The Molekule Air Mini+ is smaller than I expected.
Given the name, perhaps this shouldn’t have been surprising. It’s a good thing. It sits nicely on a dresser or on the floor.
And in this case, small doesn’t equate to lack of power.
On its highest setting, the Molecule Air Mini+ is LOUD. My wife poked her head in from the next room when I first tested it to see what in the world I was doing.
The more I thought about it, and tested, the more this, too, felt like a good thing—if you want to banish bad stuff from your air, you want power. Noise is ok. Then you can turn it down.
In this Molekule review, I go deep into what I learned about this purifier over about a month of testing.
- Everyday use
- What I loved, what I wished were different, and, is the Molekule Air worth it?
- Molekule vs Dyson, and more FAQs
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Unboxing the Molekule Air Mini+
The Air Mini Plus comes in a fairly small brown cardboard box, with some nice, stylized white words adorning the outside. Lift the flap, and you’ll find more stylized words and line drawings. While I don’t see putting the Mini+ smack in the center of my nightstand anytime soon, it’s a nice first reminder of something Molekule recommends—don’t put the Air Mini+ right up against a wall, or its 360 degree intake slot won’t be able to suck as much air in for filtering.
Unboxing was easy, pleasant, well-organized and reassuring. Molekule does a nice job of making the unboxing itself instructive throughout, down to the little cardboard sleeve that encloses the plug:
And, documentation that comes with the Air Mini+ is well done—easy to understand and simple.
Setting up the Air Mini+
Setup of the Molekule Air Mini+ itself was a breeze. You need to open up the device by turning and pulling off the outer shell, unwrap the filter (it’s shipped in plastic to ensure it arrives pristine),stick that back on the base, put the shell back on, and plug it in. That’s it.
The Molekule mobile app
Molekule devices pair with a mobile app, available from both the Apple App Store and Google Play. It’s hard not to notice the whopping 1.3 star rating when downloading the app, but I’d note a couple of things:
- This rating applies to the app, not the Molekule device itself
- Personally, I didn’t have much of an issue with the app & setup (more below)
- Having tested a LOT of smart home devices over the years, I’ll note anything that connects to your home wifi leaves a lot of room for user error and internet issues caused not by the device, but by people’s internet
- The nice thing about apps is they can be updated, and usually get better over time
So, what’s all the 1.3 star hubbub about? Connectivity, mostly. And, to be fair, the first time I got the thing you don’t want to see when connecting a smart device:
But, the tried and true method of “try it again” worked like a charm on the second try, and I didn’t have any other issues connecting to internet or setting up the app. The only minor annoyance was I was prompted about 3 times to purchase a filter subscription during setup, which isn’t really the time to push that, in my opinion. Oddly I haven’t been asked about purchasing filters in the dozens of times I’ve opened the app since then.
The rest of the app setup process is simple and guided well—you name it, in case you have multiple purifiers in your house, potentially download a firmware update for your device, and tell Molekule what pollutants you’re most concerned with. I can’t imagine this changes the operation of your device, but it has a nice reassuring effect that you’re going to deal with all the things, from the mundane—pet odors to the more terrifying—viruses and mold.
From there, you’re taken to app’s Home Screen, which displays the ‘particle level’—a measure of how clean your air is—and a lovely visualization of air being drawn into the device. You can toggle the fan level manually on a scale from 1—5 (5 being the jet engine level I described earlier), or switch to Auto Protect, which changes fan speed automatically based on the cleanliness of your air. Note Auto Protect isn’t available with the less expensive Air Mini, you’ll need to manually toggle, but will save $100. Finally, you’ll see the status of your filter on a countdown from 100% to 0%, when it needs to be replaced.
Using the Molekule Air Mini+
The first time I fired this thing up in our bedroom, Particle Level displayed “moderate”
And, a few hours later:
It was an extremely reassuring feeling to see the app’s background color go from yellow to green.
Our Molekule review
Molekule is from first glance to deep use, a company built with modern well-designed, connected products in mind. It’s been called “The Tesla of Air Purifiers” by Forbes, and has won innovation of the year awards by Time Magazine and Popular Science. Expect clean design, an excellent overall user experience, and a few small quirks common with connected devices.
Let’s dive into what we loved, what we wish was different, and a final verdict—are Molekule air purifiers really worth it?
