REVIEW – I’ve been using air purifiers for the past 10 years or so and have found them to relieve or remove the symptoms of my mild allergies and helping me sleep in the process. I’ve also found that while usually well designed for function, their aesthetics tend to leave a lot to be desired. The Aura Air caught my attention immediately as this one actually looks attractive. Let’s hop to the review to see if function and aesthetics get along well.
What is it?
Aura Air is a wall-mounted air purifier that uses two different filters, UVC LEDs and their own version of ionization called Sterionizer™ to clean your air in addition to algorithms and outside air data to predict risky scenarios and alert you in real-time through the companion Aura Air App.
What’s in the box?
- Aura Air
- Wall adapter (w/ international plugs)
- Installation manual + mounting template
- Mounting hardware
Power: AC wall power 110-240v
Data Connection: WiFi
Mounting: Wall or ceiling
Air Exchange: up to 2.5 per hour
Max Noise Level: 64 dB
Recommended Room Size: 600 sq. feet |55 sq. meters
Dimensions: 15 x 15 x 6″, 12.1 lbs | 37.5 x 37.5 x 15cm, 5.5 Kg
Design and features
Aura Air is designed to be mounted on your wall, which just happens to be a surface all homes are guaranteed to have!
The perimeter is covered by a nice grey fabric that should fit in with most decor, while the front surface is a smooth clean white. A small woven tag hangs out the right side with a blue A logo.
Both filters are easily serviceable. The Pre-Filter is shown here, accessed by pulling straight up. It fits over the 4 magnetic posts that hold the cover in place, making it super easy to remove and clean. Its job is to filter our larger particles like dust, pollen, and animal hair. The much larger Ray-Filter is inside the main body which you’ll see in the installation photos. That is a HEPA filter which is 99.5% effective on particles 0.3 microns and larger boosted by a carbon layer that absorbs odors and VOCs and then a smart copper fabric that filters bacteria, viruses, and more.
Connect Aura Air’s WiFi to your home network and you can control Aura from anywhere via the App which provides up to the minute information about the air in your home.
Installation on a wall or ceiling requires a tape measure and screwdriver, and that it is placed within 78″ of a powered outlet. Aura recommends keeping it 20″ from objects on either side and any adjacent walls or ceilings for proper airflow.
During the day, we get up and move around a bit so I decided we would get the most benefit by installing the Aura Air in our bedroom. It also meant I could get a previous purifier off my nightstand and into my office. Yay! Here’s the wall where I had enough room above the ceiling, both sides and directly over an outlet.
To help with mounting Aura includes a 1:1 paper template with the mounting hole locations. I followed the outlet up the wall to center over a stud and taped the included paper template to the wall so I could step back and make sure everything was good. The only thing this template doesn’t accomplish is helping you realize the full 6 inches the unit protrudes from the wall when installed. After confirming placement is good, I marked the 3 holes and got ready to install which requires opening the unit.
To prepare for installation you need to remove the outer cover by grabbing the fabric-covered sides and pulling away from the white base. It removes pretty easily but you have to overcome the magnets and some friction. The Ray-Filter will stay on the front cover, although I’ve removed it for this photo so you can see the size. (Tip: Don’t pull on the Aura label. It’s heat-staked to the back/base and will tear if tugged on.)
Before you go mounting the base to the wall, make sure to connect the wall adapter’s barrel jack to the back and tuck the cable into the little S-curves at the bottom.
Now you can screw the base to the wall in these 3 locations. Use the included drywall anchors if needed.
Here’s the one major gripe I have with an otherwise well thought out product. The power adapter comes all wound up and fastened with a twist tie and here’s what it looks like straight out of the box after mounting on the wall.
Those kinks do not come out quickly or easily. I was able to get it better by physically bending the cable, but I shouldn’t have to. A nice 6″ circular wrap in the box and it would hang beautifully. Currently, a month later and it’s still not nice and straight. It would also be nice to see something thinner and less distracting like the power/data cable that the Samsung Frame TV uses.
Ok, back to setup. Reinstall the front cover with filters and you’re ready for the final setup steps.
Download the app, and plug in Aura Air. You’ll need to connect to Aura’s Wifi, then provide your network info to kick it over. I got a network error on the first try, but then everything worked properly, immediately updating the Aura Air’s firmware. The LED that’s green in the above photos will change colors and blink a bunch during the process to help communicate what’s happening. There’s a small setup button on the lower right corner that you may need to use should anything go awry.
In the next step, you’ll provide Heidy (Aura’s assistant) with some info to customize Aura Air for you. Those steps look like this.
Aura Air is now set up and moves into Auto mode starting to clean your air.
Overall the Aura Air has been great. Having the unit on the wall avoids the dust that collects on furniture or the dog hair that’s at floor level. Aura recommends leaving Aura Air to run continually to maximize air cleaning. They’ve designed it to use minimal electricity and in fact, there’s no physical power button or even an off mode in the App. I’ve been leaving it in Auto Mode and shutting the bedroom door during the day. Both our dogs sleep in the bedroom with us and it’s definitely helped the air smell cleaner when entering the room.
