While city air may be filled with contaminants and impurities from things like haze and traffic pollution, research shows that the air within our homes, offices and malls can be up to five times more toxic.
A simple solution? Invest in an air purifier to filter out tiny pollutants such as fine dust particles, mold spores and pet dander that can lodge in your lungs and cause health problems.
In a brand new series, where The Weekly team tries and tests a range of products, we put to trial seven different air purifiers to help you narrow down your choice:
What Is It? This 3-in-1 hybrid device purifies, humidifies and ionizes indoor air. It’s fitted with a series of five filters, including an odour-absorbing carbon filter and a true HEPA filter to sieve out 99.97 per cent of allergens.
Coverage 68 sq m
Set-Up Fairly straightforward with two major steps – removing the plastic packaging on the filter and filling the in-built tank with tap water. The front panel has a magnetic catch so that it fits precisely each time.
Operation & Performance Within three minutes of turning it on, the unit performed a quick diagnosis of the air quality, which is indicated with coloured LED lights. Besides cleaning the air, it also releases cool hydrated air and we could choose our preferred humidity level. It also has a Smart Night Mode where the display screen turns off once the room is completely dark (which means it may not work for kids’ rooms with a night lamp).
Design It’s visually pleasing with curved edges and a clean, all-white design with a convenient front display and side handles. A potential drawback is that having to clean its many internal parts and filters can be a bit time-consuming.
Overall This compact air purifier offers an all-encompassing experience with humidifying and ionizing options to suit your needs and preferences.
At $1,399, from leading department and chain stores.
FOR THE ALLERGY-PRONE
What is it? Combines advanced filtering and smart sensing technologies to eliminate 99.97 per cent of airbourne bacteria, VOCs, odours and particles as tiny as 0.02 nanometers, while feeding you real time information about ambient air quality.
Coverage 95 sq m
Set-Up All filters are already in place inside the machine; all you need to do is remove their individual packaging and return them to the original position.
Operation & Performance Apart from being able to automatically and swiftly react to contaminants in the air, its special Allergen mode helps target common allergens like mold and pollen, which is great for protecting young children or those with sensitive noses. The sensor touch control panel is clear and uncluttered with six icon buttons and a large round PM2.5 indicator for easy reading.
Design Clean white surface with a large curved top handle, so it’s easy to lift and carry around. Air quality is indicated with coloured light that emits gently from the round hole in the centre. The light can double up as a night lamp for children.
Overall Those prone to allergies can consider this advanced air purifier that delivers cleaner, fresher air and looks good while doing it.
At $899, from selected electronic stores, leading department stores and authorised dealers.
What Is It? Powered with advanced nano technology and intelligent sensors that help conserve energy, this device works to inhibit the growth of bacteria and viruses, deodorise the room and hydrate your skin.
Coverage 52 sq m
Set-Up Fairly standard with two filters to install (a deodorising filter and a composite air filter) and a water tank to fill.
Operation & Performance What’s most unique is its smart Econavi technology that “learns” your daily household habits and pollution patterns in order to operate most efficiently. Depending on how polluted the room is, its floating front panel and back louvers auto-adjust to suck in and propel purified air respectively. However, it does get quite noisy on medium to high speed.
Design Four small bottom wheels allow you to roll it about horizontally, which makes cleaning the floor easier. Has a front display panel and side handles for greater convenience.
Overall A comprehensive air purifier that rapidly cleans and humidifies the air, while helping you keep energy bills to a minimum.
At $699, from all authorised retailers.
What Is It? An air purifier-cum-fan that circulates purified air within the room. Besides a glass HEPA filter that captures ultrafine PM0.1 particles, it also has an added layer which filters out smells and harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in the air.
Coverage 42 sq m
Set-Up Only takes seconds – simply slot the filter into the base, then connect the loop part onto it and you’re good to go.
