The Idylis 280 and Idylis 200 air purifiers are Korean exports built by Woongjin Coway Co.
From its establishment in 1989, Coway has emerged as a force in the Korean domestic market.
In Korea, Coway holds over 50 percent market share for water filtration devices, and 40 percent of the domestic air purifier market.
This considerable installed base supports the company's bid to go global.
Going global means penetrating the overbuilt U.S. air cleaning market.
Coway recognizes that products sold in the U.S. will need different look-and-feel from those directed toward Southeast Asia.
So when the company launched stateside in Los Angeles in 2007, it pursued a two-tiered strategy.
Premium products would compete just below the allergy-shop space, and second-tier mass market air cleaners would attack the (Clean Air Delivery Rate) CADR buyers roaming aisles in big-box retailers.
The Korean-built Coways, sold in the US as the RabbitAirs, are reviewed positively here.
Coway's Idylis-branded second-tier products have been picked up and marketed exclusively by big box retailer Lowe's.
Idylises appeared on Lowe's shelves in April, 2009, after the Hunter Permalife filter debacle closeout.
I think Lowe's purchasing department made a better choice this time.
So this is a preliminary review of two brand new products, based on zero consumer feedback, to be updated as such feedback becomes available.
Lowes' offers five Idylis models with brand names based on CADR rate;
Idylis 100 - $89,
Idylis 125 - $128,
Idylis 150 - $167,
Idylis 200 - $246,
and Idylis 280 - $299.
Only two models are covered here, the lower-powered Idylises lack the automated controls found on the top Idylis models: IAP-10-280 and IAP-10-200.
The squarish 280 sells as Lowes Item number 302655 for $299.00, while the tall Idylis 200 Air Purifier goes for $246.00 as item number 302654.
While the Lowes website states the Idylis 200 to be available primarily online, my local store in Bastrop, Texas, had both models available.
That means strong fans and loose fitting filters - reduced efficiency, especially where tiny sub-micron sized particles are concerned.
CADR ratings for the "280" are;
Dust - 290,
Tobacco Smoke - 280,
Pollen - 285.
These are strong numbers - typical CADRs run from 100 (too weak) to a maximum of 450 (very rare).
AHAM rates the Idylis 280 for a 434 square foot room.
As usual, this is overstated.
But if the claimed noise specifications quoted below prove accurate, the big Idylis might be able to run on higher speeds and earn a room size larger than its CADR.
Until more facts come to light, I'm recommending the 280 for applications to a maximum of 320 sq. ft.
CADR ratings for the "200" are;
Dust - 215,
Tobacco Smoke - 200,
Pollen - 215.
AHAM rates the Idylis 200 for a 310 square foot room -
I recommend it for no more than 230 sq. ft.
So the 280 uses 2 separate Idylis HEPA filters, part numbers IAF-H-100C and IAF-H-100D, laid sideways. Hence the square profile.
The 200 Idylis uses 2 identical HEPA filters of the IAF-H-100C designation, stacked longways. This gives the Idylis 200 a "tall boy" profile.
Nobody is going to switch these two by mistake.
With a new brand like Idylis, availability of replacement filters in the future is a concern.
Replacements for the 280 are $44.98 and $24.98, for a total of about $70 plus tax and shipping.
Idylis 200 uses two of the $24.98 size, bringing the tab to $50 plus tax and shipping.
These are pretty reasonable filter costs.
Idylis HEPA filter model IAF-H-100D is sold as Lowes item number 306188.
Idylis IAF-H-100C filters go under Lowes item number 302650.
While the Idylis' labels call for "Up to 18 month filter life," I'd expect more frequent filter changes in the average home.
This is a weak area.
I think Idylis air purifiers lack sufficient prefiltering - a permanent fiberglass screen as used on the Sharp, Winix, and Mitsubishi (RabbitAir) air purifiers would have been appropriate here.
And, of course, the small amount of carbon present will foul rapidly where smoking or other odors and chemicals are present.
However, this is consistent with practice in the big-box air cleaner space.
Idylis number IAF-C-100U universal prefilter kits were on the shelf at Lowes, item 302656, for $17.98.
This HEPA installation also lacks perfect sealing around the filters, which fit somewhat loosely in the case.
Overall efficiency and fine particle removal may be compromised, but again, this is common in the middle market.
From appearance, I make this UV installation 6 Watts or less, low powered.
There have been previous low cost automated air purifiers, notably from Hamilton Beach and Panasonic.
But these sold poorly and have all but disappeared.
I remember the last steam locomotive, and telephones that you had to crank before they worked.
Computers less powerful than the three on my desk once cost millions of dollars and sat in locked climate controlled rooms.
But today's automated air cleaners do not deliver on the promise.
I recommend manually running the Idylis air purifiers on the highest speed that doesn't interfere with activities.
Idylis auto mode uses one dust sensor to select one of three fan speeds according to ambient particulate levels.
Another handy device is the current air quality indicator, a LED that shows the user three levels of particle contamination.
Pollen and other particulate allergy sufferers will find this feature useful
A timer allows programmable settings or 2 hours, 4 hours, or 8 hours running time.
The tiny remote control is just large enough to fit in the hand.
A thoughtful night light button can turn off the display for bedtime use.
Idylis' filter change indicator is a simple timer with reset button.
The front panel is wired with a safety switch to prevent operation when the panel is loose or removed.
Experienced air cleaner buyers place a priority on genuinely quiet operation, day and night.
A label on the 280 package is the only evidence of Idylis noise emissions I could locate.
It states, in fine print, "Quiet performance at only 42.5 dB on high speed."
If documented better, this would be a major marketing point!
We are looking at 290 CADR, under $300, and only 42 d(B)A noise.
For comparison, my near silent Sharp Plasmacluster does 50 d(B)A at an estimated 205 CADR.
If true, this noise spec makes the Idylis 280 the quietest air purifier on the market on a noise-to-power ratio basis.
The RabbitAir MinusA2 mentioned above is quiet, but costs almost twice as much as 280 Idylis.
Airgle 750 is the strong silent type, but costs $799.
Idylis is very, very quiet when compared to the big-box retail model's low quality competition.
Idylis 200 dimensions are 11.9 in. deep by 11.8 wide by 32.9 in tall.
The Idylises are EPA ENERGY STAR listed, Idylis 280 is rated at 2.88 CADR/Watt, the 200 is rated 2.84 C/W.
Idylises are covered by a limited 5-year warranty, long for the segment.
Woongjin Coway Co., LTD
658 Yugu-Ri, Yugu-Eup, Kongju-City
Chung-nam, : Korea
Look out Hunter, Holmes, Whirlpool, and Honeywell, the Hyundais of the air purifier world are coming.
Folks cruising the
retail space could consider the Idylis 208 or 200 as an alternative
to these established brands where larger diameter particle pollution, such as mold
spores or pollen, is the target allergen.
Air Purifiers at Amazon.com.