Hacker News Re-Imagined

Contra Wirecutter on the IKEA air purifier

  • 1474 points
  • 16 days ago

  • @Ariarule
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Contra Wirecutter on the IKEA air purifier


@CodeWriter23 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

Not surprising given Wirecutter was acquired by NYT a few years back and mainstream media’s obsession with not-quite-robust “fact checking”

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@bombcar 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

Whoops this wasn't meant to be a top level post. Erp.

Moved it here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=31813424 sorry for those responding

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@dusted 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

excellent write.. I bought multiple of these airfilters after reading that review, because, honestly, I didn't believe it anyway, and my particle sensors clearly show when the filter is running.

Unfortunately, the build quality is not exceptional, so there is a bit of noise from the unit, even at the low settings, but placed far enough from the bed, it's hard to notice. The particle count is higher during the night, but not as high as with the filter completely turned off. I can even see when my sleep is interrupted, and when I go to bed and wake up from the particle count graph.

I must admit that I capture the data with the ikea "VINDRIKTNING" sensor, it has a TX pin exposed and that is easily hooked to RX on an ESP8265, which simply runs a TCP socket server that streams the reading via wifi.

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@jve 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

Great article. I myself have IKEA air purifier.

Has anyone used https://www.mi.com/global/mi-air-purifier-3c ? Can it achieve lower noise per CADR? IKEA one on full speed is pretty loud (I may not know what loud air purifiers are, but I get concert of sounds at home I want to minimize - refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher, electric water boiler, air purifier)

Does it work via LAN with Home-Assistant? Are they "smart" filters you are forced to change or "dumb" ones?

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@fmajid 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

Also worth reading, in the same vein:

https://danluu.com/nothing-works/

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@Tade0 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

> That’s lower, but do we care? The first level is already comparable to the least polluted cities on the planet. And most people reading this probably have less drafty windows or cleaner outside air.

I wish. I live in an area that routinely goes to 100ug/m3+ during the winter.

I picked a local brand because it had all the features I wanted: a numerical indicator, ioniser and the filter was aligned vertically, so the device doesn't occupy too much space.

It has a CADR of 300m2/h or ~ 185sq ft/min. That's enough to survive the worst smog events.

I could buy three of those IKEA ones for the price though, which is actually the recommended approach, because air purifiers generally work very locally.

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@OJFord 15 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

> (Yeah, power usage goes down when you add the extra carbon filter to the IKEA purifier. I’ve confirmed this myself with a power meter. Physics is weird.)

Well it's not that weird is it? It went down because CADR went down, the airflow is lower so the motor's not 'pushing so hard'.

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@ricardobayes 15 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

Can someone recommend a good purifier available in Europe? I feel like Dyson is hyped up and there are better alternatives.

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@cosmodisk 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

I've done so much research about air purifiers that I think I could do a thesis if I were in academia. The vast majority of these devices fall under one category: rubbish. Lots of gimmicks performed when it comes to efficacy. Bending reality with borderline claims or inventing useless terms that mean nothing. If you are serious about indoor air quality, start with IQAir. Their products are bulky, contain multiple filters and you know that you'll be able to get replacement filters 5 years later. Blueair has some reasonable products too (ignore the smaller, cheap product lines).

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@bryanlarsen 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

Their humidifier recommendations have similar problems. If you want a humidifier, I recommend checking out Technology Connections on YouTube.

For anything else, Consumer Reports. They don't accept advertising or commissions.

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@rhexs 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

The air purifier review market is about as useful as searching for a credible mattress review.

Snake oil everywhere.

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@ilamont 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

they refer to the IKEA purifier as using a “PM2.5 filter”

Take a European brand. Add some mysterious spec numbers to the name, and turn a milquetoast product into something cool or respectable.

My favorite: the "Merkur XR4Ti" which was basically a Ford Sierra hatchback (family car) with a vaguely sporty look and slightly higher performance engine.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merkur_XR4Ti

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@highwaylights 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

I have three of the Fornuftig and am very pleased with them, save for the noise being quite bothersome at the highest setting.

They’ve helped quite a bit with a pollen allergy.

Getting good information has been a nightmare and it’s nice to see a post calling out the utter nonsense that gets spread about HEPA and filtration, with no thoughts to diffusion.

The big problem I have now is that I would like to upgrade to the Starkvind smart purifiers as they’d be ideal, save for again not being able to get any decent information on filtration and flow rate.

If the author ever reads this, I’d absolutely love a deep dive like this one on the Starkvind!

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@wpietri 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

Who is Dynomight?

For me this piece leans pretty heavily on authorial confidence. But I couldn't find any indication of who the author is, or what his expertise is. I get why he's casting aspersions on their revenue model and how it might affect what they write. But then he doesn't disclose what his revenue model and personal interests might be.

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@ck2 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

Particle sizes visualized, note PM2.5 vs PM10

https://i.imgur.com/dU990L8.jpg

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@nerdjon 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

I use the IKEA air purifier and love them, but I had a specific use case in mind.

