Air Purifier Reviews: Airgle versus IQAir and Blueair

UPDATE, March 2015: Please check out my buyer’s guide to air purifiers; my 2014 review of the science behind air purifiers; my 2015 tests of air purifiers under 1,000 RMB plus my 2014 review of two dozen top air purifier models in China. 

In my seven years here in China, one of my most annoying chores has been researching air purifiers for my house — and maintaining them. It’s just exhausting to research brands, figure out what rooms need which — and of course calculate what’s the best value. It’s also an endlessly annoying hassle to keep searching for the cheapest replacement filters, which are far more expensive here than in the USA. I hated feeling helpless to rely on sales pitches from just a couple of companies, so I started to do my own home testing and posting on this blog. This summer I tested a new entry to China, the Airgle series (Chinese website here). I pitted their PM2.5 flagship model, the PurePal Clean Room Air AG900, against my steadfast friends IQAir and Blueair. Which came out on top this time? Here’s my report.

The Prep Work

First, I needed a handheld machine to measure the pollution. This time, I borrowed a model called Chinaway from the team at Vogmask. This calculates the PM2.5 and PM10 concentration directly, in ug/m3. To convert this to the more familiar AQI, you need to use the online concentration-to-AQI calculator here, from the US EPA.

Next, I borrowed the Airgle from the local vendor (started by Charlie Thomson, our local Aquasana rep). According to their website, it “features a 40 sq ft cHEPA filter with an efficiency of over 99.991%”. I then spent two weeks comparing this to my home’s five (!) machines: two IQAir Health Pro 250 models, one IQAir Health Pro 150, one Blueair 501 and a Blueair 403. I rotated all of them through four different rooms: my kitchen, the living room, and two bedrooms. Then I recorded the PM2.5 a couple of times each day and entered all the data into a gloriously complicated and colorful Excel spreadsheet. Since I didn’t have a “test room” this time, I compared each room’s PM2.5 with the outdoor air at that same time (outside my window).

The Main Conclusions

1. General protection was good with all: Wouldn’t it be wonderful to eliminate 80% of your lifetime exposure to China’s pollution, at all times? How about 90% or better when you’re sleeping, which is one third of your life? I think that’s a pretty darn good goal — and my tests showed overall efficiency of 84% using all models together, which I feel is extremely reassuring. While the outside PM2.5 averaged an unhealthy 84 ug/m3 (AQI of 166), my indoor PM2.5 was a much better 13 ug/m3 (AQI 53). Think about that — my newborn child, since he’s almost exclusively at home, has a sharply reduced exposure to China’s air pollution during his entire childhood here in China, thanks to air purifiers.

Here’s the overall efficiency for each model:

  • Larger models: Airgle AG900: 85%; IQAir 250 #1: 78%; IQAir 250 #2: 79%; Blueair 501:  81%
  • Smaller models: IQAir 150: 83%; Blueair 403: 80%

As you can see, all the larger models were about equal effectiveness, getting 78-85%. The Airgle did the best, but given the homemade statistics of my sampling, it’s difficult to state if this is truly a better machine. But in either case, it worked at least as well as the other models.

2. Bedroom Results: As I’ve mentioned in previous results, you can instantly eliminate one third of your lifetime exposure to China’s pollution simply by using a good purifier in your bedroom and closing the doors while sleeping. All models were on their quieter settings, providing a nice white noise in the background which I actually like. Here are my results this time:

  • Master bedroom: doors closed overnight 90%; total average 84%
  • Small bedroom: doors closed overnight 88%; total average 89%

I mostly worry about protecting my six month old son, so I am pleased that his bedroom was 90% protected at all times. Some morning readings approached 99%! But you certainly don’t need the flagship models in a small bedroom: the smaller models were perfectly fine.

