PROS / The Vornado AC500 provides excellent customer support, and you can contact the company through several different channels.
CONS / Despite its small size, this air purifier makes a lot of noise.
VERDICT / The Vornado can clean the air out of both small and midsize rooms, but it is missing a number of elements we look for and is the loudest air purifier.
The Vornado AC500 is a small-room air purifier that uses charcoal pre-filters, HEPA filters and a fan to purify indoor air, and it does not produce any ozone or charged ions in the process. Although it is best suited for use in small rooms, this air purifier is the loudest out of all the models we reviewed, which can quickly make it irritating.
This air purifier is best for midsize or small rooms, as it is rated to operate in rooms up to 318 feet, according to a formula developed by AHAM. Unfortunately, this model has some of the lowest CADR scores out of all the ones we reviewed, meaning it is not as effective at removing indoor pollutants as other machines. This air purifier can make just over three air changes an hour, which means all the air in the room passes through its cleaning system once every 18 minutes or so. Although this isn't the most impressive air change rate we've seen, it still provides clean air at a steady pace.
A convenient feature this air purifier includes is an auto mode, which detects the level of airborne pollutants and adjusts its settings to maximize the cleaning effectiveness. This mode can also save energy, as the machine runs on low settings if it detects little or no pollutants. The Vornado AC500 also includes a sleep mode, in which the machine runs on its lowest settings so it doesn't disturb you while you sleep. The purifier lacks an ionizer, which is a heavily scrutinized piece of technology that is supposed to improve the cleaning ability but is not proven effective and produces trace amounts of ozone. In case you want a purifier with this extra cleaning stage, there are some air purifiers that include it but allow you to disable it if you prefer.
One of the most disappointing elements of this machine is its noise level. The Vornado AC is the loudest air purifier we reviewed, producing up to 69 dB. To give you context, a whisper measures around 30 dB, while most ringtones reach up to 80 dB. The average noise level of all the machines we reviewed is just over 60 dB. The Vornado is not a quiet machine to use while you watch TV.
Additionally, this machine consumes more energy than any of the other models we reviewed. In our testing, it pulled 158 watts, which is much more than the average of 92 watts. The machine doesn't have an operational timer to allow you to schedule times for it to turn on or off automatically, and it doesn't come with a remote control either. However, this machine is ARB certified, meaning it doesn't damage the air quality in your home. This air purifier is not Energy Star or AHAM certified, though, meaning it may not meet industry standards of energy efficiency and testing.
This Vornado air purifier comes with a five-year warranty to protect you against manufacturer defects. On Vornado's website, you can browse FAQs or download an owner's manual. The most impressive aspect of the company's support is the full range of contact options. You can contact a customer support representative by phone, email or live chat.
The Vornado AC500 is a HEPA air purifier that delivers decent filtration capabilities without using potentially harmful technology. Although it is rated for midsize or small rooms, it is the loudest air purifier we reviewed, even compared to large-room units. Fortunately, the auto mode monitors the air and adjusts the fan speed for you, meaning you don't have to babysit the machine. Vornado offers some of the best customer support options, as you can reach the company through several different channels. However, the purifier itself just isn't as strong as the best air purifiers.