Microscopic things invisible to the naked eye are everywhere — indoors and out. And if the EPA is to be believed, micron-sized pollutants rule the air in which we spend our days, especially inside where where pollutant levels are usually two to five times higher, but can reach a dystopic 100 times higher. This is cause for concern. The National Human Activity Pattern Survey (NHAPS), an exhaustive study conducted by UC Berkeley’s Indoor Environment Department, found that most Americans spend 87 percent of their time indoors, on average. That means we breathe, for most of life, a lot of bad invisible things.
To preserve your good health, the indoor air purifier comes to the rescue. For years, these little devices have been tucked away in corners behind plants, often in doctors’ offices, and they have always felt, to me, extraneous and mysterious. How bad is our air? Do these devices even make a difference? This doubt led to investigative lethargy, which, coupled with the units’ average costs of over $100 and prohibitory names like “GermGuardian,” led to my disregarding their purpose. I’ll take the nasty air inside; I’ve always been fine enough breathing whatever it was I was breathing.
Dimensions: 7.5 x 4.3 x 40 inches
Weight: 8.4 pounds
Filter: 360° Glass HEPA filter
Additional Features: Magnetic Remote, Smartphone App, Automatic and Night-Time Mode, Timer
Replacement Filter: $70
Dyson, the re-imaginer of hygienic house goods, thought differently. They identified the bad indoor air as a nemesis to health and committed their team of engineers to improving it. Their newly released oblong tower, the Pure Cool Link, is an air purifier that James Dyson, founder of his eponymous company, claims “automatically removes ultra-fine allergens, odors and pollutants from the indoor air.” And — for those working in the connected world — the fan/filter combo also gives “real-time air quality data back to you” on your smartphone. The machine stands 40 inches tall and has the sleek look of a hollowed-out, oval-shaped jet engine, and the company claims it’ll make the air 99.97 percent less allergen and pollutant populated. I was intrigued, if not impressed.
It stands 40 inches tall and has the sleek look of a hollowed-out, oval-shaped jet engine, and the company claims it’ll make the air 99.97 percent less allergen and pollutant populated. I was intrigued, if not impressed.
I plopped the purifier down next to my desk, set it on automatic, and let it work. After two weeks in the clean air stream, I gathered some noticeable take-aways. At base, it feels good to know that the air I’m breathing is classified by an app to be “clean.” Dyson partnered with Breezometer, a data analytics giant that focuses on air quality, to monitor the air quality through the machine and reflect that data in the Pure Cool’s app. It shows the results on a line graph of the day (or weeks, once the data is compiled). On average, our HQ in NYC breathes fairly good air, but in times when the purifier deemed the quality was dropping, the fan kicked in and started circulating air filtered through the glass HEPA filter — capturing and removing pollen, bacteria, allergens and other ultra-fine particles. And then it also felt nice to know that when I did need a fan to cool me (often in the mornings after riding to work) the air blowing my way had endured a cleansing process. It may be minimal, but once you’ve had the clean stuff coming, pushing dirty air around seems as ridiculous as wiping down your counter with a soiled cloth.
It’s too difficult to say that the purifier lessened my spring allergies, reduced the chance of asthma agitation or made my breathing any better. Yet, as an innocuous, well-designed fan, I like that it does one better than just circulating air — it cleans, then flings. And, it does so relatively silently. On the 1-10 scale of fan speed, anything 5 and below is nearly silent. The machine design and app interface is also very Dyson — clean, bug-free and luddite intuitive — and the purifier is not an eyesore. Considering it costs only $100 more than the company’s tower fan, it’s a small stretch to get debugged indoor air to breath for good health and, one can hope, long life.