Despite throwing all the dust, pollen, and smoke I could muster, the Alen BreatheSmart 45i performed excellently, noticeably reducing allergy reactions and providing a much fresher feel to my city center apartment.
Although its price comes in at the higher end of the mid-range market, you’ll struggle to find another purifier for under $450 that boasts 5 air changes per hour in an 800 sq. ft room with a CADR rating of 245, along with the real-world performance to back it up.
Let’s delve a little deeper into what makes this unit a great option for mid-sized rooms and apartments.
For our latest review, we’ve turned to the Austin-based air purifier manufacturer Alen, to put the BreatheSmart 45i through its paces. Alen are widely regarded as one of the top innovators on the market, creating high-performing purifiers and long-lasting filters.
The BreatheSmart 45i is the little brother to Alen’s flagship purifier (the 75i), sharing the same great technology but designed for use in spaces up to 800 sq. ft. With impressive facts and figures on the Alen website, we decided to test it for ourselves.
- REPLACEMENT AIR FILTER: For BreatheSmart Flex & 45i Air Purifiers ONLY. Find your model number on the top panel below the power button to ensure you get the right HEPA filter. It purifies 800sqft every 30 minutes and is helpful for 9-12 months.
- B4-PURE FILTER: Ideal for medium, large, and extra-large spaces, including living rooms, bedrooms, nurseries, laundry rooms, bathrooms, offices, kitchens, basements, and more! It traps allergens, pollen, fur, pet dander, mildew, and aerosolized viruses.
- MEDICAL-GRADE PROTECTION: 3-Stage H13 True HEPA filtration captures 99.99% of particles as small as 0.1 microns. HEPA air filtration is the third of five stages where the air filter traps viruses, bacteria, mold spores, and smoke with activated carbon.
- 5 AIR QUALITY COLORS: A Laser Smart Sensor detects airborne particles and auto-displays the current air quality. Blue = Excellent, Green = Good, Orange = Fair, Red = Poor, Purple = Bad air quality (high particle levels).
- PERFECT GIFT WITH A RANGE OF APPLICATIONS: Alen air purifiers aim to maintain our community’s health and wellness with cleaner pure air. From back-to-school preparations for classrooms, doctor’s offices, hotels, casinos, bars, lounges, restaurants, and most importantly your home, our air purifiers offer air filtration to everyone. A great gift for smokers and pet owners who need to improve their indoor air quality caring for their loved ones.
The Alen BreatheSmart 45i has a sleek and modern aesthetic, combining a glossy white facade with gun-metal gray trim for a minimalist and versatile look.
Despite being a powerful machine, it doesn’t take up too much space and as far as white goods go, sits comfortably in my living space, bedroom or office. Due to its relatively lightweight, it’s easy to maneuver from room to room and can slot nicely into the corner or a cupboard when not in use.
For those after a more distinctive appearance, the Alen Breathesmart is available in a variety of ‘designer’ faux woodgrain and metallic tones so you can best match the decor of your home.
To get the purifier up and running is ridiculously simple. Once everything is unwrapped, open the front hatch via the air inlets on the side of the machine and slot in the HEPA filter, with the pre-filter facing towards you. Then once connected to mains, hit the power button and you’re good to go.
With the purifier now turned on, I first noticed the power button illuminate. Rather than a mere design feature, the color of this light indicates the quality of air in the room. There are five colors in total, from purple which is poor through to red, orange, green, and finally, blue which signals excellent air quality.
The capacitive control panel allows you to easily cycle through the settings. Changing between the four fan speeds, adjusting the LED lights from low to high or even off entirely (which comes in handy at bedtime), or set to Auto, which monitors the air quality and adjusts the purifier’s settings for you automatically (we’ll get into that later).
As well as a handy filter replacement light, which illuminates yellow when the filter is coming to the end of its lifespan and turns red when it is time to replace, you can also lock the control panel to stop any curious kids or boisterous pets from messing with your new pride and joy.
When purchasing the Alen Breathsmart 45i you are also given a range of filters to choose from. Each filter offers a slightly different level of protection, mainly in relation to odors and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). I went for the ‘Fresh’ model which contains a medical-grade H13 True HEPA filter plus an activated carbon filter for added protection against VOCs and smoke.
Each of Alen’s True HEPA filters are capable of capturing 99.99% of airborne contaminants down to 0.1 microns, which are certainly impressive figures. However these results reflect controlled lab testing, so I was keen to see how these figures translate in the real world.
Whilst waiting for the purifier to arrive, I thought up some devilish ways to put it through its paces. Pausing all household chores provided a prime layer of dust ready for it to battle. After raiding the local florist, an army of lilies with pollen locked and loaded eagerly awaited its arrival. Even I, like a nervous general going to war, began to smoke like a chimney (well, vape at least).
It was fascinating to see the air quality sensor change in real-time as I began dusting and hoovering my apartment. From what had been strictly good air, once I had disturbed the dust particles the sensor quickly changed to orange then red, and to my surprise even purple, signaling poor air quality! Within an hour, the sensor had changed back to excellent, giving me peace of mind that my floors, surfaces, and now air were all dust-free.
