There might not be earthquakes or volcanic eruptions in Singapore, but thanks to the annual haze from our neighbours down South, we have our very own environmental disaster.
Unless you’re planning to get an N95 mask implanted in your face or are happy breathing in the sweet, sweet smog each year, it could be a good idea to purchase an air purifier.
It’s also useful if you have young children or family who is pregnant or suffers from asthma, allergies, or eczema.
But an air purifier is not a must-have. Don’t run out getting one if you have heard scary claims like bad air causes dementia. Save for the haze period, there’s no real need to get one in Singapore (we’re not living in Beijing).
Top 17 HEPA air purifiers in Singapore 2020
Here are the top air purifiers from the cheapest to the most expensive from 9 major brands: Novita, Xiaomi, Honeywell, Philips, Hitachi, Panasonic, EuropAce, Dyson and Coway.
They’re available at major appliance stores like Harvey Norman, Courts, Best Denki and Gain City and are sometimes cheaper on Lazada and Qoo10.
|Air purifier||Retail price|
|Xiaomi Air Purifier Mijia 2S OLED Display||$149|
|EuropAce EPU2201T Air Purifier||$228|
|Hitachi EP-A3000 Air Purifier||$249|
|Coway AP 1012 Air Purifier||$267|
|EuropAce EPU 3300T Air Purifier||$378|
|Novita Air Purifier NAP811i||$388|
|Panasonic F-PXL45A Air Purifier||$498|
|Honeywell HAP18200 (CADR 135) Air Purifier||$578|
|Philips AC2887 (CADR 200) Air Purifier||$599|
|Dyson TP04 Pure Cool Purifying Tower Fan||$639|
|Coway AP-1008DH Air Purifier||$658|
|Panasonice F-VXK70A Nanoe Air Purifier||$679|
|Novita Air Purifier NAP822||$698|
|Philips AC4014 (CADR 135) Air Purifier||$699|
|EuropAce EPU7550 Air Purifier||$699|
|Novita Air Purifier NAP866||$1,099|
*All prices are taken from lazada.sg as of 11 February 2020.
Xiaomi Air Purifiers: MI Mijia 2S OLED ($149)
Xiaomi air purifiers are the cheapest. The Xiaomi Air Purifier Mijia 2S OLED Display looks sleek and minimalist, and costs only $149 on Lazada. It displays the PM2.5 index in its surroundings real-time and can even be remotely connected to the Xiaomi Mi Home App.
The HEPA filter is made with tough PET and the machine’s cylindrical shape provides 360° filtration of dust, hair, pollen, allergens, animal fur, benzene and formaldehyde down to PM 2.5. Its activated coconut carbon filter also helps to remove smoke and odour.
Its coverage is around 23 to 32 square meters, which is sufficient for a typical room.
EuropAce True HEPA air purifiers (from $228)
EuropAce air purifiers use 3 filters: a washable pre-filter that captures large particles, a True HEPA filter for pollutants as tiny as 0.1 microns (up to 99.97% effective) and a carbon filter for odours, formaldehyde and benzene.
EuropAce carries various models, the most affordable one being the EPU2201T, which is just over $220.
The EuropAce 3300T ($378) is the mid-range model, it has UV light as well to get rid of bacteria and germs. Though it has an ioniser, it’s lab-tested to be ozone free. And it’s quiet, too.
Hitachi air purifiers (from $249)
People think of washing machines when Hitachi is mentioned, but Hitachi air purifiers are pretty decent as well. They use HEPA filters in 3 modes: air purify, odour and pollen. Plus, the air suction draws air from 6 different directions for better coverage.
The filters also have catalytic activated carbon that reduces 7 main odours – pet, smoke, cooking, rotten vegetables and fish, grilled meat and body odour. It also doubles as a humidifier.
The most affordable Hitachi air purifier is Hitachi EP-A3000 Air Purifier, which costs $249, but if you care about design and aesthetics, the EP-NZG70J model has a sleek glass panel.
Coway air purifiers (from $267)
Coway air purifiers has True HEPA filters as well, cleaning dust, allergens and pollen up to 99.7% efficiency. They have an Air Quality Indicator that senses and tells you what the air quality in your room is like.
To save energy, the fan will stop when there is no pollution detected for 30 minutes. The air flow speed is automatically controlled based on the air quality level.
Novita air purifiers (from $388)
Singaporean brand Novita’s air purifiers use True HEPA and the filter only needs to be changed every 2 years. While not cheap, this air purifier overs an impressive room capacity, which is hard to come by at this price.
The most expensive in the range is Novita Air Purifier NAP866, which comes with a real-time pollutant sensor and operates at a quiet 35 decibels. The air purifiers are cheaper at Novita’s e-store and also come with 3-year warranty.
Philips air purifiers (from $278.88)
Philips air purifiers come with the VitaShield Intelligent Purification System which filters out ultra-fine particles, allergens, bacteria (up to 99.9%), viruses, ammonia, dust, benzene and formaldehyde (found in a lot of household products and affects the respiratory and nervous systems).
The AC0820 model is pretty affordable and it comes with AeraSense Smart Feedback which gives professional quality feedback on your room’s pollution level. Then, it adjusts its own filtering operations to clean the air accordingly.
