If you’ve been following my blogs then you know that over the last few years I have been trying my best to lead a more healthy lifestyle. Everything from being more active during the day to making sure I eat plenty of fruit and vegetables. I also try to only eat food that hasn’t been processed and drink bottled or filtered water. But what about the air we breathe? Shouldn’t we filter that too? I’ve been thinking about buying an air purifier for a number of years now. But I kept putting it off due to the cost of it. They are not cheap. And also, I kept asking myself, would they really make such a difference? Would I sleep better at night? But, that all changed during the Great Bangkok Smog last month. As the picture above clearly illustrates, Bangkok suddenly disappeared in the smog.
What got me thinking about buying an air purifier again was the fact that I was suffering from the smog. Like other people, I had a sore throat that I couldn’t shake off and my eyes would often sting. I was certain that it was linked to the Great Bangkok Smog. So, I decided to google air purifiers to see what improvements there have been over the last few years. One such device that caught my attention was the MI Air Purifier 2. This is made by Xiaomi who have been really innovative lately when it comes to gadgets. And most importantly, their prices have also been quite attractive. But, would it do the job?
I did a lot of research on the MI Air Purifier, reading not only information on the manufacturer’s website (see here), but also the reviews on amazon.com – though to be precise, I chose India because their smog situation is worse than Bangkok, and the reviews are all in English (see here). What I noticed straight away was that out of 157 reviews, 63% gave 5 stars and 15% gave 4 stars. Digging deeper, I saw that people were updating their reviews by saying that they had bought additional Mi Air Purifiers as they were so happy with the results. What impressed me was that it was handling the really bad smog in New Delhi. It would then surely work here in Bangkok.
I shopped around and found quite a few stores selling MI Air Purifiers on Lazada from 4,900 Baht to 6,900 Baht. The model that I bought was Xiaomi Mi Air Purifier 2 for 5,400 Baht. Just make sure that you go for the second generation one as it is more efficient, smaller and also quieter. There is actually a new version that is now out called Mi Air Purifier 2S. The only obvious difference is that there is an OLED display which shows realtime PM2.5 values, the temperature and also the humidity. For that you have to pay about 1,500 Baht extra. With the model I bought, you still get to see this information, but only on your smartphone. More on that later.
The Mi Air Purifier 2 has a simple but elegant design. It was all very easy to set up out of the box. In fact, there is no manual in the box. As you can see above, there is only one button. This is the power button, but it also toggles through the three different modes. However, to have more control over the device you should download the Mi Home app for your smartphone. This connects to the air purifier through your WiFi router. Like I mentioned already, you will then get a live PM2.5 reading of the air quality in the room. The best thing is that even on 4G you can interact with your air purifier.
The three modes on the device are auto, sleep and favorite. With the latter, you get to set the speed of the fan based on the size of the room. The air purifier can handle rooms up to 37 square meters. At this speed, the fan is very noisy, but it does quick work of cleaning the room. Just make sure that the doors and windows are closed. As it is difficult to watch TV with that noise, I use my smartphone to turn on the air purifier about thirty minutes or so before I go up to bed. When I go up to my bedroom, I switch it to auto mode. This is a lot quieter. This then automatically switches to sleep mode at a certain time each night which is barely audible. All of this can be automated if you wanted to by setting up parameters on your smartphone.
So, did it make a difference to my health? Yes, it certainly did. I no longer woke up with a sore throat. The only downside is that I had to then leave the house. But at least I had a good night’s sleep. Fortunately the smog situation has improved slightly in Bangkok and most days now the Air Quality Index shows it as being “moderate”. But, I still turn the air purifier on at night. In fact, I have been thinking about buying a second one for my office. But, at the back of my mind I am wondering whether the Mi Air Purifier is the best choice. After all, there are other models out there. Yes, my throat wasn’t sore any more, and the bedroom is hardly dusty these days. But how accurate is the built-in air quality sensor? Were they cheating?
Then last week I came across an AQI sensor that had been made by the guys at Makerspace Thailand in Chiang Mai. They call themselves a “prototyping and product design center”. Click here for their Facebook page. Anyway, as I have an interest now in knowing about air quality, and as I am always keen on supporting entrepreneurs, I decided to straight away buy their Air Tricorder (Portable AQI Sensor). This cost me 2,500 Baht and it was shipped to me within the week. Click here if you are interested to learn more. Look out for a review on this soon as I will be taking this air quality sensor on my trip to Northern Thailand next week.
To cut a long story short, the air quality sensor proved to me that my air purifier was doing a good job. In fact, when I turned the air purifier on, I could see how quickly the numbers on the sensor went down. But, it wasn’t going down to zero. So, after some research, I then fitted some HEPA filters in my air-conditioning unit. These are not expensive and you just cut it to size. The brand I bought was 3M which I got at Home Pro. I also did a better seal on my wooden balcony door. Overall, this helped a lot to give good readings all night. Then, in the morning I used to have a habit of opening my balcony door to get some “fresh air” as soon as I woke up. But, after seeing the air quality sensor suddenly shoot up to 120 (PM2.5) in less than a minute, I don’t do that any more. Unless it is raining like this morning.
So, I hope you found my little review interesting and helpful. If you are interested in buying an air purifier for yourself, make sure that you do your homework first. There are many different brands and models out there. Find the right one for yourself. You also need to remember that the filter needs changing. In my case, they say it lasts about six months and new ones are about 1,300 Baht or so. If you have an air purifier already, please let me know the model in the comments below. I am pretty sure I will now buy a second air purifier. And I am pretty sure that I will buy another Mi Air Purifier. But, I am also open to suggestions. Thanks.