Students and others with limited incomes shouldn’t feel helplessly left out of the eternal expat discussion regarding air purifiers. I mentioned before but will stress again, given the recent weather: there’s a very decent and affordable Taiwan/U.S.A.-made HEPA air purifier which is perfect for small dorm rooms, offices and bedrooms. It’s the Hunter 31125 model, which you can buy for only 1238RMB at the Sundan electronics store at the Sanlitun Village. You can also order it online here. The replacement filter is also cheap, only ~140RMB every few months.
(UPDATE, Nov. 29: this model seems to be retired; read the comment section below for other low-cost options…)
This is a true HEPA filter, rated for 99.97% filtration, and reportedly is good for rooms up to ~30 square meters. In my recent piece discussing BlueAir vs IQAir, I mentioned my own personal findings regarding this Hunter purifier, which did very well. I have this in my small office, about 10 square meters, and use it 24/7. In my readings with a particle monitor that I borrowed from the IQAir team, the Hunter 31125 routinely eliminated 50-70% of pollution even with the constant door opening. At max speed with the door closed for a while, it got 91% of the pollution. These real-world percentages are quite similar to the improvements I got at home with my Blueair and IQAir machines.
By the way, do not use the ionizer setting, it’s not considered healthy anymore by most reviewers. That goes for any air purifier models.
Don’t Forget You Can Resell It
One good way to look at the cost-benefit of all air purifiers is to feel quite comfortable that all the top foreign air purifiers can be easily resold when you leave Beijing, for quite a reasonable resale value. I guess you can think of items like IQAir and Blueair as the Patek Philippe of air purifiers; you “merely look after it for the next generation”. I suppose the Hunter 31125 is more like a Honda Civic — it’s a bit boring but reliable, and if you take good care of it you can pass it along to your kids for a few more sturdy years. Most students can easily afford the Hunter 31125, use it for a year or two, and quickly resell it to another student for a high resale value.
Don’t Forget Plants, and N95 Masks
Plants aren’t nearly as efficient as a good air purifier, but they can help clean the air a bit, and they also help with industrial indoor chemicals like formaldehyde which are common here. There’s a triad of common and cheap houseplants which really help, but any plant is better than nothing.
And for all you students who bike or walk to school; you should definitely buy a few of those N95 masks and always use them during your commute when the air is bad. These masks are reusable at least a few times, and they’re only a few kuai. Most stores and pharmacies started to stock these N95 masks after the swine flu scare last year.
Want To Read More?
Anyone Have Data on Other Machines?
I’m sure there are a few other lower-end HEPA models which could be fine as well, I’m simply reporting on what I’ve used. I would love readers to leave comments below discussing real-world results with other models.
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