Smart Air S review

By
Updated on May 15, 2024
Written by
Danny Ashton
Danny is the founder of HouseFresh and has been writing about air purifiers and indoor air quality since 2010. He is our lead tester, conducting all the tests we use to evaluate air quality products. That is why you will always see his name attached to our reviews.

Our verdict

The guys at Smart Air promise a lot with the Smart Air S, and they really deliver. 

 

Even though it doesn’t have smart functions such as Auto mode, the Smart Air S provides significant CADR power per $ spent thanks to the use of an H12 filter and an energy-efficient fan.

Smart Air, the creators of the Smart Air S (or The Sqair Air Purifier, as it’s known in the UK), has an interesting backstory.

Back in 2013, the founder of Smart Air (Thomas) was working on his PhD in Beijing and, affected by the terrible outdoor pollution in the area, he looked into buying an air purifier. When he saw how much air purifiers were retailing for he was shocked. Instead of buying a pricey device, he created his own DIY purifier to clean the air using just a fan and a filter

Realizing the potential, Thomas got together with some friends to start his own company focusing on no-nonsense, affordable air purifiers. Since then, they have developed several units that aim to perform well without the high price tag that most competitive air purifiers come with.

This Smart Air S air purifier is fairly new to the market. It was made available to buy in the U.S. in 2020 and has recently become available on Amazon as well.

  1. In our home lab of 728 cubic feet, we light an incense stick to generate particle pollution and VOCs.
  2. We set up our trusted Purpleair Indoor Sensor with the latest Bosch gas sensor to track levels of PM1ug/m3, PM2.5ug/m3 and PM10ug/m3 and VOCs in the air.

  3. We switch the air purifier to its highest speed and measure how long it takes to get our room air quality down to PM1 level to 0.
  4. We use an energy meter to measure precisely how much electricity is used when running the unit at the lowest and highest fan speed settings.

  5. We track sound levels emitted by the air purifier at different fan speeds with the help of a commercial sound meter.

Read more about our testing process, and feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.

This review was written AFTER we conducted all these tests. You can rest assured we didn’t just grab some numbers off an Amazon listing or the Smart Air’s website like most other review sites would.

Right, enough with the intro.

The lowdown on the Smart Air S

“For those wanting to clean the air in their home on a budget, the Smart Air S is up there with the Levoit 400S and the TaoTronics AP003.”
— Danny Ashton, HouseFresh Founder & Senior Writer

These are my main pros and cons suitable for even the lightest of skim readers:

What we really like

Smart Air’s ethos. Other air purifier manufacturers have been selling overpriced machines for years, but Smart Air drew a clear line.
Powerful mechanical filtration thanks to a high-quality H12 HEPA filter and an efficient fan.
Long-term cost savings for both electricity usage and filter replacements.
Beautifully designed to fit into even the most stylish of homes. I particularly like the European Beechwood legs.

What we think could be better

It does not have smart features or an Auto mode that automatically adjusts fan speeds, which is common in similarly priced units like the Levoit Core 300S. That said, these features would have an impact on the price of this air purifier without necessarily improving its air cleaning performance.

HouseFresh rating:★★★☆☆
Time to clean our 728 cubic feet test room (with the device running at top speed):50 minutes
Air purifier technology:H12 HEPA and optional activated charcoal filter
Recommended room size (4.8 air changes per hour):163 sq. ft. 
Clean air delivery rate (CADR):Dust: 127 CFM
Smoke: 105 CFM
Pollen: 144 CFM
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):13H x 13W x 14.3D inches (33.02H x 33.02W x 36.32D cm)
Weight (in pounds / in kg):10.1 lbs (4.58 kg)
Filter life:6 months
Noise level in decibels (measured from 3 ft. away with a sound level meter):Speed 1: 35.5 dB
Speed 2: 49.1 dB
Speed 3: 58.2 dB
Electricity consumption in watts (recorded with an electricity usage monitor):Standby mode: 0 watts
Speed 1: 5.6 watts
Speed 2: 19.7 watts
Speed 3: 39.4 watts
Estimated running cost (electricity consumption + official filter replacement):$120.10 per year
Cost per CADR cfm (based on dust CFM as reported by AHAM):$1.42
Manufacturer’s warranty:1 year
Country of manufacture:China

Elegant design that will stand out for the right reasons

“Oh wow… This one is cute!” was the first thing my wife said when the Smart Air S arrived.

