BRID Air purifier test and reviewCategory: Tests / Reviews
I'm a big fan of crowdfunding and all the crazy stuff you can find out there. If I was rich I would probably feel like a kid walking in a toy store with an unlimited credit card but unfortunately, I'm not a kid anymore and I don't have an unlimited credit card. That means I need to make choices and this time I decided to try a new type of air purifier called BRID.
02/03/19: I pre-ordered a BRID device from their web site because I missed the campaign on Indiegogo. Delivery is expected in April.
15/05/19: I have finally received the device, I'll start testing it in the next days.
18/05/19: unpacking and first setup
Why an air purifier?
There are already a lot of air purifiers on the market and they all promise to make you air so clean that walking home would be like walking in the mountains. I like the idea but I'm not an idiot, there is probably a catch. The first probable catch is the cost, those devices are usually quite expensive and once you have them you need to buy expensive filters every 3 to 6 months. After a couple of years, you end up paying your device twice (or more). Another probable catch is that those air purifier manufacturers are playing on your fear, they make you believe that your air is so full of nasty particles that you're going to get sick soon. Ok, that feels scary but how are you going to check if the air purifier actually cleans your air? They could perfectly sell you something that does nothing else than playing with your brain and you would end up believing you feel better.
At fist sight, it doesn't look like I'm a firm believer of air purifiers but I decided to give it a try with BRID. Why? First of all, BRID doesn't require you to buy a new filter every once in a while. You can just wash it and get rid of the particles. That makes my business case already way more positive than most of the other products on the market. The second thing is that it claims to destroy the particles and not only one type but many types: VOCS, dust, allergens, carbon monoxide, mold spores, bacterias, formaldehyde, noisy neighbours (no that last one was actually not in the list).
Ok, nice but how am I going to check if this thing is actually working? I have bought an air quality monitor and I'll start by monitoring air quality at home and compared to places where I know that the air is heavily polluted. I work next to an airport, it's probably the most polluted area in the whole country so it should help me get an idea of what to expect in terms of air quality.
BRID came in a standard package with the device, a manual, a power cord, one big screw and a ceramic filter. There is no package as such, everything was dumped into a brown cardboard box, nothing fancy about it but honestly I don't care. BRID is made of shiny plastics, I ordered the standard version in white but it's a bit yellowish in reality. The device is made of three parts that can be detached from each other. The principle is simple, it sucks air from the bottom, make it go through filters and ejects it back from the top.
The purifier is delivered with a ceramic filter, that's something unusual as most purifiers are using HEPA filters. The ceramic filter has rather big holes in it and I'm wondering how it will manage to capture particles but let's put that aside for the moment, it will probably take a couple of days or weeks to see if it is actually capturing anything. The filter is easy to install, you just have to drop it inside the purifier but it felt strange that the filter could still move inside the device, I would have expected to have something airtight but the recipient is slightly bigger than the filter.
The manual is very basic but there is no need for thick manual, the device is very easy to use. You just need to insert the filter, plug the power, push one button and you're done! The screw in the package is provided to make sure the whole structure is held in one piece, I used it after placing the filter to make sure nothing could fall off while moving the device. There is a small space between the mid and upper part, it's visible on the photos. Again I would have expected something completely airtight but we'll see later on if the purifier actually works.
At the bottom of the device, there is a filter that looks like a HEPA filter, you can detach it and wash it. The same principle applies for the ceramic filter, you can also wash it instead of changing it every 3 to 6 month.
Once you have put the ceramic filter, there is basically nothing else to do than powering the device with one button. Once you push the button, the top and bottom parts get illuminated with a soft white light, it's actually quite nice. The amount of times you push the top button will define which mode you want to use and there are three modes: normal mode, boost mode and quiet mode.
In normal mode, the device is rather quiet with around 25 dB but if you want to make it runner faster, you can switch to boost mode but it gets much more noisy with more than 50 dB.
