Review: LG Puricare AeroTower fan + purifier

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Review: LG Puricare AeroTower fan + purifier

Many of us are fortunate enough to live in places where we don’t have to think about putting on a mask simply to breathe. Clean air is usually only a concern to those who have allergies, health conditions, or if a wildfire crops up nearby. I’ve tried a few air purifiers (including alsomst all of Dyson’s line, and Molekule too) and I find they’ve been able to help lessen the suffering of my husband’s spring allergy attacks, as well as doing a great job mitigating wildfire smoke that might seep in. I recently got the chance to test out a new and somewhat more sculptural air purifier option from LG: the LG PuriCare AeroTower, which is both a fan and a purifier. In this review, I’ll talk about what the device is designed to do, what my experience has been with it and if I can recommend it to you.

LG PuriCare Aerotower fan + purifier

Summary

While I actually love the looks of this device there are three major detractors for me: One is the lack of connectivity, the second is the lacklustre directional fan cooling, and other is its sheer size and weight. For those reasons I’m not recommending this device and would urge you to wait for the next generation model.

Pros

  • Beautiful design
  • Remote control included
  • Touch controls
  • Purifies large spaces

 

Cons

  • Too big & heavy
  • Lacklustre power
  • Directional air ineffective
  • App never connected
  • No easy resolution to problems when working with LG

 

Unboxing and set up

This unit is so freaking large, and it’s massively heavy. It’s almost four feet tall and weighs nearly 30 pounds, making it very unwieldy to move around. The LG AeroTower is supposed to purify and cool rooms up to 818 sq. ft.Though it is a behemoth, LG has obviously gone to a lot of trouble to make it both look chic and to help it blend into a modern space.

Getting it unpacked is a challenge, but regarding the set up, you really just click on a base plate (made as insurance to keep the unit from toppling over I suppose) and plug it in. There’s a small remote control included in the box.

A filter is included, and you’ll need to remove it from the plastic and install it into the base of the fan.

What will LG PuriCare AeroTower show you?

The LG PuriCare AeroTower has a small color digital screen that will display:

  • Overall air quality i.e. “Good, Poor, etc.”
  • Air Quality reading (PM10/PM2.5/PM1.0)
  • Fan speed (1-10)
  • Temperature
  • UVnano status

LG Puricare aerotower, fan, purifier, review

There’s also seamless touch controls on the top of the unit that will control power, speed, let you change fan modes and rotation.

Particulate matter

Particles and allergens aren’t all a uniform size; some spores can be microscopically teny while others can be microscopically huge. The LG PuriCare AeroTower captures three levels of particles, but it won’t tell you what these mean: It’s up to you to comprehend the readings.

  • PM1 – very fine particulates with a diameter of less than 1 micron. (i.e Wildfire smoke)
  • PM2.5 – also known as fine particles with a diameter of less than 2.5 microns. (Dust)
  • PM10 –  larger dust particles with a diameter less than 10 microns

Filtration & purification

The LG PuriCare AeroTower has what’s called UVnano which uses UV light to kill bacteria and airborne viruses and bacteria that get pulled into the purifier. It’s not something you can see working, it’s something you just need to trust is working on the inside. The fan-purifier also has a HEPA filter which LG claims captures 99.9% of dust and allergens. LG doesn’t say how long the filter should last, but the screen on the unit will tell you when it’s at end of life or needs cleaning.

Does LG Puricare work?

LG Puricare aerotower, fan, purifier, review

The HEPA filter after four months.

Here’s the hard part about reviewing an air purifier: I have no access to a microbiology lab so I can’t test my air before, during or after its use. I can only take LG at its word that it is scrubbing my air. I’ve only had it for a couple of weeks and haven’t encountered any wildfires or anything that’s been able to really test its power. It’s also been a cool and delayed spring so it’s hard to know if its having an effect on seasonal allergies or not. As I noted earlier, I have seen noticeable improvements in indoor air quality with devices like this, and so fa my husband has felt that this purifier has been helping keep his usually unpleasant allergies low and manageable so far this season.

