I tried an air purifier for your fridge: does the Shelfy live up to its claims?

A smart way to cut food waste

Shelfy in refrigerator
(Image: © Vitesy)

Tom's Guide Verdict

The Shelfy air purifier is designed to be used in the fridge to keep fruit and vegetables fresh for longer. It certainly helps if you do a regular weekly shop and get fed up with your lettuce going limp by day three. However, if you have a large fridge, you’ll need more than one to keep your food fresh in the crisper and on your shelves. The app is also a welcome addition, which, aside from telling you the healthy status of your fridge, will remind you when the gadget needs recharging.


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    Easy to use

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    No filter to change

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    Long battery life


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    Takes up space if your fridge is small

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    Needs recharging

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Even if you invest in the best refrigerator you can afford, we're all familiar with the disappointment of opening a bag of salad you only bought a few days prior, only to see that it's wet and wilted. Launched in May by Vitesy, the Shelfy aims to change this — but does it live up to its claims? I put it to the test for a few weeks to see if it kept my food fresher for longer. 

The Shelfy joins the company’s range of products designed to fight air pollution and food waste. Sitting beside the company’s air purifiers, Natede and Eteria, Shelfy has a slightly different purpose and combines the science of the best air purifiers with keeping food in your fridge fresh for longer. By "slowing down the ripening process by removing bacteria, microorganisms, and odors from your refrigerator, ensuring you always have fresh and healthy food", the Shelfy claims that it can double the shelf life of certain fruits and vegetables. 

The Shelfy is designed to sit within the crisper drawer or upon the shelves in your fridge and for greater functionality, it can be connected to an app. In line with Vitesy’s belief in the circular economy, Shelfy is designed with sustainability in mind. The internal filter simply needs washing, and does not need to be replaced, saving energy and resources over time and reducing waste to the minimum. Sounds good but is it worth $169?

 Shelfy: Price and availability 

Shelfy is available for $179.99 at Amazon, although you can purchase it for $169 at Vitesy. It’s not an impulse purchase, but it will save you money over time by reducing your food waste. Plus, as the filter is washable, charging the battery is the only cost you’ll have once you buy the product. 

However, there are other, cheaper items on the market that also deodorise your fridge and extend the life of food, such as Greentech’s Environmental pureAir FRIDGE, available for $49 at Amazon. Although, Tom's Guide has yet to test this specific product. 

 Shelfy: Design and build 

The Shelfy is a solid-feeling gadget with a compact design. The weightier top part of the device includes the battery and tech and fits inside a tray base that contains the removable filter. The upper part lifts out of the tray and needs to be removed to connect the battery charging cable, which is positioned on its side. 

Shelfy in fridge crisper drawer with salad

(Image credit: Future)

The device is relatively small and can sit flat or stand tall, which gives you flexibility if you want to place it on a shelf or upright in a compartment on your fridge’s door. However, I did find that when I placed it in my crisper drawer, there wasn’t much room left for my normal vegetables. However, I have a relatively small fridge that sits under my kitchen counters, and for those with larger refrigerators, it's small enough to sit discreetly without taking up much space. 

Shelfy: Functionality 

Shelfy placed in crisper drawer of fridge with salad

(Image credit: Vitesy)

Shelfy slows down the ripening process of fruit and vegetables by removing bacteria, microorganisms, and odors from your fridge. The company claims that using this gadget can extend the life of your food by up to 12 days. Food never stays in my fridge for this length of time, as I have a hungry household, but I certainly noticed a difference in the freshness of fruit and vegetables.

The Shelfy is designed to work using photocatalytic technology, which destroys pollutants within the filter. This means that the filter does not need to be replaced, unlike HEPA filters, where contaminants remain. Apart from saving resources, this eliminates the headache of remembering to replace the filter, and even continuing to use the device when the filter isn’t working to its optimum. 

