I’ve never thought much about having an air purifier. Sure, I could see the advantages for any household. But couldn’t I accomplish the same thing by opening the windows and changing the furnace filters regularly in my HVAC system?
How wrong I was.
Since acquiring a Levoit 400S air purifier, it’s become something we use almost daily, including functions I never considered using an air purifier for. I change out the filters in the heating and cooling system and the windows have been open almost constantly since spring, but the air purifier has made our home much more comfortable.
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What Is The Levoit 400S Air Purifier?
A sleek cylinder shape, the Levoit 400S sits unobtrusively in the corner of a room, quietly pulling in air through the holes in the bottom half and releasing fresh air from the top. It cleans the air via a three-layer filtration system.
The pre-filter stage captures larger stuff like lint, visible dust, pet hair, etc. Next, an “H13 True HEPA” filter captures microscopic particles like pet dander, smoke, pollen, dust and other indoor allergens. According to the manufacturer, statically charged fibers trap 99.99 percent of bacteria and viruses, though I had no way of verifying that in home testing. Finally, a third filter of activated carbon fiber gets rid of smells and fumes.
There are five fan speeds, as well as an auto setting that adjusts the fan based on workload. You can control the unit via an app or a panel on the top. One nice feature about the app: It lets you operate the air purifier from anywhere, set a schedule or activate a 24-hour timer.
It weighs 11 pounds and it’s not small, running about 20 inches tall and 10 inches in diameter. It’s made for large rooms, with an effective range of up to 403 square feet. Despite its size, the design blends into any room. You won’t really notice it.
How We Tested
Right away, I put it to use. I’m not the most gifted chef, so sauteing various foods usually results in a house full of smoke and various smells that can be, well, off-putting. Our kitchen space connects to our living room, so there’s no escape from culinary mishaps.
I also tried it in my office/studio where I regularly paint scale models. I mostly use water-based acrylics, but even some of those feature a solvent base that can be quite strong.
Where we really put the Levoit 400S to the test, however, was handling some rather intense wildfire smoke. With historically large blazes burning less than 40 miles away in the mountains east and west of our home in Santa Fe, N.M. we spent much of April and May with brown haze and acrid smell around us.
You hardly notice when it’s on. The display tells you how dirty or clean the air is with the PM 2.5 reading; that’s the amount of particulate matter per 2.5 micrometers in a cubic meter of air. For the less scientifically-minded, there’s also a color-coded indicator, going from blue (under 35 ) to green to yellow to red. The latter indicated bad indoor air quality, when the PM 2.5 reading climbs above 115.
The first big test came after I sprayed some clear varnish on a project in my office/workshop. It was acrylic varnish, but still pretty strong stuff. I turned the air purifier on and it ticked up to 300 almost immediately. I turned the fan to its highest setting and it cleared the air within 10 minutes, according to the monitor on the unit. Even the smell was gone.
Wildfire season started here in the first week of April. That’s usually when we can keep windows open during the day, but not with a heavy smoke settled in over everything.
On one particularly bad day where visibility was maybe a mile under a dirty brown haze, the house was inundated before I could shut the windows. Everything smelled like the fire was in our home rather than 25 miles away in a forest.
I fired up the air purifier in the living room. It took care of the smell in a reasonable amount of time, about 30 minutes. On days when the smoke wasn’t as bad, the Levoit 400S worked well enough that I didn’t have to close all the windows entirely.
In the kitchen, it cleared up smoke and bad smells effectively. In one noticeable instance, smoke from sauteed chicken cleared up in less than 15 minutes where the kitchen and living room connect. In the bedroom, it even took care of hair spray (which registered surprisingly high in PM 2.5) and some unpleasant smells from a three-bean salad prepared that night.
Performance: Lacking the proper equipment to independently verify air quality, I can’t say for certain how clean the Levoit 400S got the air in my house. However, smoke and vapors cleared up pretty fast with the unit running, much more so than by opening the windows and running a floor fan (which you can’t do during fire season). It also passed the smell test with aplomb.
Value: At time of publication, the Levoit 400S cost about $220. That’s not bad for a unit that can handle large rooms. The manufacturer recommends changing the filter every six months, which costs $50 each time.
Reliability and durability: It sits quietly in the corner, so it’s not taking much abuse beyond a bump from the vacuum cleaner from time to time. There’s no upkeep involved other than changing the filter, and it’s always ready to roll when you need it.
Ease of use: It really couldn’t be any easier — you push a button and it goes to work. The app isn’t really necessary, but it does add convenience.
Why You Should Buy This
For me, living with an ever-lengthening wildfire season, an air purifier has become a necessity I never imagined I’d need. But the Levoit 400S would be a useful addition for anyone, from dealing with the occasional cooking mishap to air pollution from the street below your apartment. Those with allergies and pets, or both, would benefit from one as well.
Where to Buy the Levoit 400S Air Purifier
The Levoit 400S is available on Amazon.
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