My cat boxes are in an enclosed big box with a single entrance, I wanted to put the filter in front of the opening (kinda creating a walkway) to help eliminate smell and dust. It does these tasks wonderfully.

I don't think I could see myself using them for filtering an entire room, but they do a good job for what they are.

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@amelius 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

> The EU HEPA filter spec—yours to download today for a bargain $1148.24—

How can this be true? Weren't these standards produced with tax money?

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@TootsMagoon 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

TLDR - Where is Wirecutter's test data?

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@irishloop 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

I see a lot of discussion here about Wirecutter and/or Consumer Reports being untrustworthy. But I am not sure "reviews" are a solvable problem, really.

The human element of perception is inherent to reviewing products. I might think something is genuinely better than you because it meets my needs better. Or because you got a bad part in yours through sheer bad luck. Or I had a migraine that day.

I usually just try to google whatever product I am trying to understand and read a few articles and try to at least hone in on what might be the most authentic or at least reviews that are well-written and seem to care about the product.

But there's no perfect system. I went through this whole process trying to figure out the best mattress and at some point you just gotta give up and say hey they're all basically glorified piles of hay let's just do this.

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@Androider 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

There might be better air purifiers, but the recommended Coway purifier is really good. I've had one for 5 years, still working as well as the day I bought it. I also have a 3x more expensive high-end Alen unit, but it's not nearly as effective or quiet as the simple Coway. The filters are way more expensive too.

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@atlgator 15 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

Wirecutter was great when it was independently owned. Since it was bought by NYT it doesn’t seem as neutral. They conveniently seem to favor products sold by Amazon or Walmart where they can get referral fees.

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@vorpalhex 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

This is good work.

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@leguminous 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

Wirecutter seems to make a big deal of the fact that the IKEA purifier doesn't use a "true HEPA" filter. As far as I can tell, neither does the Blueair purifier that is one of their top picks. Blueair claims to use "HEPASilent Ultra," while carefully avoiding claiming that their filter meets HEPA standards.

> HealthProtect™ is equipped with HEPASilent Ultra™, our most advanced filtration technology ever. Every component is uniquely designed in Sweden to provide the maximum performance and energy efficiency. This patent-pending technology combines electrostatic and mechanical filtration to remove 99%⁴ of bacteria and remove dust, pollen, dander, mold, VOCs, and odors. HEPASilent Ultra™ delivers 50% more clean air⁵, uses 55% less energy and has a 10% lower noise than traditional true HEPA filtration⁶.

https://www.blueair.com/sg/healthprotect-family-page.html

As an aside, for air purifiers and some other items I've found the energy star site useful:

https://www.energystar.gov/productfinder/product/certified-r...

There are actual measurements and you can sort by several categories. The manufacturers submit the measurements themselves, but the tests are at least supposed to be standardized. And they actually display the wattage used by each purifier. The electricity running costs can make up a large portion of the total cost of ownership of an air purifier if you have it running consistently.

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@UIUC_06 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

For kitchen devices, ATK or SeriousEats.

Anything else: if you don't have a site you trust, then the only recourse is to look at LOTS of sites and read between the lines. By "sites" I also include "user forums."

This also applies to movie reviews, btw. Rotten Tomatoes is trash. You can't average Trash opinions and end up with anything other than Trash. What you want to learn is "what is this movie like, and will I enjoy it?" So you should find some critics whom you think are intelligent, and just read them.

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@blobbers 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

I had a lot of trouble finding "the right" air purifier. Who knows if its even the right one. I found wirecutter (and the like) to have a bit of a feel of a fake affiliate marketing website.

My take is: people currently trust their friends, and they trust influencers. They don't really trust "experts", or scientists.

What are thoughts on a social network that was simply product endorsements from your social network. You can add influencers & friends and list the products you use.

Yeah if influencers want to shill a product, that's up to them and you. If you trust them, then you trust what they shill. But if you want to see Kara Swisher uses a IQ Air or an Ikea product, you can trust them.

Thoughts?

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@kn0where 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

Wirecutter really illustrates the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. Some of their recommendations are fine, but whenever they review something more niche than phone charger cables, I go to the comments/Reddit/forums to find out why their pick is overpriced/underperforming compared to whatever the community prefers.

Edit: also, I’m finding Reddit to be a less useful term to append to my google searches over time. Many Reddit communities seem to attract novices who quickly learn to parrot the same frequently-upvoted claims without context, and the experts flee to niche forums instead.

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@addicted 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

This article has basic misreading errors.

It assumes that everything the Wirecutter says about the IKEA filters and non IKEA filters is a reflection of the difference between HEPA filters and non HEPA filters. But the wirecutter article does not imply that. It mentions the IKEA filter is not a true-HEPA filter and mentions other stuff about the IKEA filter which may or may not have derived from the true-HEPA claim.

However, it’s likely true because the IKEA spokesperson they spoke to confirmed this and said it was a deliberate design decision.

I also want to point out that this article makes a big deal of having found something on the IKEA website about its filtering capacity, but seems to miss the fairly obvious point that in the line it highlights, IKEA never states that it’s filters meet the E12 standard. It only states that it’s tested against that standard.

