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Shark NeverChange5 review: Air purifying without the filter-changing fuss

Our Rating :
£199.00 from
Price when reviewed : £199
inc VAT

With a longer-lasting filter and impressive features and performance, the Shark NeverChange 5 is a strong option, though rivals are quieter


  • Strong purifying performance
  • Longer-lasting filter and cleanable pre-filters
  • Useful display and intuitive controls


  • Noisier than some alternatives
  • Could use a handle

You can probably guess from the name that the Shark NeverChange5 air purifier has an unusual selling point. Most air purifiers rely on a HEPA filter to trap airborne nasties, with the filter needing to be changed once or twice every twelve months. Shark claims that its HEPA filter lasts much longer. The name is slightly misleading – you are going to change it at some point – but it should last for up to five years before it needs to be replaced.

Why is this interesting? Well, HEPA filters don’t come cheap, costing anywhere between £20 and £70 depending on the make and model, so not having to replace it could save you a lot of cash over five years. I’ve spent a week testing the NeverChange5 to see if its long-lasting filter comes at a cost you’ll pay elsewhere.

Shark NeverChange5 review: What do you get for the money?

The Shark NeverChange5 has a list price of £250, but at the time of writing was available for £199. That outlay gets you a compact air purifier with a CADR (clean air delivery rate) for pollen, dust or smoke of 99m³/h – enough to clean the air in a 60m² room once per hour or a 12m² room 4.8 times per hour. It combines a three-layer NanoSeal HEPA, ActiveCarbon and Pet Particle drum filter with a Debris Defence pre-filter screen, that removes larger airborne particles before they can clog or dirty the primary filter, dramatically increasing its lifespan. What’s more, the Debris Defence screen can be removed and rinsed or vacuumed independently, to keep it running efficiently for longer.

The NeverChange5 includes a Clean Sense IQ air quality sensor, which can be used to adjust the fan speed automatically to match higher or lower levels of allergens and/or pollutants. You can check the current PM1, PM10 and PM2.5 levels on the circular LED screen at the front, or get a simplified air quality reading as a percentage. Meanwhile, a ring around the screen glows blue, amber or red to give you an at-a-glance indicator. Otherwise, you have five manual fan speeds, plus an option to dim the screen and indicators for use during sleeping hours, all accessible through simple touchscreen controls.

As a final feature, Shark has built its anti-odour tech into the NeverChange5, through a small, circular scent cartridge that plugs and twists into a compartment at the top of the unit and neutralises pet and cooking odours. You can adjust the scent level by twisting it left or right in its space.

Thanks to the protruding intakes and their screens, the NeverChange5 isn’t quite as small or unobtrusive as the Blueair Blue Pure 511 or Levoit Core 300S, but at 266 x 237 x 385mm (WDH), it’s hardly massive. It has a reasonably lengthy 1.83m cord and weighs only 3.32kg.

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Shark NeverChange5 review: How well does it work?

The NeverChange5 is a very effective purifier. In general use, it worked brilliantly in its Auto mode, improving air quality and removing smells in rooms around the house, big or small. Give it cooking odours or a deodorant spray to work with, and you can hear it spin up the fan almost immediately, with the ring around the LED display turning red or amber to let you know that there’s an issue, then cycling through to green as the air quality improves and it’s time to ramp the fan down.

I’m a big fan of the display and the way you can flick between different readings for different types of particulate; you can focus on pollen if hay fever is your biggest problem. The ring also comes in handy if you want quick reassurance that your air isn’t going to do you harm.

In my PM2.5 test, where I use a spray inside a small test room, the NeverChange5 put in a good performance, bringing the air down to safe PM2.5 levels in 2mins 34secs with the fan set to max. It was, however, slower in its auto mode, taking 3mins 27secs. I can’t fault the sensor here, which kicked the fan into high gear within a couple of seconds, but it turned the fan down from max to medium speeds long before I’d hit 25 particles per square metre, stretching the final chunk of the cleaning process out.

Power consumption is reasonably low at slower fan speeds, using just 3.5W on the lowest setting. At higher settings, though, it’s comparatively high, reaching 25.4W at peak. That’s not as high as rival purifiers from Acer or HoMedics, but it’s above the Blueair Pure 511 and Blue 3250i.

Shark NeverChange5 review: What could be improved?

The NeverChange5 isn’t too noisy on its lowest fan speed, putting out 36dBA, but it’s nowhere near as close-to-silent as the Blueair Pure 511 (28.1dBA) or Acerpure Cool (28.3dBA). You could probably sleep through it, but you’ll be aware that it’s running. On medium to higher speeds, it’s substantially louder, dishing out between 46dBA and 51.9dBA in my tests. I’ve heard rowdier air purifiers, but this one isn’t the quietest in town.

My family wasn’t sold on the anti-odour cartridge, either, wondering why you’d want to replace one set of odours with another. Your mileage will vary on the somewhat sweet perfume, but I was urged to remove the cartridge and let the purifier run without the subtle but unwanted smell.

Finally, it’s worth noting that the NeverChange5 could do with some kind of handle. In terms of weight and dimensions, it’s thoroughly portable, but you need to get your hands or arms under it to lift it.

Shark NeverChange5 review: Should I buy it?

Perhaps the hardest thing about this review is that I have no idea how well the NeverChange5’s biggest USP works. I could come back in a few years to let you know if I had to change the filter, but that’s not much help if you need an air purifier right now.

The concept certainly makes sense, though it’s worth mentioning that Blueair’s fabric pre-filter on the Pure 511 and Blue 3250i only extended the filter’s lifespan by another three months. I can only assume that Shark has some evidence to back its longevity claims up.

That aside, this is an excellent air purifier with plenty of power and a strong set of features. Provided you don’t need to change the filter, it’s even strong on value. You might want something a little quieter if you plan on leaving your purifier on while you’re sleeping, or something more powerful for larger spaces, but as a solid, fuss-free air purifier where you won’t need to fiddle with the filter, the NeverChange5 is a great deal.

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