Dyson launches a new air purifier range targeting formaldehyde

Avleen M.
Avleen M.Published on

Dyson's new formaldehyde purifier in a living room

What are the new products on offer?

The Dyson Purifier Formaldehyde Range consists of two products: the Dyson HEPA Cool Formaldehyde, which costs $799, and the Dyson Purifier Hot + Cool Formaldehyde, which will set you back $999.

When will the range be released?

Dyson's new purifiers will be made available to the Australian public from Thursday 27th May 2021. You can purchase it using the Dyson website, or at selected retailers.

So, what’s new about these air purifiers?

Dyson’s new Formaldehyde range of fan and air purifiers is designed with several of the same features as its previous purifiers.

However, the new technology in this range includes a solid-state formaldehyde sensor.

This allows the purifier to sense, capture and destroy formaldehyde in the air using a brand new Selective Catalytic Oxidation (SCO) filter. This filter traps the formaldehyde and breaks it down into harmless water vapour and carbon dioxide.

The solid-state design of the filter is different to gel-based formaldehyde filters, which Dyson states can be commonly found on other cheaper formaldehyde purifiers. These are more likely to dry out over time and give false readings, rather than the accurate readings a solid-state filter can provide.

The formaldehyde filters on these new purifiers are lifetime filters. This means you won’t need to replace them for the life of the product.

Here’s what else is new about the Formaldehyde range of purifiers:

  • New HEPA13 filter, which is a medical-grade standard of HEPA filtration (the only higher standard is an H14 filter). The HEPA13 filter captures 99.95% of particles as small as 0.1 microns. Previous Dyson purifiers used a Glass HEPA filter.
  • A 2-in-1 filter: The HEPA and carbon filters are now back-to-back in a 2-in-1 filter. This means you'll only have to replace one filter now, instead of two. Dyson recommends you replace this 2-in-1 filter once a year if you use your purifier use averages 12 hours a day, or replace it every 6 months if you use your purifier 24 hours a day. They new 2-in-1 filter is also made from 25% recycled materials.
  • More manual control: You can now manually swivel (left and right) or tilt (forwards and back), the purifier to your desired angle. This is an easier and quicker way to direct airflow to a specific spot in the room. To do this with previous models, you needed to use the remote to set the angle, or the ‘oscillation control’ function on the Dyson Link App.
  • Quieter cooling: The Dyson HEPA Cool Formaldehyde Purifier is 20% quieter than the Dyson Pure Cool Tower.

Which features are the same as Dyson’s older air purifiers?

The new Formaldehyde range of air purifiers from Dyson exhibits all the same features as previous incarnations of the brand’s fan and purifier combinations. This includes the Dyson Pure Cool Tower ($799) and the Dyson Pure Hot + Cool ($899).

Common features across all of Dyson’s fan/purifier combos:

The HEPA filter works alongside an activated carbon filter to sense and capture the following 4 types of particulate matter, along with VOCs and NO2.

  • PM0.1 which captures ultrafine particles and viruses
  • PM2.5 caused by industrial emissions
  • PM0.5 released by bacteria and mould
  • PM10 from pollen and other plant-related allergens.
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (also known as VOCs), which come from cleaning products, new furniture, and scented products like candles.
  • Nitrous dioxide which is emitted by gas stoves and car exhausts.

All of Dyson's air purifiers are also designed with the following features:

  • Humidity and temperature sensors, and an ability to set the temperature in a room, including temperature pre-programming (for example, you can set a room to be a specific temperature when you walk in the door after work).
  • Dyson Link App which sends you data reports about the air quality. The Dyson Link App also allows you to control the purifier as though your phone or tablet were a remote control.
  • Real-time air quality monitoring displayed on the colour digital display on the purifier. This shows you the precise level of PM microns or VOCs in the air, of which formaldehyde is one.
  • Other features such as a remote control, Sleep-time mode, Night-time mode, voice control compatibility with Google Home, Alexa and Siri, and 350 degree oscillation.

