The Briiv Air Filter Is the Moss


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May 16, 2023

The Briiv Air Filter Is the Moss

By Michelle Mastro Illustration by Katarina Kovac All products featured on

By Michelle Mastro

Illustration by Katarina Kovac

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Contributor Michelle Mastro's Briiv Air Filter review includes everything you should know before buying—including background on its use of moss (a natural purifier!), exactly how well it can cleanse the air in a given space, and her final verdict.

Confession: I have climate anxiety—I’m perpetually worrying about my carbon footprint. Thoughts of unrecycled plastic keep me up at night, as do fears of raging fires from a warming planet—like those I’ve experienced in Southern California (not to mention the currently worsening fires in Canada as we speak). I’m also very conscious of how much waste I generate every day, as well as how I might better upcycle rather than throw away homewares—so you can imagine how thrilled I was to learn about Briiv, an air purifier aiming to use only natural materials like coconut and moss to cleanse the atmosphere.

Though working to clean indoor air pollutants, air purifiers themselves are very polluting devices that, more often than not, end up in landfills (HEPA filters, for example, have limited lifespans and take thousands of years to decompose). But besides helping the planet, Briiv is beautiful. Its open glass jar houses a tiny forest of evergreen hued reindeer moss and underneath that is a crisp mat of coconut fibers.

To be honest, just displaying it on the countertop elevated my kitchen and made me daydream about those beautiful modern cabin homes that run on little to no electricity (just like Briiv does).

Briiv uses natural air filters made from coconut and a biodegradable "matrix filter" (a blend of carbon-infused hemp and a woolen microfiber), but the most apparent bio material is moss. Even though the moss is dried, it pulls out particles, pollen, pet dander, and dust from the air. According to Briiv's managing director, James Whitfield, "Moss’ natural microstructure makes it highly effective at capturing larger particles in your air, such as dust, hair, and pet dander." And it's even better than trees or houseplants at producing oxygen, having the oxygen-making power of 3,043 medium-size houseplants. Though moss doesn't have roots, it does have some small hairlike structures that pull in nutrients and breathe out oxygen. "While trees have their air cleaning properties, the microstructure of moss allows it to capture particles in our air that can irritate and negatively affect us in our homes," James adds.

But you can't simply take moss from the wild and bring it indoors. "For the moss to continue to filter your air effectively, it has to be preserved, which we do naturally and ethically, to stop it from drying out and breaking down," James says. "This preservation process is important to keep the moss usable in Briiv. We’re technically not the first to do this." He points out that, during WWI, army medics used dried moss to help in the bandaging process. "During the plague they often used moss in their face masks. So using moss is not necessarily a new idea, just rather a more forgotten one."

Before I knew it, my kitchen smelled like a woodland hollow—likely from all the gorgeous moss.

The Briiv's setup is very straightforward. The device includes a black plastic base, three organic filters, a glass jar, and a woven black USB power cable. First, I placed the matrix filter onto the black base. This matrix filter can last three months and captures fine particles and volatile organic compounds (things like emissions from glue, permanent markers, and nonorganic paint.) Then I added the coconut filter, which lasts for one year and targets particles in the air like dust and smoke.

Finally, I added the glass jar over the top of these to hold everything in place. Into this, I popped the reindeer moss. To keep the biophilic design feeling natural, I didn't smoosh down the moss but rather let it all clump together haphazardly in the glass jar. According to Briiv, the moss should last about a year, and it is naturally grown, ethically gathered, and eliminates particles like pet dander. I made sure the power cable was plugged into the base and the other end into the power socket, and I was off to the races.

Given its hefty price tag, it was vital to me that the Briiv lived up to the hype. So I put the device through the ringer, spending weeks with it and going so far as to buy an air quality monitor to check in on how my Briiv was doing at purifying my home's air. What I found was that the device seemed to bring down the CO2 levels in my kitchen and did away with funky smells. It's important to note that the Briiv doesn't include any air quality indicators, so there's nothing on the device itself to convey that anything was happening, which is why understanding the science behind the key—and its beautifully biophilic—ingredient of moss can help.

In navigating the Briiv air filter, I could manage the touch-activated control zone on the front of the device or utilize the app (available for Apple or Android). The control zone is very simple, so I stuck with that. It has a range of one to four dots indicating the level of fan speed available. One dot of speed is barely audible, two dots is a bit louder and offers a buzzing sound, while the latter strengths of three and four dots are even more pronounced—mimicking the sound of the average tabletop fan. Next to this scale is a touch button for a one-hour boost, a cleanse mode that will clear up a room's air in just an hour.

But does the Briiv really clean the air? I tested my kitchen's air quality using an air quality monitor. In this case, the lower the CO2 score, the better. According to the monitor, a score of less than 500 parts per million (ppm) CO2 is good for indoor air. Anything between 500-599 ppm is considered okay, and anything higher than 599 ppm is poor.

I periodically tested the kitchen, my guest bathroom full of houseplants, and my office where I have no houseplants. Every day for two weeks, I turned Briiv on level four at 8 a.m., and over the first 30 minutes the air quality rating became an average of 387 ppm (well within good indoor CO2 levels). After keeping the device on level four until 10 a.m., the air quality score reached 350 ppm and leveled out (I also took the extra precaution of making sure all the windows and doors were closed throughout the test).

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I even tested the air quality in the evenings after making dinner, when I would turn the device on again at the lower setting of one dot. The CO2 levels then became an average of 472 ppm. As a comparison, an MIT report suggests that atmospheric CO2 levels of between 280 and 350 ppm is a good score outside. My bathroom with houseplants scored 407 ppm, and the room without houseplants at all scored 520 ppm.

Although definitely not scientific, my findings show the Briiv can circulate and clean the air in a high-traffic area, my kitchen, where I also routinely cook and thus emit fumes indoors. But it does take the device some time to cycle the air in the room entirely, and the higher levels do seem to perform better in terms of thoroughly cleaning the air. I also noticed the air felt more refreshing when using the device, and I didn't feel that middle of the afternoon stuffy head feeling from allergies in spring.

Air Quality Changes

After 30 minutes on level four, Briiv changed my kitchen's air quality to 387 parts per million CO2 levels. After running for two hours on level four, Briiv changed my kitchen's air quality score to 350 parts per million CO2 and stayed there. After cooking in the evening, I turned on the Briiv again at a lower setting. The CO2 levels then became an average of 472 parts per million in my kitchen.

The Briiv worked better than I imagined. And based on looks alone, the device certainly adds to any countertop. It is on the pricier side, so interested buyers will have to determine if the gentle air purifier that also works to help the planet is worth the buy. I think the longer lasting filters alone are worth it—remember that most HEPA filters only last about 12 months, whereas these from Briiv can decompose in your home's compost heap.

Not to mention, there's an advantage to owning a Briiv that other air filters can't offer: It's a wonderful feeling having moss in the home. It almost feels like it is answering a subconscious need to commune with nature, even indoors. I found myself touching the moss now and then, running the clumps through my fingertips. "We hope to expand the concept of Briiv and add more products that utilize moss in the same way, as well as exploring and designing other sustainable products," James says, looking to the future of even better green tech. I can't wait to see what other ideas they come up with that also utilize moss and eliminate the need for non-biodegradable air filters. Perhaps I can start to sleep better at night? At the very least, running Briiv in the evening might lead to better air quality and thus better sleep.

Air Quality Changes