Every so often you buy a product that is just supreme. This is the case with the IQ air HealthPro plus air purifier. Everything about it reeks of quality engineering and integrity down to the individual certification of each machine that you receive. I am a semi retired physician and have used these air purifiers for 3 years now as I have had lifelong asthma, allergic rhinitis and hay fever. I also own 4 other brands of air purifier. So this review is from extensive personal experience and I also outline some experiments I have done on this model in videos below.
The IQ air HealthPro plus is arguably the best consumer air purifier money can buy. The hyper-HEPA filter is the most highly specified filter of any consumer air purifier and the activated carbon filter is more carbon than any other air purifier bar one. So for removing air pollutants you could hardly do better. However although better than a standard HEPA air purifier this air cleaner is upper mid-range in price.
So let’s first establish why you want an air purifier to provide clean air. Also, if those health reasons mean that you would feel it important to have one of the absolutely highest-quality.
Is the IQair HealthPro Plus worth it?
The iQair is the most highly specified air purifier on the market and will remove 99.5% of ultrafine particles which have been shown to harm health. So I feel you would be well advised to buy one because of the health implications for you and your family.
Here is a list of conditions in which particles in the air are significant causative factor –
- Asthma and Chronic Obstruction Pulmonary Disease-exacerbated
- Pneumonia-increased sickness and premature death from pneumonia
- Development of chronic bronchitis
- Premature aging of the lungs
- Heart attacks
- Dementia and Parkinsons Disease
- Increased mortality
- Exposure during pregnancy is related to neurological disorders, mainly of the brain, in children
- Children have more asthma and respiratory symptoms
- Age-related decline in health is increased by air pollution
- Aging – does air pollution practically ultrafine particles speed up aging?
What particularly impressed me as I have gone through the literature is the very marked effects on the cardiovascular system causing heart attacks and strokes, as well as the effect on the brain. Through these there is a very significant increase in premature death with increased particle exposure.
It goes without saying the particles in the air and worsen various diseases of the lungs. I am also extremely concerned about the effect of particles on children’s and adolescents’ brains with their subsequent thinking abilities and mental health. I was surprised to find that particles can be found in the placenta of unborn children even on the fetal side of the circulation. So the particles have crossed the placental barrier.
There is much more information with references in this article that I have written. Some of the information may surprise you it is well worth reading.
The other thing that I think is a tremendous concern is that increasing data has recently confirmed that adverse health effects are detectable well within the current EPA safe range.
So our indoor air quality is potentially very important for our own and our family’s long-term health. Therefore, an investment in high-quality air purification is worth considering.
Air Flow-powerful fan but like most air purifiers noisy on top setting-room size implications
For effective air cleaning the EPA suggest a particle reduction of at least 80% which requires approximately 5 air changes per hour. So airflow through any air purifier is an important issue.
The air intake into the HealthPro Plus is through arches at the base of the system. The air exits at the top of the machine through the Evenflow diffuser, which gives 320-degree air delivery.
The fan is a centrifuge goal backward curved fan with thermal protector and nonstop use approved.
The fan has 6 speeds, the table below shows the airflow in cubic feet per minute and the sound in dB. No other manufacturer gives the airflow at all the different findings speeds as well as the noise at each of these.
Knowing how loud the air purifier is at each setting really is essential. Otherwise there is the risk of you taking a new air purifier home only to find that you cannot stand the noise on the top setting. You probably used the top fan setting for sizing the air purifier to your room as it was the only airflow given to you. When you get it home and switch it on for the first time, you realize that it is too loud. Then when you switch the fan speed down to the next level, it is quieter but the airflow is too low to purify adequately the air in your room. Unfortunately, it is useless for you.
