(2019) The 6 Best Air Purifiers in China | HealthyShenzhen.com

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Air Purifier Buying Guide

The 6 Best Air Purifiers in China 2019

 Best Budget Air Purifiers 

  Smart Air DIY   +   Sqair  

 Best Smart Air Purifiers 

  Xiaomi Mi Air Series  

3/5  ★★★☆☆

    Xiaomi Mi Air 2S / 3  

Up to 37 sqm : medium room

  Cost:   ¥799   Filter Life:   4 months   Replace:   ¥150+

  > More Info   

2/5  ★★☆☆☆

    Xiaomi Mi Air Pro / H   

Up to 60 sqm : small apartment

  Cost:   ¥1299   Filter Life:   2.5 months   Replace:   ¥150+

> More Info

Nov 2019 Update: We downgraded our Smart Air Recommendation due to pricing changes & new products

 Best Multi-Room Air Purifiers 

  Smart Air BLAST Series  

Smart Air Blast Air Purifier budget.JPG
Smart Air Blast.JPG
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sqair air purier for china air pollution

Oct 2019 Update: New Review


Our New Favourite Air Purifier : The Sqair

"The world’s most cost-effective air purifier"


> Read Full Review  

I kept getting weird headaches & felt so sleepy. My roommates said the same thing. We figured out the common thread: the smog. We each bought an air filter and now we all agree we sleep better, headache-free.


- Jamie, Shanghai



How to Choose an Air Purifier

in 3 Easy Steps

Step 1: Measure

Measure your space(s) to determine the square footage / square meterage. Length x Width

  • Larger homes often need multiple filters. Smaller rooms can share a large device

  • Prioritize filtering bedrooms and any space you spend significant time in.

   Priority #1   

Bedrooms:  You sleep 1/3 of your life


Sleep Better:  A bedroom air purifier can also help you sleep longer, deeper and increase REM sleep.


Allergies, Asthma & Kids: Children, asthmatics and anyone with environmental allergies will benefit as well as anyone irritated by using AC overnight.

   Priority #2   

Living Spaces: The other 2/3 of your life

Living Rooms: A logical spot for a larger air purifier is the family living room in a spot with good air flow.

Offices / Workspaces are more difficult to filter: Higher ceilings, HVAC ventilation, more foot traffic  If possible, use a high-grade unit to compensate.

   Option A  

Choose smaller air purifiers for each room

   Option B   

Choose a larger air purifier for several rooms

Step 2: Round Up

Choose a device (or combo) that can cover MORE than your space. Inflating your measurements by 10-30% should give a better estimate for real-world use.


Coverage estimates are based off CADR - Clean air delivery Rates; tests done in sealed labs with new filters running on max speed. In real life: max speeds are too noisy, air pollution constantly leaks in, rooms have poor airflow & filters slowly clog.  

...are quieter

It's just physics, no matter how well designed, high fan speeds are loud. Stronger Purifiers can operate on quieter, lower speeds. 

...can flex

Pollution levels constantly fluctuate. Stronger devices can scale up or down their filtering to cope with air pollution spikes (Airpocalypse!).

...save money

Running on higher speeds rapidly burns through filter life. Using a stronger device can allow filters to last longer, saving time & money.

99% of the time you will NOT be using max speed… Most machines’ max speeds are far too noisy..."


"You want a higher airflow than you really need, so you can use the machine at a quieter level and still get effective airflow.“

- Dr Richard Saint Cyr, Family Doctor, Beijing

Stronger Air Purifiers...

Step 3: Choose Device(s) 

Do I need an Activated Carbon Filter?


To carbon or not to carbon... Short answer? HealthyShenzhen recommends using carbon if you can afford it, as carbon can neutralize many toxic gases like VOCs.

In reality the science of how carbon interacts wiht thousands of differnt types of m


The only downside is carbon filtration can decrease airflow as the filter is 'thicker'. This is why Smart Air doesn't automatically include carbon filtration. Xiaomi's 2-in-1 filters have carbon built in but also have shorter lifespans.



6 Best Air Filters 2019 - Full Reviews

You can find literally dozens of brands selling air purifiers in China. Howevor, testing shows many are poor quality. Meanwhile other brands are effective but massively overpriced; Philips, Blue Air & IQair devices are over-engineered, often costing over 2-10,000rmb. Yet, quality devices can be bought for as little as ¥230. 


After reviewing dozens of models, only two brands met quality expectations , had good reputations and featured reasonable prices. Smart Air and Xiaomi.This list is reviewed quarterly.

Why good choices ? 


"Clean Air should not be a Luxury" is Smart Air's mission. Their no-gimmick purifiers are ultra-budget friendly both for initial price & ongoing costs. Smart Air HEPA filters are cheap to replace and have long lifespans. Smart air, based in Beijing, is a  social enterprise devoted to bringing clean air to all.

Xiaomi offers integrated Smart Air purifiers at a lower cost than competitors. A standard 2-in-1 filter is used for most models and the MiHome App enables remote monitoring and control. Xiaomi is a well-known Chinese manufacturer of all things tech: toothbrushes to phones.

