Molekule Air Mini review: Good things come in small packages
An air purifier is a very personal thing. For some, it's a lifesaver making breathing easier, clearing stuffy noses, and getting rid of pollutants that cause allergies and trigger asthma. For others, it doesn't seem to make a drastic difference in air quality or the effects of impure air. The effects of an air purifier are different for everyone.
The Molekule is a revolutionary product that kills pollutants at a molecular level, cleaning up the air around you, no matter what your level of tolerance is. But it's expensive and it's big. Not everyone can afford one. Not everyone wants to spend $800 on something that may not completely fix their seasonal allergy ailments.
In walks Molekule Air Mini, the smaller, more affordable version. It's about half the size and exactly half the price. It replaces the air in a room about 250 square feet per hour instead of 600 feet but it's the perfect personal air purifier.
Price: $399Bottom line: At half the size and half the price, this mini Molekule is just right for the right lifestyle.
- Smaller size
- Less expensive
- Easy to replace filters
- Subscription plan for filter refills
- Perfect for bedroom or office
- No app support
- Fan is loud on higher speeds
Molekule Air Mini: The features
Just like its big brother, the Molekule Air Mini uses a photoelectrochemical oxidation (PECO) filter coated with nanoparticles that, when reacting to UV light, destroys pollutants at a molecular level. Most air filters that use a standard HEPA filter are able to collect things like pollen, pet dander, and mold. The Molekule Air Mini also takes care of minuscule pollutants like bacteria, viruses, and VOCs (volatile organic compounds).
Unlike its big brother, the Mini is only 12-inches tall and weighs a scant seven pounds (as compared to the 2-feet tall, 18-pound Molekule).
The Mini has a fan that pulls in the surrounding air at five different speeds. To clear a room of pollutants as quickly as possible, set it on high. Once clean, drop down to maintenance mode at one of the lower fan speeds and just keep it running day and night.
To control the Molekule Air Mini, you will tap the touch-sensitive panel on the top. It has a small indention at the center to give you guidance and all you have to do is press and hold the center to turn it on or off, then tap it to change fan speeds.
There is no "night mode" on the Mini because it doesn't emit the same blue light as the Molekule. The air is drawn up from the bottom and the light diodes are placed throughout an internal core. The outside of the PECO filter is black, so light doesn't leak out.
The Mini does not have a separate pre-filter the way the Molekule does. Instead, the PECO filter has a hybrid design that uses the outside as a pre-filter and the inside as the micro-pollutant destroyer with light.
When it's time to replace it, the PECO filter is very easy to switch out. After turning the Mini off, press down on the outer shell and twist slightly. Then lift the top off to reveal the PECO filter. It's not strapped or clipped down. Just lift it up and toss it. Then, replace it with your new one.
I've been using the Mini for about two weeks now and it appears to be working about the same as the Molekule with a separate pre-filter and PECO filter, but it's difficult to tell if this hybrid is just as effective.
The Molekule Air Mini does not have app support at this time. Instead, there is a status light at the top to let you know when it's time to change the filter (it's recommended to replace the PECO filter every six months).
Molekule continues its subscription-only filter model with the Mini. For $99 per year, you'll get two PECO filters, delivered every six months. This is significantly less expensive than the Molekule's subscription price of $130 per year.
Molekule Air Mini: What I like
The Mini really does seem to me to be the perfect fit for my lifestyle. It's like the "Baby Bear" of air purifiers. I keep it in my office all day and then switch it to the bedroom at night. I run it on high for about a half-hour and then switch it to a lower fan setting for the rest of the day. Those are the two places I spend most of my time and the two rooms I feel need a solid air purification system the most.
Because the Mini is so small, it's very easy to relocate it from one room to another. If I really want to, I could even pop it into the living room with me and just keep it close to my person so that my air would get purified, even if no one else's did. Though the full-sized Molekule is technically portable, it is pretty heavy at 18 pounds and doesn't exactly fit on top of a table. The Mini easily does.
At half the price of the Molekule, the Mini is also much more affordable for most people (you can purchase the full-sized model on a payment plan, though, which is a really nice option). I know it doesn't quite clean up the air in a larger room, or even many people's master bedroom, but if you live in an older, smaller house like I do, it's easier to justify spending $400 on an air purifier for the bedroom than $800.
I'm happy to see that the Molekule Air Mini also offers the subscription model for the PECO filter because it's important to regularly change your filters and not everyone would necessarily change them as often as they're supposed to (every six months). A subscription for filter refills just guarantees you'll keep the fresh air flowing without even having to think about it.
What's even happening?
Molekule Air Mini: What I don't like
The most notable difference from the full-sized Molekule to the Mini (other than size and price) is that there is no app support at this time. That means I don't see any feedback about how clean the air in the room is. I don't know if I should "boost" the fan or keep it running at a low speed. I didn't use the Molekule's app all that often, but when I wanted to see the air quality in the room, I could quickly check it on my phone. There just isn't an option to check air quality with the Mini. You just have to hope it's working.
The Molekule Air Mini's fan gets unequivocally loud. If it's set to fan-speed 1, you're good — it's whisper quiet. If you set it to fan-speed 2, you can hear it faintly, but it's not loud. It's more like the volume of the Molekule on "auto." Anything higher than that and the fan is just plain loud. You don't even want to set it to five if you're in the same room. It's not a nice white noise sound, either. It's got a trebly, rumbly sound, sort of like the sound of freeway traffic instead of the sound of a waterfall — if you get my meaning.
When I hold the Noise app on my Apple Watch right next to it (obviously, you wouldn't sit with your face two-inches from the Mini), it actually triggers the loudness warning.
Molekule Air Mini: Conclusion
When I reviewed the full-sized Molekule, I found it to be an absolutely wonderful product that works great, but comes in at a painfully high price. The Mini solves this problem at a much more reasonable price and comes with the bonus of being easier to carry around and place in different rooms.
It doesn't support the Molekule app right now (if the designers ever decide to include app support, this first-generation model will support it, too. You won't have to get a new one), so you don't get any kind of clean air feedback like you do with the larger model. That's mostly fine. I didn't actually check the app very often anyway. The fan's loudness, however, is a problem if you use it on anything higher than level 3, and at night you should only use it on level 1 or 2. If you really need to quickly send a room into a clean air level fast, turn it up to 5, but you should probably leave the room while it's turbo-boosting the air clean.
If you've always wanted the Molekule, but couldn't justify the price, the Mini is the perfect alternative. It uses the same PECO filter but cleans a smaller cubic feet per hour. I definitely recommend it.
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Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books. If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).
By Kevin Lynch