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@fehrm 15 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

I have both Förnuftig (meaning sensible, great name) and a Coway Storm AP-1516D. I prefer the Coway, but it is much more powerful.

The only issue I have with the Förnuftig is the noise level, even on medium it is too loud for me. Apart from that, it is fine. It isn't as powerful and advanced as the Coway but everyone loves the look of it and asks what it is, and shows their spouses it.

Coway is big, powerful, quite silent but also clunky and in the way.

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@corxi 15 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

HEPA filters ahahahahah!!! Just look up TPA filters, and…. Airdog. That’s a filter..

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@simias 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

Opinions about Wirecutter notwithstanding, I thoroughly enjoyed this article. I basically believed every singe "myth" exposed here, and especially that a better grade of filter was really important when in fact if you recirculate the air constantly it's really not a big deal.

Also the fact air filters don't work like sieves is pretty mind blowing to me, I must confess.

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@jansan 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

IKEA really mussed the chance to provide a way to connect their air quality sensor with the air purifier. I was hoping to have an automated system that would start the air purifier when a certain threshold is reached, but there is no way to achieve this (except with intensive hacking).

Also, the air quality sensor ALWAYS shows green. Did it show yellow or even red for anyone not living in Hotang?

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@diebeforei485 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

Note that Ikea also sells a more powerful air filter called the Starkvind. This one is able to detect the air quality and automatically turn itself on.

It is sold either as a standalone device or integrated into a nightstand / small coffee table: https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/starkvind-table-with-air-purifi...

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@screye 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

Wirecutter is like Leetcode interviews.

The goal is not to find the 'best' option, but minimize false positives under intense time-pressure. Their recommendation is usually the 8/10 solid option that you can blindly buy and be moderately satisfied with. In the process, they drop out or misrepresent other comparable options, but their final recommendation is never shoddy.

This is in stark contrast to other reviewers like IGN who give 10/10 to every new cash-cow game, and The-Verge that tows the 'mainstream' line to play it safe. Additionally, Wirecutter's guides are up-to-date and cover every imaginable category. Are rtings, Anandtech, LTT, Crinacle, notebookcheck, gsmarena, etc. better ? Yes, a 100%. But each of them cover a small niche and particularly leave out appliances of all types.

I agree with Dynomight on Wirecutter being mediocre. But, consistent mediocrity is incredibly hard to execute at at scale.

I would never use wirecutter unless I absolutely had to. But, often, I absolutely have to. Because no one else remotely trustable is going around reviewing humidifiers and vacuum cleaners.

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@logifail 15 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

I'm pretty skeptical (and that's putting it mildly) of any website that uses affiliate marketing links. I can't see how objectivity can survive in that environment.

A concrete example is frequent flyer/travel blogs. I vaguely know the guy who runs the UK's largest one, I've met him in person several times, fairly nice bloke. He's worked very hard to build his site, publishes high-quality content, and is often the first to write about new places and routes of interest. His site has a thriving forum and allows comments on his posts.

He also pushes credit card offers and his site is littered with affiliate links.

Hmm, you say, that's OK, it doesn't necessarily mean he's lost his objectivity.

Except, his articles will say that the best way to book flight or hotel X is via offer Y (coincidentally in affiliate scheme Z, which is where the "book now" link sends you to). Then someone in the comments will pipe up to mention an alternative cashback route that is objectively better. He will delete that comment and any replies to it. So those who aren't aware of what's going on believe his article is the objective truth, and keep feeding the beast by clicking on his affiliate links. They miss out on all the better deals because they involve booking in ways that no-one's allowed to mention on his site.

This has happened over and over again. To me, affiliate marketing is basically a cancer.

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@jefftk 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

Agreed: the Wirecutter's emphasis on HEPA is not right for a purifier that sits in a room. Once you get to reasonably high removal efficacy (even 90%, let alone 99.5% vs 99.97%) flow rate matters far more than filter spec.

I also wish the Wirecutter would publish more detailed logs. They just check the particle density after half an hour, which is generally super low. Instead they could show the particle density curves, or the minute-over-minute decreases (ex: https://www.jefftk.com/p/testing-air-purifiers)

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@Miraste 15 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

My biggest takeaway from this article is that it costs thousands of dollars just to see what EU standards actually say. Why?

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@jiveturkey 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

Glad to see some strong analysis backing up my decision to ignore wirecutter reviews for a couple of years now. Basically when they started publishing reviews for things they did not actually review.

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@IndySun 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

Who or whatever dynomight is, they take things seriously. And I, for one, am grateful.

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@idk1 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

Can anyone tell me what 'Contra Wirecutter' means. It's like I've gone mad, everyone seems to know what this term means, both of these words mean nothing to me and I've spoken English my entire life. You're all acting like they're two words that make perfect sense. Haha. It would be really great is someone could explain the two words to me.

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@EnderWT 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

On the first point in the article, there is a definition for HEPA which for ISO is 99.95% efficiency. The Ikea purifier doesn't meet this. It meets the EPA standard, hence the designation of E12 (99.5%).