Under similar real-world tests, the HEPA filter continued to prove its worth. Making light work of vape smoke, odors from my notorious cooking, as well as noticeably reducing allergy symptoms to pollen, when previously having flowers in the house simply wasn’t worth the sneezing attacks. With the purifier set to auto, it was reassuring to see the turbo speed kick into action when needed, especially when I was aware pollutants were in the air.
After a couple of weeks of running the machine, I was amazed to see the build-up of large dust particles and hair that had collected on the prefilter. To remove the build-up, Alen states simply vacuum the filter with it in place. This worked well for me however this could provide a challenge if you only have an upright vacuum cleaner.
Even if used continuously, running the purifier as recommended, Alen claims the filter will last for 12 months. This is quite a long lifespan for a HEPA filter, with many other manufactures suggesting replacing the filter after 6 months or a year if used infrequently. However as the replacement filters cost up to $119.00, I hope it proves to be true. It will certainly be interesting to monitor the performance over the year to see how well the filter holds up.
- REPLACEMENT AIR FILTER: For BreatheSmart Flex & 45i Air Purifiers ONLY. Find your model number on the top panel below the power button to ensure you get the right HEPA filter for your unit. Install and breathe well-filtered air in no time.
- FL40-H FILTER: The FL40-H filter eliminates smoke with 2 lbs of activated carbon, enabling the air purifier filter replacement to absorb heavy smoke, wildfire, harmful airborne particles, household chemicals, VOCÕs, and more.
- TRUE HEPA: 3-Stage H13 True HEPA filtration captures 99.99% of particles as small as 0.1 microns. HEPA air filtration is the third of five stages where the air filter can trap viruses, bacteria, mold spores, and smoke with activated carbon.
- EXTRA LONG FILTER LIFE: With Alen HEPA air purifier replacement filters, you may only need to change the air filter every 9-12 months. Pure air replacement filters can trap as many air particles for longer for better indoor air quality you can enjoy.
- Our standard medical-grade H13 True HEPA air filter offers outstanding protection by removing 99.9% of dust, allergens, and harmful fine pollutants as small as 0.1 microns. Every 30 minutes, our product can purify your home or office air depending on the model of Alen air purifier.
With four fan speeds to choose from, the noise of this purifier can easily be curtailed to suit the user whilst still vastly improving the air quality in your home.
As I am a light sleeper, I thought utilizing the purifier in the bedroom would be a no-go area. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find, on the lowest setting it is barely noticeable. I also had no issues on the second lowest setting either, which may have even helped send me off to sleep with its gentle ASMR-esq pink noise hum.
During the day, with the purifier set to auto, it occasionally ramped up the fan speed to higher levels. This does create quite a lot of noise and can be distracting, especially if working or even watching TV or listening to music. Of course, this can easily be adjusted to suit the user and limited to lower speeds when needed.
Alen states the sound levels of the purifier are 39 dB at speed 1, 42 dB at speed 2, 49 dB at Speed 3, and reaching 55 dB on turbo. To you and me that ranges from a whisper on the lowest level to a box fan on the highest.
So you can see and hear for yourself, check out our sound guide below:
Cost of Running
Thanks to its Energy Star-rated efficiency, running this purifier will cost less than you think. Even if you leave the purifier on auto to work its magic around the clock, as Alen recommends. At full power, the purifier consumes 50 watts of energy, which will set you back approximately $4.40 per month. In reality, the power consumed will be much, much lower as the purifier operates on the lowest setting 99% of the time.
While the Alen Breathesmart 45i proves to be highly efficient in energy use, the average running costs are increased considerably by the filter replacement costs. Ranging from $69.00 for a basic filter to $119.00 for the premium option, this is a notable expense to be paid out and is something to be seriously considered before purchasing.
Feel feel to read more about the electricity cost of air purifiers and we compare how the 45i costs in comparison with other similar air purifiers at this range.
- Its minimalist design helps it blend nicely into my home.
- It is surprisingly lightweight, making it easy to move from room to room.
- It’s quite enough to run through the night, allowing me to sleep soundly.
- The ionizing feature is optional so can be switched off if you have respiratory issues.
- It comes with a lifetime warranty
- The replacement filters are expensive
- The cheapest filter option doesn’t have an activated carbon filter.
- Being provided with 3 different power cables for various regions is unnecessary and wasteful.
Upon opening the box to the purifier you’re met with a simple one-sheet instruction manual, with the header “PREPARE TO CHANGE YOUR AIR” written across the top in large letters. Having researched plenty of air purifiers in the past, I was well aware of Alen’s stellar reputation and knew that their range of products was some of the best in the business. This all contributed to some rather lofty expectations on my part and I wondered, could this purifier really transform the quality of air in my city center apartment?
By putting it through its paces in a variety of real-world tests, it proceeded to tick all the boxes. Working well at eliminating odors from cooking and nearby breweries as well as noticeably reducing allergies to pollen and dust. All while being extremely simple to operate and maneuver around the home.
Of course, this performance comes at a cost, (both with the initial purchase and with steep filter replacement costs) but its performance backs up its price tag and is helped by being very energy efficient. I’m pleased to say it has lived up to the expectations of an Alen product.
For those looking for a versatile and powerful purifier for under $450.00, you would be well served with the Alen Breathesmart 45i. If you are based in the United States I would recommend that you check out the unit at Alen.com as you get automatic registration for their lifetime guarantee, you also get more options to choose your initial filters and they often have the best price.
Last update on 2022-09-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API