IQ Air GC MultGas Air Purifier

The reasoning goes that if it's good enough to battle airborne contaminants in hospitals and wage war on the SARS epidemic in Hong Kong, then the GC MultiGas air purifier from IQAir could be just powerful enough to establish a friendly stronghold for cigar smokers on the home front. It turns out the logic is sound. It was lovers of the leaf who first thought to use IQAir GC as a smoke filter, according to company representatives. Turned away from more and more public places, smokers sought ways to turn their homes into bastions for indoor smoking. The GC may have come to this utility by accident, but the unit, which was made to trap microscopic germs, also did a heck of a job clearing away hovering clouds of smoke and lingering odors that might offend those in the household who may not be partial to puffing.

Standing approximately two feet tall and propped on wheels for easy rolling, the tiered unit stacks three filters like building blocks. Cloudy air is taken in through a hidden grate located underneath the base and, once filtered, blown out the top. In between, the air first moves through a HEPA pre-filter that traps airborne particles, and then continues through an adjustable-speed fan. This is par for the course in the purifier world. What comes next goes beyond the norm. The air is washed through four cylindrical gas-phase filter cartridges that trap odors too small for the HEPA filter in a collective 17 pounds of coal-based material. The cartridges are wrapped in a third sleeve of electrostatically charged material that blocks virus and bacteria from escaping.

We tested the GC in less-than-laboratory, but smokier-than-average conditions in the Cigar Aficionado offices, and found it performed admirably under the strain. The unit quickly cleared smoke out of a small office, and soon after the traces of cigar were unnoticeable.

The GC MultiGas costs $1,035. The HEPA pre-filter (replacements, $74.50) will last six to 18 months. The post-filter sleeves (four-pack, $102.50) go for about two to three years; and the cartridges (four-pack $280) last six to 24 months.

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