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IQAir Atem Review

A Modern, Personal Air Purifier

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IQAir Atem Air Purifier

The IQAir Atem purifier has a round, disc-like body and is designed to sit on your desk or tabletop. The specs say it can treat up to 150 sf. of air space and it did pretty well during our performance tests, reducing PM2.5 and PM10 down to 0.3 within 1 hour.Buy at AmazonBuy at IQAir.com

Pros

  • Excellent build quality with a modern aesthetic
  • Purification performance in our tests was great.
  • Compact size makes it easy to move the purifier wherever you are, including in luggage

Cons

  • Limited coverage area
  • Lacks an Auto mode for self-adjusting settings
  • Higher price point, considering the smaller area coverage

Scoring

Strong, Compact, On-the-Go
  • 100%
    Design - 100%
  • 97%
    Performance - 97%
  • 100%
    Quality - 100%
  • 95%
    Usability - 95%
  • 95%
    Value - 95%
97%

Summary

The Atem by IQAir is a compact air purifier designed for personal air purification. It can cover spaces up to 150 square feet. It has an unusual look with a large disc-like body and a directional air diffuser. When tested in our lab, this purifier did great, decreasing PM2.5 and PM10 levels down to 0.3. Setup and usability was a little less intuitive than I would have liked, but not terrible once I read up on the user manual. The simplicity gives it a sleek and modern look that uses LED lights to communicate changes in fan speed. In addition, this purifier comes with 4 different power adapters so it’s easy to travel with and use internationally.

Atem Design

The design of the Atem air purifier (also available direct at IQAir.com) is one of the most unusual air purifiers we’ve reviewed to date. It is designed more as a personal air purifier than a whole room purifier, but it’s still quite powerful.

IQ Air Atem air purifier design

This purifier comes in a white or black body style, a metal base, and plastic directional air shroud.

Build Quality

The build quality is as expected—excellent. Every part feels high end, well built, and connects together well.

Even the smaller details do not go unnoticed with this air purifier. For instance, let’s talk about the cord wrap.

Cord wrap on the IQ Air Atem air purifier
Cord wrap on the IQAir Atem air purifier

The hidden cord wrap around the stand is excellent. It’s recessed into the stand itself, providing a clean look, and is just a nice testament to the well-thought-out design and attention to detail.

The Controls

The controls on the IQAir Atem purifier are a little less intuitive than I have seen from other purifiers. It has a sleek and modern aesthetic, so sleek that it’s a little confusing to use.

All controls themselves are actually invisible until you activate them and even then it’s just an LED color.

IQ Air Atem air purifier controls
Standby
IQ Air Atem air purifier controls on low power
Low Power
IQ Air Atem air purifier controls on high power
High Power

How does it work?

You have to 2 finger press the center of the side of the unit and that cycles through 4 settings:

  • Standby
  • Speed 1: 4.7 cfm; 8 m3h
  • Speed 2: 8.8 cfm; 15 m3h
  • Speed 3: 39 cfm; 66 m3h

The different light modes and light intensities indicate power levels. Essentially, red light means standby, and increasing levels of blue light means more air flow

Area Coverage

In German, “Atem” means breath, which hints at the fact that this purifier is designed to clean the air that you’re breathing.

The Atem can treat up to 150 square feet in a small to medium-sized room.

The Filter

There are two main filters used on this purifier—the pre-motor filter and a HEPA filter. Pre-motor filter really just protects the motor itself, while the HEPA filter is driving all of the actual in-room purification power.

#1: Pre-Motor Filter

Pre-motor filter on the IQAir Atem

#2: HEPA Filter

IQAir Atem air purifier HEPA filter

The filter of the IQAir Atem purifier is a bit unusual compared to other filters we’ve reviewed. It has a circular shape with a high degree of flexibility to it, which allows it to easily fit into the circular shape of the Atem’s shell.

Filters installed on the IQAir Atem air purifier
Filters installed on the IQAir Atem air purifier

Size and Dimensions

The IQAir Atem is a relatively small purifier. It is small enough to sit on your table or desktop. To some extent, it looks more like a desktop decoration than a traditional air purifier.

The IQAir Atem air purifier is:

  • Width:  11.5″
  • Height:  12.5″
  • Depth:  5.5″
  • Weight: 6.26 lbs
Size of the IQ Air Atem air purifier

Accessories & Parts

Parts and accessories include:

  • Atem Desk Purifier
  • HEPA Filter
  • Pre-motor filter
  • PureJet diffuser
  • Power adapter with 3 regional plugs
  • Stand
Parts included with the Air IQ Atem air purifier
Parts included with the Air IQ Atem air purifier

The power adapters included with the Atem make it incredibly easy to travel internationally with the Atem. There are plugs for four different types of outlets and it’s easy to swap these plugs out as needed.

