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I shop for a living, and thanks to the Coway Airmega purifier my sinuses have never been happier

Sinus pressure has been a constant throughout my adulthood and until recently, I'd resigned myself to a life with these pesky head pains. That said, they can be incredibly debilitating. Since I don't always have the luxury of sleeping them off, I knew something had to give. Enter: the highly rated Coway Airmega True HEPA Purifier. It's so popular, it even made Google's Holiday 100 list this year, meaning it was one of their most trending products. Now that I've tried it, I realize I should have purchased this powerful (and very aesthetically pleasing) air-filtering machine years ago — but better late than never, right? If your nose could also use a little relief, read on for my full Coway Airmega review.

Is it weird to have a crush on an appliance? Asking for ... me. 

$156 at Amazon

I've tried many remedies to combat my sinus pressure over the years — neti pots, shower steamers, face massages, nasal sprays — and nope, nothing ever worked. Allergy tests showed I was allergic to dust and mold, but no matter how often I swept or wiped surfaces clean, that painful feeling surrounding my nose inevitably returned. Then my doctor recommended trying an air purifier to see if it would make a difference in the quality of my environment.

I knew I should probably have had one anyway. Having lived in major cities my entire adult life, there was a good chance the air I was ingesting wasn't exactly pure. I was also very prone to stuffy noses and sneezing. At any rate, it couldn't hurt! After an exhausting amount of research (I am a shopping writer, after all), I settled on the Coway Airmega True HEPA Purifier. It promised to capture and reduce up to 99.97% of 0.3 micron-sized particles in the air, thanks to a four-stage filtration system that includes a pre-filter, deodorization filter, true HEPA filter and vital ion filter. And with over 19,000 perfect ratings from Amazon reviewers battling everything from wildfire smoke to cooking odors and pet dander, it had to be doing something right.

Admittedly, it was the modern design that first caught my attention: sleek, glossy and a far cry from other bulky air filtration appliances. If this was going to be on display in my house at all times, I wanted it to look nice! I opted for the black model, but it also comes in white, which is super-chic as well. I preferred its square design to cylindrical air purifiers, as I liked that I'd be able to keep it against the wall.

author's photo of the black coway airmega in a corner of their home
My little dust- and particle-zapping wonder, neatly tucked away in its corner.

I'll be the first to tell you that when it comes to electronics, I'm not the savviest. I'll figure them out eventually, but I'd rather not spend an hour or two trying to get something to work. Lucky for me, the Coway Airmega is foolproof. There are five buttons — I promise, it's not as intimidating as it sounds! The first turns the unit on; easy enough. The second adjusts the air speeds; there are three to choose from, as well as auto and eco modes. To conserve energy, the auto mode will choose the setting best suited to the air's current quality, while eco mode turns the fan off after 30 minutes of not detecting any pollution.

Next comes the ionizer button which, if you hold it down for three seconds, dims the light display that shows you how clean your air is. That comes in handy when you're trying to get some shut-eye! It can also be used for helping to remove odors, though I prefer to keep it off, as studies have shown that using an ionizer feature could have harmful effects. In addition, there's a timer that can be set for one, four or eight hours, and last but not least, a filter reset button that'll let you know when it's time for a swap-out.

author's series of photos showing the coway airmega's light going from red, to purple, to blue, indicating an improvement in air quality
In a span of just 30 minutes, my home's air quality went from scary to decent to ahh — much better. Thanks, Coway Airmega!

Upon first turning on the Coway Airmega, I was disappointed (but not surprised) to see a red light glaring at me, signaling that the air quality in my home was poor. But after about 15 minutes or so, it started turning purple. Maybe that meant it was working? Another 15 went by, and it became a solid blue! (That's what you want to see.)

My brownstone isn't huge, but I was impressed that this compact machine was able to make such a big difference in such a small amount of time. As far as its clean-air delivery rate is concerned, it can refresh the air in an 874-square-foot space twice per hour, and the air in a 361-square-foot space nearly five times per hour. Not too shabby!

As a five-foot-tall weakling, I very much appreciate how lightweight the Coway Airmega is — at just 12.5 pounds, it's easy to move around my house if needed, and its slim profile fits into small spaces to save some floor space. (It would be great if it had a handle, but that's not a dealbreaker.) It's the perfect size for my home's needs, and I'll often keep it downstairs while I'm working, and upstairs for sleeping. Speaking of sleeping, there's no official "sleep mode," but it's barely audible when on the lowest setting. I even find its hum at full speed quite soothing and barely notice it now, so as far as noise levels are concerned, it gets an A+ from me.

One thing to note is that this model doesn't come with a remote and it's not Wi-Fi-compatible, which might be a downside for some tech heads. I'm personally not a fan of using apps to control my appliances — the less complicated, the better, in my opinion — so that detail hasn't affected me in the slightest.

the coway airmega in black and white
I love my black Coway Airmega so much, I'm thiiis close to snagging the white version so I can have one for every floor.

To be perfectly honest, I didn't have much faith that this air purifier would have an impact on my sinus pressure. Knowing the air in my home was cleaner would have been great on its own — but since I started using this machine about two months ago, I've noticed that my nasal passages have felt far less congested and my sinus pain has improved by about 90 percent. I'll take it! I don't even want to know what my poor nose was breathing in before this thing came into my life, but whatever it was, that pollution wasn't doing me any favors. And I don't even have pets! (Though this fellow fan says it's been a game changer when it comes to their partner's dander allergy.)

It's still a little early for me to call the Coway Airmega a "lifesaver," but if regular use keeps my sinus pressure as infrequent as it is now, it'll certainly have earned that title. I've yet to replace the filters — you're supposed to swap out the deodorization filter every six months and the true HEPA filter every year — but reviewers say it's a cinch. (Replacement filters for this model are available here.)

Is it on the pricier side? Yes. Are the filter replacements $40 per year? Uh huh. But after years of wishing for a sinus remedy, I consider it a worthy investment for reliable relief — and in just a short time, it's already more than paid for itself.

Another bonus? I haven't had to dust my living room nearly as much!

$156 at Amazon

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The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.