I’ve wanted to know for a long time whether DIY air purifiers are as effective as the Ferrari filters.
In an earlier post, I compared my data to the tests of Dr. Saint Cyr (whose excellent posts inspired me to look into filters in the first place). But I noted that the comparisons were far from perfect because:
- The rooms were different.
- The Cyr post did not specify how long the tests were (and that can make a big difference if you’re looking at times under an hour–see this time comparison).
- The Cyr post did not describe the particle counter or particle size.
How We Tested The Air Purifiers
But now I finally have directly comparable data! That’s because two kind souls donated a Blue Air 203/270E (3,600 RMB) and a Philips AC4072 (3, 000 RMB). That means I could finally test the DIY against expensive brands in the same room, for the same amount of time, with the same particle counter.
To do that, Anna ran 11 overnight tests with the Blue Air and 9 tests with the Philips. As always, I calculated effectiveness as percent reduction in particulates from the room air. Anna tested the air before she turned on the air filter, and then set a Dylos DC1700 laser particle counter to take hourly measurements of the air in her 15m2 room.
Anna used the highest setting on each purifier. (I’m putting the original data and more details about the methods for fellow nerds at the end of this post.)
And (drumroll!) here are the results:
The Cannon removed as much particulate as the expensive machines. Not bad for 450 RMB!
Yet all four filters were making the room air significantly cleaner. For particles 2.5 microns and above, all four removed over 90%. For particles 0.5 microns and bigger, all four removed over 80%. I’m not the first person to say: All you need to significantly reduce the particulate pollution in your home is a simple HEPA filter.
Based on the data, here’s how much you’re paying for each percentage reduction in 0.5 micron particles:
(And that’s not counting the cost of the exorbitantly priced replacement filters.)
Recently, a Chinese news article claimed air filter companies are making “falsely inflated profits.” That fits with this data showing that the Cannon removes as much particulate as the Blueair, yet costs about 10% per percentage of 0.5 micron reduction. Similarly, the Original DIY removes 4% less 2.5 micron particulate and 6% less 0.5 micron particulate than the Blueair on average, yet the Blue Air costs more than 16 times as much.
What About Gas Pollution?
Now, as I’ve said before, particulates are not everything. There are also gases like ozone and nitrogen dioxide (although I’m less concerned about those). Here’s how to know whether your home has serious gas pollution. If it does, tests show that activated carbon removes gases like formaldehyde and benzene.
Open Data and Methods
As always, I’m posting the original data and detailed methods for fellow nerds. Don’t believe me. Check out the data and decide for yourself.