Air-O-Swiss 2055/2055D Air Washer Review
Many consumers are attracted to the concept of a combined air purifier and humidifier, expecting to get two-for-one value. This is seldom the case.
There are also a couple combined humidifier/air purifiers with HEPA filters added to the humidifier.
However, the 2055 and 2055D Air Washers from Air-O-Swiss are not really air purifiers - "humidifying air cleaners," is a better description.
AOS has established a niche as a value relative to the very similar, but about $100 more expensive, Venta brand of airwashers.
Allergy buyers club rates the two Airoswiss 2055s at 4.5 stars, a vote of confidence from an established online allergy shop.
Air-O-Swiss is also featured at iallergy.com, achooallergy.com, and target.com.
Air-o-Swiss's airwashing is an easy concept to grasp - air is blown by a fan through a water bath with 16 humidifier discs spinning.
The discs create a large surface area continuously exposed to both the water and air. This eliminates the evaporator mats and sponges so common in humidifiers.
The discs lack the porous structure of the mats/sponges and are less subject to filling, coating, and clogging with calcium salts and scale.
They can be cleaned in the dishwasher.
Howstuffworks.com found the Air-O-Swiss works well as a humidifier.
Two Air-O-Swiss 2055s "purifier/humidifiers" are offered - the $349.99 2055D Digital air washer and the $259.99 2055 Manual version.
While this is a simple and elegant solution to humidification, no judgment is offered here concerning the humidification aspect.
This is an air purifier review.
An Air Washer is Not an Air Purifier
The issue concerns claims that the 2055/2055D Air Washers by Air-O-Swiss are adequate substitutes for an air purifier.
As air is drawn in, an ionizer causes particle flocculation. The clumps of particles then remain in the surface tension of the water and are captured.
Proof of efficiency is the dirty color of the water upon refill.
The 2055s are said to capture pet hair, large dust, and pollen, which would be collected by the prefilter in a decent air purifier.
Issues arise from marketing designed to fool the naive air purifier/humidifier customer.
Air-O-Swiss itself claims air cleaning "down to 1.5 microns," which seems a perfectly fair claim. But Air-purifier-power readers know that a particle size claim is worthless without an associated efficiency rating.
In other words - What percentage of these 1.5 micron particles are removed from air passing through the water? Sorry AOS, but "highly efficient" only counts in horseshoes.
I suspect the efficiency of the airwashers is low to begin with and declines when users decline to perform very rigorous required maintenance.
Air purifiers must remove sub-micron particulate, the kind we cannot see. Dirty water is not evidence of clean air any more than gobs of visible dust are. This is stuff any vacuum cleaner would grab.
But web vendors have embellished the company's ambiguous claims a bit:
"smallest particles such as dust mites and pollen"
Dust mites and pollen are large particles. Dust mites are not airborne, and it is their sub-micron droppings which are allergenic.
Maybe these websites just all made the same typo, dropping the 1 from the company's 1.5 micron spec to get .5 microns.
I am sure everyone has passed gas in the bathtub and knows that odors pass right through water. The fine print explains that these are "particle-bound odors." Some cigarette odor is actually particle bound, but this odor claim is some pretty spurious marketing.
Then there is the matter of power, users are told to expect "a slight draught when sitting close." 2055D is supposed to clean the air in "rooms up to 750sq ft (70m²)."
This air cleaner and humidifier uses just 20 watts. No airflow data is provided.
Premium air purifiers like the state of the art Blueair 650e, with Clean Air Delivery Rates at the top of the scale, blowing over 450 cubic feet of very pure air every minute, are AHAM certified for rooms to 698 sq ft. This is the highest (and considerably inflated) AHAM rating, and I never recommend any air purifier for this much space.
Also note that the Blueair is removing over 99% of .1 micron sized particles.
Then there is the ionic silver stick, which is designed to keep bacteria from breeding in the seldom changed water. Marketing implies that this is effective against airborne microorganisms. Not.
These humidifier/air cleaners are not recommended here. Buyers with serious allergy and asthma conditions should get real air purifiers.
Seasonal pollen allergy sufferers considering a humidifier might try the Swiss Air Washers.
Pollen is among the largest and easiest captured airborne allergens. But a $40 hepa-type air cleaner from Wal-Mart can also do this job well.
Lastly there is the fragrance container for adding scents - a practice strongly discouraged here. No reputable air purifier manufacturer does this. Many air freshener scents are toxic, none remove any pollutant.
Review Conclusions and Rating
Air-O-Swiss 2055/2055D Air Washer/humidifier is not an air purifier.
Users say it reduces visible dust accumulation on furniture.
AOS air washers might be a solution where humidification is needed, seasonal pollen is the main problem, and space is limited.
Each of ten factors gets up to 10 points, 100 is perfect and very unlikely.
1. First do no harm; minimal out gassing, no ozone.
Score: 8 of 10, fragrance package an affront to air purifier buyers, drop it AOS.
2. Serious gas and odor removal is a requirement if health benefits are expected: Units with real carbon VOC capability rank higher.
Score: 5 of 10, odor removal claims suspect.
3. Quality construction; case, gaskets, seals, and precision fitting eliminate bypassing and assure high efficiency at filtering sub-micron particles.
Score: 7 of 10.
4. The design maximizes the lifespan of each filter stage by allowing independent filter replacement. Ideally this is combined with electronic filter monitoring.
Score: 10 of 10, discs and tank can be cleaned.
5. Unit has long filter life, low maintenance requirements, and reasonable operating costs.
Score: 10 of 10, cheap to operate.
6. Purifier produces low noise levels and meaningful air flow rates relative to noise.
Score: 10 of 10, Air-O-Swiss states noise is less than 25 dB(A) on low speed. Some users say noisier on high.
7. Manufacturer has a track record, with many units in the field and a reputation for supporting what they sell. Warranty period and average service life are long.
Score: 8 of 10, warranty is 10 years.
8. Purifier is a value in terms of price/performance ratio. Every price range should be included,
Score: 7 of 10.
9. No dirt; unit and manufacturer should be devoid of class-action suits, high returns, recalls, consumer complaints, and legitimate negative consumer reviews.
Score: 7 of 10, spurious marketing.
10. Unit is stylish, portable, comfortable, and convenient for consumer use.
Score: 10 of 10, digital 2055d is slick electronic.
Air-Purifier-Power Numeric Rating; 73
Borderline acceptable for large dust and pollen only.
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