Mila hands-on: Much smarter (and pricier) than your average air purifier

by Joseph K. Clark

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Whether you have allergies or just want to breathe the freshest air possible, an air purifier could be a wise purchase. Air purifiers can remove fine particles like dust, pollen, pet dander, and smoke. They’ve also been proven to capture airborne pathogens such as the virus that causes COVID-19 (at least according to this NASA study that states HEPA filters efficiently capture ultra-fine particles). That’s not to say you shouldn’t wash your hands or wear a mask when around strangers, but at the very least, an air purifier can provide some peace of mind.

Much smarter

Smart air purifiers have the same cleaning properties as regular air purifiers do, except with some extra tech thrown in. There’s often a companion app that lets you control it remotely or tell you when it’s time to replace your filter. Some allow you to schedule cleaning cycles at certain times of the day or simply give you more data about how clean or dirty your air is. A few are also compatible with intelligent assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant.

Smart purifiers have been on the market for a few years now — examples include the Levoit Smart WiFi Air Purifier, Coway Airmega 400, Winix AM90, Dyson Pure Cool Air Purifier, and the TruSens Smart Air Purifier. Some of these are more expensive than their not-smart counterparts — the original Molekule is priced at a whopping $800 — but not all are. The Levoit and Winix, for example, each retail for under $200. Until now, I’ve not been convinced intelligent air purifiers are all that much better than the non-smart variety.

The Mila, which debuted last year, could be different. It isn’t compatible with any intelligent assistant, and it’s slightly pricey at $360, but it also promises to be much more customizable than most air purifiers on the market. After a few weeks of testing it, I have to say I’m impressed with just how capable it is, so much so that I’m considering buying one of my own.

When purchasing the device, you can choose one of seven pre-configured filters to use with it. The default is the Basic Breather, which is designed for larger rooms like your main living area. It includes an H12 HEPA filter optimized for maximum particle filtration. Another filter is called the Big Sneeze, an H13 HEPA filter designed for allergens like pollen and dust. However, neither has an activated carbon filter, so they won’t remove so-called volatile organic compounds (VOC for short) like those found in odious gases.

If you want a carbon filter, consider the Rookie Parent, the Critter Cuddler, the Home Wrecker, the Mama-to-Be, or the Overreactor (yes, these are real names), each of which is designed for specific concerns. The Overreactor, for example, features an upgraded H14 HEPA filter for ultrafine particle filtration and a more robust carbon filter targeted for formaldehyde. The tradeoff with more vital filters like these is that they’re less efficient at clearing out larger spaces and are better suited for smaller areas like bedrooms or studio apartments.

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