Activated Charcoal vs Regular Air Filters: Which is Better?

Activated carbon has unique characteristics that make it an ideal choice for eliminating volatile organic compounds (VOCs), odors, and other airborne pollutants that other air purifiers, such as HEPA, cannot. This is why it is often referred to as a carbon air filter, although the terms are often used interchangeably. But what sets a carbon air filter apart from a regular air filter?A traditional air filter works by trapping particles as the air passes through the medium, usually made of fiberglass. On the other hand, activated carbon is what sets the carbon air filter apart from a typical filter.

Test data showed that activated carbon filters effectively removed VOC gases compared to a fan alone. When I published the instructions on how to build your own purifier, I wasn't comfortable recommending activated charcoal because I hadn't tried it and I didn't want to just trust what the big filter companies say. However, it must be used in conjunction with another air filter, such as a HEPA air filter, for the purifier to remove microorganisms and related contaminants.

Carbon Air Filters vs Traditional Air Filters: A Comprehensive Q&A

Below, we break down carbon air filters and traditional air filters in a comprehensive Q&A, so you know the main differences between the two and what type of air filter is best for your home.
  • What is the difference between a carbon air filter and a traditional air filter?
    The primary distinction between a carbon air filter and a traditional air filter is the medium used to trap particles. A traditional air filter uses fiberglass while an activated carbon filter uses valence electrons to block odors and vapors at the molecular level.
  • What are the advantages of using an activated carbon filter?
    Activated carbon filters have a much larger surface area than traditional filters, allowing them to trap and store more foreign compounds in the indoor air supply. They also bond at the molecular level with aromas, vapors, and gases to prevent them from passing through air ducts.
  • Where can I buy an activated carbon filter?
    Carbon air filters are available online through manufacturers like Filterbuy.
  • Do I need to use an activated carbon filter with another type of filter?

    It's not uncommon for air purifiers to have what's called a 3-stage purification system with a traditional air filter, a carbon air filter, and a HEPA filter.

When it comes to improving indoor air quality, there is nothing better than being in an area where the air is comfortable and free of irritations. Activated charcoal has special properties that make it an ideal choice for removing VOCs, odors, and other gaseous pollutants from the air. However, it must be used in conjunction with another type of filter for optimal results.

Leave a Comment

Required fields are marked *