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@Saint_Genet 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

Not to be a conspiracy theorist, but the IKEA one which they singled out as not recommended to buy is the only one in the article they don't earn a commission on when someone buys it

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@apendleton 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

I definitely feel like there's a bit of a Gell-Mann Amnesia effect going on with Wirecutter reviews: when they review things in areas I happen to know well, I often notice errors or missteps in their thinking in the review, but for some reason I still blindly trust their reviews in products that I know less about, even though obviously it's not particularly likely that they're uniquely inexpert in the areas I happen to know well. Posts like this are a good reminder to be skeptical of all of it.

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@GistNoesis 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

I am no professional but air quality as been a pet peeve of mine, here is my advice.

The main problem with air purifier is that they create a false sense of security while doing only part of the job, and in many cases the job can be done better by opening the windows to change the air.

The step number one if you care about your air quality, is getting an air quality monitor. They are quite cheap, and should display temperature, humidity, PM2.5, TVOC (total volatile organic compounds), and CO2.

Then you can treat the problem adequately if you have one.

If your home ventilation was well designed and you live in a non-polluted area the numbers should be OK. Then you only need an air purifier if you create some kind of dust and/or not ventilate during cooking.

If they aren't : try opening windows a little and experiment to see if you can maintain the number in the correct range throughout the day and year. If you can't you'll probably have to have some form of professional installation to get the ventilation done properly or need to move.

HEPA filters in air purifier, only remove particulates but have no effect on TVOC or CO2. HEPA filters are expensive and need to be changed regularly.

TVOC and CO2 only grow indoor, the only thing you can impact is how fast they grow, and therefore how often you will have to change your air to maintain good enough quality.

To reduce the growth rate of TVOC the first thing to do is track the sources of it and remove them (for example avoid bad paints, glues, remove clutter (the less object surfaces you have the less they emit and use inert surface materials), chemical bottles...), and then make sure that you keep temperature and humidity stable.

To remove CO2, the only way is to have adequate ventilation (either by opening the windows or by mechanical ventilation), (and you can only get as low as the CO2 concentration of the outside air (which is growing...) ).

This ventilation will bring fresh air from the outside. Then it all depends on where you live and the quality, temperature, humidity of the exterior air.

For example if you live in a cold place, opening the windows will lose lot of heat, so you can mitigate this problem by using a ventilation that recover part of the loss heat. If you live in a humid place bringing you probably need some ventilation that dry the air. But the key is to ventilate as little as possible to maintain the number in the good range.

If you live in a place where the quality of the exterior air is bad, you probably should move, but in the mean time you can use an air purifier to mitigate the PM2.5 problem.

If you live in an old place that was designed without ventilation in mind, it will be quite expensive and may create some noise, and you probably should move.

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@throw90259475 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

On the same subject but from another source, some arguments in this video are off:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0uZKBlwLEFs

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@wabain 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

This article falls into the trap of conflating the Wirecutter's misapplication of filtration standards with irrelevant minutiae about which terms and diameters they cite for the filter classes. So alongside a pretty cogent description of how fine-matter filtration works by particle size, there's the claim that "a 'PM2.5 filter' … isn’t a thing," despite the PM2.5 class of fine particulate matter being the range specifically mentioned in the Ikea product description in the screenshot. A cursory search will turn up lots of results for filters which show that this is a pretty common term. Where the Wirecutter review actually goes wrong is in taking 2.5 microns as the lower bound of the particulate range, whereas it's conventionally the upper bound.

Then there's the idea that "Neither size mentioned (0.3 microns or 2.5 microns) has any relationship to either of the design specs" [the EU E12 and H13 standards]. When I google "hepa" my first hit is a US EPA page giving the specification for the most penetrating particle size of HEPA filters as 0.3 microns, rather than the 0.15 microns given in the article (from the empirical research or EU standards, I'm not sure which). This is from North America, but then, the Wirecutter is an American review site. It's worth considering this kind of (IMO) misfire in light of the article making the least charitable possible inference, that the Wirecutter deliberately set out to discredit the Ikea product because it couldn't give an affiliate link.

[1] https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/what-hepa-filter

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@rdl 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

Wirecutter has gone way downhill since NYT bought them, too. :(

The only review source I trust is https://www.youtube.com/c/ProjectFarm/videos

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@js2 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

True HEPA means exactly what it says: HEPA as defined by the US EPA.

E12 is NOT a HEPA filter. Which is why it's called E12. HEPA starts at H13 and H14. This is right in the wikipedia page TFA links to:

> The specification used in the European Union: European Standard EN 1822-1:2009, from which ISO 29463 is derived, defines several classes of filters by their retention at the given most penetrating particle size (MPPS): Efficient Particulate Air filters (EPA), HEPA and Ultra Low Particulate Air filters (ULPA).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HEPA#Specifications

So the IKEA filter is an Efficient Particulate Air filter, but not a HEPA filter.

There is nothing wrong with The Wirecutter's review. TFA's allegation that The Wirecutter dismissed the IKEA filter because they don't get an affiliate fee from IKEA is without evidence or merit. The Wirecutter does in fact recommend other IKEA products:

https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/best-stuff-from-i...

