Best Air Purifier in Malaysia (and Singapore) – What I Chose and Why

*This is a guest blog post by Nyagoslav Zhekov, the loving husband of Jenny Zhekova.

Note! This blog post is solely for sharing purposes. We are not selling or endorsing any air purifiers! 🙂

If you have been following this blog, you most probably know by now that my wife has been fighting with severe sinusitis for many years. As things she tried worked with moderate, short term success, I decided to try something new.

Air Pollution in Malaysia and Singapore

Air pollution in Malaysia and Singapore is a serious problem. If you have ever lived in any of these two countries, chances are that you have experienced the May-July severe haze – a direct result of forest burning in Indonesia. But Indonesia is not the main problem. Overpopulation in certain areas, industrial activity, excessive usage of personal transportation means instead of public transport, are all add-up factors. States of emergency are not uncommon due to pollution levels rising above the Emergency level of 500 API/AQI/PSI.

Air Pollution Index

There have been times when surgical disposable masks were not available in pharmacies. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Malaysia shares an interactive map of the hourly changes in air pollution levels in the country per area. Similar map is maintained by the National Environment Agency of Singapore. In fact, you could even download and install this app that provides the same information via phone updates. Of course, this wouldn’t really help resolve the issue. It could only make you more aware of the threats you are facing in your everyday life. And as different respiratory illnesses have been directly linked to air pollution, I suggest you act fast on getting a healthier life, without having to move up to some secluded mountain.

Buying Local vs. Buying from Amazon

Before starting to discuss the factors that you should take into account when purchasing an air purifier, I should mention that your biggest problem might very well be the undersupply of high-quality air cleaning systems in Malaysia and Singapore. If you try to do your own research, you will probably encounter a number of articles mentioning products that you will later on discover are not available in the local market. These articles are most frequently written by Americans, and as almost all of the best brands are American, there is certain logic into this fact. Unfortunately, if you are reading this article you most probably live in Malaysia/Singapore. What are your choices then?

1) Buy from Amazon.

2) Scrounge the local market and buy from a local supplier.

If you decide to go with option 1, you will discover that the variety is bigger, and the net price is much cheaper. However, you should take into consideration the following factors:

– Warranty is almost always limited to the country where the machine comes from (most frequently the US). If you get a defective product, you would either not be able to exchange it, or even if you are able to exchange it, you would need to bear the international shipment costs.

– Chances are your product will be tailored to the 110 Volt electricity in the US, so  you would need to buy a voltage converter. These usually cannot be used long hours, and are in general not recommended for usage whenever they could be avoided. Sometimes they could be stated as a cause for warranty forfeiture.

– You will be getting your air purifier transported from overseas. Besides the obvious threat of it getting spoilt along the way, the transportation costs are also not to be neglected. A regular home purifier might weigh between 5 and 15 kg, which means that shipment might be in the range of US$150 (~MYR550 by today’s exchange rate) per unit.

– You will not be able to test your air purifier personally. Things such as noise level and design are much more difficult to be comprehended “on paper” than in front of one’s eyes.

Having taken into consideration the above factors, I personally decided to buy an air purifier from a local supplier. As mentioned above, the options are more limited, but many of the negatives a purchase of an Amazon purifier would come with are avoided.

What Are the Options?

There are just a handful of companies that sell air purifiers in Malaysia, and not all of them offer the highest quality products. For instance, Harvey Norman, which is one of the few suppliers that are physically present outside Kuala Lumpur/Selangor, feature a range of Sharp, Panasonic, and Hitachi air purifiers. When I went in person to the Citta Mall branch, I also found a DeLonghi air purifier there. Of these, only some of the Hitachi ones rely mostly on HEPA filter technology for air purification (more about why this is of crucial importance below). Another option for the ones not living in the Kuala Lumpur area would be Lazada, but while it features a wider range of products than Harvey Norman’s stores, the quality level is approximately the same.

If you live in the Johor Bahru area, you might consider purchasing an air purifier from Singapore.

If you, however, do live in or around KL, you would have the following options for high quality air purifiers:

Alen Air – 3 types

Coway – 5 types (not available in Singapore)

BlueAir – 3 types (6 types in Singapore)

Honeywell – 3 types (4 types in Singapore)

Therefore, everything could be boiled down to a choice between these 14 models of home air cleaners.

What Factors You Should Consider

The number one factor, which I will not even write in detail about, but will just share some additional resources on, is the presence of a “True” HEPA filter and the reliance on this filter for air purification. You could read more specialized information about it here and here. All of the products mentioned above do feature such filters.

The second factor I looked into was the size of the filter and the airflow intake. While you might find different statements about what area certain air purifiers can cleanse, this is the one “empirical” factor that could be very telling. You could take a look at the motor of the air purifier. If it is bigger in size, the chances are the air inflow is larger, too.

