185 of 197 people found the following review helpful
An amazingly quiet, mid-power air purifier.,
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This review is from: Rabbit Air MinusA2 SPA-780A [White, Odor Remover] (Kitchen)I wanted an air purifier for my living room where I have some electronics that need protection from smoke and dust. I also needed a unit that could realistically and reliably clean the air sufficiently in this 250 square foot area and help remove the odor and particulate matter from occasional cigarette smoke that may drift into the room. It's a large volume area because of the high cathedral ceiling and open design. While that may not sound too difficult to accomplish with many mid to large air purifiers, I also wanted a unit that was as silent as possible, and that's not so easy to find.
I spent several weeks researching air purifiers and came away with the conclusion that IQ Air, Austin Air and Blueair are probably the best that the industry has to offer as far as big and powerful air purifiers go these days (IQ Air has a carbon filter with 5 pounds of charcoal and Austin Air has 15 pounds of charcoal ... 15 pounds!). So why didn't I choose one of those? Price, noise level, size and looks were the determining factors (although Blueair has good noise ratings and they look attractive, but are a bit on the pricey side). Excluding any of those models wasn't easy. Nor was it easy to cross off less expensive mid-power sized units from Sharp and Winix. I also had a difficult time choosing between several models of Rabbit Air. Decisions ... decisions....
In order to educate myself in the murky waters of outrageous air purifier claims, I turned to the internet, but at first I found no real help (not many websites review air purifiers). I had recently purchased a small, one-room air purifier from Alen and didn't do enough research. Turned out that I wasn't exactly thrilled with that purchase (although it's really not a bad unit per se ... I rated it 3 stars). Fortunately, I eventually found a website that took reviewing and testing of these products very seriously, which gave me more confidence when I decided to go for a more powerful (and expensive) unit in the living room. I highly recommend Air-Purifier-Power as the one and ONLY source (at present) to help shed some light on this less than stellar industry. Personally, I wouldn't rely on Consumer Reports as far as air purifiers go. I found them to be of little help and their testing methods for air purifiers have been under fire for years, and I can see why. What they rated highly gave me a good chuckle.
So now that I have the Rabbit Air 700A, what do I think? As the title indicates, this is a very quiet air purifier, perhaps one of the top two or three in the industry (of the ones that have fans ... I won't go into what I think about those that don't have fans). This unit has five different fan speeds (silent, low, medium, high and turbo). To me, noise level was as critical as cleaning ability. What good is an air purifier if it interferes with your daily living? I didn't want to have to turn up the TV to drown out a fan. Of course at the two top speeds (high and turbo), one can easily hear the 700A throughout the house. Still, its high speed is quieter than many products at mid speeds. So do yourself a favor and check out fan output (CFM) and the associated noise level (dBA) on any model you may want to purchase. The Rabbit Air 700A is about 46 dBA on turbo speed (@ 187 CFM) and under 21 dBA on silent speed (@47 CFM)! BTW, some products are even quieter than this, but check the CFM to see if they are putting out as much air at that noise level.
I chose the 700A over the 780A for a couple of reasons, even though I would have preferred black over white (not too impressed with the looks of this white model). The two reasons were value and noise level. These two models are virtually identical except the fan is revved up a bit on the 780A, making it a tad louder, but has the ability to suck in and blow more air and cover a little larger area. The first three speeds on the 700A (silent, low, medium) are indeed quiet, and the silent speed is aptly named. I have to get within 4 or 5 feet to begin hearing it. The CADR (clean air delivery rate) rating on the 700A and 780A is the same (except the 780A has a slightly better Pollen rating). As far as square footage is concerned, divide any number that these manufacturers spew out by two (normal ceilings) or three (high ceilings) and you will get a closer idea of what is realistic. If you assume the manufacturer's claims are legit, you may be in for disappointment (I'm pretty sure they calculate all these numbers based upon normal ceiling height and maximum fan speed, which is unrealistic in the normal home environment). I'd like to see a CADR rating at each fan speed and the use of volume in addition to square footage as far as coverage specification, but fat chance that these will ever be implemented.