The Wirecutter is not a perfect site, but it's where I often start my product research and it has yet to let me down.

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@rossmohax 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

Looking for an indoor air quality monitor to buy, any recommendations?

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@sydthrowaway 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

Oh great, Wirecutter is full of paid shills now too.

Why the fuck does everything turn to shit?

Fuck Google.

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@swagasaurus-rex 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

I've tried out various air purifiers, the only one I've found that's truly quiet is RabbitAir.

It's amazing how much noise pollution most air purifiers create.

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@breput 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

Big Clive made a video and wrote an OpenSCAD script[0] which allows you to 3D print a base and adapter to convert a regular 120mm computer fan into a "true" HEPA air purifier.

You might already have a spare 120mm fan laying around - I am using a $8 ARCTIC P12 fan[1] which is very quiet and is designed to work with high static pressure. The generic filters[2] are two for $17, (supposedly) H13 grade, available from a number of suppliers, and last a very long time. You could use them one at a time but I stack the two filters on top of each other and seal them with electrical tape for more surface area.

The fan isn't super powerful (56 CFM) and the appearance is not as polished as commercial models, but it does have a certain aesthetic to it. The area where I live rarely has any air quality issues but I have noticed it really cuts down on dust.

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Vmh2Ip2Vxg (script in the Description)

[1] https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B07GB16RK7

[2] https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B08N1FP2WT

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@hubraumhugo 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

Since most people are relying on Reddit for product research, this list of the most discussed air purifiers on r/AirPurifiers might be a good start too: https://looria.com/reddit/AirPurifiers/products

What enthusiasts and authentic users say is far more valuable than an article that was made for views by some corporates. Redditors and other forum members are more interested in boosting their ego by showing their depth of knowledge on the topic (and correcting others on the topic), whereas corporate websites are more interested in raking profit by displaying (potentially) dishonest information.

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@pubby 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

If filters struggle to trap particles around some specific particle size, wouldn't it make sense to combine two filters with different ranges together?

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@flanbiscuit 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

Here's the original Wirecutter review: https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/blog/ikea-fornuftig-air-p...

"Our pick among small-space purifiers, the Levoit Core 300, is not much more expensive, is a true-HEPA machine, and has a CADR of 135, which means it’s effective in rooms up to 200 square feet."

Non-affiliate direct link to the one Wirecutter recommends:

https://levoit.com/products/core300-true-hepa-air-purifier

Just linking for information in case anyone else was curious.

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@sizzle 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

Since we are among experts here, please recommend the best air filters available to retail customers and I will gladly whatever price for the peace of mind, since I am not an expert and trust sites like Wirecutter over Amazon type of reviews.

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@backtoyoujim 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

Ikea interested me when they worked with teenage engineering for some silly bits. But that was quickly reduced into a markup game from resellers so it lost my interest.

bless their hearts and billy-bookcases but they have never moved me on much else.

and i don't need my home-appliance obsolescence bar to descend even further towards flat-pack territory.

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@detritus 15 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

From the very last line - "The only motive here is indignation."

Brilliant.

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@tssva 15 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

Regarding the section about whether it is or isn't a true HEPA filter, the Wirecutter is a US based website targeting mostly US based consumers so maybe we should look at the major US standard regarding HEPA filters which is DOE-STD-3020-2015. This standard was originally developed to cover HEPA filters supplied by DOE contractors in nuclear facilities.

How does it define a HEPA filter? "High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filter: A throwaway, extended-medium, dry type filter with a rigid casing enclosing the full depth of the pleats. The filter shall exhibit a minimum efficiency of 99.97% when tested with an aerosol of 0.3 micrometer diameter."

So according to the standard in the target market for the review the IKEA air purifier does not use a true HEPA filter and the recommended unit does.

Edit: I looked closer at the European specification used in the article. By that specification the filter in the IKEA unit also is not a true HEPA filter but an EPA filter. The Exx designations mean it is a EPA filter and the Hxx designations mean a HEPA filter.

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@Havoc 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

The emphasis on flow rate misses a feature that is more important to me - live measurement and adjustment of fan speed dynamically.

I don't want a turbine that cranks out the decibels 24/7 regardless of state of air

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@varispeed 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

Isn't IKEA now mostly branded Chinese tat with a slightly premium pricing? I have noticed that you can buy good quality Chinese stuff cheaper without having to pay for Western branding. Now that Western corporations are outsourcing whatever they can to make extra profit, basically becoming a shell and investment vehicle rather that a company actually making something, I think that it is now more ethical to actually buy from Chinese corporations without Western involvement. These greedy corporations are a part of the reason why Western economies are tanking. No meaningful jobs and people can't keep up paying off their debts. They also lobbied governments to put regulations on top of regulations so only big corporations could keep up with changes and it wouldn't be possible for a small business to even start unless they also outsource to Asia. I am sorry for quite a rant, but when I see IKEA it hits a nerve.

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@r12343a_19 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

I am legit wondering if air purifiers wouldn't be a good addition in preschools. A classroom isn't that big and one of these things would probably be enough. A school year would require 2-3 replacements, ie. not much.

