Which Air Cleaners are Easiest to Change?


Air Filters - Which Air Cleaners are Easiest to Change?
Hamilton Beach, IQAir, Austin Air, and Clarifier Air Cleaners Tested
by Mercia Tapping, President, AllergyBuyersClub.com

Changing filters on your air cleaner is a must. I bought my dirty Blueair into the office and measured its efficiency before and after putting in new filters. After putting in new filters the efficiency rose in the order of over 20%, a clear argument to changing them. So now the question is, how easy is it to change them?


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    We did some training of new staff recently and took apart a number of our best selling air cleaners to change the HEPA and pre-filters. This is a quick summary of what we found. We rank ordered them in terms of ease of changing the filters.
    : These were the fastest of all to change and for the "mechanically disabled" like myself, they make life easy. Changing the filters requires lifting up the lid on top of the Blueair, pulling the new filters out and replacing with new ones. A 15 to 30 second operation at most. No screw drivers involved.
    Hamilton Beach: With these air filters, you open up the front grille and pull the dirty filter out and snap a new one in . No screwdrivers are involved and it took less than one minute to change the filter. Absolutely idiot-proof.
    IQAir: No screwdrivers are involved here but the system looks more intimidating the first time. In fact, it was much easier to change the IQAir air filters than it looked. You pull the side arms of the machine out and then remove and restack the filters. The mechanically inclined will accomplish this task in 2 to 3 minutes. Fumble fingers like myself took about 8 minutes the first time but can now do it as quickly as the rest of them. It is the resetting of the filter replacement controls that took more time during the first time out.
    Austin Air: We turned the machine upside down and used a screwdriver to open up the base plate. The HEPA filter slid in and out easily. We were dismayed at how CLEAN the pre-filter looked after 3 months constant use. It did not appear to us that it could be doing much good. However, the person on our staff who had changed the pre-filter a few months back said the pre-filter does in fact catch a lot of large particulates but vacuuming from the outside (the method recommended by Austin) is not effective. So here you have to use a screwdriver to change or wash the pre-filter. This process took us about 8 to 10 minutes.
    Clarifier: One of our all time favorite air cleaners, but it does not get top marks for ease of changing filters. We opened up the manual, read the instructions and our newbies tried to change the filter without success. It seemed stuck. We pushed and pulled and became very frustrated. It was clear that some screws needed taking out and no woman in the group could get the screws out by hand. A power screw driver was needed. In frustration, we gave the machine to our most mechanically astute sales person (an engineer by background). He was almost about to give up, and was getting visibly annoyed at the process, till he realized two additional screws needed to be removed. It just was not clear in the manual. Even after that removal and reinsertion of the filter was a bit of a struggle. We decided after over 30 minutes of this effort by 6 people, that if the manual instructions were improved, it would have saved a lot of aggravation and a power screwdriver was a must. We still felt this filter change was not for the faint of heart. Second time around we estimate this operation aided with a power screwdriver would take 15 minutes.