What Does a Water Air Purifier Do? | The Surprising Benefits of Using Water as an Air Filter

What Does a Water Air Purifier Do? 

What Does a Water Air Purifier Do?

There are countless air purifiers out on the market, and some of them utilize harmful chemicals to clean your home’s air. An air purifier with water, on the other hand, does not. These water-based air purifiers just use the natural properties of water to clean your home’s air, and freshen things up!

A water-based air purifier cleans your home’s air solely with water, which, like a normal air purifier’s filter, will cleanse the air of particles like dust, pollen, and dander. These air purifiers are easy to use, and maintain, which makes them a preferred option in many homes today.

An air purifier with water can do a whole lot, including humidifying, purifying, and diffusing. In fact, some of these water-based air purifiers even come with a dehumidifier, in case you don’t want/need any additional humidity in your home. 

Water air purifiers can do a lot of what a traditional air purifier can do, while also providing you with “refreshing” air, which is cool, carries a light humidity, and can even bring with it any scent of your own choosing! 

First, let’s start with how these machines do what they do:

Water-based purifiers humidifiers are amazing little machines, which are very affordable for what they can do. When compared to air purifiers alone, one can see how much more affordable a water-based air purifier is, and those savings only stack over the lifetime of your unit, as you won’t need to purchase countless replacement filters. 

These air purifiers which utilize water as their filters do so by shooting your home’s dirty air into its water basin. By doing this, it gets all of the solid particulates wet (including dust, dirt, pollen, and dander), essentially locking them into the water. By doing this, it purifies your home’s air without any dangerous chemicals, and without any expensive filters. 

Once the air has been filtered by the water in your air cleaner, it will usually then be further processed by your machine where the water goes for another round against any remaining particles. Generally, the particles are run through a “rainstorm” of sorts, which, like an actual rainstorm, serves to beat down any remaining solid particulates.

However, all of that water doesn’t, and cannot capture everything out of the air. Which, is exactly why a lot of manufacturers of these water-based solutions have added yet another line of attack for the particles that remain.

This extra layer of defense generally encompasses something to the tune of an electrostatic filter and/or another type of filter to capture the particles that managed to evade getting bogged down in your machine’s water-oriented filtration systems. These other filters may also include a HEPA filter. Check out our article on the importance of filters to learn more about them, and what they do!

Long story short, you’re looking at some pretty clean air!

Water air purifiers also serve as a means to lightly humidify your home. This means that they will add just a bit of moisture to your home’s air, thereby making it a bit more refreshing. Standard humidifiers send out dense clouds of hot water vapor, while these machines add just enough cool water to your air to leave you breathing easy. 

But, as with seemingly every atmospheric control system, these machines come with options! One such option, provided you don’t want any more humidity in your home, is to purchase a unit that has a built-in dehumidifier. If you are curious as to if you may need less humidity in your home’s air, check out our article on air purifiers and dehumidifiers or air purifiers and humidifiers.

The final standard bonus that comes with any air purifier with water filtration is that you can add scents to the air they send out into your home’s air! Some manufacturers offer an array of scents that you can choose from, or, you can go out on a limb and add your own essential oils instead! 

Essential oils all have their own medicinal qualities, and their own scents, both of which can make them very appealing to anyone who wants to change things up with their home’s air. If you want help focusing, relaxing, or to help with a migraine, essential oils can be your fix. 

Adding scents to your water air purifier is actually very easy! All you have to do is add a few drops of your choice scent or essential oil, to your unit’s water basin, and you’re golden! We strongly recommend only using a few drops of these scents, as they are generally very concentrated, and a little will go a very long way. 


Water-based air purifiers, on their own, work very well at what they do. And what they do is clean the air, add a hint of humidity, and provide you with the option of adding whatever scent you please. 

For their price, water air purifiers are hard to beat. Dollar per dollar, they cover the most area, according to our numbers. These machines clean the air of a lot of particles, which is more than enough for most people. And the fact that they double as humidifiers and oil diffusers is a very nice added bonus!

However, they do not work as well as an air purifier that uses a HEPA filter. In many ways, this is an unfair comparison, as HEPA filters are the apex of air purification technology. These filters have been purpose-built to clean the air better than everything else, which means that just about every other type of air purification technology pales in comparison to them. 

