Air purifiers have become remarkably desirable since COVID-19 hit, suddenly becoming an essential component to scrub our (surprisingly dirty!) indoor air.
But there’s a problem. Where the heck do you put it?
Ikea has addressed this with its new Starkvind air purifier—an air purifier that’s also a side table. Priced at $190, Ikea has tucked the round electronics of the air purifier directly underneath the surface of a side table that’s available in either birch or a dark oak. So instead of putting yet another thing on your countertops, or carving out part of your floor plan for a standing air purifier, you can set up air filtration as easily as adding a small table to your room.
A small table, I’d point out, that is 100% capable of holding a glass of wine.
How does it perform? While it’s too early for a lab to have tested it, Ikea claims the three-stage air filter captures 99.5% of small particles down to 2.5 micrometers across a medium-sized room of 215 square feet. But it is not a full-blown HEPA filter, so there’s no guarantee it will catch viruses. Without getting too in the weeds about virus sizes versus droplet sizes versus the efficiency of filters, know that HEPA filters can capture SARS-CoV-2 floating in the air, but the EPA suggests you should still wear a mask and socially distance when possible.
The Starkvind features a carbon filter for capturing formaldehyde or just making your home smell a little better, too.
If you don’t want a full side table, Ikea is also selling the Starkvind air filter without the furnishings for $130. In black and white versions, it stands up sort of like a speaker. This offering is on top of the budget-friendly, $55 air purifier that Ikea began selling earlier this year—but note that its budget purifier also lacks a HEPA filter.
In any case, I’m not sure anyone would go so far as to call the Starkvind side table a stunning design object, but it is quite practical. And it’s right in line with Ikea’s greater strategy, to integrate more electronics into its furnishings—like its Symfonsik lamp/speaker designed alongside Sonos.
Since nobody really designs a living room around their air purifier, Ikea may be onto something by just sneaking it into the side table you already need.