You’ve seen the previous posts where I’ve talked about the two 222 nm far-UVC devices I currently own, the Ergo X-One and the Sterilray Sabre. Those two devices represent the far ends of the spectrum in terms of power and cost: the X-One has 3W of input power and costs ~$350US, while the Sabre has 150W and is currently ~$4,000. But if 3W isn’t going to do enough and you can’t afford a $4,000 device, what other options are there if you want to take advantage of 222 nm vs. SARS-CoV-2 and other airborne pathogens? That’s what we’ll be talking about in this post.
To put it up front, here are my assessments based on price, power, etc. Keep in mind, however, these are not “recommendations” and that any purchase or use of these products is AT YOUR OWN RISK, and like with any tool it is entirely your responsibility to use them safely. Further, there’s no such thing as “100% protection” – like all non-pharmaceutical interventions, these devices can only help lower (albeit often tremendously) the risk of potential infection, they cannot completely eliminate it.
With that said, which one to buy is really, really dependent on the uses you have in mind. While price is a major obstacle, the truth is that you may need more than one to cover a variety of jobs: just like hammers come in all different sizes for different jobs, it’s the same here. But as a general rule – and I’ll harp on this a bit later – I believe you’re better off buying the most powerful device you can afford first.
For clearing rooms and larger and/or more crowded spaces, or for limited use/exposure in doctor’s offices and that sort of thing, my top picks would be:
- Sterilray Sabre (150W, $27 per Watt, 30,000 hour lamp life): If you can swing the hefty price tag of $3500-4000, I believe this is the first best option with the greatest flexibility and by far the best overall protective capability, especially in larger or more crowded venues. Sterilray’s lamps also have the longest projected life, by far, and they also offer a very generous lamp recycle/replacement program. I covered the Sabre in a previous post.
- FirstUVC Triple-222 (60W, $32 per Watt, 10,000 hour lamp life): At $1899 and $32 per Watt, this device offers a good intersection of power and price (which isn’t peanuts, obviously). If it has one major downside, it’s that it’s a bit bulkier, but should still be quite manageable even for portable use.*
For use in smaller spaces or for personal/closer-in protection:
- UV-Can GERANI (20W, $22.45 per Watt, ~5,000 h our lamp life): I don’t own one (although I’m thinking of getting one), but in terms of output and cost per Watt, this is the best value I can see out there right now and is small enough that it should work well for portable applications using a small pure sine wave inverter power pack.*
- Beacon Light’s Beacon (12W, $66 per Watt (currently $50 per Watt on sale), ~9,000 hour lamp life): I bought one of these to use for closer-in (3 to 6 feet) applications, although it has yet to be delivered. A bunch of different devices, including the next contender, below, use the Ushio lamp module, but the Beacon’s discount pre-order price – currently $599 ($799 full price) – gives it an edge in value over the competition, which are generally priced at $2K or higher.
- MYSOTER UVPro222 (12W, $183 per Watt *or* $74 per Watt, ~9,000 hour lamp life): I would have ended my list with the Beacon, but there is a special sale of $888 (discounted from $2,200) for the UVPro222, which also uses the Ushio module, that makes it much more attractive (see below for info and caveat). For those who have heightened safety concerns, this device also has a feature that monitors how close people are and turns the lamp off if it hits the programmed exposure limit.
* Please make sure to read the caveats for FirstUVC and UV-Can devices, whose lamps I believe are made in China, in the descriptions that follow. At least some of them apparently have heat management problems – I’d call the sellers and check on this BEFORE you buy!
While I mentioned the Sabre earlier, the focus on this post is more on “mid-range” devices available to the consumer market that range in input power from 10W up to 60W, with prices from roughly $450 (all prices are USD) on up to $2,500 or so. The list I’m going to provide here almost certainly isn’t complete – so if you know of devices not on here, please let me know – but should give you a good idea of possible options. And keep in mind that I myself don’t have any of these at this point, although I did order a Beacon whose delivery has been repeatedly delayed, unfortunately.
Another thing to note is that only a few companies actually produce the 222 nm lamps that are used in these devices. Sterilray and Eden Park are in the U.S.; Ushio is in Japan; and DBA Light Solutions is in China (note: I’ve heard anecdotally that there’s a lamp factory in Shenzhen that produces many of the lamps used by some of the manufacturers, but I didn’t want to spend time diving down the rabbit hole of exactly who’s making what at this point).
