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Samsung Versatile Plus AX46 Air Purifier review

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9.5Expert Score
Samsung Versatile Plus AX46 Air Purifier review: A breath of fresh air

Big and bulky, the Samsung Versatile Plus AX46 air purifier is designed to clean the air in large rooms and homes, and is impressively quiet and discreet about the entire process.

Design
9.5
Performance
9.5
Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Powerful fan moves air quickly
  • SmartThings control offers automation options
  • Doesn't use to much electricity
Cons
  • Big and bulky
  • Size means it won't suit everyone
  • Easy to miss setup steps

The past half a decade has been a bit rough on Australians’ lungs. First we had bushfires covering most of the country, followed by flooding and the increase in mould that brings. We had Coronavirus. 

Air purifiers have seen dramatic growth and improvements over that period of time, as manufacturers help people improve the quality of the air in their home.

The Samsung Versatile Plus AX46 is a large air purifier designed to keep large rooms feeling fresh and the air pure. 

While its bulk is inescapable, a combination of intelligent features and specs means that the air purifier practically disappears into the background of your home. 

With quiet operation, discreet controls and hidden wheels that let you move it around as required, the AX46 will make a palpable difference to the air quality in your home.

Design

Looking down at the top of the Samsung AX46 air purifier

There are not many places to hide the Versatile Plus AX46 air purifier around the home. Standing at 78.3 cm tall, it’s a bulky unit that requires a lot of space.

Fortunately, it’s a nicely designed, bulky unit. The muted silver colour is complimented by the front mesh grill, which takes up most of the unit’s front.

The top of the purifier offers the controls and display, which will easily show you the number of particles of different sizes the purifier is detecting. 

If air quality suddenly drops, a coloured light illuminates to highlight the drop in air quality, while the fans automatically adjust to increase airflow to purify the contaminated air.

You can cycle through fan speeds and put the device in night mode easily using the touch controls on the top of the purifier.

The AX46 is capable of purifying rooms up to 60m2, and has a CADR airflow rate of 467m3/h.

It achieves this by sucking air in through that massive front grill, and then distributing it via three different vents: one on top and one on either side.

This means you can set up the AX46 purifier against a wall and know that it’s still going to be blasting pure air to all corners of your room.

If you need to move the air purifier to another room, say to help clear the air of burnt toast smell (true story), the fact that it comes mounted on discreet wheels for easy movement is welcome. 

Setup challenges

The filter of the AX46 exposed for replacement. When delivered, it comes wrapped in plastic

While the AX46 is easy to take out of its box, I will flag that I did encounter a small challenge when I first installed it in my home.

As a reviewer, I tend to avoid reading the instructions when I set up a product if I can help it, to get a clearer understanding of the ease of setup. 

For the AX46, I pulled the purifier out of the box, plugged it in and turned it on. It started blowing air, and seemed to be working great.

But the next day, while checking the instructions for something else, I discovered that I’d missed a crucial step – removing the plastic from the air filter inside the unit. 

While this wouldn’t be a problem to anyone who promptly reads the instruction manual, the fact you aren’t guided to do this via stickers or tags on the device itself seems like an oversight.

SmartThings integration

The other key element of the AX46’s design is its deep integration in the SmartThings ecosystem. 

Setting up the purifier in the SmartThings app is straightforward, and lets you do things like set routines, automate function based on different scenarios, and provide you detailed information on your purifier’s performance.

It could potentially go even deeper, offering more historical and comparative data on air quality. But I loved the ease of control offered by the app.

Performance

Looking top down at the AX46's display

So here’s the thing. I was testing the Samsung Versatile Plus AX46 in my home for about six weeks. During that time, the purifier ran mostly 24/7. 

My home is not a laboratory. I couldn’t comfortably say that it filtered out 99.9% of certain harmful bacteria, like Samsung claims.

Did it remove 99.97% of ultra-fine dust through my home with its multi-layered HEPA filter system? Who knows?

All I can tell you is what I observed during my review period.

About a week after we first turned it on, my wife said to me that she wasn’t struggling to get her breath as much in the house. She wondered aloud if it might be from the AX46.

Another time we had turned on the oven without having washed the griller, and some burnt cheese got even more burnt and started stinking up the house.

We rolled the AX46 out to the kitchen area, and it sprang into action. The lights went red, the fan went hard, and the smell of burnt cheese and dirty oven dispersed.

A similar situation with burnt toast, though this time we didn’t even roll the AX46 out to the kitchen from the adjacent living area. It detected the increase in what I’ll describe as “burnt toast” particles and automatically boosted its fast power to clear the air. 

It didn’t take long for the smell to disappear.

Dealing with sickness

The AX46 kicked into gear after I lit a match nearby, with the blue light turning green

Over the period of my review, the flu rampaged through my household. Well, half my household, anyway. My son missed a week of school with it, and the day before he was due to go back, I fell ill.

My wife and daughter both caught something, but it lacked the severity of the bug that impacted my son and me.

I suspect, though I have no way of ever proving it, that part of the reason only half the family got sick was because the AX46 was constantly cycling the air in our shared living space. 

We’ll never know for certain, but I’m confident that having the purifier running while we were ill certainly didn’t hurt.

Volume

One of the things I was most impressed by with the AX46 was how quiet it was. Unless the fan got cranking to deal with obvious pollutants like burnt toast, it was remarkably quiet. 

Sitting in the same room as the TV, I didn’t even need to turn it off while watching a movie.

Still, there was a significant volume difference between the fan on low and the night mode setting. Night mode drops performance to a bare minimum, so you barely know it’s on.

With a routine setup in SmartThings, I didn’t even have to touch the purifier to adjust the settings – it just switched to night mode each night at 10pm, and powered back up to Auto mode at 7am.

Energy consumption

The side air vent and laser particle detectors of the AX46 air purifier

The other impressive aspect of the purifier was its energy consumption. In the SmartThings app, you can set your local grid and electricity rate, and the app will send you a daily alert of how much the AX46 costs you in electricity for the day.

According to the app, I was spending 6 cents each day to run the air purifier 24/7.

Given the impressive (if unscientific) performance I explained above, plus the rate of electricity at the moment, I feel that 50 cents a week or so is an entirely reasonable running cost.

Verdict

In a short online conversation I had with fellow tech reviewer Alex Kidman a few weeks back, he warned me that “it’s always hard to get away from confirmation bias” when reviewing air purifiers. 

And he’s right. I feel that a lot of my feelings on this product are anecdotal and experiential, rather than scientifically grounded.

But at the same time, that’s how real-world users are going to experience the product, too.

As I write this, Australia seems to be enjoying a short reprieve from natural disasters. There are no fires, or flooding, or pandemic to worry about. 

So it’s natural to expect demand for air purifiers is lower, too.

But if you are someone with a breathing condition like asthma, an air purifier could definitely help make life easier.

The AX46 isn’t for everyone. It is big and bulky, and won’t suit those with small homes or limited free space.

If you have the space, though, it feels like it does a solid job at clearing your air, and is a viable contender for one of the best air purifiers in Australia.

Buy the Samsung AX46 air purifier online

AU $699.00
+ Delivery *
Thegoodguys.com.au
AU $870.99
Free delivery
AU $898.99
Free delivery
* Delivery cost shown at checkout.
Product disclosure

Samsung supplied the product for this review.

Author

  • Nick Broughall

    Nick is the founder and editor of BTTR. He is an award winning product reviewer, who has spent the last 20 years writing, editing and publishing technology and consumer content for brands like Finder, Gizmodo and TechRadar.

    View all posts
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