Blueair 211i Max Air Purifier Review [Staff Tested]

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Written by Leigh Matthews, BA Hons, H.Dip. NT

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Leigh Matthews, BA Hons, H.Dip. NT

Sustainability Expert

Leigh Matthews is a sustainability expert and long time vegan. Her work on solar policy has been published in Canada's National Observer.

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With a sleek, modern aesthetic, WiFi connectivity, smart functions, built-in air quality monitoring, and effective filtering, the Blue Air 211i Max is a serious upgrade to an already beloved air purifier. Here’s our experience with this highly recommended air purifier perfect for larger spaces.

Blue air 211i air purifier side view
Staff Tested

Blue Air 211i Max Air Purifier

Blue air 211i air purifier side view

Highlights: Efficient, powerful, but relatively quiet HEPA quality air purifier made by a B Corp. Offers five modes, has built-in air quality monitoring, is WiFi and Bluetooth enabled, and can be controlled remotely and using voice assist.

Overall Score
Durability Score
Toxicity Score
Sustainability Score
User Experience Score
Transparency Score

What we like

  • Highly efficient at clearing allergens, wildfire smoke, smog, VOCs, and viruses
  • Quiet even on highest setting
  • Smart controls and remote control via app
  • Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity (can also turn off WiFi)
  • Built-in air quality monitoring
  • 5 settings, including Auto and Night (fully dimmed light)
  • Can change brightness level
  • Child lock!
  • Discount filter subscription option (U.S. only)

What could be better

  • Large and somewhat heavy (16.2 lb.)
  • Bright blue light is hard to turn on once off
  • Best positioned within 15 ft. of WiFi router
  • Blue Air app may not work if on a VPN
  • Doesn’t offer full air quality monitoring
  • Not vegan! There’s a leather tag on the pre-filter
  • Replacement filters are expensive

The Blue Air 211i Max has a 3-stage filtration process that can clear the air in a large space. It’s a great choice for living and kitchen spaces, open plan homes, studio spaces, loft apartments, and other rooms up to 635 sq. ft., or even larger.

  • Capacity: 635 ft² in 12.5 minutes; up to 1,524 ft² in 30 minutes
  • Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR): Pollen 410 cfm; Dust 410 cfm; Smoke 410 cfm
  • Air changes per hour (ACH): 4.8
  • Materials: Polypropylene, plastic, metal, charcoal, leather
  • Settings: 1, 2, 3, Auto, Night
  • WiFi / Bluetooth / Smart: Yes
  • Noise levels: low at 23dB, and never louder than 53dB
  • Certifications: Zero Ozone Verified (<5 ppb) by Intertek Sustainability Program,
  • Dimensions: 22.7 x 14.4 x 14.4 inches
  • Weight: 16.2 lb.
  • Energy consumption: Energy Star rated – uses 46 W
  • Filter replacement: Recommended every 6 months
  • Warranty: ‎1-year limited warranty. Extend warranty to up to 3-years with product registration on Blueair.com.

This model from Blue Air is an upgrade of the 211+ and has even greater capacity, connectivity, and functionality. It can clear the air of the following contaminants:

  • Dust, pollen, and mold spore
  • Pet hair and dander
  • Volatile organic compounds
  • Viruses, allergens and bacteria
  • Food smells and pet odors
  • Smoke and PM 2.5.

Three-stage filtration system

The Blueair 211i Max has three stages of air filtration and purification. Together, these capture 99.97% of airborne particles down to 0.1 micron in size.

  1. HEPASilent™ filter technology combines electrostatic and mechanical filtration to clear common airborne PM 2.5 pollutants (allergens, odors, smoke, mold spores, dust mites, pet dander)
  2. Activated carbon filter removes common odors, VOCs, and smoke.
  3. Washable pre-filter captures large particles such as dust and pet hair.

Our experience with the Blueair 211i Max Air Purifier

The Blueair 211i Max arrived well packed with everything necessary for operation, including one pre-filter cover. There was some, but not much, single-use plastic packaging. Everything could be recycled, assuming you have soft plastic recycling facilities where you live.

The 211i was fairly simple to set up, with one of the two pre-filters already in place. After reading the manual, I placed the silencer section on top of the base, then the top (white) section of the unit onto the silencer and gave it a slight twist to click it into place. If you’re using the exterior fabric filter, you put this on before clicking the top section into place.

Blue air 211i max air purifier

To start the purifier, press the fan speed button at the bottom of the central control panel (on top of the unit). From here, you can select one of three fan speeds. Or, use the Night mode button to the right or the Auto button to the left. Blue Air offers a useful manual online, in case you lose the one that comes with the product.

We recommend downloading the Blue Air app

Some readers will prefer not to get involved with an app for using an air purifier. After all, our phones are cluttered enough. That was our first instinct as well, not to download the app. However, based on our experience, using the 211i Max without the app is a mistake.

