Every home should have an air purifier and dehumidifier. The former helps clean the air of bacteria, germs, mold, odour, and toxic fumes, while the latter clears the air of dampness that is prime time for mold and mildew to grow.
Many devices of late combine these functions in one, some of which add other useful functions, too, like odour elimination, fans, and more.
While they are especially ideal for those with allergies, or homes that are prone to dust or odours from things like cooking, smoking, or pets, really anyone, anywhere can benefit from breathing cleaner air.
Here, I’ll take a look at two small appliances that help you clean the air in your home: the JS FLO 3-in-1 HEPA Air Purifier and Odour Eliminator, and the JS Vanguard 2-in-1 Air Purifier HEPA and Dehumidifier. (Note: these two have been since replaced by the newer versions that are identical in look and feature set, but add Wi-Fi app and smart voice control capabilities: the JS Vanguard 2.0 2-in-1 Air Purifier and the JS FLO 2.0 3-in-1 HEPA Air Purifier. You can read my review of those two new devices and see a video demonstration of how the voice control features work as well.
What Are They And Where Would You Use Them?
The JS FLO 3-in-1 HEPA Air Purifier and Odour Eliminator is designed to eliminate more than 99.97% of airborne bacteria, germs, mold, odour, and toxic fumes. The Vanguard 2-in-1 Air Purifier HEPA and Dehumidifier, meanwhile, is designed to eliminate airborne toxins and bacteria as well, but also clear a space of dampness that can cause mold and mildew. Both use a HEPA filtration system to accomplish their respective tasks.
Ideally, you’d use them in rooms where you most require air purification, and, for the dehumidifier, areas that are very damp and humid.
I decided to place the FLO in my kitchen, which is situated on the main level of the house where lots of toxins can circulate, especially from outside as we constantly open both the front and back doors (a door to the backyard is in the kitchen), and where I do my cooking and intense odours can sometimes permeate the home.
For the Vanguard, I placed that in the basement kitchen area, beside my office, where it’s often quite humid during the summer months, even with the air conditioning running. Basements, both finished and not, are often more prone to excessive moisture since it can seep through the foundation of the home through things like water leaks or high humidity levels. This can not only cause mold to grow, but even potentially cause structural damage to the home.
Set-up Of The JS Flo and JS Vanguard
Both small appliances are super easy to set up. Take each out of the box, all in one piece with the power cord attached and in a plastic bag for easy removal. Remove the filter, remove its plastic packaging, and place it back inside. The dehumidifier’s filter is on the right side of the unit, and you insert it like a cassette tape (remember those?) while for the FLO, you need to lie the unit on its side and twist the bottom open to remove the much larger filter, take it out of the packaging, and place it back inside then twist the cover closed again.
Then, simply plug them in, press the desired button, function, timer (if available), and you’re off to the races.
When the filters require changing, the machine will detect this and the power indicator light will flash red on the FLO and orange on the dehumidifier. Put in a new filter (purchasable individually for a nominal fee on the manufacturer’s website), press and hold the power button on either machine for seven seconds, and you’re ready to go again.
While the frequency with which you might need to change the filter will change based on how often you use the unit, and how much purification is needed, most such devices need filters changed any time from every 3-6 months or so. It is also recommended to sterilize the filter regularly by placing it under sunlight. Doing this once a month, or once every few months, should suffice.
Additionally, the dehumidifier has a water tank which will hold water as the dampness in the air is sucked up by the machine. When the tank is full, the unit will automatically shut off and the red indicator light will turn on and flash until you empty the tank and insert it back into the machine.
Using the JS FLO Air Purifier and Odour Eliminator
Quite large at 7.5 x 7.5 x 16” and weighing 5 lbs., the FLO took up quite a bit of counterspace in my kitchen, but its sleek design and white finish fit right in.
Shaped like the top half of a pill or, for those familiar with kids movies, a Minion, it has a cylindrical body and oval-shaped top with the air outlet on an angle so that it can effectively do its job. At the top is the control panel with touch-sensitive buttons and a night light along with the air outlet, while there’s another air inlet around the middle. Below that is the area that holds the activated charcoal filter, and the removable base for replacing the filter as needed.
