What Dyson is to vacuums, Coway is to air purifiers. The Korea-based small home appliance brand without much brand name recognition is regularly churning out some of the best air purifiers on the market. Its latest, the Airmega 250, is one of its smallest units to date, yet it touts an impressive area of room coverage with an equally high effectiveness. Does it hold true? We found out.
It looks great: Air purifiers often focus more on effectiveness than looks. Just look at Coway itself, and you'll find that it didn't take looks into account until last year — despite being around for over 30 years — when the brand launched the Airmega 150, a rectangular box with an inoffensive design, available in more colors than just black or white. We named the Airmega 150 the best-looking air purifier on the market, and not saying Coway took that into account, but the Airmega 250 looks almost identical in just a slightly bigger version. As of now, it's only available in a grey-ish color, and we're hoping it'll come in the same colorway options as the 150 like pink or green.
It's insanely powerful: The Airmega 250 has a coverage area of 930 square feet, with a Clean Air Delivery Rate, or CADR, of 230 for pollen, 249 for smoke and 261 for dust, all of which are above average for an air purifier of this size. An air purifier with specs like this would probably look more like a side table, so for Coway compressing the tech into a 18.5 x 19.7 x 8.3 inches box is pretty remarkable.
To compare, Coway's Airmega 300 ($549) has similar specs in a bigger, and much more expensive unit. With three-stage filtration — a washable pre-filter, a Green True HEPA filter and activated carbon filter — the Airmega 250 can remove 99.999 percent of particles as small as 0.01 micrometers, which is smaller than most viruses and bacteria, as Coway claims. And just so you know your room is actually getting clean, the top of the air purifier has a LED air quality monitor that uses colors to relay air quality.
The purifier also has three smart settings: an auto mode, sleep mode and eco mode, so you can sort of just turn on the unit once out of the box and let it clean your home without ever worrying about controlling it. Maybe 99 percent of the time, my unit, on auto, will be on its low fan speed, but once the air quality monitor shows a quick downturn, it'll kick the fan up to get me back to peak air quality.
What's Not as Good
It's not "smart": Yes, the Airmega 250 is smart in the sense that it automatically adapts to its surroundings, but it's not smart in the sense that it connects to the Coway app. The brand has plans to release a Wi-Fi-compatible Airmega 250 in the future, but this ain't it. Without app compatibility, you lose remote access, in-depth air quality updates and easier--to-understand filter status updates.
Air purifiers are a dime a dozen. We've tested a bunch of units already, and you can find our list of the best ones here. Within the Coway brand umbrella, you can find an air purifier with the Airmega 250's kind of room coverage in the Airmega 400. It is, however, pricier, coming in at $749. In terms of looks, the Airmega 150 is the 250's twin, and our favorite air purifier is the Airmega AP-1512HHS.
If you're only going to buy one air purifier, let it be this one. It's small, yet packs powerful air cleaning technology in an intuitive and effective device. Those who already have a few units might find the Airmega 250 to be overkill though. Its design is pretty inoffensive, and it manages to pack an insane amount of power in a compact device that would typically have half the room coverage. It has an MSRP of $400, and despite having come out very recently, it's already being sold on Amazon for $100 under retail.
Price (Amazon): $298+ | Price (Coway): $400