Donald C. (Angels Camp, CA) Owner of 1 BioGS 2.0 SPA-625A (Customer since March 2015)
CHOOSING RABBIT AIR
I have battled asthma since I was a child. I am now 80 years old. I have tried dozens of different medications and environmental changes over the last 70 years to help control my breathing problems. In recent years I have used Advair (bronchodilator) with good success for the two months of the year, when the pollen count was high, and then rarely used it the remaining 10 months. About 3 years ago, I needed to take Advair every day, twice a day, in order to get relief. About this time, I also developed a chronic cough. The chronic cough led to chills and fever and coughing spasms, which led to chest x-rays and CT scans, which led to a diagnosis of bacterial pneumonia, followed by treatment with Prednisone (corticosteroid) and antibiotics medication, and finally recovery.
It was during the period, mentioned above that I began to think about getting a better air purifier. (About 10 years prior I purchased a Honeywell Silent Air HEPA filter.) I was still thinking it was an allergy problem, and I thought that maybe a more efficient filter would help. I started researching HEPA air filters on the internet. There are numerous articles on the web that review HEPA air filters. Some appear to be written by the vendor of a particular filter, and others seem to be an independent review. I also searched the various vendors that sold HEPA filters, such as Costco, Amazon, Wal-Mart, and others. These sites tell about the products and provide user feedback. I continued this research off and on for over 3 months. I was still undecided whether it would really make a difference, but decided to try a new one. (I later found out, it was not an allergy problem, so the filter was not the solution.) One of the purifiers that caught my attention early was the Blueair HEPA series. They had an excellent website, you could read their manuals online, they appeared to have a great technology, and they were highly recommended by some of the reviews. Costco carried the Blueair purifiers, and in March 2015 they offered the Blueair HEPA silent 555EB unit on sale, and I purchased it. Although the Blueair had the look and feel of quality, 4 things bothered me about it: First, it had a digital display screen with information about the unit, but it was 6 inches from the floor. I had to get down on my knees with a flashlight to read the display. It bugged me that an engineer would design such a product, and that a company would actually market it. I think this was actually a retrofit of a model that did not have the display, and that this was the least expensive way to add it. Second, the Blueair offered only a one year guarantee. If you wanted their 5 year warranty, you were required to purchase a set of filters from them every six months, whether you needed them or not. To me, either they were not confident their motor would hold up if it ran a few months with a dirty filter, or they were trying to make more money from the purchaser by selling them filters. Third, the LED display that told you when you needed to replace the filters was based on the number of days since the last replacement, not on how much the unit was actually running. At least that is what a Blueair representative told me when I called them on the phone. In other words, if you went on vacation for a month, or if you did not run the filter for 8 hours each day, according to their "filter replacement" alert, you still needed to replace the filters after 6 months. And forth, after I received the unit, I missed not having a handle to move the unit from one room to the next. Their documentation clearly stated this fact, but I did not realize the nuisance it was for me until I had it a few days. I move the unit from the bedroom to the den in the morning, and back to the bedroom at night. The Blueair has rollers, but I am over 6 feet tall, and bending over pushing the unit with both hands over the carpet for 43 feet (Yes, I measured it.) was more difficult than carrying it and harder on my back. To carry the unit I had to lift it from the bottom with one hand and cradle it in the opposite arm. An improvement would have been to have a pop-up handle that lets you tilt the unit back on two wheels, much like the luggage in the airports. I am confident that the Blueair is a quality unit and that it filters the air efficiently. I am also confident that it would provide years of good service. But I know that the 4 factors described above would bug me every time I used it. I would be confronted with these shortcomings every day I used it. So I reluctantly returned it to Costco. For $564 I wanted a more satisfying experience. After returning the Blueair, I went back to researching the internet. I finally decided to purchase a unit that Consumers Report recommended, the Whirlpool Whisperpure, again from Costco. It had a rather outdated appearance, but that was not important to me if it did the job. When I received it and turned it on, I noticed it had a slight shimmy. When I looked down into the air outlet I could see that the squirrel cage blower was wobbling. Here again, I am confident that the unit would have provided clean filtered air and lasted for many years, but it bothered me that a manufacturer would ship a product without better quality control. I knew this shimmy would bug me every time I used the unit, so again I reluctantly returned it to Costco. Thank God for Costco. I now went back to researching the internet a third time. I had come across the Rabbit Air purifier in some of my earlier searching, but I was not impressed by the appearance. It looked like a toy to me more than a serious filter, but I came upon a review by a fellow that seemed very knowledgeable about air purifiers. He seemed to be unbiased in his appraisals and he had many good things to say about the Rabbit Air. He was also high in his praise for their personalized service, noting that they had a distribution and support facility in California. I was also impressed by the 5 star rating by most purchasers on Amazon. The Rabbit Air was available both through Amazon and direct from the manufacturer, but the price was the same, so I ordered the Rabbit Air SPA-625A from the manufacturer.
