Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Blowing Air: Dyson Air Multiplier AM01 10" Table Fan Is An Overpriced Gizmo.

The Good: Does what it promises – easy to clean, moves air well, adjustable
The Bad: Vastly overpriced for what it does, Not very energy efficient
The Basics: Vastly more expensive than a table fan ought to be, the Dyson Air Multiplier is expensive to purchase and operate with few benefits one must have this specific product for.

You know you have too much money when you are considering purchasing a $300 desk fan. This is not a problem I suffer from and after some pretty extensive tests on the Dyson Air Multiplier (AM01), I suspect should I ever have boatloads of money, I will be able to manage it far better than those for whom a $15 fan is somehow not adequate. If that sounds anti-elitist, well, guilty as charged! My wife has a number of allergies and with Spring here and the onset of summer looming, we've been looking for alternatives to traditional fans, which have been known to wreak havoc on my trading card business. As a result, the Dyson Air Multiplier actually seemed like it might be a good idea for us, especially if I could write it off as a business expense. No such luck, mostly because we've already returned it.

The Dyson Air Multiplier model AM01 is a table fan with a noticeable lack of fanblades, which instantly intrigued my partner and I. The concept behind the air multiplier is simple: because it is not trying to cut through the air with blades, it can push air through more efficiently. It does this by sucking air up in the base and pushing it out through a slit in the 10” ring that stands atop the stand. The AM01 is made primarily of plastic, has a base which is weighted enough to prevent it from tipping and had an airblowing area that is ten inches in diameter. This air-blowing ring sits upon an 8” stand which is where the air intake, power cord, and controls are.

To the device's credit, it does exactly what it promises. It pushes air with a decent force, greater than that of any table fan I have ever had when it is at medium and high settings and it cools a room down quite fast as a result. Also, because it is pushing air with such extreme force, the Dyson AM01 Air Multiplier also has helped my wife's allergies by blowing and sucking dust away from us while we're in bed. Aiming the Air Multiplier at an open window caused dust that was inside to get blown into the outdoors and adequately prevented pollen from entering the house.

As well, the “plus” column would not be complete without acknowledging that the AM01 has intuitive controls which are exceptionally easy to operate. The Air Multiplier is activated through a button on the base. Pressing that in starts the suction and blowing function and it takes less than twenty seconds before one feels the relief from the heat as a result. There is another dial on the base which causes the fan to oscillate back and forth which provides ninety degrees of coverage and there are two buttons which allow one to control the range, so one can have the fan oscillate only a few degrees if they do not want a quarter of the room exposed to the pleasant blast of air this provides. The adjustable features also include a tilt function which allows one to point the projector thirty degrees up or thirty degrees down. This can be nice if one wants to have the fan blowing down upon one while they sleep.

So, if the Air Multiplier is so grand, why am I so down on it? First, the Dyson Air Multiplier is not terribly quiet. In fact, a well-cared for fan that is clean is quieter than this fan as it blows air with a constant whispering gush which never lessens and I did not acclimate to while I had this product. Second, while Dyson explains that one of the reasons for the product is to prevent users from having to clean fan blades, what they do not highlight is that the air intake on this (most analogous to a vacuum, actually) is a series of tiny holes in the base and if they become occluded, the motor strains and the Air Multiplier gets louder than before! To be fair, the inner ring is far easier to clean than a traditional fan, but keeping crud out of the air inlet can be a real problem, especially for those who own animals.

Finally, with every consumer purchase, one has to consider expense and value. The Dyson Air Multiplier is ridiculously expensive. When my wife's allergies act up, one of the things I do is clean the fan we have. That takes maybe half an hour. To earn enough to pay for the Dyson Air Multiplier would take me several hours and that trade off is not worth it. There was no benefit to the Dyson Air Multiplier which adequately absorbed the expense of this stylish fanless fan. It blows air. It does it well, but it is pricey.

The final nail in the coffin for us came when we discovered the hidden expense. The Dyson Air Multiplier may push air more efficiently than traditional fans, which allows it to cool rooms quicker and blow over cards and action figures almost a room away, but the electricity it pulls to do that is dramatically higher than I expected. Indeed, comparing electric bills from the month we had this versus the same month last year (the first month we used a fan last year), a comparison made easy from the fact that we had no new major appliance purchases in the intervening year, found our electricity usage had increased such that we were paying $5.00 to run it. $5.00 more a month to run a $300 fan might not seem like much (it probably isn't for those who can afford a $300 fan), but for us, it was enough to convince us this was not the right product for us.

It might look neat, but the Dyson Air Multiplier AM01 10” fan is not looking toward the future in terms of lowering energy usage and saving money. Instead, it's an overpriced air pusher and we can do just fine with far less expensive options.

For other electronic devices and appliances, please check out my reviews of:
Kidde Carbon Monoxide And Smoke Detector
Hamilton Beach 727 Milkshake maker
iPod Nano


For other appliances, please check out my index page!

© 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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