The Alen BreatheSmart model and the newer BreatheSmart Flex air purifiers are at the opposite ends of the size and performance spectrum when considering the full range of Alen machines in the BreatheSmart series.
The Alen BreatheSmart is the most powerful top of the range option, whereas the BreatheSmart Flex is the smallest and least powerful model. Both are very popular air purifiers, but they come with some significant differences that you need to learn about before deciding which one to buy.
So, what exactly are the most important similarities and differences between the original Alen BreatheSmart and the BreatheSmart Flex air purifiers?
BreatheSmart vs BreatheSmart Flex at a Glance
|Coverage Area (sq. ft.)||1100||700|
|CADR Rating||300||Results Awaited|
|Air Flow Rate||150 - 286 CFM||53 - 187 CFM|
|Whisper Max Technology||Yes||No|
|Smart Sensor Technology||Yes||No|
|Energy Rating||105W on High Speed||36W on High Speed|
|Filter Life||up to 9 months||up to 9 months|
|Filter Change Indicator||Use and Environment||Run Time|
|Color Panel Options||14||14|
|Speed Settings||4 (41.5 - 56 dB)||4 (39 - 55 dB)|
|Dimensions||26.75" x 17.75" x 10" |
|25" x 15" x 8.5"
|Warranty||Limited Life||Limited Life|
|Price||Check Latest Price||Check Latest Price|
BreatheSmart vs BreatheSmart Flex – The Similarities
The BreatheSmart and BreatheSmart Flex air purifiers both come with a lifetime limited warranty, but what else do they have in common?
1. The HEPA Filter Options
Both machines come with exactly the same HEPA filter options to choose from, depending upon your specific needs.
The HEPA-Pure Filter is the standard option for everyday use and comes with 3 layers of filter to remove dust, pet dander, mold spores and pollen from the home. This would probably be the first choice for those who are looking for a general all-purpose air purifier.
The HEPA-Silver Filter is similar to the HEPA-Pure in that it removes dust and mold spores. It is, however, also targeted more towards allergy sufferers and claims to deal with germs too.
The HEPA-Fresh Plus Filter is a more specialised option and is targeted more towards removing smoke, VOCs and heavier chemicals.
VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compounds – they are potentially harmful very small particles that HEPA filters often fail to deal with.
Finally, the HEPA-Odorcell Filter is designed more for those who are concerned about removing odors from the home, including pet and diaper smells.
If you buy one of these air purifiers, you do not receive all 4 filters, but instead have to chose which one(s) you want. Don’t worry, if you change your mind later on, you can buy a replacement filter of a different type.
If in doubt, I would suggest that you stick with one of the standard options, like the HEPA-Pure or the HEPA Silver filters, unless of course you have very specific needs that would be better addressed by the other 2 filters.
2. Filter Speed Options
Whilst both machines have 4 different speed options, the noise emission levels are slightly different (see chart above). You will notice that, despite the original BreatheSmart being almost twice as powerful as the Flex version, their noise emission levels are almost identical.
Ordinarily, you would expect the most powerful air purifier in a series to be louder than the least powerful. The reason that this is not true when comparing these 2 machines, however, is that the original BreatheSmart comes with Alen’s WhisperSmart Technology (see below). The Flex does NOT come with WhisperSmart and this is why you can get so much more performance out of the original BreatheSmart without massively increasing the noise levels.
3. Optional Ionizer
Both machines come with an ionizer unit.
Personally, I am not a fan of ionizers due to the risk of ozone emissions into the home.
Alen claim that their machines are “ozone-safe”, and they may be right, but I am still a bit cautious about this issue, especially since the HEPA filters ought to be effective enough anyway.
You will have to make you own mind up about the risks and whether or not you want to use them with or without the ionizer unit switched on.
They will still work well removing particles without the ionizer switched on due to the HEPA filters.
4. Lots of Nice Color Options
In my opinion, the Alen BreatheSmart air purifiers are very nice looking machines and you shouldn’t have any difficulty finding one that suits the decor in your room.
You can choose one of the more traditional color panel options, like white or black, but if you are a little more daring, there are lots of other more interesting color options to choose from.
BreatheSmart vs BreatheSmart Flex – The Differences
There are some very important differences between the BreatheSmart and BreatheSmart Flex air purifiers.
1. Coverage Area
These 2 machines have different maximum room size limits.
Whilst the Flex is suitable for small rooms measuring up to 700 sq. ft, the original BreatheSmart can handle larger rooms measuring up to 1,100 sq. ft.
So, if your room space is more than 700 sq. ft. you should definitely choose the original BreatheSmart or the Fit50 rather than the Flex model.
2. Filter Life & Replacement
The lifetime of any filter will depend upon how often and how intensively it is used.
As a rough guide, however, you will need to replace the filters on both machines every 9 months or so.
Both of these air purifiers will tell you when the filter needs to be changed.
3. CADR Rating
What is a CADR Rating?
Put briefly, CADR stands for Clean Air Delivery Rate.
An air purifier’s CADR Rating tells you how well that particular machine performed in scientific tests that are designed to assess their ability to remove smoke, pollen, and dust particles from a standardised room.
The original BreatheSmart has an excellent CADR Rating of 300.
The BreatheSmart Flex, however, does not yet have an official CADR Rating.
In addition to scoring well in scientific tests, both machines get excellent user reviews.
4. Smartsensor Technology
Unlike the original BreatheSmart, the Flex version does NOT come with Alen’s Smartsensor Technology.
The Smartsensor Technology means that you won’t have to worry about which of the 4 speed options to choose for your room’s specific needs.
Instead, the Smartsensor technology evaluates the air quality in the room and automatically adjusts the speed setting to the most efficient one. This is obviously a very nice convenience feature, but it also ensures that you don’t run the machine on an ineffective setting, and also that you don’t waste money by running it at too high a speed setting.
There is also a warning light system to tell you how polluted the air in the room is, which will help you to understand why the machine is operating on the chosen setting.
Running an air purifier on the top speed setting unnecessarily costs you more in electricity bills and also reduces the lifespan of the filter which, again, will cost you more money.
5. Whisper Quiet Performance
The Whisper Quiet Performance Technology helps to keep the noise emissions from your air purifier at a more comfortable level.
Everyone has their own personal tolerance levels for noise, but the general consensus amongst those who have reviewed these machines is that they are only noticeably noisy when used on the top speed setting.
The original BreatheSmart machine also comes with some other sleep-friendly and child-friendly features, such as a “lights off” mode for night time operation, a locking control panel, and a child-safe vent guard.
BreatheSmart vs BreatheSmart Flex – Videos
BreatheSmart vs BreatheSmart Flex – My Verdict
Both are excellent high quality air purifiers and your choice will probably come down to an assessment of room size requirements and whether or not you want to pay for the extra functionality that comes with the original BreatheSmart (see above).
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