What is the electrostatic air cleaner, and how it works?

Air filters are very popular in homes, they keep air in the room clean and help people with allergies and other respiratory problems. All types of air purifiers are good at the job, but some of them are doing that job much better than the others. Today on the market you can find many HEPA filter air purifiers, and these are the most popular air purifiers at this moment.

Before air purifiers with HEPA filters were introduced to the world, electrostatic air cleaners were most popular devices for keeping the fresh air in the room. Big companies, offices with lots of employment, stores, all of them were using electrostatic air cleaner to provide a dust free environment to the employers and customers.

The technology behind the electrostatic air purifier is very different than the technology behind the most famous HEPA filter air purifiers. Electrostatic air cleaners have some advantages as well as some not so good disadvantages. But still, if you use them in a proper way these devices can be a really good solution for filtering the air.

What Is The Electrostatic Air Cleaner, And How It Works

Which technology to use will all depend on your needs and what is your primary goal. If you want to remove as much as possible airborne particles then without a doubt you should buy an air purifier with HEPA filter. But if you are looking for a device that will with little maintenance cost keep the air in the room on the proper levels, remove most of the dust and dander then maybe electrostatic air cleaner is the better choice and as well a cheaper alternative than expensive air purifier with HEPA filter.

The main concern about the electrostatic air cleaner is the ozone emission. Static electricity may create ozone, and air purifiers with static electricity are not the only devices that emit ozone. Even TV in a living room may emit ozone. Because of that some of the air cleaners based on static electricity are emitting low levels of ozone.

The ozone in the living room is not welcome. Ozone is harmful and in high dosages can even be lethal. Because of that keep an eye on the ozone levels that these air purifiers emit. Get the one with zero ozone generation. By the law, every air cleaner should have a statement of how many ozone is emitted.

How does an electrostatic air filter work?

Electrostatic air filters do not have replaceable air filters. This feature is fantastic for all people who don’t wish to bother with the maintenance of the filters, as well as spending every year more money on buying new filters. And if the air in the room is extremely dirty the filters may need replacement even sooner.

Electrostatic air filter uses static electricity to trap airborne particles. Static electricity charges particles and the particles then get stuck on the sides of the air purifiers filtration system.

In other words, the electrostatic air purifier will suck the air inside air purifying system and in this process will send static electricity which will make particles heavier by making them positively or negatively charged. Airborne particles will no longer be airborne and will stick to the walls of the air purification system because the layer inside air purifier will attract opposite charges and hold them on the layer. The best electrostatic air purifiers are the ones that have many layers of different charge. These air filtration systems will more efficiently trap airborne particles. After this process, the air purifier will release fresh air free from unwanted particles.

But after some time the layers that hold dirty particles need to be cleaned because if you don’t clean the electrostatic air cleaner regularly the oppositely charged layers will not attract airborne particles, and the air filtration system will not work correctly. That is the reason why many people complain that the air purifier is not working. And the problem is not in the air purifier; the problem is that these people did not regularly clean their air purifier. If you don’t clean the layers, the layers will no longer attract positive or negative particles because there is no positive or negative layer to attract them. After the cleaning, the air cleaner will work just like it is new. You should clean your air cleaner every month. The more you clean it, the better it will work.

How do you clean an electrostatic air filter?

You can clean an electrostatic air filter in two different ways.

Clean Electrostatic Air Cleaner by Using Vacuum Cleaner

This method is the simplest, fastest and cheapest method of cleaning an electrostatic air filter. You just use a vacuum cleaner and suck all the dirt from the air cleaner. You don’t even need to separate anything. If there is lots of dirt, then it is best you remove the filter from the air cleaner and suck it thoroughly. If you use vacuum cleaner once per month then most probably you will not require any other methods of cleaning.

Clean Electrostatic Air Cleaner by Using Water Hose

This method is required if the dirt is so deep that vacuum cleaner cant sucks it. Then the device will need to be flushed with a water hose. Make sure you are flushing the water in a different direction than the air filter is sucking air because that way the dirt will not get deeper. If only flushing with water is not helping, then you should get yourself a rag and wipe the filter thoroughly. That will make sure that all areas are clean and that the device is ready for maximum performance.

HEPA vs. Electrostatic Air Purifiers

Air purifiers that use HEPA filters are without doubt better choice than electrostatic air cleaners. There are many reasons for this statement, but the main reason is that the HEPA filter has more power at removing airborne particles than the electrostatic filter.

Most air purifiers with HEPA filter are capable of removing over 99% of all airborne particles. They can remove all the particles larger than 0.03 microns. This means that people who have asthma, or have any kind of allergies better choose air purifier with HEPA filter, because the electrostatic air cleaners do not have the power to remove allergens like pollen, mold spores, and other minuscule airborne particles.

One of the advantages of the electrostatic air cleaner is that it will last for decades. You will not need to spend a dime once you buy it. It has washable air filters, and you will never need to buy a new filter. This feature will save you money and the problem of replacing them. Some of the air purifiers with replaceable filters have a complex system and replacing an air filter is not an easy job and most of the time will require up to an hour to replace it.

The second advantage is the price. Air cleaners based on electrostatic air filter are extremely affordable. Everyone can afford one.

And I also need to mention few disadvantages. Cleaning an electrostatic air filter may be difficult as well. Sucking the dust with a vacuum cleaner may not be enough, and then you will also need to spend additional time to separate filter and clean it with water.

Ozone as already mentioned is another problem that everyone who is buying an air purifier needs to be aware. If you are buying air cleaner with the electrostatic filter, you need to ask or see on the label how much ozone it emits. Some of the states even abandon devices that emit a significant amount of ozone.

Because of all that I can only recommend air purifiers with HEPA filters. From the start, you will pay the extra money, and you will need to replace HEPA filter every year, but in return, you will get much cleaner air. Also, the concern about the ozone is eliminated, because HEPA filters don’t emit any toxins including ozone.


Electrostatic air cleaners are good choice for an industry place where the air is heavily polluted and dust is spread all over the air. In this situations having an affordable electrostatic air cleaner will have tremendous benefits. It will not remove all the minuscule particles, but the ones that are creating the major problem to peoples lungs will be removed. And in large industrial rooms, emitted ozone is spread fast, and the levels of ozone will not go above-recommended level.

For home use or the places with a small room where the air is not so polluted an air purifier with HEPA filter is better choice. When the air is not heavily contaminated with large particles the HEPA filters will last longer, and because of that, there is no need for an electrostatic air cleaner. Also for smaller rooms like homes, HEPA filter is also better choice because air purifier with HEPA filter works better and emits zero ozone. Better be safe than sorry. Because of that choose HEPA filter over electrostatic air filter.


  1. Christine October 21, 2023 Reply
  2. Lestov April 12, 2023 Reply

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