The Molekule Air is the first air purifier that dares to rewrite the rules for high-range air purifiers. Since the beginning, all air purifiers must use the HEPA filter to do the air cleaning tasks. Others beg to differ being ended up as ozone generators, which are ineffective and potentially toxic. The Molekule Air is the pioneer for the new technology, and we can believe in a good future for the entire air purifier industry, if there are many new air filtration inventions like our today reviewed unit. Let’s take a full and in-depth Molekule Air Review, to see if you should purchase this air purifier or not.
In Breathe Quality, we have reviewed all air purifiers under these sections. Also, we guarantee that:
- We do give honest reviews (both pros and cons) so anyone will guarantee to have the wisest choices.
- We do not (and never) exaggerate one product just to let you click the links and buy that product blindly.
- Amazing and unique PECO technology
- Sleek design, premium build
- Energy efficient
- Plenty of Smart features
- A bit more expensive
- Low fan power
- Cleans slower than others
- No Smart Sensor
Since 2014, Molekule has become a miracle in the air purifier industry, thanks to the introduction of their newly invented Molekule Air. After these years, this air purifier is still the iconic device of the company, being praised by many reputable reviewers in the U.S. But there are also critical claims for this air purifier, so in this Molekule Air Review, we will try everything to help you get a true objectivity in a critic.
Other Molekule’s Air Purifier Reviews:
Molekule Air Price
First of all, we must all concur that the Molekule Air not only sets a new standard for Molekule, it sets a new standard for the entire mobile industry. The PECO air filtration system claimed to “outperforms HEPA filters in every category of pollutant”, but it seems Molekule has removed this arrogant statement. It is improved in the latest Molekule Air Pro, which is released last year, right in the center of COVID-19 pandemic.
Still, I find the technology itself quite simply astonishing, and if the company makes persuasive answer to all critics from the community, maybe the audience will clearly see the usefulness of the Molekule Air.
While Molekule has promised to support any customers with their “100% refundable” policy, it’s not clear how they will handle all the current weaknesses of the Molekule Air. It seems the Molekule Air doesn’t change a bit since the beginning, and I must admit that the company is trying to ignore the community’s voice. It would severely curtail their usefulness compared to the competition.
Especially when the Molekule Air isn’t cheap. That’s usually the number one criteria when deciding to buy an air purifier. Even for a high-range segment when customers aren’t quite price-sensitive, Molekule Air doesn’t proves its efficiency over the traditional, giant air purifying machines.
The price of Molekule Air starts at $799 officially on Molekule website, making it one of the most expensive air purifiers on the market, matching the price of many Austin Air and AllerAir air purifiers, most notably the Austin Air Bedroom Machine, Austin Air HealthMate Plus and AllerAir 5000.
It’s still cheaper than the IQAir HealthPro Plus, Oransi EJ120 and Aeris aair 3-in-1 Pro, still the price is enough for the customers to ask a real-world efficiency. Or else, it’s hard to convince anyone buying a Molekule Air instead of these machines with heavy and thick HEPA filter.
Perhaps the closest competitor of this Molekule Air is the Airocide APS-200 and Airocide APS-200 PM 2.5. These advanced PCO air purifiers with NASA technology can be even more expensive than a Molekule Air.
If you happen to be on a budget (though I doubt someone who’s tight on a budget will check the review of this air purifier), you can check the Molekule Air Mini instead. It has a few cuts off for lowering the price tag, but it features the same PECO air filtration technology like our today reviewed unit. Or else, you can try other air purifier brands with higher performance, like Rabbit Air MinusA2 or Medify MA-112.
Related post: Best air purifiers 2021.
Molekule Air Design and Size
Like many audiences that come to this review, you may skip the design section entirely to check the efficiency of this Molekule Air immediately. While the action isn’t wrong, it could be a totally pity because the Molekule Air has a premium design with high-quality materials.
This Molekule Air design has been developed and refined over the cylindrical shape, which was not as popular in the past as the present. This design can utilize the 360° air intake at the bottom, which is learned by a later cheaper Levoit LV-H132.
Molekule makes use of anodized aluminum for the body of this Molekule Air, which isn’t as solid as the stainless steel material of Austin Air devices, this material is for a clean design. The overall aesthetic is one of premium styling, and as well as looking good it feels classy with the silver color.
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.
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.
You can easily guess the Molekule Air will run the common bottom-to-top air flow system concept. The air intake of this air purifier can only be found at the bottom, and such slim design indicate that Molekule Air has a weak fan power. We will find out later in the below sections.
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.
Related post: Best air purifiers for bedroom.
Molekule Air 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.
- 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.
- 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.
While the pre-filter is quick to explain, the main selling point of the Molekule Air is its innovative PECO air filtration technology. The patented PECO technology, in short of Photo Electrochemical Oxidation, deprives from a well-known technology in air purifier world – the PCO (Photo Catalytic Oxidation). You can see this technology from a lot of air purifiers like Vornado PCO575DC or Airpura P600.