3. Large room results: My open kitchen, dining room and living room are all connected, so it’s been difficult in the past to properly filter these rooms. I recently added a second IQAir 250 to join its older sister in the front, and I am very pleased that my results prove that I finally have good coverage, hitting that 80% goal for the first time in my three tests over the years. The further good news is that all combinations of the larger machines did well. The Airgle also did very well, and is much quieter than the Blueair 501 at the maximum speeds. Here’s the data:

  • Living room average: 85%
  • Kitchen average: 82%

Sometimes the PM2.5 levels shot up, especially with Chinese cooking (also candles and incense!) and cranking them all up would bring levels down. But at max settings, I’d have to give Airgle kudos for having the quietest volume at max speed.

My Bottom Line

Clearly the filtering technology in the Airgle and the IQAir are superior to the Blueair, as they both have closed HEPA filters which literally filter essentially 100% of particles even smaller than PM2.5. Both models got a very impressive PM2.5 reading of zero (100% efficiency) when I held the monitor right at their outflow of filtered air. But as my results show, it’s not just about the HEPA filter, it’s also about air flow rates and CADR results. Blueair was a solid performer in my tests even with their lower-CADR Smokestop filters — which weren’t even brand new, by the way (8 months old). But I’m sure you can argue that a better HEPA filter is preferred for China’s harsh environment, as there are plenty of other pollutants and VOCs which may be much better handled with a better filter.

Actually, one could argue about a lot of variables with these machines, especially value. And the prices of both Airgle and IQAir models in China right now are super expensive, and there’s just no way I will be convinced that it’s all about taxes and shipping extras. Sure, every commercial product has premium brands, but the markups boggle the mind. The Airgle models sold in China are made in China, and they are far more expensive here than the ones in the USA — which are exported from their South Korea factory! The Airgle AG900 in the USA is only 5,518 RMB ($900) on Amazon, a small fraction of the 17,990 RMB price here in China on their Taobao store.  I personally think there’s a lot of pure corporate greed going on in this industry, taking advantage of Chinese consumers’ fear and demand. It may be legal, but it’s not ethical, and it really irks me that the world’s most vulnerable populations, much poorer and in far more polluted cities, are forced to spend far more to protect their health. It’s no wonder everyone’s reading about an American’s testing of a DIY air purifier for 166 RMB! I also recommend that consumers check out an excellent comparison from Shanghai of two dozen models, including prices and results from PM2.5 and formaldehyde.

But don’t get too bogged down on the sticker shock — in general, you do get what you pay for. And don’t forget to factor in the replacement filter costs, which can easily cost more than the original machine when stretched out over a 3-6 year window.

I am honestly very impressed with Airgle’s technology, style, solid build and quietness, but I already have a bunch of purifiers. If I had to start all over again, I think both the Airgle and the IQAir top models would be great for my large front rooms and kitchen. But right now my two IQAir 250’s are doing just fine — and the newest models are reportedly even more efficient and quieter, which would be nice. My IQAir 150 remains in little Alex’s bedroom, and the Blueair 501 quietly hums away in our bedroom. No matter how the wind howls outside, no matter what the next airpocalyse will bring, we sleep safe and sound.


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44 thoughts on “Air Purifier Reviews: Airgle versus IQAir and Blueair”

  1. So what is the cheapest air purifier that you would recommend to someone that will spend 1-3 years in China?

    1. Sorry, it’s not my expertise to recommend value… everyone needs to make their own decisions, and also follow the prices on that Shanghai review I mentioned above. It totally depends on your income, your rooms, etc. Don’t forget that resale value is important, as all these famous ones can easily be re-sold when leaving here at a very high cost. In fact, the best value is to buy a famous brand, used, from the Beijinger ads or Beijingcafe bulletin boards. Many people also bring the reputable brands over from the USA and other spots — and buy a converter. This breaks the warranty of course and no one “officially” says that’s ok in terms of machine safety or efficiency, but I haven’t heard of any disasters…

