After testing many different air purifiers, different features, prices, capacities, I decided to test one premium air purifier this time. In this review, I present to you a complete review and test of the air purifier Molekule Air.
The Molekule Air is a slightly older model from Molekule, around which a lot of dust has been raised, and it is undeniable that the “internet” is divided around this device.
Table of Contents
- Installation and Setup
- Molekule Air Smart App
- Room Coverage and CADR
- How To Replace Filters
- Noise Test
- Performance Tests
- Operating Costs
- Pros and Cons
- Final Thoughts – Is It Worth Buying a Molekule Air Purifier?
The very negative reviews of Wirecutter and CR, on the one hand, and the multitude of positive reviews on some other sites, have awakened my desire and need to buy this product, test it and present my thinking to the loyal followers of the Air Purifier First community.
Molekule Air is a premium air purifier designed for spaces up to 600 sq. ft. The unit is very heavy, large, and fully clad in aluminum. It is unprecedentedly one of the highest quality air purifiers I have ever had the opportunity to use.
Molekule is also characterized by its patented PECO filtration technology, which Molekule claims is much more efficient and of higher quality than traditional HEPA filtration.
This luxurious, cutting-edge, minimalist device doesn’t have many advanced features to highlight. Still, it can be linked to a smart app, it has some interesting modes, and it is definitely worth checking out. Read on to discover how the Molekule Air performed in performance tests, volume, power consumption, and more.
Short on time? Here are highlights of the Molekule Air
- Molekule Air is a unit designed for large spaces up to 600 sq. ft.
- This air purifier uses patented PECO technology and a pre-filter as filtration layers.
- The luxurious design and superior build quality contribute to making the Molekule Air fit into almost any ambiance.
- For many buyers, the price of this device is limiting, as is the maintenance cost.
- Molekule Air comes with a limited warranty of 2 years.
Below I will show a table with the basic specifications.
|Dimensions||8.25 x 8.25 x 23 inches|
|Filters||Pre-filter and PECO-filter|
|Filter Longevity||3 months (pre-filter), and 6 months (PECO-filter)|
|Coverage||600 sq. ft.|
Installation and Setup
The Molekule Air Purifier requires some preparation before the first start.
I was surprised when I opened the box and saw how well this device was packed. Molekule fits perfectly into the box, which provides good safety when transporting. Just by looking at the box, you will see that this is one premium air purifier lurking inside. Inside the box other than the Molekule air purifier, you will find the user manual, protective bag, plugin cable, and extra pre-filter.
Before any other steps, most importantly, take the power cord out of the box and plug it into the bottom of the air purifier, as explained in the instructions. After that, plug the Molekule into the current, turn it on, and start purifying the air around you.
The first time you switch on the air purifier, it performs the “Initial Cleaning” cycle. During this cycle, the air purifier will adjust and set the settings according to your room’s exact size and location in the room. Before placing the unit in the desired location, please note that you should move it away from the wall at least 20 inches (approximately 50 cm) on all sides.
The first thing I thought when I unpacked Molekule Air was, “Wow, that feels good.” Molekule had overshadowed me with the quality of the packaging and the aluminum casing, and the first impression this model left on me was incredible.
The silver aluminum casing occupies almost the entire surface of the device. On the top are the touch panel and the air outlets, which are plastic. The designers at Molekule have thought about every detail, so the carrying handle is a natural leather handle, aesthetically integrated into the design. Although it makes carrying the device much easier, remember that this is a very heavy air purifier.
If I had to comment on the design in one sentence, I would say that the build quality is excellent; it radiates a premium feel. After testing the Molekule Air in my living room for a while, I have often had guests come up to me and ask what it is. No one believed that one air purifier could be so elegant and superb. Honestly, at first, it reminded me a little of a large speaker.
In short, the Molekule Air fits into almost any ambiance; whether you plan to use it in the bedroom, living room, kitchen, or any other room, I’m sure the Molekule will fit in just right.
The touch panel is a unique feature when it comes to Molekule Air. It is located on the top side; it is round and has very good touch sensitivity.
However, I will come straight to the point and say that this touch panel is too small for my taste and that I very often get annoyed because, due to its small size, it does not respond appropriately when I run my finger across the screen. So it very often happens that, instead of swiping to another display device, I end up pressing a button.