My wife is not normally so positive about the many air purifiers I bring to our home, but she immediately fell in love with the design of the Smart Air S. This might not seem like an important point (and it’s definitely subjective), but she spends a lot of time choosing furniture and décor for the house, so she is a tough critic.

Another element she liked was the lack of lights on the control panel. This makes the Smart Air S a great option for a bedroom, as it won’t disturb your sleep — this is where we keep this air purifier since the moment I finished running all the tests:

But it’s not just about this air purifier fitting into a trendy home.

In terms of design, another thing worth mentioning is that the Smart Air S is a fairly small unit. It doesn’t take up too much space and could easily be placed in small rooms or tight spaces.

You can see here how small it is compared to the Levoit LV-PUR131, which has the same size of units such as the Levoit Vital 200S, the Winix C545 and the Coway Airmega 150.

Undoubtedly, this little unit looks a hell of a lot better than your “normal” air purifier. Its cute, short body and Beachwood legs blend into the room instead of looking like something you would find in a science lab.

Speaking of the legs, you will find them packed separately inside the box and must be screwed on before switching the unit as you would with the legs of an IKEA chair:

I experienced one build quality issue when screwing the legs: one of the screws had become loose, so I had to re-screw it before securing the final leg. It’s definitely a minor thing, but I’m mentioning it here to make the Smart Air team aware of it.

The control panel of the Smart Air S is incredibly straightforward. You get three fan speed settings and can switch between them with a giant dial that sits at the top of the device. That’s as simple as it gets!

Now, if you are looking for smart features, this is not the right air purifier for you.

I personally like the simplicity, but I also appreciate smart features such as Auto mode, for certain use cases. For example, I wouldn’t want to use the Smart Air S in my kitchen as I can’t constantly drop everything while cooking to set the dial on three or bring it back down to one. But that could be just me.

However, there is a reason why this unit doesn’t have such features. The team at Smart Air thinks auto-features are a waste of time, as built-in air quality monitors could be inaccurate and units might not thoroughly clean the air before switching auto-mode off.

Just high-quality filters and a powerful fan

The Smart Air offers H12 HEPA filtration with an optional activated carbon filter.

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. 

The Smart Air S comes with an H12-type HEPA as standard rather than the trendier medical-grade H13 HEPA. The reason for this is airflow.

H12 allows more air to pass through the filter, meaning that the air purifier can clean more air without working as hard. This doesn’t just make it more efficient at cleaning the air, but also reduces the amount of electricity it consumes.

That said, you can choose to get your Smart Air S with a H13 filter but you need to be aware that using a stronger grade of HEPA will reduce the airflow.

Tip

The HEPA filter for the Smart Air S arrived wrapped in plastic packaging to ensure the filter doesn’t start cleaning the air until the time comes for you to use it.

Make sure to remove the filter from the bag BEFORE you switch on the air purifier.

The Smart Air S comes with a HEPA filter, but you will need to buy the activated carbon filter separately (for an extra $29.99).

Most manufacturers include both HEPA and activated carbon as standard, partly because it makes for a more well-rounded air cleaning solution and partly because it will keep you buying more filters.

But Smart Air doesn’t include these filters as standard because the truth is that not everyone needs an activated carbon filter, and using one will reduce airflow.

I highly recommend you buy the activated carbon filter only if you want to use your air purifier to remove unwanted smells, gases and VOCs, as HEPA won’t be able to help with that.

Installing the activated carbon filter is super easy. There are no fiddly, twisty mechanics or screws to find the right tool for. You just need to follow three easy steps:

Step 1: Turn it upside down and remove the bottom cover by pressing in the sides and lifting.


Step 2: Take the filter from the plastic bag and place it into the unit. Don’t force it, it will sit comfortably.

Step 3: Put the bottom cover back on top of the filter, secure it and you are ready to place the device back on its feet.

