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Fellowes AeraMax DX55 Air Purifier review

on February 14, 2014 11:00 am

This post brought to you by Fellowes . All opinions are 100% mine.

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In the past few months, my family and I moved into a condo.  Our old house was the dustiest house in the world, but we didn’t have any pollutants from nearby houses.  In the condo, we are in a building that’s occupied by other people.  Although the heating/cooling system ductwork is set up so that units are isolated from each other as much as possible, I know there’s some air seeping into my unit from the surrounding ones.  Since my daughter has asthma, I don’t want to risk having her breathing in cigarette smoke or other airborne pollutants from another unit, so I wanted an air filter for her bedroom.  I was happy to be selected to give the Fellowes AeraMax™ DX-55 a try.

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The AeraMax DX55 came with a simple, one page manual.

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The DX55 is made of white ABS plastic with a black vent on the front and black touch-panel controls.  The unit measures 20.5″ tall X 13″ wide X 7.23″ deep.

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Both sides of the unit have silver vent panels, as seen here.  This side, behind the control panel, is where the filters are accessed.  The other side looks similar but doesn’t have a removable filter holder.

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The back has a built-in carry handle, which you see at the top middle of the unit.  It also has the power switch.

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The DX55 has two filters.  The white filter is made of paper.  Fellowes says their ” true HEPA filter with AeraSafe™ antimicrobial treatment safely removes 99.97% of airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns, including pollen, ragweed and other allergens, viruses, germs, dust mites, mold spores, pet dander and cigarette smoke.”  They also claim it is “extremely effective at capturing influenza virus from indoor air (based on independent testing)”.  I don’t have the flu, but I do have a head cold, so I’m hoping this will protect my family from my germs.  That’s one of the reasons I decided to test the unit in my room before putting it in Rachel’s room.

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The other filter is a carbon filter that is designed to remove odors and capture large airborne particulates.

Certifications

  • AeraMax™ Air Purifiers are certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). This certification is only awarded to air cleaning products that have scientifically demonstrated their contribution to the goals of allergen reduction. AAFA and Allergy Standard Limited (ASL) utilize stringent standards to identify only best-in-class products that are more suitable for those with asthma and allergies.
  • Fellowes® AeraMax™ Air Purifiers have been certified by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) with three Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) numbers which indicate the volume of filtered air delivered by the air purifiers (measured in cubic-ft/min).  There are three CADR ratings: one for smoke, one for pollen and one for dust. The higher the number, the faster the air purifier filters the air.
  • CADR Ratings for the AeraMax DX55: Smoke – 126; Dust – 129; Pollen 124
  • PlasmaTrue™ Technology creates an ionized field to help safely remove airborne pollutants.
  • The Fellowes® AeraMax™ DX55 Air Purifier is Energy Star-qualified. Energy Star-qualified air purifiers are 40% more energy-efficient than non-qualifying models.
  • The Fellowes AeraMax™ Air Purifiers are certified by the California Air Resource Board. To be certified, the Fellowes AeraMax™ Air Purifiers were tested for electrical safety and ozone emissions, and met the ozone emission concentration limit of 0.050 parts per million.

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The DX55 is designed for medium-sized rooms up to 195 square feet.  Rachel’s room is about 130 square feet, so it’s well within the specifications for this air purifier.  I started out testing the unit in the master bedroom, which is 185 square feet, so that I could see and hear how it works.

I removed the plastic from the filters, then plugged up the DX55 and flipped the power switch on.  When it first turns on, the unit evaluates the air quality in your room.  After the evaluation, the DX55 automatically selects fan speed to most efficiently clean the air.  The unit always powers on in auto mode, but you can adjust the fan speed manually by tapping the fan blades icon (5, in the following image).  You can return to auto mode at any time by touching the auto icon, located between controls 3 and 4 in the following image.

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The AeraSmart Sensor (3, in the image above) shows blue (good), amber, or red (bad) to indicate air quality.  Control 4 is the Aera+ Mode; turn it on during peak allergy season to increase air turnover rate by 50% versus low fan speed setting to remove more allergens from the air.

Two indicators, identified as 6 in the above image, turn amber then red to let you know when you need to change the HEPA and carbon filters.

The PlasmaTRUE Technology control (7, on the above image) “creates an ionized field to help safely remove airborne pollutants.”

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When it first started, the AeroSmart Sensor was blue, indicating good air quality.  It selected the lowest fan setting.  At the low speed, the DX55 is whisper quiet.  I manually selected the four fan levels and found the two lowest are quiet, the third level produces a noticeable sound, and the highest level is loud.  I think the highest level might even be too loud for my daughter to use as white noise to help her sleep, and this is a girl who sets the volume of her little white noise generator so high that it sounds like she has a diesel engine idling in her room.