The 211i is much easier to use with the app. The Blue Air app allows users to:

  • Monitor indoor air quality
  • Monitor air quality in your area
  • Adjust brightness, and even turn off the display altogether
  • Adjust fan speed and intensity
  • See filter life & order new filters
  • Set night mode

Helpful Child Lock function

As parents to young kids, we want to thank Blue Air for the Child Lock function on the 211i. The 411 does not have a child lock and as Leigh will attest, this means curious toddlers can very easily turn the unit on and off over and over and over again.

Size, shape, and portability

The Blue Air 211i Max isn’t super heavy (it weighs 16.2 lb.), but it certainly isn’t as portable as the smaller 411 model (just over 4 lb.). It also lacks a carry handle, so moving it is a two-handed task for most folks.

The 211i Max measures 22.7 x 14.4 x 14.4 inches but because it has a 360 degree air intake, it actually needs a space larger than this to function properly.

The nice thing about the Blue Air 211i Max is that, like most Blue Air filters, it has a very inconspicuous design. You can choose between five pre-filter colors, all in colors likely to work with any modern aesthetic. So, even though it’s quite large, it’s easy to mistake for a small side table, laundry hamper, or other inoffensive décor.

Blueair 211i Max light and noise

The 211i is only a little noisier than the much smaller 411 on its lowest setting (23 dB). And even at its highest setting it’s no louder than 53 dB, which is about the same as a normal conversation, an average dishwasher, or a quiet street.

On Night mode, the unit is super quiet at just 23 dB. This is barely a whisper and isn’t at all disturbing to sleep. Night mode also means the light is totally dimmed, so there’s no light pollution. Even if you choose a higher fan speed setting overnight, you can still dim the light manually by taking the LED bar all the way to zero (all the way to the left).

How to dim the light on the Blue Air 211i Max without the app

The process is a bit convoluted, but fairly easy once you know how. To dim the light even when not on Night mode:

  1. Press the Fan Speed button and On/Standby button at the same time – hold these both down for 3 seconds
  2. Keep holding your finger on the On/Standby button
  3. Tap the Fan Speed button to adjust brightness.

Note that if the light is already at its lowest level, it will increase by one with each press. If it’s at its highest level, it will decrease by one.

Thanks to the smart design, the Blue Air 211i has a consistent sound, rather than an irritating intermittent grind or whirr as with some filters. It’s easy to tune out this sound, even on its highest setting.

Blueair 211i Max filter changes and performance

Filter replacement costs

The main downside to the Blue Air 211i Max is the cost of the replacement filters. Even with a subscription discount through Blue Air, you’re looking at a cost of around $60 each time. That’s around a sixth of the cost of the entire unit.

Cheaper off-brand filters exist through third-party sellers but I wouldn’t recommend these. I inadvertently bought fake Blue Air filters for my 411 model and the quality was nowhere near as good as the Blue Air originals and the genuine replacements I got thereafter.

The good news is that if you take care of that pre-filter and take steps to improve your indoor air quality, you likely only need replacement filters every nine months or so.

It’s also a bit confusing on the Blue Air website to work out which filter is the right one for the Blue Air 211i Max. The one you want is the F2Max Replacement Filter (view on Blue Air). The filters for the 211+ won’t work for the 211i Max.

Blueair recommends changing the filter in the 211i Max every 6-9 months, but the app shows the state of your filter’s life.

A handy yellow alert light will come on when it’s almost time to change the filter. That gives you time to order a new one or set up your (discount!) subscription with Blue Air.

Blue Air has a proprietary RealTrack algorithm that uses machine learning to track filter life. It adjusts its calculation based on fan speed, how much you use the filter, and levels of pollutants.

If you regularly vacuum and wash the pre-filter, and you don’t smoke or have significant air quality issues, chances are your filters will last the full nine months. When it is time to change the filter, it’s easy to do.

  1. Unplug the filter first, for safety
  2. Unscrew the top of the unit and take this off
  3. Remove or roll down the pre-filter
  4. Remove the silencer unit
  5. Pull out the filter with the small loops
  6. Slot the new filter inside the unit
  7. Push it down gently until it sits flush with the top of the base unit
  8. Put the silencer back in place
  9. Roll up the pre-filter
  10. Screw on the top, and you’re done!

To reset the filter, press and hold the Fan Speed button for 15 seconds until all the LEDs on the unit display light up and then flash once. Release the button and you’re all set.

How the 211i Max performs

Never heard of CADR, AHAM, etc.?

We offer a crash course in air purifier terminology here.

In a room measuring 635 sq. ft. this unit manages almost 5 air exchanges an hour. It can filter an impressive 635 ft² in 12.5 minutes, or up to 1,524 ft² in 30 minutes.

