BioGS 2.0 Air Purifier

Great performance, quiet, and economical to operate.

BioGS 2.0 Air Purifier

BioGS 2.0 Air Purifier



They're everywhere – in the water, in the soil, in our food, and, in the air. Nasty irritants and pollutants that we can do quite nicely without. If there are obnoxious odours, dust, allergens, or other pollutants floating about your home that you'd like to control, an air purifier can be an integral component in a clean air management system for your home. While you can purchase an air purifier that will service your complete home, a portable unit designed for a single room can be just as effective, particularly for those with allergies, asthma, or chemical sensitivities, as well as being considerably less-expensive. 

I decided to try a portable air purifier because I suffer from mild to moderate seasonal allergies, which last from early spring (February here on the West coast) to early fall.

Portable devices work on a fairly simple principle. Contaminated air is drawn into the air purifier by means of a fan. The air flows through one or more filters that serve to remove the nasty bits. Then, the cleaned air is expelled back into the room. There are quite a few air purifiers on the market. The one I settled on is the BioGS 2.0 from Rabbit Air. There are two models of the BioGS, the SPA-550A, which I use, suitable for rooms up to 550 square feet, and the SPA-625A, for rooms up to 625 square feet. The two models are very similar, as you can see in this specification chart.

There are a number of things you want to consider when purchasing an air purifier. These include:

  • how effective are the filters at removing the irritants in the air
  • how large an area can the air purifier handle
  • how long does it take to clean the air in a room
  • how easy is it to operate the air purifier
  • how much does it cost to operate the air purifier
  • how long do the filters last
  • how much does it cost to replace the filters
  • can the filters be cleaned, and if they can, how easy is it to clean them
  • how quiet is the air purifier
  • how long can you expect the air purifier to last
Two of the more important features that impact the effectiveness of air purifiers are the filtering system – Rabbit Air uses both a true HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters, and a high quality carbon filter (along with a pre-filter) – and the motor (Rabbit Air uses a brushless motor that provide greater operational efficiency than a conventional brushed motor).

HEPA FILTERS

These filters are becoming much more common on dust extraction systems, simply because they are considerably more effective at removing of microscopic particles from the air than standard pleated filters. A true HEPA filter captures a minimum of 99.97% of contaminants 0.3 microns in size and larger. These filters can screen out a range of crap from the air, including the very finest dust, tobacco smoke, pollen, pet dander, mould spores, fabric fibers, and some micro-organisms, such as staphylococcus bacteria. Some companies try to mislead you by specifying that their filters are 'HEPA-type,' 'HEPA-like' or '99% HEPA' – but they aren't true HEPA filters, so avoid them. HEPA filters can be cleaned, but, like all filters, eventually have to be replaced.

CHARCOAL FILTERS
 
Charcoal filters serve to remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs), ozone, and offensive odours from the air. It's the kind of material found in the filters used on better quality respirators. Essentially, the carbon atoms in the filter absorb the compounds and gases that pass through the HEPA filter. The absorption ability of a carbon filter is directly related to the size of this filter – the amount of carbon that's in the filter. The more carbon granules in the filter, the longer the filter will last before it needs to be replaced.

BRUSHLESS MOTORS

Brushless motors are becoming more widely used than conventional brushed motors. This is primarily because they're more efficient at consuming and delivering power – they use electronic speed controllers that provide increased control over motor speeds; they produce less friction, heat, and amp draw so they make more efficient use of energy; they're virtually maintenance free; and they have a longer service life. Which makes them a better all round choice. For more information read our short Introduction to Brushless Motors.

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Front and rear views

The Rabbit Air BioGS is a sleek stylish looking unit, that takes up just over 1 square foot of floor space (approximately 17" by 10") and weighs less than 17 pounds, so it's easy to move about the home. The unit is just over 22" tall.

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Air intake: bottom and sides

Dirty air is pulled into the BioGS through the bottom of the unit, and along either side, which means that you need to ensure nothing is blocking the base of the air purifier, or that the unit isn't pushed up against a wall. 