Brid Air app - Android
Brid has developped an app (Android & iOS) to manage your air purifier from your smartphone. At first the app didn't work and it's probably the case for many people as it is not necessarily straightforward. With the help of Marco from Atellani (= company behind BRID), I finally managed to use the app. If you're also stuck with the app, if you can't connect, here are some steps that may help you:
1. Power off BRID
2. Push the power on button and keep pressing it until the BRID flashes and the fan does one spin
3. Check the wifi network list on your smartphone, you should see your BRID appearing
4. Connect to the BRID, your phone will probably tell you that the BRID has no access to internet, that's true, you can ignore it
5. Open your browser on your smartphone and enter 192.168.10.1, it will open a page with a blue background where you see a "Provisioning" button
6. Click on the provisioning button, wait a little bit, enter the PIN code you have received with your package (if you don't have one, contact Atellani)
7. Select your wifi network (must be 2.4Ghz), enter your wifi password (if you have one) and confirm
8. Disconnect from BRID and reconnect to your wifi network with your smartphone
9. Open the app (clean the cache before), select the option where your BRID is already connected
10. BRID should appear in the list, connect to it, you are good to go.
Once you have done this you can play with the app. There are basically 3 sections, one dashboard indicating if BRID is turned on/off and at what speed it works. You have one screen indicating if you need to change your filters and then finally statistics on a third screen where you can see the evolution of temperature, humidity and air quality (day by day)
Now that I have switched BRID on, do I feel like walking in the mountains? I can't provide you with a straight answer yet. The device definitely does something and I'm not saying this because I hear it humming in a corner of my room. The air feels subjectively fresher, it's hard to describe as it can't be measure but it's like the room has window open to the outside and that fresh air is circulating. Now, the idea is to go a bit deeper than that but I'll need more time.
I have purchased an air quality monitor two months ago and I have been using it in different places to check if it was working correctly. I thought the air in my house was mildly polluted because I live in a very old house (built before 1850) but I was positively surprised, my air is actually not so bad. My monitor measures HCHO, VOC and PM2.5 levels. HCHO levels are usually close to zero, VOC are fluctuating between 170 and 200 mg/m² and PM2.5 is usually between 30 and 40. We've had pollution peaks in Belgium recently where PM2.5 went through the roof and outside I measure up to 105 micro gram/m². That's how you see that sometime you're better off not opening your windows.
So how does BRID perform? After a couple of hours, I don't see a big difference, it's really difficult to see if it has a big impact as some values on my monitor are constantly fluctuating. I'll need more time to measure period with BRID turned on and periods with BRID turned off to really see if there is a measurable impact.
Since I'm running on solar power for my electricity, I pay attention to every device I use to make sure it doesn't go above my solar capacity. If you buy an air purifier, the idea is to make it run all the time so it's important that the power consumption is not too high. I measured the power consumption in quiet, normal and boost mode and the highest peak I have measure was 27 watt but most of the time it remains around 25W in boost mode while it's around 5w in quiet mode.
Where to buy
I bought BRID from the official site when it was still in crowdfunding mode, I paid it a bit more than 300€, that's more or less the price of other air purifiers you can find in your favorite store. In the meanwhile the price has gone up to above 500€. That seems a bit expensive but we'll see if this device is really worth it.
It will take some time before I can come to a conclusion so in the meanwhile if you're interested in the device, come and ask your questions here below. The company behind BRID is not paying me so I'm not going to try to sell you something.
Update July 2019
BRID has been running for two months and I can now share more from my experience.
I enjoyed very much playing with BRID and the app but it lacks maturity. While I see BRID connected on my router, connecting to the device regularly fails. When launching the app, I get an error message and once this happens, I need to reset BRID to make it work again. I have tried to clean data from the app, uninstall it and reinstall it but it doesn't solve the issue. Once you reset BRID, you lose your historical data.
The app gets sometimes stuck on one day. Each day that passes replaces the current day with new data but you don't see the evolution anymore. It sometimes work, sometimes not. It's a nice feature but it's not yet stable.
What about air quality? The whole point of BRID is to clean the air and until a couple of days ago, the air quality in my house was stable at a good level. The value attributed by the app was above 80 which is in the "excellent" zone. Everything started to change with one of the worst heatwave in history. We've had up to 41°C in Belgium, I have never seen that before. The air quality went down and I could notice the degradation in some rooms thanks to my pollution monitor. BRID's app did not detect any degradation in quality, the score remained at 80 while VOC and HCHO were up on my monitor. I moved BRID in a room where the air quality was lower and I turned boost mode on. After 1h, the VOC and HCHO values when down and after the end of the day, the air quality was back to where it was before the heatwave.
What about pollen or allergy? My son has allergy issues with pollen and one morning he was sneezing all the time. I moved BRID in the room where he was playing and one or two hours later, he stopped sneezing. This is only an observation, I can't prove that BRID has anything to do with it. I repeated the test by moving BRID in his bedroom and I also noticed a reduction in sneezing and coughing.