The touch panel contains all the needed options. The first screen shows a menu for selecting the mode: Silent, Auto, and Boost. The next screen shows the dark mode button, the next one shows the power button, and the last screen shows the current filter wear.
In addition, if you hold your finger on the touch panel for 10 seconds, a special menu opens with various settings, namely the option to disable the connection to the smartphone, the device information (serial number), the contact details for technical support, and the factory reset option.
The Molekule Air is circular in shape with air inlets on the underside of the device. The Molekule draws in air from all sides, which then passes through filtration processes and exits through the openings on the top of the device.
As this device draws in air from all sides, you need to be very careful where you place it in order to use it to its full potential and not block the air intake from both sides.
Size and Dimensions
The air purifier weighs 18.0 lb. The dimensions of the device are: 8.25 x 8.25 x 23 inches. As much as I was surprised by the build quality and appearance of the Molekule air purifier, I have to say that I was also quite surprised by the weight.
The Molekule Air is one of the heaviest air purifiers I have had the opportunity to test so far, but thanks to the leather carrying handle, I think the slightly increased weight will not be a problem.
I have the impression that the weight of the Molekule Air model makes it even more premium.
What’s in the box?
The Molekule air purifier purchase comes with Molekule Air, a power cord, pre-filter, PECO filter, and a user manual.
I recommend everyone go back to the beginning to the section where I explain how to set up the Molekule for the first time use, especially if you have problems installing the power cord, which is a bit specific.
Although a device in this price range is supposed to have several advanced features, this is not the case here. The Molekule Air has no advanced options to boast about; the device lacks an air quality sensor, an air quality indicator, an auto mode (a true auto mode), as well as a smart app that works without any problems.
All this is a bit unexpected, not to say disappointing, but perhaps Molekule wanted the Air to be minimalist and elegant, which would be its main features.
Molekule monitors the filter replacement time to make it easier for users to change the filter. The current filter wear can be viewed in the app or directly on the touchscreen. The duration of the pre-filter and the PECO filter are shown separately as the duration of these two filters are different.
Somehow, I feel that the Molekule Air is the device with the least advanced options in the Molekule series. For example, since the Air Pro, Air Mini, and Mini+ do not require manual resetting of the filter life after replacement, they are all automated, and as soon as the PECO filter is replaced, the filter reset indicator automatically resets.
Molekule Air requires the filter reset indicators to be reset by pressing the “Reset Filter” button located in the smart device app. Suppose you cannot connect Molekule Air to the smart app. In that case, I’m afraid you will need to factory reset the device every time you change the filter to reset the filter reset indicators.
Automatic Mode (which it really isn’t!)
Molekule Air has an option, more specifically a mode, called “Auto Mode.”
Honestly, I don’t know what the purpose of calling it “Auto Mode” is if it is not the auto mode we are expecting it to be. Since the Molekule does not have an air quality sensor, it is almost impossible to have an auto mode that will change the engine speed according to the air quality.
I can conclude with certainty that the automatic mode in the Molekule air purifier is essentially medium speed, and that is not automation. I have, however, done a little more detailed testing. When you switch on the Molekule, it asks you, “Have you moved?“, if you select “Yes,” the device starts working according to the preset settings, and if you choose “No,” the device offers three additional options regarding the size of the room. According to the room size, the device will determine the speed, which will be your auto mode setting.
I tested whether the auto mode works with the same power with all three settings by measuring and comparing the power consumption.
The result is as follows:
- Suppose you select <200 m2 ft. The Molekule in auto mode will operate with a power of about 19.8W, and I have the feeling that the engine speed in this mode is close to silent mode.
- If you select 200 m2 ft. – 400 sq m ft. Molekule will operate in auto mode at approximately 21.2W, which is slightly more than the previous selection.
- And if you select >400 sq. ft., the Molekule will use about 23W in auto mode, aka the maximum. The volume and engine speed will be closer to Boost mode than Quiet mode.
I would note that there are still some differences in auto mode use at different room size settings, but no matter how we look at it, we can’t label it as auto mode at all, perhaps as semi-auto mode.
As far as I understand, when the dark mode is switched on, the Molekule PECO technology has no function, and the air is only filtered through a pre-filter, which is, of course, not sufficient for quality filtration.