Example of app pages from the Vitesy Hub Shelfy app

(Image credit: Future)

Using the app
It’s relatively easy to connect to the Vitesy Hub app via Google Play or the App Store and then follow the instructions.

You can then select a mode for how you wish the Shelfy to operate. You can select Crisper (if placed in the crisper drawer), Eco, or Performance, with each mode indicating how much fan power and battery is used. 

Once installed, it will allow you to see the battery life remaining, the temperature of your fridge, how many times it’s been opened, and for how long, giving further data within graphs to compare day by day.  The app also provides additional information on the best internal temperature range for your fridge, so you don't need to guess where to set the thermostat. 

It will also give you a countdown of how many days until the filter needs washing, which is based on a monthly cycle, and when your fridge is due for a clean. However, I was sceptical of the last information, with the app stating my fridge didn’t need cleaning for another 112 days!

The app also monitors the health of your fridge. My current reading appears as ‘good’, although it initially appeared as ‘poor’ when I first used the device. So, I can already see some improvement after using Shelfy for a couple of weeks. 

The app also has a handy section on becoming a food storage expert. It advises on many food types and how to store them for optimum freshness, along with other tips. For example, it recommends placing an apple with an unripe avocado in a bag to help it ripen.

Shelfy: Performance 

Since using the Shelfy, I have noticed a difference in the freshness of my fruit and vegetables. I always have a problem with spinach, which I buy regularly to use in salads and hot meals. It tends to go sludgy and smelly after a few days. However, I noticed a real difference when using the Shelfy, and spinach stayed much fresher for longer. I also found it worked particularly well with other salad leaves and soft fruits, such as raspberries. 

The device can be placed horizontally or vertically anywhere in the refrigerator, either in the crisper, on the door, or on the shelves, depending on the space and type of refrigerator. However, to ensure greater effectiveness, Vitesy recommends placing it near fruits and vegetables without obstructing airflow.

Shelfy: Ease of use 

Woamn pressing mode button on Shelfy

(Image credit: Vitesy)

Getting started is easy, although Vitesy does recommend washing the filter before first use by removing the filter from its base wearing clean gloves and placing it under running water for about 10 seconds before leaving it to air dry.

Once the filter is replaced, the device can then be turned on (it should already be charged). Depress the central button on the top of the device and hold for a few seconds until the LED turns white. Then, press the switch again to swap between modes. I chose the eco mode in my fridge to save energy, although you may wish to switch modes at different times if you place it in your crisper drawer or want an extra boost. 

Although you can connect the Shelfy to an app and monitor its performance, once it’s placed in your fridge you can leave it be, meaning you can step away and let it get on with its job. No intervention is needed apart from recharging the device and giving the filter a monthly wash. 

Should you buy the Shelfy fridge freshener?

The price of the Shelfy is a little steep, so if you tend to buy your food as and when you need it, you probably won’t gain a great deal from investing in this device. However, if like me, you plan ahead and do a regular weekly shop, you’ll probably reap the benefit of gaining food that stays fresh for longer and doesn’t get spoiled and wasted before it’s time to replenish your fridge.

What's more, if you tend to overbuy and have a fridge full of food that will take you days to get through, the Shefly will help extend the life of your food and reduce wastage — saving the planet and your pocket.

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Camilla Sharman
Staff Writer, Homes

Camilla Sharman has worked in publishing and marketing for over 30 years and has covered a wide range of sectors within the business and consumer industries both as a feature, content, and freelance writer.  

As a business journalist, Camilla has researched articles for many different sectors from the jewellery industry to finance and tech, charities, and the arts. Whatever she’s covered, she enjoys delving deep and learning the ins and out of different topics, then conveying her research within engaging content that informs the reader. In her spare time, when she’s not in her kitchen experimenting with a new recipe, you’ll find her keeping fit at the gym. In the pool, stretching at a yoga class, or on a spin bike, exercise is her escape time. She also loves the great outdoors and if she’s not pottering about in her garden, she’ll be jumping on her bike for a gentle cycle ride.