      1. Thanks a lot, well, I don’t really see how the cheapest quality purifier has anything to do with my income. The cheapest purifier that works will be the cheapest no matter my income level.
        Your tip is very good though, about buying second-hand, I just wonder if there are that many on the market, and reasonably priced, if it’s almost the same price as new, then it is not a very good deal.
        On the other hand you talked before about a cheaper method: adding a HEPA filter or something to any A/C. I wonder if you also do that and if it’s something that you DIY or is some operation that the A/C technicians perform. If so, are most A/C technicians familiar with this kind of request? Do many Beijingers know about this cheap filter idea?
        Thanks for blogging!
        I wonder if you bought second-hand purifiers or not. I don’t know why, but I think you didn’t.

      2. Yes, we definitely buy used! Three of our machines we got on the bulletin boards for more than 50% discount — all were a couple years old and are perfectly fine. It’s a much better value to buy used — just like a good car with good resale value, buying off a 2 year lease instead of new.

        Regardind DIY or HEPA filters, I think more people should research those filters that go into furnaces or HVAC machines, see how they work in their homes. For example, Consumersearch discusses the furnace filters from 3M here: http://www.consumersearch.com/air-purifiers/filtrete-elite-2200-mpr

        Bottom line
        Slipping a filter into your home’s forced-air heating/cooling system is one of the most effective and least expensive ways to clean the air, experts say — sometimes eliminating the need for a stand-alone air purifier. The Filtrete Elite 2200 MPR gets excellent reviews from both professional review sources and consumers, with many noting a significant reduction in allergy symptoms. A few owners say this filter caused their furnaces to overheat.
        Performance
        Excellent at removing allergens and smoke. Filtrete Elite 2200 MPR filters do an excellent job of trapping dust and pollen in one expert comparison test and a good job at cigarette smoke removal, too. MPR stands for microparticle rating, with higher numbers indicating a better microparticle removal capability. The Filtrete Elite 2200 MPR filter has the highest MPR of all Filtrete models, making it one of the most effective furnace filters for removing dust and allergen particles. Anecdotally, users report that they dust less, sneeze less and need less allergy medicine after they installed the Filtrete 2200 in their home heating/cooling systems.
        Ease of use
        No stand-alone air purifier unit required. Filtrete filters (made of pleated electrostatically charged fiber) are inexpensive, disposable and easy to find at discount and home improvement stores. They work in an existing furnace to replace standard furnace filters for a higher level of filtration. All of the Filtrete filters allow very good airflow to the furnace, according to one expert test, but you should change the filter every three months to keep it from clogging up. The most common issue cited by owners posting feedback to Amazon.com, however, is that these filters may cause some furnaces to overheat.
        Noise
        Zero additions to home noise levels. One major benefit of Filtrete filters, which work with an existing furnace, is that they don’t add any additional noise to the home. This is true of all furnace filters. In fact, one professional testing organization doesn’t even offer ratings for noise levels on do-it-yourself furnace filters, whereas room air purifiers are rated for noise levels at both low and high settings in the same review.
        Cost of ownership
        Costly among furnace filters, but worth it. These disposable filters last about three months, according to editors at AllergyBuyersClub.com. Filtrete Elite 2200 MPR filters are the most expensive among the Filtrete line of do-it-yourself furnace filters, although the majority of owners posting feedback to Amazon.com are more than happy to pay the additional cost for the allergy relief they provide. Compared to a stand-alone air purifier, which can cost several hundred to well over one thousand dollars and still require periodic filter replacements, the Filtrete Elite 2200 MPR filter is reasonably priced.

  2. Dear Dr.
    i am moving to Beijing soon and i am fun of your blog.I have found a lot interesting articles hear.My question is about the ionizer of blueair 503 and 650E.As far as i can see you own one, is it safe?Many reviews for purifiers suggest to not buy purifiers that produce ozone.Please advice me.
    thanks in advance for your time and help.

