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Tuesday, Dec 10, 2019

Techilicious by Rajiv Makhni: The air purifier buying guide - Part 2

Tests on 20 brands and 32 units later, here are the best machines for your budget

brunch Updated: Nov 23, 2019 20:52 IST
Rajiv Makhni
Rajiv Makhni
Hindustan Times
Air purifiers can be tested on their build and quality,  AQI information built in, air filter quality, amount of suction and blowing out power, sound level and convenience
Air purifiers can be tested on their build and quality, AQI information built in, air filter quality, amount of suction and blowing out power, sound level and convenience
         

It was like hell had descended on earth. The car headlights bounced off a sheet of pure grey smog and literally blinded the driver. It was 3am. I had just returned from San Diego where the AQI (air quality index) had been a sprightly 11 and I had been greeted in Delhi with an AQI near 700. The burning, choking feeling was all too familiar. I couldn’t have timed Part 2 of this column better.

In Part 1, I had detailed the myths behind using an air purifier (AP). Part 2 is about how to buy an air purifier. There are more than 70 brands available in the market and each promises a machine that will magically turn your poison gas chamber into a heavenly seaside resort. Very few actually do.

Methodology

I physically tried more than 20 brands and more than 32 different air purifier units. The system I set up was simple but efficient. The test room was about 270 sqft with large windows and a single door. I used two independent air quality index monitors, one to read the AQI near the air purifier and one on the opposite side of the room. I started each test by opening the windows and the door, and putting on the ceiling fan at full speed for about five minutes (this brought the AQI inside the room to about what was outside).

There are over 70 brands in the market, each promising to turn your poison gas chamber into a heavenly seaside resort. Very few actually do!

I was looking at these parameters. Air purifier build and quality, AQI information built in, air filter quality, amount of suction and blowing out power, sound level and convenience. Due to paucity of space and as requested by all, I am only listing the best air purifiers by budget.

Xiaomi Mi Air Purifier 3 (about ₹9,999)

Xiaomi Mi Air Purifier 3
Xiaomi Mi Air Purifier 3

Just when I had completed my tests on the Mi AP, Xiaomi introduced a new one. The Mi AP3 with triple HEPA filter. Thus I went back and tested this new one. It’s got a good build quality, the built in screen gives you a lot of information, the app works well and the HEPA filter is excellent. But at full speed the Mi 3 is a bit loud and even though its rating for suction and blowing out is one of the highest on paper, my results were middling. My AQI monitor showed a very clean room near the purifier but not so good across the room. It also took quite a long time to clean up the air in the whole room. Still, at this price this is the absolute best you can get.

Sharp FP-J60M-W (about ₹26,000)

Sharp FP-J60M-W
Sharp FP-J60M-W

A brand new offering from Sharp and one that reads like a dream in terms of specs. Multiple purification with plasmacluster (release of positive and negative ions as found in nature), HEPA filter, active carbon and washable pre-filter. Build quality is excellent, the real time display gives you great information, the HEPA filter is rated for two years and the washable pre-filter is a great add on. Sound levels were fine and the Sharp AP did a great job in cleaning the air quickly in the test polluted room. The other good thing in this Sharp AP is that it was able to clean the air in the whole room as my independent AQI monitor across the room showed the same reading as the one near the AP within a few minutes.

Dyson Hot and Cold (about ₹50,000)

Dyson Hot and Cold
Dyson Hot and Cold

I had great expectations from the Dyson AP as it’s the only one that can also be used as a heater in winter and a cooling unit in summer, plus its blade-less fan technology and its filter ratings are supposedly world class. But how would they work in Indian conditions? The unit looks great, the heating worked like a charm, the built in screen shows PM 2.5, PM 10, VOC, NO2 and overall AQI, the 360° glass HEPA filter and activated carbon filter work brilliantly, sound levels are low and the oscillation feature sucks in and blows out air fast. The Dyson AP was able to clean out the room super fast and maintain all-room purification right through.

Others

Another great air purifier was the Amway Atmosphere Mini and the Sharp FP-JC2M-B car air purifier was the absolute best for in-car air purification as it has a washable and can be placed on the arm rest or backrest (where you really need it).

These were the air purifiers than not only lived up to their promises but actually went above and beyond. Combine Part 1 and Part 2 of this column, buy the best air purifier for your budget and use it the right way. Believe me, you’ll need it for many months to come.

Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV, and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3

Techilicious appears every fortnight

From HT Brunch, November 24, 2019

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