Russell Hobbs RHAP3501 review: this portable air purifier is a cheap but effective breath of fresh air

The Russell Hobbs RHAP3501 Portable Air Purifier lets you breathe easy without breaking the budget

Russell Hobbs RHAP3501
(Image credit: Russell Hobbs)
T3 Verdict

The Russell Hobbs RHAP3501 is a simple but effective air purifier that makes up for a lack of features and functions by being easy to use and doing its job. Select auto mode and you've got an air purifier that requires minimal supervision

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Very affordable

  • +

    Easy to use

  • +

    Low maintenance

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Fairly bland appearance

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Here's our Russell Hobbs RHAP3501 review in a sentence: this Portable Air Purifier is a great option if you’re looking for a cheap air purifier that puts in a decent performance.

If the atmosphere in your home is starting to feel decidedly stale then it could be time to consider buying an air purifier. With most of us having been cooped up in the house for long periods over the last year the air quality in many of our rooms has become fusty to say the least. Moving forwards, breathing better quality air is not only healthier but an air purifier will make your home feel a little more revitalised too.

The best air purifiers on the market can help to deal with improving air quality, but many are on the larger side. Having a lighter, more movable air purifier might therefore be the way to go and, for that, the Russell Hobbs RHAP3501 Portable Air Purifier fits the bills perfectly. This is a lightweight air purifier that can tackle dust and the raft of other microorganisms that lower the air quality of your rooms. But it’s fully portable.

What’s more, if you suffer from asthma, are plagued by an allergy or have to annually fend off the unpleasant effects of hayfever then an air purifier should be able to help too. This Russell Hobbs one is a very low-fuss option.

Russell Hobbs RHAP3501

(Image credit: Russell Hobbs)

Russell Hobbs RHAP3501: design

This is an affordable air purifier, which means that it’s fairly light on fancy frills but the Russell Hobbs RHAP3501 is a actually a nice looking thing. Its styling is wonderfully straightforward and the casing is finished in a neutral white plastic, which usefully means it can sit in a room and you’ll barely notice it. Save for the grille holes and a bare minimum of buttons on the top it’s clean and simple.

The upright rectangular box is designed to be purely functional too, so there’s little about it that catches the eye. Dimensions are 20 x 36 x 55.4 cm and it weighs 6.4kg, so it’s easy to move the unit around as and when you need to. Up on the top of the appliance there is an LED display, which delivers air quality readings and allows you to set function modes. On either side of the display are three buttons and, really, that’s about it.

Russell Hobbs RHAP3501

(Image credit: Russell Hobbs)

Russell Hobbs RHAP3501 review: setup

Thankfully, the fuss-free theme of the Russell Hobbs RHAP3501 continues when it comes to setting it up too. Pull the unit out of the box and there’s very little to do in order to start purifiying the cruddy air in your home. Core controls are, as mentioned, located in the top panel, with three main speeds to choose from along with a night mode for quieter operation at night.

While speeds 1, 2 and 3 will mean increasingly louder fan operation the night mode promises near silent running. The innards of the casing contain a combined HEPA and carbon filter, which can be vacuumed over time in order to remove dust and detritus. It’s too early to say how frequently these need to be replaced, but given the budget price tag of the unit itself we can only assume these aren't going to be too costly to renew either.

Russell Hobbs RHAP3501

(Image credit: Russell Hobbs)

Russell Hobbs RHAP3501 Portable Air Purifier review: performance

The Russell Hobbs RHAP3501 contains a 5-layer HEPA filtration system that should be able to remove 99.95% of contaminants in rooms of up to 43m². Considering the size of the appliance that’s pretty impressive. The filtration setup can also take on the likes of smoke, pollen and everyday dust too, making it on paper a pretty impressive proposition.

For your first run it’s possible to simply switch the unit on and select Auto mode, which does all of the decision making in terms of operation. It monitors the atmosphere and adapts output to suit the conditions. The CADR removal is 350 m3/h with a particle matter 2.5 (PM2.5) rating adding to the performance statistics. It took an hour or two to start feeling the obvious effects of the appliance and things continued to get better the longer we ran the machine.

We also found that the Russell Hobbs RHAP3501 works well if you go down the manual settings route. The three speed settings offer a wide spectrum of performance options, with the manual controls allowing you to tweak the appliance to suit both your needs and the size of the room. The 8-hour timer feature is handy if you want to set the unit up in advance of doing something else, so you can leave it to its own devices. A child lock offers peace of mind too.

Russell Hobbs RHAP3501

(Image credit: Russell Hobbs)

Russell Hobbs RHAP3501 Portable Air Purifier review: verdict

The Russell Hobbs RHAP3501 is a low-cost model that’s ideally suited to anyone who wants to see what an air purifier can do without breaking the bank. It’s easy to set up and operate, with enough functions to suit most scenarios and with enough power to tackle all sorts of rooms too. Indeed, with its high setting on at full chat we found the appliance to be particularly impressive. 

We love the automatic setting for day-to-day use though, which simply gets on with the job. Noise levels are reasonably low too, with the night setting making the Russell Hobbs RHAP3501 a good bet for anyone needing to use an air purifier after dark. Allergy sufferers will therefore find it a real boon. The design is low-key, which is a good thing if you just want something to sit in the corner of a room without attracting attention to itself. Best of all though, this is a super affordable machine.

Rob Clymo

Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital, he has run the Innovation channel for a few years at Microsoft, as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of Stuff, TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working, he's usually out and about on one of the numerous e-bikes in his collection.