IDYLIS 3 & 5 Speed Air Purifier Review

You’ve all heard of Lowe’s – the fortune 500 company serving more than 17 million customers a week in the US, our neighbors to the north, Canada, and to the south, Mexico. The first Lowe’s store opened in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, in 1921. They carry leading brands such as Porter-Cable tools, Whirlpool and Samsung appliances and Valspar paint. And, there’s air purifiers too, such as Idylis.

Idylis air purifiers are Korean exports built specifically for Lowe’s stores nationwide by Woongjin Coway Co.

Established in 1989, Woongjin-Coway is a force to be reckoned with in the Korean domestic market. Back home, where air and water filtration has higher market penetration than in the US, Coway air cleaners hold an impressive 40% market share.

The Korean air purifier market has been predominantly based on door-to-door sales.

Coway’s brand air purifiers have met stiff competition in the impenetrable US market.

Coway has brought other air purifier brand names; for example, RabbitAirs, Idylis and Oreck AirInstinct, to America starting around 2007.

Idylis air purifiers marketed in the continental US, are unlike those in design and characteristics sold in Asia. This can be attributed to the environmental / lifestyle slants from the West to the East.

Lowe’s offers three Idylis air purifier models; with brand names focused on Clean Air Delivery Rates (CADR):

Description
Model
Price
Idylis 3-Speed 232-sq ft Air Purifier (150 CADR)
AC-2123
$155
Idylis 3-Speed 310-sq ft Air Purifier (200 CADR)
AC-2119
$199
Idylis 5-Speed 465-sq ft Air Purifier (300 CADR)
AC-2118
$249

Keep in mind that price quotes fluctuate over time.

All three models are sold at Lowe’s (either on-line or in the store itself).

Idylis - AHAM Certified & CADR

The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) is the embodiment of tests and certifications that publish CADR’S on a multitude of everyday household appliances. Participation is discretionary to any manufacturer that distributes appliances in the US and/or Canada.

Outside, independent, laboratories have been used to test randomly-selected products dating back to 1967. Volume, size, energy, and for some merchandise, performance standards are substantiated. If the appliance fails claimed ratings, that’s a “do not pass go” card for the AHAM Verified Mark.

For a detailed explanation on this section, see Clean Air Delivery Rate.

Idylis air purifiers are obviously marketed towards CADR focused shoppers and hit the nail on the head when it comes to CADR.

CADR ratings for the “300” are:

Smoke – 300,
Dust – 300,

Pollen – 300.

Strong numbers considering commonplace CADRs spread from 100 (weak) to a max of 450 (rarely). Some bypassing is likely to get such high numbers. AHAM rates the Idylis 300 for a 465 square foot room – slightly over exaggerated.

CADR ratings for the “200” are:

Smoke – 200,
Dust – 200,

Pollen – 200.

Room size coming in at 310 square feet – recommend no more than 230 square feet.

CADR ratings for the “150” are:

Smoke – 150,
Dust – 150,

Pollen – 150.

Square footage of 232 – again, bring the square footage down a few notches.

A general rule of thumb for economy priced air purifiers is to buy an air purifier with CADR slightly higher than room size in square feet. Room sized calculations for AHAM are “standard” 8-foot ceilings; higher ceilings should opt for lower square footage installations.

HEPA Filter

Idylis 150 Hepa Filter Image

For a quick brush-up on HEPA, see Efficiency of the HEPA Filter.

The Idylis 150, AC-2123, includes one carbon pre-filter and one HEPA filter. HEPA part number IAF-H-100D (filter D).

The Idylis 200, AC-2119, includes two carbon pre-filters and two HEPA filters. HEPA part number IAF-H-100A (filter A).

The Idylis 300, AC-2118, includes two carbon pre-filters and two HEPA filters. HEPA part number IAF-H-100D (filter D).

HEPA IAF-H-100D, at time of writing, runs about $37.15. Double that and your replacement cost is under $75.

HEPA IAF-H-100A, in the ballpark of $18.00. 18 x 2 = $36.00.

Fairly average filters costs compared to premium, high priced air purifiers.

A major concern with big box only air purifiers is the availability of older model replacement filters in the future. This rightfully causes some apprehension due to the brand name “Idylis” and big-box exclusivity. A well-known brand, where air filters are easy to buy, might be your better bet.

An alternative to the Idylis and a very good, long standing, HEPA air purifier would be the Honeywell 50250.

Also, recommended as an alternative, is the Winix 5300.

Dual carbon pre-filters and the HEPA air filtration structure remove up to 99.97% of allergens – pollen, mold spores, smoke, dust particles, and pet dander. Some users should contemplate more occasional filter changes than what’s called for in the “12 month filter life” as a dirty environment will briskly reduce the filtering ability if smoke, dust, gases or smells are present.

Overall, upon inspection, the Idylis 150 CADR, 232 sq. ft. has a well-constructed HEPA filter, but could have a tighter fit for a better seal.

Activated Carbon Pre-Filter

Carbon, when activated, becomes a micro-porous substance; with lots of tiny pores, and, when drawn out, form an enormous volume of surface area.

Just one gram of activated carbon has a surface area in excess of 3,000 m2 (32,000 sq ft), as determined by gas absorption.

Activated carbon is used in many processes: air and water purification, medicine, even the coffee you drink (removing caffeine from coffee beans), and other applications.

Pulverized charcoal pellets are weaved into a mesh-media base. All the replacement carbon pre-filters are universal IAF-C-200U, item no. 302656, Filter U. Size 20-1/2 x 23-3/4 = $10 range. sorry dog ad

The carbon pre-filter is designed to be measured to fit -- simply lay the air purifier carbon filter on a flat surface; put the old one on top, and start cutting.

