Frequently asked questions about our negative ion generatorsand negative ions

Negative ions for air purification and more - by Comtech Research.

Frequently Asked Questions about our negative ionizers

What is the difference between the negative ionizer models?

Where is the best place to put a negative ion generator?

How does a negative ion generator produce negative ions?

How long will the negative ion emitters on the ionizers last?

What's the difference between a negative ion generator and an ionizer?

What's the difference between negative ions and ozone?

Will your negative ion generators get rid of odors?

How do you test your negative ion generators?

Do you have negative ion detectors?
How do I tell if it is working without a negative ion detector?

Do your negative ionizers also put out positive ions?

Where can I find more info about negative ions?

How do your ionizers compare to "Brand X" ionizers?

But how can your ionizers be good ones at these low prices?

Are your ionizers safe to use near my computer?

What is your Return and Warranty Policies? 

Privacy guarantee

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What is the difference in the ionizer models?

Our best-selling models are the IG-133A and IG-133DG negative ion generators.

The IG-133A has a metallic surface on top that attracts fine dust, pollen, mold, etc. and improves the performance and ion output of the unit slightly. It is less susceptible to decreases in negative ion output when the room humidity is low, such as in the winter, in an air-conditioned room, or in a desert environment.

The IG-133DG has a built-in DustGrabberTM circuit connected to two dust collector surfaces that attract far more dust and pollution than the IG-133A.

To determine which negative ionizer that you need:

  • If you live in a dry environment (dry in any part of the year), we suggest that you order the IG-133A or IG-133DG negative ionizer.
  • If you have high air pollution, such as a smoker in the house, the IG-133DG is a better choice.
  • If you live in a humid environment year-round, you can order the original IG-133 negative ion generator and save $20.00.
Where is the best place to put the negative ion generator?

On the front edge of a table, nightstand, etc. about 2 - 3 feet from other objects. In a bedroom, about 3 feet from your head is the best place.

Don't place it in a bookshelf, etc. The negative ions (and some dust) will be attracted to the inside of the shelves, rather than going out into the room, where you want them.

How does a negative ion generator produce negative ions?

There's several ways to generate negative ions. However, the way we do it is apply a safe, extremely low-current, high voltage to microscopically small sharp points on the advanced ion emitter. This is known as corona discharge, and we think we've perfected that method. (It's the only way to generate a sufficient level of negative air ions to a point where they can affect our mood). Without getting into a detailed explanation and delving into electron physics, the electrons build up on the sharp points and are ejected into the air, where they attach themselves to oxygen atoms. Since the electrons have a "negative" charge, the molecules of oxygen with extra electrons become negative ions.

The voltage level and carefully engineered negative ion emitter design in our ionizers optimizes the level of negative ions in the room while eliminating unwanted ozone production.

How long will the negative ion emitters last?

We recommend trimming the eight fine wires on the standard SSE ion emitters every month or two to maintain optimum negative ion output. Since the wires are about 2.5" long as shipped, and you can trim them shorter than 1" and still have the ion output, how long they will last depends on how much you trim off. You don't need to trim off much at all; about 1/16" is what we recommend. Doing that, the SSE ion emitters should last two or three years or so. Replacement SSE emitters are $9.95.

The idea behind trimming is to keep the ends of the wires sharp (as viewed under magnification). The ends of all ion emitters wear, and as that happens, the ion output decreases.

The optional CFE emitter ($29.95) requires no trimming, and has a projected lifespan of 5 years or more.

All ion emitters simply plug in to the top of the ionizers.


What's the difference between a negative ion generator and an ionizer?

None. A negative ion generator is an ionizer. An ionizer is a negative ion generator.

However, all ionizers are certainly not equal. Our negative ionizers are long-life, high-ion-density units which put out the optimum level of negative ions, for one thing.


What's the difference between negative ions and ozone?

A lot! Negative ions are molecules of oxygen (O2) in the air with an extra electron. Ozone is O3, a molecule of oxygen consisting of three oxygen atoms instead of the normal two.

