If you’re on the lookout for a pocket-friendly air purifier that gets the job done, look no further than the Philips AC 1215/20. Its compact design and impressive Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) of about 270m3/hr. make it an excellent fit for most bedrooms and cozy living rooms measuring less than 270 sq. ft. Now, let’s delve deeper into its performance, features, advantages, and disadvantages to see if it’s the right choice for you.
|Effective air cleaning in turbo mode
|Easy to use interphase
|Doesn’t create air bubble.
|The air quality sensor isn’t very accurate.
|Auto function doesn’t work optimally.
Philips AC1215/20 Air Purifier
As depicted in the image provided, the air purifier draws in air from the front and releases clean air through the rear outlet, guiding the purified air upwards.
The air purifier is equipped with a three layers of air filters. In the initial stage, the air passes through a pre-filter, akin to a fine net, designed to capture dust and larger particles effectively.
Following that, the air proceeds through an activated carbon filter layer, which is adept at trapping odors, volatile organic compounds, and any airborne gases. It’s worth mentioning that we observed that the activated charcoal chunks in this filter aren’t as densely packed as what you might find in more premium alternatives such as Dyson.
In the final stage of filtration, the air passes through the HEPA filter. Now, the product image on Amazon might give the impression of two distinct HEPA filters. But upon closer examination, you’ll realize it’s actually two layers situated one behind the other within a single frame. This configuration is quite common in the design of HEPA filters for air purifiers.
Furthermore, it’s interesting to note that most manufacturers specify the HEPA grade in their product descriptions. But Philips simply refers to it as “Pure HEPA.” Generally, Pure HEPA can range in grade from H10 to H12. This implies it can capture particulate matter larger than 0.3 microns at an efficiency rate ranging from 95% to 99.7%.
As an affordable air purifier, it offers simplicity in its features and operations. You’ll find a user-friendly touch control panel featuring buttons for powering the unit on/off, activating night mode, and adjusting the fan speed across three levels. Additionally, it provides convenient modes like auto, allergen, and turbo, along with a child lock function for added safety. In the center, a large round display panel provides essential information, including the current mode and fan speed level. The LED circle surrounding the display, dynamically changes colors—blue, violet, or red—based on real-time air quality.
According to the manual, a blue light around LED display signifies good air quality, a blue-violet indicates moderate air quality, red-purple signifies unhealthy air quality, and a solid red light means the air quality is very unhealthy. When you turn on the air purifier, it starts by alternating between blue-violet and red for the first few seconds. Then it settles on a specific color that corresponds to the current air quality. This allows you to quickly assess the conditions in your environment.
Talking about the modes, auto mode, as the name suggests, adjusts the fan speed according to the air quality. Allergen mode is said to be designed specifically for reducing allergens such as pollen and pet dander. In the Turbo mode, the air purifier fan runs at the maximum speed. In addition to these, the speed can be manually set at 3 levels.
In the night mode, the fan speed is low and the display is turned off so as not to create any light or noise to disturb your sleep. If the air quality isn’t up to par, the air purifier automatically switches to turbo mode for 10 minutes. This rapidly improves the air quality and then it gradually slows down to maintain a peaceful environment.
In our testing, we placed the air purifier in a 250 sq. ft. room with an initial PM 2.5 level of 11.
Initially, we ignited four incense sticks in the closed bedroom to elevate the PM levels. Subsequently, we observed that the PM 2.5 levels had escalated to 267, and PM 10 levels reached 309. Now, some concerns have been raised by Dyson about certain budget air purifiers creating what’s referred to as an “air bubble.” Essentially, this means that the air purifier ends up recirculating the same air. This results in a zone of clean air around the purifier but leaves the air further away from the purifier unaffected. To determine if the Philips air purifier exhibited such behavior, we meticulously measured the PM levels at four corners of the room and at the room’s center.
In our initial test, we put the air purifier to the test in auto mode. Due to the elevated pollution levels, the air purifier operated at its highest fan speed for first few minutes. According to the product description, this air purifier is designed to clean the air in a 215 sq. ft. space in just 12 minutes. However, our observations revealed that after 12 minutes, the PM 2.5 levels were still hovering around 95, with PM 10 at 110. These values exceeded the acceptable range, signaling that the purifier faced challenges in rapidly achieving the desired air quality under these severe conditions.
Around the 20-minute mark, we observed a decrease in the PM 2.5 levels, which had dropped to 58. A drawback worth noting is that the air purifier doesn’t maintain its highest fan speed for an extended period in auto mode. It typically transitions to a lower speed after first few minutes even when the PM levels, as recorded by an air quality monitor, remain high.
