Modern Castle is supported by readers. When you buy with our links, we may earn a commission. Learn more

Derek Hales

Derek Hales

Written By: Derek Hales

Updated on:

My name is Derek Hales, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of ModernCastle.com. I live in Phoenix, Arizona with my family.

Derek Hales

What do I do?

Since 2014 I have been methodically testing products for the home, compiling information, creating reviews, and doing my best to help create exceptionally helpful resources for my readers.

Since I was old enough to start buying my own stuff I have relied on serious and in-depth research to help make informed decisions.

Kayla & Derek from the Modern Castle team

I’ve never been one to make an impulse purchase. When I was 12 I built my first computer. Research at the time was reading through PC magazines, asking employees at the local Micro Center, and discussing with my dad.

As I grew up, so did reviews on the internet. In the last several years seeking out high quality reviews online has been essential to my research for virtually everything I buy.

While there are no shortage of reviews online, so many reviews leave me disappointed or questioning the rationale for a particular review rating.

I created Modern Castle to help change that.

Great reviews start with great testing. I take great pride with designing and executing the tests and experiments for every product I test. Completing specially designed tests provide a level of objective data that helps replace mere subjective opinion with more objectivity and hard facts.

Modern Castle Team
The Modern Castle Team

Opinions are wonderful, and you’ll find plenty of those here, but I believe reviews can be better when a combination of compiled specifications, objective data, and subjective analysis are married together.

Our Mission

Ultimately, the mission of Modern Castle is simple, we want to create exceptional reviews, videos, and guides to help you discover, research, and select the products that are best for your home. 

Since our launch in October, 2017 we have focused on vacuums, mops, smart home, furniture, and air purifiers.

My wife, Samantha, and Poodle, Tibbers
My wife, Samantha, and Poodle, Tibbers

If there’s a product in one of those categories that you’d like to see, or a different category all together you think we should take a look at, please let me know here.

Thanks so much for trusting ModernCastle.com! We hope we can help you today.

About Derek Hales

Derek HalesDerek Hales is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of ModernCastle.com. He has been featured in Fast Company, Reader's Digest, Business Insider, Realtor.com, She Knows, and other major publications. Derek has a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Kansas State University. Hales has been testing and reviewing products for the home since 2014.

Need Help? Ask Your Question Below.

62 Comments on “Derek Hales”

  1. Derek,

    Although this doesn’t impact performance. I think you should mention privacy issues when reviewing Smart Air Purifiers. For example, some do collect and profit from a customer’s data. However, a few that do this give you a (less convenient) alternative. For example, LG gives you a physical remote that allows you to control the device to a lesser extent than the app and navigate and view data on the device itself. Some BlueAirs only offer a remote via an app. LG’s app remote is an afterthought. The LG remote via the app is used to basically lure people into an app that is basically the LG online store. Both do not support Homekit, but they support Alexa. Their privacy policies are problematic. I think this shouldn’t affect a performance review, but it should be noted.

    Reply
    • It’s a valid point and one I’ve considered. However, I just don’t know any way to reliably test and even understand which air purifiers are better / worse at privacy issues.

      1) Should any purifier with the app that has excessive permissions be deemed a privacy risk?

      2) Should air purifiers with apps that are based out of China or other non-US friendly nations be deemed a risk?

      It’s a real can of worms once you start digging into it.

      Open to suggestions on how to test if you have them.

    • Great question. I just bought a generic(green rimmed) 2pk from Amazon and they have, what i thought to be, a pre-filter wrapped around them with velcro. Similar to what you are speaking about?

  2. Hi Derek,
    I loved your “sleep” related reviews from your previous venture. Im sure ModernCastle reviews are just as good…but I havent looked at any yet. Are you unable to review sleep-related products at this time?
    I am in the market for one of those bed cooling systems (ChiliSleep, Eight Sleep, etc) and would love to hear your opinion.
    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Thanks for your kind words, Drew.

      I am actually testing and reviewing mattresses here – https://naplab.com/

      I haven’t tested the ChiliSleep yet, but did test Eight Sleep and Bet Jet. Between those two I was always more impressed with Bed Jet. However, it’s been several years since I’ve tested them.

