Clean-smelling air is much more than a matter of comfort. Unpleasant odors, whether they originate from animals, cigarette smoke, food or moisture, signify the presence of allergens such as bacteria, mold, dander and volatile organic compounds. There are many types of air cleaners, including the growing-in-popularity air ionizer.
Air ionizers create negative ions to combat foul smells. These ions attach to odor-causing contaminants, making the particles heavier. Depending on the design of the ionizer, the particles either fall onto the closest surfaces where they stay until you clean them, or they are pulled into the ionizer via a fan where they accumulate on a ceramic plate.
Selecting an air ionizer isn’t easy, especially when manufacturers don’t always advertise the negative ion count. The models in our review section highlight some of the best air ionizers available.
We also added a buying guide that describes the various kinds of air ionizers, operating tips and maintenance considerations.
Our Recommended Air Ionizers in 2023
4) Ivation Ozone Generator Air Purifier Ionizer
The 300B model by Ivation is a two-in-one appliance that includes ozone generation and air ionization technology, giving you the power of two air cleaners to use simultaneously or separately. The air ionizer does an excellent job of removing bacteria and dust while the ozone generator gets rid of smoke, pet and mildew-related odors.
At 12 pounds, the Ivation 300B is easy to move to any location of your choice. The cube-like ozone generator/air ionizer measures 12.5 by 11 by 15 inches, so it doesn’t take up much room on a dresser, end table or coffee table. Stainless-steel components promise durability while the cherry wood housing makes a handsome statement.
Despite its small size, the Ivation 300B offers widespread coverage. The 18-watt air ionizer can spread negative ions up to 3,500 square feet, and the generator produces a maximum of 360 milligrams of ozone per hour. Since it comes with a power adapter that you can unplug, the cord is less likely to get damaged in storage.
This ionizer is an electrostatic precipitator model, which means it collects particles in a collection plate. Made of ceramic, the plate slides into the rear of the unit, and it’s easy to remove and clean. Placement options are rather open, but you’ll need to put it at least 4 feet off the ground and 3 inches from the wall.
You’ll also appreciate the user-friendly mechanical controls. One knob slows and speeds the 10-level anion fan while the other one adjusts the ozone output in 10-level increments. Two indicator lights lie between the knobs – a red light for the ozone generator and a green light for the ionizer.
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3) Ivation 5-in-1 HEPA Air Purifier & Ozone Generator, Ionizer & Deodorizer
There’s a lot of technology packed into the glossy cherry wood housing of the Ivation 5-in-1 air cleaner. A negative ion producer collects allergens such as dust and dander from the air. This appliance also has a generator that converts oxygen to ozone, neutralizing unpleasant odors.
In addition to the air ionizer and the ozone generator, the Ivation 5-in-1 contains three types of sizeable filters. There’s a HEPA filter that traps 99.97 percent of allergens down to 0.3 microns and an activated carbon filter that adsorbs odors. It also has a photocatalytic filter, which works in conjunction with an ultraviolet light to annihilate germs.
The 3,700 square feet this Ivation air cleaner can clean makes for an impressive coverage area. The 54-watt fan circulates the room’s air at a rate of 150 cubic feet per minute, distributing 106 parts per million of negative ions and anywhere from 50 to 750 milligrams of ozone per hour.
Piecemeal components make for easy maintenance. The front grille and ceramic collection plate can be cleaned with water and soap, and the ionizing needle and fan blades can be dry dusted. Both the particle plate and two ozone plates fit into rear slots, and you only need to replace the HEPA filter once a year.
A set of four inverted legs keep the 17-pound multi-feature air ionizer from wobbling. A pair of control knobs allow you to change the ozone and negative ion output as well as the fan speed. Ivation even designed the appliance to run the ionizer and ozone generator at the same time when you need an air-cleaning boost.
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2) Airthereal Commercial Ozone Generator (MA5000)
This appliance is an ozone machine instead of an air ionizer, but its ability to get rid of foul odors makes it a lifesaver for pet owners and property managers. The Airthereal MA500 generates 500 milligrams of ozone per hour to oxidize and destroy contaminants in the air, and it has a pre-filter to prevent performance degradation.
At only 3.5 pounds, the MA500 is a breeze to transport. It’s equipped with a raised tote handle made of hard plastic and four stabilizing feet. Dimensions of 6.8 by 7.4 by 6.8 inches gives you plenty of placement options, and the detachable power cord measures 63 inches.
With a 50-watt motor running the show, the fan quietly moves the air at a rate of 100 cubic feet per minute. The ozone machine works great in spaces as large as 1,000 square feet. It only takes 1 hour for the machine to distribute O3 particles in a 500-square-foot room and 15 minutes in a 200-square-foot room.
You can get 5,000 hours’ worth of service life from this ozone generator if you maintain it, which doesn’t involve much. Simply clean the pre-filter twice per year and replace the 1-amp fuse when needed (Airthereal includes a spare). To rinse the ozone plates, just remove the four panel screws and pull them out of the box.
