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Molekule Air large room air purifier with PECO technology review – does it kill bacteria?

Molekule Air large room air purifier with PECO technology review
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Molekule air large room air purifier with PECO technology destroys the harmful molds, viruses, bacteria, and gaseous chemicals lurking in the air you breathe at home.  Is PECO filter better than HEPA filter? A typical mesh filter—HEPA, for instance—captures only airborne particles. PECO and PCO, however, take it one step further and also target gases. It does this by coating filters in a catalyst (PCO usually uses titanium dioxide) that reacts with UV light to oxidize gaseous pollutants and breaks them down into harmless molecules. Reveal more in Molekule air large room air purifier with PECO technology review.

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Pros & Cons

PROS


  • Amazing and unique PECO technology
  • Sleek design, premium build
  • Energy efficient
  • Plenty of Smart features
  • Whisper-quiet

CONS


  • A bit more expensive
  • Low fan power
  • Cleans slower than others
  • No Smart Sensor

Specs – Molekule air large room air purifier with PECO technology

  • Room size coverage : Up to 600 sq. ft. (55.74 m²)
  • Handle : Leather
  • Filters: 1 PECO-Filter — recommended replacement every 6 months, 1 Pre-Filter — recommended replacement every 3 months
  • Power consumption: Lowest speed — 20 W/h | Highest speed — 80 W/h (3-prong power plug)
  • Sound Levels: Lowest speed — 41 dBa | Highest speed — 65 dBa
  • App enabled: iOS & Android
  • WiFi enabled: 2.4 GHz
  • Cord length: 64“ (162.5 cm)
  • Size: 23” (53.4cm) high x 8.25” (20.95cm) wide
  • Weight : 18 lbs (8kg)
  • Warranty : 2-year limited warranty

Power consumption – Molekule air large room air purifier with PECO technology

You need to replace the pre-filter after 3 months of use, and the PECO filter after 6 months of use. The genuine Molekule PECO filter costs $79, so the annual filter cost of using Molekule air is quite high.

The energy-saving fan speed of the Molekule Air is only 20 watts, which is fairly impressive. However, many notable tests show that the PECO system basically shut off on lowest speed, leaving only the MERV-12 pre-filter to capture the pollutants. That explained a lot how Molekule Air can consume such low energy.

On highest speed, with the PECO system fully run, the Molekule Air has a rated power of 80 watts. This is reasonable, because at least the air purifier has a 10-watt UV bulb lighting inside the PECO system.

If you run the Molekule Air for 8 hours per day, it would cost you $7 to $29 each year, depending on the most used fan speed.

Compare Molekule air vs Molekule air mini+

Air ProAirAir Mini+Air Mini
Room size1000 sq. ft.600 sq. ft.250 sq. ft.250 sq. ft.
Filters1 Filter: Integrated PECO & Pre-filter2 Filters: 1 PECO & 1 Pre-filter1 Filter: Integrated PECO & Pre-filter1 Filter: Integrated PECO & Pre-filter
Fan speeds2 Auto Protect – 6 Manual speeds3Auto Protect – 5 Manual speeds5 Manual speeds
ControlsDigital touch display & AppDigital touch display & AppTouch display & AppTouch display & App
Body materialAnodized aluminumAnodized aluminumMedical grade polycarbonateMedical grade polycarbonate
Handle materialVegan leatherPremium leatherVegan leatherNatural felt

How does Molekule air large room air purifier with PECO technology work?

Technically, the PECO technology uses the reaction of titanium dioxide and UV-C light to create hydroxyl radicals (OH). The hydroxyl radicals are unstable molecules, therefore they are highly reactive, an will steal atom from the neighboring molecules (airborne pollutants), thus destroying the pollutants in the process.

The result of this process is carbon dioxide (CO2), water molecules (H2O) and any harmless trace elements from the biological particulates, such as bacteria, germs, viruses, mold spores, dust mites and even VOCs. If you read our article of HEPA filter, you will know that the sizes of these particles are smaller than 0.3 microns, in which the HEPA filter has less efficiency. Moreover, the process of PECO filter can destroy the contaminants, so it can’t get back to air by any means.

Molekule air large room air purifier with PECO technology review

Design

The Molekule Air measures 23 inches in height and 8.25 inches diameter for both width and depth, making it a bit thinner than any common tower air purifiers at the moment. This air purifier is also smaller than the Dyson Pure Cool Tower a lot, but in my opinion, it is more beautifully designed. You can think of the Molekule Air as an air purifier from the future.

