Pionair Air Purifier Review

Update 2020

The Pionair air purifier was released in 2004 by the company HealthQuest Technologies, LLC and they released an air purifier to US consumers. 

As you can see from the Google trend graph below, there is a lot less interest now as the company no longer exists and the unit has not been on general sale since 2009.

But there must still be plenty of people who still own a Pionair purifier and it might even still work. The technology used didn’t require filters to work so it’s very unlikely to break.

Pionair

However, there is a major problem with this type of air purifier.

It uses an ultraviolet bulb that emits light with a wavelength of 185nm – which is a part of the ozone generating wavelength and this is terrible for your health and also not great at removing particles from the air (Ionizers air purifiers generate a lot of dust that doesn’t get removed but sits on surfaces.)

In the past, we assumed there was no other way to clean air cheaply but to use this type of ozone technology but in 2020 there are plenty of alternatives.

In fact, I would ask any person still running an ionizer air purifier like the Pionair air purifier then you should consider looking to replace the unit that uses a true HEPA and activated charcoal filtering system. Both of these systems have been shown to provide significant health benefits under laboratory tests and many new units don’t have to cost $100’s of dollars.

As of 2021, I recommend the following air purifier for most people:

Air Purifier
Best for Small Room
Best for Portable Use
Best for Large Rooms
LEVOIT Air Purifier for Home Allergies and Pets Hair Smokers in Bedroom, H13 True HEPA Filter, 24db Filtration System Cleaner Odor Eliminators, Remove 99.97% Dust Smoke Mold Pollen, Core 300, White
Blueair Blue Pure 411 Air Purifier for home 3 Stage with Washable Pre-Filter, Particle, Carbon Filter, Captures Allergens, Viruses, Odors, Smoke, Mold, Dust, Germs, Pets, Smokers, Small Room
Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier with True HEPA, PlasmaWave and Odor Reducing Washable AOC Carbon Filter
CADR
135 cfm
120 cfm
243 cfm
Technology
H13 HEPA
HEPASlient technology
True HEPA and Plasmawave
Features
3 modes and sleep mode
17db mode Quiet Mode awarded
Remote control smart sensor
Weight
8.83 lbs
3.35 lbs
15.4 lbs
Price
$99.99
$117.09
$159.99
Best for Small Room
Air Purifier
LEVOIT Air Purifier for Home Allergies and Pets Hair Smokers in Bedroom, H13 True HEPA Filter, 24db Filtration System Cleaner Odor Eliminators, Remove 99.97% Dust Smoke Mold Pollen, Core 300, White
CADR
135 cfm
Technology
H13 HEPA
Features
3 modes and sleep mode
Weight
8.83 lbs
Price
$99.99
More information
Best for Portable Use
Air Purifier
Blueair Blue Pure 411 Air Purifier for home 3 Stage with Washable Pre-Filter, Particle, Carbon Filter, Captures Allergens, Viruses, Odors, Smoke, Mold, Dust, Germs, Pets, Smokers, Small Room
CADR
120 cfm
Technology
HEPASlient technology
Features
17db mode Quiet Mode awarded
Weight
3.35 lbs
Price
$117.09
More information
Best for Large Rooms
Air Purifier
Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier with True HEPA, PlasmaWave and Odor Reducing Washable AOC Carbon Filter
CADR
243 cfm
Technology
True HEPA and Plasmawave
Features
Remote control smart sensor
Weight
15.4 lbs
Price
$159.99
More information

According to the literature marketing material at the time – they described the Pionair purifier as:

“The Pionair ion purifier does not have a filter and doesn’t trap airborne particles such as pet dander or hair. In this sense, it is more like an air sterilizer than an air purifier. The Pionair uses negative ionization and photocatalysis to clean the air surrounding the machine. Prices range from approximately $400 to $600, and the machines are made in the U.S. by HealthQuest Technologies in Georgia. A purifier like the Pionair works best in humid environments where conventional high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters don’t work as well, such as damp rooms like basements and bathrooms. In these environments, mold spores and musty smells accumulate, and this is where the Pionair works best.”

The Pionair uses a photocatalytic air purifier that uses titanium dioxide as a catalyst, and an ultraviolet light bulb to create hydroxyl oxidizers. This is a fairly new technology and can be used instead of ozone. The Pionair does not have a fan but draws air in due to a chimney-like effect created by the light bulb. Because there is no fan, the clean air delivery rate is very slow. However, the Pionair is very quiet and is not designed to do the same job as a traditional HEPA air filtration system. The ultraviolet bulb used in the Pionair will have to be replaced after about a year. While the bulbs are fairly expensive, the cost is comparable to the replacement filter costs for traditional air purifiers.

Drawbacks to the Pionair purifier include the steep price compared to the size room it can treat. Also, the Pionair does produce ozone due to a wider wavelength distribution in the ultraviolet bulb. Light with a 254-nanometer wavelength is germicidal, and light with a wavelength if 185 nm is ozone generating. However, the production of a bulb that is made specifically for 254 nm is more expensive, so Pionair elected to include the 185 nm light in its bulb. The biggest drawback is that it is not designed to rid the air of particles, and often it is particles that aggravate allergies. On the other hand, HEPA air cleaners don’t do so well in damp, moldy environments like basements.

Overall, the Pionair ion air purifier is suitable for cleaning the air in fairly small rooms where particle removal is not a high priority. It is small, easily portable, and uses very little electricity (25 watts). Because there is no fan, the unit is very quiet. Though there is no filter, the ultraviolet bulb does have to be replaced periodically. Over three to five years, users will spend a comparable amount on replacement UV bulbs as they would on replacement filters for a traditional air purifier.”

Last update on 2021-01-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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