The Low-Down on Alen’s New BreatheSmart FLEX Air Purifier for Allergies
There’s a new member in the Alen BreatheSmart family and its name is FLEX.
If you’re looking for an air purifier that can help relieve your allergies you may perhaps have come across the Alen brand. They’re an established and well-respected player in the air purifier market and have several different models in their portfolio.
If allergies and dust are the particular problems you’re looking to resolve, Alen recommend a model from their BreatheSmart range.
Until recently there were 2 types in this range to chose from – the original BreatheSmart Air Purifier and the BreatheSmart FIT50 Air Purifier. But Alen have now expanded this range further with the addition of the FLEX version.
But just how does this newcomer measure up to its older siblings?
In this article I’m going to take an in-depth look at the key features of this particular air purifier – where it’s similar to and how it differs from the other two BreatheSmart models, some pros/cons and customer feedback, before finishing with my independent rating and verdict.
If you need information quickly you can skip to a link in the table below. Or read on for my full review.
- 1 The All-Important Filters
- 2 How Long Do the Filters on the Alen BreatheSmart FLEX Last?
- 3 14 Personalized Designer Panels to Suit Your Own Personal Style and Decor
- 4 How Heavy is the BreatheSmart FLEX?
- 5 What’s the Area Coverage for the Alen BreatheSmart FLEX Air Purifier?
- 6 Is the Alen BreatheSmart FLEX Air Purifier for Allergies and Dust Quiet to Operate?
- 7 Other Key Features of the Alen BreatheSmart FLEX Customizable Air Purifier
- 8 How Much Does the BreatheSmart FLEX Customizable Air Purifier Cost?
- 9 What Kind of Warranty Do You Get with the Alen BreatheSmart FLEX?
- 10 What Do Customers on Amazon.com Have to Say About the Alen BreatheSmart FLEX?
- 11 My Final Verdict on the Alen BreatheSmart FLEX Customizable Air Purifier with HEPA-Pure Filter for Allergies and Dust
Let’s get started on the most important question – exactly how does the Alen BreatheSmart FLEX Customizable Air Purifier work for allergies and dust?
The All-Important Filters
An air purifier is an electrical device which works by pulling the air from inside a room into it by means of a fan. It then traps contaminated particles and allergens contained within that air in a filter before blowing clean air back out of the unit, repeating the process up to several times an hour.
Key to effective air cleaning is the type of filter located within the air purifier.
Essentially, a HEPA filter is superior to a non-HEPA filter as the holes inside it are much smaller and this allows it to trap even the most microscopic of particles, such as those mentioned above.
Non-HEPA filters will capture larger particles but they may miss some of the other smaller ones, meaning some unpleasant pollutants may still remain lingering in the air you’re breathing.
4 Different HEPA Filters to Choose From = Air Purification Tailored to Your Specific Needs
One thing which sets the Alen BreatheSmart FLEX Customizable Air Purifier apart from most of its competitors is that comes with a choice of 4 different HEPA filters, allowing you to select the best option for your own needs.
Now, having a degree of choice can go one of two ways!
It can either cause confusion, with the consumer unsure which option to go for. Or it means the consumer benefits from paying only for what they need.
Hopefully the information below will help ensure it’s a case of the latter!
The 4 different types of HEPA filter available with the FLEX air purifier (and the other 2 BreatheSmart models) are as follows:
HEPA Pure – for allergy and asthma relief.
HEPA FreshPlus – for increased protection against asthma, allergies, chemicals and light smoke. Also tackles mild odors such as cooking smells.
HEPA Silver – protects the filter against the growth of bacteria and microbes, in addition to capturing Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) given off by some cleaning products, personal care items and other household materials such as fabrics and furnishings.
HEPA OdorCell – destroys strong odors at a molecular level, providing an extra layer of defense against smoke and pet smells using patented MCP odor technology.
Every air purifier also comes with a washable pre-filter – i.e. a filter which captures the larger particles and helps to extend the life of the HEPA filter.
How Long Do the Filters on the Alen BreatheSmart FLEX Last?
On the subject of the lifespan of filters, and regardless of whether you go for a standard or HEPA filter, they will need to be changed at regular intervals to make sure your unit continues to operate in tiptop condition. If you don’t replace them periodically they’ll become clogged up and will stop purifying the air properly.
For the FLEX version of the BreatheSmart, Alen recommend that the HEPA filter is changed every 9 months.
The filter in the FIT50 version is anticipated to last up to 12 months, and it’s 18 months for the original BreatheSmart.
However, the cost of replacement filters for the FLEX is cheaper than those for the other 2 models so really it all balances out.
As you might have already guessed, each of the different filters has a different price tag. At the time of writing (August 2017) these were retailing from $59 for the Pure, $69 for the FreshPlus, $79 for the Silver and $89 for the OdorCell.
