If you have someone at home who is pregnant or suffers from asthma, allergies, or eczema, an air purifier may be helpful. It’ll also give you peace of mind during haze season, especially if there are elderly or very young kids at home.
However, don’t run out getting one if you have heard scary claims like bad air can increase your risk of dementia by 40%, or, indoor air is actually 2 to 5 times worse than outdoor air. We’re not living in Beijing. Save for the haze period, most of the time you can get by quite healthily without one.
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, and 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
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.
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.
Top 18 air purifiers in Singapore 2018
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||$189|
|Coway AP 1012 Air Purifier||$299|
|EuropAce EPU 3300T Air Purifier||$299|
|Hitachi EP-A3000 Air Purifier||$399|
|Novita Air Purifier NAP811i||$399|
|Coway AP1008CH Air Purifier||$499|
|Panasonic F-PXL45A Air Purifier||$499|
|Philips AC4014 (CADR 135) Air Purifier||$498|
|Philips AC2887 (CADR 200) Air Purifier||$599|
|EuropAce EPU 7550 Air Purifier||$589|
|Dyson TP03 Purifying Tower Fan||$699|
|Novita Air Purifier NAP822||$699|
|Panasonic F-VXK70A Nanoe Air Purifier||$699|
|Honeywell HAP-18250 (CADR 135) Air Purifier||$759|
|Honeywell HAP-18450 (CADR 195) Air Purifier||$859|
|Hitachi EP-A8000 Air Purifier||$899|
|Dyson TP04 Pure Cool Purifying Tower Fan||$949|
|Novita Air Purifier NAP866||$1099|
Xiaomi air purifier ($189)
Xiaomi air purifiers are the cheapest – only $189 on Lazada.
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.
EuropAce True HEPA air purifier ($299 to $589)
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.
Though it has an ioniser, it’s lab-tested to be ozone free. And it’s quiet, too. The 3300T model has UV light as well to get rid of bacteria and germs.
Coway air purifier ($299 to $499)
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. Coway AP 1008CH ($499) is certified by the British Allergy Foundation.
Novita air purifier ($399 to $1099)
Singaporean brand Novita’s air purifiers use True HEPA for their air purifiers. People love that the filter only needs to be changed every 2 years. The coverage is impressive and value-for-money.
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.
Hitachi air purifier ($399 to $899)
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 EP-A8000 model was even awarded the Allergy UK Seal of Approval for its ability to reduce allergens in the air. 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.
Philips air purifier ($498 to $599)
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 Philips air purifier actually stops working when the filter is full so they won’t be running on empty. This nifty feature saves energy and also, you’ll know when to change the filter.
The 2887 model 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. Clever.
Panasonic air purifier ($499 to $699)
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.
Dyson air purifiers ($599 to $949)
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 True HEPA air purifiers ($680 to $859)
Honeywell air purifiers are equipped with True HEPA filters, QuietCare technology and filters that absorb odours and VOCs.
Bonus points for their Intelli-Check Electronic Filter Indicator, which actually reminds you to replace the filters. The filters are easy to remove and replace as well. For these reasons, Honeywell air purifiers are in the more expensive range.
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
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Tags: Household maintenance