AppleKomeKit, introduced back in iOS 8, has made huge strides over the years, which has allowed it to fill gaps in features, potential for automation and accessory categories. However, despite all the gains, there are several categories of smart accessories that are missing, which have prevented it from being the only real solution for most homes in North America: the video bell and air purifiers.
While door bells are still missing in action for the most part, the time has finally come for air purifiers with the release of the VOCOlinc PureFlow Smart Air Purifier late last month. I tested PureFlow in the last week and a half and I can say that it was definitely worth the wait. This smart purifier goes beyond the basics, providing sensors for important interior measurements, covers larger areas, has excellent performance and, of course, supports HomeKit. Let’s dive!
Worth the wait
VOCOlinc PureFlow intelligent air purifier
Bottom line: PureFlow from VOCOlinc surpasses and is only the first HomeKit air purifier. The large coverage area, quiet operation and reliable and responsive performance make it one of the best smart purifiers around.
- Easy setup process
- Covers up to 645 ft.
- Large screen easy to read
- It measures air quality, humidity, temperature
- Works with HomeKit, Alexa, Google Assistant
- Siri commands are not intuitive
- Limited HomeKit Features
The sensors delight
VOCOlinc PureFlow intelligent air purifier: features
VOCOlinc PureFlow offers a clean, thin, mostly white plastic with a 5.1-inch large LCD and a colored air quality status light on the front. Even though it is mostly made of plastic for the frame, the purifier has some heavy weights, reaching about 20 kg. The purifier is similar to other medium-sized purifiers on the market, measuring 22.24 inches high by 11.42 inches for width and depth. The upper part of the purifier is flat, with a large circular air outlet that covers most of the surface. The top also includes a series of eight touch-sensitive buttons to switch various functions, such as fan speed and timer, along with a separate power button.
PureFlow uses a dual filtration system, with easily accessible compartments for each located on the sides of the unit. Although there are two air filters, they are identical, sharing the same three-stage design that includes a pre-filter, a HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter. VOCOlinc states that filters are capable of removing up to 99.7% of gases and particles up to 0.3 microns. Filtered contaminants include formaldehyde, pollen, allergens, smoke, odors, dust, mold, bacteria and toothpicks. The purifier can cover rooms up to 645 sqm and has a clean air delivery rate (CADR) of 295 CFM, capable of cleaning a larger area in 30 minutes.
PureFlow includes four total speed settings and an automatic mode that allows it to rise and fall depending on automatic air quality measurements. VOCOlinc lists operational noise levels as between 30 and 55 decibels, with the lowest level being reached by activating a dedicated night mode. In addition to a lower speed, the night mode turns off the LCD screen and all indicators, which is a nice touch when used in bedrooms.
The VOCOlinc air purifier houses several smart sensors, a pm2.5 sensor for air quality, one for temperature and, finally, one for humidity. The LCD screen puts real-time measurements in front and in the center, with large, easy-to-read fonts and an adaptive brightness setting, automatically adjusts throughout the day to make sure you can always see the display. Along with the key values, the display shows the current fan speed and the status indicators of the features, such as that for a child lock that prevents accidental changes.
Smart home connectivity is enabled via 2.4 ghz Wi-Fi directly to home networks without a separate hub. As mentioned earlier, PureFlow works with Apple’s HomeKit, as well as Amazon and Google Assistant for voice controls and automation. The purifier also connects to the VOCOlinc application, which includes all the same controls and measurements that are located on the device. Through the application, users can configure programs and timers and adjust the brightness levels of the LCD screen and color indicator.
VOCOlinc PureFlow intelligent air purifier: What I like
Despite its large size and weight, disconnecting and configuring PureFlow was fairly easy. Most of the installation is removing it from the box, opening the filter access doors, removing the protective plastic and connecting it. The pairing process was quick and familiar, as I was able to set it up using only the iOS Home app built into the iPhone. Learn the exercise here, open the Home app, tap Add accessory, and scan the association code with your camera, and you’re on your way. Of course, the pairing process will look a little different if you use the VOCOlinc app, especially if you use it on Android.