I have tested this feature and turned on the dark mode in a 320 sq. ft. room, leaving the unit to run in boost mode. In 30 minutes of operation, the Molekule reduced the AQI from 54 to 22, improving the air quality by about 59%, a very poor result.
Because of these results, I would not recommend the frequent use of the dark mode, as the performance of the Molekule air purifier is obviously much weaker in that mode.
Interestingly, this conclusion can be found in the manual, which says, “we recommend using the dark mode only when necessary.“
Molekule Air has a limited 2-year warranty. As many competing devices have shorter warranties, I can say that this is an average warranty and that I expected more, especially for a high-end device. Some other top-end air purifiers, such as the Alen BreatheSmart FLEX, have a choice of a 1-year to a lifetime warranty.
Molekule Air Smart App
The Molekule is presented as a smart air purifier that can connect to a smart app. However, this has proven not to be the case in practice, especially when looking at the very poorly rated apps in both the Android and iOS stores. To be honest, I have yet to see a worse app in the store than this. Unfortunately, the situation for me is similar to many other users; also, due to several attempts with several different devices (Android and iOS), I could not connect Molekule Air to the smart app.
If I keep researching and reading, it seems that I have not missed much because I have not been able to connect to the smart app. After all, the app is almost useless. The Molekule smart app only offers remote device control as far as I have seen advanced options.
Although I could have connected to the smart app, I would have had almost no benefit, but I have to say that I regret very much not having done so, precisely because it is to be expected that an air purifier in this price range does not have this kind of problem.
For a successful connection to an internet modem, you must set the router to 2,4 GHz.
Room Coverage and CADR
Molekule Air is designed for rooms up to 600 sq. ft. However, after all the tests I have done, I would say that the best performance is in much smaller rooms, so my recommendation would be to use this model in rooms up to 300 sq. ft. and even much smaller.
Given that the Molekule Air has a CADR of around 100 CFM, I would say that I would argue that this model is best used in much smaller rooms of 600 sq. ft. It fits ideally in a smaller bedroom, living room, kitchen, or any other room, as it is first and foremost a very beautiful device. However, remember that you need to pay attention to the room’s dimensions before you decide to install it.
Filtration is the base of every air purifier. The air purifier’s primary performance starts with filtration. The larger the filters and engine, the more powerful the air purifier is. Molekule air purifier is a large air purifier that uses a patented PECO air filter. The filtration system is combined with two layers, pre-filter, and PECO filter.
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Before the first start, you may smell a weird smell, and that is normal. This weird smell is caused by off-gassing. Offgassing is releasing trapped gasses that were absorbed in the machine during the non-working period. You should run a Molekule air purifier for up to 48h to break these gases.
Pre-filter is nothing special; it is a simple MERV-12 pre-filter that we used to see in other brands. The main job of the pre-filter is to capture large particles, VOCs, dust, and other pollution before air hits the PECO filter.
PECO stands for photoelectrochemical oxidation. This is not a new technology; it is a boosted version of PCO, aka photocatalytic oxidation. PCO has been used in industry for decades and is nothing new. Mainly it is used to clean contaminated water or air.
Regular HEPA filters trap airborne particles. However, PCO and PECO also remove gases. In other words, PECO removes nasty kitchen odor as well. PECO air purifiers use UV light, which breaks various pollutants on the molecular level in the process of filtration. PCO, an old technology, was not good at breaking these pollutants because sometimes, during the process it creates other harmful gases. PECO, however, claims that they fixed this issue and that this new PECO filtration system is much safer than PCO.
PCO was also not that efficient, and when we compare it with PECO, we can see drastic improvements. Molekule made a great innovation that now every home can use to filter air.
PECO vs. HEPA Filter
These two filters have very little in common. HEPA filters trap airborne particles while PECO breaks down airborne particles on a molecular level. True HEPA filters are very efficient and can remove 99.97% airborne particles from the air that are larger than 0.3 microns.
PECO, however, can destroy airborne particles that are even smaller than 0.3 microns which means that it can probably remove bacteria and viruses from your home.
I won’t go down into a big debate about which technology is better because each of it has its own perks and disadvantages.
How To Replace Filters
Molekule Air also needs filter replacements. Both filters need to be replaced. However, the pre-filter needs replacement every 3 months, while the PECO filter needs to be replaced every 6 months. The good news is that Molekule has an option that monitors filter replacement time, so you won’t need to manually count the time.
