This plant is secretly a smart air purifier with washable filters – and it connects to Alexa, too

Natede purifier on a desk surface
(Image credit: Future)
Smart Home Week

This article is part of TechRadar's Smart Home Week 2024, where we're giving you all the latest news, tips and tricks to help you make the smart home of your dreams. 

Mother Nature may be powerful, but even she's struggling to tackle the state of our low air quality single-handedly. This is where clever creations such as Vitesy’s Natede Smart plant air purifier can provide a helping hand. Combining the natural powers of household plants with new air-purifying photocatalytic technology, Natede Smart might also be the most sustainable air purifier I’ve ever used.

Since I purchased my first smart air quality monitor, I’ve been paying a lot more attention to the quality of the air in my home – and let me tell you, it’s been a bit dire at times. Granted, I’ve been living in a black mold-ridden flat until recently, but having the ability to see just how badly certain products such as hairspray and cleaning products affect my air quality in my home has had me reaching for my purifier more often.

The issue is, it’s a bit of an eyesore, the filters need replacing regularly, and it uses quite a lot of energy when used regularly. As such, I’ve been on the lookout for a more attractive and sustainable alternative. Enter Natede Smart, the only app-connected plant pot you’ll ever want or need. 

Close-up of Vitesy Natede smart plant purifier

(Image credit: Future)

A green thumbs-up 

While we probably all like to think we’re safe inside our homes, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), VOC (volatile organic compounds) levels are two to five times higher indoors than outdoors. Then there are mold spores, dust, bacteria, and pollen in the air, too, all of which can result in a host of health issues if allowed to fester in the right environment.

Thankfully, there are a host of plants that are particularly good at cleaning air; but, unfortunately, they don’t hold a candle to some of the best air purifiers. And, if you’re anything like me, half the fun is getting to see how much of an impact they’re having in real-time. And the Natede Smart serves up the best of both worlds.

Close-up of Vitesy Natede smart plant purifier

(Image credit: Future)

So, how does it work? Well, aside from the built-in fan that encourages the circulation of air towards the naturally purifying plant, in a similar vein to the Vitesy Shelfy that I also tried recently, Natede Smart uses Vitesy’s reusable Tungsten trioxide (WO3)-based filter. 

This washable – and therefore far more sustainable – filter creates elementary charges when hit by the LED lights inside Natede Smart’s base, which react with oxygen and water present in the air to create highly reactive free radicals. These then ricochet and break down harmful molecules in the air into less harmful ones. Natede Smart ventilates air through the reaction chamber to be purified, delivering an endless and sustainable means of air purification. 

This goes some way to explaining one of the only major criticisms I have of the Natede Smart, however: its enormous base pot. In addition to your plant and the provided expanded clay pellets that help air and drain your plant, the pot packs a lot of tech. However, that means it’s fairly large at 252 x 271 x 264 mm (H x W x D) and weighty at 2.8kg. 

Design-wise, there are other flaws, too. For example, Natede’s cable is incredibly short at one meter, limiting you massively in terms of plug sockets within a reasonable distance of a window or another natural light source. The LED light on its base is super bright and doesn’t turn off, which makes the Natede Smart unsuitable for bedrooms if you’re sensitive to light, and the button on the base’s underside used during pairing is terribly placed, given you’ll likely already have your plant in situ if you’ve followed the printed instructions. 

Weeding out the bad stuff 

Screenshots of Vitesy Natede app

(Image credit: Future)

You can choose from a variety of plants recommended by Vitesy to sit inside the Natede Smart pot; I opted for a Peace Lily, which is supposed to be great for bedroom or living room purification. Once connected to the Vitesy Hub app, you can remotely control your purifying plant to ensure your home is properly purified.

If you’re using some of the best smart home devices paired with one of the best smart speakers, rejoice; the Natede Smart is both Alexa and Google Home compatible, meaning you can control your device from near or far with the power of home automation, through voice, or in your smart home ecosystem app. I never thought I’d ever need an app for my plant, but when you’re contending with a million different apps at all times, it's handy to be able to integrate Natede Smart into your smart home controller. 

In the app, you can control Natede Smart’s settings, with a choice of four pre-set modes (auto, silence, standard and performance) as well as a custom, timer, and off modes. You can also view the daily, weekly and monthly graphs of various pollutants, as well as view a live view of your air quality. 

An industry plant? 

Screenshots of Vitesy Natede app

(Image credit: Future)

It's here that the next of my major criticisms arises; the accuracy of air quality reporting from the Natede Smart. While I’ve observed its app clearly respond to small particulate stimulants such as hairspray, corn starch and smoke, it seems at least a little dramatic, sometimes spiking to outrageously high levels, only for those to dissipate in just as little time. This alone isn’t too much of an issue, but when it comes to succinctly identifying whether or not the Natede Smart is really having any impact, it’s a little tricky. 

What I can say is that I’ve certainly seen the benefits of the Shelfy, which uses similar filtration technology, and that my air quality according to the Vitesy app has generally improved. I’m just not entirely convinced the plant component of the product is really doing anything. And while the Natede Smart makes for a moderately priced air purifier at $349 / £279, you’re certainly paying as much for the plant-accommodating design as you are for the tech itself. 

I can understand the reasons that Vitesy has opted for this approach – its photocatalytic filters are exciting for nerds – but the gimmick of the attached plant is far more likely to catch attention in a crowded air purifier market. 

I want to believe in the power of plants, but I remain a little unconvinced with that aspect of Natede Smart. Nonetheless, I’m excited to see where Vitesy takes its new purification technology next, and I'm thrilled to have such a high-tech pot for my new Peace Lily. 

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Josephine Watson
Managing Editor, Lifestyle

Josephine Watson (@JosieWatson) is TechRadar's Managing Editor - Lifestyle. Josephine has previously written on a variety of topics, from pop culture to gaming and even the energy industry, joining TechRadar to support general site management. She is a smart home nerd, as well as an advocate for internet safety and education, and has also made a point of using her position to fight for progression in the treatment of diversity and inclusion, mental health, and neurodiversity in corporate settings. Generally, you'll find her watching Disney movies, playing on her Switch, or showing people pictures of her cats, Mr. Smith and Heady.