    1. Those Blueairs do have some type of “ionizer” but all their data shows it creates zero true ozone in your rooms … all the consumer reports that I’ve seen also agree that Blueair doesn’t create ozone…

  3. Great post, thank you!

    I am about get myself a an air purifier soon, probably a BlueAir as it seems to be a good combination of price/performance.

    I have been thinking about the running time, reading the user guides they of course suggest 24h-always-on to secure clean air in your home. But I can’t see any reason to have it running the 8-10h when I am at work. Preferable I would like to turn the air-purifier on about an hour before we get home to have the air cleaned out before arrival.

    What’s your thought on that? How do you do?

    Unfortunately the timer function on BlueAir seem to be the “egg-timer-type”, run for a couple of hours then turn off…

    1. I always keep on 24-7. There’s always leakage in an apartment so the pollution can quickly rise indoors. Plus, it takes a while to get down to safe levels, unless you always blasted it on high when you get home. It seems really complicated. These are all designed to stay on. I don’t see any major energy drain on mine.

  4. Awesome blog Dr !!

    I’ve been living in BJ for two years, the first year I was not paying much attention to air pollution (no air purifiers or plants at home/office), never checked the AQI, not even once aired out my apartment, regardless of the pollution levels I was regularly doing plenty of exercise outdoors (soccer/biking not wearing gas masks) and at the gym, An absolute ignorant 🙁

    Since January’s airpocalypse my attitude towards air quality has changed dramatically to the point of becoming a bit obsessed. I was so glad to find your blog so full of suggestions and tips, I also had the chance to attend the seminar on air pollution held at the Amcham that had you as one of the speakers.

    Even after reading plenty of material on my new “obsession”, I’d like to ask you some questions:

    Air purifiers
    We bought a Blueair 303 (for our bedroom) and a Blueair 550E (for the living room/dining room/kitchen all connected), We change the filters every 5 months (Blueair suggests to do so every 6 months) to maintain a high performance at least a bit. We usually have them in the middle settings.
    In the perfect world I would use a handheld particle monitor to know what’s the room’s AQI but since I can’t afford 3K USD to purchase one, my questions are the following:

    1) What’s your PM 2.5 threshold to crank up your purifiers all up? Do you only check the PM 2.5 level (in case u just consider the US Embassy index)? or do you also focus on the local monitoring site nearby your house?

    2) Are the purifiers supposed to be placed as close as possible to windows/doors where the air pollution usually filters in? or in the middle of the corresponding room to equally cover the square meters?

    3) Can you breathe notoriously better while your purifiers are on? I’ve asked friends that have IQAir and they haven’t noticed any difference (of course they don’t hold a particle scanner) but when my purifiers are switched on even on middle settings I can smell/breathe like the air is a bit lighter, could it be because they are Blueair and those rumors on having some type of “ionizer” ??

    4) May I know the PM2.5 levels of your living room/kitchen when you only had one air purifier covering such area? It seems like it’s a quite similar case to mine that’s why I’m asking.

    Plants
    5) We know they could help us clean the air of toxins and add more oxygen but shall we put them close to windows and doors to combat the main sources of polluted air coming in?

    Ventilation
    6) What’s your PM 2.5 threshold to open and keep the windows opened? In the China Air Quality app it says up to AQI 150 the windows may remain open, but since the air quality index calculation methods from the American Embassy and the local monitoring sites are quite different, is it accurate to say that as long as the PM2.5 is not over 55 then it’s suitable for ventilation??

    7) If PM2.5 is above 55 ventilation should it be done very briefly for not more than 15 mins and with the purifiers at max. settings?

    8) Do you keep all the rooms closed in order to optimize the performance of the purifiers during the day as well? I guess the bathroom/laundry room/others where we spend few mins. per day are not so important to keep them filtered that deeply, is this correct?

    9) I just moved into a new apartment which has centralized HVAC with no filter. Should we try to avoid its use?