  3. I have a levoit LVAC-120 it worked fine at one point but now it has a fault. Stars working and then shuts off

    Reply
  4. Hi Derek,

    Just wanted you to indicate that the BlueAir purifiers does not have a HEPA filter. They use a “HEPASilent” filters that they of course purposely named that way to confuse consumers. Those filters may be good, but I think this distinction should be added to your review.
    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Thanks, Jeff.

      I just went through that review to make it more clear that is technically not a HEPA filter.

      Very strange of them to use their own special filter. I mean…it is pretty lame they are creating this confusion for consumers. But the performance was as good as any HEPA filter I’ve tested to date.

  5. Hello.
    We live in PA where we can experience all 4 seasons in 1 day, especially this time of year!
    Our home is 30 years old and has a lower level finished basement. There is tongue and groove wood on all walls in the living room that have begun to show signs of mildew after all of the years of varying humidity, lack of air flow, and general darkness. The 2 bedrooms and bath are having traces of mildew appear on things in closets and framed art/pictures, as well.
    We are looking to have the areas cleaned and add 2 – 500 sq. ft. air filtration systems added to clean and move the air. The total space is approx. 1000 sq/ft.
    Ideally, I’d prefer to get to best units that are cost efficient and have washable filters.
    I watched your YouTube video and saw the charts.
    We can purchase your highly recommended BlueAir Pure 211+ at our Sam’s Club. We also have 2 Hathaspace HSP001 models that we may return. I really don’t want to need to purchase 2 filters every 6 months if I can wash them.
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks for your time.
    David Miller

    Reply
    • Hi David,

      Thus far, I have not tested any air purifier with washable filters that I would strongly recommend.

      Purifiers with washable filters are more expensive per square foot area cleaned and also don’t have the same performance level as non-washable.

      I can understand your desire to not have to purchase replacement filters. But as it stands right now, you’ll end up paying so much more money up front to get worse purification performance with any washable filter purifier. It just doesn’t make sense.

    • Thanks. I’ll take your advice.
      It also looks like the BlueAir is a better choice than the Hathaspace so I’ll be returning them.

  6. I have an Omni glide and would like to get an attachment for carpets. Is that possible? If so which one should I purchase?

    Reply
  7. Hello Derek, I hope this finds you well. We just got the Dyson V11 Outsize Absolute+. This vacuum cleaner is fantastic, but we are worried about vacuuming our handmade oriental rugs with the motorhead. I reached out to Dyson, and they told me to switch it to the eco mode when cleaning the rugs. Even after doing so, we can see that it pulls fibers from the rug. What do you recommend in terms of attachments in this case?

    Reply
    • I would recommend the Dyson mattress tool – https://amzn.to/34LQAU1 – while it’s designed for mattresses, it will work on any fabric / carpeted / upholstered surface. This tool is ideal for delicate rugs because it is straight suction, no brushroll.

      This should protect your rug, while still offering a reasonably good level of cleaning. Though you should still use eco mode with this tool as well.

  8. Hello, I read your review on the 360 s10, and went to order it! It performs great in my area, and it was a solid buy. Thank you for the review.

    My question is, do you know, or are able to test if mop pads from other 360 bots will attach to the s10? I’m not seeing replacements online yet, so I’m hoping the other 360 vacuum parts are interchangeable. Let me know!

    Reply
    • They should work. For the most part, most of those types of padding pads are interchangeable across a wide range of brands and robot models.

      I just have a big stack of them from a dozen or more different brands in my cleaning drawer that I use on my daily driver (the Roborock S7).

  9. Re: your air filter testing methodology
    I was wondering whether you have filtration data examined over longer periods of time than one hour? I was trying to compare the filter performance between the Oransi EJ120, Rabbit Air Minus A2 and the Rabbit Air A3. However, the baseline levels were all different and yet the filters were given the same one hour time limit to perform. In a real-world situation for me, the filter would be running more or less non-stop, enabling more time to achieve a filtration endpoint. So after a few hours of use, would all of these filters be capable of achieving a PM 2.5, PM 10 and AQI level of 0?

