Chances are you’ve heard about negative ion generators – The miracle machines that promise better health and a cleaner air quality with just the push of a button. Have you ever wondered how they work or what benefits they actually have to offer? We’ve compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions and answered them, so you can see that negative ion generators actually live up to the hype.
How Does a Negative Ion Generator Work?
Simply put, a negative ion generator is a small appliance that is designed to electrically charge the air molecules it collects, which is known as corona discharge. In turn, these molecules become anions, or negative ions, which the generator releases into the air.
These negative ions are naturally attracted to harmful particles in the air. When the anions attach to said particles, the particles become too heavy to stay suspended in the air, eliminating the risk of inhalation.
What More Can You Tell Me About Corona Discharge?
Corona discharge is the go-to method of anion generation. Inside of a negative ion generator, there are metal pins. When the generator is in operation, a high level of voltage is sent through the pins, causing negative ions to accumulate and shoot through the air.
Manufacturers may use either alternating or direct current to spark corona discharge. With AC current, one ion emitter to make negative and positive ions. The benefit of utilizing an AC current for corona discharge is that it’s less wearing on the ionizer’s internal parts.
Negative ion generators that use DC current have two independent power supplies – one creates positive ions while the other makes negative ions. The advantage of DC power over its AC counterpart is that DC power runs at a lower current.
Is an Ionizer Different From a Negative Ion Generator?
This question has an easy answer. No, there is no difference between an ionizer and a negative ion generator; the terms are interchangeable. Negative ion generators are also referred to as anion generators.
Where Do the Dirty Particles Go?
It depends on the type of negative ion generator. These appliances come in two forms. There are some that have a collection plate and others that don’t. Those that are equipped with a collection plate are called electrostatic precipitators.
With an electrostatic precipitator, the airborne particles that are attached to anion are drawn into the appliance and rest in the collection plate. However, plateless negative ion generators actually release the negative ions they create into the air. These ion-attached particles fall from the air, landing on the floor and other surfaces, but they can easily be removed with a quick wipe-down or vacuum.
What Are Atoms and Molecules?
For many of us, science class was eons ago. Who can remember the meaning of terms like atoms, molecules, electrons, and protons? Here’s a quick refresher. All objects and people are made of atoms – They determine the structure of a liquid, gas or solid. Molecules are simply multiple atoms that are connected.
What Are Electrons, Neutrons, and Protons?
Every atom consists of neutrons, protons, and electrons, which are particles that are small enough to fit within an atom. Neutrons don’t have an electric charge of any kind. Protons have a positive charge while electrons have a negative charge.
What Are Ions?
Ions are a special type of atom. Normally, atoms are balanced, meaning they contain the same number of electrons and protons. However, when an atom loses or gains electrons, that neutral atom becomes an ion, which means it has an electric charge.
What are Positive Ions?
When an atom loses an electron, it becomes a positive ion. Exposure to an abundance of positive ions can cause health problems, particularly respiratory illnesses and immune disorders. Some of the most common negative health effects include lethargy, anxiety, depression, and asthma.
How Are Positive Ions Made?
Often, positive ions are created in the moments before a lightning storm; however, dust, humidity, and strong winds are other contributors. There are also man-made causes, such as pollution, HVAC systems, electronics and fluorescent lights. Household items like hair dryers, upholstery and carpeting can even generate positive ions.
What Are Negative Ions?
The definition of a negative ion is the opposite of a positive ion. Negative ions are formed when an atom gains an electron. Likewise, negative ions’ health effects are also different than that of positive ions. Negative ion exposure is particularly helpful for those who need respiratory relief or a mood lift.
How Are Negative Ions Made?
Outdoors, negative ions are heavily concentrated in areas such as waterfalls, beaches, and even woods, and they are an after-effect of lightning storms. People have found a way to create negative ions via artificial means with ionization technology.
Whether man-made or artificial, their formation comes down to friction, which causes static electricity. For instance, at a waterfall site, water sprays into the air. The sprays of water in the air lead to friction, which forms negative ions.
What Is Ozone?
When three oxygen molecules bond, they create O3, which is known as ozone. There are two ways that ozone forms – ultraviolet light and electrical discharges.
How Does Ozone Differ From Negative Ions?