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.
The PECO air filtration technology proceeds inside the air purifier’s body, but there are some reviewers claimed that the air purifier can eject the UV rays out of the device to cleanse the airborne pollutants. Such claim is completely FALSE.
For years, the PECO technology scientifically works in real-world use. But does it truly outperform the HEPA filter, like Molekule once stated (now they removed this line due to negative critics from the community)? We will find out in a simple test of only 150 square feet, and I let the Molekule Air run in 1 hour.
As you can see from the chart below, the 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.
I’m aware of the test from the Modern Castle, which happened in real-world conditions instead of lab test, and the result of Molekule Air was a lot better. But even in this test, the Molekule Air was still weaker than the Dyson TP04, and for an air purifier with such progressive air filtration technology, the Molekule Air was quite overpriced.
While Molekule didn’t hide any scientific disclosures of Molekule Air’s performance from public, which I personally hold in high regard. However, if you look closely in their test, both the Molekule Air and Molekule Air Mini are tested in a chamber of only 27 m3, resulting in just 119 square feet for a 8-ft-ceiling room. The result, Molekule Air removed 84% dust in 20 minutes, which is quite similar to our test for a bigger room.
Source: Molekule website
But 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.
Source: Molekule website
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.
In our next section, I will explain why the Molekule Air had such weak result against other air purifiers using HEPA filters. But first, I should inform you that the Molekule Air is certified by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), to meet an ozone emission concentration limit of 0.05 parts per million. This air purifier won’t trigger asthma or any other breathing issues for the users.
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.
Related post: Best air purifiers for allergies.
Molekule Air 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.
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.
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. Perhaps the Molekule Air could be a lot better, if the company listened to the community, and improved the fan power. I still think the PECO technology is great, but when an air purifier can’t pull enough polluted air, it can’t give happy result.
Related post: Best large room air purifiers.
Molekule Air Sound
As the Molekule has such weak fan power, it’s no surprise to find that it has a whisper-quiet operation.
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.
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Molekule Air Power Consumption
One of our most FAQs is “Do air purifiers use a lot of energy?” In fact, air purifier must be used for a long time to be efficient. And power consumption is one important criteria to review if this air purifier is good or not.
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.
Related post: Best air purifiers for pets.
Molekule Air Additional Features
Regardless of the negative critics, the Molekule Air is still a high-end air purifier, with flagship additional features. The air purifier is controlled with a smartphone app, available for both iOS and Android. With the app, you can also check the filter status, and know when to change the air filter.
However, the Molekule Air doesn’t have the Smart Sensor, which is typically the most important high-end feature of one air purifier. It can’t be controlled via voice commands, too. Perhaps in high-range segment, the AIRMEGA 400S, Dyson HP04, Blueair Classic 605 and Honeywell HPA600B are much better options.
The Molekule even has a blue glow on top, indicating that the PECO system is on (because deep inside the PECO system is an UV bulb). So you can’t turn off the glow, and if you are sensitive to light while sleeping, well, you have a bad luck.
Molekule Air Customer Service
Molekule is a science and technology company, expertise in air purifier only. The company has a knowledge base for any common questions of air purifiers, covering a huge amount of knowledge you should know about your air purifier.
The company does really focus on the customer service. You can reach them easily from Monday to Sunday, either via live chat, phone or email. You should contact to them via email at email@example.com, or via toll-free phone at 855-999-9069. If you have question of your mobile app’s account, you should reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Molekule generously offers Free Shipping, and you can get your air purifier within 2 business days. Most importantly, you can track your order thanks to a tracking number. If the tracking number isn’t working, make sure to contact the support immediately.
The return policy of Molekule is quite inconsistent between pages. But I believe they give you 60 days of Satisfaction Guaranteed. Remember that the shipping charges will be excluded from the refund.
All air purifiers manufactured by Molekule are covered by a 2-year warranty. Warranty services are available only in countries where the Products are sold directly by Molekule or an authorized Molekule reseller.
One more plus for Molekule’s customer service is that by using their products, you can get the auto refill for filter replacement, free of shipping cost.
The Molekule Air is a brave product to think over the limit of HEPA filter, which could be the new standard for the entire air purifier industry.
However, it seems Molekule ignores feedback from the community, and they don’t have a strong answer for any previous negative critics, leaving the Molekule Air the most forward-thinking air purifier you shouldn’t buy.
While Molekule Air delivers a ‘wow’ factor that no other air purifier offers today, and yet I’d only recommend it to early adopters with a penchant for impressing their peers, and who have money to burn. It’s a technical marvel, with technical limitations, and it makes us hopeful for a more fully rounded sequel.
The Molekule Air is the most forward-thinking air purifier you shouldn’t buy.