Do Charcoal Air Purifiers Work? What to Consider When Buying One

‍Charcoal air purifiers are a type of particle filter that use activated carbon to remove odors and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air. They’re particularly useful for removing smells from small spaces. In addition, carpet cleaners, humidifiers, and other home appliances sometimes use activated charcoal filters to remove odors from the airflow they produce. Do charcoal air purifiers work?

Charcoal air purifiersOpens in a new tab. can effectively reduce air smells, contaminants, and allergies. By adsorbing or attaching to, airborne particles and gases, the activated charcoal in the purifier trap them in its pores.

Activated charcoal is also used in water filters, aquariums, and medical industries to reduce contamination in drinking water and surgical equipment. Because of these different uses of activated carbon filters, many products on the market use them as purifyingOpens in a new tab. agents. Some common examples include humidifier filters, standalone air purifiersOpens in a new tab. made with activated carbon, and even home ventilation systems that can use an optional charcoal filter.

How Do Air Purifiers With Charcoal Work?

Activated charcoal is manufactured and sold under various brand names. Although most charcoal purifiers on the market use the same ingredients as Beecham charcoal, there are many other brand names, including ones that use a different batch of briquettes. 

For most consumers, the primary difference between a charcoal air purifierOpens in a new tab. and a regular air purifier is that a charcoal air purifier uses activated carbon to absorb volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air a regular air purifier does not. While air purifiersOpens in a new tab. and charcoal filters remove VOCs, there are notable differences between the two: 

  • Activated carbon filters remove only dry organic compounds (i.e., carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide), while regular air purifiersOpens in a new tab. also remove moist organic compounds. Most commonly, volatile organic compounds include formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, formamidomethane, and acetone. These are the mainstays of combustion and can cause most kinds of indoor and outdoor odor.

What Does an Activated Carbon Air Purifier Remove?

Activated carbon filters remove all organic compounds, including volatile organic compounds that cause indoor and outdoor odor. However, it is important to remove other less-noted organic compounds as well. These compounds are not harmful in most cases, but they are still some of the most prevalent indoor and outdoor air pollutants. For these compounds, activated carbon has an excellent removal rate. Out of 100 outgoings, 0–100 percent are effectively eliminated from the air.

Which Odors Are Removed By A Carbon Air Purifier?

Activated carbon filters also remove volatile organic compounds from the air but don’t remove other substances that cause indoor and outdoor odorsOpens in a new tab.. These substances include lead, Farnine, formaldehyde, mildew, ammonia, and carbon monoxide.

What is the Best Charcoal Filter Air Purifier?

The best charcoal filters are highly specific to your needs. Regarding Charcoal filters, we highly recommend the top-selling following: 

  1. Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier with True HEPAOpens in a new tab.
  2. LEVOIT Air Purifiers for Bedroom HomeOpens in a new tab.
  3. Westinghouse 1702 HEPA Air PurifierOpens in a new tab.
  4. VEVA 8000 Black Air Purifier for Home, Pets Hair, DanderOpens in a new tab.
  5. Germ Guardian Air Purifier for Homes with PetsOpens in a new tab.
  6. InvisiClean Aura II Air Purifier for Home Allergies & PetsOpens in a new tab.
  7. Bissell air400 Professional Air Purifier with HEPA and Carbon FilterOpens in a new tab.
  8. InvisiClean Claro Air PurifierOpens in a new tab.
  9. Germ Guardian AC5109W 6-in-1 Hi-PerformanceOpens in a new tab.
  10. Hamilton Beach TrueAir Air Purifier with Permanent HEPA FilterOpens in a new tab.

This Charcoal Filter Air Purifier model featuresOpens in a new tab. five performance stages, from the lowest to the highest sound level. The charcoal filter at the top of the performance stage hums when running at low noise levels.


Activated carbon filters remove most indoor and outdoor indoor and outdoor pollutants, including the most volatile organic compounds. They also remove other substances that cause indoor and outdoor odor. As a result, the air purifier with the highest performance among all available options is the best choiceOpens in a new tab. for indoor and outdoor use. These filters are easily found at homeOpens in a new tab. improvement, outdoor furniture, and room décor stores.


Charles is a freelance writer whose areas of expertise include home renovation, gardening, and design. A graduate with a degree in Digital Marketing and Business Management. Charles is currently a freelance writer. Charles is always typing away on his laptop or tackling his newest home improvement project. He likes to spend quality time with his family, riding, and working out at the gym.

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