The Vax AP03 air purifier is the larger unit of the three air purifiers currently available by Vax. The AP03 air purifier is retailed at about £229.99 (incl. VAT). The Vax air purifier uses two filters, has three speed settings, a filter life indicator and a timer function.

Pros:

  • Dual stand design

 

Cons:

  • X Relatively loud
  • X Less than HEPA filtration
  • X Low amount of carbon

Introduction:

The Vax brand is part of the TTI Co. Ltd Group, which is based in Hong Kong, China. Vax specialises in floor care products ranging from carpet cleaners, upright and cylinder vacuum cleaners, cordless, steam and hard floor cleaners. The Vax AP03 air cleaner is one of three Vax air purifiers and is available to purchase from Vax, Argos, John Lewis, as well as several online retailers such as Shopcade, Webprice4u and eBay. The price varies from £149.99 to £299.99. The replacement filter set (consisting of one “HEPA media” filter and two odour filters) can be purchased directly from the manufacturer for £49.99 but at this point do not seem to be available anywhere else.

Vax AP03 air purifier - outflow and inflow The inflow and outflow in the Vax AP03 air purifier

The Vax air purifiers come in three different sizes, and the look of all three is very similar in terms of design and colour - with the exception of the black control panel of the Vax AP03. The dimension of the Vax AP03 air purifier is 56.3cm x 25.1cm x 47.2cm and the unit weighs 6.5kg. The Vax air purifier offers a couple of different features, such as a filter life indicator; a timer settings that lets you run the unit for 2, 4 or 8 hours at a time; a touch sensor control panel and three different speed settings. The unit uses a particle filter (which Vax calls “HEPA media filter”) and an odour filter. Vax recommends that the “HEPA media” filter is replaced every 6 months while the odour filter should be replaced every 3 months.

Marketed As:

Compared to other air purifier manufacturers Vax makes very few marketing claims - which is refreshing. The VAX website and packaging of the Vax air purifier is very plain. Vax merely says that the AP03 air purifier “is effective at removing pollen, dust particles and smoke from your room” [1] and that it provides a “filtration efficiency of 99%”. Furthermore, Vax says that the air purifier “is ultra-quiet, making it suitable for rooms up to 28m²” [1].

Review:

Vax AP03 air cleaner - versatility of the unit Vax AP03 air purifier - Dual stand design

The Vax AP03 air purifier has a simple but appealing design. The large Vax air purifier look is very similar to the two smaller models, with the exception of the control panel which is black. We very much like the dual stand design - allowing you to position the unit upright or have it flat on its back. This feature is good as it gives you more versatility in where to place the unit, as it could be positioned flat on a desk or closet or standing upright next to a wall. What is missing, however, is a remote control, as it would allow you to control the air cleaner even when it is hard to reach – such as having it lying on a closet for example. As the front cover of the Vax air cleaner is slightly curved, you will not be able to place much on top of the air purifier when it is lying flat on its back, as things will slide off easily. The unit will thus be less practical on a desk or a nightstand.

The air intake of the Vax air purifier is through the front bottom part and both sides, left and right. None of the three Vax air purifiers use ionisation, which some people will appreciate. The outflow of the Vax air cleaner is at the top/back of the unit. The outflow is relatively small, contributing to the higher level of sound pressure on all three speed settings. The unit might also collect dust inside once the unit has been turned off and left in this position.  None of the Vax air purifiers have casters but the AP03 air cleaner has a handle at the back to easily move it around.

Vax AP03 control panel and settings The Vax AP03 air purifier control panel and settings

The AP03 air cleaner’s display consists of touch sensor buttons making it easier to use as well as easy to clean - which is always good. The display consists of four basic functions:

  • 1. The power ON/OFF button
  • 2. The fan speed setting; the three options available are low (L), medium (M) and high (H).
  • 3. The timer function which enables users to have the unit running for 2, 4 or 8 hours.
  • 4. The filter reset button: resets the both the main and odour filter light.

