Our Analysis and Test Results
Air Cleaning Performance
Air cleaning performance is the most important metric in our analysis of air purifiers. In addition to the critical assessment of air particulate removal, we also assess each device for its ability to tackle the more difficult task of reducing odors — specifically, the acrid smell of burnt paper and the pungent smell of incense smoke. The Blueair Blue Pure 411 delivered a middling performance in this critical assessment. While its air cleaning ability received top marks, its overall score in the air cleaning metric was brought down on account of the strong odors it left behind at the end of the hour-long air cleaning test.
To make our air cleaning ability assessment of the Blueair Blue Pure 411, we sealed off a 150-square-foot room and burned both printer paper and incense until the Dylos particulate value registered greater than 1500. We then turned the Blueair Blue Pure 411 on to its highest setting and recorded the rate at which the purifier pulls particulate matter from the air. The Blueair Blue Pure 411 pulled 99.72% of the particulate matter from the room in 60 minutes. However, there was only a slight reduction in the smoky smell of the room.
In addition to the smokey room test, we also evaluate the unit's CADR or clean air delivery rate. While many companies provide this information in a single number, the Blueair Blue Pure 411 breaks it up into three critical categories of air contamination — these are smoke, dust, and pollen. The 411's CADRs are about average for the class at 105 (Smoke), 120 (Dust), and 120 (Pollen).
The noise assessment is an important component of our evaluation. Especially in the context of a smaller air purifier like the Blueair Blue Pure 411 as it will often be used in a smaller space where a high-pitched whine or pronounced whurring would likely be disruptive, particularly when one is trying to get some sleep. When set to its highest fan speed, the Blueair Blue Pure 411 produces 53 decibels as recorded at a 6-feet distance, which is on the quieter side of average for the class. However, as important as the measure of sound intensity is in our assessment, the pitch of the noise carries equal weight. We found that the Blueair Blue Pure 411 produces a low hum when running at its highest speed setting.
We also run through the air purifier's other speed settings. In the case of the Blueair Blue Pure 411, we tested the sound intensity on medium and low and characterized the noise type. Again, the Blueair Blue Pure 411 produced average sound intensity when compared to its peers. While the overall sound intensity went down as the purifier speed was reduced, the pitch became higher. However, taken as a whole, the effect was quite subtle.
Ease of Use
With the critical elements of air cleaning performance and noise out of the way, we move on to assess the device's ease of use. By and large, purifiers are simple devices. However, we recognize that consumers have a variety of needs and expectations when making an air purifier purchase. As such, we take a close look at the device's setup, control interface, customization options, and factors affecting portability such as dimensions, weight, and carrying handles. Overall, the Blueair Blue Pure 411 delivered an average performance in this assessment. However, it did exceptionally well in the settings and portability tests.
With less than five minutes required from opening the box to turning it on, the Blueair Blue Pure 411 is among the easiest purifiers in the group to set up. The unit is compact and lightweight, too, measuring 16.7" x 8" x 8" and weighing 5.3 pounds. Unfortunately, the Blueair Blue Pure 411 lacks carrying handles. However, the unit's compact dimensions and relatively lightweight design make such a feature unnecessary.
While the Blueair Blue Pure 411 is easy to set up and move around, it suffered in our assessment of operational customization. First off, the controls are quite simplistic, with just low, medium, and high-speed settings. Also, the unit lacks an air quality sensor that, on competing models, can be set to turn the purifier on when air quality decreases or, at the least, keeps the user informed of the quality of the air surrounding the purifier. However, the unit does have an indicator light that alerts users when it's time to replace the filter — a useful feature to be sure.
While we are on the topic of filter replacement, the operation cost metric is an analysis of the long-term expenses of using a purifier. Namely, these expenses are energy consumption (what it costs to power the machine) and filter replacement. The Blueair Blue Pure 411 is among the least expensive products in the class to operate, with an affordable annual cost, assuming a product lifespan of five years.
To make our estimation of the annual cost, we assume air purifier usage at 12 hours per day, and we use the national average energy cost of $0.13/kWh. We also include the cost of the device split over five years and the cost of replacing the filter based on the manufacturer's recommended schedule. In this case, the 411 will go through two filters a year. All told, the Blueair Blue Pure 411's annual operating cost is well below the class average.
The value of a particular product is largely based on the cost relative to its performance as compared to other products in the class. Ideally, a product will perform better than its peers while priced at or below the price of comparable products. The Blueair Blue Pure 411 costs far less than the class average, yet its overall performance is at an above-average level. As such, we find that the 411 provides users with a good value.
The Blueair Blue Pure 411 is a compact, high-performance, cost-effective air purifying machine. We know this to be true because we rigorously analyzed its air purifying performance, noise output, ease of use, and long-term operating costs. Accordingly, our investigation revealed that the Blueair Blue Pure 411 would be a great fit for those wishing to keep the air clean in smaller areas and for those who frequently move their air purifier around. All told, this unit offers users a great cost-to-performance ratio. More than that, this air purifier is sharp-looking, compact, and will fit nicely in almost any home.