If you’re worried about indoor air quality, you’re not alone. These days, everyone is looking for ways to stay safe from Covid. But even before the pandemic, there were plenty of good reasons to consider buying an indoor air filter.
The fact is, we’ve been sealing our homes with wrap and insulation for years. This is mostly a good thing. The better-sealed your windows and the better-insulated your walls, the less you’ll pay in your monthly energy bill. But this efficiency comes with a downside. Air mostly stays trapped inside your home, where it can get stagnant. In the old days, a few mold spores or pollen flakes would simply cycle out of your home. Now, the same contaminants will continue recycling throughout your home. Forget about infectious disease. If you suffer from everyday mild allergies, this is not a tenable situation.
Now, with Covid-19 making us all more aware of disease, we have even more indoor air concerns. So why not find an air filter that cleans air and sanitizes at the same time? We’re about to review the Airthereal AGH380 Air Purifier, a machine that does just that. In addition to the medical-grade HEPA filter, this purifier also has a UV sanitizer built in. At first blush, this sounds pretty impressive. But how does the AGH380 work in real life? To find out, we needed to go beneath the surface, and look at all of its features. We’ve gone over everything, from the good to the not-so-good. Now, we’re going to tell you what we learned. At the end, we’ll sum everything up, and render our verdict.
Design & Construction
The Airthereal AGH380 Air Purifier is a mid-sized unit that stands as a square tower. It measures 9.8 inches on each side, and 24.8 inches in height. At 7.5 pounds, it’s no lightweight, but it’s easy enough to move around. It’s just solid, not excessively heavy for the size, and solid is almost always a good thing. The housing is constructed from grey plastic, with a smooth finish that’s easy to wipe down. It also has rounded corners and edges, so it won’t jab you if you bump into it.
The intake grille is located on the front, and has a grid pattern. The holes thin out towards the top, in an irregular pattern that almost looks like TV static. This is the only truly decorative touch on the unit, besides the white Airthereal logo on the front. The outflow vent is located on the top, with a radial pattern that looks like a fan. The top panel is a darker shade of grey, providing an attractive contrast to the rest of the unit. The base, meanwhile, elevates the unit slightly off the floor. It’s only about an inch, but it’s enough to keep the intake vent from getting blocked by shaggy carpets.
The control panel is located in the center of the top, in a round LCD display. This display shows the time remaining on the timer, as well as the current fan strength. The buttons are located directly under the display window. The left button adjusts the fan strength, while the right button adjusts the timer setting. The center, red button is a simple on/off toggle.
In addition to all this, the AGH380 has a built-in laser sensor that measures the air quality. This quality is displayed in the form of a colored bar. The bar will be green when the quality is good, orange when it’s moderate, and red when it’s very bad. This sensor can also control the fan speed, which we’ll discuss more in a second.
Depending on your room configuration, you might need an air purifier with a different form factor. In that case, consider the Okaysou Airmax 10L Pro. It has similar features and capabilities to the AGH380. However, it’s built with a wide design and large, vertical intakes.
The AGH380 is rated to handle 224 cubic feet of air per minute. This means it’s capable of purifying up to a 550-square foot area. Of course, the 550-square foot number assumes that you have standard, 8-foot ceilings. If you’ve got 10-foot cathedral ceilings, that drops to just over 400 square feet. Even so, you’re able to manage a fairly large area. You can filter an entire mid-sized apartment, or a few rooms in a larger house. All in all, this is one of the more powerful air filters out there, but there’s always a stronger option. If you want the maximum coverage for a home air purifier, check out the Airthereal Glory Days AGH550 Air Purifier. It covers an impressive 750 square feet. If you want more than that, you’ll need a whole house purifier!
