Air purifiers are good for your lungs, but can be a sore spot for your eyes. Ikea proves this doesn't have to be the case with the $219.99 Starkvind, a side table with a hidden air purifier that captures dust, pollen, and fine inhalable particles in rooms of up to 215 square feet. The Starkvind’s main filter falls short of the True HEPA standard, but the machine still performed well in testing, quickly detecting and capturing airborne pollutants. The purifier is also capable of removing odors and potentially harmful gaseous pollutants such as formaldehyde, as well as responding to voice and app controls (provided you purchase a separate $20 filter and a $36 hub). If you don't need your air purifier to double as furniture, however, the $179.99 Smartmi Air Purifier P1 covers a larger area (320 square feet), uses a True HEPA filter, and offers more robust air quality monitoring features. But if you want an air purifier that doesn't look like one, the Starkvind is one of your best (and only) options.Our Experts Have Tested 134 Products in the Smart Home Category in the Past YearSince 1982, PCMag has tested and rated thousands of products to help you make better buying decisions. (Read our editorial mission.)
The Starkvind is available as a side table or a standalone air purifier (that sits close to the ground like a box fan) in two color options. The side table costs $219.99 and comes in dark brown or white. The standalone version costs $169.99 and is available in black or white.
Either model works with the Ikea Home Smart app (available for Android and iOS) so you can control it, monitor your air quality, and set up a cleaning schedule from your phone. The main downside to this implementation is that you need to purchase the $35.99 Tradfri Gateway hub to use the app and take advantage of the smart features.A hidden filter sits beneath the top of the Starkvind(Photo: Angela Moscaritolo)
The Starkvind side table stands 22 inches tall on four solid birch wood legs, and its stained oak veneer plywood top measures 21 inches in diameter. For a streamlined look, you can hide its roughly five-foot-long cord inside the base and one of the table legs.
Beneath the tabletop, a hidden 14.25-by-11.25-inch (LW) particle filter captures 99.5% of PM2.5 (particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns in size), including dust, pollen, industrial emissions, and tobacco smoke.The Starkvind's particle filter(Photo: Angela Moscaritolo)
Note that this layer doesn't qualify as a true high-efficiency particulate absorbing (HEPA) filter. To comply with the current baseline standard, True HEPA filters must be certified to remove at least 99.97% of dust, pollen, mold, bacteria, and any other airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns.
The area beneath the surface also includes space for an activated carbon gas filter (sold separately for $19.99), which promises to capture gaseous pollutants such as formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The gas filter also removes unpleasant odors, such as smoke and cooking aromas. With both filters, the Starkvind weighs 17.1 pounds. It can withstand up to 220 pounds of pressure.The Starkvind's gas filter(Photo: Angela Moscaritolo)
For this review, the company sent me the side table version in dark brown, with a gas filter and a Tradfri Gateway. The entire setup as tested costs $275.97.
Assembling Ikea furniture isn't my strong suit, so I was a bit hesitant to put the Starkvind together. Despite this, the process wasn't difficult at all. I completed it on my own in around 35 minutes—a more proficient assembler could probably finish setting it up in about half that time.Unboxing the Ikea Starkvind(Photo: Angela Moscaritolo)
Each table leg attaches to the air purifier with two screws. That means all you have to do is handle eight screws with the included Allen wrench, install the filter(s), and plug in the power cord. If you want, you can feed the cord through a channel in one of the legs to hide it.(Photo: Angela Moscaritolo)
A control knob on the front lets you turn the air purifier on or off and adjust the fan speed between five levels. Pressing the knob puts it in Auto mode; in this setting, the Starkvind automatically adjusts the fan speed in accordance with the ambient air quality. Turning the knob lets you manually set the fan speed. A long press of the knob activates or deactivates the control lock, which prevents children from messing with the fan speed.
The Starkvind has a three-stage filtration system. Air first passes through a prefilter, which captures hair, dust, and other large particles. Next, it travels through the main particle filter before passing through the gas filter (if you installed one). The machine then dispenses clean air through two outlets on the sides of the table.Hidden cord storage(Photo: Angela Moscaritolo)
Ikea recommends replacing the particle and gas filters every six months, but the frequency at which you do should also depend on how often you use the machine and the amount of airborne contaminants in your home. When it's time to check the filters, an LED on the control panel illuminates. Replacement particle filters cost $14.99 each.
The Starkvind features an air quality sensor that measures PM2.5 particles when the purifier is running. I wish the machine had an air quality indicator light on the device itself so you can check pollution levels at a glance; it shows your overall indoor air quality level only in the Ikea Home Smart app.Hidden cord storage(Photo: Angela Moscaritolo)
For comparison, the $549.99 Dyson Purifier Cool TP07 features a small circular display that lets you scroll through various data, including the overall air quality, the level of individual pollutants, ambient temperature, humidity, and filter status. Even the $69.99 Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor features a useful LED that shines green, yellow, or red depending on your current indoor air quality.