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Remote storage (A), air outlet (B), carry handle (C)

Cleaned air exits the unit from a grill on the top, back of the unit – 'B' in the photo above. There is also a handy storage place for the remote control, and a handle for lifting the air purifier. 

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Odour and particle sensors

There are two sensors on the BioGS, both accessible via a port on the side of the unit. The odor sensor uses any change in conductivity in its sensing chip as the concentration of detectable gas in the air changes. It then sends a signal, via digital circuitry, to increase the air flow in the air purifier accordingly. The sensor can detect a variety of gases including VOCs and other odorous gases, but not carbon monoxide.
 
The particle sensor detects particle density in the air through pulses of light. It then provides a signal to be analyzed by an internal algorithm, which adjusts the air purifier power accordingly. You only have to clean these sensors (with a cotton swab) every 6 months or so.

Because the sensors record actual readings from the air it's probably best to place the unit as close to any source of odour or contamination as feasible. You certainly don't want to stick it in a corner or in a closet. Check out Rabbit Air's location tips for how best to locate the unit in your home.
 
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What cleans the air, L to R: HEPA filter, carbon filter, pre-filter

The BioGS features a three filter system. A pre-filter snags the large particles – hair, dirt, dust, and the like – and helps prolong the life of the other two filters. The carbon filter, which removes odours and nefarious gases, is about 3/8" thick, and contains about 136 grams (0.3 pounds) of 100% activated carbon. Activated carbon is highly effective due to its natural ingredients and micropores, which can absorb even the smallest impurities. The 2.5cm (1") HEPA – the heart of the BioGS – screens out the fine particulate matter.

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Filters are easy to remove

All the filters are quick and easy to remove, which is important, as you really do need to clean these filters regularly so they can do their job effectively. The user guide recommends an average 3-month cleaning schedule. For a dustier domicile you'll want to clean the filters more frequently. Vacuuming the filters takes four or five minutes.The Pre-filter can be vacuumed or rinsed with water, while the HEPA filter and carbon filter are vacuum only.

Rabbit Air estimates that, on average, the HEPA and charcoal filters will last about three years, based on 12 hours of daily operation. Running the air purifier on auto mode, 24 hours a day, should give about 18 months of filter life. There is a convenient 'filter life light' located on the control panel that recommends when the filters should be replaced. Regularly cleaning the filters will not only ensure optimal performance, but help give you maximum filter service life. Replacing the HEPA and charcoal filters cost approximately $86 US (which includes shipping), an average of $4.75 US per month).

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Controls: (L) with front panel installed; (R) with front panel removed

I found the controls on the BioGS intuitive and easy to use. You can turn the unit on by simply tapping the 'start' button' on the front panel, or via the remote control. With the remote control you have access to all the air purifier settings. You can also access these setting by lifting off the front panel (right, photo above).

The 'auto' setting is very convenient, as fan speed is automatically controlled by the air purifier, and adjusted as it senses changing odours or particulate matter in the air. You can set the auto mode to one of three 'sensitivity' settings – low, medium, and high. The air purifier will then run constantly on the lowest speed setting (42 CFM) so that air is constantly circulated through the unit. When it senses an odour or particle, it adjusts fan speed accordingly. I ran the unit for several days at each setting, but didn't notice a significant difference in the operation of the unit between the three modes. I ended up leaving the auto setting on the medium level.

There is also a built-in timer that you can use to turn the air purifier off after a specific period of time. Setting the timer to 12 hours would leave the unit on during the day, but turn it off during night time (or vice versa).

The sensors seem, to me, to activate reasonably quickly. I ran several 'tests' – practical but not scientific – to find out how quickly they responded to odours and particulate matter in the air. For all the tests I stood a couple of feet from the unit. Tests included lighting a cigarette, spraying a rather malodorous perfume in the air, opening several different types of strong smelling finishing solvents, and briskly shaking my dusty shop apron. While all the tests caused the air purifier to increase fan speed there was quite a variation in time. Cigarette smoke activated the sensor within 30 seconds, the other odours, and the shop dust, taking up to 3 minutes. Still, not too shabby. I've noticed that cooking odours also activate the BioGS.