You can set the timer for as long as 120 minutes or run the machine indefinitely by putting it on the “hold” position. A red indicator illuminates when the machine is in operation. Since you can only run an ozone generator without people or pets in the room, Airthereal throws in a no-entry doorknob sign.
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1) Enerzen Ozone Generator
As far as ozone generators go, there aren’t very many models that can give the Enerzen Ozone Generator a run for its money. This simple yet super-effective device emits up to 6,000 mg of ozone per hour. It features a larger fan than most comparable ozone generators, allowing it to distribute deodorizing molecules farther and into all corners of a 1,250-square-foot room.
This device measures just 7 x 8 x 6.5 inches, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a spot for the device to sit. It doesn’t have any wheels, but seeing as it weighs just 5 pounds, it doesn’t need casters to move around.
Using the Enerzen ozone generator couldn’t be easier. Simply set up the timer—up to 3 hours—and let it run until the timer expires. After that, open up any windows and doors to the room for 30 minutes to let excess O3 out. If you notice any lingering odors, which you most likely won’t with this bad boy, just turn the timer back and give it another run.
In terms of performance, users can expect the Enerzen to remove the foulest odors in offices, homes, apartments, and even smaller warehouses. Some customers noticed immediate effects after letting this ozone generator run for just one 180-minute cycle. This is hardly surprising, seeing as how the unit produces a consistent 80-CFM flow rate without overheating.
But what takes most customers by surprise is how incredibly affordable this ozone generator is. This device costs much less than the cost of replacement parts for other name-brand ozone generators. The only thing you’ll need to keep an eye out for is the ozone plate after several thousand hours of usage.
One of the only things you’ll have to complain about the Enerzen is that its power cord is pretty short. At just 5 feet long, finding a spot for your ozone generator can be a bit troublesome. There’s also no way to mount this device without installing hook screws that can lift this 5-pound machine.
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Air Ionizer Buying Guide
If you are concerned about the cleanliness of the air in your home, an air ionizer can help. Air ionizers create negative ions, which attach to microscopic airborne particles, removing them from the air you breathe. They also prevent damage to sensitive, expensive electronic equipment.
Some air ionizers are solo appliances that produce only negative ions. Others are built into air purifiers or ozone machines. Many ionizers last 5 years or longer. Air ionizers require minimal maintenance, and there aren’t many safety precautions you need to take.
To help you learn more about the benefits of air ionizers, we created this buyer’s guide. In the guide, you’ll also learn about the different ways that these appliances release negative ions, facts about ozone output and how to maximize the performance of your air ionizer.
Types of Air Ionizers
You can find air ionizers as singular ion-generating units or built into an air purifier. Some even have an optional ozone generator. However, depending on the particle-charging method, air ionizers fall into one of two categories – ion generators and electrostatic precipitators.
Ion generators and electrostatic precipitators do share some similarities. They both help clean the air via negative ions, or anions, which attach to the positive ions, or cations, of contaminants, making them bigger and heavier.
With an ion generator, the particles that were once suspended in the air fall onto nearby surfaces, so you can vacuum or wipe them away. Electrostatic precipitators are equipped with a fan and a collection plate. The fan draws in the particles where they accumulate onto the plate. Air ionizers in an air purifier also filter particles.
Ionizers are not maintenance-free appliances. While the maintenance for any unit isn’t extensive, some ionizers require more preventive care than others. Those placed within air purifiers have a filter, which must be cleaned or replaced according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
After a period of regular use, you may notice that the air ionizer’s outlet is covered in dust. Wipe off the outlet to keep the air ionizer operating at peak performance. If the ionizer has a collection plate, the same guideline applies – wipe off the plate with a clean cloth as needed.
Air Ionizer Lifespan
To create negative ions, most air ionizers utilize the scientific method of corona discharge. The ionizer focuses an electrostatic field around a sharp needle, which is contained inside the appliance. Then, the ionizer pushes out the anions and spreads them throughout the air.
For some models, the needle must be cleaned every once in a while. Even with regular cleanings, the needle eventually wears out due to repeated electrostatic charges and discharges. Ionizing needles last about 5 years, and their lifespan directly correlates to that of the air ionizer itself.
When the needle no longer works as it should, the ionizer won’t produce as many anions as it once did. Furthermore, the ionizer may release ozone into the air. Therefore, running an air ionizer with a degraded needle is not recommended.
Best Uses for an Air Ionizer
Air ionizers are able to remove many airborne contaminants from the air, particularly those that are too small for standard air purifiers alone to capture. These particles include bacteria, viruses, cigarette toxins and smog. Some research suggests that ionization can combat insomnia, seasonal affective disorder and high blood pressure.
Besides the health benefits, air ionizers are also great to use in cleanrooms and rooms that contain sensitive electronic equipment. Static charge and particle contamination can damage electronics. However, when an ionizer releases anions into the air, the negative ions neutralize the particles that cause static charge.