There are four main modes for operation; Auto, High, Low, and now Silent which was just added in the last App update. Additionally, there’s Night mode which turns off the pulsing LED and lowers the fan to a quieter level. I love this mode in that it still provides enough white noise to help my tinnitus and keeps the dogs from barking at noises outside.
At any point, I can jump into the app to see detailed info. Below are screenshots for 1) device and filter status, 2) Indoor and Outdoor AQI (Air Quality Index), 3) detailed definitions about all the information shown in the app, and 4) real-time info on specific sensors like CO (Carbon Monoxide), CO2 (Carbon Dioxide), VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds), PM10 (Particulate Matter ~10 microns), PM2.5 (Particulate Matter ~2.5 microns) , Humidity and Temperature
You can connect your favorite digital assistant if you want voice control, set your device’s mode and get detailed graphs for each of the sensors. The PM2.5 stayed consistently about double the red line (which is labeled their Green requirement) during my use period. VOC also would spike a bit. Graphs like these tend to stress me out a bit. I’ve never had data like this with previous purifiers, so it would be easy to discount but instead, I’ll be looking into what I can do to improve the situation.
That would be one thing where I think Aura Air could offer some additional help.
Aura’s app says PM2.5 is defined as “Fine particulate matter is an air pollutant that is a concern for peoples’ health when levels in the air are high. PM2.5 are tiny particles in the air that reduce visibility and cause the air to appear hazy when levels are elevated.” That’s informative, but not necessarily helpful. Googling PM2.5 shows that the smaller particles are frequently associated with burning things. Makes sense that out here in the Bay Area where we’ve had so many wildfires that particulate matter can be a problem. I guess it would be helpful to know which numbers I can or can’t affect with some action like vacuuming or mopping floors etc.
Another cool thing is each morning I get a push alert with updated AQIs so I know what’s in store for my day. Currently, this is set for 8 am local time and not something you can change. Hopefully, in a future update, they’ll add the ability to customize when that comes through to better sync up with personal schedules.
Over the past month, I did run into a few issues, but the good news is that all were resolvable with Aura’s Customer Service very helpful and super responsive.
First, after about a week of Aura’s night mode working well, it suddenly refused to auto-start at bedtime after an app update. The CS team was able to solve this one pretty quickly and all returned to normal.
Second, I was getting some wacky readings in the app where it would show higher levels on the AQI screen and if I closed and reopened the app they would be back in the expected range. Customer service did something to fix this as well; not sure what, but it’s been working properly since.
Third, I noticed that my indoor AQI reading was always a little higher in the morning than when going to bed. Since Aura runs continuously I figured levels would improve overnight while the bedroom door was closed with no new air coming in. That’s when I realized that our heater kicks on around 5:30 am dumping heated air from the bedroom ceiling. I checked my furnace intake filter and found I was overdue for a change and replaced it. That helped close the discrepancy as it was pretty dirty.
Finally, we were woken up at 2 am one night by this crazy, rapid-fire blue strobe coming from the Aura Air. That was followed by the fan kicking up and the LED switching to the normal white pulse (which is really bright in a dark bedroom). I quickly grabbed my phone and opened the app expecting to see some kind of dire air alert, and instead found that it had lost Wifi. It makes sense that a product might lose WiFi signal at some point, but I would expect it to just try and reconnect, not freak out like I’m in mortal danger. Well in the third app update in the month I’ve had the unit, this behavior seems to have changed as now when I pause WiFi to Aura Air, the LED flashes orange twice and I get a banner across the top of the app stating that it’s disconnected from WiFi. Much better!
[Update] – About two weeks later, we were again woken up by the same light show. I’m not sure what the difference is in how the Aura Air responded to my network pause management and what has happened overnight, but the issue remains. It forgets night mode if you had it activated, and will sit in this new louder, normal, flashing white state until you open the app and take action. I really hope Aura can change the behavior here as they have with other updates. Keep in mind a network drop may not be an anomaly, but could be an automated firmware update as well which usually includes a restart. Until Aura has a way of managing this, I can’t recommend mounting this in a bedroom.
The last thing to mention is that the 6″ it protrudes from the wall could be awkward if you mount it in a walkable zone especially if you have low ceilings. Most purifiers are this deep anyway, but it’s something you should be aware of as most purifiers aren’t wall-mounted. You can always choose to rest this on its side on some furniture if you prefer.
What I like
- Good looking air purifier that doesn’t look like a medical necessity
- Very clear status on filter replacement timing
- Easily controllable via the app with lots of data to sift through
- Prompt customer service and frequent app updates with noticeable improvements
What I’d change
- Lost WiFi LED alert is a deal-breaker for bedrooms
- Power cable needs to be packaged so it doesn’t kink (think Apple lightning cable packaging)
- Thinner power cable like the clear xmm one Samsung uses for The Frame TV
- More informative “Actions you can take” recommendations to improve air quality
- Ability to set a custom time for the morning report
- Would love to see it get a little lower profile to the wall
The Aura Air looks good on the wall (in my opinion) and while I had a few hiccups during the review period, their Customer Service team came through for me. I’ve also been very happy with the frequency of App updates which have changed some behaviors for the better and added features. I’m looking forward to seeing how much better it can get. The LED alerts to lost WiFi remain the outstanding problem on an otherwise great unit. I’ll update this review if this gets fixed as I really hope it will.