Assuming a filter lasts for 9 months you’re looking at an average cost of 21 cents a day for the cheapest filter and approximately 32 cents a day for the most expensive option. A small price to pay for clean air in my opinion.
The choice is of course up to you, and if you’re unsure about what to go for Alen are just a quick phone call or email away and are more than happy to provide you with more advice and information to help you pick the best option for your own specific needs.
So, that’s how the filters work. Now let’s take a look at another customizable feature which the Alen BreatheSmart FLEX can boast over other brands.
14 Personalized Designer Panels to Suit Your Own Personal Style and Decor
I’ve reviewed many air purifiers. Most come in either black, white or silver. I’ve come across the occasional colored one but nothing quite as impressive as the choice offered with the Alen BreatheSmart range!
Customers can currently choose from 14 different colors and textures with the BreatheSmart FLEX:
- Brushed Bronze
- Brushed Stainless
- Electric Blue
- Gold Champagne
- Petal Pink
- Safari Black
- Seafoam Green
- Weathered Gray
Ok ok, I know that how an air purifier performs is the number one consideration, but I’ve got to admit it is a nice bonus to find one that looks good too!
Some air purifiers are pretty bland to look at, or are bulky and stick out like a sore thumb, but the FLEX is very sleek and streamlined.
The choice of colors means you can either make a design feature of it or blend it in seamlessly with your existing decor.
White is the cheapest option, and it looks like you pay an additional $39 for a colored panel.
If your decor or tastes change at a later date in the future you can simply purchase a new panel, giving the FLEX an advantage over competitors when it comes to longevity of use – i.e. you hopefully won’t ever tire of looking at it!
The air intake is located on the sides of the FLEX, and the purified air is expelled from the exhaust located at the top rear of the unit where the grill is.
There’s a flat control panel with LED display where the buttons to operate the unit are located. Operation is manual – the unit doesn’t come with a remote control.
How Heavy is the BreatheSmart FLEX?
Dimension-wise, the FLEX measures in at 25” x 15” x 8.5” and weighs 15lbs, compared to 16lbs for the FIT50 version and 21lbs for the standard model.
It also comes with a built-in handle so it can easily be moved to another location. But it doesn’t come with castors so please bear that in mind if you think you’d have trouble lifting it.
So, we now know that the FLEX is more streamlined and lightweight than its 2 predecessors but how does it shape up in relation to the size of space it can cover?
Let’s explore that next.
What’s the Area Coverage for the Alen BreatheSmart FLEX Air Purifier?
Alen state that the BreatheSmart FLEX can be used in rooms of up to 700 square feet – so, average sized living rooms, bedrooms and offices.
That’s in comparison to 900 sq. ft. for the FIT50 and 1,100 sq. ft. for the standard model.
But a little caveat to note at this point…
According to some customers who have already bought the FLEX, the 700 square footage actually relates to when the unit is being operated at the highest of its 4 fan speeds.
Apparently the user manual states that when operated on fan speed 1 it will cover 200 sq. ft, 300 sq. ft. on fan speed 2, 400 sq. ft. on fan speed 3, and then 700 sq. ft. on fan speed 4.
Is the Alen BreatheSmart FLEX Air Purifier for Allergies and Dust Quiet to Operate?
Operating noise is an important factor for many people when it comes to choosing the best air purifier.
Let’s take a look at how loud the Alen BreatheSmart Flex is on each of its different fan settings:
- 39 dB on speed 1 (equivalent to a whisper)
- 42 dB on speed 2 (equivalent to light rainfall)
- 49 dB on speed 3 (equivalent to heavy rainfall)
- 55 dB on speed 4 (equivalent to a box fan)
In terms of how it compares to the other 2 models in the range, the FIT 50 is a little quieter than the FLEX, and the standard model a little noisier.
The general opinion among customers who’ve bought the FLEX seems to be that it’s a quiet air purifier to operate.
One customer on Amazon.com remarked that ‘on the first 2 settings you won’t hear it at all…on the top setting it’s still pretty quiet’.
Some people like to put their purifier on the highest setting for a while when they first return home, before switching to a lower/quieter speed at bedtime.
In terms of power consumption, the BreatheSmart FLEX uses 36 watts on the highest speed setting.
Other Key Features of the Alen BreatheSmart FLEX Customizable Air Purifier
The Alen BreatheSmart FLEX Customizable Air Purifier for Allergies and Dust also features a Filter Life Indicator which lets you know when it’s time to change the filter, and it also has a timer.
However, unlike its 2 siblings it doesn’t come with a sensor which automatically changes the fan speed based on the pollutants it detects in the air.
Some people prefer air purifiers with smart sensors. They can be useful in saving on energy costs and consumption, switching the unit down to a low setting as soon as appropriate.
Others are happy to adjust the fan settings manually and feel able to tell themselves when a bit of a boost is needed – for example, if their allergies have flared up. It all comes down to your own personal preference.