Vax Air Purifier Filter Life Indicator:

Vax explains that the filter life indicator on the Vax air purifiers will light up when the filters need replacing. Once you have replaced the filters, you will need to hold down the reset button for a few seconds until the filter life indicator light shuts off, letting the unit know that a new filter has been fitted. A problem we see with the filter life indicator of the Vax air purifiers is that it is very basic. There is no light or sound to indicate the filter life indicator has been reset. Because of that we are also not sure if it might be possible to reset the filter life indicator on a Vax air purifier before the replacement light has come on. If it is not, then that could be a problem, because if you use the unit in an especially polluted environment for a little while, and you decide to replace the filter because it is sufficiently loaded, the Vax air purifier might not allow you to reset the filter life indicator...

This seems like design flaw in the filter life indicator. So we contacted the manufacturer. Unfortunately, the Vax customer service person had very little knowledge to share about the Vax air purifiers. We were put on hold several times, the customer service person typed a lot of things into her computer, but we never got a proper answer.

Vax Filters & Filtration Efficiency:

Vax AP03 air purifier - accessing the HEPA media and odour filter Vax AP03 air purifier - accessing the HEPA media and odour filter

The filters are easily accessible; by pressing down the buttons on both sides of the Vax air purifier releases the front cover. Once we removed the front cover, there were a couple of red and black marks on the inside of the front cover. Once we removed the filters from the unit, there was some white dust inside of the Vax air purifier. The white dust seems to be a by-product of the manufacturing process. Obviously, we do not like to see dust in an air purifier, especially if it sits behind the filter and might be blown in to the room once the air purifier is turned on.

Vax AP03 air purifier - Dirty marks and white dust found when accessing the filters The red and black marks found behind the front cover and the white dust found behind the filters on the Vax AP03 air purifier

The Vax AP03 air purifier uses two filters. The main filter is described by Vax as a “HEPA media filter” and the carbon filter is referred to as the “odour filter”. The main filter in the Vax air purifier does not seem to be a proper HEPA filter, but is (somewhat misleadingly) called “HEPA media”. Vax states the filtration efficiency as 99%, however, they fail to say of what. A filtration efficiency of 99% of sticks and stones in not the same as a 99% filtration efficiency at 0.3 micron.

Unfortunately, the odour filter in the Vax air purifier is also a bit disappointing. A carbon mash sheet, a few millimetres thick and weighing only 28 grams is not much of an “odour filter” at all. This filter is at best a pre-filter, and it will do little in capturing elevated levels of odours, gases and chemicals.

Sound Pressure of the Vax AP03:

The Vax AP03 air purifier has three fan speed settings; the low (L) setting is in our opinion quite audible and seems to have a slight humming sound to it. If you are very noise sensitive, this unit might not be the best for you. The medium (M) setting is a bit louder and the highest (H) setting is quite audible.

Vax Air Purifier Summary:

The VAX AP03 air purifier is a basic mid-range air purifier with basic features. The timer is simple, but the filter life indicator seems flawed. It is hard to imagine the odour/carbon filter to be anything else then ineffective in capturing and retaining gases and chemicals. What Vax calls “HEPA media” could be misunderstood to mean that you are a purchasing a proper HEPA air purifier - which is not the case.

Specifications:

 Price:  £149.99 - £229.99
 Weight:  6.5kgs
 Size:  56.3 x 25.1 x 47.2 cm
 Filter type(s):  Mechanical Filter
Odour Filter (carbon filter)
 Frequency of filter change:  Main Media filter - every 18 months
 Vacuum every month:  Clean/vacuum the air purifier every month
 Cost of filter:  Main filter - £49.99
 Theoretical filtration efficiency (according to manufacturer):  99%
 Air flow on highest speed setting:  Not specified
 Adequate room size (according to manufacturer):  28m2
 Country of manufacture:  China
 Power consumption:  Not specified
 Warranty:  2 Years
[1] http://www.vax.co.uk/air-purifiers/ap03-air-purifier