No one expected Ikea to enter the air purifier market. But then it did, dropping the Fornuftig in 2021, a $60 air purifier that actually looked good and did what it set out to do (clean the air, duh). Less than a year later, the Swedish furniture retailer announced its second air purifier, the Starkvind, reminding us that Ikea is in fact a furniture store — Starkvind is an air purifier that hides in plain sight by disguising itself as a table. (Just don't expect any Transformers action.) While the air-purifier-slash-table was announced in August 2021, Starkvind wasn't available for sale until now. We took the air purifier for a test run, and here's what we thought about the robot in disguise.
Coverage Area: 215 square feet
Fan Speeds: Auto, 1-5
Incognito air purification: If you have guests over, they may question why you have your side table plugged in, and that's a good thing. Ikea did an excellent job at making the Starkvind look like a side table and nothing more. One of the biggest problems with air purifiers has nothing to do with their ability to purify the air — some machines are just so damn ugly that you wouldn't want to showcase them in your home. The Starkvind, on the other hand, is an air purifier that you would have no issue displaying in your home.
It's whisper quiet: The Starkvind's design is quiet, in that it doesn't scream: "I'm an air purifier!" It also happens to have a quiet fan. On its lowest setting, you would barely be able to tell that the air purifier is on. On its higher settings, it's audible, but air purifiers aren't meant to be set on those high settings for long periods of time unless you're dealing with some heavily polluted air.
It's smart: Over the years, Ikea's been growing its smart home ecosystem. Our issue with the Fornuftig, Ikea's first air purifier, was that it wasn't a part of that ecosystem; that's not the issue with this air purifier, luckily, and that gives the Starkvind extra bonus points. By connecting Starkvind to the Tradfri smart home hub, users can gain remote control of their air purifier, get air quality readings to their phone and even set a schedule for in-depth cleanings.
Simple assembly: Ikea isn't known for having the easiest-to-put-together furniture. The Starkvind might actually be the exception. It comes in a single box, and all you really have to do is screw in the legs, pop on the tabletop and you're set. One of my favorite parts about this air purifier doesn't even relate to its air-purifying capabilities: Starkvind has a built-in compartment to stow away the power block, as well as a slot to put the Allen key that comes with the machine. It's the little things that count.
What's Not as Good
It's not very powerful: When it comes to the effectiveness of an air purifier, you should look at two things: its clean air delivery rating, or CADR, and its room coverage. For the Starkvind, its CADR rating is 141 on high and 29 on low, with a suggested room coverage of 215 square feet. Not sure what to make of those numbers? Here's how everything stacks up.
The CADR is measures an air purifier's ability to clean air, as judged by the volume of air cleaned of particles of specific sizes. The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, or AHAM, suggests you buy an air purifier with a CADR that is "equal to at least two-thirds of the room's area." Using that knowledge, on high, the Starkvind is really good at cleaning out rooms that are 215 square feet in size. However, you wouldn't want to run an air purifier on high at all times. So, on low, the air purifier is excellent at cleaning rooms that are around 44 square feet, which is a very, very tiny room. That's not to say this is a bad air purifier. Most likely, you're not living in a home with heavy air pollution 24/7. If you keep Starkvind in auto mode, it'll run on its lowest settings at all times until it detects noticeable amounts of air pollution, which will then kick up the fan speed until the pollution is eliminated. You'll still feel protected — and actually be protected — by the Starkvind.
The Starkvind air purifier actually encompasses two air purifiers: one that doubles as a table (AKA the one you've been reading about this whole time) and one that's just a simple air purifier. The latter costs $170, which is $50 cheaper than the table alternative, and is wrapped in a fabric material, one that adorns the Fornuftig and Ikea's Symfonisk line of smart speakers and lamps. There are a lot of stronger air purifiers that are around the same price as the Starkvind. For example, our top air purifier pick is the Coway AP-1512HH Mighty Air Purifier costs $230 and has a CADR of 246. The Coway isn't the most beautiful machine, but it is effective. Those looking for an air purifier that also doubles as furniture will only be able to turn to the Starkvind.
Starkvind gives peace of mind for those who want to make sure they're living in a home with clean air. It's not the strongest machine out there, but it will clean your air, and when set to auto, you'll never have to pay much attention to it at all. If you're unsure of how clean the air is in your neighborhood check out Air Now, which gives real-time air quality readings. If you live somewhere that's consistently getting bad air quality indexes, this is not the air purifier for you. The main appeal of this air purifier is that hides in plain sight, a significant feat for a product category plagued by dull designs and straight-up ugliness. All in all, get this if you've ever been holding out on getting an air purifier, and you don't live in a mansion.