A quick glance at the air quality index numbers for most of North India, including Delhi NCR, and you’ll find the number anywhere between 300 and 999—well, 999, because most readings can’t go beyond 999—the limitation of technology, perhaps. The way things are for, air pollution is perhaps the ultimate silent killer. Sometimes you can probably see it (the murky smog and something equally less appealing), but most times you cannot. Millions of tiny particulates of different dimensions, the unseen smoke, the volatile organic compounds (VOCs), dangerous gases, fumes and more are what we breathe in.
But well, the choice is simple—do you want to breathe atrocious air 24 hours a day, indoors and outdoors, or want to at least breathe cleaner air when at home? That would be what, around 10-12 hours a day at least? And think of the kids at home, who are struggling to understand why they can’t breathe properly and why their eyes are burning up. An indoor air purifier does the simplest thing. It sucks in the air present in the room and then runs it through multiple layers of filters to capture the impurities and particulate matter, which would include pollutants, allergens and other viruses. And does it continuously.
Depending on how fine the sieves in the filters are, a majority of air-purifier filters can catch airborne particles larger than 0.3 microns—microns being the standard unit for measuring air particles. Some purifiers can also capture 0.1 micron particles. Each micron is 1/25,400 of an inch, just for perspective. Some of these particulate can even enter the blood stream. Good luck treating those. Whichever way you look at it, running the otherwise possibly impure indoor air through a filter is any day better than not
But which purifiers should you buy, specifically for your bedroom? Here are some of the top picks which you should probably splurge on, as an emergency measure.
Honeywell AirTouch A5
Around Rs 8,200
The Honeywell Air Touch A5 really punches above its weight, or at least what you would expect from its price tag. This has a clean air delivery rate (CADR) rating of 250 cubic metres (m3/h) per hour, making this perfect for bedrooms and even medium size halls. There is a pre-filter that captures the larger dust particles. Then there is the excellent HEPA filter which in our testing exhibited fine performance in cleaning the air and maintaining the air quality in the room. Then there is the third filter later, the HiSiv filter technology, that captures the gaseous pollutants. The Honeywell AirTouch A5 also has a topple-resistant design, which could be an additional advantage when there is a child around. However, this doesn’t have a numeric AQI feature built-in, and instead has the colour coded indicators—red for bad, orange for moderate and blue for good.
Xiaomi Mi Air Purifier 2S
Around Rs 8,999
The Mi Air Purifier 2S is an evolution of its predecessor, and retains the compact tower design. Most important though are the 360-degree air- intake vents, which means more air is run through the circular filter at the same time—this means more polluted air is cleaned quicker. The filter itself is H11-grade with three layers—pre-filter, HEPA layer and activated carbon. The updated Mi Air Purifier 2S also adds a display at the front, to show the current air quality. You can also control this with the Mi Home app (free on Android and iOS). This purifier is rated at 310 m3/h CADR, which in many ways can be powerful enough for most room sizes, and the fan only feels loud at the very highest speeds—and is whisper silent in the sleep mode.
The CADR rating of 327 m3/h is a solid start, and the Samsung AX40K3020WU builds on that with great filter layers, including a thick HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter. The fan operation is quite silent as well. The unique design element of this purifier is that the air intake vent is at the back, which means you will need to keep some space between the purifier and the wall or furniture for unimpeded air intake. No digital AQI reading, but the colour coded ones match the external AQI monitors we double-checked with.
Around Rs 14,300
The newest generation of Sharp air purifiers really build on the Plasmacluster technology that has been a regular fixture in the company’s arsenal for years now. A max CADR of 240 m3/h makes this right at home in your bedroom. And what comes along is the triple filter setup which includes a pre-filter, a deodorizing filter and an HEPA filter. The Plasmacluster tech emits the same positive and negative ions that are present in nature, and attaches to H1N1, microbes, bacteria like E. Coli, MRSA, TB and fungal spores in order to neutralize them. This also removes static electricity that attaches dust particles on to charged surfaces inside your home.
Philips Series 2000
Around Rs 16,000
The Philips Series 2000 AC2887 purifier has a multilayer filter set-up. And very good filters, while at it. The 333 m3/h CADR rating is enough for bigger rooms as well. It also displays the room’s air-quality parameters. There are three filter layers—a pre-filter, a HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter. Philips uses what it calls the AeraSense sensor to detect the pollutant and particulate level in the room and alters the operation settings accordingly.