Smart Home Air Purifiers — Safety, Comfort and Odor-Control
April 17, 2022
The world of air purifiers can be confusing, but the bottom line is that the best units can improve your quality of life. In much of the country as many have transitioned to work from home, air quality has become a bigger concern. From smoke-filled air caused by rampant wildfires to allergens which are heavy this time of year, there’s renewed interest in air purifiers.
But do air purifiers really work? Past air purifiers were found to not only be basically useless, but that many models produced unhealthy levels of ozone instead of removing it. The upshot was that some purifiers could make health conditions like asthma worse, not better.
In recent years, however, the EPA has reported that the typical air quality indoors is much worse than it is outside, with some airborne pollutants two to five times more concentrated in the home than outdoors. These pollutants include combustion byproducts, pet dander, mold, pesticides, ozone, natural gasses like radon, and the all-encompassing category of volatile organic compounds, which include everything from formaldehyde to trichloroethylene to chloroform. These gasses can be two- to five-times higher indoors than outdoors. And none of this stuff is healthy to breathe according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The good news is that air purifiers have come a long way though there’s still plenty of confusion out there.
Outside of the smart features of air purifiers, there are some key operational features you should consider to keep you informed of the quality of air inside your home. Since most air purifiers are best deployed in a single room, you can easily move a less-expensive air quality monitor from room to room to track the quality of all the indoor air you breathe.
Every manufacturer reports the size of the room its purifier is designed for, although this can be a bit arbitrary. Still, the manufacturer’s number is a good starting point. Place the purifier in a room that’s too large and it simply won’t be able to effectively clean the air.
HEPA filters are largely standard, as are carbon filters (which are primarily used to remove foul odors from the air). But not every purifier relies on HEPA, and HEPA filters come in a variety of performance levels that correspond to their effectiveness at capturing very small particles, ranging from HEPA H10 to HEPA H14. That said, many filters don’t report this information. Higher HEPA ratings are better.
How long until you need to replace the filter, and how much do replacements cost? Some purifiers track filter life inside their app, which is helpful.
At high air-flow levels, purifiers can be extremely noisy (and impossible to sleep near). That said, most are nearly silent at their lowest operating levels and some have special “night modes” that keep things ultra-quiet.
Clean Air Delivery Rate, a standard developed by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, is represented as a series of figures that express how much air a purifier can clean in a set amount of time. Separate ratings are included for smoke, pollen and dust. AHAM recommends that a purifier be used in a room with a size in square feet equal to 150 percent the CADR (assuming an eight-foot ceiling). For example, to clean a 450 sq ft room, you need a CADR rating of at least 300. Many manufacturers claim their purifiers support much larger rooms than this, however.
What does the app tell you about your air quality? A detailed look at various pollutants is more useful than a broad “good/fair/poor” air quality rating.
As many of you know by now, I’m a big fan of Amazon Alexa. So when I started researching information about smart home air purifiers I was excited to find that Amazon has introduced the Smart Air Quality Monitor. It’s designed to make sure the air you’re breathing in your home is clean and safe and works with Alexa.
The device accurately measures the presence of indoor allergens and toxins and empowers you to make necessary changes to improve your daily health. We spend approximately 90% of our time indoors — especially now with many of us working from home. Some air pollutants can be two- to five-times worse in your home than outdoor environments, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor makes it simple to check the air quality of your home and take actions to make your home healthier.
Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor measures particulate matter like dust, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, temperature and humidity. When your air quality is poor, you’ll receive an alert from the Alexa app or hear an announcement from your Echo device so you can take action — whether that’s opening a window or turning on a fan. You can also ask a compatible Alexa-enabled device for the air quality in your home or get deeper insights into your air quality trends through your Echo Show or the Alexa app. This lets you see how seemingly simple changes impact the quality of your air over time, helping you create a healthier living environment.
By making small adjustments like venting rooms more frequently, opening windows while cooking and opting to turn on air purifiers and humidifiers, you can experience a noticeable improvement in their overall air quality. With these small adjustments, you are able to breathe easier in your home and sleep better throughout the night.
I understand there are other specific needs around air purifiers, budgets and smart home platforms people use and love — Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings — so here are some other options for smart home air purifiers that may integrate with your ecosystem.
This is a monster at 27 pounds and more than two feet in height, and while it won’t win any design awards, it gets the job done. Its CADR ratings of 332 to 369 are untouchable, and its battery of four filters are indeed effective at scrubbing the air clean of anything in short order. Even a lunchtime fish fry is no match for the OxyPure, which leaves the kitchen smelling as fresh as cleaning day in a matter of minutes. If the OxyPure has a downfall, it’s the app, which is simply a recreation of its onboard controls and lacks a scheduling system or any kind of pollutant monitoring view. But that being said, if you want your air cleaned up fast, this is the air purifier for you.
The Airmega 250S combines activated carbon and Green True HEPA filter to filter a 930 square feet space up to two times per hour. It efficiently filters various harmful sources and removes 99.999% of nano-sized particulate matter down to 0.01 micrometers, which is smaller than most viruses and bacteria. The pollution sensor communicates indoor air quality testing in real-time via the LED bar to let you know how clean or dirty your indoor air is, every minute of the day.
In Smart Mode, the fan and purification levels adjust to the space as needed. It has 7 fan modes: Smart, Sleep, ECO, Low, Medium, High, and Rapid and noise level nearly silent at lower speeds. The Coway IoCare mobile app includes indoor and outdoor air quality monitoring, filter notification, scheduling, and fan speed and smart mode control. The Coway Airmega also works with Amazon Alexa.
