Air purifiers are perhaps the new smartphones. Essential. Critical. And you are spoilt for choice. Pick any price point, whatever your requirement may be, and you’ll probably have a pretty capable option ready for you. Xiaomi has added the Mi Air Purifier 3 to its line-up in India, which already includes the Mi Air Purifier 2s and the Mi Air Purifier 2c. That is a rather robust set of options, for different room sizes and usage situations, priced between Rs 6,499 and Rs 9,999 with the Mi Purifier 3 being the latest and greatest air purifier from Xiaomi. It is not great just because it is new, but there are very subtle changes that you’ll notice which make a big difference.

It might all get quite confusing, particularly as you set about choosing between the Mi Air Purifier 3, priced at Rs 9,999 and the Mi Air Purifier 2S, priced at Rs 8,999. Which one should you buy? Let us look at the fine differences. The Mi Air Purifier 3 has a Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) rating of 380 m3/h, which is higher than the 310 m3/h CADR rating of the Mi Air Purifier 2S—this is a 22% increase). This will cover rooms as large as 484 square feet, which means this can work well in large spaces as well, perhaps a living room and dining room combination. I had earlier tested the Mi Air Purifier 2S in larger rooms as well, and the purification performance turned out to be quite good, as verified by a third-party air quality monitor. Going by that yardstick, the Mi Air Purifier 2 should be able to do the same task effortlessly.

In terms of the design, the same space-saver footprint that I love has been retained. This form factor just works great in case you don’t exactly live in a sprawling property, and you don’t really have to stress about finding space for this in whichever room you intend to put this up in. In terms of the dimensions, the Mi Air Purifier 3 is exactly the same in terms of the width, depth and height, as its predecessor. The circular OLED display is retained, and this is a treasure trove of information—air quality, humidity, temperature, Wi-Fi status and the touchscreen means you can switch operation modes such as fan speed and sleep mode. The green ring on the screen means the air quality in the room is good, orange means moderate and red means bad. This in a way reminds me of the Resideo air purifier which also has a non-touch circular display where the LED ring around the display becomes the air quality monitor. Both implementations work well to be honest, but Xiaomi’s more subtle one would probably work better in a bedroom for instance, where minimalism might be the general tune of things.

The 360-degree air intake vents are retained, which means the Mi Air Purifier 3 will be more versatile when it comes to taking in polluted air and running it through the circular HEPA filter. Speaking of which, there is a big change as far as the filter is concerned. Xiaomi now also sells three different types of filters for the Mi Air Purifier range. There is the Mi Air Purifier Filter Blue (Rs 2,199) which is a H11 grade EPA filter made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) primary filter, an EPA filter and an activated carbon later. Then there is the Mi Air Purifier Filter HEPA Lite (Rs 1,699) which is a dual layer filter that has the PET primary filter and a True HEPA layer—this does not have the activated carbon layer to capture the gases or chemicals. The last one is the Mi Air Purifier Filter HEPA Black (Rs 2,199) that has the PET primary filter, a True HEPA filter and a layer of activated carbon. The Mi Air Purifier 3 has the last one, the True HEPA which is even more proficient at capturing pollutants and particles that we can never see. The pre-filter is designed to capture dust and larger particles to prevent the HEPA from clogging up. It is always good to have a capable pre-filter working ahead of the HEPA, so that the latter’s efficiency isn’t degraded in a short span of time. Then there is the HEPA itself, which will capture the particles up to 0.3 microns in size. Finally, there is the activated carbon layer, which eliminates gases, odour and the volatile organic compounds in general, which may escape the HEPA.

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The performance in a typical bedroom is nothing short of excellent. Fifteen minutes of running the Mi Air Purifier 3 with the AQI at 112, this brought it down to 11 according to the AQI display on the purifier itself as well as the AQI monitor on the far side of the same room. In a larger space, the AQI would stabilize between 19-22 even with certain amount of movement. In the bedroom, the AQI reading even came down to 1. Yes, 1. One. Uno. One of the reasons why a compact purifier with the sort of form factor that the Mi Air Purifier 3 is able to exhibit such efficiency is the vortex of air that the upward-looking fan is able to create. The spread of clean air across the room is quite swift, particularly at the height at which most adults breathe. Xiaomi has helped that along with a new centrifugal fan and the brushless motor which now outputs a larger volume of clean air than any of the predecessors managed. Also, look closely and you will notice that the clean air vent is also redesigned—the border around this now square grille is much thinner (compared with the predecessor), which means there is more space for the clean air to emerge into the room. Xiaomi also says that the inner wall has a smooth finish to minimize any resistance to the air flow. The smallest of changes to make a big difference.

One has to admire how whisper silent this remains most of the time in the auto setting, unless for those few moments when it detects a new influx of polluted air into the room and has to boost the fan speed to deal with that. If you intend to keep this in the bedroom, be rest assured, this will not get in the way of a peaceful sleep.

A lot of the purifier’s prowess can be judged by the quality of the AQI sensor. The Mi Air Purifier 3 has a laser particulate sensor. Most times I walked past it, the AQI reading went up a bit and it took a couple of seconds to stabilize—that is because this sensor immediately detected my movement and the new air I introduced in its immediate vicinity.

The Mi Air Purifier 3 is a truly smart purifier. It connects with your home Wi-Fi network and you can control it via the Mi Home app (free for Android and iOS). The Mi Air Purifier 3 also works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, if calling out to your air purifier is what you find convenient. While this connects with both 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi networks, for some reason, it wouldn’t detect my home Wi-Fi network when the setup was attempted via an iPhone, but did so in a jiffy with an Android phone.

Over the years, it has been hard to argue against the Mi Air Purifier line-up. The price tags remained affordable, yet the air cleaning prowess was never compromised. That continues with the Mi Air Purifier 3. But its more than just a simple evolution. This now has a H13 grade True HEPA filter and a new centrifugal fan which make it more capable and powerful. It continues to be impossible to not recommend a Mi Air Purifier for your home, the Mi Air Purifier 3 in this case.

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