One drawback is Idylis air purifiers lack sufficient pre-filtering. Plus low carbon density per square inch makes it a low contender for VOC’s and other gas contaminants. As we love to DIY here, I recommend using some thicker Honeywell, or other off-the-shelf carbon pre-filter material, cut to shape, for the Idylis units. As used on several other air purifiers, a permanent fiberglass screen would have been a better quality design.

Idylis Electronics

Idylis 300 Control Panel Image

Digital LCD touchscreen on the Idylis 300 CADR, 465 sq. ft., displays air quality levels: “very good”, “good”, then there’s “moderate”, then “bad” to “very bad”.

Remote controls for the Idylis 300 and 200 makes it easy to adjust settings.

Programmable timers on all three air purifiers, allow the unit to turn on and off after 2, 4 or 8 hours.

Filter change indicator light warns when it’s time to replace the carbon pre-filters and HEPA filter.

All three Operating Guides advise installing Idylis air purifiers up to 6 ft. 7 in. away from electronic appliances to avoid radio interference. This might be an issue in small room sizes.

In Sleep Mode, the Idylis 300, model # AC-2118, dims the lights on the display panel and runs on the lowest speed setting.

The Idylis 300 shines with language settings: English, Spanish, French, Japanese, Simple Chinese, and Traditional Chinese.

Miscellaneous Specs

The Idylis 300, model # AC-2118, 465 sq. ft., has been designed with a set of wheels for portability. At 18.58 pounds, rollers are an added air purifier benefit for the less muscular type. Idylis 300 Image

No wheel movability for the Idylis 200, model #AC-2119, 310 sq. ft. or the Idylis 150, model # AC-2123, 232 sq. ft. Both weigh in anywhere from 12 to 13 pounds. Amazingly light air purifiers and not an inconvenience to maneuver.

Conflicted over color scheme? No choice in the matter - white is the color of the day.

Battery (1) type for the remote control of the 200 and 300: CR2032.

Even though Idylis air purifiers are South Korean exports built by Coway, it clearly states at the end of the English version of the Operating Guide, “Printed in China”.

Although these are from South Korea, they are in fact “Made in China”, as stated on the box.

Some users have experienced cheap plastic parts on the Idylis. The units have weak door covers, plastic pins, and other items that are easily broken off accidently.

Only the Idylis 300 CADR and Idylis 200 CADR are Energy Star certified. Their ratings follow:

Idylis 200 CADR
Idylis 300 CADR
Total Consumption in (Watts)
86
131
Standby Power (Watts)
0.6
1.9
Dust (CADR/Watt)
3.0
2.7

Coway's, every now and then, are subject to plastic solvent and packaging material break-in odors, but there haven’t been any early reports with the latest line of Idylis purifiers.

Consumers with MCS might want to shop around. Chemically sensitive individuals should, by and large, be shopping better carbon/odor/filtration regardless.

The purifiers are easy to assemble and simple instructions are provided.

Lowe’s reviewers gave the Idylis 300 CADR, 465 sq. ft. – 3 out of 5 stars with 53% recommendation.

The Idylis 200 CADR, 310 sq. ft. – 4.0 average with 81% approval rating and the Idylis 150 CADR, 232 sq. ft – 4.5 average, 86% rating.

Size

A sleek, slim design, the Idylis 150 CADR is recommended for medium sized rooms (101 to 300 square feet). Measuring 15” width x 20.2” height x 9.89” depth.

Another slender design, the Idylis 200 CADR air purifier benefits large rooms (301 to 800 square feet). Measuring 16.4” width x 22.9” height x 9.2” depth.

The Idylis 300 CADR is advocated for large rooms (301 to 800 square feet). Dimensions 17.7” width x 29.8” height x 12.8” depth.

Noise

Idylis 150 CADR
Idylis 200 CADR
Idylis 300 CADR
Lowest Fan Speed (db)
35
39
36
Highest Fan Speed (db)
55
58
64

The low fan speeds on the Idylis warrants them to be marketed as a very quiet air purifier. Kudos to Idylis in this arena compared to big-box retail market competition.

“It is not the voice that commands the story; it is the ear.”
Italo Calvino

Users have reported the Idylis 150, is very quiet. On low speed, it is almost totally unnoticeable. Medium speed emits a white noise that is helpful in drowning out normal background noises.

In regards to the 200 CADR, 310 sq. ft., air purifier, the unit is slightly louder but still less audible than a 3-speed floor fan.

Some other reports of rattles and vibrations have surfaced, as common with Asian imports.

Warranty and Support

The Idylis 300, model # AC-2118 and the next in line, the 200 CADR, model # AC-2119, offer a five-year limited warranty – rather lengthy for the price point.

The 150 CADR, model # AC-2123, three-year limited.

Five-year warranty starts from original date of purchase and applies to motor and electronic parts.

For replacement parts, call Lowe’s customer service at 1-800-643-0067 or visit your local neighborhood store.

Conclusions

Pros

Language selection on the Idylis 300 HEPA air purifier is ahead of the game
Designed in “Korea”, a step up from China
Automatic on/off mode
Operating costs relatively low
Remotes on the Idylis 200 and 300
High CADR ratings for a low-cost product
Good price/performance ratio

Cons

Replacement filter availability a concern
Possibility of product failure and long-term support abandonment are matters of contention common to big box retailers
Pre-carbon filter not for chemically-sensitive
Not recommended for heavy gas, odor situations or large rooms

If you’re seeking an economy-priced air purifier for reducing pollen, smoke, odors, dust levels, dander and allergens, then the Idylis brand - for their value and quality - is a sound choice. Obviously, there’s other HEPA air purifiers commanding more bang for the buck, and those that filter gases and VOC’s more effectively, but these air cleaners, even with their faults, do an acceptable job.

Air Purifiers at Amazon.com.

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