Alen BreatheSmart Review

  • Filtering Capability:
  • Value vs Price:
  • Durability (+Filter replacement):
  • Overall:
Whisper Quiet, Perfect for any Large Room
MSRP: $499.99

One of our favorite mid/high-range models, the Alen BreatheSmart air purifier has a ton of smart features… and the looks to match. From a proprietary air quality sensor to an impressively quiet filter technology, this unit is rated for spaces up to 1,100 square feet. A top name in the industry, Alen combines a customizable set of filters (for different allergy/air treatment needs) with timer, speed and ionizer options on the control panel.

For us, form/design goes hand-in-hand with function. As you’ve probably noticed, most air filters have a standard, rigid look (usually either strictly rectangular or round). The Alen BreatheSmart line breaks that mold as it comes with 8 custom designer panels (the piece at the very front). We have the standard white pictured here, but you can choose tints ranging from oak, carbon fiber, natural maple and a handful of others. Kinda fun to add some color to an otherwise purely-functional and results-driven machine.

Getting back to those features, we’ve assembled the most impactful and relatively valuable (vs the competition) in their own sections below. Check it out…

Customizable HEPA Filters

Sticking with the modular theme, this unit comes with four different HEPA filter options. Each addresses a specific allergy, bacterial/viral or particulate concern. At most retail shops (including Amazon), you can choose your preference… and swap in a new one if/when needed. Here’s the line-up:

  • Pure Filter (HEPA): Dust & Allergens – if your symptoms get worse during Spring or you’re after general air purification, you’ll probably want to choose this option (which is generally the default).
  • FreshPlus Filter (HEPA): Chemicals (VOCs) and Odor – for a roughly $20 surcharge, this filter does a better job of eliminating those pesky, tinier chemical and/or odor compounds (smells are noticeably better; great for pet owners).
  • Silver Filter (HEPA): Germs & Bacteria – if you or your family tend to catch colds easily (or you just want to maximize your protection), consider this filter.
  • OdorCell Filter (HEPA): Smoke & Heavy Odor – probably the toughest targets, cigarette smoke and embedded odors need specific treatment. As a roughly $30 surcharge, think about choosing this option if someone in your household smokes inside or you have a litter of cute lil’ pets.

Final note: all units, regardless of HEPA, come with an activated carbon pre-filter that treats the air before the HEPA.

Filtering Power

Next, let’s take a closer look at this unit’s filtering capabilities. In a few words, the BreatheSmart purifier packs quite a punch, especially given its sub-$500 price tag. Read on for all the details…

92%
Type: HEPA Filter (99.8% efficiency) & Ionizer
The Alen BreatheSmart is capable of filtering up to 99.8% of particles 2.5 microns or larger. Put in context, that ranks it in the 98% tier of all air filters. In order to trap smaller particle, the unit also comes with an ozone-free ionizer. The charged ions cling to the smallest of particles, clumping them together and making it easier for them to get trapped by the HEPA (works in much the same way dust is attracted to a TV screen).

86%
CADR rating (smoke|dust|pollen): 256|276|300
Within the context of the 1-450 CADR scale, this unit does an impressive job of attracting/capturing air particles and lands itself square in the upper echelon of larger room units.

96%
Coverage Area: 1100 sq. ft
If you’re looking to purify a larger room or space, that’s where this unit really stands apart from the crowd. Rated for up to 1,100 square feet (though in our tests, it tends to cover a bit more), just stick it in the corner and you’ll never hear or notice it doing its cleanliness thing :).

88%
Air Changes/hour (ACH Rating): 2x up to 1100 sq. ft
Of course, the larger the room, the longer it takes to treat and re-circulate the air…so even though 2 times / hour seems relatively low, it’s often easier/better to multiply the number by the square footage (ie, 2 * 1100, which yields 2,200 of treated sq. feet per hour). And that number ranks right up there with some of the top-tier models.

Control Panel

  1. Ion button – Flipping this on powers up the ozone-free ionizer (i.e., it’s 100% safe to breathe). The charged ions will then constantly trap allergens and dirt, letting the filters easily trap and remove them from circulation.
  2. Filter Life indicator – there are 3 lights in play: green, yellow and red. Green is the default after purchase or after a new filter. When you see red, a new filter is overdue (best to order during the yellow light).
  3. Timer – choose between 4, 8 and 12-hour settings. Once set, the unit will automatically shut down at the end of the cycle.
  4. Power button – unless you’ve set the timer, turning on the unit will run it continuously until otherwise changed.
  5. Speed – Low, med, hi and a turbo. If a smoker just left the room or it’s a particularly bad allergy day, probably best to use turbo for at least a few hours.
  6. Auto – based on the unit’s sensor gauge, it’ll adjust the fan speed accordingly…ultimately decreasing its electrical pull. It’s highly recommended you use Auto during normal, non-peak usage.

Pros and Cons

  • Very powerful for the price
  • Extremely quiet
  • Easily treats most large rooms
  • 7 designer color panels
  • Priced in the mid-range of comparable units

Final Word

Over the years, the Alen BreatheSmart is one of our more often recommended units, especially for folks that need to treat an open-space room or just want that extra oomph. At about $500, it's not cheap, but you won't find much more value for your dollar elsewhere.