According to Rabbit Air, the BioGS filters all of the air in a room (up to 550 sq. ft. for the model SPA-550A, and 625 sq. ft. for the model SPA-6250A) once every 30 minutes on the highest fan setting (147 CFM). Depending on the size of room you have and how often you want the air in the room changed, you would need to try out what works best for you. 

Negative Ions are odorless, tasteless and invisible molecules that are found near mountains, waterfalls and beaches. Some research studies show that negative ions help to alleviate depression and boost mental energy, but thats not all that these tiny molecules can do. Negative Ions help your air purifier by latching onto airborne particles, thus weighing them down. This allows the particles to get trapped more easily by your air purifier's filters, or to settle onto the floor where they can be picked up by your vacuum instead of accidentally inhaled. 

The BioGS is probably one of the quietest home appliances I've owned. There are 5 fan speeds. At it's lowest setting the fan is about as loud as a gentle breeze. The middle (#3) setting is barely discernable. At the highest setting the fan is noticeable but not aggravating – probably in the 50 decibel range. 

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Pre-filter after 30 days of use

I live in a condo (with one other person, and a cat), and have the BioGS 2.0 located in a 360 square foot living/dining room, with a carpeted floor that gets vacuumed each week. No smokers here.

I operated the air purifier for 30 days continuously, on auto mode (medium sensitivity level), before checking the filters, and was quite surprised with the results. As you can see in the photo above, there was a fairly even layer of fine dust on the pre-filter.

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No visible dust on the carbon filter

There wasn't any visible dust on the carbon filter, which wasn't much of a surprise, as the Pre-filter trapped most of the particles as the first line of defense and the carbon filter is meant to trap chemicals and odors. In keeping with the maintenance, I still vacuumed the carbon filter to remove visible particles.

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HEPA filter after 30 days of use

The HEPA filter had, what seemed to me, a considerable amount of debris embedded in the pleats. First I vacuumed the filter, and then brought it to the workshop where I further cleaned it with compressed air, keeping the pressure level down to 60 PSI. 

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Efficient, quiet, and not too obtrusive

I'm quite pleased with the performance of the BioGS so far, even if I haven't noticed any change in my allergy symptoms – allergists suggest that it takes several months before any benefit can be expected. As evident from the accumulation of debris on the filters, at least it's doing a good job of removing crap from the air that would otherwise find its way into my respiratory system. I keep the unit on auto mode, which means the only time I attend to it is for filter maintenance every 3rd month. It operates so quietly that it's become quite inconspicuous. And, at an average power consumption of 5 watts on low speed (up to 29 watts when it temporarily kicks into high speed), it's super economical to operate.

If you have to deal with allergies, pet or other obnoxious odours, then the BioGS 2.0 just might provide some relief.

KEY FEATURES:
  • Coverage area: 550 sq. ft.
  • Clean Air Delivery Rate: Pollen (162), Dust (149), Smoke (135)
  • Brushless motor
  • Power consumption: 5 to 29 watts
  • Noise level: 22.8 to 48.6 dBA
  • Dimensions: 16.6" W x 22.2" H x 9.8" D
  • Weight: 16.8 pounds
  • Power cord: 6 foot
  • 5 yr warranty, 90-Day Money Back Guarantee
Replacement Filters ($US):

  • Filter Kit: $79.95 (one each, HEPA and Charcoal filters)
  • HEPA Filter: $53.95
  • Charcoal-Based Activated Carbon Filter: $29.95
  • Pre-Filter: $17.95
 
COMPANY:Rabbit Air
MODEL:BioGS 2.0
PRICE:$468.00
MADE IN:South Korea
SOURCE:Rabbit Air

Author: 
Carl Duguay
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