How Does a Carbon Filter Work in Air Purifiers

How Does a Carbon Filter Work in Air Purifiers?

Airborne particles not only damage the air quality at home, but they can also stink it up. Dealing with this issue can be troublesome. However, a carbon filter air purifier would be an ideal device to solve this problem. But how does this type of filter actually work?

Learn more about that in this article. Get a deeper and clearer understanding of what a carbon filter is. Most importantly, find out how it filters air to ensure good air quality and eliminate strong odors.


What Is a Carbon Filter?

It’s a filter designed to remove odors, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and chemicals from the air. You can also refer to it as an activated carbon or charcoal filter. This filter type consists of layers of treated carbon. This makes the filters porous and gives them a larger surface area than other filter types.

This design allows them to achieve their objectives efficiently and effectively, such as:

  • Removing unpleasant odors
  • Improving indoor air quality
  • Removing smoke and chemical fumes
  • Provide long-lasting filters for purifiers


How Does a Carbon Filter Air Purifier Work?

The whole process works through adsorption. Take note that this is entirely different from absorption. For example, water absorption means that the water fills the spaces inside a material, like a sponge. On the other hand, adsorption means that the substance sticks to the outside surface only.

As air passes through the filter, the particles come in contact with the filter’s porous carbon. This traps the gases and chemicals, especially those that produce foul odors. Plus, with the extra surface area of these filters, more contaminants can be trapped. After this, the ‘cleaned’ and odorless air will be recirculated back into the room.


Extra Points to Remember About Carbon Filters

To get the best results with carbon filters and to determine whether they’re the right type to use for your needs, here are some key points and tips to remember:

  • They work best with HEPA filters

Air purifiers always use carbon filters with HEPA filters. This is so they can remove all microorganisms and contaminants in the air, not just the odors and gases. So, don’t expect a purifier that only uses a carbon filter.

  • They need to be changed regularly

Since these filters have porous structures that trap molecules, the filters can become ‘full.’ This is when the entire surface area of the filter is covered with gas molecules already and can’t trap any more.

Because of this, expect to spend on replacements from time to time. One good indication that it’s time to change the filter is when there are still foul odors in the air despite the purifier operating.



Carbon filters in air purifiers make these devices more efficient. Carbon filters can remove harmful airborne particles, VOCs, and foul odors from the air. If you struggle with bad odor at home, getting a purifier with this type of filter is the best option. You can visit our carbon filter air purifier collection for the best units!