Live Science Verdict
It may not be as stylish or as connected as other air purifiers in this price bracket, but the Coway AP-1512HH makes up for this with a reliable, effective performance.
Easy to use
Quiet at lower settings
Replacement filters aren't cheap
Noisy at highest setting
Lacks wow factor
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Our review of the Coway AP-1512HH will give you everything you need to know about this air purifier, from how it looks and operates, to how well it performs. We’ll measure how well this air purifier traps and removes particles during a series of tests, using an air particle meter, so you’ll have a great idea of how well the Coway AP-1512HH can perform in your home.
We’ll also test how loud the Coway AP-1512HH is during operation, look at any additional functionality it offers, and assess its design and user interface.
Available from under $200
2 colors (back or white)
Features an Auto and Eco mode
Three fan speeds
True HEPA filter
77W power consumption
Top pick air purifier by Wirecutter
The Coway AP-1512HH features a GreenHEPA™ filter, which Coway says removes up to 99.97% of harmful airborne particles, such as tobacco smoke and fine dust particles. It also features integrated sensors that analyze the air while the purifier is in use, giving a live indicator of how clean the air is with an air quality sensor light (red for poor quality, blue for good). The purifier also features a deodorization filter to remove odors and gasses and a pre-filter to trap larger particles.
The Coway AP-1512HH is priced reasonably, setting it at around the middle of the market. It’s pretty good value if you’re looking for an affordable air purifier for a home with larger rooms. And if it’s not the right model for you, you’ll find plenty more budget and high-end options in our guide to the best air purifiers.
Coway AP-1512HH air purifier review: How big is it?
- Height: 16.8 (in)
- Diameter: 18.3 (in)
- Length: 9.6 (in)
At 12.3lbs, the Coway AP-1512HH is light enough to pick up with one hand and move around a room as needed, with the built-in handle at the back of the air purifier. A 6ft electric cord gives enough leeway for most spaces.
The Coway AP-1512HH is designed to cover areas of up to 361 sq ft, making it an excellent choice for homes with larger rooms.
The air purifier comes in a choice of two colors, white or black. At first glance, it lacks some of the design flair of other air purifiers, such as the Dyson Purifier Cool or even the Levoit 400S. However, this no-frills design tends to allow it to seamlessly blend into the background of the room. The simple, clean interface is user-friendly and intuitive.
The unit is made of white plastic and is square and squat. The front of the unit features a rounded shallow dome, surrounded by a gray plastic frame. The dome’s translucency suggests it might light up, or provide some other function. But it simply appears to be a design feature. One user pointed out on Amazon that the Coway AP-1512HH looks rather like the world’s largest iPod Nano – if you can remember that.
Coway AP-1512HH air purifier review: How easy is it to use?
It’s fairly straightforward to set up the Coway AP-1512HH before first use. Simply take the front off the purifier, unwrap two of the three filters from their plastic wrap, and reinsert them in the right order before clicking the front of the air purifier back on. Then simply plug the machine in and power on.
Three filters come with the Coway AP-1512HH:
- A pre-filter for removing large particles of dust and mold, human hair and pet dander.
- A deodorization filter for trapping odors and harmful gasses.
- A GreenHEPA™ filter, for removing up to 99.97% of small particles, such as fine dust and tobacco smoke. This is further treated with preservatives to prevent mold growth and prolong the life of the filter.
At the top of the Coway AP-1512HH is a suite of buttons and indicators, including the following:
- Power button
- Speed indicator which displays the fan speed, as well as Auto and Eco mode
- Ionizer indicator
- Timer settings
- Filter replacement indicator
- Air quality indicator
Auto mode automatically optimizes the speed setting of the fan based on the level of indoor air quality. If Eco mode is selected, the purifier powers down if no pollution is detected for 30 minutes, saving energy consumption.
The timer feature allows users to set a limited timeframe for the air purifier to run, from 1 hour, to 4 hours, to 8 hours.
The air quality sensor is set to standard sensitivity, but this can be adjusted to make it more, or less, sensitive. The manufacturer recommends cleaning the air quality sensor every two months, and there are comprehensive instructions in the manual for doing this. It also recommends cleaning the pre-filter every couple of weeks with a vacuum cleaner.
While the pre-filter shouldn’t need replacing unless it is damaged, the deodorization filter needs replacing every 6 months, while the GreenHEPA™ filter needs to be replaced every year. Replacement filters don’t come cheap though, and some users have left negative reviews citing the difficulty in tracking down replacement filters, so something to bear in mind.
Coway AP-1512HH air purifier review: Performance
All our at-home testing took place in a medium-sized 220 sq ft room. We tested ambient air quality before and after use of the purifier, alongside a match smoke test, and an incense smoke test. All trials lasted 30 minutes, so we could evaluate how quickly the air purifier worked to trap and remove air particles.
First, we ran our trials at the highest setting that clocked in below 50 decibels. That was level 2, the second highest setting. It ran at around 42 decibels, similar to a quiet library. We then re-ran the same trials at the higher level 3 setting, a powerful, but noisy, 57 decibels.
