Masks are now the new normal, but not everybody is suitable for wearing traditional masks. The elderly and people who might have breathing difficulties tend to find reusable cloth masks too stuffy and hard to breathe through, while disposable masks aren’t great for the environment either. LG has solved that issue, and the new LG PuriCare Wearable Air Purifier provides an option for people who can’t use cloth masks.
First off, this definitely will be a mask that catches everybody’s eye when you’re out and about. It’s all white, and it’s super bulky. Weighing in at 126 grams, it’s also heavier than other masks, which is a consideration to take note of when deciding whether this mask works for you or not.
But let’s talk about the tech in this mask, because it’s really quite innovative. There are two protruding rectangular bits on the side, which houses the H13 HEPA filters meant to filter out any dust, airborne particles, viruses, bacteria or allergens. These filters need to be replaced every month, and they’re available as a separate purchase (S$30) on LG’s shops on Lazada, Shopee and more. Behind the filters, you get two fans.
These three-speed fans work to increase the air intake and allow for effortless respiration for the user. But that’s not all. There’s a patented sensor in the mask that detects when the user is inhaling or exhaling, and speeding up the fans or stopping them when necessary. There’s a button on the right side that turns the mask on and off, and switches between the three speeds; low, medium and high.
On the inner side of the mask, there’s a silicon Face Guard that acts almost like a seal around the face to minimise air leakage from and into the surrounding environment. This means that the air you’re inhaling will only come from whatever is being drawn through the filters, so it’s clean.
There’s also a replaceable Inner Cover that filters and absorbs moisture to avoid any damage to the fans and electronics in the mask. You get 10 of these in the box when purchasing the mask, and it’s recommended to replace them if they get dirty. The ones that come in the box are shaped differently from the replacements you can purchase though (S$20 for 30 pieces), and the ones provided in the box bunch up in the Face Guard, which isn’t great, but I reckon the replacements will fit fine.
There are also replaceable ear straps as well as a neck strap for added security. I found that even though the mask is heavier than others, it was fine for me to use with just the earloops alone. I didn’t require the neck strap, but it definitely will be useful for people who buy this mask to use when out running or exercising.
On the left side, you get a USB-C port for charging, and there’s a built-in rechargeable 820mAh battery that will last you 8 hours on the low speed setting and 2 hours on the high speed setting.
Speaking about charging, there’s also a separate Wearable Air Purifier Case (S$199) that can be purchased if you really value hygiene. With UV LED lights inside, the case can sanitise your mask, charge it and even dry out the moisture accumulated in the HEPA filters, all at once. It’s a bit of an extravagant purchase, but hey, if you’re already splurging on this mask, you might as well go all out. It’s not necessary to purchase the case, though, since you can charge the mask with any USB-C cable.
So how does the mask perform? Incredibly well. With the mask turned on, it’s almost as if I was breathing without a mask. There was no resistance in airflow with the fans turned on, even at the lowest speed setting.
You can check out our first impressions in the video above, but suffice to say, I don’t think I can go back to a normal mask after this. Spectacles don’t fog up, you get fresh, filtered and cool air every time you inhale and it’s just really nice to be able to breathe freely and easily.
There are a few problems with the mask though. First off is that your voice ends up being incredibly muffled when you have the mask on, so you need to speak at a louder volume so that people can understand what you’re trying to say.
The second is, of course, the weight. It’s not as heavy as it seems when you put it on, but the truth is that most people will need time to get used to the added weight as compared to a light cloth or disposable mask. The neckband is a thoughtful addition to the package, and it’s one that I think quite a few people will make use of since you do notice the top of my ear starting to fold in under the weight of the mask. I do have to emphasise here that it doesn’t hurt my ears though.
Last, it’s the price. This is not a cheap mask. In fact, it’s probably one of the most expensive masks you can get out there at S$229, and we’re not even factoring in regular expenses like the filter changes (S$30 a month). If you’re healthy and you have no issues breathing with a cloth mask, then great, you might not need this LG mask. But if you have asthma, or if you’re looking to help your elderly relatives breathe easier while still staying safe, then this is definitely one of the best solutions out there.
Written by Cheryl Tan