How will the Smart Heahtl S fair when it comes to filtering air?
The guys at Smart Air promise a lot with the Sqair, and they really deliver. We believe this is the best budget air purifier currently available in 2022. It provides significant CADR power per $ and with its efficiency and fairly priced filters, it will save you a ton of money after just a few years of usage.
As a fairly new company, they may not have the marketing polish that you see with Alen, IQAir, or Blueair, but they have what matters when it comes to cleaning the air in your home. It’s got no smart or auto mode and only 3 power options but it can clean air much cheaper than any of its rivals than to its use of H11 filter and efficient fan.
Smart Air, the creators of the Sqair, has an interesting backstory. Back in 2013, the founder Thomas was working on his PhD in Bejing. Affected by the terrible outdoor pollution and shocked by the price of air purifiers, he created his own DIY purifier that could clean the air using just a fan and a filter.
Realizing his potential, Thomas got together with some friends to start his own company which focuses on no-nonsense, affordable air purifiers. Since then they have developed a number of units that aim to perform well without the high price that most competitive air purifiers come with.
This Sqair air purifier is fairly new to the market and was available to buy in the US since 2020 but has recently been available on Amazon as of this year.
As with every air purifier we test here at HouseFresh, we bought it with our own money to avoid any potential biases that could occur when accepting products review. Our ultimate goal is to show you exactly what is good and what is bad about this air purifier so you can choose the right one for your specific needs.
This particular model is their mid-range unit costing $179* but with a CADR of 315 m3/h or 185 CFM which is similar to that of the Honeywell HPA200 (200 CFM) and Levoit Core 400S (250CFM.)
*as of 15th February 2022
Air Purifier CADR 315 m3/h or 185 CFM Technology H12 HEPA and optional activated charcoal filter Room Size 1100 sq. ft. Weight 10.1 lbs Filter Life HEPA every 6 months Noise Level 23 dB, 43dB and 52 dB (low-mid-high) More information Price $189.95 Air Purifier CADR 315 m3/h or 185 CFM Technology H12 HEPA and optional activated charcoal filter Room Size 1100 sq. ft. Weight 10.1 lbs Filter Life HEPA every 6 months Noise Level 23 dB, 43dB and 52 dB (low-mid-high) More information Price $189.95
That was the first thing my wife said when I showed her this unit.
She is not normally so positive about the many air purifiers I bring to our home so this was a good sign.
And I have to say, it’s one of the better looking units on the market as it doesn’t look too industrial. Due to its fairly small size, it doesn’t take up too much space and could easily fit in with a well-designed trendy living room.
You can see how it compares in size with the much larger Dyson HP04 which, in my opinion, is another well-designed unit but has a lot more height.
This air purifier is one of the simplest units I have come across. As you can see in the video below, it’s simply a large fan combined with a HEPA filter housed in plastic.
An interesting factor about this unit is that it uses an H11 type HEPA rather than the trendier medical grade H13 HEPA. The team at SmartFilters makes the point that H11 allows more air to pass through allowing it to clean the air but without requiring the amount of electricity needed for a stronger HEPA filter.
The Sqair air purifier comes in a fairly small box and is well packaged with the power supply unit on top.
The feet are neatly packed separately and need to be screwed on before you switch the unit on. I did have one minor build quality issue. One of the screws had become loose, I needed to re-screw it before I was able to secure the final leg. It’s minor, but something I would want to make the team at Smar Air aware of.
As with many new HEPA filters, it arrived wrapped in plastic packaging so needed to be removed before switching it on. Whilst this is clear in the manual, it would be good to see a more intense warning. Dyson uses a yellow and black one to make sure no one ends up using the unit with the filter in the plastic wrap (it happens more often than you would expect!)
There is an option of getting a charcoal filter that works with the H11 HEPA, I didn’t get it but may look at testing this in a future review update. The charcoal filter costs an extra $22.99 so not expensive and can be bought after you have the unit if you prefer.
How easy is it to use?
You don’t get much simpler than this for an air purifier, 3-speed settings that are controlled by one circular rotating switch in the middle. That’s it.
If you are looking for smart features, then this is not the unit for you. I personally like the simplicity and there was also no remote for one of my toddlers to steal!
The team at Smart Air thinks auto-features are a waste of time for the most part and whilst I agree to some extent, I know some people do like the option of using a timer or auto mode for minor pollutant issues.
I tested this unit in the same room of 705 cubic ft that I test all the air purifiers for HouseFresh, which is a fairly small bedroom.