What separated the Rabbit Air products from each other (the 700A and 780A vs their other models), as well as other manufacturers models, is the ability to choose a custom filter (they have four to choose from at present: germ, toxin, pet allergy and odor). This is a great idea, and one can order a specific filter type depending upon one's needs. I find this makes perfect sense. And installing and changing filters is simple and painless (pealing off the cellophane wrapper on these filters is a bigger pain than installing them). It also has a permanent pre-filter one can vacuum and/or wash, which I find a very important feature. Pre-filters pick up the biggest particulate matter, and I will no longer buy an air purifier without a cleanable pre-filter. Live and learn.
The ad states that it is a six stage purification system: anti-microbial pre-filter (read silver), anti-bacterial medium filter (additional dust catcher, which is unusual in the industry and helps not to overtax the HEPA filter), BioGS HEPA filter (I guess it gets that name because they added some anti-viral agents ... yeah, whatever), custom filter (not many companies I know, if any, have this option) and carbon filter (although I doubt there is much more than a pound of charcoal in it, but I haven't measured the weight). I guess the mysterious sixth stage is a negative ion generator (the good kind, but who knows these days?). I like the fact that their filter kits, which include the four changeable filters, are reasonably priced and are one of the better values I have found.
This model comes with a decent set of electronics and lights for giving you information, plus it performs automatic cycling (changes fan speed depending upon the air quality that the particle sensor reads), but it doesn't come with an odor sensor. This probably isn't too big of a deal since these sensors are hardly reference quality to begin with. However, even knowing the limitations of these sensors, I like the idea of having them included and thought for the price I paid for the 700A an odor sensor should have come with this unit. At least the particle sensor gives me some feedback (accuracy not withstanding) and a baseline to go from.
Rating air purifiers may not be too accurate unless one has used their particular model for a full filter cycle (anywhere from 6 months to a year depending upon the environment it is in). I've only owned this product for a little over 2 months now, and during that time I found the quality and performance has been very good. If things change during the year, I'll report back. So, between 1 and 10, I rate the Rabbit Air MinusA2 SPA-700A (that's a mouthful) an 8, or a solid 4-star rating, but this is assuming it will give me years of untroubled service (it does come with a 5 year warrantee, which is a big plus). Other than thinking it should have included an odor sensor (one of their cheaper models include this), I wish it had a more hefty carbon filter, say 3 pounds of charcoal at minimum, but it is what it is. This marginal carbon filter is the reason I selected the custom odor filter option (although I may opt for a different custom filter later on and swap them whenever I choose). I also felt that they should have provided a wall mounting bracket since they advertise it being wall mountable. Now if this bracket was an expensive to make add-on, I'd understand. But it's a bracket they make for a buck and sell for 10, so I consider this wringing out every cent they can from the consumer. I also had to laugh at their ridiculous claim concerning their "mood" light. Still, I'm pretty happy with this unit, but for the life of me I don't know where I can put it so it will be unobtrusive (but that would be the case for any of these devices).
Update 03/10/13: Well, it's been three years since I bought this machine and it is still going strong and is just as silent. I put in my third set of filters last month. I suspect that ripping out carpet, cutting several rooms of drywall as well as sawing wood flooring reduced the life of the second filter set by quite a bit. While it is obviously pulling out dust particles from my home, one has to wonder how much it really makes a difference in the long run.
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Showing 1-10 of 19 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 20, 2010 11:09:47 PM PDT
Mountain Dave says:
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 5, 2011 9:41:58 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 5, 2011 9:42:49 PM PST
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 5, 2011 10:41:43 PM PST
Mountain Dave says:
I bought one from RabbitAir since Amazon didn't have black. Probably the best air purifier on the market. Five stars from me. @Rutherford, worry about your own life.
Posted on May 22, 2011 5:49:54 PM PDT
V. Wu says:
Wow, this was a great review and extremely helpful! You've done all the avenues of research I'm currently pursuing to find a great air purifier. Can I ask if it's still performing well? Thanks for the help!
