Air Purifiers Vs. Indoor Plants: Are Plants Able To Outperform Modern Technology?

Since artificial air purifiers have existed, there has been an argument between them and air purifying plants. In other words, we’ve had a “BATTLE” of air purifiers vs. indoor plants. There are debates in favor of artificial air purifiers, and there are some in favor of indoor plants. Both sides have some legit arguments for support and against one another. This article illustrates how both of these work and what keeps the upper hand in the real world. It will also help you generate an opinion of your own! So, without any further ado, let’s get right into it!

What Are Artificial Air Purifiers?

Artificial air purifiers are those devices/appliances which help clean the air by removing contaminants. It helps improve the air quality of any indoor area so you can have cleaner breathing air. These are best for people who have asthma or any other allergies, and also to “cut” passive smoking for those who don’t smoke but live/work with someone who does.

What Are Air Purifying Plants?

Air purifying plants have a similar function as artificial air purifiers. These, too, help clean the air by removing toxins and making it cleaner to breathe. Contrasting to the artificial ones, these work by natural process and have minimal artificial involvement. So, people who are more inclined towards nature prefer these indoor plants over air purifiers.

How Do These Work?

As you might already know, both air purifiers have different mechanisms through which they work and clean the air. So, let us now see how both of these remove toxins from the air.

Artificial Air Purifiers

So first up, we have artificial air purifiers. The air purifiers work in four different ways: using a HEPA filter, UV filtering, Activated carbon filter, and Ionic generation. But how do they work?

1. HEPA Filter

Air purifiers that use HEPA filters have these dense filters inside the purifying appliances, which help remove over 99% of toxins down to 0.3 microns that go through the filter. These particles include dust, pet dander, pollen, mold, etc. Make sure you get the one labeled as “True HEPA,” as it is the best one!

2. UV Filtering

As the name suggests, UV filtering air purifiers use non-lethal UV radiation to cut bacteria and viruses from the air. It breaks down these bacteria and viruses that pass through the machine down to the molecular level without adverse effects on your health.

3. Activated Carbon Filter

Air purifiers that use activated carbon filters cut Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and other air odors. It purifies the air by removing odors such as cigarette smoke, pet smell, cooking, and vapors from chemicals, cleaning agents, etc.

4. Ionic Generation

Air purifiers that use ionic generation help remove contaminants from the air by attaching ions to them. Once they connect, these contaminants fall due to the excessive weight as they can not float anymore. All you need to do is use a vacuum cleaner at the end to get completely rid of them.

Air Purifying Plants

Next up, we have air-purifying plants. So the first thing you need to know (if you don’t already know as it is 2nd-grade science) is that these indoor plants absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air and give out oxygen (O2). This process is known as photosynthesis, and plants use water and sunlight to carry it out.

Scientific Backing!

So this was the basic science that you must already be familiar with. But, carbon dioxide is not the only thing that plants absorb from the air. According to a NASA study, plants are also responsible for purifying the air by removing Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) such as formaldehyde, benzene, and acetone. Hence, some plants are useful for purifying the air and removing toxins, so humans have cleaner air to breathe.

Natural Filters

These air purifying plants themselves are filters and don’t need anything more than sunlight and water to clean the air. Unlike artificial air purifiers, plants don’t absorb solid substances such as dust, pet dander, allergens, etc. These only lie down on the surface of the plant or the soil surrounding it.

As you might already know, there are hundreds of thousands of different plant species worldwide. Most of them share the same properties but also have their specialties. Some plants are useful for cleaning and purifying the indoor air. Thankfully, we also have a list of the best air-purifying houseplants!

How Many Do You Need?

As far as artificial air purifiers are concerned, you can get one in many sizes. This means that the area that it will cover would vary according to its size. It can range anywhere from 100 square feet to around 400-500 square feet.

According to the same study by NASA, you need roughly one plant for 100 square feet of space. I said around as the study stated that you need 15-18 plants for an 1800 square feet house. Also, the size of the plant is an essential factor!

What Is Better?

As mentioned earlier, the debate goes on and on, which is a better option between the battle between air purifiers vs. indoor plants. For some, air purifying plants are the better choice, whereas some prefer artificial ones. So, to help you decide, here are some pros and cons of each of them.

The Pros Of Plants

  • Plants look decorative in a house.
  • They increase the humidity in the house.
  • They produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide from the air.
  • Plants are also much more affordable as compared to artificial air purifiers.


  • These plants filter the air at a slower rate.
  • Not suitable for those who have pollen allergies.
  • Plants are harder to maintain as they need attention.

The Pros Of Artificial Air Purifiers

  • They cover a wider area.
  • These purify the air at a faster rate.
  • They are effective against allergies.
  • These are effective against some toxins.


  • They do not produce oxygen!
  • Those things produce harmful ozone.
  • They use energy, which adds to the cost.
  • These are much more expensive than plants.

What Should You Choose?

Because you now know some of the pros and cons of each, it’s up to you to decide what is best for you. If you still are indecisive, here is a short guide!

Artificial Air Purifiers Are Better For You If:

  • You have asthma or allergies.
  • Don’t have a lot of room available for plants.
  • Can’t commit yourself to taking care of plants.
  • Have no problem with mechanical air filtration.
  • Want to remove the largest amount of toxins from the air.

Air Purifying Plants Are Better For You If:

  • You prefer green living.
  • Have high amounts of VOCs.
  • Want “fancy” natural air purification.
  • You prefer the aesthetic look of a plant and have enough room.
  • Don’t have any problems with maintaining and taking care of the plants.

Do You Need An Air Purifier?

If our article got you thinking that you will need an air purifier, we have a couple of great options for you to choose from. And by the way, we want to be honest and mention that the links you see below are affiliate links, which means that we might receive a small commission if you buy something through the links below.

  1. Coway AirmegaOUR TOP PICK!
  2. TaoTronics air purifier
  3. Another TaoTronics purifier

Final Words

Now that you have all the necessary details about air purifiers vs. indoor plants, what do you think holds the upper hand? For me, nature will always have the upper hand, and the way plants enhance the place’s beauty is impressive. But, everyone has their way of interpreting and understanding things! Anyway, I hope this article answered all your questions, and by now, you know the best option for yourself!

Featured image credit – © sodawhiskey –

Leave a Comment