Before we get into the list, I’d like to comment on is POWER, specifically output power or irradiance (typically measured in mW/cm2). Folks, the bottom line – and this is just my opinion, so take that for what it may be worth – is that more power/higher irradiance is better: as a general rule, unless you have needs specific to a particular application, I’d consider buying the most powerful device(s) you can afford. People shy away from higher power because of concerns about overexposure, but by managing time and distance from the lamp that’s generally pretty easy to control: if you haven’t already, please read this great blog post by Joey Fox that goes into some great detail on this and other things.
But I’ll be candid (and, again, this is just my opinion), I’m WAY more concerned about preventing (another) SARS2 infection than I am about possible overexposure. I’m >>not<< saying to throw safety concerns out the window, particularly when it comes to eye exposure, but in any risk-benefit analysis, for me power to kill virus quickly trumps any concerns over exposure, ozone, etc., while using these tools properly. Having said that, if there’s one thing to emphasize about exposure safety, it would be to wear glasses – just about any thing will do – if you’re in a situation where you expect to get much eye exposure. Again, there’s good info on this in Joey’s post.
In a related vein, while input power is often used as a rough metric to compare devices, keep in mind that an unfiltered lamp like the Sabre (which is designed to minimize harmful output wavelengths) puts out significantly more energy per watt into the air than filtered lamps. There’s an argument to be made for additional safety provided by filters, of course, but the attenuation for filtered devices, per one source, can be as high as 60%. Comparing filtered devices based on input power (since the manufacturers aren’t always very forthcoming with information in irradiance, or how much light energy is being put out) is likely comparing apples to apples, but comparing them to Sterilray lamps based solely on input power is more like apples and oranges. Just FYI.
One more thing (sorry!) you need to consider is lamp life. Most of these devices are pretty darn expensive, but a lot of them have pretty sketchy lamp life estimates and warranties (most of the warranties I’ve seen are 1 year; Sterilray’s is three and a half, prorated from the 30,000 hour warranty on their lamps). A great deal, of course, will depend on how often/how much you use it, but you don’t want to have to replace these things very often! Here are some figures I pulled out:
- Eden Park: estimated at “1 year,” depending on usage
- Ushio modules: estimated at 9,000-10,000 hours
- FirstUVC/DBA Light Solutions DF-series: the estimate on the FirstUVC site says the DF series (the products that could be considered closest to “consumer-level”) have an expected life of “3,000 to 10,000 hours.” That’s, ah, quite a wide range there, guys, especially with only a 1 year warranty.
- The UV-Can GERANI (20W) has a life span of “less than or equal to 5,000 hours”
- Sterilray: warrantied for 30,000 hours (with a greatly reduced cost to recycle & replace used lamps)
So, onward to the hopefully useful list! A reminder that I’m not covering anything here under 10W (I’ve come to the conclusion that anything under that is too low power – better to save the money to buy something more powerful) or over 60W in this list.
All the 10W lamp-based products I found were from Eden Park.
- Plasma Guard222TM by Eden Park: A screw-in 222 nm device for use in pendant lighting for a 10’x10’ space with ceilings up to 12’ in height. The built-in LED lighting is designed for adjustable CCT (3500 K, 4000 K, 5000 K).
- MobileShield222TM by Eden Park: A small portable device that can operate via power cord or a separately sold rechargeable battery pack. Note that this device is noted on their product listing, but the company removed the original product page. However, you can find the original page in the Wayback Machine. One very interesting entry in the old web page was this: “Eden Park’s MobileShield222 lamp provides the output necessary to inactivate 90% of the Covid-19 virus in air at 3 feet in 12 minutes, according to current research. (research available upon request).” I don’t have the research materials, but if it’s true that it would take 12 minutes to reduce the amount of SARS-CoV-2 virus by 90% at three feet…I wouldn’t use it. That’s WAY too long, and you’d be breathing in most of that. Makes me wonder if that’s not why they took down the web page (speculation)?
- DLShield222TM by Eden Park: A can-less recessed light to disinfect up to a 10’x10’ space with ceilings up to 12’ in height. The built-in LED lighting is designed for adjustable CCT (3500 K, 4000 K, 5000 K). I added this one because I figure there are people who would like to have an integrated 222 nm capability in their recessed lighting at home.