In the auto mode, it took approximately 1.5 hours for the air purifier to effectively reduce the PM levels back to their initial reading of 11, which was the level before we conducted the experiment. This indicates that while it did achieve the desired air quality eventually, the process was relatively gradual and delayed.
In our next test, we replicated the experiment but this time in turbo mode. We initially raised the PM 2.5 level to 209 by burning incense. After just 12 minutes of operation in turbo mode, we observed a significant drop in PM 2.5 levels, which had decreased to 49. Impressively, within just 30 minutes, the PM 2.5 levels had reached a remarkable low of 16. This outcome suggests that the air purifier exhibited much more rapid and effective performance when operating in turbo mode compared to auto mode.
In our assessment, we found that the air quality sensor in the air purifier may not be entirely reliable. It often indicated good air quality by turning blue even when the PM levels were in the 70s. However, according to the Australian Environment Pollution Agency, the acceptable level of PM 2.5 indoors is less than 25, which suggests that you can’t solely rely on the ring light to accurately alert you to the air quality.
To maintain optimal air quality, we recommend starting the purifier in turbo mode for the initial 15-20 minutes, and then switching it to auto mode. This approach ensures that it consistently maintains the right air quality over time.
On a positive note, regardless of the mode used, the air purifier demonstrated a consistent performance in terms of air quality distribution throughout the room. There were no noticeable variations in the readings across different areas. This indicates that it effectively eliminated any potential “air bubbles” as sometimes reported with other purifiers.
Related reading: How To Choose An Air Purifier?
Further Testing Of Auto Mode
In auto mode, the speed of the air purifier fan is supposed to adjust according to the air quality. However, to further test this out, we switched on the air purifier in auto mode and lit an incense nearby. Even though the air quality reached poor levels with PM 2.5 inching towards 170+, the fan speed remained low. The air quality monitoring ring which is supposed to change colour too did not do so even when the PM levels were extremely high. This shows that the auto mode of the air purifier isn’t really effective when air quality is poor.
On the positive side, if you put auto mode and switch off the light, the air purifier turns to night mode and there will be no display on the air purifier. The display doesn’t come back even when the light is switched back on. Instead, it switches on only after 11 hours. Of course, you can manually change the mode and allow the display to work as normal.
Being an expensive appliance, most people would like to carry the air purifier from living room to bedroom at night. This makes portability an important aspect to consider. Philips excels here with a recess handle that makes it easy to carry. Further, the power cord measures around 190 cm, which gives better flexibility while using.
According to Philips, the HEPA and air purifier filters have an impressive lifespan of up to 17,000 hours. To help you keep track of their replacement, the display will show “A3” when it’s time to change the HEPA filter and “C7” when the activated carbon filter needs replacement. If both filters require replacement, both “A3” and “C7” will be displayed sequentially. The cost for replacing both filters typically amounts to around Rs. 3500.
As for the prefilter, it’s a washable component, and it’s advisable to give it a good cleaning when the display shows “F0.” You can easily clean it under running water and use a soft brush if necessary. However, it’s crucial to air dry it thoroughly before reinserting it into the air purifier. Failing to do so might result in moisture buildup, potentially leading to mold growth and odors, which could affect the quality of the purified air.
To ensure the air quality sensor on the side of the purifier continues to function effectively, it’s recommended to clean it every two months or more frequently if you’re using the purifier in a particularly dusty environment. A cotton swab can be used for this purpose to keep the sensor in top working condition.
Flaws, But Not Deal Breakers
The primary drawback we encountered was the air quality sensor’s lack of accuracy. It consistently displayed a blue light even when the PM levels were high, which, unfortunately, affected the effectiveness of the auto mode. In such cases, the air purifier didn’t run at its highest speed until the PM levels had reduced to acceptable levels.
To address this issue, we found it necessary to begin by running the air purifier in turbo mode for the initial 15 minutes. Afterwards, you could switch it auto mode. This is necessary especially following activities like cooking, mopping, or lighting lamps or incense, as it helps ensure a more efficient and responsive performance in maintaining air quality.
AC1215/20 is the most budget-friendly model from Philips, suitable for small spaces of less than 250-300 Sq. Ft. They also sell other models like AC 1217/20 which is suitable for larger spaces of 350-400 Sq. ft.
The Series 3000 range air purifier is far more advanced with 360 degree filters, digital touch panel controls, precise PM level display, and Wi-Fi capability. With a CADR of 520 m3/hr, it is suitable for large rooms of more than 500 Sq.ft area. The Series 2000 range is similar, but with a slightly smaller CADR of 380 m3/hr.
With a comparatively budget-friendly pricing, compact design and effective air cleaning at high fan speed levels, Philips AC1215/20 is an apt choice for those who are looking for an air purifier for bedrooms and small living rooms.
Philips AC1215/20 Air Purifier