Heavy to move
Hard to clean fabric cover
I tested the Airmega Icon at my house and found it cleans the air effectively. My home testing experience is back up by Reviewed’s chief scientist, Dave Ellerby, who lab-tested the air purifier for important factors like sound levels and particle/VOC clearance.
The air in your home could have two to five times higher concentrations of some pollutants than found in outdoor air. These pollutants vary, but include tobacco smoke, pet dander, molds, pesticides, paints, and cleaning supplies.
An air purifier, while not a magic bullet, can help reduce the accumulation of these harmful pollutants in the air, which is vitally important to me since I’m allergic to tobacco smoke—and can smell it from several yards away.
About the Coway Airmega Icon air purifier
Dimensions: 21.4 inches high x 22.3 inches wide x 8.8 inches deep
Weight: 19.2 pounds
Coverage area: 649 square feet
Finishes: Beige fabric
Filter: Airmega Icon Max2 Filter (replace yearly)
The Coway Airmega Icon Air Purifier is the latest model by the company and it’s designed not to look like a typical air purifier. In fact, the touch controls aren’t even visible until you actually touch them. The air purifier is very easy to set up and operate, and change the filters.
There is also a particle sensor adjustment and a dimmable air quality indicator light that displays a certain color (blue: good, green: normal, yellow: unhealthy, and red: very unhealthy).
On the left side of the air purifier is the pollution sensor. The air outlet is located on the top.
Filters are conveniently located on the back side, and include a pre-filter to remove large dust particles, hair and mold; and a Max2 filter (Green True HEPA and activated charcoal), which captures VOCs, odors, allergens, and small contaminants.
What we like
This air purifier has sophisticated, modern style
Some air purifiers look like they were designed by scientists in a research lab, but the Airmega Icon looks like something out of an art museum. To be clear, I want an air purifier that has been developed by scientists in a research lab, but I also want it to be aesthetically-pleasing. With the Airmega Icon, I get both.
The Airmega Icon looks more like a piece of furniture than an air purifier. In the weeks before I started actually testing it, the Airmega Icon Air Purifier sat flush against the wall, first in my bedroom and then in the downstairs hallway.
The beige fabric blended in well with my neutral wall colors, and the short, slanted legs and curved lines of this air purifier perfectly capture mid-century modern style. (It would be nice if it came in other color treatments, though.)
The air intake is tucked around the back of the unit. Rather than the more typical mesh design, the intake is a rectangular slot that follows the edge of the unit, giving it a clean and simple look. This matters, because to work at their best, air purifiers need a bit of space around them to set up good airflow within the room.
Because it looks like a piece of furniture, you'll really want to set a drink down on the panel, like you might an end table in your living room, and this is its downfall: You'd be setting that drink right next to the air outlet, and any spills would go straight into the exhaust fan.
It improves indoor air quality
Because the Airmega Icon air purifier has a monitoring sensor that works similarly to an indoor air quality monitor, it can automatically adjust its fan speed depending on the particulate levels in the room. When the quality declines, the fan speed increases to purify the air.
When the air is clean, the machine automatically enters Eco mode to save energy, making for an ultra-efficient way to purify the air at home.
The air quality sensor combines with a light sensor to control Sleep mode. If the room is dark, and the air quality is good, the fan runs at a low level to keep noise to a minimum.
The Airmega Icon excels at removing PM 2.5 from the air. These teeny tiny particles can be particularly concerning from a health perspective, as they are small enough to be drawn all the way into the lungs.
One downside, however, is that the sensor does not detect other potential air pollutants like VOCs. In our lab tests, we double-checked this by exposing the sensor intake to smoke and some chemicals. Sure enough, high VOC levels didn’t trigger a response in the way that smoke did.
Despite not tracking for VOCs, the machine can still effectively clear them from the air. We ran our usual testing in a sealed enclosure in Reviewed's lab to measure how quickly the purifier could clear up VOCs and particles. The Airmega Icon had excellent performance on both fronts.
Our test space went from smoke levels you’d see downwind from a wildfire to essentially zero particulate levels in about five minutes. The carbon filter, which is responsible for helping to remove potent odors from cigarettes, pets, food, and VOCs, works impressively well.
The incredible performance of the dual particle removal and VOC clearance is rare for an air purifier, making the Airmega Icon is a standout star for cleaner air at home.
Although it would cut into your TV viewing or conversation a little at the highest fan setting, the Airmega Icon is still one of the quietest HEPA air purifiers we’ve tested, at approximately 50 dBA.