I used incense to create airborne pollutants then used a Purple Air indoor sensor to track how these pollutants reduce over time.
The Sqair air purifier was able to remove all the pollutants from the air in 29 minutes.
Dyson HP04 = 1 hour and 24 minutes
Levoit Core 300 = 49 minutes
IQAir Health Pro Plus = 25 minutes
This performance was very impressive, especially as it got close to a $1000 unit in sheer cleaning performance, although the IQAir unit does have a large activated charcoal filter that would deal with VOCs and chemicals.
Cost of Running the Sqair air purifier
1. Electricity costs
The costs of running air purifiers are something that gets overlooked but it’s an important factor to consider, especially if you’ll be using this unit regularly.
As always, I tested the Sqair with my trusty power meter.
- power 1 – 6.4 Watts
- Power 2 – 18.9 Watts
- Power 3 – 42.6 Watts
So, if you ran the Sqair for 24hrs a day, every day, it would cost you around $54 per year. That’s 15 cents a day (depending on your energy provider of course).
This is a similar amount of energy used by the less powerful Levoit Core 300 with a CADR of 141 vs 185 meaning more power for less electricity! This must be down to the fact that the Sqair uses a H11 filter instead of a H13, no-pre filter, and (what I assume to be) a more efficient fan.
When you compare electricity costs with a larger competitor, the IQAir Healthpro plus has a CADR of 290 but at its highest speed uses $208 per year. Using the Sqair instead would save you $154 in electricity costs but provide less cleaning power with 185 CADR.
Another comparison for efficiency is the amount of sound generated.
The Levoit Core 300 has a maximum dB sound of 56dB vs 52dB for the Sqair on full power so it’s also quieter.
The team at Smart Air have created something very special with the Sqair. A powerful air purifier with a decent CADR that also manages to use less energy than the entry model of a popular competitor.
2. Filter costs
Another long-term cost to consider is filter replacement. With mechanical filter technology like HEPA, the filters get full of pollutants and need to be replaced regularly.
The Sqair air purifier has filters available for $29.99* and they suggest replacing them every 6 months so a cost of $60 per year. In comparison, the Levoit 300 has filters available for $50 that also need replacing every 6 months so costs $100 per year. Things get even starker when you compare with a large HEPA unit like the IQAir Healthpro plus that requires nearly $250 per year of filter replacement costs.
These are big differences that soon add up to provide significant savings for the Sqair air purifier over many years.
What I like:
- The position they take that other air purifier manufacturers have been selling overpriced machines for years.
- A CADR of 185 cfm for a very fair price that competes well with other good budget brands like the Levoit Core series.
- I like that it’s pure HEPA and doesn’t have an ionizer.
- The long-term cost savings are great for both electricity usage and filter replacements.
- Looks good from an interior design perspective.
What I don’t like as much:
- No auto function which is common in similarly priced units like the Levoit 400S.
- No timer function
- Have read that they used to have some issues with customer support in the US but that should now be less of an issue as now they sell through Amazon.com
Smart Air has created something a little special with the Sqair air purifier.
By taking a simplistic approach to air purification they have managed to achieve amazing air cleaning performance without the energy and filter replacement costs you find with competitors.
For those wanting to clean the air in their home on a budget, the Sqair is up there with the Levoit 400S for units that I would recommend in 2022.
I patiently await the release on Amazon.com for the larger Smart Air units in the Blast Mini and Blast Mk 2 to see if they provide the same superb level of air purification performance which would make them a perfect alternative to the IQAir Healthpro plus as a pure HEPA whole house air purifier.
- PURIFY YOUR AIR: Do not let its sleek European design fool you, the Smart Health S is a powerhouse cleaning up to 1,100 square feet in 30-minutes. And it is quieter and more energy efficient than other air purifiers!
- HELLO CLEAN AIR: The HEPA air filter effectively filters 99.95% of .3-micron as well as 0.07-micron airborne particles
- SLEEK DESIGN: Our sleek, elegantly designed air purifier is matte white with warm and cozy European beech wood legs.
- EASY TO USE ROOM AIR PURIFIER: The minimalist design features a simple 1 - 2 - 3 speed control for easy on-off yet its efficient and long-lasting motor cleans the air in a 21’ x 21’ room FIVE times per hour with a CADR of 315 m3/h.
- INCLUDES: 1 x Air purifier (13” x13”x14.3”), 1 x HEPA Filter, 1 x Carbon filter, 1 x Detachable cord, 1 x Smart Health Handbook.
Last update on 2022-05-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API