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The curious case of AUGIENB HEPA Air Purifier
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Review

The curious case of AUGIENB HEPA Air Purifier

by November 11, 2019
Overview
Highlights

While priced at less than half of what the big brands will charge you, the AUGIENB HEPA Air Filter does stand a chance to go head-to-head against more popular alternatives.

Warranty

-

Price

RM399.99 (SRP), promo price RM199

Positives

+ Very affordable
+ Cheap replacement filters
+ HEPA filter works well against PM 2.5
+ First 3 speed mode are registering in softer then 40 dB
+ Touch panel is a good touch (pun intended)

Negatives

- Cheap build quality
- Touch panel is a fingerprint magnet and scratches easily
- Turbo mode could sound quite annoying

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Pokde Rating
Appearance
6.0
Features
6.0
Materials
4.0
Performance
7.0
User Experience
7.0
Value
8.5
Bottom Line

If you're looking for an affordable air purifier and don't mind it sounding a tad loud, look no further.

6.4
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This interesting looking thing is an air purifier by AUGIENB, a Hong Kong company that specializes in “home machine solutions”. They basically make home appliances like air or water filters, lights, humidifiers and other similar products. They seem to have quite a good present around Southeast Asia, hence seem to be a trustworthy company. We managed to purchase our unit at half price during a lazada sale, so I guess why not, right? It’s quite a deal if you ask me, slashing the unit price from RM440 to RM199! So, the question is, does paying less than RM200 for a air purifier equipped with a HEPA filter make sense? And is it worth the money? Or have we been taken for a ride? Let’s jump right in.

Overview

AUGIENB HEPA Air Purifier

The unit we got the is the AUGIENB HEPA Air Purifier. The unit resembles an inverted bucket. Most of the casing is just plain white plastic and it looks and feels quite thin. The good thing is that it’s really lightweight, but it definitely does not inspire confidence in its quality.

AUGIENB HEPA Air Purifier

The touch-sensitive controls are located on top, and in the middle there’s a container for essential oil. Personally, I find the inclusion of essential oil container very odd, but more on this later.

Under the AUGIENB HEPA Air Purifier is a hatch to insert the HEPA filter. All it takes is a twist to unlock it and the filter can be easily removed and replaced here.

AUGIENB HEPA Air Purifier

Within the filter, you can see the fan that will pull in air from the back, force it through the HEPA filter, and exhaust clean air out the top end.

AUGIENB HEPA Air Purifier
Does this remind you of the Gentle Typhoon by Scythe?

The filter that comes included with the AUGIENB HEPA Air Purifier is a basic HEPA filter. On AUGIENB’s website they have an upgraded version which adds an activated carbon layer.

AUGIENB HEPA Air Purifier
A common HEPA filter
AUGIENB HEPA Air Purifier
After inserting the HEPA filter into the AUGIENB HEPA Air Purifier

This is a desktop air purifier, officially it is rated to be capable to purify 140 cubic meters per hour. That’s about the volume of a small room, perhaps around the size of small bedroom. How it works is that it has intakes on the back to take in air from the surroundings, which would be sent into the HEPA filter to “purify” it before having the clean air come out from the vents along the top panel.

Review

First things first, despite the cheap price (RM220 is a ridiculous price to pay for a HEPA filter) the AUGIENB HEPA Air Purifier work flawlessly, with its simple mechanism meaning little can go wrong anyway. Using our air quality measurement tool, it does seem to be working just fine.

We will be testing the air purifier based on how well it purifies the air within 30 minutes by looking at the levels of formaldehyde, PM 2.5 particulate and TVOC in our small room. Below is a little description of what these 3 levels mean:

Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is a chemical that is colorless, flammable, with a pungent odor. It is used in building materials and also in certain household products. It’s present in pressed-wood products, glues and adhesives, permanent-press fabrics, paper coating materials, and certain insulation materials.

When formaldehyde is present in the air at levels exceeding 100 mg/m3 , some individuals may experience adverse effects such as watery eyes; burning sensations in the eyes, nose, and throat; coughing; wheezing; nausea; and skin irritation. Some people are very sensitive to formaldehyde, whereas others have no reaction to the same level of exposure. Formaldehyde and Cancer Risk. (2011, June 10)

Formaldehyde Level in AirExpected Health Effects
>0.0123 mg/m3Mild irritation or allergic sensitization in some people
>0.615 mg/m3Irritation to eyes & mucous membranes
>1.23 mg/m3Possible nasopharyngeal cancer
3.684 mg/m3Respiratory impairment and damage

Friedman, D. J. (n.d.). Formaldehyde Gas HCHO Exposure Limits Formaldehyde Gas

PM 2.5

PM 2.5 level is a measure of the amount of fine particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers, since they are so small and light, they tend to stay longer in the air than heavier particles. This increases the chances of humans and animals inhaling them into their lungs. They are able to bypass the nose and throat and penetrate deep into the lungs and may even enter the circulatory system.

Studies have found a close link between exposure to fine particles and premature death from heart and lung disease. They are also known to trigger asthma, heart attack, bronchitis and other respiratory problems.