Anybody did something like this?

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@Ataraxic 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

Looking at the wattage comparisons, the article talks about the "Wirecutter recommended air purifier" but seems to go out of its way to not mention it by name. Why?

Second, I don't believe this air purifier, or really any recommended air purifier is going to use 45 watts for any extended period of time. The main power draw is simply the fan and a fan using 45 watts is going to be extremely loud.

Secondly, I think there is an argument to be made for an air purifier quickly reducing particle count and then switching back into a lower noise mode.

The suspicious CADR numbers do require more investigation on the wirecutter side though.

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@daenz 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

Protip: you can turn a box fan into an incredibly effective air purifier[0] (particle measurements in thread). The one they show is pretty elaborate, using 4 filters and some construction, but you can also use a single filter and slap it on the back of the box fan and have similar results. The air purifier industry is more about aesthetics than it is function.

0. https://twitter.com/LazarusLong13/status/1425517352624410627

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@ethbr0 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

One thing that irks that shit out of me in reviews -- not normalizing or banding for cost.

Measuring performance without taking into account cost is meaningless.

Hat tip to (old) Tom's Hardware for being the first site I knew that did this well, with their cpu / gpu hierarchy, which attempted to rank the last 2 generations or so of product against each other.

It boiled it down to two columns (Intel, AMD), with gaps where each manufacturer didn't have product for that performance.

It really helped in "Should I buy previous gen +spec, or current gen -spec, given they both have the same price now?" questions.

Sadly, it seems to have devolved into this, which is less useful: https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cpu-hierarchy,4312.html

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@londons_explore 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

I wish analysis like this would stop using tests of the filter material to make any judgement about the purifier.

If the air passed through the filter precisely once and then ended up in your room, it would be valid. But it doesn't - the air passes many times through the filter, and mixes with the room air again and again each time.

That means it is far less important to get 99.9% filtration, and far more important to get more cubic feet passing through the filter each minute. That dramatically changes the optimal design.

To see why, imagine a room of 1000 cubic feet. Now filter one of those cubic feet, and put it back into the same room. A good 99.9% filter has just removed 0.0999% of the dirt. A bad 90% filter with double the airflow removed 0.18% of the dirt. The bad filter is much better!

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@addicted 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

This article actually makes a bunch of claims itself that are false. For example, it claims that the Wirecutter believes air filters work like sieves. Whereas the Wirecutter review page for air purifiers goes into how they do not behave like sieves and also references a NASA study that shows how HEPA filters are good at capturing both particles smaller and larger than the 0.3 micron test standard.

It’s pretty obvious that the Wirecutter has used HEPA standard filters as a filter for whittling down the many air purifiers that exist in the world. They eliminated the IKEA filters because they do not meet HEPA standards (this blog’s focus on he true-HEPA marketing term is misguided, because the authors own referenced wiki link shows that E12 is not considered HEPA). However, they also reached out to IKEA about this, and the IKEA spokesperson told them their focus is on PM2.5.

They don’t recommend the IKEA filter based not on its inability to capturer finer particles, but because it’s not AS efficient as capturing finer particles as HEPA filters, AND because of its lower CADR.

It doesn’t meet the standards they set, so they don’t include it for price comparisons.

Maybe they haven’t set the right standards. Maybe they should have allowed for lower CADRs or for filters that meet lower filtration standards than HEPA.

However, the insinuation this article makes that they don’t seem to understand what they’re talking about is completely wrong.

Maybe this author should try reviewing over 20-30+ different air purifiers at a minimum without setting arbitrary thresholds up front and then get back to the Wirecutter folks.

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@ohmyblock 15 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

For running/hiking shoes, check out www.runrepeat.com

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@yurodivuie 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

Probably more aggro than necessary... Wirecutter takes H13 to be the minimum level that can be considered "HEPA" because that seems to be the "H" in "H13", per the same chart that Dynomight references in Wikipedia (though they cut off that column in their own article).

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@bobcostas55 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

IKEA says the fornuftig is only for 8-10 square meter rooms. How "real" is that limitation?

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@dubswithus 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

Levoit seems to be recommended by /r/AirPurifiers/

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07VVK39F7/

The replacement filters are quite expensive though.

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@6510 15 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

A more dense filter will just restrict air flow. What you want is a crappy filter with a large surface area.

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@Spooky23 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

The best air purifier is a $20 Lasco box fan with a 3M square furnace filter duct taped to it.

You can vary the cost and filtration ability based on the filter. A super duper filter is like $35, and a midrange is about $20.

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@hypersoar 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

The Wirecutter is a highly flawed review site, but at least it's a real one. There are vanishingly few left for general consumer products. There's WC, Consumer Reports, and what else? They've seem to have all been killed off. When I'm researching some category of product, I feel lucky if I find any professional reviews written by people who have actually touched the thing they're reviewing. I know we've all had the experience googling "reviews of X" only to get overwhelmed with SEO spam. Forget finding something written by somebody who has experience with it. It's hard enough to find something written by a human.