This is the first smart air purifier to offer a guaranteed level of clean- with proof you can see. You’ll always know exactly what your home air quality is and how long it’ll take to achieve your target air quality index (AQI), regardless of room size. Mila is 100% ozone free, complies with California Air Resources Board (CARB) for indoor cleaning devices, and is FCC certified and ETL listed. It also comes loaded with thoughtful features like Sleep and Whitenoise Modes, Energy Save Mode, and a built-in Child Lock. This smart air cleaner also includes 8 environmental sensors, including a life-saving CO sensor.
That said, it employs a simple design with H12 HEPA with a 99.6% filtration efficiency. Mila’s smarts are simple to use through an intuitive app that keeps you connected to your air cleaner by showing you real-time air quality data and includes thoughtful features like Turndown Service to refresh bedroom air before you sleep (when allergies can be most active). It’s available on iOS and Android and integrates with Amazon Alexa and Google Home.
The HealthProtect 7470i is Blueair’s most advanced air purifier, providing 24/7 protection against viruses and bacteria with GermShield technology. It’ll completely filter air in a large bedroom or living room in about 12 min (5x an hour at 418 square feet) on high. For those with pandemic related health concerns, it removed 99.99% of COVID-19 in a test chamber.
It delivers 50% more clean air, uses 55% less energy and has a 10% lower noise than traditional true HEPA filtration. It’s patent-pending SpiralAir outlets are uniquely engineered to deliver 360°, omnidirectional airflow, quickly circulating so you can breathe clean air from all corners of a space. The HealthProtect 7470i also tracks air quality & auto-adjusts to maintain optimal air conditions.
The Bissell air320 Max has 3-stage filtration — a fabric pre-filter, activated carbon filter and an H13 HEPA filter to capture large and fine particles, home odors, odors from pet, and VOCs.
It captures 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns and smaller when on lowest fan speed, helping to remove airborne allergens and irritants like dust, pet dander, pollen, and smoke like that from wildfires, cooking, and smoking.
It’s Energy Star rated and equipped with 5 fan speeds, the lowest of which is extremely quiet. The PM 2.5 particle sensor monitors and provides color-coded, indoor air quality readings and adjusts to the appropriate fan speed for continuous clean air. It pairs with the BISSELL Connect App, so you can check your indoor air quality and control your air purifier from your smartphone.
DustMagnet technology captures 99% of airborne dust before it settles, attracting particles with a combination of a unique airflow and charged pre-filters using less energy than a light bulb. It completely filters air in medium sized rooms like a master bedroom, living room or family room in 12.5 minutes on high. It kills germs and removes 99.97% of airborne particles like allergens, dust, pollen, dander, mold, bacteria, and viruses. An activated carbon filter absorbs light household odors from cooking, smoke, and pets. And it does it with minimum noise — less than a whisper on low.
It takes a simple approach to smart air quality management with voice control via Alexa-enabled devices, an LED air quality indicator, Auto mode setting, and app features like Welcome home and Clean air ETA.
The Bissell MYair Pro is perfect for small to medium rooms, including nurseries, bedrooms, offices and dorms. It’ll filter rooms from 110 sq ft every 12 minutes to 532 sq ft once per hour. It has 3-in-1 pre-, HEPA and carbon filters to capture large and fine particles, home odors, odors from pets, and VOCs — effectively capturing 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns and smaller when on lowest fan speed, helping to remove airborne irritants like dust, pet dander, pollen, and smoke.
It’s Energy Star certified and equipped with three fan speeds and it has a built in night light.
The filter change indicator will tell you when it’s time for new filters — which should be replaced approximately every four months.
If seasonal allergies and colds are a concern then this may be the air purifier for you. Its H13 True HEPA filtration system helps combat dry throats, nightly congestion, allergies, and asthma by trapping 99.97% of airborne particles 0.3 microns in size. It can refresh any room up to 219 sq ft in your home in only 12 minutes. It’s perfect for bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens.
This is one of the more interesting models in this list as it gives you the option between 3 customized replacement filters: the Pet Allergy Filter, Toxin Absorber Filter, or the Smoke Remover Filter.
With Auto Mode, the Core 300S senses any change and automatically adjusts fan speeds and the air quality indicator rings. Sleep Mode automatically turns off display lights and reduces noise levels to help you sleep.
And it’s integrated with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant to control the air purifier with voice control. The free VeSync app also allows you to check your air quality and set schedules.
For our smart home enthusiast friends out there we’d love to hear your thoughts on smart home air purifiers. I’d never thought about an in-home air purifier until starting research on them. And to be really honest, the information I uncovered was not only eye opening but also a little scary. I’m planning to install wired, smart smoke detectors with carbon monoxide detection but didn’t realize the much longer list of considerations regarding the air we breath in our homes. And with stats like ‘spending approximately 90% of our time indoors’ and ‘air pollutants can be two- to five-times worse in your home than outdoors’ it has me thinking which device is best for Debbie and I.
Do you see yourself using one of these above or do you already have one? What similar products or devices are you currently using to accomplish the same tasks? How long have you used them and what do you like best about them?
Let Debbie and I know in the comments, DMs and emails as we really enjoy hearing from you. Thanks again to all those following Debbie and I through our home building journey. It’s great to hear your success stories and suggestions as we move through the process. And if you like the content I’m posting each week, don’t forget to ‘Like’ and ‘Follow.’ Until next week …
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