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IKEA FÖRNUFTIG air purifier review

IKEA has entered the arena with a budget air purifier for the modern home
By
Updated on February 15, 2024
Written by
Teddy Booth
Teddy joined HouseFresh in 2019 as a senior content producer, producing written content as well as product photography and YouTube videos. He supports Danny as a product tester and is our lead how-to writer.

Our verdict

The IKEA FÖRNUFTIG comes with a stand, or you can mount it straight onto the wall showcasing IKEA’s famous versatile style from top designer David Wahl.

 

Don’t be too fooled by its looks, and remember that this unit is made for smaller spaces of up to 105 sq ft. This means that it won’t make much impact in larger rooms. There are no smart features, but it does have three fan speeds.

 

Because of its low price tag, the cost of cleaning power is excellent, and replacement filters are cheap, so if you’re looking for a budget purifier that looks good in your small room and won’t cost you much to run, the FÖRNUFTIG is a worthy option. 

 

Since its conception in 1943, IKEA has been furnishing homes worldwide with modern, affordable goods. What made IKEA stand out was a straightforward innovation… you have to build each piece yourself.

Even though this fact has been the course of much frustration over the years (if you haven’t tried to make their furniture before, trust me, it’s frustrating), they can post furniture straight to your door, which keeps costs low.

IKEA has 456 stores worldwide (54 in the U.S.) and a huge marketing department, so any project they launch receives much attention from the media. 

Although IKEA is pretty new to the air purification market, they have released a few models for the home, the FÖRNUFTIG, the UPPÅTVIND and the STARKVIND, both under $200 and the STARKVIND, which is a table with an air purifier built in.

If you’ve read any of our product reviews before, you’ll know that we tell you exactly what we think and pull no punches. We test every unit in our home lab and compare it with others, so you know how well it performs in real-world conditions.

  1. In our home lab of 728 cubic ft, we light an incense stick to generate particle pollution and VOCs.
  2. We set up our trusted Purpleair Indoor Sensor with the latest Bosch gas sensor to track levels of PM1ug/m3, PM2.5ug/m3 and PM10ug/m3 and VOCs in the air.
    purpleair
  3. We switch the air purifier to its highest speed and measure how long it takes to get our room air quality down to PM1 level to 0.
  4. We use an energy meter to measure precisely how much electricity is used when running the unit at the lowest and highest fan speed settings.
  5. We track sound levels emitted by the air purifier at different fan speeds with the help of a commercial sound meter.
    sound meter

We promise to tell you if we think this air purifier (or any other we test) is not worth your hard-earned money.

The lowdown on the IKEA FÖRNUFTIG

“If you’re looking for a budget purifier that performs well, looks good in your small room and won’t cost you much to run, the FÖRNUFTIG is a worthy option.” 
— Danny Ashton, HouseFresh Founder & Senior Writer

We tend to go pretty in-depth into our product reviews; if you don’t have time to read into all the details, check out our Too Long; Didn’t Read pros and cons to get a sense of what we thought of the FÖRNUFTIG.

What we really like

Solid CADR to $ cost — it cleared the air in our home lab in just one hour
It can be mounted on the wall, which is not something you can do with most air purifiers
The controls are straightforward and easy to figure out
Filter replacement is a simple process

What we think could be better

It doesn’t come with auto mode or sleep mode
You need to buy an activated carbon filter separately as it doesn’t come as default
It can be noisy when running at its top fan speed (60dB)

The specs

As you can see from the table, the CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) on the FÖRNUFTIG can seem a little low when compared to other smaller units like the Blueair Blue Pure 411 (120 CFM) or the Medify MA-25 (135 CFM). Still, you have to remember that this unit is $75! But any unit under $100 that gives you a CADR over 50 deserves recognition. 

Let’s look at what’s under the hood:

HouseFresh rating:★★★☆☆
Time to clean our test room:61 minutes
Air purifier technology:Pre-filter, HEPA 12 filter and Activated Carbon filter
Recommended room size:85 — 105 sq. ft.
Clean air delivery rate (CADR):70 CFM (119 m³/h)
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):18H x 12W x 4D inches (45.7H x 30.5W x 10.2D cm)
Weight (in pounds / in kg):6.7 lbs (3.04 kg)
Noise level (low – high):28 – 60dB
Filter life:6 months
WarrantyFÖRNUFTIG does not come with a warranty from IKEA
Estimated energy consumption:$15.77

It’s IKEA, what do you expect?

