Monday, Nov 19, 2018 | Last Update : 11:20 PM IST
A no-brainer, simple air purifier for a large room or tiny office.
Air purifiers seem to be the need of the hour — especially in a country like India where pollution is soon becoming a growing concern. With multifold vehicles on the road and increasing constructions around our homes, the air we breathe will soon be unbearable. While outdoor air is alarmingly getting bad, air within our homes is also equally bad.
Indian houses are filled with dust — there’s no denying this. And with fumes released during cooking, the air gets even worse around us. Trapped indoors is a bad and polluted air that needs to be filtered, and quickly. And to make the indoor air pure enough to breathe, we need to deploy air purifiers at the earliest — and more importantly, for health reasons.
Air purifiers are meant to remove indoor air pollutants such as pollens, allergens, cooking fumes, dust mites, mould spores, pet dander, tobacco smoke, and so on. They are quite beneficial for those who suffer from allergies, have asthma or other respiratory problems, or homes with infants and small children. Many people have misconceptions related to what an air purifier can and cannot do. So, if you too are thinking of buying an air purifier, you should see the variety of units available out there.
We got our hands on a Kent Alps+ Air Purifier, which claims to purify the indoor air better than the rest — at least so claims Mrs Hema Malini (on the brochure), who is the brand ambassador for Kent. Well, that said, let’s check what this air purifier has unique and in common with others out there.
The Kent Alps+ Air Purifier looks more like a water purifier kept at ground level. The appliance is a tad bulky-looking unit which is wide and short, resembling a mid-sized travel suitcase or a PA speaker form factor. The unit is built entirely of plastic and is rugged. The exterior is all white and glossy, which is a huge concern as it could get easily tarnished and scratched if not carefully cleaned. The front features a large door which is removable and held by notches and a pair of magnets. It is easy to open this door by simply pulling the bottom forwards and lifting it upwards.
The door has a small grille (openings) on the bottom that lets in air to be purified. Two large vertical air intake vents are also provided on the left and right sides between the door and the body. The door also has a small square cutout on the top for the coloured LCD display upfront this display (Air Purity Monitor) notifies the user of the air quality in the room in real time. There are no buttons here, but just coloured stickers notifying the air purity levels to be seen on the display. This includes green for Excellent, yellow for Good, orange for Slight, bright red for Moderate, purple for Heavy and dark red for Serious.
This indicator is a small arrow on a coloured bar on the display, which moves accordingly from left to right, marking the purity levels. Apart from this, the PM2.5 levels are also shown in numbers on the display that measures around 2.5 inches.
Behind this door is the main business area for the purifier, without which the entire unit is useless — the filters and the intake fan. The door opens up to three filters that need to be installed at all given times. The filters are a two-part installation — one is a HEPA paper filter and the other is an activated carbon filter that sits one behind the other. Sucked in with a high-powered brushless DC fan and let out from the top of the unit. The air vents are angular and blow air at an angle towards the ceiling. This air is then circulated to the entire room.
The top of the unit consists of the air vents and the control panel. The control panel has a total of five touch buttons and a few LEDs. The buttons are for power, fan speed, timer and for turning on the ionizer, apart from a function to reset the filter. The air vents are directional and blow the air upwards at an angle to easily spread across the room.
The rear panel has absolutely nothing apart from a small vent on the left area which houses the air quality sensors. However, nothing is marked on this vent, and the user could end up resting the air purifier against the wall, probably blocking the vents too. The company should put a marking on it to ensure that users keep the unit at a distance of at least 6-inches away from the wall.
The Kent Alps+ Air Purifier is a simple, no-brainer air purifier that is very simple to install and use. The two air filters come sealed in air-tight bags, which need to be installed before you switch on the air purifier. Once the filters are in, all you need to do is power on and switch the unit to auto operation mode and the unit will take care of your air quality on its own. If you think that your indoors is a little heavily polluted than usual — for example, if your cooking something that is releasing too much of smoke or if you have a member of the house smoking cigarettes, you may need to manually operate the unit at full power. While auto mode usually takes care of the entire operations, the manual mode can be used if you want the unit to continuously purify the air at full potential. However, do note that if you run the unit at full operation at most times, your air filters will expire before time and your electricity bill may see a substantial bump than usual, but not as much as you think. And yes, the unit does get noisy at full power. Though the maximum noise levels are rated at <54dB, it is pretty audible, but not as disturbing. We found the unit pretty much doing its job during our time with it. We left it at auto mode and whenever it sensed the air quality difference, it automatically took charge. This was noted especially when the doors/windows were opened or during the occasional kitchen routines at home.
What we missed out here is the possibility of a smart circuitry or even a remote control. The Kent Alps+ Air Purifier does not have a remote control option, nor is it smart to be controlled from any smartphone. This becomes a trouble for many, especially when you have to turn it on or off from across the room or over the internet. Nevertheless, having remote controls is not something that is a compulsion as an air purifier is pretty much a standalone device that does not need user intervention every time. Not having remote controls is no big deal, but having one could have increased the value of the product.
If you are looking for an air purifier for your home or office, the Kent Alps+ Air Purifier could be shortlisted. For the price of Rs 25,000 this one does sound a little pricey, especially when considering the aesthetics in comparison to other brand offerings. The unit does look below average and many who visited our room, where the unit was installed, initially asked us if that was an air cooler or if it was a water filter. Kent should work on the looks for their air purifier as this is an appliance that will be stationed in the living room and it has to blend in with the interiors. As for the yearly maintenance, you will need to replace the filters once every 12 months. The two filter units come as a single package and will cost you Rs 3,500. Considering the entire package, its performance and looks, we would recommend the Kent Alps+ Air Purifier if you want a simple, easy to use and effective air purifier. If you are looking for a more classy looking air purifier with additional controls and features, you could opt for brands such as Samsung, Xiaomi, Bluair, Dyson, and a few more. However, you will find a price/performance difference respectively.