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Note for allergy sufferers: the best humidifiers, air purifiers, climate systems tested by us

16.05.2024 11:46

With the arrival of the long-awaited spring comes allergy season, which makes you think about reducing the number of allergens in your home. We've tested a variety of HVAC appliances to help you make the right choice.

What is what: a very short educational program

An air washer is a device that works as both an air purifier and a humidifier. It humidifies the air without using heating water, steam or ultrasound, following the principle of natural humidification. Although such devices are not able to completely clean the air from the smallest particles, they perfectly humidify it and significantly reduce the amount of dust floating in the air. An air washer offers smooth humidification without leaving a white cast on furniture and can use regular tap water, although filtered water is best.

An ultrasonic humidifier, on the other hand, increases the humidity level in a room by creating a fine mist of water using ultrasound. Although an ultrasonic humidifier does not purify the air through filters, it helps to deposit dust on surfaces due to the humidity in the air, which reduces the amount of dust in the air that enters the respiratory tract. Although this review will not cover ultrasonic humidifiers as individual devices, ultrasonic humidification is used in some air purifiers.

An air purifier, on the other hand, is designed specifically to purify the air by filtering large volumes of air through high-tech filters, including HEPA, that capture over 99.95% of tiny particles such as tobacco smoke and pollen. The air purifier can be supplemented with any type of humidifier, forming a so-called climate complex.

Many modern climate control devices also have the functions of sterilizing water in the tank with a UV irradiator, ionizing and aromatizing the air.

Many modern climate control devices also have the functions of sterilizing water in the tank with a UV irradiator, ionizing and aromatizing the air.

Climate complex LifaAir LAH302

This device combines the functions of an air purifier with an H13 class HEPA filter and an air humidifier. It also has a built-in hygrometer, thermometer, air quality sensor and UV irradiator to sterilize the water in the humidifier tank, allowing you to purify and humidify the air at the same time. This complex is designed for use in rooms up to 39 m², making it an ideal choice for studios and country houses with spacious rooms.

The purified air discharge rate (CADR for particles) is 180 m³/h, and the humidification capacity is 600 ml/h in night mode and 1000 ml/h in intensive mode. The HEPA H13 filter captures up to 99.95% of suspended particles down to 2.5 microns in size. In automatic mode, the device maintains the humidity in the room at 50%, and when the «Humidifying» function is turned on — at 60%.

Our tests revealed several important aspects of the operation of this climate control system. First, we found that the UV water irradiator actually works: when activated, we noticed a significant increase in energy consumption and the appearance of a characteristic odor in the exhaust air. This device turns on as needed, for example, when water is poured into the tank or if the water level does not change for a long time. Secondly, the noise level of the device turned out to be very low: only 32 dB at minimum speed and 40 dB at average, which allows it to be installed in the bedroom. In maximum mode, the noise level is 54 dB, which is also acceptable for everyday use.

As for the quality of air purification, the results were impressive. We used a smoke generator to pollute indoor air and observed how the LifaAir LAH302 system copes with this task. PM2.5 particle levels were reduced to 50% of maximum in six minutes and to an acceptable level of 30 µg/m³ in 12 minutes. Pollution from larger PM10 particles fell even faster.

We were also pleasantly surprised by the speed and efficiency of the humidification. For ten hours of work in a room of 18 sq.m. The humidity level increased from 27% to 77.9%, while the entire volume of water in the tank was consumed during this time. The maximum humidification performance has reached 445 ml/h, which exceeds the capabilities of many ultrasonic humidifiers. It's worth noting that the device can be controlled via a smartphone, but we weren't thrilled that the app requires access to personal data such as photos and videos. Another disadvantage is the relatively high price of the device, although its efficiency justifies this cost. It is important to note that at the time of writing, replacement filter kits are readily available for purchase.

Air purifier Kitfort KT-2825

Two years ago, we tested an inexpensive and effective device that still enjoys a high sales rating and receives good reviews. It is remarkable that the purified air injection rate (CADR for particles) of Kitfort KT-2825 corresponds to the same value as that of the climate complex described above: 180 m³/h. Both devices also have a HEPA 13 fine filter installed. Interestingly, the price of Kitfort KT-2825 is about five times lower, however, this model does not have a humidifier, and it is designed for a room of 25 m², which corresponds to a large room, kitchen-living room or compact studio.

The Kitfort KT-2825 air purifier is controlled electronically, and various modes are available to the user: automatic, night and air ionization. The device is also equipped with a timer and a child lock function.

In our tests, we found the sensor to be very sensitive and the quality of air purification to be excellent. In night mode, the KT-2825 turns off the indicator lights, reduces the fan power and noise level to a minimum, which allows you to sleep in complete silence when the device operates at very low speed. The noise level at minimum speed is the same as in the climate complex described above: 32 dB.

We were also pleased that this affordable device has a HEPA filter replacement sensor that is rated for 1500 hours of operation.

Regarding the air purification process, our measurements revealed the following: at maximum performance, the air purifier reduced PM2.5 pollution levels to 50% of the maximum in just 3 minutes 31 seconds, and the air purifier dropped to an acceptable level of 30 µg/m³ in 4 minutes 41 seconds. The decline in pollution levels from larger PM10 particles was noticeably faster. After this, the cleaning process continued, and we had no questions about its quality.