In reply to an earlier post on May 22, 2011 9:45:18 PM PDT
V. Wu: Thanks for your comments, they are appreciated.
Everything is working as good as new. I've had this unit for about a year now and have cleaned the pre-filter three times (just vacuumed, not washed). Each time I cleaned the pre-filter, I was a bit surprised it wasn't more dirty. Then again, a good furnace filter certainly helps matters. It does look like I may be ordering a new filter kit soon, as the medium and HEPA filters are beginning to show dirt.
Before you buy, please take a look at Air-Purifier-Power website (if you haven't already). His detailed tests and reviews are top notch.
In reply to an earlier post on May 23, 2011 4:06:13 PM PDT
V. Wu says:
dsrussell: Thanks for the reply! I'm glad to hear the purifier is still working. I actually found the Air-Purifier-Power website a little while ago and agree that it has very comprehensive information. I still feel like even though his reviews are exhaustive, it's difficult to narrow down a purifier if they're in the same general range of effectiveness, since each one has their pros and cons and, of course, their own convincing advertising.
I was wondering what other factors made you pick the MinusA2 vs. the BioSG units other than the custom filter feature? Do you think the whole six stage filtering is hokey or do you think it's actually working, considering the fact that it wasn't as dirty as expected? Lastly, some commenters online seemed to question Rabbit Air's claim of zero ozone. I was wondering, in your own research, if you had come across anything to support/refute it, or if you happened to smell anything "chemical" (although I'm sure you would have mentioned it). Thanks for all your help!
In reply to an earlier post on May 23, 2011 6:46:47 PM PDT
When buying any item, it's often a tough decision (even with weeks of research). Air purifiers are certainly no different. Matter-of-fact, there were several air purifiers I probably would have been just as happy with, including a couple other Rabbit Air units.
As I stated in my review, it came down to a few things. One, it is very quiet (it's in my audio room and quietness is a critical factor -- I simply NEVER hear it). Two, it came with a filter of my own choosing. Third, it is backed by a 5-year warrantee. And fourth, the filter replacement kits are reasonably priced (not the cheapest, but certainly reasonable).
All that being said, it's hardly perfect (that's why I gave it 4 stars). It's expensive compared to others in its class. It doesn't come with an odor sensor, plus the charcoal filter is marginal at best. And at the time I bought, I didn't have a choice of black (which I would have preferred).
As far as the 6-stage filtering being a bit hokey, I think most air purifier manufacturers stretch the truth wherever and whenever possible (Rabbit Air being no different). It's a hokey business with hokey claims. I guess the question really is, have I noticed a great improvement? The answer is no. An improvement, yes. A great improvement, no (although the cleaning lady thought I dusted before she arrived). But that would be the case for just about any air purifier.
Ozone? I wouldn't know bad ozone over non-bad and relied on Air-Purifier-Power to tell me if it was harmful (he indicated it wasn't, but you can email him).
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2011 4:29:52 PM PDT
I just received my 780A today (Black) and it has both the particle and an odor sensor. I love this thing. Thank you for your review.
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2011 4:35:38 PM PDT
You are most welcome. I hope the Rabbit Air gives you years of great service. I'm also happy to see that the 780A now comes in black and with an odor sensor. Had mine come with those options, I would have upped my rating to a 9 out of 10 (or a 5-star rating).
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2011 6:34:34 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 7, 2011 6:40:18 PM PDT
I love it when a company actually appears to listen to its customers. It's a beautifully designed purifier. I like the magnet "hooks" for the cover and the tone of the "dings" as it powers up. It also has a nice ramp up to high speed/turbo. This gradual ramp up reminds me of my Miele vacuum cleaner. I'd redesign the remote control to something slimmer, less boxy (rounder edges), and with a softer finish, but I'm (so far) very happy with this. I chose the 780A because we have a dining room / living room setup here with the kitchen off the dining room. I may get another one for the master bedroom. Our air conditioner came on today for the first time this year... and the Rabbit picked up the "bad" air right away. Within 15 minutes, all was good again.