Consumer agency clears the air on total expense of purifiers

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Consumer agency clears the air on total expense of purifiers

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When it comes to air purifiers, the old saying that “you get what you pay for” does not apply, according to a state-run consumer agency.

The Korea Consumer Agency tested 22 air purifiers made by six companies and found that cheaper products cost less in maintenance fees than more expensive one and perform just as well or better.

Among the five purifiers with coverage of 30 square meters (322.9 square feet) or less, the annual maintenance fee of Chungho Nais’s CHA-310BA, which was the second-most-expensive purifier tested, was the highest at 202,000 won ($184) per year.

But the product’s coverage area was the smallest at 17.6 square meters, and the consumer agency found actual coverage was less than that and reported the matter to the Korea Energy Management Corporation.

Kyowon’s 450,000 won air purifier, the KW-A02G1, was the most expensive purifier, but showed disappointing results in most test areas except for deodorization efficiency. Its annual maintenance fee came in at 184,000 won, second-most expensive, the test showed.

Despite its high price, area coverage was a mere 19 square meters and it was loud, according to the agency.

LG Electronics’ LA S006DW air purifier sells for 251,000 won and its annual maintenance fee is 37,000 won. It can cover 23.7 square meters and received high points for deodorization, air purification and energy efficiency.

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Among eight products that cover 30- to 39-square-meter areas, Samsung Electronics’ AC-375CPAWQ purifier has the lowest annual maintenance fee at 88,000 won. The product sells for 359,000 won, covers 38.2 square meters and received good grades for deodorization and energy efficiency.

Cheongho Nais’s CHA-550ZA received an “average grade” in area coverage, deodorization efficiency and noise level, but it cost 120,000 more than the comparable Samsung Electronics unit and its annual maintenance fee was three times higher.

Annual maintenance fees include filter replacement and the most expensive maintenance among the tested products was nearly six times more than the least, the agency’s test showed.

Among air purifiers with coverage of 30-39 square meters, Coway’s APM-1211GH cost 522,000 won in annual maintenance, 434,000 won more than the comparable Samsung unit.

Air purifiers produced by American manufacturer Whirlpool had high annual maintenance fees compared to purchase price. Whirlpool’s APR25530K cost 307,000 won, but its annual maintenance fee is 385,000 won.

“Various products are released in the market in tandem with the growing demand for air purifiers, but there is not a lot of information out there for consumers,” said an official at the Korea Consumer Agency. “To make a reasonable decision, [consumers are] advised to pick a product by comparing area coverage, maintenance fees, deodorization efficiency, noise and purchase price.”

Details of test results are available at the Fair Trade Commission’s Smart Consumer Web site (www.smartconsumer.go.kr).

By Kim Young-min [mijukim@joongang.co.kr]

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