As mentioned, you need a Tradfri Gateway device to connect the Starkvind to the Ikea Home Smart app. That integration enables you to control it and monitor air quality from your phone.The Tradfri Gateway(Photo: Angela Moscaritolo)
To set up the connection, plug the Gateway into a power outlet and connect it to your Wi-Fi router using the Ethernet cable that comes in the box. Once the Ikea Home app finds your Gateway, it asks you to scan the QR code on the back of the puck-shaped device to complete the process.
Next, it asks you what type of device you want to add; select Air > Air purifier table, then follow the steps in the app to finish pairing it. The app then instructs you to unlock and remove the top cover of the table and press and hold the pairing button.
Once you pair the two, you can power the Starkvind on and off; enable Auto mode; manually adjust the fan speed level; engage or disengage the control lock; and check the filter status from your phone. The app also lets you create a cleaning schedule, so the machine automatically turns on and off at specific times. When it's on, the app shows your current air quality level.Ikea Home Smart app
By comparison, Dyson's app offers a lot more sensor data, including graphs of your indoor air quality, PM2.5, PM10, VOC, NO2, temperature, and humidity levels throughout the day and week. The P1's Smartmi Link mobile app also offers more information, including daily, weekly, and monthly air quality charts.
The Ikea Home Smart app enables integration with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Assistant. Just tap the gear icon in the upper right corner of the app, select your preferred virtual assistant, and follow the on-screen instructions. I didn't have any problem linking the Starkvind with Amazon and Google, or adding it to my respective living room groups. After pairing the purifier, you can control it with voice commands such as, "Alexa, turn off living room air purifier," and, "Hey Google, turn on my living room air purifier."I experienced some connectivity issues when testing the Starkvind's smart features
In testing, I occasionally had trouble connecting the Ikea Home Smart app to the Gateway. When that happened, the app instructed me to make sure it was connected to the same Wi-Fi network as my phone, to restart the app, and then to try again. This process usually fixed the problem, but two different times on consecutive days, I had to reboot the Gateway and restart the app for them to connect.
To assess its air quality sensor and purification performance, I tested the Ikea Starkvind against the Dyson TP07 using palo santo and sage smoke. With a range of up to 800 square feet and an oscillating fan to dispense clean air in all directions, the TP07 has a clear advantage, but the HEPA filter in my unit is about nine months old.
I conducted the test in a 122-square-foot room; both air purifiers initially reported the air quality as good. I then lit a stick of palo santo wood and a sage bundle within equal distance of both devices, wafted the smoke in their direction, and timed how long it took each one to detect a high level of airborne pollution.
Based on the amount of particles it detects, the Starkvind rates your indoor air quality as good (green), OK (yellow), or not good (red). The Dyson TP07 has a few more levels on its air quality index (AQI) rating scale: good (green), fair (yellow), poor (orange), very poor (red), extremely poor (maroon), and severe (purple).
With the room smoked up to a "severe" level per the TP07, I turned off one machine and timed how long it took the other to purify the air quality back to "good" levels. I repeated the test with the other machine to compare how long it took each one to clear the smoke.Left to right: Ikea Starkvind, Dyson Purifier Cool TP07(Photo: Angela Moscaritolo)
In testing, the Starkvind's sensor worked well. Within two minutes of lighting the palo santo and sage, the Ikea Home app reported my air quality as "not good" (its worst rating), while the TP07 said it was "very poor." After around five minutes of wafting the smoke, the TP07 showed a "severe" air quality rating.
At its highest fan speed, the Starkvind purified my 122-square-foot room in just 26 minutes. The TP07 completed the task in nearly the same amount of time with its fan speed set to full blast and its oscillation set to 350 degrees.
I ran another purification test in my open-concept kitchen, living, and dining room; the devices performed about equally here, too. In this much larger space, the Starkvind and the TP07 both took around 2 hours to purify the air quality from "severe" to "good" levels.
The $219.99 Ikea Starkvind Table With Air Purifier succeeds on two fronts: It quickly purifies the air in small rooms, and has a more functional, attractive design than competing machines. Its main filter isn't doesn't meet True HEPA standards, but the Starkvind performed similarly in testing to the $549.99 Dyson Purifier Cool TP07, which costs twice as much and doesn't double as a table. Keep in mind the Starkvind requires the separate Tradfri Gateway to enable app and voice controls, and lacks the more advanced monitoring features of competitors such as the $179.99 Smartmi Air Purifier P1. But if you want a basic smart air purifier that blends into your home decor, the Starkvind is an excellent choice.
The Ikea Starkvind Table With Air Purifier works effectively for small spaces and connects to your phone with an optional hub, for a smarter, more attractive way to breathe freely.
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