The Ikea Starkvind isn't your average side table. That much is evident from the the dial on the front and the grill on the sides.
It is one of Ikea’s latest home furnishings that are multifunctional. Not only can you use it as a side table in your living room or as a bedside stand in the bedroom, it will also help keep your air cleaner.
That is becoming increasingly important to us. There have been some unexpected consequences of the pandemic. The massive shift to remote working, and then for some people at least, the swing back to the office. We are more familiar with aerosol spread and R numbers than we ever were when all we had to deal with was seasonal flu. And most of us know what a HEPA filter is and why air filtration is important.
We also have more stuff, and less space to put it in. So Ikea’s trend towards making multifunctional furniture is quite useful here. One 21-inch table, one air purifier, taking up very little space.
The Starkvind – you can’t resist saying the name a few times – deals with particle classed as PM2.5, or particulate matter that is 2.5 microns in size, and larger. That means pollen, fine dust, sea salt and all manner of pollutants in an aerosol form, which can be inhaled into the lungs. To put the size into perspective, a human hair is 50 and 70 microns in diameter.
It has a filter that is removable and replaceable that will remove 99.5 per cent of those particles; a pre-filter takes care of larger particles such as hair and dust, ith the second filter working through the PM2.5 pollutants. It’s not quite HEPA – that would require it to filter out 99.95 per cent – but it’s not far off. There is a third filter, an optional carbon filter that will deal with gaseous matter, such as volatile organic compounds generated by your cooking, from scented candles or from formaldehyde in the air.
Like most Ikea products, some assembly is required. But it is minimal, it only takes one person to do it, and only one tool, provided in the box. Clip the legs on, tuck the power cable inside, fit the filter, fix the table surface on and you are ready to go. There’s a groove on one leg to tuck the cord away neatly.
You don’t need any additional apps to control the air purifier; it can exist as a standalone solution. On the front, you have a dial and some LED lights to show you what mode your table/purifier is in. You can manually control the whole thing by setting it to a level between one and five (though perhaps five should be saved for the times when you aren’t either watching something particularly quiet on TV or trying to sleep). There is also the option of auto mode, which will kick the purifier into action as soon it senses particles in the air. How fast the fan will work depends on how polluted the air is. Set it and forget it; the purifier will do the rest.
However, if you have Ikea's Tradfrai smart home hub already installed in your house, you can link the Starkvind purifier to it and control the device through the app. It's not essential, but it's an added extra that brings smarter functions to the purifier, including smart alerts about filter replacements, and real-time information on your room's air quality. It also lets you turn off the LED light on the front, which is handy if you are planning on using the Starkvind in your bedroom, and brings voice control through Apple, Amazon or Google's smart assistants.
If you don’t have the app, there is a small indicator on the front of the Starkvind that will light up when the filter is clogged and possibly needs to be changed. Because it’s Ikea, the replacements aren’t expensive, coming in at €12 for the double filter and €17 for the carbon one. Ikea recommends changing the filters every six months.
This isn’t just an air purifier taking up space in your home; it is useful. It is a proper table, and it took only a few minutes to put together.
You can set this air purifier up in a few minutes and use it without buying into the whole connected home, with controls on the front of the device so you can set your preferred fan speed.
It’s suited for rooms up to 20 sq m, which should cover most average living rooms and bedrooms, but you can add another to the room to cover larger areas.
The not so good:
Depending on your aesthetic preferences, the Starkvind may not appeal to you. While it works as a side table, the mesh sides mark it out as not quite your average bit of furniture. It’s also not quite HEPA filtration standard.
The Starkvind side table comes in two colour options: light oak veneer and a darker wood. If you don’t want the table, you can get the Starkvind as a floor standing purifier.
Perfect for rooms where space is at a premium.