So with the HealthPro range of air purifiers you have all the data you need. Personally I find a sound level or more than 50 dB tiresome. So I never have my HealthPro plus air purifier on anything greater than the 4th speed. Usually we will put our air purifier in the kitchen on speed 6 whilst cooking to get rid of the particles that cooking causes so my wife is breathing them in. However, we have to reduce it to speed 3 or 4 when we sit down to eat. We have got used to sleeping with our HealthPro plus in the bedroom on speed 4 but I can understand people only being able to tolerate speed 3 for sleeping.
|Airflow (cubic feet per minute cfm)||Noise in Decibels (db)|
The fan has been designed to minimize sound but even so it is unlikely that you would want to be in a room for an extended period with the fan on setting 5 or 6. So you will want to have it on speed 4 and purify 170 cfm (cubic feet per minute) of air. This would be enough for a room of 250sq ft, assuming 8 foot ceilings.
Please do not believe reviews that give you a room size based on less than 5 ACH (air changes per hour) as recomended by the EPA. These are everywhere but if you believe them you will buy an air purifier that will not adequately purify your air and you almost may as well not have brought one. Unless you have an air quality meter you will never know and will be breathing inadequately purified for years air beleiving it to be purified. Also never buy an air purifier where the manufacturer does not specify the CADR (clean air delivery rate) without this you cannot start to size the air purifiers capacity to your room.
The maximum fan speed would make it suitable for really large spaces but is too loud for my tastes. This is common amongst air purifiers most are too noisy at their top fan speeds.
iQair Filters-the Hyper-HEPA filter sets these machines apart
These machines have 3 filters with the option for 4th, a pre-filter.
Coarse Dust Pre-Filter (optional)
These filters fit with a metal frame to the bottom of the air purifier. They are cheap, washable, reusable and made of coarse material to catch large particles which would reduce the life of the pre-filter. I especially recommended them for very dusty conditions, but I use them to protect the other filters in all my machines.
The lifespan of these based on my own use of them will be many years. You will need to buy the kit to fit them. I would not buy any extra pre-pre-filters as you are not going to need a replacement for years-they are pretty tough and reusable.
The IQ air Pre/Max filter F8 filters out coarse and fine airborne particles from the air. It has an efficiency of 55% 0.3 micrometres (class F8). Its purpose is to remove particles that could affect the life of the fan and clog up the Hyper-HEPA filtration stage and prolong the life of the hyper HEPA filter.
It will capture large particles such as dust, pollen, pet dander, and mold allergens. It is a high-capacity made of many pleats. Its construction uses inert thermoplastic separators and CFC free production. The media of the filter consists of non-woven glass microfiber.
The surface of area of the filter is 30.2 sq ft even though it is only 13 inches by 13 inches ie 1.2 square feet (sq ft). It shows the power of pleating to increase the surface areas of filters!
It’s lifespan with 10 hours of use per day on a mid range fan speed is 12 to 18 months. In environments with a low dust load it will be nearer 18 months. Its lifespan will also be increased by using the pre-pre-filter.
The most frequent and damaging particles to human health are ultrafine particles (less than 01.um diameter) there are usually more than a million of these smallest particles in the air per cubic litre!-see video of P-Trak 8525 testing of this air purifier below. Approximately 90% of the particles in the air are ultrafine particles. This is why the unique specifications of this filter set IQ air is HealthPro series apart. This air filter is specified to remove 99.5% particles down to 3 nm in diameter.
The following video shows the number of ultrafine particles in normal room air and then the number of particles in air in the outlet from the iQair Healthpro Plus.
The HEPA specification’s sates that 99.97% particles 300 nm diameter (0.3 micrometres) must be removed, but it is not specific about ultrafine particles. The particles that enter our bloodstream most easily are between 4 to 40 nm in diameter. The specification of the HyperHEPA filter means that it is certified to efficiently remove these particles. I am not aware of any other manufacture that specifies their consumer air filters at sizes down to 3nm. So this is the only filter on the market that you can be sure removes these damaging particles.
This HyperHEPA filtration has no difficulty in removing smoke particles, allergens such as house dust mite, pollen, pet dander, tobacco smoke, soot, mold spores, bacteria, and even virus. This thorough removal of particles can make asthma and allergic rhinitis much better.