    10) Unfortunately our bedroom has a carpet that can’t be removed (landlord does not agree). Is Vacuum frequently with a HEPA-filter equipped vacuum, ventilation, air filtering and a few mother in law tongue plants in the bedroom enough to compensate the side effects of having an old carpet inside?

    Pollution masks and sports
    11) As of January I have ridden my bicycle without wearing a mask only when the PM 2.5 was less 35 (AQI 100 – US standards) but since BJ is always so full of cars, should we also wear a mask even on those clear days to protect ourselves from car emissions that are next to us on the road?

    12) What is your PM 2.5 threshold to bike even if you are wearing a mask? PM2.5 250 (AQI 300)?

    13) I used to go the gym quite often, but after the airpocalypse’s event I asked the representatives/managers of the gym if they count with some kind of system to filter the air, they had no idea what indoor pollution was about. It was quite evident that they don’t have any sort of filters but HVAC, therefore the air inside is probably worse than outside. In cases like this does it make sense to carry out anaerobic exercises instead of aerobic in order to decrease the consumption of oxygen for long periods?

    At the end of the day all I want is to make sure I’m doing everything at my reach to minimize the exposure to air pollution in BJ.

    Hopefully some of these questions are also useful and applicable to more of your followers.

    I look forward to hearing back from you.
    Many thanks in advance !!
    Cheers

    1. Thanks for liking my blog so much! I don’t think I can answer all your questions but here goes:

      1) — I would crank up my home filters just from looking out the window, or the official numbers. Anything really over 200 I would consider cranking up. My IQAir are usually at a 2, certainly I’d put up to 3-4

      2) — I think the air purifiers are supposed to be centered in middle of rooms, not on corners near “source”. But you can email/call your vendor to make sure.

      3) — I haven’t noticed huge differences in air so quickly, but if others do, then great! Blueair by the way is NOT an “ionizer” in the dangerous way, it doesn’t create any dangerous ozone.

      4) — I don’t remember the room PM2.5 levels with only one machine but they were worse, maybe 60-70%ish instead of 80’s

      Plants
      5) — No, plants can be anywhere. Their cleaning rate is insignificant wherever you put them.

      Ventilation
      6) — there’s no official thresholds for any of these health warnings. It’s all consensus and educated guesses. there is NO SAFE LEVEL of air pollution, even at levels at 15 AQI and above you start to see health effects. the green zone is under 50 AQI, but that happens so rarely in Beijing! Today, for example we really needed to dry clothes and needed to open the window to vent the dryer. It’s still at 200 but what are we supposed to do, it’s been like this for days and we’re running out of clean clothes!

      8) — we keep all doors open during the day…

      9) If you have a centralized HVAC you need to get them to install a good PM2.5 filter to it! MERV13 or higher…

      10) — a vacuum with HEPA is always a good idea. No need to get rid of carpets here…

      Pollution masks and sports
      11) — I think it’s perfectly reasonable to wear a good mask almost anytime in Beijing when biking. Anything over 50 AQI warrants their use, in my opinion certainly bike messengers etc in other countries would consider them so why not here? As long as you can breathe ok in them, why not always do everything you can to decrease your overall exposure to pollution?

      By the way, there are plenty of particle monitor machines sold on Amazon USA for way under $200 USD…

  5. Thanks for all the useful information on your blog!

    I a will be staying in Beijing for a period of 4 months and I was wondering what would be the cheapest option to get an air purifier such as IQ Air Healthpro 250 for this time? Are there any companies offering rentals? Where can I buy used air purifiers?

    1. I think buying a used machine is the best deal! Look on the Beijinger website lists, or Craigslist, or Yahoo groups like Beijingexchange. I haven’t heard of rentals but it does sound like a good idea.

