We spend most of our time indoors, especially since the pandemic hit. And even as we are all cooped inside the four walls, we are susceptible to certain health hazards. According to the EPA, indoor air tends to be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air, since there are less ventilation and recirculation of air. This is alarmingly true in the case of cities like Delhi. In a study conducted by BreatheEasy Consultants, it was identified that “Houses in the city have very polluted air infested with large concentrations of PM 2.5, carbon dioxide, and harmful gases, with long-term health implications”. PM 2.5, for those uninitiated, refers to atmospheric particulate matter (PM) that has a diameter of fewer than 2.5 micrometers.

Now, a popular technological fix for this is — an air purifier (like the titular Voltas Air Purifier). But the first question that pops into one’s mind has to be whether it works or is it just another case of solutionism? Well, to quote experts, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) says air purifiers “can help reduce airborne contaminants, including viruses, in a home or confined space.” And the agency also adds that air purifiers are helpful “when additional ventilation with outdoor air is not possible”.

The demand for air purifiers has sky-rocketed the past year for reasons we all know. COVID-19 affects the lungs the most and those who have tested positive are said to have prolonged effects on breathing. This is a good argument for these machines. The CDC says these units can help “reduce the airborne concentration of the virus that causes Covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2), which can reduce the risk of transmission through the air.” That said, it also cautions that the air cleaner is “not enough to protect yourself and your family from Covid-19.” Needless to say, you must follow all the preventive measures like wearing masks, using hand sanitizers/soaps for hand hygiene, and avoid unnecessary outings.

Just so you know, the COVID-19 virus is about 0.125 micron (125 nanometers) in diameter, which is within the particle-size range a HEPA filter can contain (0.01 micron or 10 nanometers and above).

That’s been much information to preface the review we are about to begin, I guess. But, let me also add, I have had done detailed research on the subject — Air purifiers & Masks: A study on inventions to cope with air pollution. And we have a list of the best Air Purifiers to buy in India which you should definitely check out. Now, coming to the air purifier at hand from Voltas, my approach was simply to see whether it’s effective enough to find a spot in the said list.

So, let’s find out that in this Smartprix review of the Voltas Air Purifier codenamed VAP55TWV.

Voltas Air Purifier VAP55TWV Specs

Model VAP55TWV
Dimensions and Weight 290×628×290 mm, 6.5 kg
Filters Pre-Filter (non-washable), HEPA (H-13), Amino acid Activated Carbon, Ionizer
Filter Life up to 6 months, subject to usage pattern and environmental conditions
Applicable Area 54 Sq. m/ 581.25 Sq.Ft
CADR 450 m3/hr
Noise (Low Speed) 30/38/55/66 dB
Fan Speed 5 levels
Sensor type Dust & Tilt
Air Quality Indicator (AQI) Yes – Multicolor LED + PM 2.5 Digital
Rated Power Input 40W
Features Auto Mode, Sleep Mode, Child Lock, Up to 24 hours timer, Filter Change Indicator
Warranty 1 year

Voltas Air Purifier VAP55TWV Design and Filters

Perhaps since white is associated with purity, most air purifiers in the market come in the ivory color. This one’s no different. The cylinder barrel looks amiable and should harmonize well with your indoor decor. Being plastic-built (a good one at that), it is light to carry around. But, if only it had wheels, the movement would’ve been simpler between rooms.

The purifier has perforations on its sides for air intake. There are apertures at the bottom too for air uptake. At the middle of the base, there is the lid, opening which you will be able to get your hands on the filter roll. Out of the box, the filter comes packed. So, before the first operation, you have to take out the filter coil, unpack it and reinstall it. Once that’s done, close the cover.

At the top, there is a touch-control panel circumferenced by the air outlet through which fresh air comes out. The fan speed can be manually set to run at 5 different levels or pass the lever to the machine to automatically regulate the blower based on ambient pollution levels.

