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Fellowes is a powerhouse company heading many different brands of household appliances. In this review, we study one of the air purifiers from the award-winning Aeramax range, the AeraMax 290. 

This large-room air purifier has many excellent features to explore, as well as some controversial ones to clear up. Will this be the air purifier for your cleanest air in 2020? Let’s review it and find out.

fellowes aeramax 290

The AeraMax 290 is Best For:

Large Rooms: the AeraMax 290 caters to rooms from 300-600 square feet, more than sufficient for a very large living room or small apartment.

Homes with pets: the true-HEPA filter captures 99.995% of particles as small as 0.3 microns, and is treated with an antimicrobial substance. This means that odor-producing bacteria won’t thrive in the filter. What’s more, it has a carbon filter to neutralize unpleasant pet smells.

Asthma and allergy sufferers: the AeraMax 290 has been certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America because of the super-efficient filters, antimicrobial treatment, and air quality sensor. When allergens are more present in your home (such as mold, dander, dust mites, and pollen), auto mode will increase the fan speed to get rid of them quickly. 

fellowes aeramax 290 living room

Size, Weight, Coverage, and Ratings

AeraMax 290 CADR ratings:

Smoke: 191
Dust: 196
Pollen: 188

CADR refers to “clean air delivery rate” and indicates how fast the air purifier takes to clear a certain room size.

fellowes aeramax 290 dimensions

Size: 28 x 17.8 x 12.2 inches
Weight: 6.13 pounds
Coverage: 300-600 square feet
Energy-Star certified? Yes

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Filtration System

The Fellowes AeraMax 290 has 4 stages of air purification, an impressive line-up considering many others only have 2 or 3 stages. We like that the line-up includes true-HEPA, carbon, and antimicrobial filters for covering all bases of allergy triggers, asthma allergens, odors, and sick-inducing viruses and bacteria.

Bear in mind that one of the filter stages is a treatment on the true-HEPA filter, and the other is an ionizer. This means that there are only two physical filters to change, not four.

Carbon filter: this acts as a pre-filter as well as an odor-reducing filter to absorb pet, cooking, and smoke smells. This filter catches the larger particles so the true-HEPA filter can remain cleaner and more able to deal with tiny, lung-irritating particles. 

True-HEPA filter: captures the most irritating particles such as dander, mold spores, and even some viruses (very topical in 2020).

AeraSafe antimicrobial treatment: this treatment kills mold, mildew, and bacteria that can sometimes thrive on filters, especially in humid or damp environments.

PlasmaTrue: this is an ionizer that sends negative ions into the room (yes, the ionizer can be switched off). 

fellowes aeramax 290 filtration system

Does the Fellowes AeraMax 290 have an Ionizer?

Yes, it has the AeraMax PlasmaTrue technology which sends negative ions into the room so they can “stick” to allergens, making them more able to adhere to the filters. What’s more, these ions weigh the particles down so they are no longer airborne, and are ready to be wiped or vacuumed off surfaces and floors.

We know you’re wondering if the AeraMax ionizer produces ozone, and fair enough. Fellowes assures customers that their ionizers do not produce harmful amounts of ozone, and are UL-certified as being safe.

Style, Operation, Modes, and Features 

The AeraMax 290 comes in black or white (named the AeraMax 300), with a slimline, rectangular shape and stabilizing foot. It stands at about 28 inches high, so it’s not exactly discreet. However, it fits neatly into medium-large spaces and is simple enough to suit most decor styles.

The air inlets are located at the sides of the unit, with the outlet sitting at the top. This is great as it means you can place it a little closer to walls and furniture than other units, without blocking the airflow. The control panel sits along the side, with easy-touch symbol buttons with blue LED lights including an on/off button for the ionizer, and filter change indicator lights for the true-HEPA and carbon filters.

Aera+ sensor and auto mode: the sensor assesses the air quality and uses colored lights to indicate the quality (blue, amber, and red). When the air turns from good to bad, the fan speeds automatically change to clear the air quickly. 