Is Dyson’s new $999 purifier worth it?

Let’s face it – for most people, shelling out almost $1K on an air purifier can feel a bit over the top. To answer the question of whether you should fork out your hard-earned cash to Dyson, it’s necessary to explore what formaldehyde actually is, and whether it has any adverse impacts on indoor air quality as well as health.

What is formaldehyde?

Formaldehyde is a colourless, odourless gas. It’s classified as a Volatile Organic Compound, or ‘VOC.’ VOCs are gasses that are released into the air from chemical preservatives used in products and manufacturing processes.

Household products that may contain formaldehyde include: new furniture - especially products with formaldehyde-based resins like plywood and fibreboard – as well as flooring, mattresses, fabrics, paints, glues and household cleaning agents.

Formaldehyde can also be found in homes occupied by smokers, as well as homes that are heavily insulated or newly built.

How harmful is formaldehyde?

Products containing formaldehyde go through a process called ‘off-gassing.’

This means they release small amounts of formaldehyde into the air - especially when the products are new. The amount of formaldehyde present in the air is likely to be higher than usual in the following situations: if you’re renovating, doing a lot of home DIY projects, or you’ve moved house and have just unboxed all your new furniture.

However, there's some good news. The process of off-gassing has an end date. For example, mattresses typically take around 2 weeks to offgas, and during this period the amount of VOCs released will gradually keep decreasing, until they hit zero microns.

The main selling point of formaldehyde-destroying purifiers like Dyson's is that long-term exposure to formaldehyde can have adverse health conditions, including sensory irritation of the nose, eyes and upper airways.

While this can be true, it really depends on the quantity of formaldehyde present in the air. A report by the World Health Organisation states that concentrations of formaldehyde below 0.1mg per cubed metre are not considered to be an adverse health risk. The same report estimates the average amount of formaldehyde in most households to be 0.05 mg per cubed metre.

So while there is likely to be small amounts of formaldehyde present in your home, it's unlikely to neccessarily pose a problem.

Also, according to Dyson’s own website, its older air purifiers (the Dyson Pure Cool Tower and Dyson Pure Hot + Cool) have an activated carbon filter that also removes formaldehyde. This, after all, is the purpose of an activated carbon filter - to remove Volatile Organic Compounds like formaldehyde. It might not remove formaldehyde down to the exact quantity the new Formaldehyde Purifiers range does (500 times smaller than 0.01 microns), however these cheaper products may be sufficient to target the formaldehyde levels in most homes.

When would a formaldehyde purifier be helpful?

There may be some exceptions to this, which would justify buying a purifier that destroys formaldehyde levels when present in very tiny particles. One such example is moving into a newly constructed home. This is because there's likely to be formaldehyde in the flooring and other manufactured wood products. It’s estimated that it takes at least 2 years for formaldehyde in new houses to off-gas completely.

In this situation, investing in a new formaldehyde purifier may add some peace of mind that you and your family aren't breathing in chemicals on a daily (and nightly) basis.

A formaldehyde purifier may also be an investment worth considering if a household member has hypersensitive skin. According to a report released by the South Australian government, there is evidence that people with hypersensitive skin can develop contact dermatitis even when there is a formaldehyde concentration as low as 0.003% in the air.

Wrapping up

Overall, Dyson’s new range of Formaldehyde Purifiers don't fit the bill of being a light purchase made after a bit of casual window shopping. They’re marketed as top-of-the-range household appliances, and the tech giant has attached a hefty price tag to match the luxury.

The unique selling point of Dyson's new air purifiers is the inclusion of a formaldehyde filter that senses, captures and destroys formaldehyde particles in the air 500 times smaller than 0.01 microns. It’s normal to have a small amount of formaldehyde in your home, and most of it will off-gas naturally to reduce itself to a zero quantity. However, in some rare cases you may have extra peace of mind purchasing the purifier with a formaldehyde filter - but these situations are few and far between, especially to justify the $999 price tag or the $799 price tag for the cool-only formaldehyde purifier.

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