XiaoMi has been making moves to release a high end product with a budget price for every gadget that you might have in your home. On top of phones, camera’s and fitness trackers they’ve got connected light bulbs, smart plugs, connected scales and so much more. Today, I’m going to take a closer look at the Mi Air air purifier..
Why Get an Air Purifier?
I wanted to pick this up because I live in an older building here in Taipei and the high humidity sometimes leaves the air feeling not so fresh. Taipei isn’t a very polluted city, but we do have the odd smog day, and it doesn’t help that occasionally polluted air from China makes its way across the ocean giving us a few days of bad air. I was also very curious about what Xiaomi was doing in the smart home space. The Mi Air is just a part of an entire ecosystem of products that you can control from the Xiaomi Smart Home app. It took me a minute to figure out how to switch it to english, but the English US at the bottom of the screen should have immediately tipped me off.
I picked up the XiaoMi Mi Air from GearBest for $160 and they ship worldwide.
I’m calling this a review, but I want to state that I don’t have the equipment to test air quality, but I’ve done some research and am going to relying on the scientific data from other sites and will pull together their observations. What I will focus on the connected nature of the device and how it’s fit into my life at home.
Setting up the Mi Air
Setup of the filter takes about 10 minutes and is pretty simple:
- Download the Xiaomi Smart Home app, I needed to scan the QR code and install the APK on to my handset, you won’t find the Mi Home app in Google Play. .
- To access the app you have to log in with your Xiaomi account, if you don’t have one you’ll need to create one. If your phone is in English the app will automatically appear in this language, if it doesn’t you should see the option to go to English US at the bottom of the screen. (If not guess your way through until you see it).
- Once logged in the app automatically searches for devices. It took me a few tries to connect the Mi Air to the app with the app connection stalling out, but once connected you’ll need to log the Air onto your home internet, this allows the Mi Air to connect and gather information like Air Quality.
- Now that you’re connected, update the location and you will be able to compare the Air Quality outside to what it’s showing in your house. If you’ve purchased the Mi Air outside of a region where it officially sold by Xiaomi (it’s available i a surprising number of countries like the UK), the app doesn’t list the outdoor air pollution levels.
In my use case my weather app tells me the air quality when I check the weather every morning. I’m never checking the Mi app for this information, I only wish I knew what the relative air cleanliness was. The use case if you are in a heavily polluted area is the app would let you know if it’s a good idea to open your windows or leave them shut.
The Air Purifier is constructed out of a high quality plastic that looks a bit like brushed metal, so if it’s aesthetics you’re worried about have no fear, it will fit in with pretty much any decor. It’s a good thing that it’s so good looking because it’s not small, it comes up to just below my hip (yes..I’m not a tall lass). Mi Air only has one button so if you want to really take control you’ll need to download the app.
The app shows you the pollution level of your area, since the app is connected to the internet it must connect to an air quality database. It also lists the air quality inside your home.
The built-in pollution monitor responds quickly, if I moved the unit from my bedroom to the living room the number rises, and if I open the door to my bedroom after a night of it being shut, the number goes up. Having said that I don’t have to worry too much about Air pollution my pollution index is between 3 and 4, Xiaomi’s website advertises 21 as clean air, but that’s the difference between China and Taiwan.
I’ve been using the Mi Air for about a week now and I have to say, my room feels fresher. When I went away for 5 days and the Mi Air was off, the air quality was at 16 and in 15 minutes it dropped to 4. Tech in Asia reported that it maintains a consistent 50% improvement over the air outside. When I cleaned the air in my room, I ran it at max which is loud, oh so very loud, but I generally have it on auto and may occasionally notice that it’s on. Since I have it in my bedroom, it does have a faint sound of a fan, in sleep mode I almost have to listen for it. I must compliment them on how silently it washes the air in your home.
The Mi Air has 3 speeds, but it seems to end up on Auto no matter what setting I suggest it stay at. This isn’t a problem, presumably if I’m trying to really clean the air in my apartment having the Mi Air on max will only do so much good before it saves your filter and cuts down on power consumption. When you do choose to put it at the top speed, your neighbours might notice that you’ve turned it on, it’s loud, really loud..vacuum loud.
How Clean is the Air?
As I’ve already mentioned I’m not an medical expert but I have found a few reviews online from some Doctors who have reviewed a few different Air Purifiers. The review I found most comprehensive was from Dr Richard Saint Cry who lives and works in Beijing. If you’ve like to read his full review comparing a few different types of air purifiers head on over to his site My Health Beijing.
Before we dive into how clean the air is, let’s go over a few basics about Air Filters, High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance or HEPA filters are any where between 85 and 99.9% efficient at removing Particle Matter (PM) of PM0.3 to PM2.5, the 0.3PM are the most dangerous and cause the most harm.
The Mi Air Purifier uses an ultra-dense Toray PP and PET HEPA filter to trap PM2.5 – PM0.3, pollen and other inhalable particles, allowing only clean air to pass through. The filter 7.7m when fully extended and effectively filters out 99% of PM0.3 particles and 99.99% of PM2.5 particles.
The next thing that you should look at when buying an Air Filter is the ability for it to move air, you should look for a filter that cleans the air 5 times and hour. The Mi Air is good for 48 square meter spaces on high (which is REALLY loud) to can move 10,000 liters of air in one minute. You’re only able to run this mode for 15 minutes before it turns itself down, but cleaning 150,000 liters of air should do the trick if you’re looking to sanitize the air in a room.
There is an interesting site called Smart Air China which does some interesting tests with filters strapped onto fans, he has a lot of testing data, but it makes sense, an Air Purifier is a fan and filter, an expensive Air Purifier is a really strong fan and high quality filter.
The Mi Air is bigger than many air purifiers on the market and the fan is loud and quite strong when you have it on max, so it isn’t surprising that the Mi Air has gotten very good reviews from My Health Beijing when it comes to pricing and quality of filtration.
Cheap Clean Air
The Mi Air the low price and the well-made Smart Home app, which is a hub for all of Xiaomi’s other smart gadgets, makes it an appealing buy for first-time air purifier shoppers. Costing just RMB 899 (about US$150), GearBest is where we got our review unit from, they ship world wide and charge $160, which is still a great deal as the Mi Air is a lot cheaper than models from well-established and well-regarded brands.
The only downside I can think of to the Mi Air Purifier is that you’d need three, four, or even more of these to keep an entire home purified. But that’s the same for those pricier models.