Most of us are concerned about pollution indoors and outdoors. But what about the polluted air that you breathe in when you travel? Is your car’s AC filter enough to keep away the dust and pollutants when you travel? Are your car interiors really that polluted? What can you do about it? Let us find out.
Do you need a car air purifier?
We all know that our car’s cabin AC has an air filter which is effective in filtering dust, pollen, mold, spores and other airborne materials. But is it enough? Let us find out.
Most of the car cabin AC filter is made of electrostatically charged polyurethane panel, which is pretty effective in filtering the air that comes in to the cabin. So, if you feel the air inside your car is comfortable and if you don’t suffer from headache, stuffed nose or sneezing after a car journey, then you probably don't need a car air purifier.
However, not everyone has the same sensitivity to dust. I may be sitting in my living room, but if my mom dusts the bedroom, I start sneezing. So, if you are sensitive to dust or suffer from any sort of respiratory ailment, you would be better off with a car air purifier which has a much-advanced filtration system than what is fitted in your car’s cabin AC.
Just like air purifiers for home, car air purifiers too come with a HEPA filter and activated carbon filter. The HEPA filter captures all particulate matter that are larger than 0.3 microns. This includes certain viruses, bacteria pollen, dust, smog, tobacco smoke and other pollutants. The activated carbon filter captures, odour, VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and other chemical gases. Thus, car air purifiers offer much needed relief to frequent commuters who suffer from respiratory ailments spending long hours in the car.
How do you choose a Car Air purifier?
ACH & CADR
The passenger cabin volume of a mid-size car falls between 3.10-3.40 cubic meter. So, this is the volume of air that has to be changed by the air purifier. A good air purifier should change the air inside a given space at least 4 times an hour (ACH rating of 4). So, you should have a car air purifier with CADR (clean air delivery rate) of around 12 m3/hr.
Next, and more importantly, NEVER buy an air purifier that has in-built ionizer. Though ionizer as such may not be harmful, ozone which is a by-product of ionization process is a harmful gas and a potential lung irritant that can trigger respiratory ailments.
Finally, buy air purifiers only from reputed brands. Air purifiers require periodic filter change. Fly-by-night operators may sell cheap air purifiers. But one year down the road when you look to buy replacement filters, the company may not even exist and your car air purifier would end up being just a fancy looking expensive good for nothing toy. Whereas reputed brands continuously support with maintenance, repair and spares for an extended period even if the model goes out of production.
These three aspects were our main consideration while compiling this list.
Now, let us get to some of the best car air purifiers in India. Note that we haven’t included in this list any air purifiers with ionizers that generate ozone considering its negative effects.
Best Car Air Purifiers In India
Honeywell Move is one of the best-selling car air purifiers in India. With CADR of 12 cubic meter per hour, double layer Activated Carbon filter and a HEPA filter, this air purifier is just perfect for a mid-sized car.
Inside the box, you have the air purifier, power cable and four Velcros. You can place the air purifier either on the dashboard or on the rear parcel tray. The power cable is 4 metre long. So, no matter where you keep the device, you can connect it to the power and even keep the cables concealed underneath the seat and the mats.
To switch on the air purifier, you have to switch on the ignition and the rest of the controls is through a single power button in the air purifier. On first touch of the button, the device switches on at slow speed, the next press, it runs at higher speed and then if you press it once more, it switches off.
When I saw this product, one of my concerns was, “What if I forget to switch it off when I get off from the car?” The last thing I or anyone would want is a car that wouldn’t start because of a drained battery. But, the manufacturers seem to have kept this in mind while designing the product as the air purifier switches itself off when you switch off the ignition
It also comes with a filter change indicator so you don’t have to worry about whether the filtration system is working as it ought to be. Replacement filter can be bought online from Amazon at a cost of about Rs. 1300/-
The air purifier’s CADR of 12 m3/hr ensures that the air inside the cabin is refreshed every 15 minutes—making it ideal for pregnant women, children and those who drive in congested traffic blocks in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and such metros.
Mann Filter may not be known to all, but this German company is one of the front-runners in industrial filtration systems.
The car air purifier from Mann- Filter is one of the best in terms of CADR and ACH rating. The company claims it has a CADR of 25.5 m3/hr. Given this CADR, the air in a mid-size car with 3 cubic meter volume will get refreshed every 7 minutes.
Now, let us take a look at its filtration system. Just like the household air purifier, Mann Filter FC301 car air purifier has a three-stage filtration system that comprises of a pre-filter, activated carbon filter and HEPA filter than purifies up to 99% of PM 2.5 from the air. Mann-Filter calls their filtration system as HEVA filters (HEPA +VOC arresting filter).
Mann Filter air purifier comes with 4-metre-long power cable and strap with buckle, loop and fastener to mount the air purifier on top of dash as well as behind the seat head rest. Thanks to the long power cable, you can place the air purifier wherever you want and still discretely hide the wires.
The operations are also fairly simple with a single button that can be used to switch on and control the air flow. The device also has filter change indicator and an in-built 3 level air quality detection system. The filter usually lasts about 6-9 months and can be bought online for about Rs. 1000.
This air purifier from sharp doesn’t have HEPA filter or activated carbon filter. Rather it is an ionizer which works on Sharp’s patented Plasmacluster technology and a PM 10 filter ( which is in effect a pre-filter)
Unlike other ionizers, Sharp claims that Plasmacluster doesn’t emit ozone gas. It releases ions by breaking down the water molecules in the air. The ions break down the surface of the microbes, removes the protein and thus eliminates them before returning to the air as water vapour.
The plasmacluster technology is found to be effective in eliminating allergens, airborne viruses, microbes, mold and odour.
One of the main advantages of this air purifier is that it doesn’t need continuous filter change. The plasmacluster technology doesn’t require any maintenance, while the pre-filter just needs occasional cleaning.
As the air purifier comes with a 2 port USB adapter, you can simultaneously charge your phone and power the air purifier through the cigarette lighter socket.
Though the company claims it can be used as a personal air sterilizer in large rooms, most users found it not to be quite effective in a large space, but pretty efficient in a car with notable difference in air quality.
With CADR of 14 m3/hr and toxic gas CADR of 11.5 m3/hr, Philips GoPure Airmax air purifier is apt for mid-sized car to small size SUVs. Its filtration system consists of HEPA filter and Activated carbon filter. However, the efficiency of the filtration system is not as good as Honeywell’s as it only filters 50% of PM 2.5 and 70% of bacteria/virus.
On the brighter side, the air purifier is designed in such a way that you can keep it not only on the dash, but you can also mount it around the headrest.
The operations of the air purifier are also simple and intuitive. The device has a single button with which you can switch it off and on as well as control the air flow in 2 speeds.
When the air purifier is due for a filter change (after about 350 hours), an indicator lights up and you can buy the filter online or through any of Philips dealers.
Overall, though not as efficient as Honeywell Move, Philips GoPure Airmax is still a good option if you live in one of the lesser polluted cities.
If you are looking for a superior product, then opt for their premium car air purifier Philips GoPure Slimline 230, which is more compact, has real-time PM 2.5 display, 3 fan speed and a fragrance dispenser. On the downside, its CADR is 10m3/hr compared to Airmax’s 14 m3/hr.
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