Operation & Performance As an air purifier it works just fine – you can increase speed, set a timer and switch to a quiet night mode, all with a convenient remote control that attaches to the top of the unit. You can also control it with a smartphone app (compatible with iOS and Android) that lets you keep track of air quality and more. However, it’s less effective as a fan and once you hit the highest speed setting it gets quite noisy.
Design Surprisingly lightweight and can be easily moved around via the loop. Its bladeless design is safe for kids and its slim, minimalist aesthetic takes up very little space and is easy to clean.
Overall A high-tech unit that combines form and function to distribute clean air in an average-sized room with basic cooling properties.
At $1,099, from leading department and electrical stores.
What Is It? Part of LG’s ultra-premium range, this smart air purifier detects and filters out particles down to 1.0 microns, and doubles up as a humidifier to add moisture and ease dry air problems.
Coverage 52 sq m
Set-Up Slightly complicated, with a series of filters to install and a unique watering system that takes a bit of time to familiarise yourself with. But you can easily add water by pouring directly via an inlet from the top.
Operation & Performance Besides showing overall air quality, the display panel also indicates the reason for unhealthy or poor air quality with dust concentration and odour signals. UV light helps kill bacteria in the water so the humidified air produced is clean and fresh. It’s also practically noiseless on normal speeds and can be operated by an app via WiFi (only compatible with Android devices), although we had a bit of trouble connecting to it.
Design Topped with a transparent window, it turns the purification process into a relaxing “rain” water display that adds visual interest and has a calming effect. Compared to the rest, the unit is rather heavy and requires two people to move.
Overall Hefty price tag aside, this is a quiet, futuristic-looking air purifier that’s built to last. It cleans and hydrates the air efficiently, making it best suited for dry, air-conditioned rooms.
At $1,999, from leading electrical stores.
What Is It? This unique air purifier contains a self-renewing carbon filter powered by photocatalysis technology which works to routinely break down trapped bacteria, chemicals and dirt particles, thus extending the lifespan of its filters.
Coverage 36 sq m
Set-Up There was minimal assembly required; simply open the back compartment to install the filter before plugging it in.
Operation & Performance The control panel on the machine’s top edge is very straightforward: An Operation Mode button to toggle between three different modes, Air Volume button to configure fan speed and a Timer button. The photocatalytic lamp (which indicates the room’s air quality) can be dimmed to make it less distracting for light sleepers. It’s also surprisingly quiet on normal and eco modes.
Design Its cylindrical body features a 360-degree air inlet, so you don’t have to worry about positioning it to face a certain way. However, it needs about 30 cm of free space around it to work optimally. Available in black or white to suit your decor.
Overall An easy-to-use basic air purifier that efficiently cleans the air while blending in well into modern homes.
At $799, from Massmark International, Gain City, Parisilk and other authorised retailers.
VALUE FOR MONEY
What Is It? A basic air purifier that contains two filters – an activated carbon pre-filter as well as a true HEPA filter – that purge pollutants as small as 0.3 microns and household odours from the air.
Coverage 25 sq m
Set-Up The pre-filter is packed separately, so you’ll need to unscrew the endcap and wrap the filter around the HEPA filter cartridge before use, which takes a couple of minutes.
Operation & Performance It’s very easy to operate, with three speed settings (low, medium, high) and separate indicators for the HEPA and pre-filter that tell you when it’s time to change them. Over the course of two days, we noticed larger particles like lint and dust trapped in the pre-filter. The catch is there’s no display screen or any way to tell the air quality by looking at the machine – you’ll have to open it up to check the filter for a gauge.
Design It’s quite lightweight and has a top handle for convenient movement from room to room, although it looks quite bulky and dated compared to the rest.
Overall While not the sleekest-looking, the Honeywell is a solid, no-frills air purifier that’s good for disinfecting the air in smaller rooms.
At $599, from Massmark International, Gain City and other authorised retailers.
Text: Elizabeth Liew