The FÖRNUFTIG sets itself apart from the usual boxy units we see day in and day out here at HouseFresh

If there’s one thing that IKEA cares most about, it’s the design of its products. For the FÖRNUFTIG, IKEA enlisted one of their top designers, Swedish-born David Wahl (the man behind the award-winning PS 2014 pendant lamp). And it has paid off.

It has one solitary dial on the top to adjust the fan speed, making it super simple to operate and an excellent alternative to buttons and touch screens. A heavy-duty fabric handle on the top makes it easily transported between rooms and removable when wall-mounted.

If you don’t decide to mount it on the wall, the FÖRNUFTIG comes with a powder-coated steel stand, which only adds to the overall aesthetic. 

The fabric grill on the front reminds me of an old-school speaker cover you might find in the basement hangout on That 70’s Show (they probably should have checked out our top air purifiers for weed smoke article).

Strictly from a size and design standpoint, I would compare this unit to the Blueair Blue Pure 411. They’re both doing something bold and different and keeping the features and controls to a minimum.

There are no fancy bells and whistles with the FÖRNUFTIG, which you may either love or hate.

I like units with an air quality indicator like the one on the TaoTronics AP-003 or an intuitive auto mode like the Coway Airmega 300. FÖRNUFTIG is as simple as they come.

On the top of the unit is one dial to operate the fan. Simply twist the dial to turn the unit on to its lowest fan speed, then twist again to toggle to the other two speeds (medium and high). That’s it, no buttons, touchscreens, remote controls or smartphone apps to contend with.

Pre-filter and HEPA but no activated carbon

You should pay the extra $17 to get the ‘Gas Filter’ to allow your IKEA FÖRNUFTIG to handle odors and gasses

When looking for an air purifier, the filter is one of the essential parts. If the filter sucks, your air quality won’t improve.

The IKEA FÖRNUFTIG comes with a pre-filter and a HEPA filter.

The HEPA filter in the FÖRNUFTIG isn’t groundbreaking; in fact, it’s quite thin compared to filters in other units, but for the size of the room this unit is intended for, it does the trick.

It feels well-made and covers much of the unit’s surface area (no wasted space).

The FÖRNUFTIG has a fabric cover on the front, which acts as a pre-filter. Again, it’s not the best we’ve seen, but it will stop larger particles like dust and hair, and you can remove it to vacuum, prolonging the HEPA’s life.

Unfortunately, IKEA doesn’t provide an activated carbon filter (which they call a Gas Filter) as standard with the FÖRNUFTIG; you have to pay extra to have one included for an extra $17. I recommend getting this extra as activated carbon filters remove odor and other VOCs (Volitile Organic Compunds) from the air. 

If you choose not to pay for an activated carbon filter initially, you can buy and install one later.

The FÖRNUFTIG’s filters (HEPA and activated carbon) last around six months, depending on usage. You don’t have to mark it in your calendar; the unit will let you know when a replacement filter is needed with a red light.

It’s straightforward to replace the filter with a new one; follow these easy steps:

  1. Remove the fabric grill on the front of the unit
  2. Pull the tab on the filters and pull them out
  3. Remove all the packaging from the replacement filters and insert them into the unit
  4. Replace the fabric grill
  5. Reset the replacement filter indicator

If that sounds too complicated, I’ve made a video to show you how easy it is.

Tip

When replacing the filters, always remember to remove all packaging before installing the new filters into the unit. If you don’t, the filters will a. Not work and be rendered useless, and b. It will start to cause a burning or plastic smell.

IKEA’s FÖRNUFTIG cleared our room in 61 minutes 

That is 23 minutes faster than the fancy Dyson HP04

With any air purifier, it all comes down to how well it removes contaminants from the air in your home. There is no point in having a singing all-dancing unit that wins design awards if it doesn’t do its intended job.

We don’t test our units in a sterile laboratory because you don’t live in one. We want accurate results in a real-world environment so you know how well it will work in your home. That’s why we test every unit we review in the same 728 cubic ft office under the same conditions. This also allows us to compare side-by-side with other units we’ve tested.

To test how each unit performs, we first contaminate our room with pollution by lighting an incense stick, which fills the room with smoke. We then turn on the unit to its highest fan speed and track how long it takes to bring the particle matter down to zero.

To monitor this process, we use the Purple Air indoor sensor, which updates the PM1.0ug/m3, PM2.5ug/m3 and PM10.0ug/m3 levels in the room at regular intervals. These readings are then processed into a graph so we can visualize the results from each unit.