After checking out the sound levels, I set the air purifier back to automatic, and I left the Aera+ Mode and the PlasmaTRUE Technology modes turned on.  I find that the DX55 runs at the lowest fan speed and the AeraSmart Sensor shows blue most of the time.  I have noticed the unit kick up to higher fan speeds, usually only in the mornings.  I finally determined the cause of the early-morning air quality problems a couple of days ago.  It kicks up to higher speeds when we’re spraying deodorants and hair spray in the attached master bath.

I’ve had the Fellowes air purification unit for a short time, but I thought I’d power it off and inspect the filters before writing this review.  I can’t see anything building up on the white HEPA filter yet, but I do see some lint on the black carbon filter.

I don’t have any way to test the air quality of my room with and without the fan running, but I have seen that it detects the perfumy odors of the toiletries we use in the morning, and I have seen that it ramps up the fan speed and quickly removes those odors from the room.  I hope it proves as effective at removing my cold germs from the air as it is at removing those odors.  The Fellowes AeraMax DX55 Air Purifier is quiet and doesn’t use up a lot of floor space in your room.  If you are looking for an air purification system for your medium-sized room, I think you’ll like the DX55.

The Fellowes AeraMax™ DX55 starts at $189.99 at BestBuy.com.

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Product Information

Price:
Manufacturer:Fellowes
Pros:
  • Quiet at lower fan speeds
  • In auto mode, can detect changes in air quality and adjust fan speed to more efficiently remove the pollutants
  • Can manually control the unit
  • The HEPA filter claims to remove many sorts of air pollutants, including viruses
Cons:
  • Expensive, but not as much as many HEPA systems

Comments

  1. 1
    JohnParry says:

    Author, you received a free product in exchange for this review. Do you believe your review is unbiased?

  2. 2

    Commenter, yes, I do.

  3. 3

    @John almost every review we post is of a product sample that is not returned. That doesn’t stop us from telling the good and the bad.

  4. 4
    Bob Y says:

    The problem with the review is not that you were supplied with the product, I know that happens all the time. The surprise was how very poor the review is. I am interested in air filters, but from this review all I can go on is that it cleaned the aroma of the author’s deodorant, which is of no interest, but what size air particles it filters and how much dust it takes out of the air. Surely, Gadgeteer can do better than this. Most disappointing.

  5. 5

    @Boy Y that information was included in the review.

  6. 6
    Bob Y says:

    According to the review, “I’ve had the Fellowes air purification unit for a short time, but I thought I’d power it off and inspect the filters before writing this review. I can’t see anything building up on the white HEPA filter yet, but I do see some lint on the black carbon filter.”Running it for a few days ” says nothing.
    I have a chronic lung disease and I live in the dusty desert. The particulate matter in the room is much more important info than the smell of deodorant. This is a relatively under-reviewed category and it would be great to simply say “it works as advertised” or its a sham business as many claim.

  7. 7

    @Bob Y I don’t have access to sophisticated laboratory equipment that would allow me to perform the type of tests you seem to expect. I did include information about particle size and efficiencies that Fellowes has in their equipment specifications. I will suggest that if you have chronic lung disease, you should ask your doctor what type of filtering system would best benefit you instead of relying on tech site reviews.

  8. 8

    When Jeanne and I were in Walmart the other day, she wanted to buy a new filter for our furnace. It’s crazy how expensive some of the special allergen filters are. Makes me wonder if they are that much better than the cheap brands. We ended up buying the next to best filter. I can’t tell any difference in our air quality. I am still have a chronically stuffed up nose. Probably more due to our long haired cat than the furnace though.

  9. 9

    About 17 years ago when Rachel was a toddler and her asthma and allergies were much worse than they are now after years of treatments and allergy shots, we had two of the air filter systems that her doctor recommended for our house. Let’s just say that one replacement filter, back in 1996-1997, cost more than this entire review unit costs. The units were also screamingly loud and created cold drafts because of the rapidly moving air. We didn’t have a cat, but that air purifier may have sucked a cat into the filter! ;)

  10. 10
    nic says:

    Gadgetteer hasn’t ever been a consumer reports level review site… its about gadgets and the people that love them.

    the review was fine. it raised awareness of a product you may have not known about.

    Almost all tech review sites are provided the products they talk about.

  11. 11
    RainyDayInterns says:

    To Julie… “a chronically stuffed up nose…” may be from the dry winter air.

    You may already be using a humidifier, but if not…definitely give that a try. We have two cats running the place and adding a humidifier in the winter time cleared up the “stuffy nose” problem for us.

  12. 12

    @Rainy Others have suggested that option, but I continue to ignore it because I don’t want another “thing” sitting around that requires space and maintenance. But that does make me remember something that I was going to look into but forgot about – a humidifier that connects directly to the furnace. If I could put a humidifier down there, it would be out of sight would hopefully take care of itself. Thanks for the reminder!

  13. 13
    RainyDayInterns says:

    It made an AMAZING and immediate difference.

  14. 14
    Gunver tom says:

    Is this noisy? Love the other functions

  15. 15

    @Gunver tom I discussed the noise levels in the paragraph under the last image in this review.

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