    Reply
    • We don’t have long term data. Early on in our testing we used to gather it, but it was becoming clear that the difference between a 1 hour vs. 2 hour vs. 8 hour vs. 24 hour test was basically the same.

      As a result, the data you see at the 1 hour mark is going to be about as good as it gets in terms of purification performance.

      This is simply due to the nature of most homes. Air is always circulating, doors are opening and closing, people / animals are moving around and stirring up dust / particulates, so you’re always having slight changes. If you could sleep in a perfectly sealed room then you probably could achieve an AQI of 0 with enough time, but for the most part that just doesn’t exist in the real world.

      Hope that explanation helps!

    • I am not a medical professional, so I really cannot say for sure on that. So please take my recommendations with a grain of salt. The following is not medical advice.

      Any of the cushions should help, as they all put greater padding between you and a harder sitting surface. By the same logic, the thicker cushions should make the biggest impact.

      I would suggest taking a look at the Royal Purple – https://amzn.to/3zwQcDZ – It’s what I use for my daily driver. It’s pretty thick, so you’ve got lots of cushion for sensitive joints.

  10. I have a busted hot water pipe under the slab of my house. My pipes are polybutylene. What is the best way to get them repaired?
    The house was built in the 80s. What should I do?

    Reply
    • Unfortunately, that’s not a question I can really answer. You should probably reach out to a general contractor or a plumbing contractor for more information on the best way to proceed.

    • Most likely that’s the case.

      Though I would suggest you consult the user manual. I’m not certain of that light indicator.

  11. Hi Derek
    I just found your article on blue pipe and we found out this morning we are having to replace 150 feet of blue pipe outside due to water leak. I saw the old law suits but wondered if you know of
    anyway to be reimbursed? It is going to cost 4.5k to replace 😳
    Thanks for your help!
    Stephanie

    Reply
    • Unfortunately, I don’t know of any open class actions or settlements. You may consider talking to a lawyer to discuss your options.

  12. I would like to purchase a hose for the fusing b15 but all I can find is one for the v11. Will the v11 hose work on the v15?

    Reply
    • In theory, yes. Though I’m not sure what hose you’re talking about. I have not seen any hose for the Dyson except from 3rd parties.

  13. What is best air purifier for controlling smoke from a smoker. I want to control and eliminate smoke in a bedroom less than 400 square feet

    Reply
  14. This website is raving about the winix 5500-2, what are your thoughts?

    He compares it to others, and somehow the winix wins always… Cleaned the room the fastest.
    I’m not saying it’s bad. But compared to the levoit. What do you think?

    Reply
    • I’ve heard lots of good things about Winix, there is no reason to think it wouldn’t be a great air purifier.

      Compared to Levoit it really depends on the exact model. Levoit’s high end models are quite fast and have a large coverage area. I am doubtful it’s much better than those types of Levoit purifiers, but it probably is faster than the less expensive Levoit models.

  15. I ordered Clarifion purifiers. They plug into the wall. Do you know if these are safe to use and what the distance should be from humans and dogs? Thank you.

    Reply
    • I don’t know if they are safe. But as a general rule, I would not use a purifier that purifies exclusively through ionization. Unless it explicitly has an ozone suppression system.

  16. Your reviews are great. Wondered if you may be testing the Miele Triflex HX1 in the future. Wirecutter/NY Times seems to like it. Curious if you come to same conclusion

    Reply
    • Thanks, Andy.

      It’s on our list, but not sure when we’ll be testing it.

      Since it’s a Miele product, we would really expect great things from it. We were blown away by the build quality and performance of the Miele C1, the least expensive / most basic canister vacuum they make.

      Given that that’s the start of their product line I think it’s reasonable to expect it will be amazing.