The design is compact and purportedly cleans a room of 20 square meters in less than 16 minutes.
Panasonic air purifier (from $498)
Panasonic air purifiers double up as humidifiers, and use HEPA filters that can remove ultra-fine particles as tiny as 0.3 microns, which puts it in the top grade. The F-VXK70A even has a sensor that detects people and increases its cleaning and purifying functions when humans are near.
Their Nanoe technology promises to penetrate deep into fabrics to get rid of odours. If you have fabric sofas and lots of cushions, this is very good news. Panasonic air purifiers also use the ECONAVI function that saves up to 60% of energy.
The most affordable Panasonic air purifier is the Panasonic F-PXL45A Air Purifier, which you can get at $498 from Lazada.
Dyson air purifiers (from $639)
Dyson is synonymous with top-grade appliances – think Dyson bladeless fans, cyclonic vacuum cleaners and $599 supersonic hair dryers.
For Dyson’s air purifier range, they have combined their fans with an HEPA air purifier to give you a “purifying” fan, which captures gases and 99.95% of fine particles such as allergens, pollen, bacteria, pet dander and other pollutants down to 0.1 microns, even smaller than the benchmark of 2.5 microns that is commonly used.
The smart appliance monitors and reacts to the air quality, then gives you the report via the Dyson Link app.
The Dyson Pure Cool ups the ante with a 360-degree HEPA filter with carbon granules to get rid of VOCs and odours.
Honeywell HAP 18200 air purifier (from $578)
While this air purifier is a little bulky looking, it’s got a powerful fan and a HEPA filter that’s been recommended by doctors for those with asthma and other respiratory problems. One of the most popular options amongst Singaporeans.
Generally Honeywell air purifiers cost at least $570 but they are equipped with True HEPA filter, QuietCare technology and filters that absorb odours and VOCs.
A nifty feature that Honeywell air purifiers has is the Intelli-Check Electronic Filter Indicator, which reminds you to replace the filters. The filters are easy to remove and replace as well.
HEPA air purifiers – what are they & how do you choose one?
Air purifiers clean the air by pulling the surrounding air into the machine to trap dust, mould, pollen and bacteria. The purified air is then circulated back into the room.
When looking for an air purifier, you’ll come across HEPA air purifiers and non-HEPA ones. This refers to the filter.
HEPA filters (high-efficiency particulate air filters) are the best at filtering small particles, which makes them the best for filtering pesky particulate matter during the haze season. They come in 2 grades: true HEPA filter or HEPA-type ones.
- True HEPA filters: Remove 99.97% of particles that are greater than or equal to 0.3 microns
- HEPA-type filters: Same material as True HEPA filters, but are only 25% to 95% as efficient
There are other types of filters as well:
- Ultraviolet (UV) filters: These filters are meant to get rid of bacteria, viruses, moulds and other biological contaminants.
- Photo-catalytic filters: These filters get rid of dangerous gases, and are mostly used to get rid of bacteria, viruses and the like
- Activated carbon filters: These get rid of odours
Apart from how well the filter works, another concern should be filter maintenance (because you need to change the filters often). Sometimes, an air purifier may be cheap, but filter maintenance may be expensive. In general, HEPA filters are easy and affordable to replace.
Other things to look for are…
- Controlled air flow: A good air purifier should have controlled air flow so that ultra-fine particles don’t get sent back out into the air.
- High fan speed: At higher fan speeds, the air purifying action can cover a larger area.
- Air changes: A higher number of air changes per hour means the machine is cleaning your air more efficiently. Asthma suffers are advised to get purifiers that make at least 4-8 changes an hour.
- Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR): Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) measures the coverage of the air purifiers. The higher the number, the larger the area it can cover. Choose a CADR that covers at least two-thirds of your room.
- Low noise levels: A good air purifier operates between 32-36 decibels, As a gauge, the hum of a refrigerator is 50 decibels, which can be uncomfortable if you have to keep it on for long periods.
- Portability: Pay attention to the size and weight as it’ll be more convenient to move it around the house if it is portable (small and light).
- Activated carbon filters: Top-grade air purifiers combine True HEPA filters with activated carbon filters, which absorb pollutants like haze, smoke, odour, gasses and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air.
HEPA air purifiers vs alternatives
There 3 alternative types of air purifiers in the market that do not use HEPA filters.
Ionisers: Ionisers use charged ions to clump dust, allergens and contaminants to purify the air. However, many ionisers produce ozone, which can irritate your lungs and cause respiratory problems over time.
Ozone generators: Ozone generator type air purifiers alter oxygen molecules (2 molecules) to turn them into ozone (3 molecules) – the third extra molecule of ozone can connect to pollutants, especially smoke, and will be drawn in by the machine. It’s great chemistry, but ozone is not really healthy for you. Plus, it tends to corrode metals.
UV light air purifiers: These use electromagnetic radiation to destroy micro-organisms like bacteria, viruses and mould. The downside is that it takes up to hours to remove the bacteria and virus. The UV light also doesn’t get rid of dust, allergens or particles in the air.
What do you look out for in a good air purifier? Let us know in the comments below.
Main image credit: Your Best Digs via Flickr