General note for the Eden Park products: These all use the same 10W thin wafer lamp module. Eden Park’s literature indicates the lamp life is “one-year life expectancy on average, depending on usage.” IMHO, that’s not very good at all for however much you’d be paying for these devices, which itself is a question mark: while I didn’t spend a lot of time looking, I didn’t find any information on pricing for their products. This is a fairly common thing for many of these manufacturers: the lack of clear pricing information or “contact us for a quote” is super annoying.
The 12W category belongs to products that use the Ushio Care222 lamp module. Ushio doesn’t seem to make devices themselves, but has an extensive list of partners, as found on their partners page, that do. The estimated lamp life for the 12W Ushio module is 9,000 – 10,000 hours. I’ve changed the listing order from what’s on the Ushio site to be more in line with consumer interests (some are aimed at office/commercial applications):
- Consumer: IMHO, there are three main contenders in the consumer space in the 12W range (Ushio modules): Beacon Light, Far UV Technologies, and the MYSOTER brand of My Lumens; I included a fourth company, UVX Inc., which has a pretty nifty-looking ceiling mounted device that might fit into the consumer market, as well.
- Beacon Light’s Beacon: Beacon is specifically intended for use in home or small office spaces and is currently on pre-order sale (as of 26 August 2023) of $599US, with a full price of $799. Beacon can be controlled by a smart phone app, which is becoming an increasingly common feature with some classes of far-UVC devices.
- Far UV Technologies: Far UV is probably among the best known brands at this point for consumer products because of the use of the Krypton Shield (which now seems to have been renamed to Krypton Guard) by a number of personalities. In the 12W range, using the Ushio module, Far UV’s offering is the Krypton Guard with LiDAR ($2,499US). Information on the LiDAR capability is scant, but my speculation is that this offers the user the ability (or perhaps it’s programmed in the device) to control exposure based on how close people are based on LiDAR ranging.
- My Lumens/MYSOTER: My Lumens is a China-based company whose MYSOTER brand covers a variety of far-UVC products based on the Ushio module. Three of them are ceiling mounted applications (surface, recessed, and a larger UV+visible light combo recessed unit). The fourth product, the UVPro222 is similar in size and weight to the Krypton Guard and also has an “IOT” capability to sense people and turn off the lamp as needed to prevent overexposure. It could be wall-mounted, likely put on a tripod, or freestanding. There’s a special sale going on knocking the price down from $2,200US to $888 if you buy using this link. FULL DISCLOSURE: If you buy the UVPro222 using that link, I’ll get a commission on the sale. I actually told the My Lumens rep that I’d be happy to promote the products/technology regardless, but they wanted to provide a commission, anyway, so here we are.
- UVX Inc.: UVX offers the “Zener” smart far-UVC ceiling device. This is a more elegant-looking ceiling fixture than many of the commercial models, and also has detection technology as well as an internet connection for updating the firmware; it wasn’t clear to me if there’s also a software app to control it. I’m going to leave this one in the “consumer interest” section, but they’re another company that doesn’t share much publicly – even to get the spec sheet you have to contact them, and of course no prices are listed.
- Commercial/Industrial: The rest of the partner companies employing the Ushio module are generally geared toward commercial or industrial clients.
- Acuity Brands: Acuity’s products are mainly for overhead lighting to help disinfect office and commercial spaces, although some could certainly be used in the home. Cursory inspection didn’t yield any pricing information.
- CyClean222: CyClean is geared more toward commercial or very high-end consumer applications with their Cyclops series of ceiling fixtures (along with a disinfection robot!). They also have a Microsoft Azure-based software platform that can control an unlimited number of devices (sort of like the Beacon app on steroids).
- Freestyle Partners: Freestyle’s product niches are surface disinfection and vehicle disinfection.
- Lit Thinking: Lit Thinking also offers a device called Beacon, but this one is a ceiling mounted unit with recessed, ceiling surface, or pendant mounting options with software control. While technically I suppose these could be used in the home, I’m bumping them down to the commercial/industrial group.
- Population: Population’s niche appears to be providing far-UVC defense to restaurants with a 222 nm device that looks vaguely like Beacon Light’s Beacon that can be ceiling- or wall-mounted, or freestanding. The devices can be controlled with an app that can schedule operation or be allowed to run autonomously.
- Puro Lighting: Puro is another company primarily geared toward the commercial market, with a variety of mainly wall mounted fixtures.
