Here's our Blueair Classic 480i review in a sentence: the big daddy of air purifiers is a serious bit of air-cleaning kit.
Probably the best air purifier you can buy for a large room, the Blueair Classic 480i is not what you would call a beautiful machine, but it is an effective one. If you suffer from allergies or just desire cleaner air at home, this could be the right machine for you.
As you can see, this is not a compact air purifier, nor is it a particularly stylish one, despite its Scandinavian origins. No, Blueair Classic 480i is more like an industrial device that has been made just attractive enough to put in your home – most particularly if your home has large rooms into it, where it either vanishes into the background, or can be hidden behind furniture.
Personally I put mine behind my kitchen table, against the wall, where it has lived very happily for more than a year now. There is not a lot to know about this device, since once installed you barely need to think about it again – and you won't really be casting admiring glances at it. But let me talk you through what I've learned.
Blueair Classic 480i review: price and availability
Being large, serious and Scandinavian, this Blueair purifier was never going to be cheap. And it's not. It's £629 in the UK with a standard HEPA/particle filter and £679 with a SmokeStop filter (for smoke, obvs). In the USA it's $699 and in Australia it's AUS£1,299. Watch out for discounts and deals, though – our pricing widget will show you the best prices on offer.
Blueair Classic 480i: design
Well, it's a large box, measuring 40x63x72cm. With a sight curve to its outer panelling, I wouldn't say the 480i was completely devoid of style, but it is essentially a large metal box.
A flap on top covers the few buttons and lights that the Blueair Classic 480i has to offer. One button cycles through its three power settings (and off), and the other activates auto mode. And once you activate auto mode, that may be all the interaction you need with it until it's time to change the filter.
There are also a few rudimentary, backlit icons to tell you what pollutants it's detected, whether the Wi-Fi is connected and, yes, when it's time to change the filter.
Able to clear the air in a room 40 metres square in 12 minutes, this is a big purifier for large interior spaces. If you put it in a small room, it might be a bit too dominant, but it's very quiet most of the time so if you don't mind the size and appearance it could theoretically go anywhere.
Clearly a large room is its natural home, though. I use it in a kitchen/living room dual space.
Blueair Classic 480i review: setup
Setup is about as simple as you could wish for. Just take the shrink wrap off the supplied filter and whack it into the large cavity inside the beast. You have a choice of a carbon filter that can deal with smoke, or a particle filter that only handles dust, allergens and other particles. If you're using it in the kitchen, you need the 'SmokeStop' variety which is twice the price of the standard particle filter.
There is the option of control via app or even Alexa voice control, and connecting to Wi-Fi is straightforward. Once setup, the Blueair app also gives you an overview of your air quality right this moment, and over the days and weeks.
It also shows the current power setting, or auto mode, and time till your next filter replacement. This always looks a tad pessimistic as it's measured in days, but you will not generally be using the Blueair Classic 480i 24 hours a day, so filter life is longer than it looks.
For me, the best thing is you can set this machine up, put it on auto mode with a simple schedule – so it goes to sleep at night – and then largely forget about it. In auto mode, the air quality sensor tells the machine when and at what speed the machine needs to work to purify the air. You can override this manually if you like, although you will then need to turn auto mode back on later.
You can also use it like a floor-level extractor fan, and only turn it on when you're cooking, or some other air-fouling event has occurred.
Blueair Classic 480i review: performance
Blueair's HEPASILENT tech is said to capture '99.97% of airborne pollutants including dust, mold, pet dander, and pollen for relief from allergies and athsma', while the carbon SmokeStop filter also removes smokey fumes from cooking, smoking, wood burners and the like. It's officially rated for use in rooms of '434 sq ft', which is very precise but equates to 40 metres squared. That's not actually a huge area, but it's more than most air purifiers.
On its two lower power settings, the Classic 480i runs very quiet. You can easily watch TV and carry on normal life without being bothered by it. The top power setting is notably louder but still not deafening by any means.
In normal use, this quiet giant just gets on with the job of keeping the air clean with minimal fuss. When I get to cooking it does a very good job of removing smoke and fumes. Blueair's claim that it cleans the air in a room up to 40m sq in 12 minutes seems quite accurate, in fact.
The only lacklustre element of the experience is the app. This has a noticeable time lag on it, so if you change the power setting, although that change will happen more or less instantly, the app continues to display the previous setting for a prolonged period. That's not the end of the world, clearly, but it does reduce the 'premium' feel of what is, after all, quite a pricey device.
The filter supplied with the machine lasted me for 9 months. I would assume it would last about 9-12 months for most people, depending on the amount of use you give it. Replacement filters are not especially cheap – the SmokeStop ones are around £100/$100, in fact, though the simpler particle filters are only £60/$60.
Blueair Classic 480i review: verdict
There are certainly sexier air purifiers than the Blueair Classic 480i, but on the other hand, it does live up to its no-nonsense appearance when it comes to purifying the air. While Dyson's purifiers are more showy – both more technologically advanced and more attractive – Blueair's machine has a more stoic, efficient air to it. It gets on with its one job extremely effectively and won't let anyone down.