This filter is made of nonwoven glass microfiber is a hospital grade HyperHEPA filter (H 12/13). The surface area is 53.8 sq ft, and again the filter is 1.2 sq ft. So pleating of the filter magnifies surface area approximately 50 times!
The filter life with 10 hours of use per day on a midrange setting is 50 months.
This filter with a higher specification than even a true HEPA filter makes the HealthPro Plus a medical grade air purifier.
Here is a demonstration of the HealthPro Plus dealing with smoke-
Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Filter V5 Cell Gas Filter MG
Of course filters to remove particles are unable to remove harmful chemicals from the air which can damage health and cause odors. The chemical molecules are too small to be caught by the filters. Activated carbon filters are generally used to capture chemical molecules by attracting them to the surface of the activated carbon. Activated carbon has a very large surface area, 1g has a surface area of more than 32,000 sq ft.
This is because it has a molecular structure that gives it an extremely large surface area. For instance, this filter is only approximately 1 sq ft but has an equivalent surface area for absorbing gas of 80 million sq ft!
One common class of chemicals removed by this filter are volatile organic compounds, but formaldehyde, nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide can also be removed by it. As chemicals are the cause of odors this filter can be regarded as an impressive odor filter.
The main form of adsoption is physisorption which is due to weak intermolecular attraction and this accounts for most of the adsorption of chemicals. The other type of adsorption is chemisorption where gaseous compound reacts with the surface of the filter and is bound to it permanently by a covalent or ionic bond.
Apart from adsoption alumina pellets impregnated with potassium permanganate are incorproated into the filter to break down formaldehyde.
This filter has 5.5 pounds (2.5 kg) of granulated activated carbon and impregnated activated alumina. Most air purifiers have a thin coating of activated carbon on the fibers filter. There is only one air purifier on the market that has a greater amount of activated carbon.
A replacement filter is needed after approximately 2 years based on a daily usage of 10 hours a day on a midrange fan setting.
So with these 3 or 4 filters the iQair removes a full range of airborne pollutants.
Seals-very important and expertly engineered
These are often overlooked but a critical part of an air purifier. The fan will create quite a pressure gradient across the filter and so the air will try to take the path of least resistance through any leaks around the edge of the filter. The leaks provide much less resistance for the air rather than actually going through the filter. Of course if 25% of the air bypasses the filter then the air purifier is only 75% efficient.
To put this in context when we consider the specifications of the HEPA filter will really considering the efficiency down to the nearest 0.1% or less. A defect in the seal may lead to a 10% reduction in efficiency with dirty air bypassing the filter and mixing with the clean air that is gone through the filter. So an inefficient seal can potentially make 100 times the difference of choices about the efficiency of the filter!
There are 3 seals needed between the-
- filter media and the frame of the filter
- frame of the Pre-Filter and Hyper-HEPA filter and body of the purifier-this is a “tongue in groove” or “knife in groove” filter
- parts of the body of the purifier
These are illustrated here-
Running Costs-filters expensive as high quality but last a long time
These depend on the number of hours per day that you are running the machines. I will assume that a machine is run 12 hours per day on a setting 4. This is because you are probably going to need 2 air purifiers, eg bedroom and study, to provide you with 24/7 purified air and want to know the cost per air purifier. If you are only in your home for less than 24 hours, you will need to reduce these estimates. If you are in your home 12 hours per day you can halve these estimates-I give an easier way of adjusting the cost below.
Some reviews assume, without even telling the reader, only 10 hours’ use of the air purifier per day. From a health point of view it makes no sense to switch the purifier off after 10 hours and breathe “dirty” air for 16 hours whilst waiting to switch it on again.
As regards filter replacements, these will cost about $170 per year on average per machine (12 hours per day use). The filters are expensive and high quality but need changing less often than many air purifiers. The electricity costs will be approximately $60 per year (based on 12cents per kilowatt).