  17. Hi, I am so glad you and your team are here! I love your honesty, quite refreshing. I bought a refurbished Neato D3 and it worked wonderfully 4 times around our 1500 sq. ft. (rough estimate) hardwood floors and thick low pile area carpets (all the same for uniform look throughout).
    However for the life of me I cannot locate the EMPTY BIN and as this is the most necessary component of all vacuums I hoped you might offer an answer. I did watch your D3 Neato Robot Vacuum rating and info piece but did not notice the identification or location of DEBRIS EMPTY BIN, please advise. Thank you, KMS

    Reply
    • Thanks for your kind words, Megs!

      I took a look at our D3 and I don’t see any specific part number on the dust bin itself. It’s just 100% blank. However, the overall parts number for the unit is 520-0230 Rev 1

      I took a look around the web and I too don’t see any replacement dust bins for sale. I’m afraid you may be out of luck 🙁 Sorry I don’t have better news.

  18. Derek

    Does the V11 have a battery that can be detached and charged separately from the main unit? Also, could the v11 scratch hardwood floors? I would like to save the expense of buying an additional soft roller. I like that the v11 can automatically detect carpet from hardwood so maybe get the V11 if the battery detaches. What is the cost of an additional battery for the V11?

    Reply
    • The newer V11s coming out do have a detachable battery via the new click in system. That change is effective Q4 2020.

      I have not ever seen any Dyson scratch a wood floor. But occasionally you do see this complaint among the larger body of consumers. In my view, it is most likely consumers who have extremely delicate wood floors and is not reflective of a common issue.

      Dyson V11 click in batteries are $150. However, if you give it another 3-6 months they will likely be sold by 3rd parties for $50-$75 on Amazon here – https://amzn.to/37ERPSG

  19. Thank you for a great comparison. I’ve been reading customer ratings on the dyson site and the ones that gave low scores were concerning and wondered, based on your experience are the issues more an anomaly / user issues or valid: They question the suction power on the V8, the positioning and ease of switching out attachments… The V11 gets questioned on value and weight (which you mentioned too) So, a couple of questions: Did you say the V8 animal does or doesn’t come with the V8 animal? With the V11 not coming with a fluffy head, is that because the head it comes with is more than sufficient for carpet and hardwood? Finally, if we’re planning to go from a predominantly carpet home to tile and hardwood, would the V8 still handle the house or is it worth considering the newer v11?

    Reply
    • Hey Len,

      I think you posted this same comment on our YouTube channel, which we responded to earlier. Just copy pasting that here also in case it can help anyone else:

      You don’t “need” the fluffy heading with any vacuum, as the multi-surface cleaning head can be used on all floor types. However, it’s definitely a nice to have, especially if you have mostly hard surfaces.

      And you are correct, V8 Animal does not include the fluffy.

      Given its age, I wouldn’t buy the V8. While the V11 may be a bit overkill, especially since it doesn’t include the soft roller head, the V10 Absolute does. Given your needs I would suggest the V10 Absolute for you – https://amzn.to/3mDeF3k

  20. Hi Derek,

    i have a small farmacy around 50square meters. I’m looking to buy an air purifier that could provide some sort of protection against germs/bacteria etc but equally clean the atmosphere especially this period of covid-19.

    The more i read the more i am getting lost on what’s right / wrong. Can you please share any advise / suggestion that could help me on choosing a good option to improve my business and protect my personel and customers.

    After doing lots of research and reading a variety of articles i’ve concluded to these

    https://www.boneco.com/en/p700

    https://winixeurope.eu/air_purifiers/air-purifier-winix-u450/

    https://www.dyson.ie/air-treatment/purifiers/dyson-pure-cool/dyson-pure-cool-tower-white-silver

    For what is worth i’m based in Greece so not all american products like rabbit air or oransi are avaible.

    Thanks for any input

    Reply
    • Happy to help, Chris.

      Honestly, any of these 3 air purifiers would be great. They are all HEPA, so that’s the big thing to look for. I’m less familiar with Boneco and Winix, but a quick look at the product pages and they both look fine.

      I really think you’d be hard pressed to go wrong with any of these.

