If you live in one of the most polluted cities on this planet, like I do, chances are you've already taken steps to protect yourself when outside. But even the air we breathe in at home carries harmful particulate matter.
The past year has seen the launch of HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air)-based air purifiers. HEPA filters catch and trap indoor particles like PM 2.5 particulates, pollen and allergens, making the air healthier. Since I'm allergic to dust, these purifiers could be a godsend.
But as I tested them, I realised two things. One, the air blowing out of a purifier (especially one with a higher cooling capacity) also cools the room. I was trembling in December while using a purifier at night and I was trembling in March when using a purifier with the AC on. Two, it takes lesser time to clean the air when the AC is on - or at least that's what these purifiers indicated.
Kent Aura Air Purifier
The Aura is a smart-looking device and supports rooms up to 270 sq ft and features a three-stage filtration process - a pre-filter to trap bigger particles like dust, a HEPA filter with anti-bacterial coating and the activated carbon filter to absorb bad odour.
More than the purifier, I was more interested in the device to measure air pollution, which Kent thoughtfully lent me during the review process (and isn't for sale). I installed the Aura in my 12ft by 14ft bedroom and then switched on the pollution meter; the air quality made it see red. It was December, the windows were closed and the curtains drawn. And yet in the third-floor flat, pollution levels were alarming. It brought them down in 15 minutes flat.
The Aura can be programmed to run silently at night and it bundles two important features: an indicator that shows when to replace the filter and a child lock.
Try this if you want a no-nonsense portable air purifier for small- to medium-sized rooms.
> Price: Rs 15,000
Moonbow Air Purifier 8608
> Price: Rs 34,990
Atlanta Healthcare Universal 450
There's a band of light which flashes red, then amber and finally green when the air has been cleaned. It runs silently (in fact, it's the quietest of all the three air purifiers I tested); and switches off once the job is done.
If you stay somewhere where dry conditions prevail, or you can't afford the Moonbow 8608, but want its functions, go for this one.
> Price: Rs 26,950
> Price: Not known yet