Commercial Air Scrubbers

Air Scrubber
Commercial Air Scrubber

Commercial air scrubbers, sometimes referred to as air wash units or commercial air purifiers, are standalone machines that remove particulates from indoor environments through the process of filtration.

They are effective at removing a variety of contaminants from the air including bacteria, gasses, mold, odors, smoke and volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.

Air scrubbers are often called portable air scrubbers (PAS) as most units are made to be moved around on job sites. Most can be moved by a single person but may require a second to lift them off the ground.

Pollutants Air Scrubbers Remove

Many small, even imperceptibly sized pollutants can be removed including:

  • Airborne toxins
  • Bacteria
  • Chemical odors
  • Dust and dust mites
  • Fungi
  • Mold spores
  • Pet dander and hair
  • Plant spores
  • Tobacco smoke smell
  • Wood smoke smell
  • Viruses
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs

Best Commercial Air Scrubbers for 2019

Commercial air scrubbers are generally employed when a larger scale job is at hand. Regardless, their multiple levels of filtration can trap a variety of pollutants that include:


Industrial-grade air scrubbers are used for a variety of industries and functions including:


Units are often found on constructions site whether for new builds or for remodeling projects. They are used to remove dirt, carpet fibers, allergen spores and VOCs or other chemicals from the site.


Medical research centers, clinics and hospitals use air scrubbers to limit the circulation of airborne pathogens, protecting medical and clinical staff as well and patients alike.


Remodeling jobs have the same requirements as construction jobs but with added environmental complexities. Notable differences include the use of harmful chemicals as well as the presence of lead, asbestos or mold spores, all of which require removal.

Disaster Restoration and Mold Remediation

Restoration and remediation projects are places you’d expect to find industrial air scrubbers. In cases of water damage they are routinely used to purify air while protesting against other airborne contaminants including gases and sewage-born bacteria. Remediation jobs generally require protection against lead, asbestos and mold spores.

How Air Scrubbers Work

Air scrubbers work by passing air through a series of filters to remove whatever pollutants the filters can catch. Most all units have multiple filters, each trapping a different size of particulate. While not a steadfast rule, the greater the number of filters the higher the capture efficiency.

Air Scrubber Diagram
Air is introduced then passes through three levels of filtration before being exhausted.

Once the air has passed through the filters it is either removed from the environment entirely (such as exhausting it outdoors) or reintroduced.

Air Scrubbers vs. Negative Air Machines

The term negative air machine is often incorrectly used interchangeably with air scrubber. While they share many similarities, there are differences. All air scrubbers are negative air machines as they both operate on the principle of negative air. Both also employ filters to remove impurities in the air.

As far as differences go, negative air machines are generally larger and not as feature rich. Their size and weight makes them suitable for very large jobs where the unit is intended to be stationary most of the time. As moving the unit can require several workers, their often employed on jobs where there is a larger staff present.

Air scrubbers, in contrast, are usually smaller in scale and specifically designed with portability in mind. As mentioned above they are often referred to as portable air scrubbers (PAS) as this portability is all but a given in their design. Portable air scrubbers are desirable, especially for smaller crews, as they can be maneuvered by a single person, including moving them up or down stairs, and often even lifting them into a vehicle.