Hands on with the CleanForce Air Rainbow Air Purifier featuring triple filter technology
According to the Harvard Medical School, “It may feel cozy being sealed in tight against the cold in your home during the chillier months of the year, but for people who are sensitive to indoor allergens or have respiratory problems, winter can exacerbate problems. Stale indoor air and heating systems can increase the amount of allergy-inducing dust mites, pet dander, and mold spores circulating through your house.”
In addition, Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), released during cooking, can, according to the California Air Resources Board, cause “nose and throat irritation, headaches, fatigue and nausea”.
All of these problems are exacerbated during the winter because, for energy efficiency, people leave their windows and doors tightly closed. There is little opportunity for these pollutants to be ventilated to the outside, or fresh outdoor air to enter the home.
There are some steps people can take to help keep the air in the home cleaner. The Harvard Medical School suggests “vacuuming the carpets and area rugs at least once or twice a week with a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter. Opting for hard-surface flooring instead of wall-to-wall carpeting may also cut down on allergens in the home.”
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology recommends regularly cleaning bedding, drapes, and other items that tend to attract allergens — particularly if you have pets — in water that is at least 130° F. Also consider using dust mite-proof covers on pillows, as well as mattresses and box springs, whenever possible.”
The Harvard Medical School also recommends clearing clutter, because it “traps and holds dust that can trigger a reaction,” and eliminating indoor plants that can be a source of mold and investing in an air purifier.
Introducing CleanForce Air
CleanForce Air is a relatively new manufacturer of indoor air purifiers. It was founded in Southern California in 2021 with the stated goal to deliver, “Better Air, Better Life” by incorporating the latest in air purification technology into its products.
CleanForce Air manufactures a number of different air purifiers. Its most economical is the Rainbow Air. However, even though this is their least expensive model, it still boasts impressive capabilities.
The Rainbow Air can handle filtering the air in a room as large as 2550 sq. ft. In a room this size, it will filter all the air in the room once per hour. In smaller rooms, it can filter all the air in the room multiple times per hour. This makes the unit appropriate for large living / great rooms where most residential grade air purifiers don’t have the capacity to properly filter the air in that large a space.
The Rainbow Air utilizes CleanForce Air’s triple filter technology. The three layers of the Rainbow Air filter are the Pre-filter, H3 True HEPA Filter, and iMACT Activated Carbon Filter. The Pre-filter layer collects larger particulates in the air including pollen and pet dander. The H3 True HEPA Filter layer traps 99.97% of the particles in the air including PM10 and PM2.5 particulates. PM10 particles are 10 μm in diamerter (or smaller). Examples include smoke, mold spores, bacteria, and airborne viruses. PM2.5 particulates are 2.5 μm (or smaller). Examples include smoke and other particulates generated from combustion. The iMACT Activated Carbon Filter layer captures volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including odors from cooking and pets.
The Rainbow Air can be controlled using the unit’s built-in control panel, through the CleanForce Air, Tuya, or Smart Life smart phone app, Alexa voice commands, and other third-party integrations.
The Rainbow Air includes built-in air quality sensors that will display the air quality in the room on the unit’s LED display and automatically adjust the fan speed of the unit depending on the level of air quality in the room.
Third Party Integration
The Rainbow Air is compatible with the Tuya cloud-based smart home platform, which is designed to provide integration between different smart home devices from different manufacturers. Tuya integration is used provide integration with a number of smart home platforms including Alexa, IFTTT, and Home Assistant. Tuya-based products do have the ability to be controlled through a local API, as well, but after researching the process, I found it to be overly complex and convoluted. So, while a cloud service can’t be 100% relied upon, this path offers the best, and simplest, approach for integrating the Rainbow Air into a smart home.
I chose to use the CleanForce app to control the Rainbow Air purifier. The app is straight forward to use, and it is easy to add the Rainbow Air purifier to the app by following the on-screen prompts.
Once that is complete, Alexa integration is accomplished using the Tuya Smart Alexa skill. Once you add the Tuya Smart Alexa skill and link your account with your CleanForce app login the Rainbow Air Purifier will immediately show up as an Alexa device.
The Tuya Smart Alexa skill supports a wide range of voice commands and status queries including:
“Alexa, turn on/off <device name>”
“Alexa, what’s the mode on the <device name>?”
“Alexa, set the mode on the <device name> to auto / sleep / manual Mode”
“Alexa, what’s the fan speed on the <device name>?”