The third directly-related-to-air-cleanliness factor I took into consideration was the tightness of the casing. If you actually take a look at some of the lower quality products I mentioned above, you would notice that there are holes in the casing, probably left for design purposes. If there are holes, it means at least some part of the collected dust and other air pollutants go back to the room air.

An obvious factor to consider is the cost of the device you would be purchasing. A top quality air purifier (the ones I strongly recommend you look for) would be in the range of MYR2,000, but the price could very well go up to MYR5,000+. It is important to remember that with air purifiers, the higher the net price of the product, the lower its long-term cost. Additionally, the more simplistic the technology, the lower the chances of technical glitches over a period of time. The cost of the filters, and their average lifespan is an added figure of the total long-term price of an air purifier.

There are a few less important factor for me personally, which I am sure might be of primary importance to others. For instance, the design of the air purifier. However, frequently certain design decision are made in expense of technological embetterment. The noise an air purifier produces could also be considered, especially if it is to be used in a bedroom. The electricity consumption is another factor, which could add up to the long-term usage cost.

Which One I Bought and Why

I bought a Honeywell HAP 18200 from House of Air Cleaners. It has the thickest filter of all, one of the largest (if not THE largest) airflow intakes, and a relatively long lifespan of the filters (1 to 5 years for the HEPA filter, depending on usage).

Honeywell HAP 18200 Front

Honeywell HAP 18200 Side

I understand it doesn’t cut it when it comes to design, as it might seem a little bulky to some, but I am far from the idea that an air purifier’s main purpose is to improve the design of a room. Additionally, because of its very powerful motor, it scores lower at noise levels and power consumption, as compared to other similar range purifiers, but as I mentioned above, these are less important factors for me personally. The Honeywell air purifiers have a lot of endorsements from hospitals and independent physicians, and the brand is among the highest regarded in the field of air purification.

At the same time, it is competitive price-wise. I was considering purchasing it from Singapore, where it is sold for SG$599 or SG$609 (~MYR1,600+), depending on the dealer, but I decided to go to House of Air Cleaners, where its “official” price was MYR1,959. My decision was based mostly on the fact that the retail store is less than 15 minutes driving away from my home, and because I got a discounted rate of MYR1,850, as well as a carbon pre-filter as a free gift (worth MYR85 at the same store, but worth MYR120+ in Singapore). You could also purchase substitute filters from the same store – activated carbon pre-filter, and HEPA filter.

House of Air Cleaners’s retail showroom’s address is: 11, Jalan SS2/55, 47300 Petaling Jaya. The street is very heavily congested with parked vehicles on both sides, especially during business hours. Additionally, there is pasar malam (local night market) on Monday, so it is generally recommended that you visit the store during their weekend working hours – Saturday from 10 am to 7pm, and Sunday from 11am to 3pm.

Other Products I Considered

There were a few other air purifiers I considered, or I would have considered in other circumstances.

The first one in this list was AlenAir Paralda. However, the price point is a bit high (MYR 3,188 after discount, MYR3,588 standard price, at the time of writing this article), so value-for-money-wise I consider it worse than my Honeywell device. The price of the same product in Singapore is SG$1,280 (~MYR3,450).

The second one was BlueAir 203 SmokeStop (MYR1,559). Having in mind that neither me, nor my wife smoke, one of its main features was useless to us. It is cheaper than Honeywell, but it covers smaller area and its general inflow capacity is much lower. You could find the same product in Singapore with SmokeStop filter, as well as without that filter. The price is SG$625 (MYR1,680) and SG$588 (~MYR1,570) respectively. You might consider going with the 450E SmokeStop model (MYR2,459 in Malaysia), although I do believe Honeywell 18200 is better.

A smaller, but powerful air purifier, which came close second in my choice list, was Coway Aires (MYR2,100). The fact that Coway directly sell it in Malaysia (and not via a distributor or a third-party retailer) is an added advantage. I would have probably gone with it have I had smaller rooms to purify. It might be a good choice if you live in a suite apartment, for instance. Coway don’t have physical offices/stores in Singapore, though.

Final Words

Choosing an air purifier is a long-term investment that could have significant implications on your own and your family’s health. Do not take my word for granted as what suits one might not suit another, and do your own research. The good choices, specifically in Malaysia and Singapore, are limited, so it shouldn’t take you too long to sift through the available options.

Advertisements

28 comments

    1. Hi Stanley,

      I have heard of AmWay, but their air purifiers, while very high quality, are too expensive for the large majority of Malaysians, in my opinion. I even consider Alen Air’s air purifiers a bit too pricey for the average buyer.