Told you it was easy. Want to get one for your Smart Air S, too? Here you go:

Smart Air S Carbon Filter - Air Filter Replacement For Smart Air Model S Air Purifier - Helps Eliminate Odors, Smoke, VOCs & Airborne Particles - 1 Count
  • COMPATIBLE WITH SMART AIR S: Replacement Carbon air purifier filter for Smart Air S air cleaner.
  • BREATHE CLEAN AIR: Take a breath of fresh air! Our Carbon air filters help eliminate: odors, smoke, VOCs and other airborne particles.
  • PERFECT FOR: Homes with recent renovations or repainting, smoke odors, or near a source of pollution.
  • REPLACEMENT: Suggest replacing the filter every 6-12 months.
  • HIGH-QUALITY: Our high-quality Carbon air filter pairs with Smart Air S (ASIN: B08ZJTRQDM).

The Smart Air S cleared our test room in 50 minutes

As with every air purifier we review here at HouseFresh, I tested the Smart Air S in our 728 cubic ft. test room (a fairly small home office) and used an incense stick to create airborne pollutants. I then used two different Purple Air indoor sensors (Touch and Zen) to track how quickly the Smart Air could reduce PM1 pollutants down to zero while running at its top fan speed.

The Smart Air S removed all PM1 pollutants in 50 minutes.

Air cleaning speed, compared

Let’s put these results into perspective by comparing the Smart Air S to other units that clear similar-sized rooms, as well as the top 3 best-performing air purifiers we have tested:

It was 10 minutes faster than the Leovit LV-PUR131 and shaved off 15 minutes compared to the Ikea FÖRNUFTIG. However, it wasn’t as quick as the Mila or the Levoit Core 300.

Noise levels, compared

When you compare noise levels generated by the Smart Air S to other units, it’s perfectly average. Yes, you’ll hear it when it’s on full power, but it won’t command the whole room.

Now, I always explain that sound can be subjective, so I shot a video so you can listen to the noise levels it generates:

The cost to run a Smart Air S: $120.10 per year

1. Electricity costs = $60.10

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 Smart Air S with my trusty power meter.

  • Power 1 – 5.6 Watts
  • Power 2 – 19.7 Watts
  • Power 3 – 39.4 Watts

The team at Smart Air has created something very special with the Smart Air S, a good-looking air purifier with a decent CADR that also manages to use less energy than the entry model of a popular competitor. 

The energy savings might be down to the fact that the Smart Air S uses a H12 filter instead of a H13, no-pre filter, and (what I assume to be) a more efficient fan.

2. Filter costs = $60

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 Smart Air S has filters available for $29.99, and they suggest replacing them every 6 months. Running a Smart Air S will cost you $60 per year on HEPA filters alone. In comparison, the Levoit 300 has filters available for $50 that also need replacing every 6 months, so costs $100 per year. 

Smart Health S HEPA Filter - Air Filter Replacement For Smart Health S Air Purifier - 1 Count
Smart Air S Carbon Filter - Air Filter Replacement For Smart Air Model S Air Purifier - Helps Eliminate Odors, Smoke, VOCs & Airborne Particles - 1 Count
Technology
Smart Health S HEPA Filter
Smart Health S Activated Carbon Filter
More information
Price
$36.99
$29.99
Smart Health S HEPA Filter - Air Filter Replacement For Smart Health S Air Purifier - 1 Count
Technology
Smart Health S HEPA Filter
More information
Price
$36.99
Smart Air S Carbon Filter - Air Filter Replacement For Smart Air Model S Air Purifier - Helps Eliminate Odors, Smoke, VOCs & Airborne Particles - 1 Count
Technology
Smart Health S Activated Carbon Filter
More information
Price
$29.99

Bottom line 

Smart Air is a brand on a mission and with the Smart Air S, they’re showing us they mean business. 

By taking a simplistic approach to air purification, they have achieved amazing air cleaning performance without the energy and filter replacement costs of competitors. 

For those wanting to clean the air in their home on a budget, the Smart Air S is up there with the Levoit 400S for units that I would recommend in 2023.

I patiently await the release on Amazon.com for the larger Smart Air units, such as 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.

SOURCES

We calculated yearly costs associated with running the Smart Air S 24 hours a day, 365 days per year, utilizing the latest average energy prices as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of $0.174/kWh as of May 2024.

Last update on 2024-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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About the author

Danny Ashton

Danny is the founder of HouseFresh and has been writing about air purifiers and indoor air quality since 2010. He is our lead tester, conducting all the tests we use to evaluate air quality products. That is why you will always see his name attached to our reviews.

Join our newsletter

We’ll send you a nice email every once in a while. No spam.

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