Ionizers vs. Ozone Generators– What’s the Deal?

Many people are confused about different manufacturers that offer “ionizing” air purifiers and “ozone generators”. It is almost universally agreed upon by the scientific community that ground level “ozone generating” air purifiers are not a good idea. Although the EPA and similar organizations like the California Air Resources Board (CARB) don’t regulate the sale of portable room air purifiers, they do offer their opinions.  So, some clarification between ionizers and ozone generators could be helpful when making an informed choice.

Ionizers attach negatively charged ions onto positively charged dust and allergen particles. By attaching to the dust, the negatively charged ions cause the particles to drop out of the air in front of your ionizer unit. It is a good idea to be aware that stand alone ionizers might make your room cleaner and possibly smell fresher (like that fresh water mist smell near a waterfall). But know that pure ionizers sometimes produce small amounts of excess ozone as well – but it usually a minimal amount, and when mixed with the natural airflow of a house, office or apartment, really do not contribute to a major concern.

What is Ozone?
We all want and need ozone– we want it way up in the atmosphere where it protects us against harmful UV rays from the sun.  This is why responsible people care about an excess of worldwide carbon emissions, which can compromise the ozone layer over extended periods of time. At the level we live here on the ground, ozone is created when air pollutants expelled from power plants, cars, animal gas emissions, etc., react chemically to the sunlight.  

Ozone Generators
With the available resources on this topic, it somewhat surprising that ozone generators are still a relatively big seller in the United States. Most people wish to add an air purifier to their home, office, and living spaces because they want to eliminate natural airborne contaminants and breathe a little easier. Ozone generating products are actually going to be counterproductive to those with labored breathing or respiratory ailments, including common allergies.

The gold standard simple room air purifiers currently in the U.S.A. are HEPA based air cleaners. This is because HEPA filters remove airborne particles up to .003 microns at about 99.97% efficiency. When other technologies such as Activated Carbon, UV, and yes, ionization, are added, it can increase the kill and elimination rate of harmful air pollutants, bacteria, viruses, volatile organic compounds, dust, dander, smoke, smells and other unpleasant visitors in your personal atmosphere. The airflow (mixing of outdoor and indoor air) of your space, and the force at which the air cleaner draws air into, and expels “clean air” out, are also factors in the overall effectiveness of the device you choose. 

For further information on ozone, its effects and indoor air pollution, we recommend visiting and to read the latest research.