First up was ambient air quality. Using an air particle counter before, during, and after the test, we found that the Coway AP-1512HH captured 72.4% of particles smaller than 0.3 microns and 72.7% of particles smaller than 2.5 microns, running at the level 2 fan speed.
At the highest fan speed, we found this improved, with the purifier removing 89.9% of particles smaller than 0.3 microns and 92.8 of particles smaller than 2.5 microns.
Next up was the match test. We burned a series of matches, one after the other, to raise the particle count in the room considerably, then ran the purifier on both level 2 and 3 settings to see how it fared. At level 2, we found it removed 93.8% of 0.3 micron particles, 95.2% of 2.5 microns particles, and an impressive 99.4% of particles at 10 microns.
With these results, we expected level 3 to knock it out of the park. So we weren’t surprised to find the Coway AP-1512HH removed 99.7% of particles measuring 0.3 microns, 97.2% of particles measuring 2.5 microns, and 100% of particles measuring 10 microns.
Finally, we burned incense cones to see how well the Coway AP-1512HH could remove larger particles. At level 2 we found that the Coway AP-1512HH removed 84.5% of particles measuring 2.5 microns, and 96.9% of particles measuring 10 microns. At level 3 this improved considerably, removing 96.9% of particles measuring 2.5 microns and 99.9% of particles measuring 10 microns.
Based on these limited tests, we found that at its highest level the Coway AP-1512HH did a remarkable job of removing particles, particularly larger particles, in just 30 minutes, and was one of the most powerful air purifiers we tested.
Coway AP-1512HH air purifier review: What’s good about it?
We liked the simplicity of the Coway AP-1512HH and how easy it is to use almost straight out of the box, with just a brief glance at the manual.
We particularly liked the Eco mode, which worked well to power down the air purifier when air pollution was low, saving energy and money. The auto mode also worked well to toggle between fan settings depending on indoor air quality.
The air purifier was also effective during our at-home tests, giving a solid and reliable performance when it came to removing harmful air particles.
Coway AP-1512HH air purifier review: What’s not so good about it?
Compared to more expensive air purifiers, which feature a connected app that can show you the real-time quality of your indoor air, as well as allowing you to change settings, power on and off, and set schedules from your phone, the Coway AP-1512HH can seem a little basic. However, there is a Wi-Fi-enabled version of this model which may offer more connectivity.
It also lacks the wow factor of some air purifiers, with its squat, square design. And at its highest speed setting, we found it too noisy, reaching a high of 57 decibels. At around the same level as normal conversation, this may simply be too much of a distraction for some users, who want their air purifiers to run soundlessly in the background.
We also found that it tended to blast out cool air at its highest setting, which may feel too chilly during the winter months, although it may be a distinct advantage in hot weather.
Coway AP-1512HH air purifier review: User reviews
The Coway AP-1512HH fares very well on Amazon, with 4.5 stars out of 5, and thousands of satisfied customers. In fact, over 80% of users give it the full 5 stars. They praise the air purifier’s thoroughness at getting rid of nasty odors, and how quiet it runs at the lowest fan speed. Many are amazed at how well the Coway AP-1512HH’s auto mode works, highlighting how it kicks into action if a dog passes wind or if they burn the toast.
However, some negative reviews point out that the highest setting, level 3, is much too loud, and jumps considerably in volume from level 2. Others say the lights are too bright for use in a bedroom at night. On the Coway site itself, some users complain that it is hard to come by replacement filters, and that they can be expensive to buy on Amazon.
Coway AP-1512HH air purifier review: Should you buy?
If you’re after a mid-range air purifier that offers a robust and effective performance in a home with large rooms, the Coway AP-1512HH is an excellent choice. It’s a powerful workhouse of a machine, getting on with the job at hand with few bells or whistles.
Users rate this air purifier very highly, with many praising its ability to detect and remove nasty odors almost immediately. However, it’s not the most stylish air purifier available on the market, and it can be noisy at its highest setting. People who enjoy smart, connected devices in their home, may find it too basic.
Coway AP-1512HH air purifier review: If this product isn’t for you
If you’re looking for an air purifier that’s as reliable as the Coway AP-1512HH, but has smart controls, check out the Levoit 400S. It’s perfect for the modern, connected home.
If you’re after a much smaller air purifier to take traveling, or to sit on a desktop or shelf, the KOIOS EPI810 features a True HEPA 3-stage filtration system and is light and compact at just 2.5lbs.
For users with a bigger budget, who want their air purifier to be a stylish talking point, the Dyson Purifier Cool has the wow factor. Beautifully designed, and with a good performance in our at-home testing, it’s everything you’d expect from the Dyson stable.
Joanne Lewsley is a UK-based freelance writer and editor, covering health and lifestyle news and features. She mainly creates evidence-based health and parenting content and has worked with a number of global sites, including BabyCentre UK, Medical News Today, Fit & Well, Top Ten Reviews, and Yahoo!