The newest IKEA air purifier? The Sqair.

The Sqair air purifier is not actually IKEA. It's just looks and acts the part: low-cost, made for the average family, nordic aesthetic and very functional. Per Smart Air:

"The Sqair a no-nonsense purifier designed from the ground up to do one thing: clean air. And it does that one thing really well. The Sqair provides you with the best clean air experience ever, all for under $100."

Does the Sqair meet this goal? Yep! It definitely does. It might be our favourite filter ever. Anything and everything unnecessary was left out: wifi, digitals displays, electrostatic plates etc leaving you a low-cost hyper-effective filter: a 3-speed switch, a strong fan and a high-quality HEPA. This dramatically cuts the cost.

Obviously, there no app or anything fancy. We actually really like this. You can pretty much set it and forget it.

  • Low-speed is basically dead silent, great for bedrooms.

  • Medium-speed is our favourite. Good airflow but not any louder than our AC - a nice gentle white noise.

  • High-speed has really fast airflow but is still quieter than our Xiaomi 2s (but reportedly with more airflow)

Upkeeps costs are very low: replacement filters are only about 20 bucks needing about every 6 months. In less polluted cities possibly longer.


Replacement filters are cheap, and considering the long filter lifespan, you'll be buying less than half vs Xiaomi.

The Sqair actually originated on Kickstarter as a project to make the "worlds most cost-effective air purifier". Considering its humble origins, it is quite elegant, blending in well, both on floor level or on a desk / side table. The device is a bit larger than it appears in photos.

Overall, we love this filter. It offers everything we need for a great price and we love its simplicity.

Cost:   ¥649    Filter Life:   6+ months   Replace:  ¥109 


  • Very economical: short term & long

  • No frills, simple, easy, efficient.

  • Quieter than competitors

  • My cat likes to sit on it, cute


  • Considering price, no major complaints

  • Slightly mafan to clean dust from bottom 

  • My cat likes to sit on it, fur blows off

 The Blast   ★★★★

A cost-effective air-purifying beast 

Simple, quiet, high-capacity & extremely cost-effective.


The Smart Air Blast is the most expensive purifier on our list, but its actually one of the most cost-effective models. So it may seem expensive... but it's not. In fact, the Blast’s destroy all competitors when it comes to long-term use and capacity. E.g. you’d need three Mi Air 2s to move as much air as one Blast so a single Blast can cover most apartments (up to 1400 square feet / 130 square meters).

Moreover, the filters can last for ages: up to 22-month filter lifespan for the full-size Blast Air Purifier. In less polluted cities, e.g. Shenzhen, the filter lifespan could be even longer, over 2.5 years potentially, depending on usage.

So, even though the upfront cost for a Blast is a bit higher, the massive capacity combined with extremely long filter life can lead to real savings. Set it and forget it...

Considering the Blasts massive capacity, it's also fairly quiet. While competing devices can be quiet at the cost of slower filtering & worse air quality, the Blasts giant HEPA filter can maintain great air-flow while remaining quiet (~50 decibels, Smart Air describes equivalent of light rain noise.

The Blast Mini keeps the easy-to-operate models with just 3 modes: low, medium and high fans speeds. IT also comes with wheels and a built-in surge protector. Handy.

Cost:   ¥1980    Filter Life:   22+ months   Replace:   ¥520  

> More Info


  • Amazing long-term value

  • Massive CADR (air flow)

  • No frills, simple, easy, efficient.

  • Wheels for rolling around


  • Kinda big, doesn't blend in

 Blast Mini  ★★★★★

A smaller purifying beast / side table

Like its big brother, the Blast Mini is another simple, quiet, high-capacity unit that's extremely cost-effective.


Though the Blast series may seem expensive... their exceptional capacity and filter lifespans make them very cost-effective. The Blast Mini filter (¥420) can last  up to13 months in Beijing’s dense air, potentially~2 years in less polluted cities like Shenzhen.

A single Blast Mini could cover a small apartment, up to 85 square meters. Thats a lot of space. What we like best is how well the Blast Mini hides as a small side table, it just blends in so well.

Cost:   ¥1680    Filter Life:   13+ months   Replace:   ¥420  

> More Info


  • Amazing long-term value

  • Huge CADR (air flow)

  • No frills, simple, easy, efficient.

  • Wheels for rolling around

  • Looks like a small table


  • Nothing we could find

  DIY 1.1   ★★★★

A fan + a filter. Super cheap & effective

It won't be winning any beauty awards, but the ¥228 DIY1.1 is the best ultra-bargain air purifier on the market. It's cheap and the overall component quality is good. It's not pretty but it works well, as backed up by plenty of testing.

If you are broke and poor, this model is actually afoordable. 

This model would work for a small office, small dorm or tiny-studio. Howevor, if you're going to be in China for any length of a time, consider upgrading to better model with more airflow. Also, this filter can clog faster as it has no pre-filter (made to catch large dust)

The strap can be finicky to set up, or can be knocekd loose if your cat enjoys rubbing against it, but is adequate. You operate it by turning on the fan, nothing fancy. This device will probably operate for years with no maintenance other than occasional filter change.


