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Never mind the dirty air: Let’s get the elephant out of the room first. At $750, the Rabbit Air A3 is the most expensive air purifier I’ve tested to date, besting the LG PuriCare 360 I recently reviewed by 50 bucks. You wouldn’t realize it from looking at it, though. The relatively compact unit doesn’t appear to offer anything out of the ordinary for this market, at least on first analysis.
Unlike most purifiers in the $600-plus price band, which tend to have a 360-degree design, the Rabbit Air A3 is designed with a distinct front and back. Air is sucked in through the front and sides of the 20-inch-tall, 8-inch deep device, and clean air is emitted through a vent in the top. Unique in this market, the A3 is designed to either sit on the floor or be mounted on the wall (hardware is included), which makes even more sense if you choose one of the A3’s “Artists Series” designs, which replace the front-mounted filter cover plate (normally plain black) with one of four different art prints. For an extra $20, you can cover your air filter with a reproduction of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” Hokusai’s “The Great Wave off Kanagawa,” or two other selections. (Strangely, note that these covers do have a slight, negative impact on the performance of the filter.)
This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best air purifiers, where you’ll find reviews of the competition’s offerings, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping for this type of product.
The A3 has plenty of power, at least on paper. It can provide two air changes per hour in a 1,070 square foot room, and it boasts solid CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rates) numbers of 315 (pollen), 262 (dust), and 257 (smoke) cubic feet per minute. CADR numbers express how much air a purifier can clean in a set amount of time. The unit specs report that it can filter particles “as small as 0.3 microns in size at 99.97% efficiency and particles less than 0.1 microns in size at higher than 99% efficiency.” Lastly, the unit is certified by the asthma & allergy friendly certification program from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America and Allergy Standards Limited.
A collection of a whopping five flat, square filters are sandwiched in a stack beneath the A3’s magnetic cover, all plopped one on top of the other. These include a pre-filter, medium-sized (larger than 1 micron) particle filter, carbon filter, HEPA filter (no H-level is stated), and a custom filter that you choose during purchase. Four custom filters are available, from Germ Defense to Pet Allergy, though it’s unclear what each of these offers over the four existing filters that are already in the mix. Replacing the whole shebang will run you $106, but Rabbit says the filter lineup should last for 2 years even with 12 hours a day of use.
The unit’s interface is minimalistic, with buttons for fan speed, three automatic modes (each corresponding to an increasing level of germ paranoia), a “negative ions” toggle, and a loose indicator of the air quality (one LED = good, four LEDs = bad).
All of this is indicated through a series of dots; there are no numerical readings nor a color-coded indicator of air quality. There’s a lengthy color LED that runs across the top of the device, but this is simply for decoration (10 color options, plus a shifting option, are available in the app). Finally, the unit automatically dims its LEDs when it gets dark; these lights can also be disabled manually in the app.
The unit is extremely quiet at lower airflow settings. Crank it up and the unit quickly becomes deafeningly loud—likely a necessary concession to give the A3 its spacious room coverage ability.
While the Rabbit Air mobile app has a somewhat convoluted setup—which involves scanning a serial number on the bottom of the device—I was able to get it connected to my home network (only 2.4GHz networks are supported) with a minimum of fuss, after the first setup attempt inexplicably failed.
The app offers a more intuitive way to interact with the unit’s controls, and it provides more detailed insights into air quality, letting you drill down into conditions for odor, PM1.0, PM2.5, and PM10 particles. You can’t track this info over time, however; it’s only a real-time view. A simple countdown timer and scheduling system are also built in to the app. Altogether it’s not the most advanced mobile app, but it’s easy enough to get basic tasks done.
On the whole, the A3 works well, but it’s a really tough sell at a hefty $750 in a very crowded field of high-end air purifiers. The similar MinusA2 might be a better bet for more users. The A2 runs $550 and can handle up to 815 square feet. It has a similar design (including the option to buy a fine art cover plate) and the same multi-stage filtration system. Unless you’re trying to clean the air of a very large space, it might be a more sensible and affordable choice.