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@knorker 15 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

Feedback for the author: If you've never heard of "The wirecutter" then it's really hard to understand what you're saying.

Are you "The wirecutter"? It's not part of your domain name, if so.

"Contra", is that the series of games? Did you, Wirecutter, manage to port an old SNES game to the IKEA air purifier (like someone recently ported Doom to an IKEA lightbulb)?

I couldn't understand the title or the first few paragraphs.

I had to skim up and down the post to try to get context, in order to even understand the first paragraph.

I now believe that this is a critique of a review. A review that is not even linked to. If you don't want to link to them in any way (understandable, though I disagree) then at least define your terms.

I didn't get enough sleep last night, so I'm unusually stupid today. But I don't think I'm wrong.

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@wodenokoto 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

Does anyone know abut the noise level? My gf brought over her air purifier and it has this annoying high-pitched buzz.

I wouldn't mind investing in the Ikea ones if they are tolerable to listen to.

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@jackallis 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

s/he said they keep "I keep a big powerful purifier in the kitchen which I turn on as needed" down in conclusion section;i wonder what that is?

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@syntaxing 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

A bit off tangent, but Blueair purifiers was the only brand where the output air was 0 PPM2.5 during wildfire season in the Bay Area (I have the $50 uncalibrated laser PPM sensor that purpleair uses so interpret this as you want). I tried Dyson, Winix, and making a V-shape DIY purifier with a vornado fan. Nothing was able to pull the indoor air below 15 besides Blueair so I recommend it to any of my family and friends.

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@aceazzameen 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

I'm under the impression Wirecutter's reviews are also influenced from being paid by some manufacturers. No way to prove it, just a feeling as a consumer. Yet, I still look at them as a source occasionally.

When getting a air purifiers over a year ago, I read Wirecutter, Amazon, Reddit, and a few other blog-like websites and used that data to compare. For instance, Wirecutter recommends the Coway units. Yet Amazon had many recent reviews of their units breaking. And filters are expensive year after year. Wirecutter also recommends Winix as a runner up, and even says it performs better than the Coways, but they liked the Coways because it looks nicer. That tells me Coway pays them to be #1. Because other sites tell me about the breakage and expensive filter cost. Wirecutter omits that Winix has cheaper filters and doesn't have manufacturing issues. But according to them it's uglier even if it slightly out performs the Coway.

That being said, I got several Winix units and they've been great. Wirecutter served it's purpose for me.

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@elif 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

This blog post was just too long for the comment box, seemingly by out of touch armchair Wikipedian.

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@addicted 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

In all it’s bluster, this article forgets to add the fact that the Wirecutter actually tested the IKEA device, and didn’t just go by theoretical specs.

> Tim tested the Förnuftig in his 200-square-foot spare room, using the methods described above. But rather than focusing on its performance on 0.3-micron particles, he noted how well it removed 3-micron particles from the air. (IKEA confirmed that this was the appropriate size to look at; it’s the closest to PM2.5 that our TSI AeroTrak particle counter can measure separately.) The Förnuftig disappointed, even when we considered that the test room was larger than the machine is meant for, as it removed just 85.2% of 3-micron particles in 30 minutes on high and 73.6% in 30 minutes on medium. Its performance on 0.3-micron particles was, as expected, worse: 64.5% removed on high and 53.5% on medium. Compared with our budget/small-space pick, the Levoit Core 300, which removed 97.4% and 92.6%, respectively, of 0.3-micron particles and virtually all 3-micron particles on the same settings, that’s very poor.

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@fabian2k 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

I've never thought about air filters, but the explanation on why they also filter smaller particles is very similar to size exclusion chromatography, a very common method used in a biolab. This is also a method that might appear counter-intuitive at first.

The idea there is to separate molecules according to their size. So you press them through a column of porous beads. Small molecules can enter these pores, which delays them and they travel through the column slower than large molecules that cannot enter them. This is pretty counter-intuitive, especially as other similar methods work as you'd expect with smaller molecules being faster to move through the material because they don't bump into it as much as larger molecules.

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@thadk 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

I have both the Wirecutter pick which I've had for 7-8 years and the Förnuftig and I stopped using the Förnuftig after 2 months because it doesn't have a pre-filter and once dirty/filled, it cannot be recovered without replacing the whole filter. It also seems weak—the room can remain dusty indefinitely with it on. The Coway filter is just night-and-day more capable.

That said, in 2012, IKEA sold an amazing year-long-capacity-no-maintenance fiberglass German "Flimmer" filter like the ones they use over-head in their stores to keep products dust-free. That was incredible but wasn't marketed well and its replacement filters were discontinued in 2015: https://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/05/garden/sure-it-purifies-a...

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@charlie0 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

Legit review sites are pretty much dead. Most of them look and say exacy the same thing. Almost none of them have any objective measurements beyond what's stated already from marketing spec sheets.

I've still had strong suspicion that even with the ones that do "objective" measurements are somehow misleading and that secretly, there are kickbacks for the top rated products.

I have hope that Linus will bring legitimacy to the review space.

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@99_00 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

Would the Ikea filter with gas cleaning help with my stinky farts? Honest question.