  • Width: 8.25″ diameter
  • Height: 23” tall
  • Weight:  18 lbs.

Build

 It has a sleek, silver body made of machined aluminum with a natural leather handle, for easy portability at the top of the unit.

Lightweight

However, the air purifier isn’t really portable. While the natural leather handle is convenient to use, the weight of Molekule Air is around 18 lbs, and there are a lot of air purifiers out there that are more lightweight than this air purifier.

Touch screen

On top of this Molekule Air, we have a touch-screen display. Most of the time, you don’t care about this control panel, as the air purifier can be connected to Wi-Fi, so you can control it with a smartphone app.

Molekule air large room air purifier with PECO technology review

Filters

The air filtration system is the heart of an air purifier, which decides its performance. Normally, we will check the quantity and quality of the device’s air filters, as well as the air filter types being used. The Molekule Air features the exclusive PECO air filter, in the simple 2-stage air cleaning system as below.

  1. Pre-filter – A simple MERV-12 pre-filter is used to collect larger particles like dust and dander, to slow down the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) on their way to the PECO filter.
  2. PECO filter – By using an UV-C light filter, the PECO air filter can utilize free radicals to break down pollutants at a molecular level, including VOCs, bacteria, mold, viruses, and allergens.

Room coverage

Molekule suggests to use their Molekule Air in a room coverage of up to 600 square feet. This is the center of the argument for Molekule Air’s efficiency. However, if you check the test on their website, it was performed within a chamber of only 27 m3, or 953 ft3, resulting in just 119 square feet based on 8-ft ceiling. Why they don’t do test based on a room size of 600 square feet, yeah, we all know the answer.

CADR & ACH

The CADR of Molekule Air isn’t clarified, and by not sending their unit to the AHAM for testing, it is a proof of the weak fan power. In real-world use, it translates into weak efficiency, as the CADR rating of Molekule Air is around 88 cfm in general, even weaker than a $99 Blue Pure 411

The ACH of Molekule Air is 1X to 4X. It is stated right in the description of this product, and it delivers air changes 4 times per hour in a room of only 150 square feet.

Setting up the Molekule

Other reviews have a lot of complaints about the Molekule app and setup process. I found the setup to be a breeze. It could be that I received it when updates were made to the software but I didn’t have any issues.

To get it setup just download the app on the Play or Itunes store and power up the Molekule. The app will walk you through the process. Once it is setup on your wifi network, it will do an initial cleaning which can take an hour, give or take depending on your room size.

Using the app, you can remotely:

  • Turn the purifier on / off
  • Check current air quality
  • Send notifications to your phone
  • Configure the space / how much to clean
  • Changes modes
  • Monitor filter replacement schedules

Molekule air large room air purifier with PECO technology Performance review

When you first turn on the Molekule air purifier, it performs a cycle called “Initial Clean Up”. During this cycle, the air purifier will customize and set its settings based on the exact size and location of your room.

This helps to make sure that the air treatment is appropriate, no matter where you decide to use it.

It seems the PECO filtration system is super effective for killing viruses, bacteria, germs and mold spores. The Molekule Air can kill 99.99% of these biological contaminants, after just one pass of air flow.

The Molekule Air is also capable of dealing with Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). It can clean 167 µg/m3 of formaldehyde in 4 hours, which is the average air concentration of formaldehyde in an U.S household. It is able to remove 730 µg/m3 of toluene (the chemical left from using paints, adhesives, fingernail polish, and gasoline) in 1 hour, which is the highest average concentration recorded in 11 different U.S cities in 1990. Perhaps the power of Molekule Air isn’t great enough, but it is truly capable of dealing with things the HEPA filter can’t capture.

Our testing consisted of setting up the Molekule in a medium-sized bedroom in my home. I took an initial baseline measurement of the room’s air quality, and then ran the Molekule for 1 hour.

At the end of the test, I took a new measurements in order to compare the difference in overall air quality.

What were the Molekule air large room air purifier with PECO technology perfromance review results?

Starting Baseline

  • PM2.5: 6.2
  • PM10: 10.7
  • Particles: 379
  • AQI: 25

After 1 Hour

  • PM2.5: 0.6
  • PM10: 1.2
  • Particles: 44
  • AQI: 0

Within 1 hour the Molekule removed 88% of air particulates from the medium-sized room we tested in (~12’x12′).

