What is a Water Based Air Purifier? | The Pros & Cons of Water Air Revitalizers

What is a Water Based Air Purifier?

water based air

A water-based air purifier or a water-based air revitalizer is just another part of the air purifier family. The key difference in these machines, like their name implies, is the fact that they utilize water, rather than a traditional filter in order to clean the air.

A water-based air purifier, in many ways, is just another variation of an air purifier. These machines can filter the air of allergens, spores, dust, and more. However, these units can also humidify your home, and be used as aroma diffusers, unlike a standard air purifier. 

This post is aimed to inform you of all there is to know about water based air purifiers. We will tell you how these machines work, the pros and cons of them, and compare them to their more traditional counterparts.   

Have you ever noticed how much cleaner the air outside is after a rainstorm? Not only does the air smell fresher, but you can usually see further than before the rain came. This is because the rain collected all of the pollution in the air on its descent, ranging from dust and pollen to smoke. A water-based air cleaner works using the same basic concept. (Except for the fact that it is contained, and not raining throughout your home!)

To learn more about air purifiers and dust reduction, check out our post entitled “Do Air Purifiers Reduce Dust?” Rest assured, they do, and most of them do so. However, water-based air revitalizers are not the best at reducing the smallest of particles from the air. HEPA air filters are the best at removing those microscopic particulates. Water-based systems, however, are still great at dust reduction, and they are very affordable. 

Water is, and always has been, a very effective way to clean things. That’s why we use it to wash our hands! Water-based air revitalizers capitalize on this by running your home’s dirty air through a spinning vortex of water, which grabs all of the pollutants before it finally releases clean air into your home’s air. 

An added benefit to using a water-based air revitalizer is that they double as oil diffusers, and as humidifiers. This is a really nice added value, especially if you are in the market for either of these additional systems. Read on below for a more in-depth dissertation on these valuable extras!

There are quite a few pros to using water-based air purifiers, and there are several cons as well. We have compiled a table of these pros and cons for your ease!

Generally very affordable.They don’t combat mold and fungi.
Doubles as a light air humidifier!Increased humidity levels can potentially lead to mold and fungi issues. 
Can be used as an oil diffuser!Not as good at filtering air as a conventional air purifier.
Easy maintenance.Don’t remove odors as well as an air purifier with a carbon filter. 
Cheap to replace your “filter” which is simply just replacing your machine’s water.Generally have a limited range of usefulness. (Usually small to mid-sized rooms)
Easy to use! Can become a breeding ground for viruses, mold, and bacteria.
Runs quietly in the background.Need cleaned every now and then..
Can provide aromatherapy while cleaning the air.Can be spilled if you aren’t careful.

Many of the pros and cons above include some of the greatest differences between water-based air purification and the standard fabric-based filters. For example, the affordability of water-based air revitalizer is a major selling point for these units. Not only are the machines themselves a lot cheaper than a conventional air purifier, but they are also a lot cheaper to maintain over the long run. 

Traditional air purifiers have at least one filter which has to be replaced from time to time. Some units even have several filters, which not only can be tedious to change, it can be expensive! A water-based air revitalizer, on the other hand, is easy to use, maintain, and it’s “filter” comes right out of your faucet ready to use! 

All that being said, these water-based filtration options are not as effective as their conventional counterparts. If you have a need for very clean air, rather than just “fresh” air, then you had best choose a conventional air purifier and accept its higher cost. In addition to going conventional, we recommend buying a unit with a HEPA filter, or even a True HEPA filter to get the cleanest air possible. 

Check out our article on the importance of air purifier filters to learn about what traditional filters do. Here, we go further into depth on the various types of filters, and their perks. 


Water, on a molecular level, is actually a very sticky substance. Many people don’t know this nuance of information on one of the most important things to human existence. Rather than bore you with the details on water’s sticky properties, we’ll carry on, and let you do your own research if you’re interested in learning more about water’s properties. 

Stagnant water may collect pollutants from its surroundings, but the moment you start stirring it or making waves, it suddenly becomes a lot more effective of a filter. This, like the fact that water is sticky, depends on some scientific reasons, which many people take for granted. By increasing the surface area of your water (i.e. making waves), you are allowing more water to come into contact with the filth in your air, cleaning it. 