Of the minuses: the device does not resume operation after a power failure, which, considering the combination of quality and price, is a trifle.

Of the minuses: the device does not resume operation after a power failure, which, considering the combination of quality and price, is a trifle.

Air purifier Genio Airclean 40

This is a model that falls into the middle or even slightly lower price segment, given its functionality, which includes an air ionization function and ultraviolet disinfection of filters.

The device is controlled through an application that requests access to the location of the smartphone (and therefore the air purifier). This allows the application to inform you about the state of the atmosphere around your home, including the level of air pollution from external sources. The level of indoor air pollution is also displayed in the application, allowing you to combine this data and get an idea of ​​the benefits of the device.

Turning on, turning off and adjusting the power level of the air purifier, as well as setting an automatic shutdown timer, are available both on the control panel and in the mobile application. However, setting a work schedule by hours and days of the week is only possible through the application. The control panel is equipped with two brightness levels; at minimum brightness, the device can act as a night light. The night mode is characterized by quiet operation, so the device is practically inaudible, but it cannot be set to turn on according to a schedule, which we consider to be a disadvantage.

The measurement results showed that at maximum performance, the device reduced PM2.5 pollution levels to 50% of the maximum in just 2 minutes 45 seconds, and the level of suspended particles dropped to an acceptable level of 30 μg/m³ in 6 minutes and 24 seconds. Larger PM10 particle pollution fell faster. After ten minutes of operation at maximum power, levels of PM2.5 and PM10 particles dropped to 0.8 and 0.5 µg/m³ respectively, while natural settling air pollution remained at extremely high levels: over 999 µg/m³ for PM2 .5 and 1782 µg/m³ for PM10.

This model is ideal for small and medium-sized spaces. However, for larger rooms, its older brother, the Genio Airclean 60, is available. It is also equipped with a humidifier and has a more advanced multi-level filtration system. It is important to note that this system includes a catalytic filter that can effectively remove formaldehyde from the air.

Air washer Boneco W400

This air washer from the famous Swiss brand is equipped with a large (8.2 liter) removable tank that can provide three days of continuous operation. It also has a smartphone control function. The air passes through the upper grill and mesh filter, where large dust is retained. It is then directed into a slowly rotating sponge drum submerged in water. Here the water droplets evaporate and the remaining dust settles. Purified and humidified air is discharged into the room through the side openings. Automatic shutdown occurs when the water in the tank runs out.

This model has a unique feature — a replaceable antimicrobial rod Ionic Silver Stick (ISS) Boneco 7017, containing antiseptic particles with silver molecules. When immersed in water, the rod is quickly saturated with silver ions, which have disinfecting properties. The manufacturer claims that the concentration of these particles in the tank remains constant.

Another important advantage is the special design of the drum. Instead of a stack of plastic disks from which water usually evaporates, it uses a complex sponge on a plastic frame. This drum is easy to disassemble, and all its components (including the sponge) can be washed in the dishwasher and even the washing machine.

The Boneco W400 air washer automatically adjusts its operating speed depending on the humidity level in the room and offers six power levels. The temperature and humidity sensor constantly monitors these parameters, and information about them can only be obtained through a mobile application. The app also allows you to monitor the life of consumables such as the ISS silver rod, determine the time until the next cleaning, adjust the power level, LED brightness, auto-off timer and child lock.

We measured the noise level and found that at minimum power it was only 33 dB, and at maximum it was 44 dB. The maximum humidification performance reaches 455 ml/hour, which exceeds the performance of many ultrasonic humidifiers.

It should be noted that the Boneco W400 air washer is not equipped with an advanced filtration system for outgoing air, however, this type of device is not intended for fine cleaning. It perfectly saturates the air with moisture, removes large and medium-sized dust particles, and either retains small particles or causes them to settle on surfaces, which prevents them from floating in the air.

Climate complex Garlyn AirClean V42

The device is designed for operation in rooms up to 42 m² and provides a comprehensive solution for air purification from dust, humidification, ozonation and disinfection. The filtration system includes carbon catalytic, photocatalytic and HEPA filters. Coal granules purify the air from harmful particles of phenols and formaldehyde, and also eliminate odors. The H13 HEPA filter filters up to 99.95% of suspended particles with a diameter of up to 2.5 microns, which includes pollen.

The humidifier unit is located in the lower part of the body and it works approximately like in an air washer according to the principle of natural humidification, only the humidifying element — the sponge — does not rotate.

In general, we were pleased with the device: its successful design and pleasant appearance, as well as high performance at maximum power combined with quiet operation in night mode, make it an ideal choice for a child’s room or bedroom. However, given its rather high cost, I would like to have the ability to remotely and remotely control it.

No matter which air purifier you choose, using it is sure to improve the air quality in your home. However, not all devices are designed to combat the smallest particles, such as the main allergens: plant pollen, particles of animal epithelium, etc. To effectively combat these allergens, it is better to choose air purifiers with HEPA filters. We've tested a variety of models at different price points, so the choice is yours.