There is a built-in Qi phone charger
One unique feature of the Coway Airmega Icon is that it comes with a built-in Qi charging pad with a faux wood-grain finish that enhances the purifier's overall stylish design. This is helpful, especially for those times when you can't find a phone charger. Instead, you can plop your device down on top for some quick battery juice, unless, of course, you don't have a device that supports this method of charging, like my older model iPhone and LG cell phones.
The filters are easy to use and clean
I’ve tested a variety of air purifiers, including heavy units that need to be turned either on the side or upside down to remove the filters—neither of which is convenient.
Replacing the filter on the Coway Airmega Icon is easy to do. There is a rear filter cover that’s held in place by magnet and tabs, so I can gently pull the cover to remove it (while keeping the appliance upright).
Then the reusable pre-filter can be pulled out by its clip, and vacuumed or washed in the sink. The pre-filter is particularly important as a first stage to intercept larger items like pet hair and keep them from clogging the HEPA filter.
The Max 2 Filter only needs to be replaced yearly (although this time frame may vary depending on actual usage). There is a filter replacement indicator light on the top of the machine. The lights tell you when the filter needs to be changed, which is nice so you don't have to remember when to do it yourself.
The Coway Airmega Icon replacement filter has an $89 MSRP, which is excellent compared to some other air purifiers I’ve tested in this price range that have $100 to $159 filters that must be replaced every six months.
What we don’t like
The large size makes it hard to place
The large size of the Airmega Icon makes it hard to place in your home, as it is wider than many other air purifiers and rather inconvenient to just place it out in the open. While the air purifier can sit flush against the wall, I don’t really need the clean air blowing on the wall, and Coway advises against placing it too close to the wall when in use.
To accommodate for the air purifier’s large size, I placed it at the foot of my bed in a diagonal position, the only place it wasn’t in the way. I also tried it in an area between my kitchen island and my desk. (Again, that was the only other area where it was not in the way and not up against a wall.)
Fabric is not an ideal material
This may not be a dealbreaker for you, but you can’t wash the front cover on the air purifier—it's covered in fabric. The front can be wiped clean with damp cloth, but that’s not as easy nor as effective as cleaning plastic air purifiers, which you can usually just remove and run under a tap or wipe down with a sponge.
The Coway Airmega Icon claims to be made from waterproof and stain-resistant materials, meant to offer some protection against dirt. But, for me, aside from bedding, drapes, and a few throw pillows with removable covers (all of which can be washed), I try to avoid fabric materials whenever possible because they tend to trap odors and dust.
It’s heavy to move
The air purifier weighs nearly 20 pounds and is heavy to move. There are no grooves for better hand grip, so the machine needs to be picked up from the bottom and moved accordingly. Compared to air purifiers with handles (or at least those with recessed areas), I found this to be a major inconvenience.
If you’re looking for a lightweight air purifier that is easy to move from room to room, this isn’t it. The Airmega Icon is a heavy-duty air purifier that is best set up and left in one spot.
The Coway Airmega Icon is covered by the one-year warranty for all products. There are specific three-year and five-year warranties for most of the Airmega products, so perhaps the website hasn’t been updated since the Icon came out.
Should you buy the Coway Airmega Icon air purifier?
Yes, this air purifier improves indoor air quality with style and function.
The Coway Airmega Icon air purifier is one of the most stylish air purifiers on the market. However, its true beauty comes through in performance, and it cleans both VOCs and particles quickly and quietly, while providing an air quality indicator that lets you view the air in your environment in real time.
Additionally, the air purifier is easy to set up and just as easy to operate. The wireless charger for devices is a bonus feature.
Of course, all of this comes at a price (and a steep one at that), especially when you consider that there are other air purifiers that can clean almost twice as much square footage for the same price or less.
The Airmega Icon is one of the most expensive air purifiers the company makes while covering the least amount of square footage. For example, two other similarly-priced Coway air purifiers, the Coway Airmega 400 and the Coway Airmega 300S, cover 1,560 square-feet and 1,256 square-feet, respectively, compared to the 649 square-feet covered by the Airmega Icon.
Also, the 300S is a smart air purifier that’s compatible with smart assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant, adding even more value.
However, if you’re looking for a high-end air purifier that looks good in almost any space, and is, most importantly, effective at improving the quality of the air you breathe, you’d be hard pressed to find a competitor that can best the Airmega Icon.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Meet the testers
Terri Williams is a valued contributor to the Reviewed.com family of sites.
Dave Ellerby is Reviewed's Chief Scientist, and has a Ph.D. from the University of Leeds and a B.Sc. from the University of Manchester.
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