When it comes to filtering out larger particles, water is right in line with the rest of the pack though. Water is great at grabbing dust, hair, and other visible particles, and the best part about using water is that you can dump it out and refill it for pennies, as opposed to a conventional filter, which you’d have to replace or vacuum out. 

Water air revitalizers are also less effective at capturing odors than carbon filters and HEPA filters, both of which are also made for odor capturing. That being said, they can still capture some odors, especially ones that come attached to the particles that water-based air purifiers capture. 

US JACLEAN's Air Revitalizer is a Fantastic Water Based Air Purifier

Here’s a water-based air revitalizer that we’ve really enjoyed and it works really well too!

Something that we especially love about this water air purifier is that it comes with three different scents that you can add to the water basin to give your room a soothing scent. My favorite one is the ocean breeze, but the jasmine one is really good too.

It’s super affordable and you can check its current price here.


water purifier

An air purifier that utilizes water as its primary filter may not be for everyone, but it definitely suits the needs of the general population that wants cleaner air at the lowest possible price. People who desire to have an essential oil diffuser can also benefit from purchasing a water-based air purifier, since it doubles as an oil diffuser. 

However, if you have particular health issues, like asthma, or if you have severe, and very sensitive allergies, then you would likely be better off purchasing an air purifier with a HEPA filter, and take the added cost. HEPA filters truly are amazing, and you’d benefit greatly by breathing the air that comes out of them. But, if you don’t have these respiratory-related issues, then you may want to opt for the cheaper water-based alternative. 

Another shortcoming of water-based air purifiers is that they aren’t as effective at capturing odors from the air like carbon filters. If your home or business is plagued by odors, then getting a carbon filter is a great start for you. If you want the fastest, most thorough, results, then you may want to double down and get an air purifier that has a HEPA filter and a carbon filter. This combination is one of the best for odor mitigation. 

In the end, we recommend water-based air purifiers if you are either on a shoestring budget, or if you would like it for its oil diffusing or light humidifying ability. You can also get a water-based air purifier if, for any other reason, you just need larger particles removed from the air since they do that pretty well. 

For those of you on a budget, check out our article on finding an affordable air purifier worth buying! Just because a machine is cheap, doesn’t mean it will work, much less meet your needs! There are lots of air purifiers out there that are worth the buy, while still remaining in your price range. 

There are quite a few other affordable air purifiers out there that may seem like a bargain. However, not every unit is everything they claim to be! Check out our post on the importance of checking out consumer reports and customer reviews to learn more about how they can help you make the right choice. 

Visit our article on the top five water-based air revitalizers that we think are worth buying!


As can be expected, using water as a means to filtration does have its own drawbacks. These include all of the issues brought about with all areas that have heightened levels of moisture. These issues include an increased risk of mold and fungus growing in your home. In addition to these two organisms, bacteria, and other germs also like moist areas.

That being said, this should be fairly easy to avoid, unless you live in a humid area, where mold and fungal problems are endemic. To avoid these two drawbacks, all you need to do is keep up on your air purifier cleaning routines. This includes changing out your unit’s water basin.

Another important chore to ensure these organisms don’t take hold is to do a deep cleaning of your unit from time to time. Part of our post that delves into the question of what water-based purifiers are delves into a step by step on cleaning these units. A deeper cleaning can take a bit of time, but the results are worth it, as you are helping your air purifier help you! 

water purifier

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Have to Worry About Mold in My Water-Based Air Purifier?

You should always keep mold in mind when you are dealing with anything that deals with moisture. In fact, even a normal air purifier can develop a mold issue, if it isn’t properly cleaned! To avoid issues where mold takes over, just keep up on your air purifier’s maintenance schedule, and you should be fine!

Is it Worth it to Buy an Air Purifier?

It is very much worth it. Depending on the ailments that the air around you causes, an air purifier can actually save you money in the long run. Rather than buying medications to combat the results of breathing poor-quality air, you can clean the air itself! After buying an air purifier, you can literally come home and “take a breath of fresh air” even if you live in New York City!

Can a Water-Based Air Cleaner Help With My Pet’s Hair?

Yes, this is one of the tasks that these units do very well! Because pet hair is large and is easily bogged down with water, these machines will do wonders for you. To go a step further, you may even want to get an activated carbon filter (which can be bought on its own), in order to capture your pet’s various odors as well!

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, and 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 filter is a good starting point for you. 

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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