This excellent air purifier is highly praised by professional reviewers (including Which?) and a huge swathe of very contented users. In the beauty contest stakes, there’s little too choose between this one and the similarly-specced Vax. Both are around the same size (the Vax is cylindrical while this one is more oblong), both are swathed in smooth opaque white plastic and both have attractive circular glow lamps that let the user know the level of particulates in the air. In this case, blue is good, blue-violet is fair, red-purple is unhealthy and red means you’re going to die.


The Philips’ sensors constantly measure the level of particulates around the appliance at any given time and the relevant number is constantly displayed on the top panel as a PM2.5 reading (PM2.5 refers to microscopic atmospheric particulate matter that have a diameter less than 2.5 micrometers, about 3% the diameter of a human hair). This extra feedback is very welcome on a system like this since it tells you it’s actually doing something. To test it, I pummeled a dusty cushion near the side air intakes and blew some smoke at it and the PM2.5 number increased substantially while the light turned a concerning shade of violet, and then red.


The Philips is perfect for medium to large rooms and comes with a range of touch control functions. Auto mode selects the fan speed according to the air quality, AL is the allergen mode for the control of pollen, pet dander and dust mites, and when it’s time to tuck up in bed, select fan speed one and you won’t hear a whisper from it while it goes about its air-cleaning business. It has a timer, too, that moves up in one-hour increments for up to 24 hours. Given its overall efficiency, decent looks and superb feedback, this model is fully deserving of an unequivocal high five.


Philips Air Purifier (AC3256)