Use on-device controls or included remote

You can control the action of the fan-purifier in three ways: using the included remote control, using buttons on the device, and using LG’s ThinQ app. The remote control is very small and streamlined. It has all the important controls to adjust fan speed motion, to set a sleep timer, and also to adjust the information it shows on screen. The same touch controls are also on the top of the device.

Using the fan

The fan has 10 speeds and three airflow modes:

  • Wide: this is meant to cover a wide area with a big cone of directional air
  • Direct : uses a more concentrated blast; feels somewhat more powerful
  • Diffused: softens airflow and circulates air without a blast; ideal for use in winter when you want purification only.

Airflow and fan power: soft air

I was surprised by how much air power this device puts out with comparatively little noise. On about level five or six, I can feel a low, soft breeze sitting at about 10 feet away. One thing I like about how this fan operates is that even on directional mode, it’s not very harsh. I still feel like the air is cooling me without that annoying and sometimes uncomfortable blast of air. On level eight, I can be about 12 feet away and still feel a gentle breeze rippling the air. And, I’m definitely able to feel a cooling effect, but not one that is too chilling.

LG Puricare aerotower, fan, purifier, review

Here’s where this fan is not great, however: If you do need that direct and powerful blast of air to cool you on a sweltering summer day, you can’t really get that with this device. I set it on directional flow, and Level 10 and it barely moved my hair.

Noise level: very quiet

This fan and purifier is ultra quiet. On Speed 1 it makes hardly any noise and there’s no discernible breeze from the device. Even on level 5/6 it’s not distracting or annoying and on Level 10, while its more noticeable, it’s certainly not unpleasantly loud.

App connection nightmare

One of the draws of this device should be that you can use your smartphone to control it and view air quality readings. I will say it was a nightmare for me to connect the AeroTower to the LG ThinQ app.

Before I launch into the hours I spent trying to resolve this issue, I will say this: You absolutely don’t need to connect to the app for this device to work. Using the aforementioned remote and on-device touch controls works just great.

A 4-5 hour saga of connectivity

Getting the LQ ThinQ app connectivity set up was a disaster for me personally. The first problem was that despite the app offering to scan the QR code on the back of my device for instant set up, the app did not recognize the QR code and prompted me to set it up manually. (I later tried this scan with an Android phone and it did recognize the device).

I spent nearly an hour on the first day trying to get the fan connected to LG‘s ThinQ app, and several more hours both by phone and via email trying to get my purifier connected. I will say LG’s customer service was kind and tried to be helpful, but there was no resolution more than 10 days after my initial outreach. LG seemed to feel the trouble was with my Wi-Fi (except I am already successfully using the LG ThinQ app with my LG dishwasher).

LG Puricare aerotower, fan, purifier, review

Endless error messages.

Getting the LQ ThinQ app connectivity set up was a disaster. I spent nearly an hour on the first day trying to get the fan connected to LG‘s ThinQ app.

QR Code won’t scan

The first problem was that despite the app offering to scan the QR code on the back of my device for instant set up, the app did not recognize the QR code and prompted me to set it up manually.

Next was that the device requires a unique passcode in order to add it to your Wi-Fi network, and I’m not talking about my own Wi-Fi password. LG provides you with two specific passwords in the app to use when connecting to the device. I dutifully tried both passwords with absolutely no success. I thought perhaps I was doing something wrong or making an odd typo, so I asked my husband to run through the set up sequence as well. He was equally as baffled. I decided to leave the set up for the day and come back to it the next day.

This time, fully caffeinated and using my powerful morning brain, I happened to nudge the app screen and noticed there is a hidden section of the screen below where it shows the passwords. While the page gives absolutely no indication it scrolls further down, if you swipe across the page you can see there’s a different set of instructions for how to understand and use the passwords…

Passcode instructions unclear

Here I learned you need to look at the alphanumeric device number generated by the fan, and use certain numbers within the device number as the password.