As opposed to three oxygen molecules, negative ions only consist of two molecules of oxygen. That’s it. Just one oxygen molecule. While ozone is great at reducing odors, negative ions are able to lower the number of particulate matter in the air, such as bacteria, dust, and pollen.
Can Negative Ion Generators Help With Odors At All?
Even though ozone machines are more effective at odor elimination, negative ion generators can still help reduce bad smells in the air. Odors like those from cigarette smoke and mildew are caused by particulate matter. Since negative ions attach themselves to particulates, ionizers are able to help rid the air of these unpleasant smells. Usually, it takes a full day and night of constant ionizer use for odors to disappear.
What Else Can Ozone Do?
Even the strongest odors dissipate when the air is treated by an ozone machine, which is the reason some apartment buildings run an ozone machine to clean residences in between tenants. Ozone also sterilizes water. In fact, a number of water treatment plants in urban areas opt for ozone instead of chlorine for water disinfection.
Is Ozone Safe?
The safety of ozone exposure depends on how much ozone is in the air. OSHA, or Occupational Health and Safety Administration, guidelines state that a safe workplace should have no more than 0.3 parts per million of ozone in the air.
Therefore, an excess of ozone in the air is not conducive to good health. This is the reason that the government puts strict guidelines on hydrocarbon emissions from automobiles and factories. Straight ozone machines put out more than OSHA’s recommended limit, which is why people only run these machines when nobody is present in the room.
Do Negative Ion Generators Release Ozone?
Negative ion generators that don’t have an integrated ozone machine produce barely any ozone. The scant amount of ozone that a negative ion generator makes falls under OSHA’s maximum parts per million recommendation. This ozone originates from the ionizer’s metal pins. Due to its instability, that ozone becomes ineffective when it spreads several inches away from the pins.
How Can a Negative Ion Generator Benefit Me?
Negative ion generators can make a world of difference in the state of your respiratory health. If you suffer from allergies or hay fever, a negative ion generator takes common culprits out of the air, including mold, pollen, bacteria, and dust. This is also helpful for those who have asthma, allowing them to breathe easier.
There are other benefits to using a negative ion generator that doesn’t involve the lungs. Several studies indicate that negative ion generators help alleviate seasonal affective disorder. Air ionizers can also lower your blood pressure and bolster your immune system.
Can’t I Just Use an Air Purifier Instead of a Negative Ion Generator?
The end benefit of both an air purifier and a negative ion generator – cleaner air. However, negative ion generators offer certain operational benefits that are unique to these appliances when compared to air purifiers.
Negative ion generators don’t rely on filters to remove particulate matter from the air. This means you don’t have to worry about changing the filters or experiencing reduced performance when the filters are dirty. Plus, to get rid of allergens and odors, you need two types of filters; ionizers can handle both tasks without any filters.
Why Bother Using an Ionizer – I Live in a Rural Area?
When you think of air pollution, your mind automatically conjures images of big cities, smog and industrial plants, not farmland and rolling hills. Surprisingly, rural areas are full of air pollution that stems from the commercial pesticides used on large-scale farms and the dust that’s kicked up from the dirt and gravel roads that are common in the country.
I Have Two Dogs. Will They Be Safe Around a Negative Ion Generator?
As with humans, negative ion generators pose no risk to animals. Of course, some pets may view these appliances as a toy. If there are cats or dogs in your house, make sure to keep your ionizer where they can’t reach it. Usually, a place off the ground is a suitable place for a negative ion generator.
Is It Safe to Run an Ionizer Around Children?
Whether your child is 10 months old or 10 years old, you don’t have to worry about their safety around a negative ion generator. Ionizers have minute ozone emissions, and they are handy to have around when your children are sick. If your child is an infant or toddler, place the negative ion generator where he or she cannot grab it.
Will a Negative Ion Generator Damage a Computer?
There is no danger involved in using a negative ion generator in the same room where you keep expensive electronics like laptops and televisions. To err on the side of caution, run the generator 12 inches or further from any electronic equipment. At most, you will notice that your computer needs to be dusted more often.
Why Is My House Dustier?
The purpose of a negative ion generator is to take contaminants like dust out of the air. Even generators with a collection plate don’t gather all the particles; some still land on surfaces.