      Thanks for your comment!
      Nyagoslav

  1. Thanks for sharing this detailed encounter in search of air purifier. I am actively searching one as the prolonged smog recently. I like your humour too. Hahhahaha. Keep the good reviews coming if you have any updates. Cheers~

  2. Thank you so much for this! In addition to the haze, we now have a cat in the house ( me & my eldest daughter have allergic reactions to them, but we still love cats, does not make sense I know ). So we are actively looking for a few units.

    Question:

    Our intention is to use these purifiers solely in the bedroom. I dont remember the buildup of our rooms at the moment, but its not very big. Would you recommend the Coway instead of the Honeywell that you bought?

    Thanks.

    1. Hi there, and thanks for your comment!

      Unfortunately, I am not sure about the answer to this question. I know that there are specialized air purifiers that help in preventing allergens. However, I haven’t done research on this segment of air purifiers. In any case, the best air purifiers are ones that have HEPA filter, and thus, you really have very limited number of options, as very few brands offer such air purifiers in Malaysia.

  3. Did any of the companies offer to prove that they actually captured the PM2.5 particle efficiently enough to get you into the safe levels as set by WHO/EPA PM2.5 levels?

    1. Hi Simon,

      Thank you for your comment. In order to understand the efficiency of the air purifiers I mention above, we might first need to understand what is a HEPA filter. A HEPA (high-efficiency particulate arrestance) filter was a filter first created to be used in the creation of the first nuclear weapons in the Manhattan Project – to prevent the radiation from leaking out. Later on, such filters have been used commercially in the United States (and throughout the world) in airplanes, hospitals, and nuclear plants. In order to qualify as a “HEPA”, a filter needs to be able to filter at least 99.97% of particles at the size of 0.3 micrometers. Here is a link to a document issued by the Department of Energet of the United States that specifies this condition (see page 6):

      http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2013/06/f1/doe-std-3020-2005.pdf

      I hope this helps!

  4. Thanks so much for your very helpful blog post. I have never encountered someone who spent so much time writing in detail about air purifiers in Malaysia and I really appreciate the time and effort you put into giving us such great recommendations 🙂

    I found your info about the Coway Aires air purifier very interesting and suitable for me but your link to HOAC tells me they do not stock this brand. Any idea where to get the Coway air purifier?

    Thanks so much and hope you are able to withstand the horrible haze!

      1. Awesome! Thank you so much for the info and thanks to you, I will be purchasing my first Coway air purifier today!

        Your reviews about Honeywell has also prompted me to buy that model for my parents since they do not mind the bulkier design. But unfortunately, that model is sold out in HOAC so have to wait a while. I guess the haze is making everyone buy air purifiers these days.

        Thanks again for all your help and keep healthy during this haze time. Enjoy Malaysia 🙂

  5. Hi, Thanks for the post. I also read about the sinusitis. Its the worst possible thing which could happen to a person. I am on Nasal Steroid spray avarmys for 6 months now and it has reduced significantly. I think I am just a bit more before full recovery.

    I was also thinking to get an air purifier for the same purpose. The shop coincidentally is very near my house lol.

    But may I just ask if this air purifier helped reduce your sinusitis in your room? I have sleeping issues since my sinusitis. And as you mentioned when I am in London or Europe I don’t have this stupid issue. And when I am outdoors where the air is not ‘stuffy’.

    1. Hi Vi Lex, thank you for your comments. Yes, it is indeed a horrible thing. I hope you will make full recovery soon. I’m a chronic sinusitis sufferer, and unfortunately, I haven’t cured myself completely. I very much believe this is due to the environmental factors in Malaysia, which we sadly can’t do anything about it.

      About the purifier, if you haven’t used a purifier in your house before, then you will notice how much dust the purifier will filter when you first clean it. After running it for some time, the dust in your house will significantly reduced (thus having cleaner air), provided that you also clean your house regularly.

      On normal occasion when there’s no burning of forest in our neighbouring country, you will notice very little difference between having an air purifier at home and not having one. However, when there is significant pollution going on, you will realise a huge difference.

      Having this air purifier at home has completely not cured my sinusitis as I’m already at the chronic stage. I still have relapses from time to time. However, I would say that it helps to improve my condition as I’m no longer in that horrible situation where I can’t breath or my mucous falls non-stop.

      Just to let you know, I don’t switch it on while sleeping because this particular one is quite noisy. I usually blast it for a few hours before going to sleep. For the past few months, I have been using the air purifier in either the living room or the study room where I usually spend most time in.

      As the shop is relatively near your house, you should really drop by to see what purifier they offer and then decide if you really need it or not. I hope this helps! 🙂

  6. Hello husband and wife.. have a “sweet” day!!!

    Really appreciate the time, experience and your effort to write this long great information just about AIR PURIFIER… Wow!!!

