Hi there, I’m Thomas

In 2013, I was living in Beijing and needed an air purifier to fight the PM2.5. I went out to buy one only to find that purifier companies were charging crazy high prices for simple technology.

As a Ph.D. student, I didn’t have a lot of money and so I wondered, how these machines work. It only took an afternoon of research to find out that air purifiers are very simple. They mainly consist of a fan and filter. And if it’s that simple, I thought, I could easily build my own.

Hi there, I’m Thomas

In 2013, I was living in Beijing and needed an air purifier to fight the PM2.5. I went out to buy one only to find that purifier companies were charging crazy high prices for simple technology.

As a Ph.D. student, I didn’t have a lot of money and so I wondered, how these machines work. It only took an afternoon of research to find out that air purifiers are very simple. They mainly consist of a fan and filter. And if it’s that simple, I thought, I could easily build my own.

Air purifiers are just fans and filters

I bought a fan and a filter and strapped them together. Next, I got a particle counter to see if my DIY air purifier was able to remove the tiny PM2.5 particles, those that can deeply penetrate our lungs and cause severe health issues.

I run dozens of tests in my bedroom and collected quite an amount of data which proved my $30 DIY air purifier to be working incredibly well.It was even able to keep up with those machines that cost up to 30 times more. See yourself.

A higher price doesn’t bring more clean air

My DIY air purifiers (on the left) removed 84% of the tiny 0.5-micron particles, and 92% of the PM2.5 particles. This made it almost as efficient as the machines of the big brands. What struck me the most, however, is that large companies were charging a disproportionately high price for something that I cost me only 900 Baht.

I shared my findings with the world

That’s when I realized that air purifiers were totally overpriced. In fact, breathing clean air was only affordable for rich people.

But I wondered, isn’t clean air a human right? Isn’t clean air something everybody should be able to breathe?

So I decided to share my findings with the world. I set up a blog and hosted dozens of free workshops where I showed people how to build their own air purifiers for little money.

The response was stunning

Word of the simple science behind clean air spread quickly. More and more people reached out to me asking me where I bought my filter and fan.

So I set up an online store where I made the materials I used available. Within the next 18 months, we’ve shipped more than 15,000 of these simple and affordable DIY air purifiers across China.

That’s when Smart Air was born!

Helping people getting more clean air

Today, we’re a small social enterprise with 7 offices across Asia. The work we do and profits we make don’t go into some rich investor’s pockets, but helps more people across the world breathe clean air.

Smart Air is a social enterprise that creates simple, no-nonsense air purifiers and provides free education to protect people’s health from the effects of air pollution. We are proud to be the only certified B-Corp dedicated to fighting air pollution.