Price (RRP): $949 but great bargains if you shop around
The Philips Air Purifier series
We have been testing a Philips Air Purifier series 3000. It has made a profound difference to the office environment. Hay fever suffers rejoice!
Why do we need an air purifier?
The air we breath has a level of pollutants – it is not just good old pure air – (%) nitrogen, 78.084; oxygen,20.946; argon, 0.934; carbon dioxide, 0.033; neon, 0.0018; helium, 0.000524; methane, 0.00016; krypton, 0.000114; hydrogen 0.00005; nitrous oxide, 0.00003; and xenon, 0.0000087 anymore.
In Sydney – like any major city – the air carries pollutants. These include sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, large particulate matter (PM10) to small (PM2.5) particles. You can view this on an hourly basis at the NSW Air Quality Data website (or the equivalent site in your state).
As I write (27 November) most of the state was in the Blue – very good. Over the weekend when there were fires in Newcastle that sent air quality up to Very Poor. During the major dust storm last week, it went to Hazardous.
If you suffer asthma, hay fever, watery eyes or allergies, then the past couple of weeks would have been hell. We won’t go into these 21-century ailments suffice to say that I would not live in Beijing for all the anti-histamine in the China (and I like Beijing apart from its air).
How purifiers work
Most have filters. The more expensive ones use HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) and active carbon. Lower-cost, lower efficiency ones use paper or fabric filters.
The Philips Air Purifier has a washable pre-filter to remove large particles (like in most split system air conditioners). Then an active carbon filter to remove potentially harmful gases such as TVOC (volatile organic compounds), smoke and odours. Finally, a HEPA filter removes ultra-fine particles as small as 0.002um, including allergens, dust and dust mites.
Air is drawn into the unit and comes out gently as cleaner air.
How is purifier capacity measured?
One cubic meter of air is 1,000 litres. Reputable purifier makers will quote a CADR (clean air delivery rate) in m3/hour.
How do you know a room cubic meterage? Well, it is length x depth x ceiling height. Of course, you need to consider whether that room can be enclosed (like a bedroom with a door and windows) so it is a closed ecosystem. Or if it is more open (like an open plan lounge/dining/kitchen with perhaps a hallway and stairwell to other levels), then it is an open ecosystem.
The rule is that you always over-order CADR capacity for open space and you can get away with a little less for closed spaces.
Review: Philips Air Purifier AC3256 (Philips 3000 series)
There are three Philips Air Purifier series – 2000 (for up to 70m3 rooms or 5 x 5x 3m), 3000 (up to 95m3 – 5 x 6 x 3m) and 6000 (up to 130m3 – 7 x 6 x 3) room sizes. Of course, these room sizes are nominal – the key issue is how closed the ecosystem is.
Philips quote a CADR rating on the Series 3000 of 367m3 per hour – 367,000 litres. To put that in perspective a small bedroom of 3 x 3 x 2.7m is 24.3m3 – it can turn over the air 15 times in one hour!
But you don’t need to turn over the air that much – three-to-five times per hour is all you need hence Philips 95m3 recommendation. It is nice to see conservative figures for a change.
We sat the unit in a 100m3 open space office – 7 (L) x 5 (D)x 3 (H) metres presently with five staff in it. It has a split system air conditioner (closed, recycled air) and the entry door can be shut.
Have a look at air quality from last week – dust, fires and more.
The Philips series 3000 keeps the room in the green. Little spikes are when doors are open or believe it or not – flatulence (now we know who the smiling assassin is). Then came the dust storm (first and second image peaks) and the machine bought it down quickly. When powered-down overnight the air quality index grew rapidly. Then it was back to normal – as it should be.
It works – no doubt.
Offices can be dusty. Over the four weeks, we saw almost no build-up of dust in the test area.
Hay fever sufferers usually do so in silence (apart from violent sneezing fits). Those unfortunate souls are much happier in a clean, purified air environment. In fact, after an hour or so in the office wet, itching eyes stop. They demand we buy one, now!
It looks modern and clean. It sucks air through two side facing slits through the three independent filters and expels it gently up through a grill at the top/back. It is not a forward-facing fan design which can blow air directly at you or move papers of desks!
The pre-filter is washable, and it will alert you when it needs a clean. The Active Carbon filter FY3432 ($68.95) lasts about 12 months. The HEPA filter FY3433 ($89.95) lasts about two years. It has very low running costs in comparison to most other purifiers. If the filters are dirty and you don’t replace them the unit locks until you do (or you can override the lock). But hey, its job is to clean.
A Philips Air Purifier tells you the air quality
It has an LCD indicator for air quality, fan speed and more.
Philips has a PM2.5 index (ranges from 2.5µm upwards) that uses a soft glowing ring light to show air quality. Blue is good, blue-violet is fair, red-purple is unhealthy (and that shows what flatulence does), and red is very unhealthy. These equate to the good, fair, poor, and very poor air quality data. The Philips air purifier will remove matter down to 0.02um (99.9%) as well as smoke, dust, bacteria, car fumes etc.
You can adjust fan speeds from 1 to 5 or set it to auto. Philips state noise is from 32.5 to 63.8dB. Out tests show on fan level 1 at 2m from the unit it is 32dB (quiet library) and at level 5 it is 50dB (quite office/moderate rainfall).
It should not impact sleep – if so, use sleep mode (level 1 and lights off). Because it is not a fan, the outflow of air is gentle. Leave it on auto – if you hear the fan whirl up then you know something, or someone is polluting the air.
It has a child lock. Power use ranges from 11 to 60W per hour.
GadgetGuy’s take: The Philips Air Purifier work for me
It is not our usual techy, must have an app, voice assistant, gadget with a price tag to suit – it is an honest answer to 21st-century air quality issues.
Perhaps it is that no-nonsense and low running cost approach that got the product into our review program.
We have shown that over Sydney’s worst days the Philips Air Purifier can bring a large 100m3 room back to good air quality and keep it there. It is also something that should run 24/7 on auto mode, even in an office.
The 2000 series (333m3/h) is $529, the 3000 series (393m3/h) is $949 and the 6000 series (657m3/h) is $1349. Shop around – there are some bargains to be had pre-Xmas.
All three models have international certification by ECARF and the Sensitive Choice Program of National Asthma Council Australia.
The following videos talk about air pollution as well as the product.