“Alexa, set the fan speed on the <device name> to low / medium / high”
CleanForce supplied me with a Rainbow Air to evaluate for this article. One thing to note is that, during my testing, a problem with the Wi-Fi radio’s firmware was discovered. It took some time, but CleanForce worked with the radio’s manufacturer, and the issue has now been fixed.
The Rainbow Air comes with an easy-to-follow instruction booklet. Some people are going to skip reading it and get themselves into a little bit of trouble. If they don’t read the booklet, they won’t know that the new filter inside the Rainbow Air is packaged in a plastic bag, which must be removed before use.
Once the plastic bag is removed, the Rainbow Air is very easy to setup and use. If you don’t want to use the app or a third-party integration to control the Rainbow Air, you can just use the control panel on the top of the unit and the LED display on the unit’s side. The control panel provides full control of the Rainbow Air’s functions, including power on/off, timed operation, fan speed, sleep mode (dimmed display and quite fan operation), filter replacement warning reset, child lock on/off, and Wi-Fi network setup.
To download the CleanForce Air smart phone app, there is a QR code included in the instruction booklet, and the app walks you through the process of creating an account and connecting the Rainbow Air to your home’s Wi-Fi network.
The CleanForce Air app (the same UI is available in the Tuya app or Smart Life app if you choose to use one of them instead) is easy to use and provides basic control of the Rainbow Air. In addition, you can create scenes that include control of other Tuya-compatible products and control of the Rainbow Air based on weather changes, schedules, and the control of Tuya-compatible products based on activity of the Rainbow Air. For example, you could turn on a compatible ceiling fan to provide more ventilation in a room when the Rainbow Air detects bad air quality.
Placement in Room and Fan Noise
Because the Rainbow Air purifier sucks in air for filtration from all directions around the unit, CleanForce Air recommends that the Rainbow Air be placed at least one foot from any wall, piece of furniture, etc. The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services recommends that you should “leave 18‐24″ of space around the back and sides” of air purifiers, which would put a Rainbow Air purifier even farther into a room. Coupled with its size (approximately 11” x 11” x 25” tall), this means that a Rainbow Air purifier cannot be easily hidden and will have an impact on a room’s décor. Fortunately, the Rainbow Air incorporates a pleasant, modern design and is available in gray, pink, blue, green, or yellow.
I found the sound produced by the Rainbow air purifier to be very reasonable. When the fan is on low, the sound is less the 50 decibels, which is the sound level of a quiet conversation. When the fan is on medium, the sound is approximately 54 decibels, which is about the sound level of household refrigerator. When the fan is on high, the unit is quite a bit noisier, producing a sound level of approximately 69 decibels, which is about the sound level of light to moderate traffic. Finally, when Sleep mode is enabled, I found that the Rainbow Air was literally silent. I couldn’t tell that it was operating except that I could feel the air flow produced by the fan when I placed my hand on top of it.
Air Cleaning Results
The air cleaning ability of the Rainbow Air is impressive. I live in the mountains, so there is little need for air conditioning. Opening the windows at night cools my house down nicely. Then, shutting them in the morning locks in the cool air and our house will stay reasonably cool all day. However, this technique can be problematic during “smoke season.” One day a wildfire caused the AQI reading in my home to climb to 57; a reading that is in the yellow/moderate level (51-100). After running the Rainbow Air for one hour at the high fan speed, the reading had dropped all the way to an AQI reading of 12, which is at the low end of the green/good level (0-50). This is the first residential air purifier that I have used that could make that dramatic a change in IAQ in that short a time period.
While leaving the Rainbow Air on “Auto Mode” will work for many people, since I have an independent IAQ monitor in my home, I chose to optimize energy use and maximize the Rainbow Air’s filter life by integrating it with my smart home platform using Alexa routines. When my IAQ monitor detects poor air quality, I turn the Rainbow Air on to auto mode during the day or sleep mode at night. Otherwise, the Rainbow Air remains off.
The CleanForce Rainbow Air Purifier is a powerful residential air purifier. It is also easy to use, offers Tuya, Alexa, and IFTTT integration, and is competitively priced (available on Amazon and Walmart’s website). While the Rainbow Air modern aesthetics are pleasing to the eye, it is 25” tall, and the requirement to place it at least one foot from walls and furniture means that it will have an impact on a room’s décor.