My home is like some kind of nightmarish dust magnet, due to all the building work going on near me, the general filth of London and, I guess, all that dead human skin floating about from me and my partner. Also, everyone’s favourite, insect excrement. Lovely. Making matters fouler, I’ve got a lot of wooden surfaces and, of course, technological gizmos that act as further dust magnets. I know there's a big boom in online cleaning 'influencers' and that everyone now claims to be super enthusiastic about dusting, vacuuming and sterilising their home, but I am just not that handy at wielding a duster. So what's a guy to do about their dust magnet of a home? Simple: fight back with a different kind of dust magnet. Specifically, the Blueair DustMagnet.
Disappointingly, this does not look like a massive cartoon horseshoe magnet, of the kind Wile E Coyote might have bought from Acme Products in order to catch Road Runner – meep meep! It looks like a quite stylish air purifier, because that's essentially what it is. I've been using it for a week and while the jury's out on its dusting prowess, it is an affordable and effective purifier.
A lot of air purifiers are ugly behemoths that look more at home in an office or hospital than your chic modern home. In fact that's true of a lot of Blueair's older machines, but the Swedish brand is now trying to live up to the Scandinavian stereotype of being stylish by making its purifiers more attractive.
To that end, DustMagnet – which really is a hilarious name – is a reasonably good looking device with a compact footprint, four short legs at the bottom and a kind of small shelf thing on the top. The 'shelf' covers the air inlet which draws in pollution, dust and general foulness, then removes and traps it via not one but two filters in the chamber below.
As well as a simple control panel on the device itself, with 3 speed settings, Dust Magnet also allows you to control it via an app or just leave it on Auto to react to changing air conditions in your home. Unusually, there's also a geofencing feature, which causes it to start up as it detects you're nearing your home, using your phone's GPS. The idea is that it cleans the air ready for your return, without needing to be kept on 24/7. Quite why that's better than you just turning it on when you get in – or via the app when you are ready to head home, come to that – I’m not sure, but there it is. Voice control via Alexa and Google Home is also possible.
Now, it must be said that any air purifier will remove dust from the air to some extent. The outer filter of my Philips air purifier (opens in new tab) gets absolutely choked with dust and needs to be vacuumed clean every 6 months or so. However, Blueair claims that DustMagnet has 'unique' HEPASilent filtration technology that 'captures and removes airborne dust before it settles on floors and surfaces.' That sounds like a dream come true, right?
On top of that, it also sucks up the usual air purifier stuff – allergens, dust, pollen, mould, pet dander and microplastics from the air. It further claims to be able to deal with 'bacteria and viruses' to some extent. A pair of carbon filters means it can do a job on smoke, gases and bad smells too.
Breathing in dust is bad for you, especially if you happen to be allergic to it, but I must say my main interest here is in reducing the amount of bloody dusting I need to do. Blueair claims that DustMagnet 'removes dust before it settles on surfaces' to a degree that other air purifiers do not. That is due to a 'powerful airflow in combination with two positively charged pre-filters,' that attract the dust, apparently. Particles as small as 0.1 microns can be sucked up and imprisoned.
I don't have a laboratory for testing air purifiers but I do have what scientists call 'a very bloody dusty house.' The main bedroom in particular has a large sideboard that develops a thick layer of dust within a day or two of being meticulously buffed clean. To be honest, preventing dust build up in here would be some kind of miracle and I am not sure DustMagnet is quite in the miracle business – it is only £350/$360 after all.
So far, there is no doubt that DustMagnet is keeping that dust build-up at bay to an extent, but it definitely hasn't ended the need for dusting. The bedroom may simply be too stern a challenge, so I will try DustMagnet in a room that is less of an actual dust magnet before reviewing this properly.
One other good thing about the device is that the shelf on top means it can be used as a bedside table, which is not something you can say of most air purifiers. Blueair reckons that its 'designed to blend into the home like a great looking piece of Scandinavian furniture. There is no need to hide your air purifier behind the sofa and you can instead place it prominently in the room where it will be most effective.'
DustMagnet comes in two sizes: 5240i for rooms up to 48m² in size 5440i for rooms up to 79m². I've been using the latter model. While it doesn't seem that it's going to save me from needing to ever clean again, there is at least some reduction in dust levels in my unusually filth-ridden abode and for that I'm grateful.
Blueair DustMagnet: price and availability
In the UK, Blueair DustMagnet is £349 from selected retailers including Argos (opens in new tab). In the USA you can find it at Lowes and elsewhere, from $359 (opens in new tab). In Australia it's released later this year via Blueair's own site (opens in new tab) and should cost around AU$600.