from Dyson

1Particle challenge by DEHS oil specified in EN1822 within a chamber specified in ASTM F3150. Tested in Max Mode at IBR US, for whole machine efficiency above 99.95%.

2Tested for filtration efficiency at 0.1 microns (EN1822).

3Particle challenge by DEHS oil specified in EN1822 within a chamber specified in ASTM F3150. Tested in Max Mode at IBR US, for whole machine efficiency above 99.95%.4 Third party full machine testing based on GB/T 18801-2015 formaldehyde cumulative clean mass testing with continuous injection until plateau of formaldehyde CADR is achieved. Results may vary in practice.

4Government of South Australian, SA Health, Formaldehyde.