Controls are very intuitively laid out, minimal, and simple. There’s power on/off, timer (set it to run for two, four, or eight hours), and wind speed (high, medium, or low, indicated as H, M, and L). There’s also a light control button, so you can turn the light off at night if it’s in a child’s room, for example, or keep it on to double as a small nightlight. Select from a soft light or standard lighting mode, neither of which is terribly bright or distracting, At the centre is a tiny dot for the notification indicator, where you’ll be advised when it’s time to change the filter.
I first set the unit to run for two hours during the day, running at a low fan speed. A neat feature is that if you leave the unit plugged in, it will remember your previous mode settings, so you can simply tap the button every morning and have it run on medium for eight hours while you’re at work, for example.
Designed to purify the air in an up to 120 square-foot space via 35 watts of power, don’t expect it to purify an entire home. But for a single room, like a bedroom or kitchen, it is ideal. It is recommended that you leave about 30cm of space around it on all sides and about 50cm of space above it for the unit to work its best, and this should be fairly simple to accomplish.
There is a warning that the machine can emit the smell of plastic during your first use, so if you smell this, ignore it as it should go away. (I didn’t). However, if you smell something foul from the machine after a long period of use, it is likely time to change the filter.
Using the Vanguard 2-in-1 Air Purifier HEPA and Dehumidifier
Boxier in look than the FLO, but employing the same colour and sleek design scheme, the Vanguard is 7.5 x 8.5 x 12.5”, making it slightly wider than the FLO.
It, too, has a control panel and air outlet at the top and a purification inlet around the middle, but adds a dehumidifier air inlet that covers much of the front of the device. As noted, the small air filter, about the size of a CD, is inserted into the side and protected by a snap-on cover. At the back is the pull-out water tank with a float and buckle handle.
The water tank can hold up to 1,000mL of water with a working capacity per day of up to 750mL. Pull the water tank out to empty it (don’t tilt the unit or water will spill out!) open the tank cover, pour out the water, then place it back on and insert back into the machine. It’s recommended that you restart the unit every time you empty the water by pressing and holding the purification button for seven seconds.
The control panel, like the FLO, is simple to use and intuitive with just a few buttons: one for power on/off, one for purification, one for dehumidification, one for mode (high or low), and a tiny dot light that will advise when the water tank is full and needs to be emptied.
With 45 watts of power, it only generates about 45dB of noise – it sounded similar to having a basic table fan running in the room. It can cover an area twice as large as the FLO, at up to 220 square feet in size. This makes it great for a room in the basement, like the laundry room, a bathroom, or other places, both inside of the home and out that might be prone to high humidity, like an RV or boat. It can effectively run in a space that’s from 5-50-degrees Celsius, which means it won’t run on especially frigid days when it might be just a few degrees in the house if you haven’t turned the heat on. But you’d be less likely to need to run it in such temperatures anyway.
Given that this unit switches between two functions – dehumidification and air purification – it would have been useful to be able to control it remotely via a mobile app, or at least set them on a timer so the unit could purify for a few hours, for example, then add dehumidifying for another few. As it stands, you would have to manually adjust as needed, which means remembering to turn on the dehumidifier, or just always leave it running. There doesn’t appear to an an auto shut-off either, which means if you turn it on and forget to turn it back off, it will effectively continue to run until the water tank is full.
Other Things To Note
You can wipe the machines down with a soft cloth and neutral cleanser, but don’t immerse either of them in water, and ensure that they are completely dried out after cleaning.
If you put them away for a season, make sure to take them out every now and then and run them for a few minutes, just to ensure they function properly once you’re ready to put them out again.
Both units are great and designed such that they will fit with any décor and in any room. Though they are both quite large, this ensures they can effectively cover a large area, making them ideal for rooms like kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms, and basements.
In today’s day and age, I miss not being able to tap into them via a mobile app, as you can do with other purifiers and fans, to check on the status of the air quality, or even simply remotely control them. You simply have to trust that they are doing their job, judging from the elimination of odours, better breathing, and, with the Vanguard, consistent water collection which indicates that dehumidifier is functioning effectively and removing dampness from the air. If you’re looking for a low-tech solution that will simply do its job without any management from you, these units truly are plug and play. For a higher-tech option, check out the new 2.0 versions.