Basically, Molekule Air has three engine speeds. As I have already mentioned, the automatic mode is not any kind of manual speed or automatic setting of the engine operation.
In the quiet mode, the volume produced by the Molekule is bearable, but then the airflow and the device’s efficiency are at their lowest.
On the other hand, boost mode is too loud, and I believe that many users will be disturbed by such high volume at maximum speed. In boost mode, the Molekule Air produces a sound volume of 67.4 dBA, which is in the range of some of the loudest air purifiers I have had the opportunity to test to date.
|Silent Mode||42.0 dBA|
|Auto Mode (ranges)||42.9 – 48.8 dBA|
|Boost Mode||67.4 dBA|
I would like to point out that the silent mode and boost mode are always constant and that the volume in auto mode depends on the room size setting you select when you start the machine.
Although it is too loud, I think the Molekule is easy to use in the bedroom, but in silent mode and with the dark mode on if you are bothered by the blue UV light.
Molekule Air is designed for large rooms up to 600 sq. ft. This model has a CFM of approximately 100. Although the Molekule Air is designed for rooms up to 600 sq. ft. according to the specifications, the unit offers the option to select the optimum room for the air purifier at start-up. Choose from three options: <200 sq. ft.; 200 sq. ft. – 400 sq. ft.; >400 sq. ft.
Depending on which mode you choose, the auto mode that the Molekule uses will operate at different speeds, which I explained in more detail in the description of the auto mode function.
I have tested Molekule Air in rooms with the closest approximate recommended dimensions. In addition to these tests, I have also spent some time testing Molekule Air in daily use. My overall conclusion is that Molekule Air works! It certainly works; it cleans the air, but much slower than some other cheaper air purifiers and much less effective, as you will see if you continue reading the following paragraph.
320 sq. ft. Room Test
I tested the Molekule Air in a 320 sq. ft. room. I placed the device in the room; after that, I read the current air quality.
I continuously let the Molekule run in boost mode for 60 minutes, then reread the air quality.
During this time, Molekule Air improved the air quality by approximately 88% and reduced the AQI from 131 to 16. Honestly, the result is good, but I expected much better performance, especially as this room is almost two times smaller than the recommended size.
|#||Starting Baseline||After 60min|
For example, the Winix 5500-2, which is one of the best air purifiers I have tested so far, is much faster and showed much better results on the same test.
560 sq. ft. Room Test
In the second test in a 560 sq. ft. room, the Molekule gave slightly weaker results than the previous one. In 60 minutes of operation at maximum speed, the Molekule improved air quality by approximately 70%, reducing the AQI from 118 to 35.
|#||Starting Baseline||After 60min|
I left the Molekule running for a while, and it continued to improve the air quality in the room, but despite this, my conclusion is that I am not satisfied with the air cleaning performance and speed of this model.
Molekule Air uses an 80W engine. This engine power is typical of air purifiers with much more powerful airflow, so I am disappointed that the engine is not optimized in the Molekule.
Interestingly, ultraviolet light, which is an integral part of the PECO filtration, only consumes about 13.3W.
In standby mode, the Molekule consumes about 1.2W, while it consumes about 69.3W at maximum speed. If you left the Molekule Air running at full speed, 24 hours a day for a month, the device would use about $6 of electricity. I have seen similar consumption with the Coway Mighty air purifier, which also has a high power consumption at maximum speed.
|Speed||Power Usage (W)|
|Auto Mode||19.8 – 23W|
In addition to the power consumption, there is the replacement of the filters, which are frankly a bit expensive. As the PECO filter has to be replaced 2 times a year and the pre-filter about 4 times, I think that this is a very high cost annually.
In general, air Molekule is not for everyone, and if you decide to buy one, you should be prepared that, in addition to the product being expensive, the annual maintenance price is also high.
Does Molekule produce ozone?
Nope. As confirmed by the statement on the Molekule website, “Our air purifiers not only do not emit ozone, they destroy it.”
What is the Molekule Air warranty?
Molekule offers a 2-year warranty on the Air model.
Does the Molekule Air Purifier actually work?
The Molekule Air Purifier definitely does the job it is designed to do. However, the performance of this model is not even close to my expectations.
Pros and Cons
To revise, here are the advantages and disadvantages of Molekule Air: