The Levoit LV-PUR131S is the first smart air purifier released by the Californian manufacturer and, considering that some of its competitors have already launched their smart models, Levoit has to make sure that it got the combination between functionality and smart home integration right (and that’s the Achilles heel of a lot of smart devices which, despite having some great hardware, the IoT integration was severely lacking).
The LV-PUR131S is based on the LV-PUR131 model which has added a WiFi chip and antenna to connect to the the local network, but it doesn’t use a proprietary app, instead relying on the VeSync app to do the ‘smart heavy lifting’.
The VeSync app was developed to work with multiple brands (such as Etekcity and Cosori) and I have previously seen it in action with an Etekcity smart scale and I had no complaints, the app was responsive and had a stable connection with both the router and the IoT device. Of course, I expect the same with the LV-PUR131S, but that’s not all that the device has to offer since, similarly to the LV-H133, it’s no ordinary air purifier, featuring a three-stage filtration (a pre-filter, a True HEPA filter and an Activated Carbon filter), an air quality monitor and the ability to quickly purify a large home (in this case, it’s up to 322 square feet).
Considering that there is no difference in terms of design between the Levoit LV-PUR131S and the LV-PUR131, you can expect the same rectangular body covered by a glossy white finish and with the touch-sensitive control panel positioned on the top (covered by a black glossy finish – yes, it’s a smudge magnet). The top plastic curves towards the minimalist front panel (has only the printed logo) and underneath it, Levoit has constructed a recessed area which allows you to easily move the air purifier around.
Furthermore, the device measures 18.5 x 14.7 x 7.0 inches and, despite being a bit smaller than the LV-H133, it will still sit better on the floor than on a desk (its center of gravity is reasonably low, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally tipping it over). I found the cylindrical case of the LV-H133 interesting and the internal motor was very efficient at pushing the air upwards through the cut-outs positioned on the top and the LV-PUR131S does follow a similar principle, having the vent grills on the top of the case (next to the control panel), but, considering that the body of the device is narrower, the internal motor sits on its side instead of upwards (as on the LV-H133) – but it doesn’t seem to have any impact on the efficiency of the air purifier.
The circular display of the LV-H133 was one the highlights of the device, but the lack of a remote or app to go along with it did limit the functionality of the air purifier. The LV-PUR131S does have a similar touch-sensitive panel (it’s rectangular) with pretty much the same functions, but the device also allows you to control it using a mobile app (be aware that besides the sticker on the top, the entire panel is covered by a transparent layer, so don’t be scared if you accidentally scratch it with your nails). If the smart home is not what you’re aiming for, the control panel does provide (almost) everything that you need to keep the air clean in your home: after powering up the device, you will notice that a red Power icon will appear in the middle of the touch-screen panel and you can afterwards tap on the On/Off button to start the fan (it will enter immediately in Auto mode).
It is extremely important that you remove the back panel (which is attached magnetically to the air purifier) and that you take the two filter panels out of their plastic bags before connecting the LV-PUR131S to a power source. Otherwise, the device will make a lot of noise and can damage its internal components – when you put the filter panels back, make sure that you keep the pull tabs towards you (after you’re done, the panel can magnetically reattach to the side of the LV-PUR131S).
The On/Off button can be used to power on the device, but it does have some additional functions (the small WiFi icon gives it away): if you press and hold it for 5 seconds, the air purifier will enter the Configuration Mode (the device is ready to be paired to the app) and, if you press it for 15 seconds, it will return the LV-PUR131S to the factory default settings. Next to the On/Off button, there’s the Display button which turns on or off the display (if it annoys you during the night), the Sleep Mode button which still keeps the fan running but at a very low speed so it won’t interfere with your sleep (unless you use it as a white noise generator), the Auto Mode button which relies on the air quality sensor to detect the proper fan level.
If the air quality is very good, the LED will turn blue and the fan will enter the Sleep Mode to keep the power consumption low, otherwise, if the air quality is good, then the LED will turn green and the fan speed will be set to low; if the air quality is moderate, the LED will turn yellow and the fan speed will run on medium setting and, lastly, if the air quality is bad, then the LED will be red and the fan speed will run at the highest level. The air quality is detected by an infrared light which detects the airborne particles that enter the sensor’s chamber.