Impressively, the 211i Max produces a staggering 410 cubic feet of clean air every minute for air containing pollen, smoke, and dust.

How does the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) work in a regular living room?

Let’s say your living room has 10 ft. high ceilings and measures 12 x 12 ft. In this set-up, it could take just three and a half minutes to clear all the air in that room of these three pollutants.

Despite being powerful, this machine doesn’t blast air around the room and isn’t super noisy, thanks to that silencer around the motor.

Smart features on the 211i Max

The Blue Air 211i Max is easy to use at the unit level but offers even greater functionality if you connect via the app.

There’s also voice control assist, so you don’t even have to touch the unit to alter the settings. This is a great feature for those times when you’re cooking up a storm, creating a lot of smoke in the process, and need to up your fan speed to compensate.

Monitoring air quality

If you setup the Blue Air app, which we recommend, you will be prompted to add your home location to monitor outdoor air quality, which Blue Air does via API from a third party data provider. Once you connect your air purifier to your home network, the app will also tell you the state of your indoor air quality by showing particulate matter levels. In our experience, the Blue Air 211i does almost as good of a job as the Airthings View Plus, albeit with slightly less data (Blue Air doesn’t show radon or VOC levels). For many consumers, the Blue Air 211i will make an additional indoor air quality monitor unnecessary.

Blue air 211i app view
Blue air 211i app monitors air quality

The 211i Max lets you monitor air quality by way of a 5-color indicator on the front or on the unit display, as well as via the app.

Note that the 211i only bases its ratings on PM 1, 2.5, and 10, not on things like humidity, CO2, VOCs, radon, etc. For that, you’ll need an independent air quality monitor – see our top picks here.

Welcome home feature

This air filter has a handy feature that can help save energy and cut the cost of running the filter. If you connect to the filter via WiFi using your smartphone, the filter can detect when you leave home and go into standby mode. Then, when it detects that you’re close to home, it turns back on and starts clearing the air in preparation.

You can also remotely control the filter to turn off if you forget and to come on before you get home. And thanks to the air quality monitor, you can see how things are looking even when you’re away from home.

How is the 211i Max different from the 211+ Auto?

The 211i has several important upgrades, including:

  • Greater coverage/capacity
  • Less noise on the highest level
  • More fan speeds
  • Longer filter life
  • Longer warranty.

Sustainability features of the Blueair 211i Max

The Blue Air 211i Max is somewhat energy efficient, using 46 W to suck in, filter, and expel all that air. This is quite a bit more energy intensive than the (albeit much lower capacity) Blue Pure 411 which uses just 1.5 W.

The 211i also has a washable pre-filter which helps to reduce the frequency with which you have to replace the inner filter.

That said, the pre-filter is made of synthetic material, with a leather tag, so it will produce microplastics and should be washed in a Guppy bag or in a machine with a microplastic filter. (Leather is also not a sustainable, non-toxic material either, so I’d love to see Blue Air use something more natural for the tag.)

The inner filter itself is also a tad more eco-friendly than some other types of filter. This is because it comprises polypropylene plastic that is recyclable. Sadly, Blue Air doesn’t have a filter recycling program, but you should be able to drop off old filters at your recycling depot along with other recyclable plastics.

Thanks to the 360-degree air intake of this filter, the inner filter is less dense and thus less likely to clog. The result is better airflow, less noise, and greater efficiency.

Blue Air is a charitable B Corp

We also love that Blue Air is now a Benefit Corporation (B Corp), meaning it is transparent about its business operations and takes a triple bottom line approach (profit, people, planet).

Blue Air has a solid record of charitable donations, including gifting air purifiers to low-income schools and nonprofit organizations across the world, including in the U.S. In 2021 the company donated 4,000 air purifiers to those affected by COVID-19, poor air quality, and wildfires.

Final thoughts on the Blue Air 211i Max air purifier

The Blue Air 211i Max air purifier is a top choice for larger spaces, including adjoining or open plan living and kitchen areas and studio or loft apartments with big open areas. In our experience, it makes a significant difference in air quality and is relatively quiet, unassuming, and easy to use.

It took us a while to figure out how to turn off that irritating blue light, and it’s still a pain to turn back on when we want it (pro tip: use the app for everything).

The other main downside is the cost of replacement filters. Other than that, there’s little to criticize!

Overall, the Blue Air 211i Max is a relatively affordable and efficient air purifier with plenty of functionality. It is a newer model, upgrading the earlier 211+, but early indications and our own experience suggest that it’s reliable and does what it promises.

Blue air 211i air purifier side view

Blueair 211i Max Air Purifier

Leaf Score

Highlights: Efficient, powerful, but relatively quiet HEPA quality air purifier made by a B Corp. Offers five modes, has built-in air quality monitoring, is WiFi and Bluetooth enabled, and can be controlled remotely and using voice assist.

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