Most moderate sized air purifiers will cost about $100-150 per year on this basis.
So the cost is about $20/year for each hour per day that you are going to run the air purifier-eg 10 hours per day would be $200 per year.
Controls-good, but like any air purifier, best to control with a smart home system
In deciding how to control an air purifier there are 2 basic facts that everyone needs-
- It takes 45 minutes for any air purifier to lower the particle count to a significant degree
- Over the 15 minutes after switching it off the particle count will rise again close to the original level
So ideally you need controls that will switch the air purifier on 45 minutes before you enter the room and as you leave. The iQair has a control panel on the top this is well designed with submenus to give good control of the air purifier.
There is an indicator light for each of the 3 filters, these start off green when the filter is new, turns orange when it approaches end of life and then red when it reaches end of life.
There is of course a timer which can be set for different times on different days and even different fan speeds at different times. There is also a remote control.
However, I would advise controlling the air purifiers with your smart home system as I do. This is much more flexible. You plug them into the smart plug and then leave the unit in the permanently on setting at the fan speed that you need for that room so that whenever it gets electricity it will come on at that speed.
- Power consumption-maximum 215 watts-relatively high. There is some merit in having an air purifier that needs a higher power consumption, as it implies that the filtration is more effective. I have written an article on this here.
- Dimensions- H 28″ x W 15″ x D 16″
- Made in Switzerland
Optional Accessories-extensive but most rarely needed
There are several optional extras.
1) Coarse Dust Pre-Filter PF40 (described above)
2) InFlow W125 duct kit
This duct allows oxygen rich and low carbon dioxide air from outside to be brought into the air purifier in the room, purified and then dispersed into the room.
3) OutFlow W125 duct kit
This allows air from outside the room to go through the purifier and then through a duct to enter the room. This saves space and cuts noise. This can be connected to iQair purifiers to provide air for intensive care units, operating theatres, oncology wards, burns wards and homes of allergy sufferers. They can also be used for cleanrooms and controlled environments.
4) FlexVac & VM FlexVac mobile and wall mounted source capture kits
Useful for air purification of small specific areas where toxic compounds are produced such as nail salons, dental surgeries, etc
5) VMF wall-mount bracket
Variants-available but best to stick to the HealthPro Plus
There are 4 models of the iQair HealthPro plus air purifier. The first 2 are variants without a carbon filter but the third is substantially different-
- HealthPro-no carbon filter but upgradable to take one by simply buying a carbon filter and putting it into the machine
- HealthPro Compact-no carbon filter and not upgradable to take one but 4 inches shorter. I would not recommend buying this as it is not upgradable later if you decide you need a carbon filter.
- IQAir GC Multigas-this air purifier has 12lb (5.4kg) of activated carbon. The filter arrangement is different with the hyper-HEPA filter being the only substantial filter and acting as a pre-filter. So it will need changing more often as it is not protected by a pre-filter. This air purifier would be ideal for dealing with chemicals and odors. Although the HealthPro Plus will do an excellent job at removing these, much better than almost all air purifiers. Diagram below.
- Klaus Hardwood iQair HealthPro Plus-this is outlined in the design section below
Design-moderately large machine but can be made to fit in
Design is important if we are going to live with an air purifier day to day. The air purifiers come in a light grey shade which fits in well in relatively light rooms but would be more obvious in rooms with dark walls.
They will also fit under tables although this is not ideal for airflow from the purifier into the room. If the machine is right at the corner of the table 2 sides of it would have a normal airflow into the room. The other 2 sides would eject air under the table and then up into the room. You could even cover up the vents of the 2 sides under the table so that all the air is joining the room air directly. You would need to see if the particle count reduction was affected by the air purifier being under a table. You should have an air quality meter in any case no matter which air purifier you buy.
