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Waking to a layer of dust on my headboard most mornings isn’t exactly my idea of getting up on the right side of the bed. But who has time to keep up with dusting beyond a weekly sweep? (Apparently, I do not.) In my quest to uncover a low-maintenance solution for banishing these pesky particles from my space, I ventured to review the HomeLabs x Popular Science air purifier.

After cohabitating with the compact HEPA-filter device for a month, the aforementioned chore was—spoiler alert—eliminated. But, that’s not all worth writing home about: the product, surprisingly, did more than solely suck up dust. Read on for my full review of just how efficient the air-purifying collaboration between HomeLabs and Popular Science is inside spaces beyond the bedroom—kitchens and bathrooms included.

Product Reviews photo
Air Purifier with True HEPA Filter, hOmeLabs x POPULAR SCIENCE ($70)

Currently available on Amazon for $69, this diminutive device—it’s a mere 5.92 pounds and just over a foot tall and 7.8 inches round—is an inch and a half smaller and almost 2 pounds lighter than the Molekule mini. Inside its simple yet attractive exterior is a three-stage HEPA filtration system that promises to scrub 99.7 percent of airborne particles from 80 square feet of space.

The Setup:

The setup is easy. After twisting the filter cover on the bottom of the unit, I removed the plastic covering on the multifunctional interior filter and then returned it to its place. Once plugged in, the air purifier was ready to run. Moving the compact device from room to room was a breeze. (Note: ensure a surrounding clearance of 15 inches on all sides for proper function.) Three anti-skid pads beneath the bottom panel stabilize the filter on all types of surfaces; it ran smoothly without tilting or wobbling on carpet and wood laminate floors throughout my apartment. Operated by a touch menu on top, the unit offers three fan speeds and a child-lock setting.

The Sound:

The air filter’s fans are audible, even on the lowest setting. But, this wasn’t a massive issue for me since I prefer a bit of background noise while snoozing. The added nightlight also never disturbed my sleep.

The Dust (Or Lack Thereof):

There was a noticeable lack of dust on my bed frame, baseboards, bathroom vanity, and piano after using the filter for only a week. As one 5-star Amazon reviewer echoes: “It made a noticeable difference while doing a deep clean of bookshelves and moving furniture that has been sitting in the same place for months.”

The Bonus Benefits:

The most surprising place the air purifier holds its own, though, is the kitchen. To eradicate cooking odors, I previously boiled distilled white vinegar with water (my mom’s method) or lit a candle. Those techniques are still reliable, but the HomeLabs x Popular Science air purifier—wait for it—works better. To test it, I prepared my favorite broccoli beef casserole. Within approximately ten minutes, the device snuffed out the notoriously stinky veggie’s lingering scent.

The Only Hitch:

The purifier is designed to accommodate smaller and, presumably, more odor-neutral spaces. Therefore, I needed to run it at a higher speed for increased air circulation. Just bear in mind that this may result in more frequent filter replacements.

The Final Word:

Dealing with daily dust and lingering kitchen odors is a thing of the past. This means I’ll be chore-free saving my favorite candles for cozy nights in rather than clear-the-air duty.