About Molekule

By Derek Lakin
HighYa Staff Updated on: May 2, 2018

If you’re familiar with traditional air cleaners, you know they work by filtering particulate matter out of the air.

But according to the folks over at Molekule, they’ve created the world’s first molecular air purifier that doesn’t just capture pollutants, it eliminates them—including allergens, airborne chemicals (VOCs), mold, viruses, and bacteria. Not only this, but Molekule is also portable, much quieter, and can be monitored and controlled via its companion app.

In a nutshell, here’s how it works (we’ll go into more detail in a second): Molecule’s intake pulls in 360° of air. As this air passes over a patent pending light-activated nano-filter, any harmful pollutants not caught by the prefilter are turned into harmless elements at the molecular level. Then, this sanitized air exits Molekule into the surrounding room.

Although Molekule claims their technology is based on 20 years of research and development, does this necessarily mean that the purifier will work better than traditional options? Even then, will it deliver a solid level of value?

To begin our review, let’s take a look at Molekule’s finer details.

How Does Molekule Air Purifier Work?

Made from machined aluminum, each Molekule air purifier is 23" H x 8.25" in diameter and weighs 18 pounds. On its top, you’ll find a natural leather handle that allows you to move the purifier wherever it’s needed.

Speaking of which, the manufacturer recommends using one Molekule per 600 square feet, and placing it in areas where you spend most of your time, especially close to your bedside at night. This way, it can help you wake up feeling refreshed.

When in use, Molekule feature three operation modes:

  • Silent (30dBa, or about as loud as a whispered conversation) – Although it still operates efficiently, this mode is meant to maximize quietness.

  • Turbo Boost (55dBa, or normal conversation) – Boost focuses more on cleaning the room “extremely quickly.”

  • Auto (42dBa, or a hushed conversation) – Here, Molekule will determine when the air needs a quick clean, based on factors like the number of pets present and the size of the room.

The Molekule air purifierThe Molekule air purifier

Each of these settings can be adjusted directly via Molekule’s touchscreen display. Or, using your home’s Wi-Fi connection, it can connect to the companion app, which can report metrics for each cleaning cycle, allow you to select the operation modes above, and display the remaining life for both filters. Built-in sensors will also order new filters as needed, which will arrive directly on your doorstep.

We’re even told Molekule’s app will, over time, “increase in intelligence to report surrounding air quality metrics (both indoors and outdoors).”

Molekule’s Photo Electrochemical Oxidation (PECO) Technology

Most air purifiers work using HEPA filters to trap 99.97 percent of airborne particles 0.3 micrometers (µm) in diameter (several hundred times smaller than the thickness of a human hair), depending on the filter’s size and quality. However, this process only traps particulate matter; it doesn’t eliminate it.

Comparatively, Molekule uses a proprietary technology called PECO (Photo Electrochemical Oxidation) to disassemble pollutants at the molecular level and convert them into nontoxic elements—without creating ozone. We're told this technology was developed over the course of two decades, and that it's able to destroy pollutants 1,000 times smaller than HEPA filters (0.1 nanometers), including VOCs and viruses.

According to the company, this means that Molekule is the “only product that eradicates the full spectrum of indoor air pollutants.” Here’s how they explain it:

“This is done by creating a catalytic reaction that happens when a nanoparticle-coated filter is activated by light. Pollutants are broken down into their most basic molecular components, making them safe for us to breathe.”

The process works through four steps:

  1. First, Molekule’s air intake draws in air from all 360° at once.
  2. Then, this air is circulated first through the pre-filter, which traps “larger allergens like dust, pollen, and dander.”
  3. Next, the PECO technology goes to work breaking down harmful pollutants to their most basic molecular components.
  4. Last, Molekule will leave your room pollution-free in minutes.

Molekule's 4-stage purification process Molekule's 4-stage purification process is claimed to eradicate the full spectrum of indoor air pollutants.

Together, the company advertises this four-stage purification process will eradicate the full spectrum of indoor air pollutants.

The manufacturer also reports that Molekule has been extensively tested by third-party laboratories, including the University of Minnesota and the University of South Florida, some of which have been shown to completely eliminate 3.9 million E. Coli in a single pass. A few white papers supporting these claims are listed on the Molekule website, and we were also able to dig up a PECO technology review elsewhere online.

How Much Does Molekule Cost?

The Molekule Air Purifier is priced at $799 and comes with one pre-filter and one nano filter. All direct purchases also include a free one-year filter subscription, where you’ll receive three replacement pre-filters (approximately 11 months after your purchase) and one nano filter (six months after purchase) delivered directly to your door.

If you purchased your Molekule before 3/2/18, the following year’s subscription will cost you $99. If after this date, you’ll pay $129 ($189 CAD).

If you prefer to buy individually, a single pre-filter is $30, which should be replaced every three months. One nano filter is $85 and should be changed out every six months.

Direct purchases delivered within the contiguous U.S. come with a flat $29 shipping fee, while deliveries to Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are charged $40 S&H.

For qualified customers, Affirm offers financing for as low as zero percent APR.