As we previously have said, water-based revitalizes use the basic concept of a rainstorm and miniaturize it to benefit you, and your home. This results in a very fresh air feeling, which is very appealing. Many conventional air purifiers can actually dry out your home’s air as moisture can be collected in their filters, meanwhile, a water-based purifier does the opposite. 

Water-based air purifiers can be an invaluable asset to anyone’s home, and their price point generally makes them an easy choice. Oftentimes, water-based air revitalizers are a lot cheaper than conventional air purifiers, which is amazing! Their coverage area (how big of a room you can put them in) is generally many times larger than that of a conventional air purifier at a similar price point, so you’re getting a lot more bang (or clean) for your buck!

And if the cheaper unit price doesn’t immediately appeal to you, then perhaps this next point will. They are easy to maintain, and they don’t require costly filter replacements, like some of the traditional air purifiers out there. Your filter is just water! Replace it for a few cents, rather than a few dollars! Check out our article on what water based air purifiers do


Water-based air revitalizers can really help just about everyone because they can do so many things (clean the air, humidify, runs quiet, and work as an oil diffuser). They are great for anyone who needs or wants to have cleaner air, more refreshing air, or even more fragrant air (provided you add a scent to your machine). 

That being said, these machines can especially help certain groups of people:

Sufferers from Mild Allergies

Water-based air revitalizers can clean allergens from the air, which can save you a lot of trouble in seasons when your allergies flare up. However, if your allergies are very severe, or if you are super sensitive to certain allergens, then you may be better off buying a conventional air purifier that utilizes a HEPA filter. The smell of the air is so fresh and can clean the air smells that sometimes linger in your home.

Pet Owners

If you have had a pet for any period of time, then you know they can cause quite the literal stink from time to time. Aroma therapy and fragrance options help clean and purify. You want fresh and clean air which a water air purifier can help to alleviate these smells. Several pet owners add water and add fragrances to improve the smell. Fragrances sold separately for these purifiers. These machines should definitely help you in your pursuit of fresh air from smoke pet dander!

Those with Household Odors, or Smokers

Because water-based air purifiers serve as a good odor mitigating system, they can definitely help anyone who has stubborn household odors, or even a smoker in the house. The fact that they can also mask the odors with aromatic oils can also help. However, if your stubborn air pollutants and odors remain, you may need to invest in an activated carbon filter, and have a replacement filter nearby.


Air humidifiers belch out large amounts of water into the air, which is exactly what they were designed to do. A water-based revitalizer, on the other hand, releases a much smaller amount of water into your home’s atmosphere. However, if you only need a small increase of humidity in your home, then a water-based air purifier can definitely help you.

Bear in mind that water-based air revitalizers are made to “revitalize” your home’s air, which encompassed both cleaning and slight humidification. This means that they will not be as good as purpose-built units (like a air humidifier) as doing their job. However, they will still do a good job at what they are made to do, and that is making your home’s air feel more inviting. You will need to simply fill the water in the purifier container, and the water filters will need to be cleaned more often than other personal air water purifiers.

To learn more about a humidifier-humidifier combo, check out our article that tells you what an air purifier humidifier combination unit is. These units are usually more effective at humidification than water-based air purifiers. All that being said, your best bet will actually be to purchase two separate units, check out our post to see why!


Water-based air purifiers don’t do as good of a job at cleaning your home’s air as, say, an air purifier with a HEPA air filter. That being said, these water-based filtration units still do a good job at filtering your home’s air. It’s simply hard to measure up to a specially made filter that is literally the apex of air purifier achievement.

Think of it as comparing apples to oranges. Yes, both are fruits, or in this case, both clean the air. However, there are so many differences that the two different machines can’t do everything the other can. Each machine has its own pros and cons!

A water-based machine, for instance, is built to both clean your home’s air, and add just a hint of humidity to make it feel more refreshing. An air purifier with a HEPA filter is built with the sole purpose of cleaning the air in your home. It’ll do that very well.