Manual fan speeds: you don’t have to use auto mode, you can manually change the fan speeds between low, medium, high and turbo (cleans extra fast and hard when dust, pollen, or pet fur is rife).

Aera+ mode: increases fan speed by 50% for allergy season.

Maintenance and Filter Requirements 

The AeraMax 290 is an easy air purifier to care for, with minimal maintenance requirements. All you need to do is wipe it down to remove gathered dust, change the filters, and that’s about it.

How often do the filters need to be changed?

Generally, the true-HEPA filter should be changed every 12 months, and the carbon filter should be changed every 3 months. However, this might vary depending on how often you use the machine and how contaminated the air is.

Can the filters be cleaned or washed?

No, these filters can’t be washed or cleaned, they can only be replaced.

Where can I get replacement filters for the AeraMax 290 and how much are they?

You can find a year’s supply of the AeraMax 290 replacement carbon filters for the best price on Amazon in 2020 here, and the true-HEPA filters here. The filter replacement prices are very fair, and reasonably low compared to other brands. 

AeraMax 290 Air Purifier vs. Rabbit Air MinusA2

We’re putting the AeraMax 290 head to head with the Rabbit Air MinusA2 as they are both large-room air purifiers with similar slick features.

The RabbitAir MinusA2 caters to rooms from 405 to 815 square feet, (smaller spaces for allergy sufferers who need extra protection), offering a larger area than the AeraMax 290 by 200 square feet.

RabbitAir Minus2A Air Purifier

Both models feature an air quality indicator light and an auto mode, and a special mode for extra-fast cleaning (AeraMax 290 has Aera+ and the MinusA2 has Pollen mode).

The RabbitAir MinusA2 has a slightly more versatile filtration system with 6 steps as opposed to the AeraMax’s 4 steps. Like the AeraMax, it has an antimicrobial-treated true-HEPA filter for killing mold and bacteria. It also has a carbon filter and an ionizer like the AeraMax. However, it also features a pre-filter and a medium filter, and the true-HEPA filter can be customized to suit different needs (i.e. toxins, pets, odors, allergies, or germs).

The RabbitAir MinusA2 is almost double the price of the AeraMax 290 and is just as highly rated. The choice comes down to room size, budget, aesthetic preference, and filter preference.

Noise and Light 

While the AeraMax 290 gets full marks in so many areas, it does fall short in the lights department. The blue lights on the control panel cannot be turned off or dimmed, causing trouble for light sleepers as proven in customer reviews.

The noise level of air purifiers is notoriously difficult to gauge, as one person’s “quiet” might be another person’s “loud”. The consensus is that levels 1 and 2 are quiet enough for sleeping, but level 3, and turbo are loud. What’s more, several people have complained of a high-pitched noise emitting from the unit, with some suspecting it is due to the ionizer.

Pros & Cons

Pros 👍
✔ True-HEPA filtration
✔ Antimicrobial treatment kills bacteria and mold
✔ Turbo and Aera+ mode for fast cleaning

Cons 👎
✘ Control panel lights are too bright
✘ Ionizer may produce trace amounts of ozone
✘ Reviews complain of high-pitched noise

Our Verdict

We think the AeraMax 290 is a solid air purifier with an excellent filtration system proven to reduce asthma and allergy symptoms and reduce odors. It’s easy to maintain and is user-friendly if you don’t mind a little ambient lighting and white noise.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I turn off the filter replacement lights?

Press the filter replacement icon until it flashes amber, then hold it down again for a few seconds until it beeps and switches off.

Can I turn off the ionizer?

Yes, just press the ionizer button (the sun-shaped icon at the bottom of the control panel) for 5 seconds until it beeps and illuminates.

Is this a good air purifier for pet smells and dander?

Yes. The carbon pre-filter neutralizes odors, and the true-HEPA filter catches dander while killing odor-causing bacteria with the antimicrobial treatment.

Is this energy efficient?

Yes, it is Energy Star Certified and has a power rate from 6 watts (lowest fan speed) to 86 watts (turbo).

Can the lights be dimmed or turned off?

No, unfortunately, they cannot be dimmed, but you can use opaque tape to cover them at night.

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