PM 2.5Air Quality IndexHealth Effects
0 – 12.0Good 0 – 50Little to no risk.
21.1 – 35.4Moderate 51-100Unusually sensitive individuals may experience respiratory symptoms.
35.5 – 55.4Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 101-150Increasing likelihood of respiratory symptoms in sensitive individuals, aggravation of heart or lung disease and premature mortality in persons with cardiopulmonary disease and the elderly.
55.5 – 150.4Unhealthy 151 – 200Increased aggravation of heart or lung disease and premature mortality in persons with cardiopulmonary disease and the elderly; increased respiratory effects in general population.
150.5 – 250.4Very Unhealthy 201 – 300Significant aggravation of heart or lung disease and premature mortality in persons with cardiopulmonary disease and the elderly; significant increase in respiratory effects in general population.
250.5 – 500.4Hazardous 301 – 500Serious aggravation of heart or lung disease and premature mortality in persons with cardiopulmonary disease and the elderly; serious risk of respiratory effects in general population.

What is PM2.5 and Why You Should Care. (n.d.)

TVOC

“Total volatile organic compounds” TVOC is a grouping of a wide range of organic chemical compounds that are present in the air.

Many substances, such as natural gas, could be classified as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are reserved for characterization of such substances in polluted air, that is, VOCs generally refer to vapors of gases given off by compounds rather than the liquid phase.

TVOC Level mg/m3Level of Concern
Less than 0.3 mg/m3Low
0.3 to 0.5 mg/m3Acceptable
0.5 to 1 mg/m3Marginal
1 to 3 mg/m3High

Acceptable VOC levels in the air for human health. (n.d.)

Normal Situation

  • Small office: ~150 sq feet
  • No windows
  • Door closed with no entry nor exit during testing
AUGIENB HEPA Air Purifier
Control: Filter Switch OFF. Formaldehyde Level – 0.021, PM2.5 – 0.12, TVOC – 0.154

AUGIENB HEPA Air Purifier
Filter Switch ON. Formaldehyde Level – 0.021, PM2.5 – 0.9, TVOC – 0.155
AUGIENB HEPA Air Purifier
15 Minutes: Filter Switch ON. Formaldehyde Level – 0.032, PM2.5 – 0.5, TVOC – 0.185
AUGIENB HEPA Air Purifier
30 Minutes: Filter Switch ON. Formaldehyde Level – 0.037, PM2.5 – 0.4, TVOC – 0.204
FormaldehydePM 2.5TVOC
Control0.0210120.154
Start0.0210090.155
15 Minutes0.0320050.185
30 Minutes0.0370040.204

In the test we notice that PM 2.5 levels does drop over time. But formaldehyde and TVOC actually went up over time. We believe is it due to the extremely low levels of the pollutants present, what was picked up by the measuring tool is generally not of concern.

Regardless, the PM 2.5 present were lowered from 12 to just 4 μg/m3, which is evidence that the AugienB Air Purifier is working as intended.

Hazardous Situation

As the normal test shows that the air purifier can actually filter out PM 2.5, we need to know whether the purifier can deal with formaldehyde and TVOC, as well as how well does it handle them.

To do this, we sprayed the room with insect repellent, essentially jacking up the levels of formaldehyde and TVOC in the room.

AUGIENB HEPA Air Purifier
Control: Filter Switch ON. Formaldehyde Level – 0.042, PM2.5 – 0.4, TVOC – 0.212
AUGIENB HEPA Air Purifier
Insect Repellent Sprayed : Filter Switch On. Formaldehyde Level – 0.051, PM2.5 – 0.4, TVOC – 0.236
AUGIENB HEPA Air Purifier
Insect Repellent Sprayed : Filter Switch On. Formaldehyde Level – 1.400, PM2.5 – 0.5, TVOC – 3.741
AUGIENB HEPA Air Purifier
Insect Repellent Sprayed : Filter Switch On. Formaldehyde Level – 1.999, PM2.5 – 0.6, TVOC – 6.128
AUGIENB HEPA Air Purifier
Insect Repellent Sprayed : Filter Switch On. Formaldehyde Level – 1.999, PM2.5 – 0.5, TVOC – 9.999
AUGIENB HEPA Air Purifier
Insect Repellent Sprayed : Filter Switch On. Formaldehyde Level – 1.999, PM2.5 – 0.6, TVOC – 6.128
AUGIENB HEPA Air Purifier
Insect Repellent Sprayed : Filter Switch On. Formaldehyde Level – 1.953, PM2.5 – 0.5, TVOC – 9.999
AUGIENB HEPA Air Purifier
Insect Repellent Sprayed : Filter Switch On. Formaldehyde Level – 1.404, PM2.5 – 0.3, TVOC – 9.999
Insect Repellent Sprayed : Filter Switch On. Formaldehyde Level – 0.640, PM2.5 – 0.3, TVOC – 4.037
Insect Repellent Sprayed : Filter Switch On. Formaldehyde Level – 0.432, PM2.5 – 0.2, TVOC – 3.024
Insect Repellent Sprayed : Filter Switch On. Formaldehyde Level – 0.203, PM2.5 – 0.2, TVOC – 0.790
TimeInsect RepellentFormaldehydePM 2.5TVOC
5 secondNo0.0420040.212
10 secondYes0.0510040.236
15 secondYes1.4000053.741
30 secondYes1.9990066.128
15 MinuteYes1.9990129.999
30 MinuteYes1.9990069.999
1 HourYes1.9530059.999
2 HourYes1.4040039.999
3 HourYes0.6400034.037
4 HourYes0.4320023.024
5 HourYes0.1690050.735

So as you can see, after spraying the insect repellent, within minutes the formaldehyde and TVOC detected spiked up so high it exceeds the maximum reading of our tool. It takes about 5 hours to bring the hazardous level of Formaldehyde and TVOC down to an acceptable level.