  6. We have an 8 month old baby and before she was born we purchased a Blueair 550E. We keep it running wherever she is in the house and put it in her room at night running full speed with the door and windows closed. After reading this blog post though, I’m now thinking that we should have bought an IQ Air as it can filter much smaller particles. Is my understanding correct that an IQAir can filter smaller particles much better than the Blueair? I’m not concerned about price or value; I’m just truly concerned for my daughter’s health. Please advise. Thanks!

    1. I honestly don’t know 100% if there’s any clinical significance with IQAir’s smaller particle capture. I haven’t heard of any doctors suggesting that. It does make some intuitive sense but there just isn’t data that I know of. I personally don’t think there would be a clinically huge improvement, as most of the research has focused on PM2.5, but again I haven’t seen such data. Has anyone else, please share with us!

  7. Hi Richard,

    First of all, thank you immensely for the article about your rating on air purifiers. I’m also doing an exhaustive research on what machines I should consider buying. I ran into a review from the Consumer Reports that was comparing a dozen of brands/models. Among the top recommended machines are Whirlpool AP51030 and Hunter 30547 – two CR best buy.

    I wonder if they have caught your attention at all, or they are not market available in Beijing.

    By the way, I noted Blueair 503 was also recommended after the two leaders.

    Thanks,

    Simon
    PS: I wanted to share the review chart from CR, but found not possible to put it in the message.

    1. Yes, I’ve reviewed a Hunter and it was good. There are many machines, just not as common here! It’s usually much cheaper to buy outside of China, but make sure you use the proper electrical converter or you’ll ruin the machine

  8. Thank you so much for sharing all these information. Love your blog and I’ve recommended to friends here in Shanghai.

    A friend just told me about Smart Air. It seems to be based in Beijing and they offer workshops on DYI air filters. http://www.smartairfilters.com/

    Have you heard of them ? That sounds too good to be true.

    1. I’ll be testing their filters myself, but yes the underlying concept is perfectly reasonable. It’s still just a HEPA filter with good circulation, that’s all you need! The proof of course is in the numbers, and so far the data looks good. It may be a perfectly reasonable option for people on a budget, especially in a bedroom…stay tuned for more info!

      1. Hi Rihard, how were the results on the Smart Air DIY filters then? And hence the 1M dollar question: what are the reasons to buy the substantially more expensive models? Thanks for the blog!

  9. We are moving to Beijing with 2 boys under 5. Plan on purchasing an IQAir off amazon but noticed it is only suitable for US countries (120v). Before I make this investment I believe a converter will work just fine. Right?

  10. Hi Richard,

    I recently brought three machines of Sharp air purifier (Sharp KC-BB60-W). I was pretty satisfied with them until today when one of them started emitting a strong smell. I realized I accidently switched on a button on the panel called “Ion”. And I got to suspect the smell could be ozone, a type of hazardous gas.

    These machines have a plasmacluster logo with a small “Ion” on top of the logo mark. It seems to me it is probably an ionizer type of purifier, however it is also equipped with a Hepa filter. So I’m a bit confused and not too sure of its working mechanism, whether using ionizing or Hepa or both.

    Richard, I bet you’re better knowledgeable of it. I learned most ionizers produce but only low level ozone, which is supposed to be harmless. But how come did I smell the stench?

    thanks,

    Simon

    1. I don’t know about that brand, but certainly I dislike any machine with the gimmicky “Ion” button. If you can smell it, that’s a bad sign and it probably is creating new ozone…not a good thing… all you need is the HEPA!

  11. Hello Mr. Richard,

    I’m trying to find a DIY filter on Amazon, I typed this and I wonder if is it the good way to go?

    http://www.amazon.cn/gp/search/ref=sr_gnr_fkmr0?rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3A%E7%A9%BA%E8%B0%83+%E8%BF%87%E6%BB%A4%E5%99%A8&keywords=%E7%A9%BA%E8%B0%83+%E8%BF%87%E6%BB%A4%E5%99%A8&ie=UTF8&qid=1387209210

    I didn’t find the “Filtrete Elite 2200 MPR” on amazon.cn.
    Do you recommend people to get that one out of eBay and use it in China?