Overall, its great value. 

Cost:   ¥228    Filter Life:   3 months   Replace:   ¥75  


  • Crazy affordable, cheapest you can get

  • No frills, simple, easy, efficient.


  • Kind ugly & strap can come loose

  • Too weak for carbon filtration 

  • Fan is pre-filter so can become dirty

 Mi Air 2s  ★★★

An Entry-level  'Smart'  Air Purifier

 The 3rd-gen Mi Air 2s air purifier is a sl eek, wifi-connected device with multiple features & good quality 3-layer filters.


The device looks good, is compact and build quality is great. The fan has 17+ speed levels including:

  • Night Mode (dead silent, but little air moved)

  • Turbo Mode (jet engine fast but crazy loud)

  • Auto-Mode (flawed, read more below)


The OLED display is nice, displaying PM2.5  particle count and speed. A physical button can also control the fan speed, but it's not very easy only cycling between too-slow night mode, useless auto (see below) and turbo (which is very fast but so loud)


The accompanying MiHome app shows the particle count*, controls fan speed and sends "replace filter" notifications. You can also set-up automations to control speed, kind useful.

Our one big complaint: The laser particle sensor is NOT accurate. It’s a fairly cheap sensor so it’s wrong up to 86% of the time* & since the default auto-mode runs off this measurement, auto-mode is pretty useless too as it leaves your air too polluted most of the time. So manual mode is better (yet you're paying more for its "smarts").

Overall, the device is good, not great. We use one in a small bedroom ...but it's not cost-effective enough for any larger space.

Cost:   ¥799    Filter Life:   4 months   Filter Cost:   ¥150+  

> More Info


  • MiHome app is convenient

  • Sleek & compact modern design

  • 17+ speed options, powerful fan


  • Filter replacements are expensive

  • Filter replacements are maybe frequent

  • Laser-detector is faulty (inaccurate)

  • Auto-mode is faulty (unsafe & useless)

 Mi Air Pro  ★★☆☆☆

The Mi Air 2s + a bigger fan

The ¥1499 Mi Air Pro mostly uses the same components as its little brother, but this taller, large model also includes a stronger fan allows a max CADR of up to 500 m3 (to cover medium-large rooms).

Unfortunately, as the HEPA filter size isn't larger, the stronger fan drastically shortens filter lifespans. The cost of replacing filters can add up quick. The Mi Air Pro still is an affordable and quality smart air purifier though. 

The device doesn't look quite as good as its younger brother as its notably larger. For the rest of its features, read the above MiAir 2s review. 


The OLED display is nice, displaying PM2.5  particle count and speed. The accompanying MiHome app shows the particle count*, controls fan speed and sends "replace filter" notifications.

Our one complaint: The laser particle sensor is NOT accurate. It’s a fairly cheap sensor so it’s wrong up to 86% of the time* & since the default auto-mode runs off this measurement, auto-mode is pretty useless too as it leaves your air too polluted most of the time. So manual mode is better (yet you're paying more for its "smarts").


Cost:   ¥1299    Filter Life:   2 - 3 months   Replace:   ¥150+  

> More Info


  • MiHome app is convenient

  • Sleek & compact design

  • 17+ speed options


  • Filter replacements are expensive

  • Filter replacements are too frequent

  • Laser-detector is faulty (inaccurate)

  • Auto-mode is faulty (unsafe & useless)

Why Choose HEPA* filters?

*High-Efficiency Particulate Air 


Unsafe Technologies Include:

X  Electrostatic filters do work, but not good enough to clean China's thick dirty air.

X  Ionization filters can work but they can also create dangerous by-products  toxic ozone gas. 

X  HEPA-style, HEPA-like & HEPA-silent filters are often lower-quality filters (fakes) 

HEPA filters are a nearly perfect solution for air pollution. They are backed by tons of scientific tests; they’re pretty cheap; they use about as much energy as a lightbulb; & they even have documented health benefits."


-Chemical Engineer Choon Khin, Singapore

Recommended Models:

Smart Air Blast Review

Smart Air Blast Mini Review

Smart Air DIY 1.1 Review

Smart Air DIY Cannon Review

Xiaomi Air Purifier 2s Review

Xiaomi Air Purifier Pro Review

Non-Recommended Models

Phillips Air Purifier Models: AC5660, AC5630, AC3259, AC3231, AC4074, AC4001, AC4076, AC4012, AC4000, AC2887, AC2831, AC2882, AC2830

Molekule Air Purifier, Blue Air Purifiers, IQAir Purfifers


General Air Pollution












Magnetite pollution nanoparticles in the human brain

Air Pollution and Preterm birth


PM2.5 & Air Pollution







VOCS & Air Pollution






NO2 & Air Pollution






SO2 & Air Pollution








Ozone & Air Pollution










Carbon Monoxide & Air Pollution









How to Choose An Air Purifier












HEPA Filters & Air Pollution












Air Quality Index







Shanghai Air quality







Beijing Air Quality







Guangzhou Air Quality








Shenzhen Air Quality









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