All Molekule purchases come with a 60-day refund policy, less S&H charges, as well as a one-year limited warranty.

A Look at Reviews and Complaints About Molekule

Nearly 40 HighYa readers have provided reviews about their experiences with Molekule, giving the air purifier an average rating of four stars. Common compliments referenced improved breathing (reduced coughing, alleviated congestion, etc.), decreased odors, and better sleep.

The relatively few complaints frequently related to functionality and service concerns, although a company representative responded to each.

As a company, Molekule, Inc. was founded in 2014 and is based out of San Francisco, CA. They held a C+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, based on one negative customer review and five closed complaints, as of 4/30/18. No additional details were available.

Who Invented the Molekule Air Purifier?

The PECO technology behind Molekule was originally invented by Dr. Yogi Goswami, a Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of South Florida, using principles of solar technology, light, and nanotechnology—along with two decades of research, patents, and publication.

Today, Dr. Goswami’s son, Dilip Goswami, has taken this technology and "enlisted some of the brightest minds in applied science, engineering, and design" to implement it into Molekule, a device the company believes can help millions of people breathe better.

Because of this, the company is on a mission to “eliminate indoor air pollution, in every home, for everyone,” and to adapt the technology behind Molekule for use in businesses, hospitals, airplanes, and in many other potential applications.

Is Molekule the Right Air Purifier for You?

Whether you’re searching online or at a brick-and-mortar retailer near you, the fact of the matter is that you can typically pick up a high-quality HEPA-based air purifier for anywhere between $100 and $200—which is up to 80 percent less expensive than Molekule.

However, as we often say here at HighYa, the price is only one factor in determining overall value. The second part of the equation is how much use you'll get out of Molekule, as well as the potential health benefits it can provide.

Here are a couple of admittedly simplistic examples to outline what we mean:

Are you just looking for something to remove dust and other larger particulate matter from the air inside your home or office? An option that might be able to deliver the most bang for your buck? In an instance like this, it might be difficult to go wrong with a traditional air purifier.

On the other hand, do you have allergy sufferers in your home? Are you looking to get rid of the most allergens possible—including airborne chemicals, viruses, and bacteria? Because Molekule's PECO technology can destroy matter hundreds of times smaller than a HEPA filter, its high price might be worth the much-improved performance.

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73 Consumer Reviews for Molekule

Average Consumer Rating: 4.0
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 53 4 star: 1 3 star: 1 2 star: 4 1 star:  14
Bottom Line: 74% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 73
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  • Not happy so far!

    • New York,
    • Jan 15, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    First I received the unit four weeks after I ordered it. Then when I got it, it didn't work. It took me five phone calls, four representatives hanging up on me or disconnecting me, with my having the flu, having to chase them down, having to sending a video of the problem, which I had to send three times as they could not view it on their systems. Finally, I got someone who put into motion me getting another unit. But, it was going to take at least two weeks to get a replacement, and if I hadn't pushed with an angry letter, probably more. And they give me three weeks to return the bad machine. Two weeks to get a replacement, one week to return. Interesting.

    So, as of now, I have no idea how this thing works, or if it will. But I am not happy with customer service. It will take a lot for me to accept the way this company has dealt with sending me a lemon, and how they took care of that issue. I will be vigilant in seeing how this unit works. I have looked into the IQAir swiss made filtration, and will most likely invest in that to compare.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • Molekule air purifier

    • Denzil, Saskatchewan, Canada,
    • Jan 9, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I placed the air purifier unit in our basement where my son and daughter-in-law reside, temporarily.

    Consequently, it is they who operate the unit.

    Our farmhouse on the Saskatchewan prairies is a very different climate from my daughter-in-law’s native Brazil. It was important to us that our daughter-in-law not be subjected to allergens from the nearby grain fields, to any possible mold lurking in the window sills and to the dust particles from the dirt/gravel roads surrounding our home. She and our son are pleased with the performance of the unit. Their basement residence is quicker clean according to our son who always helped me with spring and fall cleaning.

    I have noticed less dust particles upstairs now that our furnace circulates warm air throughout the house.

    The unit is very quiet, so my family even runs the unit in their bedroom. The sleek circular design of this unit tucks into a corner, so it is quite inconspicuous.

    My only regret is that I should have bought two (2) units because I’m sure that my son and daughter-in-law will want the unit in their new home. We’re confident that the Molekule will rid their new home of the "renovation smells" in quick order.

    We are very satisfied with our air purifier. Even as more air cleaners are advertised in the media, we think that we made the best choice.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • Best air filter ever

    What a wonderful product! I have had a HEPA filter in my room for years without much effect. I have asthma and bad allergies. I have had Molekule in my room for almost a month now. The air is fresher and cleaner and it is so quiet! As a Mechanical Engineer, I attest to how well it is made and designed. Thank you, Molekule, for making such an amazing air filter!

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 9 out 9 people found this review helpful

    Limited lifespan

    • California,
    • Jan 2, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    At first, I was excited about this unit with all of the latest technology, but then after doing some research I discovered an important consideration for those who are thinking about purchasing.

