Most true air purifiers use a mix of filters – pre-filter (for larger visible particles or <PM10), HEPA (High-efficiency particulate air for micron-sized <PM2.5) and activated carbon (for noxious gas absorption). Some add UV and other sterilising light.
Currently, no filter traps more than 99.X% of everything. We are extremely suspicious of any filter that claims it traps and kills COVID or a similar virus.
Filters generally quote a CADR (clean air delivery rate in m3/minute or hour). For example, a typical bedroom 3x3x2.8m (about 25m3) has 25,000 litres of air to clean. Now, if you can close the windows and doors, CADR is not such an issue as once cleaned it remains that way until more ‘dirty air’ enters the room.
Purifiers either have a directional fan or just vent the air back to the room.
And then we look at ongoing energy and maintenance costs.
Price: $1399 and replacement filters are $269 a set
Rated for: up to 49.5m2
Other models: Coway 1018F classic rated to 33.0m2 at $999 and replacement filters $140
Warranty: 2-year ACL
Country of Manufacture: South Korea
Coway (Est 1989 – website here) started in water purification and moved to air purifiers and bidets. It is a trusted quality manufacturer and sells worldwide.
We use FAIL, PASS and EXCEED for our test paradigms. PASS means it is all that you can reasonably expect.
First impression – EXCEED
Its slightly larger than I imagined – 410 x 756 x 240 mm x 12kg and it is not on castors so you may have to heft it around. Being larger, it has a bigger filter system.
The design is classical and modern, and I like the glowing ring that indicates overall air quality. And I like that you can direct air out the front like a fan.
It is very easy to use – plug it in, turn it on auto and let it do its thing.
CADR – Exceed
8.2/492m3 minute/hour on maximum fan speed – will clean the air in a 25m3 area in three minutes
Filter efficiency – EXCEED
Coway is refreshingly honest about filtration. By the time it has passed pre-filter (fine screen), customised filter (kind of a fibreglass filter), Deodorisation filter (active charcoal) and the HEPA filter (coated in ginkgo and Sumac) it has trapped 99.5% of particles and 98% of harmful gases.
The combined effect is 99.99% removal of particles as small as 0.02um (PM2.0) – a strand of hair is about 50um.
You can adjust filter efficiency – sensitive, standard and insensitive. Though I am not sure why you would do this.
ECARF certifies it as do various Asthma foundations.
Airflow – PASS
You can choose from the front, upwards or both and there are mode and fan speed controls.
It is not a fan unit, but the front outlet has focused flow that does provide a low-level fan sensation.
Sound – PASS
Coway claims the maximum fan noise is 44.4dB.
Our tests were
Silent mode (sleep): 31dB – perfect for sleep
Auto model from 40-50dB
Haze Turbo: 80dB
Low speed 35dB
Mid speed 45dB
High speed – 60dB
Indicator – PASS
The glowing ring goes from Blue (good), Green (moderate), Yellow (unhealthy) and Red (very unhealthy) – it is a measure of Particulate Matter (PM) from an onboard sensor.
Most days we turned in on at 8 AM, and it flashed green for a while until stabilising at Blue.
Some units also indicate volatile gasses – this one traps them but does not have a VOC sensor.
Timer – PASS
1, 4, or 8 hours with an easy press button
Maintenance – PASS as long as you are aware of the future costs
The front intake grill and top and front outlet grills are removable for cleaning.
The pre-filter is washable (just like an air-conditioner filter). Over a month, we saw visible signs of dust on it.
Depending on your use – 24/7 or as needed – filters do need to be replaced. The unit indicates when but it appears to be over 8000 power-on hours for the Carbon and HEPA filters and 3,000 hours for the fine dust filter. Replacement filters are $269 per set.
Safety – PASS
The unit weighs 12kg and has side handles. It should not be an effort to move it. It has sliders, rather than castors so be careful on polished timber or shag carpet surfaces.
We exerted a lot of weight on one side, and it is stable – it should a support 20-30kg child leaning on it.
Power – PASS
Maximum wattage is 65W per hour or 65Wh. At typical peak rates, it could cost less than 2 cents per hour.
GadgetGuy’s take – The Coway air purifier model 1516D is a great piece of low-tech equipment.
No app, no Wi-Fi, no snooping. Easy to use and during the month-long test, there was a noticeable build-up of residue on the pre-filter. I am a severe hay fever sufferer, and I noticed the difference.
Build quality is excellent, and Andatech has great after-sales service.
The outstanding feature is Haze Mode that can clean a room in a few minutes – not that it needs it as the CADR is quite high. Its room size rating of 49.5m2 equates to roughly a 7×7 metres. Our test shows that it can handle much larger spaces – it just takes a little more time to clean it all.
In all, its one of the products that works better than specified. We regret that it has to go back after the review.
You can check out Dyson and other air purifier reviews here
Value for money
Ease of Use
Low-tech, easy to use – no app, no snooping
Very efficient with amazing CADR
Recommended for a large home, open space or office spaces
Depending on use filters need replacing every 12-24 months