How Does an Air Ionizer Work?

There’s nothing like breathing fresh, clean air on a hike, bike ride, or even on a walk in the city. It’s refreshing, invigorating, and makes us feel good inside. There’s nothing like breathing fresh, clean air inside your home. Unfortunately, it can be hard (and nearly impossible) to get the same fresh air in your home. Even with the best filter on the market for your HVAC unit, you still will not get the same clean air as you’d get on a hike (or even on a walk in the city). 

There is one way you can get fresh air in your home (and it’s not by opening a window). It’s called an air ionizer. 

In this blog post, we will go over what an air ionizer is, as well as answer your question: “How does an air ionizer work?” Keep reading to learn more about air ionizers and how you can breathe fresh clean air in your home!

Before we discuss what an air ionizer is, let’s talk about the basics: negative ions—since negative ions are what air ionizers produce to help purify the air of your home. 

Negative Ions: The Science Behind Air Ionizers

Around us, every single day, are positive ions. But don’t let the name fool you. You may be thinking, “Positive, that’s a good thing, right?” The answer is “No. No, it’s not.” Positive ions can actually have negative effects on you. 

Positive ions can produce negative effects on your body, including: 

  • Produce fatigue 
  • Enhance bad moods
  • Increase the rate of hypertension

Overall, positive ions can have negative effects on your body and health. They don’t sound very positive, do they?

The problem with positive ions is that they’re everywhere. This is because positive ions can be generated from our everyday household products. 

Negative ions on the other hand are the good ions. They can be found in nature. When you go to the beach or the mountains and you feel that sense of euphoria, this feeling is partly due to the negative ions in the air. 

What are ions, exactly? They are molecules that carry a positive or negative charge. Negative ions have a negative charge; positive ions have a positive charge. Negative ions are created by the sun’s radiation or the movement of air or water in natural environments. These particles are created when a particle essentially loses its positive charge. This means that negative ions are particles that have extra electrons, the negative element of an atom. 

Many negative ions can be found by the ocean. This is due to the  “Lennard Effect” which explains how negative ions can occur near a body of water or at the beach. The Lennard Effect is when water molecules collide and how this collision produces a positive charge in the water; the surrounding area around the water then naturally becomes negative (since opposites attract).

Negative ions are not as prevalent in cities, or communities where a lot of people live—and that’s unfortunate. Because negative ions can offer you so many health benefits, including: 

  • Improve sleep
  • Decrease irritability
  • Encourage relaxation
  • Help clear the air of allergens
  • Potentially relieve depression symptoms 

Now that we know a little more about negative ions, we can talk about air ionizers. 

What’s an Air Ionizer? 

Soap bubbles in the air

An air ionizer essentially attempts to create the conditions to generate negative ions. An air ionizer will use electricity to create negative ions and then push them into your apartment or home. These units can be standalone or part of an air purifier, heater, swamp cooler, or air circulator. 

Simply put: an air ionizer will produce and distribute ions to aid in the purification and filtration of air in your indoor environment. The truth is, many traditional air filtration systems cannot truly clean the air of bad particulates such as allergens that could affect you or your loved ones and cause allergies. 

Ionizers can help purify the air and remove pollutants such as mold, pollen, dust, viruses (yes, viruses) and pet dander, as well as smoke and odors. Unlike other air purifiers, ionic purifiers can also give you additional, mood-enhancing benefits such as:

  • Warding off fatigue
  • Increasing positive moods
  • Enhance the flow of oxygen to the brain

It can also do the following for your home, apartment, or office: 

  • Reduce static electricity
  • Decrease airborne contaminants in the air

Since we know a little more about air ionizers, let’s answer your question: “How does an air ionizer work?”

How Does an Air Ionizer Work?

As we said, air ionizers use electricity to create negative ions. These units essentially electrify the air around the ionizer, forcing molecules to drop contaminants from the air. These contaminants can either be caught within the ionizing unit or distributed around the unit. The ionizer itself will produce and distribute negative ions into the room; which help pull those particles out of the air. 

Traditionally, there are 2 kinds of ionic air purification systems. Air ionizers can either have a fan or can have no fan at all. The air ionizer with a fan helps circulate the area around the room. These fanned units are traditionally noisy (because of the whir of the fan). The fanless air ionizers are not as noisy as their counterparts and use less electricity. Because there is no fan, these types of air ionizers circulate air more slowly through the room. Due to this, the air takes more time to purify.

Because of the high infection rate of many hospitals in the United Kingdom, the National Health Service (or NHS, as it is more popularly known) decided to research how effective negative ions (or air ionizers) were at purifying the air and removing dangerous pollutants from the air. The hope was to find a way to decrease the infection rate and distribution of infections by eliminating the toxins in the air before they could spread to a new host. The research concluded; the results were in—negative ions (or air ionizers) decreased the infection rate; it went down to 0. 

Another study conducted in 2018 found that negative ions were effective at removing particulates in the air; validating the results of the NHS study. In Japan, SARS helped spark the introduction of ionizers into the market and at stores throughout the country. 

Air ionizers are also used in many places where static electricity could hinder production; places such as electrical component developers and clean rooms. Since air ionizers reduce static electricity, these have become a must for companies that develop machinery and technology.  

Other Generators of Negative Ions

HealthyLine’s TAO-Mat® Full 7224 Firm - PEMF InfraMat Pro®

Source: HealthyLine

There are other ways you can receive the positive benefits of negative ions. From negative ion bracelets to gemstone heat therapy mats—here are a few of the ways you can receive negative ions, improve your mood, and get rid of some pesky allergens. 

Negative Ion Bracelets 

Negative Ion bracelets are designed to help improve energy, promote balance, and even aid in the reduction of joint and muscle pain. However, an important thing to note before you purchase a negative ion bracelet is that negative ion bracelets can produce radiation. The effect of this radiation on the body is negligible and should not negate the positive effects of wearing a negative ion bracelet; however, it is an important thing to note since you will likely be wearing the bracelet all the time. The amount of radiation produced is said to be 3 times the average exposure amount of a human (since many of us are exposed to radiation every day from electronics). 

Gemstone Heat Therapy

Since negative ions are naturally occurring, you can receive them using a gemstone heat therapy device. Some of the most common gemstone heat therapy devices use tourmaline, which is a gemstone that produces the most negative ions. When using a gemstone heat therapy device, the heat helps release the negative ions, giving you the mood-enhancing benefits of negative ions. 


Now that you have an answer to your question: “How does an air ionizer work?” you can now decide whether or not you want to introduce the positive benefits of negative ions into your life. Remember, air ionizers and negative ions offer a lot of health and wellness benefits including:

  • Relieve chronic depression 
  • Reduce the symptoms of fatigue
  • Increase the flow of oxygen to the brain
  • Reduce airborne contaminants in the air

Using an air ionizer will help you clean the air in your home or at your office, all while allowing you to take in fresh air like you’re on a hike, at the beach, or on a nice, revitalizing walk.

There are tons of air ionizers out there. It’s time to find the one that can give you the health benefits you deserve. Time to allow yourself the positive feelings of negative ions every day without having to travel up a mountain.