Negative ions primarily reduce particulates (such as dust, pollen, mold spores, bacteria, etc.) in the air; but they usually aren't quite as effective as ozone for eliminating odors.

Ozone does not reduce the particulates in the air, but it is effective at eliminating odors, even very strong odors.

Too much ozone is bad for you. Having said that, there are machines available that intentionally generate ozone (we can supply them if you need one), but if  the level of ozone is properly adjusted, the ozone and the odors in the air cancel each other out and little if any ozone remains.

Note that there are some machines sold as "negative ion generators", that are actually ozone generators. We do NOT do that: all of our ionizers are genuine negative ion generators.


Will your negative ion generators get rid of odors?

Our customers tell us they do indeed get rid of odors, yes. See the testimonials. While ozone is more effective for odors (ions are most effective for particulates such as dust, pollen, cat and animal dander, and other allergens), a number of people who have purchased our ionizers use them to get rid of cigar smoke, cat litter box smell, musty smells, and other odors.

If the odors come from particulates (microscopic particles) in the air, negative ions can indeed eliminate the odorous particles, and so eliminate the odors.


How do you test your negative ion generators?

We used an Alpha Labs ion counter with a digital readout. The reading at approx. one meter (39") from the emitter is 1,000,000 negative ions per cubic centimeter. These measurements are done in rooms with no fans and roughly 45% humidity. Multiple readings were done at each location and for every model to ensure accuracy.

We test the total negative ion output out of the ion emitter per second (approximately 90 to 100 trillion) using more than one method. However, these tests of the ion output is a proprietary method that we do not share with the world. Worst case, though, the ion output figures on our site are only 5% off.

We used to not publish these ions per cubic centimeter figures, because that varies greatly with the distance from the emitter, humidity, and air movement within the room. However, our ionizers do indeed emit a high and optimum level of negative ions into a room. The coverage is approximately 400 square feet (e.g. a 20' by 20' room). That's 4000 cubic feet, if you have 10' high ceilings.


Do you have ion detectors?

Yes, we can supply two types of ion detectors if you are interested; however, both are relative output units and while useful, do not have a meter readout.

1. One is a simple unit (model IDN-1); when it is held close to a high-density ionizer, the gas lamp flashes. The closer you hold it to the ion emitter, or the stronger the ion source, the faster it flashes. Normally, it is only $12.95 but it is FREE when purchased with any ionizer (see our order page).

2. The other (model IDS-2) is much more sensitive. This very sensitive air ion detector simultaneously indicates the presence of both negative and positive air ions. It can measure the relative ion intensity of negative ion generators indoors, or even detect naturally-occurring negative ions outdoors.

Other features:

  • Two separate air ion detectors in one: a negative ion detector and a positive ion detector in the same case.
  • Will detect naturally-occurring levels of negative ions outdoors, such as enhanced levels due to thunderstorms (even in the distance), or other natural sources.
  • Uses special LEDs (high-brightness light-emitting diodes) and reliable solid-state circuits for a visual indication of the presence of air ions.
  • See if your computer monitor, air purifier, etc. is generating harmful levels of positive ions. Many do.
  • See if your air purifier or "negative ion generator" really generates meaningful levels of negative ions. Most do not.
  • The relative intensity of the ion field is indicated by the brightness of the LEDs and how far away from the ionizer (or other ion source) the LED's glow.
  • This compact, hand-held ion detector is attractive, durable, very sensitive, and operates for a long time on one 9 volt battery (included).
  • Costs much less than any air ion detector or ion counter of similar sensitivity. 

Available at


How do I tell if it is working without a negative ion detector?

Although we provide a simple ion detector with every ionizer order, you really don't need an ion detector; you already possess two "detectors" that will show you that the unit is working: your eyes and ears! In the instructions, it says:

"If you almost touch the ion emitter with your ear, you may hear a very quiet hiss (if you have good hearing and there is no other sounds in the room). You might also feel a very light breeze or movement of air while you are near the tips of the ion emitter. When it is dark, turn out the lights, and after a few minutes (when your eyes become accustomed to the dark) you may be able to see a small pinpoint blue glow on the tips of the wires. The glow will intensify as you move your hand close, and disappear for a few seconds if you touch it." The glow and sound indicate that the unit is working and putting out high levels of negative ions.