Molekule improved PM2.5 air quality by 90%.

In order to take these measurements we used the Temtop LKC-1000S+ professional air quality detector. By using this device, we were able to get precise measurements both before and after using the Molekule Air purifier.

Below, we’ve included information on the testing criteria and what defines good vs. bad air quality.

Molekule air large room air purifier with PECO technology review

What is PM?

PM stands for “Particulate Matter”. This measurement can basically be divided into two camps , PM10 and PM2.5.

  • PM 10 = particulate matter that is 10 micrometers and smaller
  • PM 2.5 = particulate matter that is 2.5 micrometers and smaller

Noise level

It ‘may’ only have a noise level of 30 decibels (db) on lowest fan speed, but that’s the range of the whisper. Basically, you won’t hear any sound from this air purifier in this Silent Mode.

Experience on highest speed is still reasonable, with the noise level of 55 decibels. It’s audible, but just like a normal conversation between two people.

Below are the decibel levels that Molekule.com states within their specs.

  • Silent Mode 30 dB
  • Auto Mode 42 dB
  • Boost Mode 55 dB

Alternate of Molekule air large room air purifier with PECO technology

ermGuardian AC4825 Air Purifier

  • Cleaning capacity: 167 square feet
  • AHAM approved: Yes
  • HEPA filter-equipped: Yes

The GermGuardian AC4825 is a 3-in-1 air purifier that includes a HEPA filter, charcoal and PCO filter, UV-C sanitizer and TIO2 treatment. It is equipped with three speed settings and comes with a filter replacement indicator.

Honeywell True HEPA Air Purifier

  • Cleaning capacity: 465 square feet
  • AHAM approved: Yes
  • HEPA filter-equipped: Yes

This model is made for larger rooms, and has a true HEPA filter. Honeywell claims this purifier filters and circulates air up to five times an hour. This model is relatively affordable given its size, and comes with features like a timer setting, filter change indicator. It has two filters: a pre-filter to capture large particles like pet hair and lint, and a HEPA filter for smaller particles.

Dyson Pure Humidify + Cool

  • Cleaning capacity: 400 square feet
  • AHAM approved: No
  • HEPA filter-equipped: Yes

This recently-released model is an air purifier, humidifier and fan, all in one. The Dyson Pure Humidify + Cool boasts a sleek design and plenty of bells and whistles, including a space heater, sleep timer, Wi-Fi connection, Alexa compatibility and nighttime mode. It also has a HEPA filter and is one of the only models that allows for oscillation. While pricier than other models, the Dyson may be best for shoppers looking for extra features.

Is it worth buying?

Molekule Air actually got a “bad result” with only trapping 90% of all particles down to 0.3 microns, even in its Boost Mode. In the same price range, the Alen BreatheSmart 75i can trapped all the airborne contaminants in the same conditions. Meanwhile, if you run an air purifier with older PCO technology like Vornado PCO375DC, it was still able to capture 99.95% of all airborne particles.

More shockingly, the Molekule Air is even worse than an air purifier that cost you around $100 like the Blue Pure 411, and it has the same performance as the TruSens Z-1000. Yes, and the TruSens only uses a HEPA-type air filter, which is a lot more inferior than the common True HEPA filter from high-end air purifiers.

Is it true that Consumer Reports rate low Molekule air?

No. If you read the CR report . . . the Air ($799) was 4th of 5. However, the top 3 that CR recommends only “capture” 99% of Airborne Pollutants Like Viruses, Pollen, Dust, Pet Dander, Mold, Bacteria and More” and don’t destroy like Molekule. If you want to remove a dirty filter from your air purifier then that is the way to go. The Molekule has the technology to destroy.

Also . . . of the top 3 the CR recommended . . . 2 only have 1 speed, there is no remote control and/or no app to operate the unit from another room/location. One of those units costs $649. Wherein the mini costs $399. Two of those recommended units are considered “HEPA” machines solely.

Not exactly comparing apples to apples.

Does it have UV light inside to kill virus?

No germicidal UV-C, so the light itself isn’t what destroys the viruses. Our devices utilize low-energy UV-A light to start a series of chemical reactions on the surface of our PECO-Filter that generate hydroxyl radicals. Those hydroxyl radicals are what destroy the organic airborne pollutants (viruses included) through oxidation.

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