Product: RabbitAir MinusA2 Artist Series Air Purifier
Price: $479.95 (+$9.95 for wall kit)
How many companies like to use the phrase "whisper quiet"? It's a description thrown around for appliances such as vacuums, fans and definitely air purifiers. We've run into a few products which lived up to the description, but traded off operational efficiency for the lower audible volume. But we recently tested an air purifier with true whisper quiet operation that also happened to be quite capable at keeping the bedroom free of allergens. Had we found the perfect bedroom air purifier?
At just 7" in depth and about 20"H x 21"W, the RabbitAir MinusA2 looked as design benign as one might hope for an air purifier in the home. But it looked even better and less intrusive using the optional $10 wall mounting kit (very easy to install), allowing us to keep it near where we sleep, but off the floor, possibly creating better air flow for the filtration system to work its magic.
And now about that filtration system. The MinusA2 works using a 6-stage filter system:
- A washable nano-silver coated electrostatic pre-filter, which catches most of the largest debris and particles, thanks to screen's thin film of tiny antimicrobial silver material.
- 2nd medium filter captures airborne particles above 1 micron diameter (blue filter)
- Stage 3 is the antimicrobial "BioGS" HEPA filter, capturing 99.97% of .3 micron particles
- 4th filter is one from a selection of 4 customizable filter: Germ Defense Filter, Pet Allergy Filter, Toxin Absorber Filter, and Odor Remover Filter.
- Finally a charcoal based active carbon filter removes odors
- A negative ion generator with zero ozone
Our household is under the allergy protection of the monolithic design, IQAir system; it's indeed an excellent allergy sufferer air purifier. But it's also as visually captivating as a 386 DX PC Tower, requiring plenty of space to operate; the unit is suited for larger spaces and is undeniably one of the first models we recommend for allergy sufferers. But we wouldn't necessarily call it bedroom friendly (we continually cart our unit into the closet to hide away when guests are over).
That's where we hoped the RabbitAir MinusA2 model would fill in. Operating at just 25.6 dBA at the lowest speed, 37.4 dBA at the mid-level speed (the sweet spot), and 51.3 dBA at its highest, the MinusA2 seems perfectly suited as a bedroom air filtration solution (RabbitAir claims coverage of rooms up to 700 sq. ft., but we think 350 sq. ft and below would be optimal for air turnover at the medium setting). Energy conscious users will like the units only draws between 8 and 58 watts depending on fan speed, making it an Energy Star rated machine; a simple but well designed remote control is included. During daily operations, we kept the unit in the Auto setting, which permits the unit to change the fan speed according to particles in the air.
Which takes us to the latest feature RabbitAir offers, the Artist Series cover plates. RabbitAir offers 4 different designs for the front panel to choose from: Katsushika Hokusai's The Great Wave, Gustav Klimt's Tree of Life, a Japanese Cherry Blossom, and a Victorian inspired Winter Deer design. We personally liked the least stylized cherry blossom skin, but we tend to like the least visually intrusive designs, appealing to our minimalist's tastes. Upon inspection, we noted these skins are just high quality vinyl stickers and they can also be peeled off with careful, but easy, effort to reveal the white case underneath. Personally, we're partial to the unadorned design, but if you happen to like Hokusai or Klimt, these new designs might brighten up your decor when wall mounted.
For the last few weeks we've had the RabbitAir MinusA2 mounted near the bed and note the unit does a very good job of removing dust and pet hair from the air, as illustrated above. The bedroom's floors were dirtier, more dusty before the installation of the MinusA2 and our resident allergy sufferer seems to be faring well with it on during the day.
A welcome and informative feature is the Air Quality Indicator Light. The changes from blue (clean) to bright pink (dirty) depending upon active particle readings made by the unit. We tested this feature out by first letting the unit operate for a few hours in a closed door bedroom, letting the indicator light change to blue. We then unleashed a torrent of dust that hides inside bedding, simply by making the bed; in about a minute, the indicator light changed to light purple, then to pink indicating it was time to vacuum and wash our bedding.
The Mood Light strip can illuminate a room, but we found it was too bright during nighttime use, apt to instill nightmares of Cylon invasion.
As helpful as the Indicator Light feature is, the Mood Light (the colored strip in the middle of the front face) of the feature is near useless. Supposedly designed to "normalize pulse and blood pressure, while facilitating deep breathing, to induce calmness and relaxation", all this really offered was an intrusive extra light in the bedroom. The mood light is deactivated when in Sleep Mode, but we'd rather have the feature removed completely.
Similarly, the front control panel's glaring deficiency is the absence of the option to dim or turn off the fan speed and mode green lights. In a completely dark room, even in Sleep Mode, these light and the Air Quality Indicator sensor light can cast a notable glow. This issue is the one...pardon the pun...glaring deficiency and Achille's heel for bedroom use. For now, we're using some carefully placed stickers to dim the light, but we hope RabbitAir's next update allows users to at least dim all the lights to a lower setting.
At nearly $500, the Rabbit Air MinusA2 falls under the class and performance of some of the top tier allergy-sufferer air purifiers. It nearly hit the mark as the perfect bedroom air purifier, thanks to its slim profile, decor-friendly design, super quiet operation volume and the customizable filtration suited for specific needs of the users. It is only the nighttime panel lighting issue that keeps us from awarding it the "Strong Recommend" rating, but we still consider it an excellent air filtration unit for apartment dwellers for daytime use.
Pros: Truly whisper quiet, decor friendly design, Air Quality Indicator light intuitive, simple but easy to use remote, 6 filter system performs well in bedroom size environment.
Cons: Price reflects performance; those darn bright panel lights!
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. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.