So, how did IKEA’s FÖRNUFTIG perform in our testing room?

As you can see from the graph, the FÖRNUFTIG cleared our room in 61 minutes with PM2.5ug/m3 and PM10.0ug/m3 levels dropping fast from when the unit was turned on PM1.0ug/m3 levels dropping steadily as these are the hardest pollutants to tackle for any air purifier.

Air cleaning performance compared

The CADR rating for the FÖRNUFTIG is 70 CFM, so we weren’t expecting it to clear our room in under an hour, as we’ve tested other units with similar ratings like the Dyson HP04 (89 CFM — 84 minutes to clear room) and the MA-14 from Medify (70 CFM — cleared our room in 77 minutes).

For the size of the unit and its price tag, IKEA has managed to build an air purifier with an impressive price-to-cleaning power ratio. It’s not just a pretty face, after all.

Noise levels test results

The FÖRNUFTIG may look great, but the sound it creates isn’t so hot. On its first fan speed setting, you’ll be treated to a nice low fan whirling sound measuring around 28 dB, much louder than the Blueair Blue Pure 411 but a little lower than the Medify MA-25.

When you turn this unit up another couple of notches to its max speed, you hear the FÖRNUFTIG taking over the room. At 60 dB, you’ll definitely notice this unit working away in the background, but you won’t need to have it on high for long if you’re using it in the recommended room size.

Have a listen to the sound it creates on each fan speed with our video below:

The cost to run an IKEA FÖRNUFTIG: $73.73 per year

1. Electricity costs = $15.77

When looking at a budget to buy an air purifier, you need to consider not only the cost of the unit. Air purifiers use electricity; unfortunately, electricity costs money (now more than ever with increasing energy prices).

These days, manufacturers usually do everything they can to make their appliances as energy efficient as possible. Still, if you have ongoing pollution problems, you may need to run your air purifiers for long periods.

Our energy usage monitor showed that the FÖRNUFTIG only pulls 14.7 watts at its highest fan speed. We then used the Department of Energy’s appliance energy calculator to uncover that the annual cost of electricity per year to run the FÖRNUFTIG 24 hours a day non-stop is $15.77. Of course, this is an exaggeration as you’re unlikely to need to do this but it’s a way for us to see how expensive it can get to run a unit.

This is more efficient than the GermGuardian AC4825e, which uses 56 watts, cleared our testing room in 104 minutes and will cost you $121.66 annually.

2. Filter costs = $57.96

Another cost to consider is replacing the filters in this unit.

Air purifier filters trap particles in their maze of fine fibers, so they don’t re-enter your environment. As time passes, these filters start filling up with pollutants and becoming less efficient, so you need to replace them periodically.

The FÖRNUFTIG filters need to be replaced every six months (dependent on usage and air quality) and the unit will tell you when this needs to be done. Luckily, IKEA has made replacement filters inexpensive.

You can pick up their 2-piece filter set, including one HEPA filter and one activated carbon filter (the Gas filter) for $28.98. That’s just $57.96 a year if you replace them every six months.


Bottom line

For a company that isn’t associated with air quality, IKEA has made a great effort with this introduction to the air purifier market with the FÖRNUFTIG. 

With an award-winning designer like David Wahl’s style, this unit is a big selling point as it fits into any modern home. The controls are easy to use, with only one dial to turn the unit on/off and control the fan speed, and the filters are straightforward to replace.

I feel that the lack of smart features like an air quality monitor or auto mode will exclude consumers who want to keep an eye on the air quality in their home, but keeping things simple also keeps costs down.

The cleaning power is great for a unit of this size, and with a price tag of $74.99, it’s perfect if you’re on a budget. It can be wall mounted and stand on the floor, giving it another edge over the competition.

If you’re looking for an air purifier for a smaller room on a budget that is easy to use and you’re not bothered about smart features, the FÖRNUFTIG looks great and performs well even if it is a little noisy.

For everyone else who wants a little more bang for their buck and isn’t too concerned with aesthetics, check out what the new wave of budget air purifiers looks like with the Taotronics AP-003.

SOURCES

We used the Department of Energy’s appliance energy calculator to calculate yearly costs associated with running the IKEA FÖRNUFTIG for 24 hours a day for 365 days. We ran this calculation utilizing the U.S. average utility rate of $0.12/kWh as of February 13th, 2024.

About the author

Teddy Booth

Teddy joined HouseFresh in 2019 as a senior content producer, producing written content as well as product photography and YouTube videos. He supports Danny as a product tester and is our lead how-to writer.