Molekule Review: Superior to Regular Air Purifiers?

Molekule Review: Superior to Regular Air Purifiers?


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Disclaimer: None of the information in this article constitutes medical advice. All statements are merely the opinion of the writer(s). We recommend that individuals follow their doctor’s guidance in regard to indoor air quality.

The Molekule is an air purification device that’s won many awards and claims to destroy over 99% of airborne COVID particles. The company claims that their products are backed by over 25 years of R&D.

But is Molekule really superior to standard HEPA air filters which can be cheaper? Is indoor air purification even necessary, or is it a waste of money? Is Molekule proven to work? And what retailer sells Molekule for the best price?

In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we discuss whether indoor air purification is even necessary based on a review of medical studies, compare the Molekule to other air purifiers, and analyze the tests done on the Molekule to see whether or not it's likely to be effective.

We'll also explain how the Molekule works, feature customer reviews of the device and provide a cost comparison to show what retailers sell Molekule for the best price.

Is Air Purification Even Needed?

Air purifiers are expensive, so before purchasing one it makes sense to determine whether they provide a clear health benefit. 

Medical research suggests that indoor air purifiers can support optimal health.

Even in developed countries, indoor pollutants are “significant contributing causes of human diseases,” according to a medical review published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

The study authors found that volatile organic compounds (VOCs), ozone, toxic metals and nitrogen oxides are all common pollutants that negatively affect indoor air quality. They’re caused by a variety of factors, such as use of gas stoves, building materials, mold, paints and more.

Indoor air quality tends to be worse than outdoor air quality on average. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the U.S. reports that indoor air is in the range of 2-5x more polluted than outdoor air on average. This will vary based on location, as pollution is quite localized.

The EPA maintains a database of outdoor air quality that’s searchable by ZIP code, which may be a valuable resource to American citizens.

For consumers who want a more in-depth dive, this engaging video published by the CNA Insider YouTube channel has over 450,000 views and explores whether air purifiers are a waste of money:

Based on the available research, we consider indoor air purification to be worth the money. But is Molekule proven to reduce indoor air contaminants? We'll review in the next section.

Does Molekule Actually Work?

Molekule clinical results

As shown above in a graph published on the brand's website, Molekule has been tested and shown to reduce levels of different airborne contaminants including dust.

The tests were conducted by independent laboratories, but don't appear to be published in any peer-reviewed scientific journals, which is the gold standard for product research in our opinion.

Here are the results from Molekule's product testing:

  • >99% reduction in SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19)
  • ~80% reduction in dust
  • ~95% reduction in fragrance
  • ~80% reduction in smoke
  • ~70% reduction in pollen

Based on the available research, we do consider Molekule to be possibly effective at reducing indoor contaminants. 

But how does it compare to other air purifiers, and is it worth the money? We'll review in the next section.

Molekule vs. Other Air Purifiers

We consider Molekule to be potentially effective for reducing indoor air contamination, but how does the brand compare to other devices in the same category?

Consumer Reports tested Molekule and compared its efficacy to other air purifiers. They ranked Molekule 45th out of 48 air purification devices, and their research indicated the device wouldn’t be very effective in rooms larger than 100 square feet.

Wirecutter, which is a review publication run by the New York Times, also ranked Molekule as the worst air purifier they tested.

Their tests found that Molekule was less effective than standard air purifiers. The New York Times actually got Molekule to retract statements of efficacy about their device after submitting a complaint to the National Advertising Division. See the below video for more:

Based on the available research, we do not consider Molekule likely to be superior to any other air purifier brand, and we consider the brand to be a waste of money given its increased relative cost.

But which air purification device do we recommend, and how does Molekule actually work? We'll review in the next two sections.

How Does Molekule Work?

Molekule leverages a technology called photoelectrochemical oxidation (PECO) that destroys pollutants, rather than trapping them like High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters which is the technology used in most air purifiers.

Theoretically, this system is more effective than HEPA filters because it can reduce levels of gaseous contaminants, while HEPA can’t.

Below is a video Molekule published explaining how their PECO technology works:

Our Clean Air Purifier Pick

Alen BreatheSmart 75i True HEPA Air Purifier is our top air purifier pick.

Not only is this device shown to be effective at removing contaminants, it’s also more energy-efficient than most air purifiers.

Its energy and filter costs per year are $140 based on Consumer Reports data, which is a fraction of the maintenance costs of many other models.

The Alen BreatheSmart 75i also scored well on noise tests, which is important because some air purifiers can be loud. Since they’re typically running 24/7, most consumers want a model that’s relatively quiet.

Real Customers Review Molekule

Amazon is a better resource for honest customer reviews than a brand's website in our opinion.

Molekule Air Large Room has been reviewed over 700 times on Amazon with an average review rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars.

The top positive review from a verified purchaser is written by a user named "RODOLFO" who appreciates the brand's customer service:

"I had some efficiency issues last year and auto-refill this year and in both instances, a simple mail to the help desk got both issues immediately solved. This is something that doesn't happen to often these days with product support in general, so my appreciation goes to the Molekule support team."

The top negative review from a verified purchaser comes from a user named "Marty" who dislikes the small and the noise of the device:

"The unit immediately starts spewing out smelly air. It had the smell of fresh plastic packaging mixed with ozone...Molekule's filter is not easy to ignore. It has this unpleasant high frequency component that is quite sharp."

Molekule has an average review rating of 1 out of 5 stars on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website (small sample size), but the brand currently responds to all customer complaints in an effort to resolve the problem, which is a sign of a high-quality brand.

Where to Get the Best Price

Molekule is sold a at a variety of online retailers. Here's a price breakdown for both models at the time of updating this article:

Air Mini+

Walmart: $349.99 (link)

Brand website: $309.99 (link)

Amazon: $309.99 (link to official Amazon listing)

Home Depot: $299.99 (free shipping, link)

Air Pro

Walmart: $814.99 (link)

Brand website: $814.99 (link)

Home Depot: $799.99 (free shipping, link)

Amazon: $799.99 (free shipping, link to official Amazon listing)

Molekule is around 2% cheaper at select third-party retailers than at the brand's website at the time of updating this article.

Molekule Pros and Cons

Here are the pros and cons of Molekule in our opinion:

Pros:

  • Novel technology
  • May support lung and cardiovascular health
  • Future models may outperform HEPA filters
  • Sleek design
  • Can destroy COVID virus
  • May be superior to HEPA filters for gaseous contaminants

Cons:

  • More expensive than average air purifier
  • Third-party tests show it to be less effective than HEPA
  • Removed questionable health claims after NYT investigation
  • May not be effective in large rooms
  • Unclear value proposition
Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

Buying an air purifier for the home seems like a logical choice for consumers who can afford it, given that indoor air quality is worse than outdoor air quality even in developed nations.

Molekule developed a novel device with interesting technology, but it appears to be less effective than standard HEPA air purifiers.

We’re curious to track the development of future Molekule product releases, because their technology is theoretically more efficient than HEPA filtration, so with some refinement it could potentially outperform regular air purifiers.

For now, we don’t recommend any Molekule products.

Molekule has been shown in independent tests to reduce circulating levels of COVID, dust, fragrance, pollen and smoke so we do believe it's better than nothing for improving indoor air quality and health.

For consumers intent on purchasing a Molekule device, Amazon, Home Depot and Best Buy currently have the best prices.