Next to to Auto mode button, there’s the Speed button where you can roam through the three available speed cycles (low, medium and high) and, last to the right, there’s the Timer button where you can select between 1 and 12 hours (by continuously tapping on the button) until the fan will turn off. Similarly to the LV-H133, even if you turn off the air purifier, it will remember any prior configuration when you turn it back on.
While functioning, depending on the chosen configuration, a WiFi icon will appear after the air purifier is connected to the VeSync app, so, if you have paired the device to the app, the WiFi LED will remain blue solid and, if it’s in Configuration Mode (ready to be paired), then the LED will flash every second; in case you have returned the device to factory default settings, them the WiFi LED will flash four times per second and, if the air purifier can’t connect to the router, then it will flash two times per second (if you aren’t using the WiFi connection, then the LED will remain turned off).
When I tested the Levoit LV-H133, I noticed that it had three types of filters to purify the air and the Levoit LV-PUR131S uses the same combination: immediately next to the motor, there’s the Activated Carbon Filter which has the role of absorbing the pollutant molecules (therefore eliminating any bad odor, such as smoke), followed by another panel that on one side has a True-HEPA Filter and on the other side, there’s a Pre-Filter.
Levoit claims that the True-HEPA filter can remove up to 99.97% of pollutants, including pollen, dander and dust, so, just like the LV-H133, it can filter particles as small as 0.3 microns – the difference between a ‘regular’ HEPA and a True-HEPA filter is that the latter meets the United States Department of Energy standard requirements, so you can be sure that it’s not an untested possibly-inferior HEPA filter. Unlike the True-HEPA filter which works great with finer particles, the Pre-filter will capture larger particles, such as hair, dust or dirt. As you can see, the LV-PUR131S is 100% ozone free, so it doesn’t rely on the ancient anion or UV-C light purification methods to make the air cleaner which had some nasty side effects especially for those that suffer from asthma.
The device will let you know when you need to change the filters using the Check Filter Indicator but, even if the indicator turns on, it’s more of a reminder and it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s time to change the filters. You should change them when the air purifier gets noisier and the air quality doesn’t improve regardless of the amount of time the device is running – usually, you should change the filters every 5-7 months, but, depending on the use, it can be more often (if you’re living in a very polluted environment). You should also make sure that you regularly clean the Pre-filter (about once a month), but don’t attempt to clean the True-HEPA or the Active Carbon filters. The dust sensor should also be periodically cleaned by removing the small cover from the side of the device and using a cotton swab (make sure that it’s powered off before opening it).
The Levoit LV-PUR131S has a CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) of 135 CFM (230 m³/h), so it’s almost half than what the LV-H133 has to offer, but it will still do a great job with a large room – the maximum recommended is 322 square feet, but it will do fine with larger homes, just be aware that it will take a bit longer until the air quality increases (especially if the air is polluted). I tested the Levoit LV-PUR131S in a 270 square foot room and, similarly to the LV-H133, the air became clear after about an hour – it’s important to know that the area where I live has a very clean air with the occasional smoke from either an exhaust pipe or from burning leaves, so the air quality LED would always remain blue – the test was done after some cigar smoke was introduced in the room.
The noise level is an important factor to take into consideration especially if you intend to use the air purifier in the bedroom while you sleep and, as expected, if the LV-PUR131S ran in the Sleep Mode, it was almost completely silent, but, if the fan was set at the Low level, I did measure between 43-44db (at about 5 feet from the device); on the medium level, the fan noise would not exceed 47db and, on the high setting, I measured between 49 and 50 db – which is very much audible and could have a negative impact on your sleep (so, in this case, it’s best to keep the fan on low or Sleep mode).