Convinced this was the magic bullet I gave it a try. Except no dice again. I went through the sequence several more times and each time was greeted with some type of error… Whether it was “incorrect password” or some type of “network failure” it simply would not connect.

At this point I realized I was probably going to need professional help from LG…

Trying to get help… and trying…

I located a number for customer service and started the process. I will say my call was answered immediately… Mercifully no long holds time for help.

LG Puricare aerotower, fan, purifier, review

The first agent told me this problem was outside his are and transferred me to a “specialist “. The specialist merely ran me through the set up sequence again before declaring this was outside his purview also. He told me I needed to be transferred to an LG ThinQ queue specialist but that unfortunately as I was calling on a Saturday, this department was only open Monday to Friday 8 to 5. He scheduled a call with me for the following Monday and that was it for this attempt.

On Monday my call came exactly on time… impressive. After one hour on the phone with the ThinQ specialist where we really just repeatedly went through the set up steps again and again, she professed she was mystified about why the app would not connect to the purifier. She told me the case was being escalated again to the software development team and I could expect a response in 7 to 10 business days.

Not convinced this was going to be a speedy resolution, I decided on a different tactic.

I grabbed my Google Pixel 5 and decided to give it a go with an Android phone.

Android vs iPhone: does one work better ? Nope.

For starters, the ThinQ app on android does actually scan the QR code, and the app loaded the product immediately and correctly. Again, I thought I was moments away from connection! Next up was connecting to my home’s Wi-Fi, but sadly the Android ThinQ app would allow me to choose my Wi-Fi connection but never advance beyond that screen. Beyond frustrated, I gave up again.

Maybe it’s the Wi-Fi? Nope.

The following day I got an email from LG tech-support, the gist of which said that the ThinQ app does not support 5gh Wi-Fi networks. Though my Wi-Fi is dual band (2.4 and 5 ghz), the ThinQ app isn’t able to determine the correct band on its own: a human needs to manually select the 2.4gh network. So I dutifully adjusted my Wi-Fi settings to create a separate 2.4 network.

This may not come as a surprise by now but this didn’t work either. I kept getting the same error messages. I tried again on Android using thr 2.4g network and still nada.

Now it may be worth pointing out here I was already using the LG ThinQ app in my home to connect to my LG Dishwasher, and it works just fine; I get ‘Cycle is complete’ and “time to add rinse agent’ alerts regularly.

Massive customer frustration

So after spending multiple hours on the phone, trying and retrying solutions, I still have no app connection. I think if I was an average consumer with less tech knowledge I would have taken the purifier straight back to the store and gone to buy a Dyson.

So here’s my opinion: It’s not the LQ ThinQ app, and it’s not my Wi-Fi. There’s something wrong with this product; perhaps I got a bad unit, since I recently read a colleagues’ review calling this purifier “one of the easiest pairings I’ve dealt with in a while.”

I’m disappointed LG has made no effort or suggestion to replace this purifier. I guess since the manual makes s point of saying any app connections issues are not its’ fault or concern, I suppose that’s why I’m not getting any sympathy.

Overall review LG Puricare AeroTower

So here’s my overall thoughts on this purifier: It works well without the app and you’ll be able to have all the functionality, power and control using the buttons or the remote. The fan is quiet, and it seems meant to lightly ruffle the air and not cool you directly, since it does lack any ability to whip up a strong directional breeze if you need one.

LG Puricare aerotower, fan, purifier, review

If you’re keen to use your phone as a remote, you might want to give this purifier a second thought, since for me it was a long slog thought tech troubleshooting with no positive result. I will say LG’s customer service team has been quick and has tried to be helpful, though there’s been no resolution to this.

While I actually love the looks of this device there are three major detractors for me: One is the lack of connectivity, the second is the lacklustre directional fan cooling, and other is its sheer size.

For those reasons I’m not recommending this device and would urge you to wait for the next generation model.

The LG PuriCare AeroTower sells for about sells $599USD.


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