Since a single negative ion generator cannot circulate all the air in an entire house, and it fights against the HVAC system, there is bound to be dust on surfaces. The sight of extra dust is a positive sign. This means the negative ion generator is making the air you breathe cleaner.
Luckily, dust is easy to remove from tables, bookshelves and other furniture. If you feel it necessary, you can also run an air purifier alongside your negative ion generator to reduce the number of dust particles on the surfaces around your home.
Why Have I Noticed More Static Electricity Since I’ve Used an Ionizer?
As you may recall, negative ions are formed when an atom gains an electron. This electron is transferred from one atom to another. It’s the electron exchange that causes friction and leads to one atom becoming a positive ion with the atom next to it becoming a negative ion. When two substances move away from one another, static electricity is the result.
Since ionizers create negative ions, it’s only natural that the room will build up with more static electricity. Therefore, you may feel a slight zap when you touch a surface. However, static electricity is not a danger to you or your pets.
Why Is the Wall Behind My Ionizer Dirty?
Don’t be alarmed by the darkened area on the wall behind your negative ion generator. This area actually consists of dust particles, and many people call it “black wall.”
As you know, anions cause airborne contaminants to drop out of the air due to the extra weight once ionic compounds are formed. These contaminants end up landing on the nearest surface. Since the wall next to the ionizer is in such close proximity to the appliance, it sees the highest concentration of dust.
Luckily, it’s easy to get rid of black wall. You can use wet melamine foam or a damp rag to wipe off the dust. To reduce the concentration of dust on the wall, you have to be careful where you place your negative ion generator.
What’s the Ideal Placement for a Negative Ion Generator?
To glean the most benefit from your negative ion generator, you must be careful where and how you place it. Keep your ionizer on an elevated surface such as bedside table or a countertop.
However, a bookshelf is not the best place to put your negative ion generator because the dust collected by the generator will cling to the shelves. For similar reasons, the ionizer shouldn’t be put too close to other objects. Doing so not only leads to heavy dust accumulation but also impeded airflow.
Also, make sure the front of the negative ion generator is facing outward toward the rest of the room. You want as many negative ions as possible to make their way around the room, and they won’t be able to fill the room if the generator is faced toward a wall. If you opt to sleep with an ionizer running, put the appliance 2 to 3 feet away from your head.
Can I Keep My Window Open?
When you’re stuck inside on a temperate spring or autumn day, nothing feels quite as refreshing as fresh air flowing through your house. Plus, relying on outdoor air to ventilate your house is a great way to save on electricity costs.
However, when you’re using an air cleaning product like a negative ion generator, opening your windows is not the best idea. If you open the windows in the room where your ionizer is running, the ionizer cannot match the demands of such a high amount of airflow no matter how powerful it is.
Additionally, the ionizer will have to work harder, raising your electricity bills. While you can open your windows and simultaneously use a negative ion generator, you won’t be getting the maximum benefit from the generator. If you want to enjoy some fresh air, alternate between getting fresh air and running the ionizer.
Do I Need to Turn Off My Ionizer When I Leave My House?
You can certainly shut off your negative ion generator when you head out to work or run errands. If you plan to be gone for only 1 or 2 hours, turning it off shouldn’t present a problem. On the other hand, when you’ll be away for a full workday or longer, you should turn on the ionizer as soon as you get home and allow it to run for approximately 1 hour before spending any time in that room. That will clear the room of any airborne particles.
Should I Use My Negative Ion Generator Nonstop?
In one word, yes. When an ionizer is running 24 hours per day, dust and pollen don’t stay in the air longer. If you turn off the negative ion generator periodically, more particles accumulate in the air, leading to poor air quality.
Will an Ionizer Increase My Electricity Bill?
Of course, any electrical appliance is going to have an effect on your power bill. As far as negative ion generators are concerned, the increase on a home’s electricity usage is so slight that you won’t notice a difference, especially if your ionizer is a travel-size model. Mini negative ion generators consume a mere fraction of what a standard 60-watt indoor light bulb consumes per kilowatt hour.
How Do I Gauge a Negative Ion Generator’s Efficiency?