These are the various toggles available on the display (from the left): 24-hour timer, Fan Speed Setting, Power On/Off (in the middle), Auto/Sleep Switch, and Child-lock.

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Besides these, there is the AQI (Air Quality Indicator) in big bold illuminated letters. Following are the color codes for various PM 2.5 levels:

PM 2.5 AQI color
0-50 Green
51-75 Blue
76-100 Orange
101-125 Also, Orange
>125 Red

In case you’re wondering, the light glare isn’t bothersome during the night. As far as noise is concerned, even during the daytime, the thing can go loud for the initial few minutes of the run, while it cleans the air and the indicator changes from Red to Orange. In my time with it, neither I nor my family had trouble sleeping with it during the night.

Voltas Air Purifier VAP55TWV Performance

Starting off with a quick look at the anatomy of the filter roll:

  • HEPA H13 Filter: HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters remove at least 99.97% of 0.3-micrometer particles. And that grade H13 is considered to offer amongst the highest tier sieving. It only passes up 0.05% of 0.1-micron particles per liter of air. This is the most important component here. Even NASA says so.
  • Amino Acid Activated Carbon Filter: Then there is the activated carbon filter, which works by absorbing odor and large particles like dust, lint, mold spores, smoke, pet hair, and VOCs.
  • Ionizer: Meanwhile, an ionizer, somewhat similar to the above one, works by spewing charged air molecules that go about attracting pollutant particles. This process if not done within limits could generate ozone, which is considered harmful to our health.
  • Pre Filter: Above all, this is the pre-filter, which does pretty much the same thing as the above two, but for even bigger particles.

So, all these three filters are not necessary per se and are more like companion shield before HEPA so that the latter is left with smaller particles only.

The CADR (clean air delivery rate) is 450 m3/hr, which is close to the rule of thumb amount that’s derived by the 2/3rd rule, which means that air filters for a room should have a smoke CADR greater than 2/3rd of the room area in sq. So, that’s sufficient on paper.

In real-world usage, the time taken for the AQI to reach safe levels depends on the degree of ambient pollution. Still, for your reference, in one instance, it took about 10 minutes for the purifier to bring down the AQI from 300 (red color) to the orange level. Then, another 10 mins to enter the blue range, and finally 5 mins to hit the lush green.

I could notice the spiking pollution index while using incense sticks, candles, perfumes, brooming the room, making the bed, and while things were burning on the kitchen stove. However, the thing really offers relief during the early morning hours in the bedroom that stays sealed during the night. On a side note, it is suggested to ventilate the room by opening the doors and windows. This way exhaust the accumulated carbon dioxide that is responsible for the sense of uneasiness.

Now, it is always recommended to place the purifier at least three feet away from walls and corners. Plugin the cable and as I mentioned before the thing may emit a whirring sound, which with the progress in cleaning shall dull down into a hum and even lower decibel. Speaking of which, the quoted decibel level ranges between 30-66dB.

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Depending on the fan speed, the airflow can be strong enough to feel slightly cold during winters. But, of course, you can manually set the fan to spin slow.

So, that’s pretty much it. Now that you have had a vicarious experience of this Voltas machine, it’s finally time for some closing thoughts.

Voltas Air Purifier VAP55TWV Verdict

This Voltas Air Purifier checks the general rules you should consider while picking an air cleaner — it is portable, has congenial looks, isn’t that noisy, has a reliable HEPA H13 filter, and offers adequate CADR. In other words, it is pretty competent in cutting down the pollution levels and endow good aerial hygiene. If you are or have someone with serious breathing ailments or difficulties, this thing can prove as a passive aid, if not particularly a lifesaver.

So, although the price tag may seem breathtaking, in effect, the task it performs is breath-giving. It is available for purchase from the official website as well as several other retail stores.

Pros

  • Portable
  • Congenial looks
  • Hushed operation
  • Reliable HEPA H13 filter
  • Adequate CADR

Cons

  • Unnecessary Add-ons (Ionizer)
  • No remote/app control
  • Pricey

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