    Starting from factors before buying, choosing from brands also comparing the prices. You give the familiar questions together with your opinion. Thank you so much and keep helpful..

  7. Hi Jenny,

    Thank you for your sharing. Appreciate it ! Really help us a lot….

    Before this, i planned to buy GermGuardian AC4825, product of US. After read your research i decided to buy Coway due to logistic issue.

    Thank you 🙂

    have a nice day….

  8. A good write up. It gives me tremendous knowledge on air purifies. Years ago I bought one compact Honewell AP and now I need another big one. The pigeons on my windows left damders plus the air quality in Selangor is really bad. I planted spidet plants on my balco y garden and I am going to plant more to improve the aire hopefully they warf off and filter the air flow i to my house. Thanl you.

  9. Just sharing: I bought the honeywell air purifier, I tried a delonghi dehumidifier. Ends up all no use. I stuck to using the AC. I am still on Avarmys which is an oral steroid. It helps me cope daily. Without it will be seriously bad. I tried something which also improved my situation blackmore’s horseradish and garlic supplement. Also I opened the blinds in my office room and that help a tremendous lot. I have no idea why but perhaps the sun kills all the dust mites.

    I think the reason why we all have it is because of the humidity in malaysia and because we have been abroad too long which screws up our nasal receptors. When i was in europe, the UK and croatia last year i had no such issues. I am going to Japan in a bit.If the problem goes a way its definitely the issue with the humidity of our air.

    Anyways just sharing.

    1. Hi Vi Lex, my husband and I both think that the humidity in Malaysia definitely contributes to the sinusitis problem. I’m sometimes using Nasacort nose spray but not more than 3 days in a row unless prescribed by the doctor. I also sometimes use sinus rinse, 3 days in row and stop for a while before proceeding again. Sometimes if my nose itches very badly, I find taking anti-histamine pills a relief. I’ve spoken to my regular GP and she suggested using a humidifier. As air cond in generally dehumifies (dries) the air, having a humidifier should somewhat balance the humidity level. (Note: it’s humidifier, not dehumidifier). I personally haven’t tried this method. I also find taking a lot of Vit C helps but I only do that when I feel really unwell as I don’t really wish to get used to taking a lot of supplements which I think will stress my body immune system (personal thought). You may also want to try using sea salt nose spray (non-steroid) to see if it helps to soothe your nose condition. Unfortunately, I think there’s no absolute cure for our problem. What we can do is continue observing and finding ways to control our symptoms. Anyway, have a great trip in Japan!

  10. Hi Jenny. My son and I both are allergic to common dust. My wife have advise to put in an air purifier in the bedroom to ease and relieve our breathing during sleep. I just happened to stumble upon your very informative (too much information in fact :D) blog in my quest in searching for the right equipment. Is there any recommendation you can provide for our situation? Our bedroom is about 177sqft… I know this is a lazy question, but before I proceed further into my detail research, I just wanted to make sure I’m heading in the right direction in purchasing something that would be helpful to us… Thanks

    1. Hi WH, thank you for your comment. I would highly recommend Honeywell as a brand. However, in Malaysia there is only one shop that I know of that sells their air purifiers – House of Air Cleaners (linked in the article above). It seems like all three models are currently out of stock, but you could check with them on when they would restock. Alternatively, you could buy one from Singapore. Having in mind that your bedroom is 177 square feet, I think their smallest model available in the region – HA-170E, should suffice as it is able to cover an area of about 200-210 square feet.

      I hope this helps!

      1. The price sold in Singapore seems to be a lot cheaper than it is in Malaysia, even when after currency conversion. Anyways, I also wanted to know if the noise level of the air purifier while running, is it bearable, because I am planning to have it running through out the night in the bedroom. Thanks

      2. Hi WH, the model which I’m using is considerable noisy. The noise level depends on the mode (high, medium, low). High mode is definitely noisy, and low mode is some buzzing sound. Personally, I’m someone who can’t sleep with the slightest noise therefore for me the noise for even the low mode is unbearable. What I usually do is that I would switch the air purifier to high mode a few hours before I sleep, or over the weekends when I’m at home, I would switch it on for longer hours (6-8 hours straight). On the contrary for my husband, he is okay with the noise (even with the high mode) so the noise level is completely bearable for him. I think the noise level tolerance is very subjective and it will be good if you can personally test the machine out before buying. If you were to ask me, I definitely not recommend using it overnight as the noise can be quite annoying. If you are looking for low noise level, the Honeywell model which I recommended is perhaps not suitable for you.

  11. I just realized that if I were to buy from Singapore, the warranty does not apply anymore. Isn’t that right? Although it is cheaper getting one from there…

Share your thoughts here! :)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s