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@bscphil 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

I'm inclined to debunk this debunking. To be clear, I do think that Wirecutter has problems. I don't like their practice of affiliate-linking. I think a review company should avoid even the "appearance of evil". But more importantly, their practices seem spotty: they tend to test only a relatively small number of models, which may not accurately reflect the market.

But I think this article, while it does present a lot of facts, is wrong about many of its conclusions.

On whether the IKEA purifier uses HEPA filters or not:

> They make a big deal about this, which is weird since “true-HEPA” has no legal or scientific meaning. Meanwhile, they refer to the IKEA purifier as using a “PM2.5 filter” which also isn’t a thing.

According to Wikipedia [1], "Common standards require that a HEPA air filter must remove—from the air that passes through—at least 99.95% (ISO, European Standard) or 99.97% (ASME, U.S. DOE) of particles whose diameter is equal to 0.3 μm, with the filtration efficiency increasing for particle diameters both less than and greater than 0.3 μm."

So that's an "H13" or better to use the terminology of the article. (The H in the name literally indicates that it's a high efficiency, or HEPA, filter.) The IKEA filter, according to the website, is a "99.5%" filter; they claim this "corresponds" to EPA 12, but Wirecutter's test results (below) may cast doubt on this. (The author mocks Wirecutter for apparently not doing this "research".) However, this just proves Wirecutter's point: IKEA's filters are not HEPA filters, and their pick's filters are. Is this important? I don't know, but score one for Wirecutter in getting the terminology right.

I'm not sure what Wirecutter is trying to say with the "PM2.5" language, but they may be trying to get across to consumers that these filters are more akin to a typical filter that you would get for your residential air conditioning unit. Notably, such filters are often categorized on the MERV scale, which does use minimum particle size effectively handled by the filter as a metric. Regardless, Wirecutter is somewhere between lazy and misleading on this, and the article is right to point this out.

I'm no expert in the physics of filters, and it sounds like this author is not either, but I'm a little skeptical that repeated applications of a lower efficiency filter are just as good as applications of a higher efficiency filter. Their charts rest on the assumption that every pass, a HEPA filter will remove 99.95% of remaining particles - even though, over time, the particles that remain in the room are the particles that the filter had "trouble" catching on previous cycles. So you should expect to see reduced efficiency on later cycles, I would think.

Regardless, what would really help is if someone had done some testing in an actual room. Oh wait, you're telling me Wirecutter did this??

> Even if we accepted all these test results (we don’t) that would just show the Wirecutter pick provides around 3.3 times as much cleaning per second.

So, even though nitpicks are in order, Wirecutter's pick costing $100 vs the $70 IKEA will clean the air 3.3 times as efficiently?? That seems like a good deal. Even if it uses more electricity and more expensive filters, I'm not going to want to purchase 3 units when 1 will do. (This efficiency difference will obviously extend to large rooms in the same way!)

> IKEA claims a CADR of 82.4 on high, and 53.0 on medium. So even taken at face value, this says that IKEA performs a bit above spec on 3.0-micron particles and a bit below spec on 0.3-micron particles.

Uh, sure. The reported result was "CADR 56.3" for 0.3 micron particles on high. Notably, 0.3 microns is supposed to be the low point for filters tested according to the standards used for HEPA. So it's worrying to see IKEA underperform the stated efficiency by this much at exactly the particle size we most care about when testing for HEPA. If I had to guess, this is probably why Wirecutter calls the IKEA filter a "PM2.5" filter: they are at or above their stated efficiency for 3 micron particles, and considerably below it for particles used in testing HEPA filters. To my thinking that's a very important fact that this article just glosses over.

At issue here is whether IKEA's claimed 99.5% efficiency, which this article touts, is only true of PM2.5 or also true for 0.3 micron particles. IKEA's product page is somewhat confusing and self-contradictory on this issue (which the article doesn't point out), but Wirecutter's test results would seem to cast doubt on the idea that the filter is 99.5% efficient by HEPA standards.

On costs: point taken, IKEA is cheaper at the per-unit level, both at point of purchase and throughout its lifespan. But given the apparent efficiency differences, discussed above, I think someone going with the Wirecutter pick is not completely unreasonable. If you want to dispute this result, I think the only way to do that is to do your own testing (which this article does not do).

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HEPA

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@wellthisisgreat 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

Wirecutter is just SEO spam and it makes very little sense to read it at all. You can't even go from the opposite of their recommendations as it's impossible to know which manufacturers caved in to their extortionist paid placement model

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@joshstrange 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

Wirecutter has gone to shit and stopped being useful about 3-4 years ago. Their move to a paid subscription was very odd to me because they had also lost all my trust by that point.

There are countless examples of recommends products doing a bait and switch (changing the materials/product after the wirecutter article recommending them came out) and just cases of Wirecutter giving bad recommendations.

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@watersb 16 days

Replying to @Ariarule 🎙

Am I the only one to be put off by the fact that the value for filter performance - clean air diffusion rate (CADR) - is stored in the second value of the list structure?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/CAR_and_CDR

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