Hamilton Beach Febreze 04530F True Air Odor Eliminator Review
Here is a good little product with a seriously long name.
The actual model pictured and tested is a 04530F, without night light.
Model 04531F is the True Air Odor Eliminator, identical to 04530F except equipped with a Night Light.
The current model is 04531GM.
For over five years now, Hamilton Beach has been selling plug-in odor removal appliances. Recently the company added the brand name "Febreze," normally associated with a line of Procter & Gamble fabric refreshers and room sprays.
The new product's profile is smaller by 1 and 3/4 inches in height, and 1/2 inch in width and depth.
This addresses consumer requests for room to fit in tight spaces and access the top plug.
I like this gadget as a viable non-toxic alternative to chemically scented plug-in air fresheners.
I am critical of "odor eliminators" that mask the sense of smell with aerosol scents, including candles, sprays, "aromatherapy" oils, plug-ins dispensers, and gels.
Toxic chemicals smell bad for a reason, trying to hide the odors is unwise. This is especially true where the odor masking chemicals are themselves questionable.
See my page Health Hazards Hide in Air Fresheners.
Hamilton Beach odor eliminator is safe, it removes odors, rather than masking them. This is an unscented product, no perfumes are needed.
Drawing air through vertical vents in the front, a one speed fan sits behind a carbon filter.
Fresh air flows back into the room through an exhaust port on the left side.
Hamilton Beach 04530F/04531F is the only current plug mounted air freshener that uses activated carbon to eliminate odors.
NOT a Room Air Purifier
Consumers must realize that no plug-in odor removal appliance is a viable alternative to a real air purifier. This is a small-area supplemental odor reducer.
Some vendors advertise the True Air odor appliance as capable of eliminating odors "throughout the home."
This might be true if you put one on every outlet in the house. Of course the phrase could be interpreted as meaning "can be moved to any electrical outlet."
This little air cleaner works on odors within a six foot radius only, closer is better.
Many users are installing the True Air 04531F in large areas and expecting to smell a difference as they would with their old perfume spraying Glade-type plug-in "air freshener."
Locating the Odor Eliminator
Although reduced in size, the odor appliance still requires some space around the mounting outlet.
Before buying the Febreze 04530f, consumers should find a strategically placed outlet with enough room for the purifier.
There is no cord - the Hamilton plugs directly into an outlet
Many available electrical plugs are too far from the odor source or obscured by furniture or another appliance.
Previous models had swivel plugs to rotate the odor reducer, 04530F and 04531 do not turn.
Easy access to the upper plug is now available.
Some users have resorted to using an extension cord, but the True Air odor machine is not designed for installation other than mounted at an outlet.
Bathrooms, closets, and cat litter box deodorizer are the best applications.
In the bathroom, results will vary with the degree of odoriferous emissions.
The Stink-bomb Experiment
Let's put the odor absorbing qualities of this little filter to the ultimate test.
Note this is a brand new machine with fresh filter.
I have few odor problems in my country cabin, but I sure know how to create one.
A handy five gallon pail serves as a receptacle for a deposit sure to offend the olfactory organs of just about everybody.
I place this directly under the plugged-in odor eliminator, and wait for the 8 by 10 foot bathroom to get aromatic.
Once the air in the room is good and stinky, I remove the source, and turn on the True Air and note the time.
I check back every 15 minutes, sniffing enthusiastically until all lingering odors are gone.
It took about an hour to deodorize the bathroom.
A couple days later, I burned a batch of microwave popcorn. After several hours the smell still lingered in the kitchen.
Moving the odor destroyer to the kitchen got rid of the burnt smell in 15 minutes.
A simple on/off switch controls the aroma eliminator.
The True Air odor eradicator employs widely available replacement filters which fit previous Hamilton plug-in models.
An activated carbon filter traps smells emanating from sources up to six feet distant, lasting up to four months.
Expect shorter filter life if smells or subtle chemicals - which may have no scent - are present.
If these small carbon filters work for a couple weeks and then stop, you need a real air purifier with some chemical filtering capability.
A very clever filter replacement indicator is a chemically activated test strip. Users puncture a foil separator, which starts the process of timing the filter's life. Apparently chemicals in the test strip are supposed to be used at approximately the same rate as the carbon.
Some user reviews report the test strip failing to change color.
One carbon filter is included (part number 04290F), and new users should be sure to open the odor eliminating device's cover to remove the plastic cover from the filter.
Replacement filters are reasonably priced and widely available.
"True Air Plug-Mount Odor Eliminator Replacement Filters" are around five bucks each.
Specialized filters for tobacco smoke and pet odors are offered.
First, smoking households should not believe this small filter is making it safe to smoke.
I do not recommend it for smoking environments or even in multi-unit dwellings where neighbors' smoke odors intrude. These applications need real air purifiers.
With the specialty filter for tobacco (part number 04291F) installed and the True Air close to the source, users report the appliance does a fair job of reducing smoke odors.
Hamilton Beach makes no claims that this device eliminates or even reduces the hundreds of toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke. Only the smells are addressed.
But for odors from the pet litter box, the True Air seems perfect.
Folks have tried everything to accommodate pet cats, there are even covered litter boxes with exhaust fans available. Many pet owners have taken things into their own hands with custom built fan installations.
With the 04294F pet odor filter option installed, users report the True Air 04530F makes a good cat litter deodorizer.
The air cleaner needs to be very close to the litter box, but user reviews say the noise level does not frighten cats.
But expect frequent filter changes when used for pet odors,
The Febreze odor filter is not a substitute for regular litter box maintenance, even if odors are eradicated.
Kitty can get very picky about where she wants to defecate - even if you can't smell the dirty box. She may decide to go somewhere else with nice fresh smelling carpeting, or mistake the laundry basket for a litter box.
Bacteria will breed in a poorly maintained cat litter box. These can be unhealthy for both pets and humans.
Cats and kittens can carry the parasite Toxoplasma, relatively harmless to cats, but capable of causing birth defects in humans. Expectant women should not clean litter boxes.
There is no chemical smell from the model I tested.
Hamilton says the fan is quieter than previous models.
My Radio Shack sound level meter reads 55 dB(A) at 6 inches, far from silent.
Made in China under UPC code 040094911677, the Hamilton Beach plug-in is of sturdy construction for a product in this price range.
The True Air odor elimination machine is covered by a one-year warranty. However, it won't take much in the way of shipping charges to make buying a new one the best solution.
Users of Hamilton's model 04531F Febreze True Air Odor Eliminator with built-in night light note that the night light cannot be controlled independently of the fan.
Conclusions: True Air Odor Eliminating Bargain
I consider the True Air odor reduction appliance a bargain at under $20. I paid $16 something for mine in a big box retail store.
Much less attractive is the maximum price I found, - near fourty bucks - forget that!
When installed as designed, the "Febreze" eliminates odors as advertised, just don't expect instant results or miracles in large or polluted rooms.
You can find the Hamilton Beach 04531GM Odor Eliminator at Amazon.com.