    Please, I would appreciate if you could point us to one or a couple of specific A/C filters that you believe are a good buy -even if you haven’t had the chance to test them yourself.
    I’m quite lost and to be honest not very smart to fully understand this kind of stuff. So if you could please link to one DIY filter or write the reference number so I can go and buy it it will be much appreciated.

    Great blog.

    1. Sorry, I’m just not an expert at all in these DIY filters. But I think your best bet is that new American team selling DIY filters, here http://smartairfilters.com/ I will be testing their machines over the next couple weeks. In general, if you’re just wanting to install filters at home with HVAC, 3M is still the most famous choice. I think consumersearch.com has more info…

    2. I also see many other HEPA filters from Philips and others on Amazon China which I bet are just fine. Philips seems to have an excellent selection of machines and filters, at much more reasonable prices than Blueair, IQair etc! This model, for example is very good and under 3,000 RMB http://www.amazon.cn/gp/product/B002ZLOQZW/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A1AJ19PSB66TGU and their replacement filter here is only 218 RMB http://www.amazon.cn/PHILIPS%E9%A3%9E%E5%88%A9%E6%B5%A6AC4144-00%E9%AB%98%E6%80%A7%E8%83%BD%E5%A4%8D%E5%90%88HEPA%E8%BF%87%E6%BB%A4%E7%BD%91/dp/B005IF7FUK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354080052&sr=8-1

  12. Thank you!
    I observe that you have overlooked the following two stand-alone models that are considerably cheaper than the Philips you suggested:

    -PHILIPS飞利浦AC402​5/00恬静安睡系列空气净化器 ¥ 758.00

    http://www.amazon.cn/PHILIPS飞利浦AC4025-00恬静安睡系列空气净化器/dp/B006388L4K/

    -Panasonic松下空气净化​器F-PDF35C-G(绿色) ¥ 849.00

    http://www.amazon.cn/Panasonic%E6%9D%BE%E4%B8%8B%E7%A9%BA%E6%B0%94%E5%87%80%E5%8C%96%E5%99%A8F-PDF35C-G/dp/B0041G50SQ/

    Does your suggestion imply that you wouldn’t buy an entry-level stand-alone PHILIPS or PANASONIC air purifier?

    Anyway, maybe I wasn’t very clear but at first I was asking only about DIY kits.
    I checked that American team site you recommend but it seems they sell a fan+filter, or a filter to be used along a fan. I don’t have a fan and my idea was to use it with the A/C.
    Another thing that confuses me is the size of the filter itself. Filters come in different sizes but I don’t know what size I need. Where does that filter go? on the A/C unit or somewhere else…? I have no idea.

    Kind Regards.

    1. I actually have 4 of those Panasonics, and I just bought a cw-hpc200a meter to measure them. But the filters on my panasonics are 4 months old now; I’m getting new ones in a few weeks, I mean I already ordered them, but it takes 2-4 weeks for them to arrive.

      Using my pm0.3 counter, I found that, depending on hte age of the filter cartidge, on the panasonic, the pm0.3 count at the outlet is anywhere between 10% and 50% of the ambient air. HOWEVER, despite the air flow on max feeling really high, it doesnt really dent my ambient air much, in my 60 square meter room.

      I dont have a good solution yet… I bought an aos 2061, which was not really cheap, and that dents the pm0.3 ambient count more, despite a lower apparent efficiency at the output. But I still have pm0.3 over 25% of outdoors, even after 1-2 hours.

      I’m really hoping I’m not going to have to shell out 9000rmb on an IQAir 🙁

      1. So what’s the usual % difference between outdoor air and your big room, especially when comparing to another “control” room which doesn’t use any filter?

  13. Also, if you would have landed in Beijing today, would you go for a PHILIPS air purifier or the more expensive systems that you have bought?
    Would you go again for those brands?