    The Photo Electrochemical Oxidation (PECO) technology depends on UV-A LEDs which are built inside the unit. These LEDs have a limited lifespan between 3-5 years. This is important because if you operate the unit 24 hours per day/every day, each year the effectiveness of these LEDs drops by 15-20%. According to an email exchange with Molekule, these LEDs cannot be replaced.

    The other important thing I noticed is there is no built-in air quality sensor. This means that whatever setting you choose (low/med or high) is where the unit will always operate.

    Lastly, the app is very limited in functionality, and a lot of users (including myself) have reported consistent problems connecting to the unit via Wi-Fi/Bluetooth.

    I tried it for a few weeks and while it is a very attractive filtration unit, for the above reasons, I decided this unit was not for me and returned it.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Great air cleaner

    • Ontario, CA,
    • Dec 13, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I love how this cleans the air in my house. I have one downstairs in the front room and one in my bedroom. It takes all of the nasty stuff out of the air and even all of the cat hair that is floating around from my cat.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 5 out 6 people found this review helpful

    Clean air, restful sleep, and overall wellness

    • San Bruno, CA,
    • Dec 6, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I’ve been eyeing Molekule for a while now as I’ve invested in many Hepa Air Cleaners for years, only to have more work and maintenance ahead of me. With the poor air quality that blanketed the San Francisco Bay Area, I was relieved to have received my device just in time to protect me and my loved ones and pets from the effects of the toxic air quality.

    My husband, who is a stickler for these things, ACTUALLY PRAISED me for this investment as he could tell immediately how clean our air was and how well we feel.

    I usually suffer from allergies as this area is very dusty, mixed with pollen, mold, birds and my cats. But I haven't coughed and I feel GREAT!

    I love the ease of replacing the two filters and the use of their app, which also notifies you when it's time to replace the filters.

    Molekule IS THE BEST AIR CLEANER of all the brands I've ever tried!

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    So many issues solved

    • West New York, NJ,
    • Dec 2, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have a cat with allergies so bad that she scratches her face until she loses hair and bleeds. She has spent the past 5 summers wearing a cone so she doesn't hurt herself. I bought this on a whim wondering if it would help her. This past year is the first time since she was a kitten that she no longer needed a cone. I assume it's also helping the humans in my house, but it was worth it just for my pet's health.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 28 out 30 people found this review helpful

    Glitchy and short lived

    • Atlanta, GA,
    • Nov 26, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I’ve had the Molekule for a few months and at first, there’s a very strong chemical smell. Over the course of about two months or so, that smell begins to fade (or you get used to it). After that, it’s pretty decent.

    Where you run into problems is when they release software updates that effectively cut off all connectivity. Currently, my $800 connected air purifier is “dumb,” meaning all of the remote functionality that drew me to it is not operational. I’ve reached out to their support team and their proposed solution is for me to wait until they release new firmware, which they have no date for. They’ve offered nothing to rectify the situation - I’m just supposed to sit and wait for an undisclosed amount of time while they work out a fix.

    Also, they don’t publish this, but all Molekule units are effectively dead at 5 years. This is because the UV light they’ve built into it is only rated up to 5 years, and they have no published process or plan for what to do when those bulbs eventually die. So your $800 air purifier may or may not have connectivity once you buy it, and you can count on pitching it in about 5 years. Had I known this would be my experience with the product, I likely would have held out for a different product that wasn’t planned for obsolescence in a few years.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    Comments (2)
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    • Dec 8, 2018

      Alice M.

      What does Molekule say about this review? I am in the process of purchasing an air purifier, but this review causes me to pause when considering Molekule. It's a strong negative! I read all the positive reviews, but do they know about the "5-year" longevity?

    • Dec 19, 2018

      Tali S.

      I don’t have the same issue with the smell, but I’ve had the same issues with remote functionality since I purchased it. Now it’s doesn’t even give me an accurate view of my filter life. I had no idea about the UV light, that is very disconcerting.

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Great Air Purifier

    • Oregon,
    • Nov 24, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have had the Molecule air purifier for two months, and I bought it for my daughter, who has some breathing problems. She is a teen, very skeptical and sensitive. She does not like to use anything constantly, but she does use Molecule every day. My daughter uses it every day.

    It's high tech product, fun to use, you can turn it on and off remotely, it has a phone app. Molekule is strong and fancy designed, heavy and steady, sleek and safe for kids.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Helps keep air clean!

    • Dumont, NJ,
    • Nov 22, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    The Molekule seems to help keep the air in my bedroom cleaner. There's less dust in the room with the Molekule than there is in other rooms in the house, and I feel less stuffy and congested in the mornings.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 20 out 24 people found this review helpful

    Waste of money

    • California,
    • Nov 19, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Molekule does nothing for smoke. It looks great, but that's about it. Super loud in boost mode, no real benefit to spending extra money on a tiny filter. This was a giant waste of money. I should have just bought another HEPA filter. Don't get conned by the 5-star reviews. All the real reviews are removed.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Dec 7, 2018

      Clemente R.

      I bought mine to clear the air from my chain-smoking roommate. Eight months and counting, my room does NOT smell like an ashtray! Best investment in my health!

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