Humanscale ZŌN Personal Air Purifier

Tech Test Lab Review

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Product: Humanscale ZŌN Personal Air Purifier
Price: $239.00 (Amazon)
Rating: Recommend*

Doesn't it seem like every allergy season seems to be the worst ever? So when I was offered an opportunity to review the ZŌN Personal Air Purifier, I leapt at the chance. Initially previewed at the New York International Gift Fair 2013, the ZŌN stood out on the show floor, yet inaudible amongst the din of the show floor. Advertised as extremely quiet, yet effective for combatting allergens, I was definitely curious as an allergy sufferer myself about the ZŌN's effectiveness... 

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Coming in at 13” wide, 9” deep, and 14” high, the ZŌN and its box were a bit larger than I remembered on the show floor. Inside was the paper filter, carbon filter, the air purifier itself, and power cord. Setting up the ZŌNonly required gently popping in the paper filter in and placing a carbon filter over it. The carbon filter is optional, but since my allergies are severe, the promise of any additional filtration is welcome. The set up was simple, taking less than 3 minutes, and the 6.6 pound product was easy to lift and place where I needed it to be. 

The ZŌN has a small footprint, which is practical considering it's designed specifically for a compact zone of filtration. Unlike most air filters, the ZŌN does not filter the air of a whole small room, but instead is focused on creating a clean air zone with an effective radius of around 3 feet. This means that if you want cleaner air near you when you sleep, the ZŌN needs to be placed on a nightstand on your side of the bed; if you wish for cleaner air while you work, it needs to be placed on your desk. 

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While not quite silent, the ZŌN is significantly quieter our other small room HEPA filters and air purifiers in our home (we have 4 for 600 square feet). As the allergy sufferer in the household, this means having an air purifier that's quieter during bedtime is extremely beneficial and makes a big difference in the overall happiness of our home. Unfortunately, the ZŌN is outfitted with an incredibly bright LED light which was so bright, that it made sleeping impossible for those of us who are light sensitive. If you purchase the ZŌN for your bedroom I highly recommend covering the LED light with one of these, or working out a DIY option like we did using an IKEA cork coaster to block the light.

One of my biggest pain points during allergy season is getting to sleep through the night without waking up to sneeze or cough. Because this was my biggest area of concern and easily quantifiable, I chose the bedroom nightstand for the primary test site of the ZŌN. Prior to the arrival of the ZŌN, I tracked the quality of my sleep for 15 days with the usual assortment of air filters to serve as as baseline/ control. To evaluate the air purifier, I tracked my sleep quality over the course of 15 additional days with the ZŌN as the only air purifier running in the bedroom.  

After testing with just the ZŌN, I then tracked sleep quality with the usual air filters and included the ZŌN for 15 days. After taking into consideration the pollen counts during the testing period, what I found was the the ZŌN alone did not make a large difference when it was the only air purifying device in the bedroom. However, when it was added to the usual group of air filters, my sleep quality improved dramatically, by an average of 65%.  

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In addition to the testing on the nightstand, I also brought the ZŌN to my home office. The ZŌN did a great job of filtering out the occasional smoke smells that waft up from those who smoke on the sidewalk (we live in a low rise pre-war walkup off of an avenue) and made for an improved work day. Admittedly my home office is located in my living room and so the space for the ZŌN is quite limited. However, on high pollen days the device proved worth the space it took up. 

Does the ZŌN replace your HEPA filter? No, but if you're in the market for a desk-side or nightstand air filter that will improve the air quality around you, then I can recommend it as a supplementary solution. The ZŌN is extremely quiet, uses very little energy, doesn't create a breeze (so no worries of it making papers blow off your desk), and has a small footprint making it easy to locate just about anywhere you need it. 

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Pros: quiet, small footprint, energy efficient, and elegant air purifier design

Cons: small cleaning radius; non-adjustable bright LED light

Our Ratings:

Strong Recommend
Recommend*
Weak Recommend
Don't Recommend

(Images: Humanscale & Joelle Alcaidinho)

Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. This specific product was provided by the manufacturer for testing and review purposes.

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