The FLEX air purifier is also Energy Star certified, meaning that it’s 40 times more energy efficient than non-certified models.
Having now covered the technical spec of the BreatheSmart FLEX, let’s take at costs and any warranties available.
How Much Does the BreatheSmart FLEX Customizable Air Purifier Cost?
At the time of writing, the Alen BreatheSmart FLEX Air Purifier is retailing in the region of $399 for a white unit with a HEPA Pure filter.
A unit with a colored panel is available from $438, and as discussed earlier you can also upgrade to one of the other HEPA filters for a little more money should you wish.
The average cost of the original BreatheSmart is currently $599 and the FIT50 is $499, so the FLEX is definitely the most affordable of the 3 models in this range.
Personally, I think it’s a very good price for an Alen air purifier.
Of course, you can buy cheaper air purifiers but whether they offer the same air cleaning power is another matter.
According to Alen, the FLEX is the top air purifier in its class for airflow.
So it certainly seems that the lower price tag DOESN’T mean you have to compromise on air cleaning ability.
What Kind of Warranty Do You Get with the Alen BreatheSmart FLEX?
When it comes to warranties for their air purifiers Alen are second to none, offering customers a ‘Lifetime Warranty’.
Unlike other manufacturers which offer a time limited warranty (usually 2 or 3 years), Alen will cover the unit for as long as you continue to own it.
All new customers also get a free telephone consultation with a member of the Alen team – a demonstration of the the company’s commitment to excellent standards of customer service.
That’s one thing I must say for Alen – they certainly appear to be extremely customer-focused and show a willingness to resolve any customer queries or complaints as soon as they’re notified of any issues.
Looking through comments or questions from customers on Amazon, they have a tendency to respond to queries very quickly. Of course, it’s in a company’s interest to troubleshoot as soon as they can, but I do feel this is a brand you’d genuinely get support from, long after they’ve received your money.
Please bear in mind though that all warranties come with exclusions and certain conditions, so do read through all the documentation carefully to make sure you’re not doing anything that may render your warranty void.
For example, if you take a unit purchased in the US to another country and connect it to a voltage converter or plug adapter then you’ll have no comeback if anything happens to your air purifier.
What Do Customers on Amazon.com Have to Say About the Alen BreatheSmart FLEX?
Before I give you my personal opinion about the BreatheSmart FLEX let’s take a look at what customers on Amazon have to say about it.
At the time of writing there were a total of 48 reviews (the low number due to the fact that the model is relatively new on the market), with the unit being awarded an average of 4.7 stars out of 5.
Of these 48 customers 77% rated the FLEX 5 star, with a further 17% giving it 4 stars.
4% awarded it 3 stars, and 2% gave it 2 stars. No one gave it 1 star.
Here’s a small selection of recent comments:
“Hands down best in class!” – 5 stars
“This has changed our lives” – 5 stars
“Can really breathe easier now” – 5 stars
“I use this product in my bedroom while sleeping and have noticed a tremendous amount of allergen relief” – 5 stars
“A +++ filter! Positively incredible in every way!” – 5 stars
“Expensive, works well, lacking some gimmicky features” – 4 stars
“I like everything about this unit except…it doesn’t come back on (automatically) after a power outage – it can only be turned back on with the buttons on the unit” – 2 stars
My Final Verdict on the Alen BreatheSmart FLEX Customizable Air Purifier with HEPA-Pure Filter for Allergies and Dust
Here’s a summary of my pros and cons for the Alen BreatheSmart FLEX air purifier.
On the plus side…
✓ Interchangeable HEPA filters – tailormade air purification for your own specific needs
✓ Interchangeable colored panels – something to suit all tastes and styles, and super-sleek!
✓ Best air purifier in its class for airflow
✓ Backed up by a Lifetime Warranty and excellent customer service support
✓ Very reasonable price for an Alen air purifier, but still with excellent air cleaning power
The flip side…
✗ No automatic air quality sensor – users need to adjust the fan speed themselves
✗ No remote control (but then again, nothing to misplace or lose!)
✗ No castors – a consideration to bear in mind if you plan to use it in different rooms but have difficulty carrying things
Overall, I’m really impressed with the newest addition to the Alen BreatheSmart family of air purifiers!
For use in average-sized rooms it offers a very attractive price compared to its 2 older siblings.
It may lack some of the extra technology that the standard BreatheSmart and the FIT50 offer like the Smart Sensor, but that doesn’t detract from it doing a great job of removing impurities from the air.
Its great performance is backed up by glowing online testimonials from allergy sufferers who report their symptoms much reduced or completely gone after using the FLEX.
The shallow me also loves how it looks! In my opinion it’s the smartest, sleekest air purifier out there. The only problem is deciding which color to go for!
I award the Alen BreatheSmart FLEX Customizable Air Purifier a very impressive 4.8 out of 5 stars!