- UVC Cleaning Systems: UVC offers a couple ceiling and wall mount devices.
- uvDevelopment Corporation: Another company geared toward commercial deployments; they don’t really provide much information on their far-UVC products, sadly.
- UV Medico: Geared more toward the commercial market, UV Medico offers two downlight fixtures, a general fixture for mounting in different configurations, and one tailored for usage in ambulances and elevators.
- Yi Yuan Medical Technology: This company is geared toward the medical sector in China, offering a ceiling-mounted disinfection device.
- The Krypton-11 and Krypton-36 ceiling-mount devices by Far UV Technologies have input power of 15W. I couldn’t confirm either way from information on the web pages, but my assumption is that these devices aren’t using Ushio modules. These could certainly be used in home applications, but at least on the web pages they seem to be geared more toward commercial customers. I found prices of $2,499US for the Krypton-11 and $4,685US for the Krypton-36 (note: for 15W input power, the list price for the Krypton-36 seems a bit outrageous, IMHO).
I need to hit you with a few notes to this section for clarity before getting to the products.
Note 1: Aside from Ushio and Sterilray, it’s a bit confusing who’s supplying lamps, who’s making devices from those lamps, etc., and I did NOT spend a ton of time sorting that out. But products appear to be largely the same across DBA Light Solutions <=> FirstUVC <=> UV-Can <=> Quantadose, and you can see the product list on the Products link at the FirstUVC site, UV-Can, and Quantadose.
Note 2: If you search TaoBao, a Chinese shopping site, for “222nm”, you’ll see a variety of devices that look like the DBA Light Solutions/FirstUVC/UV-Can products at very, very low prices, along with some devices I haven’t seen equivalents for outside of China. I don’t recommend you buy here, I just wanted to point it out as an FYI. My suspicion is that these products are in fact made by the same factories to probably the same specs, but I can’t confirm that.
Note 3: However, I was told by what I consider a very reliable source that the UV-Can devices (and from that, I have to assume the FirstUVC & DBA Light Solutions products) use lamp modules made in China – there is a factory in Shenzhen – and the filters are actually glued to the glass face, rather than actually being blended into the glass as Ushio does, which apparently is a complex and expensive process that explains much of the price difference. The potential issues during use include odors from the adhesive or even melting as the lamps heat up (NOTE: I have no idea how prevalent any of this may be, so take this all with a bit of circumspection). I’m not going to say if you should/shouldn’t buy these products – I just want you to be aware. Not everyone can afford a Porsche or Maserati, but if you’re going to buy a cheaper car you need to know about any potential gotcha’s.
- DBA Light Solutions offers the three devices in the 20W range: the DF28B-20W, and two variations of the SCF28-20W. All have motion sensors and timer modules. The only obvious difference I could see aside from different cases is that the DF28B-20W has a 4,000 hr life span, while the other two have 3,000. I found a price for the DF28B-20W on the FirstUVC store of $1,399US.
- Another DBA Light Solutions product for ceiling mounting is the DF28C-20W, which is also $1,399 at FirstUVC.
- UV-Can offers the GERANI, a 20W device introduced fairly recently that doesn’t fit into the DBA/FirstUVC/Quantadose pantheon. As far as I know, this is the lowest priced device in this category at $449 and is among the best values out there in terms of input wattage and price per Watt.
- Bumping things up a few notches, FirstUVC (et al) sells the Triple-222 60W device that has three of the 20W modules in a triangular housing, currently at $1,899. This can be ceiling, wall, or tripod mounted. While at ~13 inches across and almost 5 lbs it’s not exactly pocket sized, it’s certainly portable. Interestingly, the specs indicate coverage of 40-50 square meters (430-538 sq ft), or an area roughly from 20 x 20 to 23 x 23 feet (note: this is likely for a ceiling mount configuration), which is a lot more honest than some other manufacturer claims I’ve seen.
- In addition to the 150W portable Sabre, Sterilray also makes the “ésconce” wall-mount device offered in 60W, 100W, and 150W versions [https://sterilray.com/germbuster-esconce-4/]. I saw a price of $3,400 at CureUV, although the version wasn’t specified and it now has a “get a quote” button.
And that wraps it up! I hope this give you some food for thought and a starting point on further research to see if any of these devices can help meet your needs as we continue our struggle to survive in this new age of “you do you…”