A detector that measures actual ion levels in the air costs $600 or more. You can easily pay several thousand dollars for a lab-grade ion detector.


Do your negative ionizers also produce positive ions as a byproduct?

No, our ionizers certainly do not generate any positive ions. Some other brands of ionizers generate the negative ions by removing electrons from nearby oxygen atoms (thereby creating positive ions) and transferring the electrons to nearby neutral atoms to generate negative ions. However, our ionizers emit all the electrons directly from the ion emitter (instead of robbing them from other atoms). These electrons transfer to oxygen atoms in the air, creating negative ions in large quantities without also creating positive ions.

Some ionizers --even using the corona discharge method of generating ions-- that we've tested actually and intentionally produce positive ions, without telling the end user. We do not agree with that way of doing business.


More information about negative ions:

Other info is on other pages of this site. Please check the links to our other pages below.


How do your ionizers compare to "Brand X" ionizers?

We occasionally receive e-mails asking "how do your products compare to..." other ionizers made by other manufacturers. We do not consider it ethical (nor would anybody believe us!) to immediately say that, yes, ours are better than a certain brand. But the comments from people who've bought them speak for themselves. And there's already enough info on this web site that says why we believe ours are superior and longer-lasting.

We think ours will outlast any other ionizer available. That's a bold statement, but we believe it is the truth for four reasons:

1. All ionizers have an ion emitter, and all emitters wear out. But our emitters are either user-renewable (details on our site) or, for $29.95 extra, extremely long life. In any case, they are replaceable; they just plug in.

2. We've seen many ionizers that build up a coating of dirt inside that makes them stop working after a relatively short period of time. But ours are designed to have the dirt build up on the outside so it can be cleaned off easily.

3. The electronics inside the ionizer is not only a reliable design, but quality built.

4. We still have, and use, the first ionizers we've ever made. And they still work like the day we built them, even though they have been in almost continuous operation for years.

We have a 60-day trial period and five-year warranty on all our IG-133 series tabletop room ionizers (and most other products we offer).

Have you seen the false advertising yet? There are several misleading product ads or product names that imply that their 'ionizer' actually puts out a breeze consisting of a useful level of negative air ions, when that is not the case. Before you buy, read their manual, catalog, package, etc. Do they say that their product actually emits large numbers of ions externally? Our products do.
Several other 'purifier' products claim to be ionizers, but are in fact really ozone generators. Yet others do generate negative ions, but do so internally; few ions ever leave their unit and go out into the room.


But how can your ionizers be good ones at the prices you're selling them for?

People see other ionizer brands advertised, and naturally assume that the higher-priced ionizers must be better than ours. So how can our negative ion generators be really good at these low prices? Because we are the manufacturer of these ionizers, we sell them on this web site direct to the customer, and that means there's no middleman to mark up the prices.

We could mark up our ionizer prices so that people would stop asking us that, but you really wouldn't want that, would you? ;-)


Are your ionizers safe to use near my computer?

Yes. We run our negative ion generators near computers and other sensitive equipment. We have never had a problem, and are not aware of anyone who has.

We have IG-133A ionizers each with a DC-2 DustGrabber™ next to them right on top of our large monitors, neutralizing the positive ions from the monitors very effectively!

If you place your ionizer at least a foot or so away from a computer, you should be safe. However, if you touch any ion emitter to certain portions of sensitive electronic equipment, (such as the connectors on the back of your PC or cables, etc. which you would never do, right?), the potential for damage would be significant.

It is possible that if you place a negative ionizer too close to your monitor, it might get dustier than normal, because the monitor's positive charge can attract negatively charged dust.


What is your return policy and warranty?

60-Day Money-Back Satisfaction Guarantee and Five-Year Warranty. Click here to view our complete warranty and return policy assurance.


Privacy policy statement and guarantee

We do NOT share your personal information. Click here to view our complete privacy assurance policy.


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