RABBIT AIR REVIEW
The Rabbit Air SPA-625A air filter said "QUALITY" to me the minute it showed up on my front porch. The shipping box was a no frills, sturdy, cardboard box, with convenient carrying handles. (Funny that I should be impressed by the shipping box.) The packing was neat and well thought out. A handy "getting started" sheet was readily available to introduce me to the basic components and functions of the unit. The user's manual was clear and easy to understand. The machine itself is much more impressive than I had expected from the pictures. It is beautifully designed, both in appearance and function. It takes a few minutes of experimenting to get the hang of how the controls work, but it is simple and convenient once you realize how the sequencing cycle works. The filters fit snuggly into the unit, but are easy to remove and replace (which I have not needed to do yet). The filters have a look and feel of quality. The unit is super quiet. I run it in my bedroom at night on speed #2 and it is barely audible. I appreciate the direct current motor that is quiet, energy efficient and durable. Even the power cord projects quality. It is a purple, fabric-covered cord that "cooperates" with me. One of the other purchases had a thick, rubber coated cord that resisted any attempts to place it in a specific position. I like the carrying handle that is functional, but nicely hidden from view. When I move the Rabbit Air to a new room, I usually run it at speed 5 for 45 minutes and then cut it back to speed 2, which is super quiet. I found the remote control and the handy storage pocket to be a nice perk. I don't use the timer or the automatic speed control. A Rabbit Air representative assured me that the filter "service-and-replacement" alerts were based on the actual running time and not on the calendar days elapsed since last serviced, unlike one of my prior purchases. This was important to me. The Rabbit Air's 5 year warranty is another reassuring feature to me, as opposed to the one year warranty on one of the above units.
BENEFITS FOR ME
I know that air purifier manufactures make a big deal about how much air their machines can circulate in a given time period, or whether they remove 95%, 97% or 99.9% of the impurities in the air. I doubt that these differences actually translate into any measureable difference in a person's health. So what benefits do I expect to get from my Rabbit Air? When my doctor and my pulmonologist were treating my lung infection, they advised me that my lungs were susceptible to a return of the infection. My infection is not caused by a virus, passed from another individual, but by microbes or spores that are present in the air at all times. Healthy lungs can resist these incursions, but mine have a more difficult time resisting them. I am out and about all the time, and cannot escape exposure to what is out there. However, I decided that I could give myself a little extra protection if I made sure the air I breathed the 12 to 15 hours I am in my home, was as pollution free as possible. Based on articles I have read it is possible we have dust mites, which could contribute to lung irritation or inflammation. Other impurities may also add to my lung irritation and inflammation and thus compromise my resistance to another infection. Probably any of the three purifiers I purchased would have accomplished this goal, but the Rabbit Air gives me the extra satisfaction of using a product that is well designed, well made, looks great, and has a good support team. In short, I appreciate, and enjoy using HIGH QUALITY PRODUCTS, and Rabbit Air provides that.
A SIDE NOTE
We live in Angels Camp, which is near the recent Ridge Fire in Calaveras County. For two weeks the air was filled with smoke so bad that when you looked at the sun, it was a small red ball in the sky. On two days, ash was floating down, covering roads, structures, and plants. During this time we ran the air circulation fan on our main air conditioner system 24 hours a day for two weeks. We also ran the Rabbit Air purifier either in the bedroom or den. Although the air pollution indicator lights never got above 2, indicating we were not getting a lot of smoke into the house, I am confident that the Rabbit Air provided us an extra level of clean air during this crisis.