There are two factors that play a role in the efficiency of any negative ion generator. The first factor is the generator’s output, which is determined by measuring the volume of negative ions released into the air per second or per minute. Manufacturers use a specialized negative ion counter to find this measurement.
The second factor involves the distance that the ionizer can push out negative ions. This calculation is provided in either square feet or square meters. The further away you are from the ionizer, the fewer negative ions there are in the air.
Together, the volume and the distance give you a full picture of the negative ion generator’s efficiency. While the distance differs from one ionizer to the next, the average air ionizer emits 10 million anions per second. However, some ionizers boast an emission rate of twice that number.
My Negative Ion Generator Is Super Quiet. How Do I Know If It’s Working?
Sure. You can buy a negative ion meter to determine if your ionizer is actually emitting anions. However, there is a cost-free alternative – yourself. Start by turning off all noise-making objects in the room, including televisions and fans. Then, put your ear to the ionizer and listen for a quiet whisper-like noise. You will probably feel a slight airflow coming from the generator too.
Does an Ionizer Need a Lot of Maintenance?
Who has time for a high-maintenance appliance? Nobody. With all the responsibilities that take away from your free time, you’ll be happy to know that a negative ion generator is one of the most low-maintenance appliances you can own.
To keep your ionizer clean and running smoothly, unplug it and wipe down the exterior with a damp cloth. Then, use a can of compressed air to blow out dust from the fan. Alternatively, you can scrub the ionizer’s fan blades with an electrostatic discharge brush. All in all, the process takes no more than 5 minutes.
Are There Negative Ion Generators That I Can Use When I Travel?
If you commute long distances to work or do a lot of traveling, you’re in luck. There are negative ion generators that are small enough to sit on a cluttered desk or put in a car. Travel-size ionizers weigh less than 1 pound, and they are ultra-compact. These appliances also come with a USB cable so that you can power them with a car adapter or with a laptop port.
The IonPacific ionbox Negative Ion Generator: A Hot Buy
Always on the go? You can breathe clean air whether you’re sitting in the office, hanging out in your hotel room or idling in traffic with the ionbox by IonPacific. This negative ion generator is perfectly sized for travel, yet it outperforms many full-size models in terms of noise and anion output. Bonus – It’s powerful enough to clean the air in an average size room.
You’ll love how easy this ionizer is to operate, and it barely draws electricity, which is great news for your wallet. IonPacific independently tests every ionbox to ensure it’s safe and functioning properly. Plus, the company throws in two drawstring bags for convenient transport.
Since IonPacific was kind enough to send an ionbox our way for review, our tester here at HouseholdMe put IonPacific’s ionbox through its paces. To quote her, “The ionbox is a delightfully streamlined negative ion generator.” From its high level of performance to its compact size, there are many user-friendly features on the ionbox that you’ll love.
A True Powerhouse
Run of the mill negative ion generators put out around 10 million negative ions in a second, but not the ionbox. This beast of an ionizer releases double that at 20 million anions every second it’s running, proving it can stand up to the big boys on the market.
How does this extra-high negative ion volume benefit you? There will be an abundance of anions in the air to combat pollutants like allergens, bacteria, cigarette smoke, dander, pet odors, mold and more.
To deliver 20 million anions, IonPacific put a small but sturdy fan in the ionbox. The fan is so strong that it’s able to send those negative ions from one end of a 500-square-foot room to another. Of course, you’d think that a fan that powerful would be overpoweringly loud, but that’s not the case. Our lead tester measured the ionizer’s sound level with a decibel meter. The results? A mere 39 decibels, which is akin to a whisper.
A Low-Wattage Leader
Versatility is obviously what IonPacific was going for when the company designed the ionbox negative ion generator. Whether you’re traveling across the United States or to the other side of the pond, you can use the power supply that comes with this ionizer thanks to its 110/220 voltage. Feel free to run the ionbox around the clock because it only uses 1.5 watts of electricity per kilowatt hour.
In addition to the dual-voltage USB wall adapter, there is a USB cable in the box. Normally, a super-short USB cable is par for the course with a travel-size appliance. Once again, IonPacific does it better than its competitors by providing you with a 3.6-inch cable.
When our tester removed the ionization unit from the box, she noticed a thoughtful detail. On the back of the ionbox, there is a USB port. This port is deeply recessed into the appliance, which will decrease the likelihood of you accidentally breaking or bending the power pins in the USB cable’s shield.
