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Gadget Review

Ionic Breeze Quadra

By Kailas Narendran
COLUMNIST

Pros

* Makes breeze with no moving parts.

Cons

* Very expensive.

* Creates ozone and ions that can cause harmful side effects.

* Frequent cleaning required.

* Sometimes noisy.

The Lowdown

The Ionic Breeze Quadra is the new air purifier that Sharper Image has been pushing all over the place. It’s pretty cool in that it creates a “breeze” with no moving parts, just some charged wires and collection plates. The unit stands about two to three feet tall and can easily sit in the corner of a room. Cleaning the collection plates is easy to do, but must be done frequently (especially if you like to leave your windows open). While the device is cool in concept, the flashy TV ads don’t tell you about some of the side effects that are on par with some prescription drugs.

Side effects

While evaluating this device, I came to the wonderful realization that it gives my wife and I headaches. While it was running, we both woke up with mild headaches every morning. After two weeks of evaluating, I found myself in the urgent care department of the medical center with a migraine (yes, I go the extra mile for my readers).

I had suspected the unit might have been to blame, but wasn’t sure until I did some Internet searching and found many reviews of the device where headaches were reported as a side effect. Others had also mentioned that the ozone the unit emitted led to respiratory problems. Needless to say, after suffering the most excruciating natural pain I have ever been subjected to, I boxed up the unit.

Cleaning

It does seem like the device picks up stuff floating in the air, but it doesn’t really keep up with a room that has an open window. If you don’t clean the unit regularly (weekly, at least in the beginning), it makes a noise and sometimes creates a burning smell. If you like burning candles, forget this device as the soot from the candles will quickly “clog” the device and cause it to start making noise.

Unlike the ads suggest, I didn’t find cleaning to be as easy as “just wiping off the collection grids.” Most of the time debris was caked on and required some effort to wipe off.

The bottom line

All the bad stuff aside, for students with a small room and about $350 that’s burning a hole in your pocket, this could be the solution you’re looking for.

But personally, I think this thing sucks and can’t believe it is on the market with no warning of the possible side effects. It’s true that you don’t have to replace filters and this device doesn’t use much energy (only 10 watts), giving you cost savings. You do, however, lose these savings with the co-pay on your emergency room visits and lost wages when you’re bedridden as a result of the ions running around your room. If you want to learn more, you can go to http://www.ionicbreeze.com/.