Having great air quality in your home has become increasingly important over the years. During the summer, there’s a need to filter out dust and dirt that enters the home through open windows, and spring and fall bring with them increased amounts of allergens. Once the house is sealed in the winter, we need to be on guard against molds and mildew. Now that we’re able to detect and filter out potentially dangerous particulate matter, there’s no excuse not to have a high-quality purifier on site. Many homes also have issues with fluctuating temperatures, so a high-quality purifier that can also act as both a heater and a cooling fan is a smart idea. That’s the concept of the Shark MAX 3-in-1, a pedestal-style purifier slash fan slash heater. Let’s see how it performs.
Set up + What’s In The Box?
The 3-in-1 MAX comes with the unit itself and a Nanoseal HEPA filter which is great for homes with pets, or those sensitive to dander, pollen and other allergens. Getting it ready to go is dead simple. You’ll need to remove the packing material and extra tape for the filter compartment, slide in the filter, then plug it in and you’re pretty much ready to go.
What you get
The unit itself is charcoal grey and stands 60cm or about 2 feet high. It’s cylindrical, with a diameter of 26.5 cm or 10.4 inches. The top of the unit houses a magnetic puck that contains most of the controls for the MAX. The puck is removable and can be used as a remote control.
Directly below is the main output fan, which can be used in a stationary or oscillating mode. Below the fan is the LCD readout that gives the air purity number and the temperature setting and has a ring that changes colour depending on how clean the air around it is.
Continuing downward, the HEPA filter compartment takes up about 30% of the unit. Installation and removal of the filter is dead simple, pop it in and pop it out. Below the filter is the base of the unit and the power housing.
Cumbersome to move
My biggest complaint about the 3-in-1 MAX, and it is not a big one, is that the unit is clearly made to sit in a single location and not be moved. This is a conclusion I’ve come to based on how cumbersome and difficult it is to pick up the MAX. There’s no good place to hold it by, and I’m constantly guessing as to what would be the best approach. It seems like a simple handle could have been added somewhere to make moving it a little easier. During testing, I was trying out the MAX in several rooms, and it was always a chore to pick the unit up and move it to the next. The unit weighs about 13 pounds.
The MAX has a control knob on its side that switches the unit from Fan Mode to Air Purifier Mode. Fan Mode covers cooling and heating functions, which you’ll select and fine-tune from the remote. There’s also a small lever you can use to direct the air upwards or downwards. Apart from those two controls, most of the controls are situated on the remote puck, which magnetically attaches to the top of the unit, and for that reason you don’t want to risk losing it.
Below the power button are three buttons for the heater mode. The center button looks like a thermometer and pressing it will bring up a temperature setting in the readout. Using the up/down buttons on either side of the thermometer button allows you to set a target temperature, which the fan will attempt to stay at by cycling on and off as needed. Pressing the thermometer button again will turn off the heating mode.
Fan controls & options
The next set of controls is for the cooling fan. You can turn the fan’s power up or down, and pressing the fan button in the middle will engage the fan itself. There are six power levels you can choose from.
On the left side is a timer button that you can use to program the unit to stay on for one to 12 hours. Below is a brightness control for the LED; you can choose high, low, or off. On the right side of the puck, there’s an info button that will cycle the readout through various levels of particulate in the current location, tell you how long it will take to clean the air, and the condition of the filter. Below that is the oscillation button that will turn the unit’s swivel feature on or off.
Purification mode is a passive mode (though you can control the amount of power involved by turning the fan up or down) where the MAX draws air in through the front of the unit and releases the purified air from the back of the unit. The Purification Mode uses internal sensors to determine how clean the air is and cycles on and off to increase the air quality.
How to tell air quality
The puck has a power button at the top. The ring will light up blue, yellow, or red when you turn the unit on. Blue means the air quality is excellent, yellow is middling, and red means the air needs some purifying.
The puck is controlled by a coin battery, which seems odd to me. It magnetically attaches to the unit, which is AC powered, so it would make sense to use a rechargeable battery that the unit could recharge when it’s docked. The puck is a decent size but not too large and has a bit of weight in hand. I haven’t left it undocked, as my concern would be that it would wander off or get moved, and then I’d be unable to control the fan.
How Shark MAX performed at my house: purification
I started testing the MAX by plugging it in in my living room. To my disappointment (for the purposes of this review), the air quality was already in the blue range, which means it’s good. I decided to find a room where the air quality was likely to be much lower, and as I have two teenagers, it was a no-brainer. When I turned the unit on in one of the bedrooms, the sensor came up yellow, and I made sure the Purifier Mode was on and left the MAX to do its job (in my son Max’s room, how perfect is that?) After an hour or two, the light was blue, and the readout showed the air purity was up to 100%. Over the next few days, I performed a similar test in other rooms in the house, and the results were similar, with the unit never needing more than an hour or two to bring the overall air quality up.
I also brought the unit back to rooms I’d previously purified and found that the levels had dropped back down when the unit wasn’t plugged in there, so if you’re looking for guaranteed air purity on a regular basis, you’ll want to leave the unit in that room or near it.
The final test I ran was to cook hamburgers in the kitchen and let some smoke build up to see if the MAX could purify the air. It did a reasonable job of doing so, and the cooking smells seemed to be gone within 30 minutes or so.
Heating and cooling
I tried out the heating and cooling functions; both seemed reasonably strong. Next, I tested the heating mode by plugging the MAX in near my home office, which is in the basement. It’s a sizeable room and basements are cold, so the unit cycled on and off throughout the day to keep the air warm. It did a great job, and I ended up moving it further away from my chair, as I found I was getting too warm at certain times – a good sign for those who are always chilly. Despite it’s warming powers, the unit is reasonably quiet in the lower air speeds.
Testing out the fan wasn’t quite the same during the winter months, so I kept my focus to the heating, but the fan seems efficient, quiet, and has those six different speeds. At its highest speed I can feel the breeze over 15 feet away, well across the room. At its lowest, it’s really only breezy within about 2 feet or so.
If you’re looking for an air purifier that will also solve heating and cooling issues in your home, the 3-in-1 is an excellent option. It’s sturdy without being overly large and will quietly do its job while you go about your day. I give this purifier a solid 4.5. There are a few features I’d like to see on this style of unit (like a handle and better air quality tracking via an app), but on the whole, it does a great job and doesn’t do much wrong.
The Shark Air Purifier MAX 3-in-1 Review sells for about $429CAD/$449USD and you can get it from Amazon.
Shark Air Purifier MAX 3-in-1 Review
If you’re looking for an air purifier that will also solve heating and cooling issues in your home, the 3-in-1 MAX is an excellent option. It’s sturdy without being overly large and will quietly do its job while you go about your day.
- Heats and cools effectively
- Air purifying feature is excellent
- HEPA filter
- Removable puck doubles as remote control
- Easy to understand colour-coded readout
- Difficult to move around
- Remote may get lost
- No app for air quality tracking over time
- No specific pollution/allergen readings (i.e in ppm)