There’s a lot to love about Molekule:
- The technology. Molekule’s tech really stands out. It’s PECO filter (PECO stands for Photo Electrochemical Oxidation). Compared with the type of filter you’ve probably heard most about—HEPA—PECO filters aim not just to collect pollutants, but also to destroy them by breaking pollutants down into harmless components like water and carbon dioxide. It’s darn cool tech that’s backed up by a whole lot of science and laboratory testing proving its effectiveness.
- The style. To be effective, an air purifier can’t be shoved behind a couch or hidden in a corner—it needs to facilitate air flow and have some breathing room around all sides. So, you’re going to want it to look good. And Molekule looks great. It’s got a clean design that’s, for most models, downright sexy.
- Portability. Since Molekule devices aren’t cheap, it’s nice the company built them to be portable. Whether you’re moving them down the hall from nap time to playtime, or bringing them with you on your next road trip or visit to grandma’s, The Air Mini+, along with other Molekule models, are made to move. And they all have small footprints, meaning they’re not going to take up a lot of room in your room.
The wish it was different
Overall, the Molekule Air Mini+ is awesome. My only two areas of complaint are the app and the price.
The Molekule’s app just needs some work still, particularly the process of setting up a new purifier. That said, a few caveats:
- it’s functional
- it’s not as bad as the Apple App Store reviews might suggest
- The nice thing about apps is they can be updated and improved over time. I heard from Molekule they have a team working to improve the app
- Past setup, the Molekule purifier doesn’t actually need an app all that frequently—it’s fully functional without it. Particularly in auto-detect mode, this is a pretty set it and forget it device.
Let’s talk price. Molekule products ain’t cheap. The Air Mini+ retails for $499, it’s slightly-less-smart cousin the Air Mini sells for $399. You can certainly find air purifiers much cheaper for this. With Molekule, you’re paying for cutting-edge tech, and to some extent for looks and brand.
Good to know
The Molekule Air Mini+ does emit a small amount of light when turned on. Part of the PECO filter’s process involves light activation, so you will notice a faint glow coming from the Air Mini and Air Mini+. I’m someone who loves to sleep in the dark, and during testing I barely noticed it in our room, so odds are this isn’t a big deal.
You’ll need to replace filters every 6 months, and they’re not free. Filters for the Air Mini+ will cost you $75 each, adding an additional $150 per year to the operating cost of your Air Mini+. (Though do note you get one with your purchase, so won’t need your first one for 6 months.) However, you can save big with a subscription to Molekule’s filter replacement program, which take the yearly cost of Air Mini and Air Mini+ filters from $150/year to $99 per year.
Is Molekule worth it?
So, is the Molekule Air Mini+ worth it? In a word, yes. If you’ve got the funds to pay for a relatively pricey air purifier, the Molekule is an excellent buy. It’s backed by top-notch technology that’s FDA-cleared to destroy viruses and bacteria. It’s small and stylish. And, it’s easy to use.
In the age of pandemics, wildfires, and more, a PECO filter provides nice peace of mind, particularly for parents who are worried about kids growing up with air quality unequivocally worse than what we grew up with.
If you’re looking to save, you can shave off $100 by buying the Molekule Air Mini, which offers the exact same filter and power as the Mini Plus. You’ll give up the particle sensor/indicator, auto-protect mode, and Apple HomeKit compatibility, but the actual protection level and quality of the filter remains the same, which is nice.
Pricing and where to buy
The Molekule website is your best best for purchasing Molekule products. It features all of the company’s best deals, allows you to add filter subscriptions from the get-go, offers free shipping, 30-day returns, and a 2-year warranty.
You can also purchase Molekule products on Amazon to take advantage of Amazon Prime shipping.
So, how much does the Molekule Air Mini+ cost?
Molekule also offers a whole range of filters for larger rooms, including the Air, which retails for $799 and expands protection from 250 square feet to 600 square feet, and the Air Pro, which covers a massive 1,000 square feet and costs $1,199.
What’s the difference between the Air Mini and the Air Mini+?
The Molekule Air Mini does not have an air quality sensor built into it like the Air Mini+ does. Therefore it cannot sense air quality and doesn’t have an auto-protect mode like the Air Mini+. The actual filter is the same between the two units, so you aren’t sacrificing on quality of the actual system, but you can’t rely on auto-protect to do the work of toggling up and down the fan based on air quality for you.
How does Molekule compare to Dyson air purifiers?
The short answer: Dyson purifiers use a HEPA filter, not a PECO filter like Molekule. As we’ve described above, PECO has some real advantages over HEPA. Dyson purifiers may include some features Molekule doesn’t, specifically combining a purifier with a cooling fan that rotates to circulate the purified air throughout the room.