IKEA continues to take the invisible approach to its smart home gadgets by camouflaging them as other things. Its new Starkvind smart air purifier is available in two versions, but the better of the pair is cleverly disguised as a small end table, so in addition to removing unwanted particles from the air, you can also use it as storage for unwanted coffee table books and knick-knacks.
As raging forest fires on the west coast continue to affect air quality across the country, all the way to New York, an air purifier sure seems like a solid investment going forward. Companies like Dyson sell some of the most fully-featured smart air purifiers that can be controlled remotely through a smartphone app, but aesthetically they look like props from a science fiction movie. No one wants their home to look like a Best Buy showroom as it slowly fills with smart home devices, so IKEA’s approach is very much a welcome one.
When paired with IKEA’s $48 Trådfri smart home hub, both the $175 self-standing and the $260 side table version of the Starkvind air purifier can be operated and scheduled using IKEA’s accompanying smart home app, but both also feature a manual control dial for switching between five different fan speeds or an auto mode. In the latter mode, an included air quality sensor will automatically turn the air purifier on based on the levels of unwanted particulates in the air. So if you accidentally burn dinner and send a cloud of smoke out of the kitchen, the Starkvind will automatically roar to life.
Both models are available in two colour options and both include a three-filter system that IKEA promises will capture everything from larger particles like hair to the microscopic stuff you can’t see but don’t want to breathe in.
“The pre-filter captures big particles such as hair and dust,” IKEA says. “The filter for particle removal is optimised to filter away approximately 99.5% of smaller airborne particles such as PM2.5 particles, dust, and pollen. The filter for gas cleaning absorbs various gaseous pollutants such as formaldehyde and other VOCs and reduces unpleasant odours such as from smoking and cooking.”
Both versions of the Starkvind air purifier are expected to be available starting in October, but for continued effectiveness air purifiers do require more than just having their filters occasionally cleaned — they need to be regularly replaced as well. Whether or not the Starkvind will use the same replacement filters that IKEA uses for its existing Förnuftig air purifier or a different shape and design remains to be seen.