Just in time for April Fool's Day — but not a joke — IKEA is releasing a new air purifier that's priced at a jaw-droppingly cheap $55. We're not sure it'll make our list of the best air purifiers, but at this price, that may not matter.
The Förnuftig (that's "Sensible" in Swedish) air purifier looks like a small piece of art when hanging on a wall, or a Scandinavian speaker when standing on the floor. It ships with a HEPA-like filter to screen out small particles, plus a prefilter to catch hair and large dust particles.
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Retail launch: April 1 (U.S.)
Size: 12 x 18 x 4 inches; stand adds 5 inches to height
Colors: Black or white
Optimal room size: 108 square feet (10 square meters)
Filters: Cleanable prefilter; disposable HEPA-like filter and gas/odor carbon filter
Fan speeds: Three
Clean air delivery rate: 70 cubic feet per minute (max)
Sound: 29 dB, 49 dB and 60 dB, depending on fan speed
Power consumption: 1.5 to 16 watts
Sold with: Cleanable prefilter and disposable HEPA-like filter
Replacement filters: HEPA-like filter, $5.49; gas/odor carbon filter, $9.99
IKEA Förnuftig price and release date
The Förnuftig is available on the IKEA U.S. website and in IKEA U.S. stores as of April 1, 2021. It costs $54.99. IKEA says the Förnuftig has been available in China since last fall.
You can also get an optional activated-carbon filter ($9.99) to absorb odors, gases and volatile organic compounds (gasoline, new vinyl, etc.). There's a space for the gas filter behind the HEPA-like filter in the Förnuftig's body.
The operating cost is the main appeal here. Replacement filters for other air purifiers cost between $20 and $60, while the Förnuftig's filters cost much less. You do have to replace the Förnuftig filters a bit more frequently, but not often enough to make up the difference.
IKEA Förnuftig: Design
The Förnuftig looks pretty nice and nothing like the futuristic monoliths that most air purifiers resemble. The rectangular body comes in black or white, but the main thing you'll see is the attractive tweed-like gray-fabric prefilter on the front. That pops off and can be cleaned with a vacuum cleaner, but the two filters behind it have to be replaced every four months.
The Förnuftig is about 12 inches wide, 18 inches long and four inches deep. At 7 pounds, 13 ounces, it's light enough to mount on a wall (air intake is on the sides, not the back), but you can attach an included stand for floor placement and a carrying handle as well.
IKEA Förnuftig: Room size requirements
IKEA says the Förnuftig can effectively clean the air in a room of 108 square feet (or 10 square meters), which is a small bedroom by North American standards. The FÖRNUFTIG isn't going to do much for your living room, but it might for your youngest child's room or a guest bedroom.
Compare that optimal room size to that of the $90 Levoit LV-H132, which can handle 129 square feet, or the $100 PureZone 3-in-1, which can do 200 square feet. That latter size is about the average size of a North American master bedroom, though the bedrooms in newer McMansions are a lot bigger.
IKEA Förnuftig clean air delivery rate (CADR)
The Förnuftig's clean-air-delivery-rate (CADR), or air throughput, is a bit hard to figure out because IKEA's press package for the air purifier refers to the European cubic-meter-per-hour rate while we Yanks are stuck on the cubic-foot-per-minute (CFM) system.
The highest fan speed on the Förnuftig provides to a European CADR of 140 m3/h, which a Google-provided conversion formula translates to a U.S. CADR of about 82 CFM. However, then we drilled down into the Förnuftig product page on the IKEA website and saw that a maximum CADR of only 70 cfm was listed.
Either way, that's on the low side. The $100 PureZone 3-in-1 has a CADR of 80 CFM and the $90 Levoit LV-H132 also mentioned above tops out at 110 CFM. The EPA recommends a CADR of 65 cfm or more for even the smallest rooms.
IKEA Förnuftig fan speeds and power consumption
The Förnuftig has three fan-speed levels. IKEA's press brochure says the lowest speed is "quiet enough for sleep" (29 dB according to the user manual) which makes us wonder how loud the other two speeds are. The Förnuftig user manual has those pegged at 49 dB and 60 dB, respectively, the higher of which is roughly the volume of normal indoor conversation.
The three fan speeds draw about 1.5, 6.5 and 14 watts, respectively, according to the Förnuftig user manual. Your home internet router may draw up to 15 watts, while a smartphone charger draws between 5 and 7 watts.
IKEA Förnuftig costs of operation
If you have both the carbon and HEPA-like filters in your Förnuftig and replace them diligently every four months, then that will run you about $46 a year. Skip the carbon filter (you probably don't need it) and that drops to $16 a year.
By comparison, replacing the HEPA or HEPA-like filters every six months on a regular air purifier will cost you between $40 and $120 per year.
IKEA Förnuftig care and cleaning
The prefilter mounted on the front of the Förnuftig can be cleaned with a vacuum cleaner after you pop it off. The HEPA-like filter and the activated-carbon gas filter must be replaced every four months. An LED light on the top of the FÖRNUFTIG lets you know when it's time.