Power adapters that come with the IQAir Atem air purifier
Power adapters that come with the IQAir Atem air purifier

IQAir Atem Features

The Atem purifier by IQAir has a number of interesting features. As mentioned above, there are four fan speeds (with one of those speeds being Standby).

I will add here that it lacks an Auto Mode and the ability to make automatic adjustments based on indoor air quality.

Performance levels were good and overall usability was good also, although the initial setup was a little confusing (read more on that below).

Fan Speeds

Four

Performance

Good

Auto Mode

No

Usability

Good

Performance

Our performance tests of the IQAir Atem were pretty good considering the size of the unit compared to the size of the room.

How do we test?

To test the performance, we measure the indoor air quality before running the purifier and then again after running it for an hour.

The change in air quality gives us a good idea of exactly how much power is behind each purifier.

Baseline

  • PM2.5: 3.1
  • PM10: 5.5
  • Particles: 463
  • AQI: 12

After 1 Hour

  • PM2.5: 0.3
  • PM10: 0.3
  • Particles: 79
  • AQI: 1

How were the results?

Overall, I was happy with the level of performance by the Atem, especially given the size.

AQI decreased from 12 down to 1, which is a solid level of improvement.

The Results: After 1 Hour

PM2.5

0.3

PM10

0.3

AQI

1

Testing Note: The Atem is designed primarily for cleaning the air you breathe right in front of your face, but specs state it can clean up to 150sf. Our tests are designed to see how well a purifier cleans the air in a larger room and do not specifically test air in one part of the room versus another.

Setup & Usability

Getting started with the IQAir Atem purifier isn’t terribly difficult, but it did require that I read the user manual, which isn’t always necessary with other purifiers.

Front View

Front of the IQAir Atem air purifier

Back View

Back of the IQAir Atem air purifier

Setting up the stand, changing fan speeds, and removing the filter are all a little less than intuitive. Since it is so tightly designed it’s not 100% clear out of the box how things work / setup.

As a result, you’ll want to give the manual a quick read.

How to Setup the IQAir Atem

The setup process for this air purifier includes the following steps:

  1. Remove purifier from original packaging.
  2. Remove the back cover and connect the power adapter.
  3. Plug in the purifier.
  4. Tap the control to select the appropriate fan speed.

If the standard plug doesn’t match the plug style on your wall, you can interchange the plug for four different adapters. This is a nice feature for international use.

Using the IQAir Atem

Once the settings are established it’s easy to use this purifier. There is no Auto Mode or wifi connectivity so really all you need to do is select a fan speed and you’re done.

IQAir directional air flow

The purifier begins working immediately and won’t stop working until you turn the unit off.

Maintenance

Maintenance on the IQAir Atem is pretty standard compared to the tasks you’d need to do for other purifiers.

  • Keep an eye on the filters and replace them as needed.
  • Wipe down the air vents and make sure they are clear of dust, debris, or other fibers.

Aside from these two jobs, there are not many other maintenance tasks to tend to.

IQAir Atem Specifications

Here is a complete list of features and specifications for the IQAir Atem air purifier:

Specifications 
ManufacturerIQAir
ModelAtem
Width (inches)11.5"
Height12.5"
Weight6.26 pounds
FiltersHEPA + pre-filter
Wifi CompatibleNo
Room CoverageUp to 150 sf.
ReturnsVaries by retailer
Warranty1-Year limited
PriceCheck Price

Should you buy the Atem air purifier?

The Atem air purifier by IQAir takes a more personal approach to air purification. It’s small, powerful, and is designed to sit on a table or desktop.

If you’re looking for an air purifier that doesn’t FEEL like an air purifier, you may like the specs and stats of the IQAir Atem.

I would recommend the Atem if you’re looking for the following in an air purifier:

  • Close range purification: The Atem is designed to clean the air closest to your face, the air you’re breathing directly. Even so, it can still cover entire rooms up to 150 square feet.
  • Travel friendly:  Not only is the Atem compact in size, but it’s also lightweight and comes with 4 different power adapters for international use. This purifier is designed to be used on the go, including even tossing it in your suitcase.
  • Want simple controls: Although it wasn’t as intuitive as I had hoped, the Atem is incredibly easy to use once you know what the controls mean and how to adjust them. There is no Auto Mode or fancy settings. Just turn it on, select your fan speed, and you’re good to go.

Click here to learn more or to check the price on the Atem air purifier.

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.

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