What Are the Disadvantages of Using an Activated Carbon Air Filter?

When it comes to air filtration, activated carbon filters are one of the most popular options available. They are highly effective in eliminating odors, dust, and other airborne particles from the air. However, there are some potential drawbacks to using an activated carbon filter that should be taken into consideration.

1. Costly

Activated carbon filters can be quite pricey. Depending on the size and type of filter, it can cost hundreds of dollars to purchase one. This makes them much more expensive than other types of air filters such as fiberglass or pleated filters. Additionally, they need to be replaced more often than other types of air filters, which adds up in terms of cost.

2. Limited Efficiency

While activated carbon air filters are effective in removing odors and airborne particles from the air, they are not as efficient as some other types of air filters. For instance, HEPA filters can remove up to 99.97% of airborne particles from the atmosphere, while activated carbon ones can only remove up to 95%. This means that if you have a very dusty or smoky environment, then an activated carbon filter may not provide you with enough purification.

3. Inadequate for Allergens

Although activated carbon air filters do a good job at getting rid of odors and dust from the atmosphere, they are not as effective when it comes to allergens such as pollen and mold spores. So, if you suffer from allergies, then this type may not be your best choice.

4. Potential Health Risks

Some studies have found that using an activated carbon filter can potentially increase certain health risks. For example, some studies have found that using an activated carbon filter can increase the risk for asthma and other respiratory illnesses in children. Additionally, some studies have found that using an activated carbon filter can increase the risk for lung cancer in adults.

5. Can Produce Ozone

When used with an ozone generator, activated carbon air filters can produce ozone gas, which is toxic and has been linked with eye irritation, headaches, chest pain, and other issues. Therefore, if you plan on using this type with an ozone generator, make sure you use it in a well-ventilated area.


Activated Carbon Air Filters offer great benefits when it comes to eliminating odors and dust, but there are also potential drawbacks such as their high cost, limited efficiency against allergens, or even health risks associated with their use. Therefore, it is important to consider all these factors before deciding whether or not this type is right for your needs.