Xiaomi launched its first home product in India last week – the Xiaomi Mi Air Purifier 2, which I’ve been using for some time now. To set context, I live in Navi Mumbai. I’m surrounded by hills, abundant greenery and streams from overflowing natural water bodies. Yes, during the monsoons, I even have a waterfall in sight. Ever since I began researching the ill effects of deplorable air quality in several cities in India, I’ve grown fond of my home city, which is less than an hour from Lonavala and Khandala. A beautiful place. Simple, laid back and still uncorrupted. I have access to clean air. Visibly, and also as evidently found by the Xiaomi Mi Air Purifier 2 as well.

  Xiaomi Mi Air Purifier 2: Its usefulness depends on you and your concern for your family

Navi Mumbai has a perfect balance between greenery and a harmonious ecology. Image: Anurupa Choudhury via Wikimedia

I don’t ‘need’ an air purifier

With the scene above, you’d wonder too. I believed I don’t need an air purifier. To add to it, I also pay a relatively higher electricity bill for my average power consumption (in comparison to some of my friends living in other cities). I’m still not sure why tariffs aren’t standard across the country. Effectively, yet another electrical appliance is a turn off for me. My initial thoughts are around the incremental impact on my already dear electricity bill. So, “I don’t need air purifiers”, is my first line of defence. And I know I’m not alone. You’d probably agree to some extent.

It’s yet another device. That needs to stay connected, consumes power, gets noisy and eventually dusty and knocked down. Probably even packed in a storeroom a few weeks later. Then you think to yourself, is that the best use of money? Surprisingly, we don’t think the same way about water purifiers. Because we hate diarrhoea, dysentery or worse.

I hate noise!

I remember buying an air cooler and a vacuum cleaner last year. I hate both of them. Because. They. Are. Noisy. Essentially, a vacuum cleaner is needed to filter out dust. To ensure that the air we breathe doesn’t cause us irritation. Cleanliness is just the visible aspect. In reality, it’s discomfort and allergies we want to avoid.

The case for an Air Purifier

I realised, that the seats were dark because of soot from the AC filters in the bus. Whenever they’re serviced, there is immense soot deposits. Soot in a bus? It’s all the diesel emissions that are filtered. Just like the lungs of a chronic persistent smoker. Not everything is as you see. Have you heard of rhinitis?

Straight to the point

I had to be convinced myself that I needed one. Convinced I was, when I tapped into my social circle. I spoke to young parents. I spoke to people who smoked cigarettes. I spoke to people who lived around a lot of greenery. I spoke to people who lived by areas with quarries and rampant construction. I was surprised.

When it’s dusty around my home, my mother’s eyes have visible redness. The only way out is to let her move to another room, while we do the needful. I’ve come to learn that the best way to do it is to switch the ceiling fan off, and tie a kerchief around my nose. Else I end up with spurts of sneezing as well. Isn’t this the story of the average Indian home? Products such as air purifiers are seen as an unnecessary waste of money. In Mumbai, we always think it’s cities like Delhi that need it. Because reports suggest Delhi is among the most polluted cities around. Besides, it’s not everyday that garbage-dumping grounds are set on fire in Mumbai. Even if they’re visible from space. As I said earlier, not everything is the way we see it. Our air’s certainly not as clean as it appears.

The Deonar dumping ground on fire got Mumbaikars finally rethinking their idea of pollution. Image: Solaris

The Deonar dumping ground on fire got Mumbaikars finally rethinking their idea of pollution. Image: Solaris

What they felt?

Those who smoked, said, they were concerned not for themselves, but their families. They knew cigarettes eventually killed, but that didn’t matter. What mattered is the impact it had on those around who passively inhaled the smoke – their young kids. They wisely didn’t smoke at home. They were surprised when I told them they’re neglecting the particulate matter deposits on their clothes. Which they probably dust once they’re home. Aren’t their babies inhaling all of that?

These two causes are well within our control. They can be curbed by sheer will. Or altering behaviour.

What about factors beyond your control?

The hills I spoke about earlier act as a protective barrier from the rather polluting industrial belt not very far off. But on the other side of the hill are stone quarries! My friends who live there, are helpless. This is the same Navi Mumbai region. Regarded as one of the cleanest cities in India. The air visibly polluted. Friends of mine who live there keep their doors and windows shut. 24×7. But alas, there’s a visible layer of dust on their appliances. All the time. Those around trees and greenery have problems of their own. The air is cleaner. The temperature, remarkably cooler. Because greenery is all we ever think as an answer to global climate change. But for asthmatics, those with respiratory ailments, and allergies, there’s probably not a worse challenge than pollen.

The blooming flowers don’t count as a beautiful scene for them. But a moment, a season of agony. I’d never realised it till I saw it myself.

Convinced that air purifiers aren’t futile

Once you’re convinced about it, there’s no looking back. Given rapid industrialisation and change in environmental patterns, we’d all need it. It’s just a matter of time. I might still have my reservations before spending that kind of money on an ‘Air Purifier.’ But when I see my loved ones struggling with dust and allergies, would I still hold back the purchase? No!

The offering makes sense

Xiaomi has wisely priced the product at an attractive Rs. 9,999. It comes in a hassle-free and convenient package. It’s silent. The process of setting it up or replacing filters takes less than a 5 minutes. In fact, take the filter straight out of the box and plug it in to the power socket. Press the button on the top and you’re ready to go. Yes, you’d doubt it’s running, till you step closer, see the fan moving and actually feel fresh air being pushed out. I can confidently say, it checked all the boxes I had as concerns in my mind.

The Xiaomi Air Purifier 2 has 2 fans on the top that creates a vortex while pushing clean air out. Image: Xiaomi

The Xiaomi Mi Air Purifier 2 has two fans on the top that creates a vortex while pushing clean air out. Image: Xiaomi

Realtime Air Quality Monitoring

Since it’s smart, it tells you PM2.5 readings in real time. PM stands for particulate matter with a diameter of less than 2.5 microns. This is the most critical pollutant that we need to curb, because these can’t be curbed by the nasal passage, and the mucous membrane in our respiratory tracts. PM2.5 can get deposited in our lungs and in the long term, create respiratory disorders.

The Xiaomi Air Purifier 2 gives real time readings on the accompanying app (on Android and iOS).

Quick air circulation

The purifier is capable of circulating air within a standard room, once in a duration of between 5 to 10 minutes depending on the area. Xiaomi claims a clean air delivery rate (CADR) of 310m3/h. The jet engine-inspired dual fan assembly creates enough wind suction and throw to bring in a lease of fresh air in your room.

Silent operation

As I mentioned earlier, there are times you’d need to pay close attention to the device, or pull out your smartphone to confirm that the air purifier indeed is working.

Power efficient

The Mi Air Purifier 2 consumes 4.8 W of power, which is far less than a low power consumption bulb. Besides, the option to switch between modes remotely, ensures that you can set the purifier on as you head closer home, as well as switch it off completely when you’re going to be away for long.

Convenient filter change

When it comes to air purifiers, the one task that could get daunting is changing the filter. You look forward to dealing with screws, then remembering where you took off clips and stoppers. Then once you’ve done the necessary tasks, it’s back to putting it all back together. With the Mi Air Purifier 2, all you need to do is open the filter rear, pull out the air filter, put in a new one and close it back. No screws, no stoppers. Simple. Easy and convenient. Besides, the replacement filters are available for Rs. 2,499.

In conclusion, it isn’t a choice between air purifiers. The larger question is conviction around the need for a air purifier. If you’re convinced you need one, you’re better off with this.