Dyson Pure Cool Tower Fan Review: Good, But Not £499 Good

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It is absolutely baking at the moment, and round my way there hasn’t been any rain for over a month. It’s ridiculous to have to suffer this at any time of year, let alone before Summer actually starts, and keeping cool can be a challenge. Dyson obviously has been in the cooling business for years, and given the weather they sent round one of the new Pure Cool Tower fans. You know, the ones without the blades that are supposed to purify your air while they blow it around.

Well it became apparent really early on that while these fans are quite good, they’re not so good it’s worth spending £499 on them. Which I guess is true of most Dyson products, who might better be described as the Apple of the home appliance business.

The point of this fan is simple. It’s for blowing air around the room to try and cool the place down, while filtering out any pollutants in the air that would otherwise adversely affect your life. Which is great in theory, though I can’t see many people who can afford to buy this having particularly poor quality air in their homes. Though I guess it depends on where you live, and how bad the local air quality laws are. It also has a little screen that shows how good (or bad) your air quality is in real time, alongside 350-degrees of motion. Plus, as is Dyson’s way, there are no fan blades to concern yourself with.

Glass HEPA and active carbon filters for the base. You have one of each on both sides of the purifier section.

No blades means no getting dust on them, which can compromise the air flow, and no getting your hands caught inside one somehow.

But for all the fancy and frivolous features you get in the new tower, is it worth buying? No, because it’s far too pricey for what it is and how it performs. It’s no better than the £30 tower fans they sell in my local supermarket, and it certainly doesn’t beat an air conditioner in performance. It takes up less space than a portable air conditioner, and doesn’t need to vent the heat outside, but that’s only because it’s a fan and doesn’t actually cool the air.

Dyson seems to be focussing on the air purification angle here, and granted they may be onto something because you’re not likely to find a fan that soaks pollution and allergens out of the air in the way Dyson products do. But that’s assuming you want or need to do that in the first place. Not having issues with either, it’s hard to gauge how well it’s doing without deliberately finding a way to plug it in somewhere that has problematic air. That’s tricky at the best of times, let alone the current circumstances.

Also of note is a night mode that puts the fan onto a timer (between one and eight hours) and reduces the fan down to four. You might want to up the speed before you go to bed, though, because at such a low setting you can barely feel any air being pushed out. In other words it’s not going to do such a great job of keeping you cool.

The purifying unit all assembled

New to this particular fan tower, however, is a purification only mode. Rather than pushing air into your face constantly, it’ll suck in dirty air and push it out though special vents on the side of the fan tower. And without the full fan rotors going you can only feel air puffing out if you turn it up to ten and hold your hand directly on the thing.  It still makes a hell of a lot of noise at higher speeds, though.

Dyson does have an app that lets you control the Pure Cool Tower from your phone, but personally I didn’t find it to be much use. The remote function is the same as the physical remote the fan comes bundled with, and after few check-ins that keep telling me why the fan thinks my air is rubbish, I found myself forgetting it was even installed on my phone. That said the ‘smarter’ features on the Fan are only there if you use the app.

The main on is, of course, being able to control the fan remotely – even if you’re not in the same room or even on the same WiFi network. Just as long as the fan and your phone have an internet connection, you can turn it on or off on a whim – which could be useful if you were on the way home and wanted to be greeted by circulating air when you get there, for instance.

There’s also a scheduling function which will be useful if you do want to automate a daily air-cleaning routine, and if you use Alexa you can hook everything up to control the fan with your voice if you really can’t be arsed pressing some buttons. The app’s not just for this fan either, so all of that also applies to other connected products Dyson has convinced you to buy.

Tesco tower fan for scale

The main pro to the Pure Cool Tower is that it is quite tall, taller than the basic cheap tower fans I keep comparing it to. While you could mitigate that loss with a stand, the fact that it can actually hit my face while I’m sitting down is a bonus – and for the record I’m 6’4, so the air has quite way to go if it wants to get to that particular part of my anatomy. The 10 levels of power are also quite handy, compared to the two or three you’ll get in normal fans, and means you can fine tune the amount of breeze you want to suit the environment. That said if you are in a place with bad air (per the sensor), the sensor graph does show a faster improvement in the local air quality if it’s on a higher breeze setting. Though that should be obvious.

But there are some cons to this too. For starters it always seems to detect poorer air in my office when it’s hot outside, typically high levels of NO2 according to the Dyson Smart Link app. Then again NO2 does linger closer to the ground in hot weather, and it never picks up much (if any) when the weather is cooler. Plus I do live right next to the M4. Maybe there’s something in those sensors after all. It doesn’t seem to filter out very well unless the windows are open, so maybe my office is a natural NO2 hotspot. Who knows.

I’ve never really been a fan of oscillation in fans, so that feature has been completely lost on me. In fact it generally got in the way, because the spinning mechanism is loose, and will shift along a 45-degree angle when you try and twist it about. Subtly move the fan to better aim it in one direction and you’ll find it can just flip back close to where it was. So if you do want a more subtle directional shift, you’ll have to literally pick the fan up and twist the whole thing round. Most fans won’t do that, but with 350-degrees of motion you’d expect to be able to take advantage of every single one if you needed it.

 This is some nasty air, apparently

Oh and it takes a minutes to fire up once you hit the on button. It took me a few minutes to figure out I had indeed turned it on the first time, and pressing the button again to try and get the fan going was just turning it off.

Minor cons aside (and they really are minor cons), the Pure Cool Tower does exactly what it’s supposed to. It fires cooler-seeming air at your face, and in the process supposedly filters out some dodgy contaminants in the air. Or just filters out the contaminants, if that’s what you really want. In the end, though, you can’t really get over the fact that the Dyson Pure Cool Tower does cost £499. That’s a lot of money.

You can get a fairly advanced portable air conditioner for that price, and a dirt cheap one for more than half that price. Yeah they don’t purify the air like Dyson does, but they do actually cool the room down. Some might see it as an unfair comparison since the Dyson Pure Cool range is pretty clear that its products are fans, and are only meant to blow air about. But then again that means it’s doing the exact same thing as any random tower fan currently on sale. And the money left over will get you an air purifier with several spare HEPA filters and plenty of money left over.

Ok they don’t have an app, or even remote controls, but do you need one? Just get off your bum and turn it on and off yourself. Or buy a smart plug if you really have to.

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