Commands sent to the remote air purifier are executed on the device extremely fast, as if almost instantly. The same can be said for voice commands through Siri once you realize the correct phrasing to use (more on that later). The purifier was also reliable in terms of reliability, being quick to update its status when opening the Home application and I still haven’t found situations where it didn’t respond completely.
The combination of sensor data, plus the large, easy-to-read screen, is a great way to get quick status checks without having to access your phone.
Turning to the features, I really like how VOCOlinc has included additional humidity and temperature sensors and how they are exposed to the HomeKit. The combination of sensor data, plus the large, easy-to-read screen, is a great way to get quick status checks without having to access your phone. Since the living and kitchen areas of my house are open concepts, I was able to place the purifier between them, which allowed it to be seen from a wide variety of angles in each room. With the wide coverage area of the purifier, it is actually the perfect solution for my household and comes with the added benefit of removing a few redundant accessories that are dedicated to functions such as temperature monitoring.
Now, with all the air purifiers, without having severe allergies or air quality issues in the area where I live, it’s hard to say that I can tell the difference in the home after I have PureFlow up and running last week. What I can say for sure, though, is that the actual measurements of the pm2.5 sensors are in line with other sensors in the same room, with no wild variations.
I can also say that I can definitely feel a large amount of air movement from the purifier, even at the lowest setting, which leads me to believe that it is really able to cover larger areas as it claims. Finally, I can say that I absolutely like how quiet the purifier works. At lowest speed, which is implicit with reduced pm2.5 readings, and in night mode, the purifier noise level is between 35-39 decibels depending on a raw measurement made by my AppleWatch and Noise application. This allows the purifier to work all day and night in my house, without interfering with conversations or just the usual everyday things, which is nice.
VOCOlinc PureFlow intelligent air purifier: What I do not like
Let’s not beat around the bush here, VOCOlinc PureFlow and its price of 400 USD is expensive. When coupled with the cost of replacing not one, but Two, filters every six months for regular use, makes PureFlow more of a product that needs careful attention before jumping straight. Since the purifier is the first HomeKit option for the North American market, I am willing to give it some passage here. However, I would like to see a more affordable option available sooner rather than later.
While HomeKit is the star of the show, at least for me, there are definitely some limitations you should know. First, HomeKit does not support setting the display brightness and night mode directly from the Home or Siri application. Yes, you can switch the night mode setting using a third-party HomeKit app and a shortcut, but this is far too large for regular users who just want quick and easy access to it.
Another aspect of HomeKit is that setting the fan speed via Siri voice commands is not the most intuitive. On the purifier itself and through the VOCOlinc application, the speeds are listed in a series of numbers, from zero to five, the latter being the highest setting. Of course, when I tried to adjust Siri to adjust its speeds via iPhone or HomePod, I immediately tried to use the number scheme, which led to a complete malfunction or setting the speed to 0 regardless of the number you -I used.
This initially led me to believe that Siri simply did not accept the position, which was disappointing. Finally, I was shown that using percentages was probably the answer I was looking for, just as the speed of the HomeKit ceiling fan works. Sure enough, when you use a phrase like “Set the air purifier to 20%”, it finally clicked and made the control instantly more convenient.
Worth the wait
VOCOlinc PureFlow intelligent air purifier: Bottom line
When all is said and done, the VOCOlinc PureFlow smart air purifier was definitely worth the wait for HomeKit fans. Even though VOCOlinc could have covered the route easily just by providing the basics for the North American debut categories, it went further and further, offering a complete home air monitoring package. The additional capabilities of the PureFlow sensor, quiet operation, solid reliability and fantastic response times make it one of the best air purifiers I’ve tested.
Sure, the cost of ownership may be a little on the high side, but it’s comparable to other smart purifiers that offer the same large coverage area. So, if you are in the market for such an air purifier, it is definitely worth taking a look even if you do not use HomeKit, and if you do, then by all means get it, the wait is over!
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