Measuring the Negative Ion Output
Measuring the volume of negative ions is an impossible task for the average user because ions are neither visible to the eye nor have an odor. Although there is no set standard, logic dictates that the more negative ions an air ionizer generates, the better the ionizer works.
Some air ionizers have a function that allows you to test the appliance to find out if it’s working properly. Other ionizers have indicator lights that illuminate when negative ions are released. If these features are absent on the air ionizer you want to buy, look at the coverage area, which is measured in particles per square/cubic feet/meters.
How to Get the Most Out of an Air Ionizer
As you know, keeping up with your air ionizer’s maintenance needs will help ensure you get the optimum performance from it. Also important is the direction of the outlet/outlets. Chances are you won’t always be standing in a straight path from the ionizer; therefore, you want to adjust the outlets (if possible) to evenly distribute the anions.
If you have cats or dogs, you’ll need to give your air ionizer extra attention. The dander and hair that your pets shed can overburden an ionizer. If it has a filter, check it more often than the manufacturer recommends.
Be aware of the relative humidity and temperature of the room. Humidity and temperature swings and excessive ranges can hinder the anion discharging of the air ionizer, particularly a high humidity and temperature. Ideally, you should use an air ionizer that’s designated for use in high and low temperatures.
Overall, air ionizers are safe. Those that use corona discharge have high-voltage circuits, so make sure the ionizer you choose keeps the components securely contained. Also, refrain from plugging the air ionizer into an extension cord; otherwise, you’ll put yourself at risk of electrocution.
Sometimes, you may hear your air ionizer make a noise that sounds like crackling or popping. Although we put this piece of info in the “safety measures” category, these noises are no cause for alarm. They’re simply caused by ion buildup that occurs when dust particles temporarily stop the negative ion output.
Do Air Ionizers Get Rid of Dust?
The whole purpose of an ionizer is to clean the air. When it comes to dust, air ionizers do remove these particles either by collecting them on a plate or dropping them onto surfaces. Still, don’t pack away your duster.
Ion generators leave dust on your floors and furniture, which means you have to dust or vacuum these surfaces. Even if you go the electrostatic precipitator route, standalone air ionizers usually don’t have a strong enough fan to circulate all the air in a room four times in an hour, which is the frequency necessary for a dust-free environment.
For those who are sensitive to dust, we advise getting an air ionizer that’s built into an air purifier. These appliances let you run the ionizer and the purifier simultaneously, so you can get the maximum air-cleaning benefit. Just make sure that the purifier/ionizer has a HEPA filter, which is efficient at capturing allergens like dust.
Do Air Ionizers Produce Ozone?
While 90% of ozone, or O3, is found in the Earth’s stratosphere, most of the other 10% lies a mere 6 miles from the Earth’s surface. You can even find trace amounts of up to 0.04 parts per million emitted from some household appliances and into the air you breathe.
Ionizers that use corona discharge also release ozone into the air. The volume of ozone byproduct generated varies by model and condition of the ionizer. At low levels, ozone has a faint chlorine-type smell.
Air ionizers certified by the California Air Resources Board, or CARB, produce ozone at a rate of no higher than 0.05 parts per million. However, if you choose to use an air ionizer with a high ozone output, make sure you run it without any people or animals in the room.
Are Air Ionizers Safe for Those Who Have Asthma?
The ozone byproduct is the only potential health concern asthma sufferers should have. However, minuscule amounts of ozone are not harmful to your health. Both the Food and Drug Administration as well as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommend that people steer clear of ozone that exceeds 0.1 parts per million.
If you have asthma, stick with an air ionizer that only generates ozone at a rate of 0.05 parts per million, which is the rate deemed safe by the Centers for Disease Control. Otherwise, you may risk irritating your lungs and throat. Air ionizers contained within a HEPA purifier are the most beneficial for asthma sufferers.
Air Ionizers: Recap
Alone, an ionizer makes the air you breathe healthier. When used in conjunction with an air purifier, an ionizer becomes an excellent air-cleaning supplement. There are even air ionizer/ozone generator combos for heavy-duty tasks. Some ionization machines collect allergens in a ceramic plate while others break the particles’ suspension in the air.
Even though air ionizers that use the corona discharge method do release a minute amount of ozone, they are generally safe to use as long as they don’t exceed 0.1 parts per million. However, those who have asthma should only use air ionizers with a 0.5-parts-per-million anion-dispersion rate.
No matter your reason for using an air ionizer, make sure to look at the stated coverage area. Also, dust regularly and control the humidity and temperature to get the best results. If you’re looking for a low-maintenance appliance that cleans the air, gets rid of odors and neutralizes static electricity, an air ionizer is the right choice.
If you have any questions or comments, please add them below in the comment section. Similarly, please let us know if you spot any mistakes or omissions. Thanks!
Last Update: 2023-12-02 | Affiliate links/Images from Amazon Product Advertising API