These result are not convincing for an air purifier. But then again, the lack of an activated carbon filter layer does mean that it isn’t equipped to handle anything but particulate matter. We ran similar tests with the Xiaomi Air Purifier Pro, with it being able to drop the hazardous levels to a relatively safe level in significantly less time. Yes, the Xiaomi Air Purifier Pro costs more than quadruple the price of the AUGIENB HEPA Air Purifier, but the added peace of mind is definitely tangible.

Sound Level

All the test done so far are done with Speed 2 setting. It seem to be the most reasonable mode to be used, due to how much loud the air purifier can become. Below are a series of tests we ran to give you guys an idea of how loud it can be.

Speed 1, Min 24.7 dB, Avg 33.4 dB , Max 42.5 dB
Speed 2, Min 29.3 dB , Avg 34.2 dB , Max 37.8 dB
Speed 3, Min 33.7 dB , Avg 36.3 dB , Max 38.7 dB
Speed Turbo, Min 46.3 dB, Avg 48.1 dB, Max 50.2 dB
SpeedMinAvgMax
124.7 dB33.4 dB42.5 dB
229.3 dB34.2 dB37.8 dB
333.7 dB36.3 dB38.7 dB
Turbo46.3 dB48.1 dB50.2 dB

At full speed, the AUGIENB Air Purifier hits around 50.2 dB, which easily made it the loudest device in my small room. Personally I am rather sensitive to noise, and I get agitated very easily in noisy environments and the Turbo setting made me really uncomfortable. Our recommendation is if you are considering this air purifier, speed 3 might be the best compromise in terms of noise and effectiveness.

User experience

The results are promising, despite the low price the air purifier definitely get the job done. You can safely assume that using the higher speed modes will mean faster filtration of all the air in the room, but we don’t recommend to do so with the Turbo mode, simply because it is just too darn loud.

Although advertised with 3 speeds, the AUGIENB HEPA Air Purifier actually offers a total of 5 speeds: sleep, speed 1, 2, 3, and finally turbo. While sleep mode have almost no sound present but a gentle hum, each speed take it up a notch, as you can see in our noise testing. While the device is advertised to “create a calm environment”, we found it to be more or less a trade off from air pollution for noise pollution if you were to run the air purifier at any setting higher than speed 3.

The touch control is a great touch, the smooth piano black panel add a sense of premium into this air filter. However the material used here seems to be the kind of soft plastic that is a fingerprint magnet but at the same time each time you try cleaning it, it gains a few more scratches.

As mentioned earlier, in the middle of the control panel is a little container where user can insert essential oil to “enchance user experience”. It is worth nothing though that essential oils are reported in multiple studies to not “help clean the air” as commonly believed, but also further pollute the air with volatile organic compounds. Our advice is to never use essential oils unless you’re absolutely sure of what you are doing.

Conclusion: AUGIENB HEPA Air Purifier, Gold or No?

If you are looking for an air purifier and have limited budget, the AUGIENB HEPA Air Purifier is a decent value buy at RM199 (the promo price at which we got it for). Under normal circumstances a branded air purifier would retail at around the price of RM500 or more, AUGIENB is giving you quite the bang for buck. The filters which are recommended to be replaced every 6-8 months retails at the price of RM65.90 with a buy one free one offer is also a steal where branded air purifier replacement can easily run two times the price.

Bear in mind, while you save your money, there are some trade-offs too. As mentioned earlier, the noise produced at higher speed levels are unbearable, the control panel is a fingerprint and scratch magnet, and finally the inclusion of essential oil container somewhat contradicts its own existence as an air purifier.

But, we do recommend the AUGIENB HEPA Air Purifier if you manage to get it during promo and use it at low speed. It does a pretty good job for something this affordable.

References

Formaldehyde and Cancer Risk. (2011, June 10). Retrieved November 5, 2019, from https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/substances/formaldehyde/formaldehyde-fact-sheet.

Acceptable VOC levels in the air for human health. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.npi.gov.au/resource/total-volatile-organic-compounds.

Friedman, D. J. (n.d.). Formaldehyde Gas HCHO Exposure Limits Formaldehyde Gas (Formalin Gas) Exposure Standards & Limits in Buildings. Retrieved from https://inspectapedia.com/indoor_air_quality/Formaldehyde_Gas_Exposure_Limits.php.

What is PM2.5 and Why You Should Care. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://blissair.com/what-is-pm-2-5.htm.

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Aiphos Hoo

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