Ionic Breeze, The Straightdope

Recently I brought my mom out here for a reunion/wedding. While she was here she spent a night at friends house where she encountered the Ionic Breeze. She says she had the best nights sleep since she was diagnosed with COPD. Her friend gave it to her and I shipped it to her last week. The skeptic in me has an instictive dislike when I hear words like "ionic, magnetic therapy, etc. So whats the Straightdope on this device? I’ve also heard that it may in fact excaberate respiratory problems, is that true?

As always, thanks for your responses.

Funny! I clicked on this thread to comment that anything using Ions or Magnets is usually crap. And you covered both already!

The “ionic breeze” thing is complete baloney. It’s just an electrostatic air filter, and not a very good one. You can buy better air filters anywhere for far less money.

It’s possible it could make respiratory problems worse because it gives off ozone, a corrosive gas, but unless you were in a very small room it’s unlikely. It doesn’t give off much.

Frankly, it doesn’t do much of anything except empty your wallet.

My Mother In Law (always in seach of cool things) asked me about it recently. I told her (I believe I read it here) that she could get pretty much the same effect by dusting off her TV regularly and letting it attract the dust back on just like the Ionic Breeze does.

There was a Consumer Reports segment on TV some time back about the Ionic Breeze “Air Filters/Cleaners.”

First it does not circulate all of the air in the room for processing as the fan effect is indadequate. Hence their air cleaning ability is quite limited.

Second it does collect a lot of very small very black particulates that wipe off with a damp cloth or paper towel.

Third and most important it is grossly overpriced. $400 or so for the super models.

Sharper Image seems to specialize in goods that are useless or overpriced or both. :dubious:

But you know you still go in just to sit in the massage chairs. :slight_smile:

I always figured that was their sole purpose, providing free massages to people who try to look like they actually were shopping for something before finally succumbing to the Chair. You know what I mean: you walk in, idle around looking at golf devices no person would ever need, feign interest in the “Executive Dartboard! Plated in Nickel, but made to look faintly silverish!”, tap on the stupid static-electric illuminated globe thingies a few times before :eek there’s a massaging chair? Who knew! Let me try it out in complete surprise! Oh yes, I might actually buy one of these things, sure. :slip out the “surreptitiously” while salesperson is inviting someone to “Squeeze the memoryfoam!”

I had a thread on this awhile back (it’s not coming up in search) and the concensus was (with some impressive scientific-sounding information) that they’re ineffective at best and dangerous at worst (something about too much ozone being created if the thing starts to break down).

I’m looking at the Consumer Reports Buying Guide 2004

On page 235 there’s a chart that evaluates 17 Air Cleaners. In the text it says:

"The top three (models) can quickly clear smoke and dust from a room; the worst is little better than nothing at all."

My bolding.

The Ionic Breeze Quadra, second last on the chart, gets a POOR overall score. Likewise it gets POOR marks for Dust and Smoke removal.

The Ionic Breeze gets Excellent marks for quiet operation., and Very Good for ease of use. Which you might find humorous. (What the hell, if it’s doing almost nothing, the unit ought to be quiet and user friendly, right?)

Best of all is the room Area. The rating seems to suggest the optimal room size for the Ionic Breeze Quadra to be 14 square feet. But at 16th from the top, this one’s not the very worst.

Right below it, in last place, is Honeywell’s Environizer 90200. Gets almost the same lousy marks, but the effective Area is a ludicrous 2 square feet.

Skepticism is easy. You get to appear “in the know” by default! I can’t comment on the Ionic Breeze specifically, though I’ve read some criticisms about it. While the efficacy of negative ionization of the air is still debated, there is certainly sufficient evidence to raise it from the category of “baloney.” There also seems to be more evidence supporting the beneficial effects versus disproving them. It’s probably not the miracle panacea that Sharper Image would have you believe, but that doesn’t mean it’s worthless. It’s important to know that some ionizers produce a not insignificant amount of ozone, which is a lung irritant. Here are studies that indicate some amount of promise in some areas. I’ve no doubt that the methods of some are debatable. They always are.

Again, I’m not saying that they probably work. I’m saying that they warrant something more than “baloney.”

The problem here is, among all the possible differences between her normal routine and her night at the friend’s house (e.g. different climate, different air quality, different bed, different emotional state), only this gadget seems to have been considered. Not meaning to disparage your mom and her friend, but that lack of thinking is what enables people to get taken advantage of by con artists, big companies, politicians, cult leaders, etc.

You seem to know how to think critically. Perhaps you can teach your mom.

Thanks all, KidCharlemagne I’ll start going through yur links later, is there one or two in particular that stand out?

But KidCh has give us food for thought, wouldn’t you say? Maybe there is something to those air cleaners. Have you explored the links, Gary T?

I did.

I have two. We keep one in the laundry room.

They seem to help with smells, if you don’t mind that like that lightning storm ozone type smell (or if you actually like it).

My wife bought them without my input, I would have been/was very skeptical.

Overall we’ve been fairly satisfied.

I have a ionizer in my bedroom. Not the Ionic Breeze brand, but the same kind of technology.

Has a small blower to aid drawing air though the unit.

Helps reduce the “man fume” smell. :wink:

That’s the ozone.

I know this is totally anecdotal, and I haven’t used other filters, but we have two of them. When we first moved into our (100-year-old) house, the smell from the basement was terrible, and as there also wasn’t a basement door, it was drifting all over the house. We put an Ionic Breeze in the basement, and the “basement funk” was GONE after the first day. It comes back if we unplug the filter, but as long as that thing is running, the air has no scent.

It’s interesting information, but (unless I missed something) there’s no evidence that a Sharper Image Ionic Breeze unit will provide the air ionization in sufficient amounts. Not to mention that Consumer Reports’ review said that the lack of a fan (which creates the noise that the Sharper Image model touts a lack of) reduces its efficiency greatly in doing any kind of air cleaning; IIRC there were similar models by other companies which had fans, though I could be mistaken as I don’t have access to the review any longer.