Levoit advertises a rated power consumption of 40W, so I decided to also test the power draw depending on the fan speed using a Gosund smart socket: when the air purifier was set in the Sleep mode, it required between 4.9 and 5.1W and, when the fan was set at the Low speed, I saw an average power consumption of about 10.8W; on the Medium setting, the fan required an average of 18.4W and, on the High setting, it needed 29W. Overall, the Levoit LV-PUR131S does seem to have a higher power consumption than the Levoit LV-H133 which, despite being more powerful, seems to be better optimized in this regard.
Note: Some manufacturers like to make their air purifiers cheaper than its competitors, while also significantly increasing the cost of the filters, but it seems that Levoit has made the filters for the LV-PUR131S very accessible in terms of price.
In order to connect the LV-PUR131S to a home network, Levoit relies on the VeSync app which you need to download and install on your mobile device (it is compatible with both iOS and Android OS). Afterwards, open the app, create a new Account (or log into an existing one) and verify the email address to gain access to the app UI. Here, you will be greeted by My Home window which contains a list of all the connected devices and to add a new one, press the ‘Plus’ sign.
Doing so, will summon a list of multiple types of products, but we’re going to choose Air Quality Product; here, only the Levoit 131 Air Purifier is available (for now) so, tap on it and follow the instructions: connect the air purifier to a socket and press the On/Off button for 5 seconds until the WiFi LED will pulsate on the top panel. When it does, press Next on the app and select the WiFi network to which the LV-PUR131S will connect (compatible with only 2.4GHz networks); afterwards, you need to go to the WiFi networks on your mobile device and connect to the VeSync_purifier131xxx network which will automatically start the pairing process – at the end, the app will let you know that the air purifier has been Successfully Connected and that the device is set up.
Returning to the My Home page, you’ll be able to see the Levoit LV-PUR131S with a small Power icon to quickly turn on or off the device. If you tap on the name, it will take you to a new window which has a fan animation on the background and on top of it, it will display the air quality and the Filter Life (tap on it to see the instructions on how to replace the filters and there’s also a direct link to the manufacturer’s shop).
Underneath the fan animation, the four icons that enabled a certain fan speed mode (Auto, Low, Med, High and Sleep) are replaced by a bar (in a newer firmware update) allowing you to set between multiple fan speed values (from 1 to 10); towards the bottom side, there’s an On/Off button, the Display On/Off button, the Schedule button (tap on it to set the time, the fan speed mode and if the display will turn On or Off) and a Timer button (similarly to the panel function, it will allow you to set a certain period of time until the fan will turn off).
Lastly, if you press on the cogwheel icon from the top right side of the screen, it will summon the Device Settings page where you can change the Name of the Device, the Icon, enable the Notifications, the device Alert Tone or the Child Lock (which essentially disables the touch-sensitive-display, but it does keep the LED icons).
Further down, there’s the Filter Life which displays the percentage remaining until you should consider replacing the filters, the Buy Replacement icon, the Share Device (which allows you to invite users which will be able to control the air purifier) and the ability to Update the Firmware (there’s also the Delete Device option at the bottom).
Note: As with every other smart IoT device, you need to make sure that you keep your home network safe by updating the router to its latest available firmware (if too much time has passed since the manufacturer has made a new firmware available, it may be time to replace the router) and by updating the smart device to the latest firmware (again, if there aren’t any available updates over a long period of time, it’s a sign that the device is no longer supported). Furthermore, it is ideal to isolate the IoT devices from your network using a VLAN (lots of relatively inexpensive smart managed switches have this function).
Levoit’s first entry in the smart air purifier market seems to be a successful one, offering both the reliability of a premium air filtering system (using three types of filters including Active Carbon and True-HEPA) and the convenience of a mobile app through which you can easily control every aspect of the device (including the creation of schedules). Of course, if you don’t want to connect the air purifier to your home network (and it’s perfectly reasonable since it’s difficult to keep the network safe), then the LV-PUR131S does offer an easy way to control it through the touch-sensitive panel (I do wish that the manufacturer would also include a remote).
Check out the product here:
- Uses three filters (Pre-filter, True-HEPA and Active Carbon)
- Air quality sensor
- Touch-sensitive display
- Can be controlled using a mobile app
- Easy to replace the filters
- No remote control
- The power consumption is a bit elevated