The fan button allows you to cycle through five different settings. The square footage rating assumes you’re running at the highest setting. But you might not always want the most powerful setting. Sometimes, you want a quieter one. The highest setting produces 49dB of sound, which is already fairly quiet. Still, it’s the volume of a quiet conversation, and might keep you up at night. The lowest setting, by contrast, produces only 22dB of sound. That’s literally softer than a whisper, so it won’t keep you up even if you’re a light sleeper.
In addition to turning the purifier on and leaving it, you can also use the timer. The timer button will keep adding time in one-hour increments, up to 24 hours. Tap it a few times to clean the air before bed. Or let it run a full 24 hours if you need serious allergy relief. As an alternative, you can set the fan in auto mode. In this mode, it will automatically adjust the fan speed as needed. If the laser sensor says your air is clean, it will run on low. If the air is dirtier, the fan will run at higher power. This is a great way to keep your indoor air clean without wasting any electricity.
If you’ve got kids, you know they love to press shiny buttons. This can be bad news if you want your purifier to run the way you set it to. The AGH380 has a child lock function for just that situation. Press and hold the fan button for five seconds, and it will lock out all the controls. Simply press and hold the button again to restore normal function.
The AGH380 has a three-stage filter system, combined with an ultraviolet sanitizer. If you remove the front cover, you’ll first see a mesh pre-filter. This is a cheap outer layer designed to protect the more costly inner components. Next, you’ll find an H13 medical-grade HEPA filter. This is an accordion-style air filter that should be familiar to just about anybody. It’s where the bulk of the filtration work is done.
The third layer is an activated carbon filter, consisting of a carbon mesh overlaying a honeycomb-style grid. It’s not designed for particulates, but for chemicals and odors. The UV-C sanitizer is located in the very center. Because this consists of a chamber with a long-lasting bulb, you don’t have to worry about replacing it.
What Does the Airthereal AGH380 Air Purifier Remove?
The Airthereal AGH380 Air Purifier removes progressively more contaminants with each filter layer. The outer mesh pre-filter is designed for removing very large contaminants. It stops pet hair, dust, and even human hair from getting sucked into the inner filter. Instead of needing to replace your HEPA filter, you just have to replace a cheap pre-filter when it clogs.
The medical-grade HEPA filter removes 99.97 percent of particles as small as 0.1 microns. This includes all the particles you’d want removed by an ordinary HEPA filter. Dust, pollen, mold spores, and pet dander will all be eliminated at this stage. Beyond that, it also removes most bacteria and some viruses. We should point out that the virus that causes Covid-19 measures between 0.06 and 1.4 microns across. In other words, most airborne viruses will still pass through this stage.
The carbon filter removes odors and chemicals. Most volatile organic compounds will freely adhere to this layer, which means they won’t be in your air. The carbon filter is also great for cooking smoke, tobacco smoke, and even pet odors. In most respects, it does an excellent job at scrubbing foul odors from your air. That said, if odors and chemicals are your primary concern, take a look at the Airthereal MA10K PRODIGI Ozone Generator. It’s specifically designed to remove dangerous chemicals from your air. On the other hand, the ozone it produces can be dangerous to your health. It’s best for one-time use, and you should air out the room after a treatment to clear out the ozone.
The ultraviolet sanitizer is designed for killing bacteria and viruses that made it past the HEPA filter. It uses UV-C rays, which break down DNA and other essential cellular components. Basically, it kills any living cells that pass through the light. The nice thing about the enclosed sanitizer is that you don’t have to worry about the light getting out. It treats your air without posing any danger to you, your kids, or your pets.
So, is the Airthereal AGH380 a good investment? For most purposes, yes. It’s one of the most effective filters on the market. Not only does it provide excellent particulate filtration, but it also removes most odors and VOCs. It even kills germs, thanks to the powerful UV-C sanitizer that lies at the heart of the unit. The only real downside is that the replacement filters are pricey. But that’s to be expected for a medical-grade HEPA Filter. On the upside, you get coverage for 550 square feet, and ultra-quiet operation. You even get an automatic mode, as well as a child lock to keep the kids off the controls.