Friday, November 20, 2015

BlueAir 650E HEPASIlent Air Purifier Review

With pollution levels in several Indian cities touching alarming levels, a number of people are investing in air purifiers. Reports indicate that since 2012-13, the sale of these gadgets, which promise to clean up in the air in homes and offices, has more than doubled. The consumer is spoilt for choice with air purifiers from several brands - BlueAir, Sharp, Panasonic, Eureka Forbes, Philips, Honeywell and others - available in the market. They can cost anything between Rs 3,000 and Rs 95,000 or more. We got the BlueAir 650E  HEPASilent Air Purifier for review and here it is: 

There are different kinds of air purifiers depending on the technology they employ to clean up the air. First up are those that remove particulate matter and allergens by using a filter. A combination of a good HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter and a sound carbon filter is crucial for an efficient air purifier and BlueAir scores big on this front! 

However, a lot of machines do not come with pre-filters that are necessary, or are at least recommended, given Indian conditions where the air has large particulate matter and heavy pollutants. Pre-filters suck in and filter out larger particles that could otherwise choke the HEPA filter. If the HEPA filter gets choked, you will need to change it sooner than later and that can be a costly affair because these filters are expensive.

Then there are the ionising purifiers, which create charged molecules called ions. Most molecules in the air have neutral charge, which means they have the same number of positive and negative electrons. When these molecules pass through the ionising purifier, they either pick up or drop an additional electron, thus giving the molecule a negative or positive charge. Once charged, the particle is drawn to anything that has the opposite charge (remember the law of physics that says opposites attract?). Two metal plates in the air purifier - one charged positive and the other negative - attract these particles.

Also available in the market are ozone generators that change the molecules of oxygen (O2) into ozone (O3). Ozone, it is claimed, removes odours and infection-causing elements from the air.

Yet another technology uses the ultraviolet (UV) radiation to clean up the air. The UV light targets airborne viruses and bacteria. Then there are air purifiers that work on nanotechnology, which is said to remove, besides nitrogen oxide and sulphur oxide, the harmful volatile organic compounds that add to smog and ozone levels. Panasonic air purifiers employ nanotechnology.

It's a confusing choice, no doubt. So ideally consult an expert before buying an air purifier. By and large, what you should focus on is: the quality of the filter, the speed of the fan, clean air delivery rate and the noise the machine generates.

Air pollutants can be broadly classified into three categorise: particulate pollution; gaseous pollution (nitrogen oxide and sulphur oxide); and microbiological pollutants (bacteria and viruses). The first two are harmful, even in small quantities. The HEPA and carbon filters present in the BlueAir 650E are effective for these.

The BlueAir 650E is best suited for large rooms or spaces, i.e. within 690sqft, and the best part is that despite working for such a huge area it also doesn’t make much noise. With nifty controls and a very sleek look, it fits into just about any decor, whether you just want one for home or for your art gallery. Solid materials definitely put it in a different class than the cheap plastic ones.

Built with what they claim are ‘future-perfect filters’ and an ion particle-charging process to remove 99.97% of impurities, This one comes with a remote control and the speed and other controls can be easily controlled without going close to it and changing it.  But you’ll need to change your filters every six months, as with most similar systems, and the Blueair 650E uses ones they call HEPASilentPlus, which include a particle filter along with a carbon filter to stop odors and smoke. The grill design is unique, and for those who appreciate CADR measurements, this one handles 100 cubic feet per minute. At about 30 decibels on the middle power setting, it’s barely noticeable, though you will hear a hum on high power.

At a price range of Rs 98,000, we think this is best suited for corporate offices and large bungalows but not an apartment in the city.