If you are very design conscious you can even have your IQ air HealthPro plus made by craftsmen. Made out of hand-fitted solid hardwood housing. This turns it into a piece of furniture, As shown in this YouTube video –
It is a limited edition and so will sell out but you may be able to buy a used one. The list price for this is $2500.
Certification of the HealthPro range-outstanding
Each air purifier comes with its own performance certificate-here is a copy of one of mine –
1 year extendable to 10 years.
Reviews of Other Customers-excellent
93% of reviews on Amazon are either 4 or 5 star. Of the others the common themes were receiving used goods of a quality the customer did not expect and then isolated problems. A few people <0.5% reported an odor from the filters-I have 3 of these machines and have had 20-30 filters or so with no problem. A few people also reported how loud the machine was on maximum setting. I would agree, the maximum setting is useful to have for quick decontamination of the air but too loud for constant use. I would suggest setting 4 is the maximum for constant use.
The most important part of owning an air purifier is to buy an air quality sensor/meter
Even with the quality of the iQair HealthPro range you still need a meter to check that when you run the air purifier the speed that you have chosen is adequate to purify the room. You may have put it on at too slow a speed or placed it too near a wall so that it does not work optimally. You should put it on the highest setting that you can live with or sleep with and then test the air. There should be an 80% or more reduction in particle count or at least an AQI below 10 and ideally as near 1 as possible.
Should you test the air from the HealthPro Plus to see if the filter needs changing?
You may think that if your air quality meter shows that the air coming out of the HealthPro Plus shows the air is clean that you do not need to change the filter. This would make it possible to wait longer between filter changes and save money. However, this is probably not a good idea for reasons that I explain in this article.
However, if you could pick up a cheap used P-Trak 8525 particle counter, this would absolutely be a feasible strategy. See video above testing this purifier with this meter. Unfortunately, this is not likely to happen.
Alternatives to the iQair HealthPro Plus
Please see this article for other potential high-quality alternatives.
The Oransi EJ120 is its nearest competitor, this gives a specification for the removal of particles down to 20nm. There are particles in the smaller than 20nm range that can probably harm human health so this is less than ideal. However the Oransi is much quieter at settings other than the maximum settings.
How Many Will You Need?-as with any air purifier at least 2
If you are going to purify your air to protect your health you really need access to purified air all the time that you are at home, so that this probably means having more than one machine. The HealthPro Plus has castors so you can easily wheel it around and you may decide to just have one on each floor of your home. They are really too heavy to lift up and down stairs. We have one in the kitchen where my wife works, one in a home office and one in our bedroom.
Is the iQair HealthPro Plus the best air purifier?
The iQair Hyper-HEPA filter is the only consumer filter specified to efficiently remove ultra-fine particles down to 3nm diameter. Very small ultrafine particles of 4nm in diameter have been shown to enter the bloodstream easily when breathed in. These particles have been found in various organs including the brain, heart and even the placenta on the fetal side. So as the iQair HealthPro Plus is the only air purifier certified to remove these particles it can be considered the best consumer air purifier that money can buy.
You will have been looking for the HEPA standard, but the particles that you and your family also need removing are 100 times smaller than those in the HEPA standard. This air purifier is certified to remove those particles.
Human health is frail and the evidence that particles in the air contributes to its decline inescapable. It would probably benefit many people, especially children, to have this quality of machine in their homes.
However, because of the cost, it is not feasible to have one of these machines in every room. Therefore, I also think that most homes should also change their HVAC filter. It really is crazy that HVAC filters are still sold that are basically only fit to protect the HVAC system itself and do nothing to protect the health of the occupants.
Some of these filters are so poor that they will filter out less than 5% of the ultrafine particles that harm human health when there are filters on the market that will filter out 70-90%. It would cost little to replace them with much better filters although replacing them with MERV16/HEPA filters means remodeling the HVAC system. Personally I would like to see all filters with a lower specification than Merv 13 banned. If you are going to run your HVAC system, you might as well do it with a filter that benefits your health.
I have written articles about these problems-they are listed in the “Related Posts” section below.