What is a Water Based Air Purifier? | The Pros & Cons of Water Air Revitalizers 1

Here’s a water based air revitalizer that we’ve bought several of because we love it so much!

It comes with three scents, and let us say that they smell great!

Check it out here!


We recommend that you clean your water basin about once a week, depending upon how much you use your machine. In addition to this, we recommend doing a thorough clean of your unit at least once every month or two as well.

Because your machine is using water, it can be a prime target to bacteria, mold, fungi, and other troublesome and potentially dangerous organisms that love moist areas. These organisms can quickly overrun your machine. They even use it as a launching pad to spread throughout your home if you fail to clean it properly, and often enough. Cleaning air purifiers is as simple as cleaning your vacuum cleaner. Give your purifier a water bath with a bleach mixture and read your manual. But, with proper care, and following the recommendations of your unit’s manufacturer, you shouldn’t have to worry about this worst-case scenario.


Here are some tips doing a thorough cleaning of your water-based air revitalizer. Please note that not every machine is the same, and that your manufacturer’s instructions ought to supersede our recommended procedure. If you are only doing one of your weekly water changes, then you can just do step five.

  1. Turn off and unplug your machine!

    1. This is a safety issue, so please follow this step! Water and electricity are not a good mix, so unplug before you start cleaning your machine.
  2. Remove the top

    1. This may involve releasing a clap, or unscrewing the top, depending upon your machine’s design.
  3. Remove the fan

    1. Just about all revitalizers will have a fan. All of that moist air and dirty air will be running through them, so they can get filthy over time. It is important that you clean these parts to ensure that you get the cleanest air possible out of your unit.
  4. Wipe down the top of your unit

    1. You can use anything from an antibacterial wipe to a wet dishtowel to wash the top of your machine. Odds are, these parts shouldn’t be rinsed with water, or submerged. This is where all of your unit’s electronics are. 
  5. Clean the water basin

    1. Clean it as you normally would for your weekly water change. Dump it, rinse it out with soapy water, and wipe it down with a (clean) wet rag.
  6. Wash your unit’s stem

    1. This is the part that reaches down into the basin of your machine. We recommend using something like a Q tip to gently and carefully clean inside. Residue can build up over time. 
  7. Let it dry, then put it back together

    1. We recommend drying your unit out in the sun from time to time. The sun’s UV radiation will kill off any pesky germs that you may have missed!
    2. If you can’t dry it out in the sun, then just letting it air dry should be good enough. 
    3. Once your unit is dry, you can put it back together, refill your basin, and plug it back in. Ensure all the electronic parts (the plugin and the top) are dry before you plug it back in.

If you’d like a more in-depth tutorial on how to clean your water-based air purifier, then I’ve got another article for you. This other article has tips, tricks, and (most importantly) pictures to show you what I’m doing and how I clean my water-based air purifier. How to Clean a Water-Based Air Purifier – A Step By Step Guide With Pictures

Think you’re ready to buy a water-based air purifier? Check out our article on the top five water-based air filters that we recommend!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Water-Based Air Revitalizers Good at Cleaning the Air?

Water-based air revitalizers are good at cleansing the air in your home of dust. Other larger particulates, but they are not designed to take care of some of the smallest particles out there. If clean air is your primary concern, then a traditional air purifier with a HEPA air filter is a good starting point for you. Remember that you can put a personal air purifier in your car to purify the air and keep the air smelling good fresh.

How do I Add Scents to my Water-Based Air Revitalizer?

Many manufacturers offer a wide selection of scents that you can choose from. There are plenty of essential oils out there that produce an aroma you can choose from as well. To add a scent, just put in a few drops to your unit’s water basin. Don’t go overboard, a little goes a long way! Your purifier now becomes a fragrance machine and produces a wonderful aroma therapy experience.

What Are Charcoal Filters? 

Charcoal filters are one and the same as carbon filters, these phrases are used interchangeably. These filters mainly come in two different types activated and impregnated carbon. Impregnated does everything activated carbon does, but it also targets VOCs, which can be dangerous.

Jonathon Silva

Jonathan Silva is our longtime Air Purifier Essentials author. He has been writing on air purification technologies for his entire professional career.

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