A User-Friendly Appliance
IonPacific kept the negative ion generator’s functionality streamlined for a hassle-free experience. There is one button to control the power to the ionizer. That’s it. There are no other buttons or switches. It doesn’t get easier than that.
When the ionbox is running, an indicator lets you know all is well with the ionizer. This indicator is a small, blue light that’s built smack dab into the word ionbox, which is a nice touch to the anion generator’s overall design.
Maintaining the air ionizer is just as easy as operating it. There are no filters with which to contend, which eliminates the costs associated with maintenance, and the time it takes to clean the unit. Periodically, give the anion generator’s housing a quick wipe down and brush the fan blades with the included electrostatic discharge brush.
A Featherlight Dream
The ionbox is built for extreme portability right down to its almost air-like weight of 4.8 ounces. The white, glossy negative ion generator is even small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, measuring 4 inches wide, 3.5 inches tall and 1.5 inches deep. Therefore, it won’t hog a ton of space in your already over-packed suitcase.
Speaking of your suitcase, you don’t have to worry about fishing for the ionizer once you arrive at your destination. The awesome people at IonPacific threw in two cream-colored velveteen drawstring bags for storage. The small one holds the USB cable and the power adapter while the large one is meant for the anion generator and the electrostatic discharge brush.
A Trustworthy Appliance
Safety is essential, and IonPacific took extreme care to make sure this negative ion generator meet every regulated safety guideline imaginable. The ionbox is compliant with the health and safety requirements of the European Commission and the Underwriters Laboratories. Plus, it meets the standards set by the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive.
IonPacific is also big on quality. Every ionizer this U.S.-based company builds is individually tested by IonPacific at an in-house lab, so it knows each appliance is pushing out 20 million negative ions without producing an iota of ozone. To round out its list of safety and stability features, the negative ion generator is equipped with three non-skid feet and an integrated stand.
Your New Travel Companion
It’s easy to see why the ionbox is the preferred negative ion generator of frequent travelers. The ionizer weighs less than one-half pound, and it’s incredibly tiny. Its dual-voltage USB wall adapter allows you to power the unit in multiple countries without the need for an extra converter. Plus, it comes with two luxurious travel bags.
Whether you use it in a third-row SUV or a hotel suite, you can count on the ionbox to send a double-dose of anions throughout the entire space. Although electricity usage is not a concern when you’re traveling, you’ll be pleased with how little electricity the ionizer draws, so feel free to run it nonstop when you’re at home.
The long USB cable lets you place the ionbox wherever you want. Since the controls consist of one power button, there is no learning curve involved with operating the ionizer. Thanks to IonPacific’s rigorous testing, safety is never a concern. With this ionizer running in the background, you’ll sleep better at hotels, feel more relaxed during traffic jams and stave off allergy attacks. The IonPacific ionbox – A must-have, must-try, must-buy negative ion generator.
Before You Buy
Really, you can’t go wrong with the ionbox. However, if you want to do some comparison shopping before you buy this negative ion generator, here are the most important features you should examine.
Anion and Ozone Production
The entire purpose of an ionizer is to produce negative ions. The more negative ions it can make, the faster the air gets cleaned. Shoot for the highest anion production rate your money can buy. Conversely, the ionizer should have a low or no-ozone output.
Coverage and Sound
Travel-size negative ion generators are predominately meant for close-range use, and they perform well in an enclosed automobile and on a nightstand while you sleep next to it. If you plan to bring it along on vacations, the ionizer needs to have an adequate room capacity. Keep in mind the average hotel room size in the United States measures at about 175 square feet.
Usability and Transport
A fussy, bulky appliance is the last thing you want to deal on your hourly commute or cross-country trip. Opt for a lightweight model with simple controls. Steer clear of battery-operated ionizers – That’s just an extra expense and hassle you don’t need. Instead, go for a USB-powered one, so you have multiple power-supply options. While not crucial, a travel box or bag is a nice convenience, and it prevents you from losing any parts.
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Negative Ion Generator Infographic
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Last Update: 2023-12-04 | Affiliate links/Images from Amazon Product Advertising API