  21. Hi Derek,

    Have been reading all of your reviews on the Dyson V8 and V10 and am looking for a little clarification on the differences. We have 100% hardwood floors in our house and have NEVER had a vacuum that works well. Based on your Dyson comparison review, the V10 seems to be our only option as it gets a 100 score on hardwood. You do, however, mention that you do not have the fluffy head attachment for the V8 and that you may achieve similar results if you did…

    On the V8 only review, you do not mention whether or not you had the fluffy head attachment for that review. We are just trying to get the best vacuum for our hardwood floors without killing the bank!

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi James,

      Thanks for your comment.

      To clarify, in our subsequent comparison reviews we tried the V8 with the V10s soft roller head and it was basically flawless on hardwood floors. If you want to save some money, get the V8 Absolute…or a V8 Animal and buy a standalone soft roller head here – https://amzn.to/336SyJZ

      V10 Absolute would still be my top pick between the V8 and the V10, but the V8 is still a solid machine no matter what way you slice it.

      Hope that helps!

  22. Hi Derek,
    I purchased the Dyson TP02 for cooling purposes. I read in their manual, “WARNING: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.” This is a little alarming and debating whether to return it. Is the exposure through daily use or by taking the unit apart?
    Thank you for your time.

    Reply
    • I did a little research this morning and I wasn’t able to find out what specific prop 65 chemical Dyson is using in the TP02.

      As to whether it’s through daily use or taking the unit apart, they don’t say.

      That said, I don’t know of anything within the TP02 (or any Dyson purifier) that would be harmful from daily use. Like most purifiers, it literally is a fan + a filter. That’s it. There is nothing there that can harm you.

      I would guess one or more of the plastics they use is a carcinogen. So long as you don’t eat / melt / spend lots of time handling that, you’re probably fine. But again, that’s just my best guess.

  23. I had a question about this Acum Cordless Vacuum Review [DC-901] review. This vacuum description states that it has a 4 stage filtration system. Is the vacuum anti allergen sealed like shark vacuums? The HEPA filter doesn’t mean much if the entire system isn’t designed to be sealed. Everything you are vacuumed will just leak out of the vacuum before it reaches the filter. Shark vacuums that are sealed are actually labeled sealed and anti allergen.

    Reply
    • Yes, it is sealed.

      According to Acum: “Fully sealed design prevents leakage of particles and helps protect the cordless stick vacuum cleaner itself as well as your health.”

  24. Hi! I’m down to selecting either a Molekule Air or a Dyson TP 06. My goal is to capture and destroy mold spores (not filter with HEPA). Both above models claim to do this. Not too concerned about formaldehyde. Any recommendations?

    Reply
    • If you’re not concerned about formaldehyde there is no reason to spend extra money on the TP06.

      Dyson TP04 (see here – https://amzn.to/2VoOqmf) has all the same specs as 06, except for formaldehyde destruction, and it’s notably less expensive.

      Based on our tests, the Dyson TP04 yielded better purification performance compared to Molekule at a lower price point. Molekule arguably looks cooler, but in terms of performance per dollar, I think the Dyson is the better choice.

  25. First, thank you for the great reviews on the Dyson Purifiers, I’m in the market and they help a ton. Have you had a chance to review the TP06? Is the worst the extra $100 to “KILL” formaldehyde vs just trapping it? Is that really the only difference? Any help would be appreciated, thank you!

    Reply
    • Hey Homer,

      Thanks so much!

      So regarding the TP06, we have a pre-test review up (basically an analysis of the specs and hardware here https://moderncastle.com/dyson-pure-cool-cryptomic-tp06-review/) but we haven’t tested it yet. So please bear that in mind.

      That said, from what we can tell, the TP06 is the same specs and hardware as the TP04, but with the addition of the plate to destroy formalydyde.

      Also to clarify, the TP04 and other non TP06 / HP06 purifiers do NOT trap formaldehyde. The particulates are too small, so they simply pass through the machine. The TP06 and HP06 are the only Dyson purifiers that are able to remove formaldehyde from the air.

      So is it worth it? It really depends on your home. Most homes have fairly low levels of formaldehyde and it’s not an issue. However, some homes have higher levels. If you think you may have higher levels then it’s absolutely worth it as formaldehyde has been tied to a number of studies that show its harmful effects.

      Hope that helps!