What is an Activated Carbon Filter in an Air Purifier? Everything You Need to Know

what is an activated carbon filter in an air purifier

An activated carbon filter is a device containing activated carbon to absorb unwanted pollutants and odors in the surrounding area.

Activated carbon filters are filtration media used to remove gases, odors, and VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) from the air.

Activated carbon is made of highly porous, powdered coal or limestone, which has been treated with activated charcoal to absorb impurities and toxic substances.

What is An Activated Carbon Filter in An Air Purifier?

Activated carbon is a material that absorbs odors, gases, vapors, acids, oils, and greases. It also helps to neutralize fumes such as formaldehyde (commonly used in adhesives) from plastics.

Activated carbon can be found in many household products, including deodorants, stain removers, and cleaning supplies.

Air purifiers with activated carbon filters may offer more protection against gaseous chemicals than other types of air purifiers because there is less chance for the chemical to build up inside the filter over time.

Benefits of an Activated Carbon Filter


The activated carbon filter is the most important part of an air purifier device. The adsorption process can remove contaminants to improve indoor air quality, which are odors, bacteria, chemicals, smoke particles, and other harmful pollutants at the molecular level.

There are many benefits of using an activated carbon filter in an air purifier device:

  • The activated carbon filter effectively removes harmful chemicals like benzene or formaldehyde that may cause cancer or other diseases to people.
  • It can avoid direct contact between the pollutants and the metal-oxide adsorbent to be safe for human beings.
  • It has a long service time if it is not used for a long time.
  • The activated carbon filter can be used in combination with other types of filtration, such as ionizing, photocatalytic, and UV light, to provide you with better overall filtration performance.

Which is Better, HEPA Filter or Carbon Filter?

hepa vs carbon filter

In the world of air purifiers, there are two main types of filters: HEPA and carbon. HEPA filters are designed to capture airborne particles, such as dust and pet dander.

HEPA stands for “high-efficiency particulate air.” It means that the filter captures a high percentage of particles in the air.

The HEPA filter is ideal for someone with allergies or multiple pets. It can be used as an allergy-free vacuum cleaner in addition to being an air purifier.

The carbon filter is designed to remove odors and gases from the air, such as smoke, cooking smells, or pet odors. The carbon particles in the filter attract these smells and gases, which can then be easily removed from the air.

Usually, carbon filters are not recommended for people with allergies or asthma. If you have multiple pets, a HEPA filter is a better choice.

Common FAQs About Activated Carbon Filter

Is Activated Carbon Filter Safe?

Yes, an activated carbon filter is safe as long as the activated carbon filter has been made of nontoxic components. Furthermore, it can avoid direct contact with people and prevent them from inhaling hazardous chemicals.

Do Carbon Filters Remove Viruses?

No, generally activated carbon filters don’t remove viruses from the air. Viruses are smaller than 0.004 microns, which is smaller than the diameter of activated carbon pores that are primarily at about 0.1 microns.

Thus, some air purifiers with activated carbon filters might include an additional filter to remove viruses to improve indoor air quality more efficiently.

Are Activated Carbon Filters Washable?

In general, the activated carbon filter needs to be replaced when the device shows many error messages or when the air purifier’s working capacity decreases after a specific time of usage.

However, it is recommended that wash the activated carbon filter in some cases when they are heavily contaminated.

Is a Carbon Filter Necessary for An Air Purifier?

The carbon filter is not necessary for an air purifier. Some air purifiers use a carbon filter as the primary filter, while some use it as a secondary filter after the HEPA filter to remove bad smells.

The carbon filter is made of activated charcoal, which can adsorb odors and gases in the air. So, if you are facing bad smells, it is necessary to use an air purifier with an activated carbon filter.

How Long Do Carbon Filters last in Air Purifiers? 

A carbon filter can last anywhere from three months to one year, depending on the type of air purifier and frequency of usage.


In conclusion, activated carbon filters are used in air purifiers because they have high adsorption properties. They are mainly used to remove odors and impurities from the air. Activated carbon filters are also used to filter out dust, pollen, smoke, chemicals, and other particles from the air.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *