The guys at Blue Air wanted us to try out one of their air filters. Living just adjacent to one of the most polluted parts of London, we thought we would take them up on their offer…
What is it?
A lightweight indoor air filter with a minimalist, futuristic design. It’s said to have specific filters for everything from virii, to odours, to tobacco smoke, pet allergens (i.e. dander) and dust mites. It’s produced by Sweden’s Blueair, who describe themselves as ‘the leading provider of best-in-class air purification solutions’.
Using my business jargon bullshit translator™*, I have determined that this means ‘they make good air purifiers’. This copywriting is redeemed by their slogan that ‘Breathing clean air is a human right’, which appears to be their mission statement, and a bloody good cause.
It is designed for rooms up to 15 m² (161 ft²) and claims to clean your indoor air completely, five times per hour.
How much does it cost?
Where is it available?
Various places, including John Lewis, direct from the manufacturer, eBay…
People dwelling/working in the more polluted parts of the world (cities in the developed world count too): How do you define that? I suppose that is down to you. There appears to be some nasty stuff in the air, and this unit will catch at least some of it.
Health conscious folks: If you’re the kind of person that has plants in your house to oxygenate it, then a filter like this could be a logical addition. Unlike your plants, it won’t die if you don’t expose it to water and sunlight. That said, it obviously does not make oxygen and will never flower for you.
People with compromised immune systems (possibly): The unit claims that it can help reduce virii in the air. I am obviously not a microbiologist so I’m not so sure about this.
Early adopters and ‘techie’ people: It looks the kind of thing you’d expect to find in Rick Deckard’s apartment, and is aesthetic in a futuristic way.
In a Word:
Aesthetic: The minimalist design is very contemporary and I think it looks DELICIOUS (though my tastes are not your tastes). You can even change the look by switching out its interchangeable sleeve
Does what it says it does: It definitely traps nasty black stuff from the air – just take a look at the filter after a few weeks of use. Better in there that inside you, right? The question, of course, is how much of that stuff would be inside of you, if it were not trapped in the filter? And, how much of the stuff that gets into you does the filter missed? And probably most importantly, how much this filtered stuff harms you, if at all (not something I can answer)
Blueair claims that the device can capture “virtually every airborne particle: pollen, dust, pet dander, mould spores, allergens, viruses and bacteria – and 99% of all PM2.5 particles.”. It also claims to be able to remove smoke, odours, gases and VOCs. How can we test their claim? I am not sure.
Convenient: Filter replacement is pretty simple, you just twist and remove it. I suppose the possible inconvenience in this step may be in finding a replacement. As far as I am aware, you can’t simply switch out one filter, wash it, then replace it. Mine’s getting a bit grotty.
Unobtrusive: Unless you set the unit to ‘3’ power, it is not noisy. It sits in the corner of the room, set on ‘1’ power for most of the day. Most of the time I don’t even remember that is there. The lowest power mode is near silent and we have left it on overnight more times than I can count.
Reliable: After near constant, low level use for half a year, it shows no signs whatsoever of breaking or even slowing down.
It’s another thing that will cost you electricity: But, lacking a device that measures such things, I don’t know how much electricity it consumes, exactly. They claim that it uses 1,5 watts (an hour?) which is half of a small LED light.
High power setting is mostly unusable as it is very loud: But it feels helpful for those rare times when you have a bunch of crap in the air (i.e. you just disturbed some wood shavings).
The light can make overnight use difficult: You can’t toggle the light on the top of it without turning it off, so if you want to leave it on at night, and you want a dark room, you need to cover the top somewhat. This, however, affects airflow.
Not sure it filters everything: Just because you see the black grimness captured on the filter, doesn’t mean that other black grimness hasn’t made its way into your body. But you can assume that at least some of it has been intercepted.
The filter has to be replaced every 6 months or so: Joy, another thing that costs money and resources. Replacement inner filters cost about £20. Replacement outer filters (‘pre filters’) cost about £10.
Circular shape: Whilst aesthetic is not the best use of space, if you want to put it into a corner, or beside other things, for example.
Pricey: It’s a £100 plus investment, and, as mentioned, the air filters need to replaced on the regular…
It managed to trap a significant amount of grim black substances, some of which, presumably, are caught in there instead of our lungs. looking at the stuff that built up on the filter during our time living in central London, I am glad that we had this thing. The jury is still out now that we have moved the unit to relatively suburban Croydon, as it will need more months to detect a build up, I think.
My partner is convinced that she can feel it moving the air currents in the room and also found a use for the high power settings – namely drying her nail polish at rapid speed.
Did I feel any noticeable difference? No, even if I did I would be careful not to attribute that to the placebo affect, so obvious a problem when introducing something like this.
That said, you could see it as insurance and for additional peace of mind, if you are particularly concerned about air quality. You could use it alongside oxygenating plants. I’ve not tried any other commercial air filters and can’t tell you how it compares to other options in the market.
*not really a TM