    1. That’s a great question. I haven’t tested Philips, Daikin or others yet but certainly Philips has a good reputation, and their models called Coway in USA have some good test results. I’m actually seriously considering selling every one of my Blueairs and IQairs and switching to Philips. I just bought a Philips for my in-laws and will test it out…

      1. Dr Saint Cyr:

        How did Philips perform in your tests? I’m looking at installing units in our office and our office manager so far is suggesting Blueair or Sharp.

  14. Hi,

    I love your post as it seems like it is one of the few unbiased user reviews of the iqair and airgle air purifiers.

    I am debating on whether to buy the iqair health pro plus or the airgle ag850.

    My question is, what do you think of the patented titanium pro that comes with the ag850? It has a uv light which claims to kill off bacteria and viruses while emitting no ozone in its final filtration step. It also claims to remove particles down to .01 microns. Does it work and is it necessary?

    The health pro plus claims to remove particles down to .003 microns. Although it removes smaller particles, it doesn’t have any uv lighting to kill off the viruses and bacteria. Which do you think are the better feature of the two and do you think the size difference on particles removed make a significant difference?

    Thanks

    1. I’m honestly not a fan of any extra features more than just a good HEPA. A good HEPA filters out viruses anyway, and certainly bacteria should be out. Besides, here in China we’re not worried about infections in the air, we’re worried about pollution. So no, I don’t care at all about UV, titanium, blah blah blah yadda etc …

  15. Ok. I just commented on your previous article, before noticing this one, so maybe this is spam, but I kind of want to have some decent measurements on the different filters around, not just “well I used it, and I felt better”, but something objective.

    I do think Chinaway plausibly provide good meters. I’d be tempted to recommend the PM0.3 particle counter, cw-hpc200a, over the pm2.5 particle mass meter, cw-hat200. The reason being that the PM0.3 particles are significantly more numerous than the PM2.5 particles, and plausibly more dangerous. Unfortunately, you can’t convert directly from counts to masses, but the important thing to look at is the ratio, ie [inside air]:[outside air], and [air at filter output]:[ambient room air].

    Both are relatively affordable, compared to the cost of the filters themselves, and the counter is actually the cheaper one, compared to the mass meter (2660rmb compared to 3000-odd rmb).

    1. Thanks for the meter review! I now use a Dylos, which is even cheaper — but it’s not handheld which is a serious drawback for me…

  16. Does anyone have recommendations for a portable air purifier?

    Context:
    I have a nice Blueair purifier at home, but unfortunately, I’m on the road half the time.
    I just landed in BJ again, and the >300 AQI is killing me.

    As I’m staying in a hotel here for the next 3 months, I’m looking at a small portable air purifier that I can install in the room, store here on the weekends, and bring back when I’m done here.

    Would really appreciate any ideas on what has a good form factor and function.

    Price is less of an issue, and as long as I can check it in as luggage on the plane, weight should be OK.

    Thanks!!

  17. Dear Dr.

    I’m a chinese. So pls ignore my poor English .

    Which one do u prefer to buy between AIRGLE 800 & IQAIR 250?

    My boy has a asthma. I’m so worried about his health.

    Thanks!

  18. This was an amazing right up on air purifiers! Its amazing how much of an extent you are going through to keep your family healthy. I wonder why more Chinese don’t follow your same path?

  19. Hello, I dance for 2 hours on the streets daily. I am going to spend more time in a city near Shanghai. Can the 3M 8210 N95 mask really protect me from health risk due to pollution? Above what AQI value should I wear the mask? Thanks

    1. Yes, a properly fitted mask like the 8210 really could decrease 90-95% of PM0.3 and above, so it certainly could help — if it fits well. And by the way, exercising outside and dancing outside is still generally much healthier than no exercise at all, even in China. The largest study followed 67,000 Shanghai women for five years and showed clear benefits from outdoor activity, leading to less heart disease, cancers and deaths. http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/165/12/1343.full

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