We live in some of the world’s most polluted cities, and a great deal of our daily routine involves commuting. You may think that keeping the car windows rolled up and the AC or heating switched on will protect you from pollution. It won’t. Every time you open the door, roll down the windows or allow outside air ventilation into the cabin, you let in polluted air that then remains trapped in the cabin. This includes PM2.5 and PM10 particles, smoke, bacteria and viruses, total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs) such as carbon monoxide and methane, chemical compounds such as formaldehyde, and even pet dander if you have a pet who often travels in the car.

Just like air purifiers for the home, there are now purifiers for cars too. These compact devices help keep the air in a car clean, whether it is a hatchback, sedan or SUV. They can be plugged into the 12V power socket (also known as the cigarette lighter socket), a standard feature in cars.

Some of these purifiers have replaceable filters, others have washable filters. In the case of purifiers that require filter replacement, the filter life cycle will range from 6-15 months, depending on a host of factors such as how much time you spend driving around with the windows rolled down (letting in dust and pollution) and whether pets travel in the car regularly.

Here are some air purifiers you can buy for your car.

The dirty air is run through an antibacterial filter and then through a HEPA filter.
The dirty air is run through an antibacterial filter and then through a HEPA filter.

Atlanta Healthcare Motopure Ultra

Rs5,950

Atlanta Healthcare’s MotoPure Ultra is rated at a fairly powerful 15m3/hr CADR. This deploys a four-stage cleaning process. The dirty air is run through an antibacterial filter and then through a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter (the sort we have in home air purifiers as well, to catch dust, smoke and pollen). It then passes through an activated carbon filter which captures the VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and chemical-based pollutants. Finally, there is an ionizer that neutralizes the really small suspended particles that may have escaped all the filtration layers, before clean air flows out into the cabin. The dash of gold makes it look cool too. The replacement filter costs Rs1,090.

The Honeywell Move in-car air purifier offers dual-layer filtration
The Honeywell Move in-car air purifier offers dual-layer filtration

Honeywell Move

Rs5,900

The Honeywell Move in-car air purifier offers dual-layer filtration, running the air through a compound HEPA layer and two layers of activated carbon filters—all these are integrated in a single-piece filter, for easier cleaning and replacement. It can remove toxic gases, bacteria, cigarette smoke and particulate matter. Vents on either side of the purifier spread the clean air across the cabin—this is rated at 12m3/hr clean air delivery rate (CADR). It has a fairly large footprint when compared with some of its rivals, but the large intake vent also means more dirty air can be processed at a time. The replacement filter costs Rs1,295.

The IG-GC2E now has a double filter, both washable, a PM10 filter, and double air-suction vents as well.
The IG-GC2E now has a double filter, both washable, a PM10 filter, and double air-suction vents as well.

Sharp IG-GC2E

Rs11,400

A successor to the original Sharp IG-DC2E-B (around Rs7,999; Amazon.in), the IG-GC2E is an improvement in every respect. The bottle-like design remains largely the same, and can be easily slotted in a cup-holder too. The IG-GC2E now has a double filter, both washable, a PM10 filter, and double air-suction vents as well. Since the filters are washable, you won’t need to buy replacement filters every year; these can be washed regularly without any reduction in performance. It can take power from the 12V power socket, or even from the USB port, an additional feature. This is rated at 22m3/hr CADR. Sharp’s Plasmacluster feature uses positive and negative ions to pick off particles from static air such as allergens, dust, viruses, mould and odours, and works in the same way as large home air purifiers. The champagne-gold colour looks distinctive.

The GoPure Slimline 230 is the only purifier that has a constantly updating numeric air-quality indicator.
The GoPure Slimline 230 is the only purifier that has a constantly updating numeric air-quality indicator.

Philips Gopure Slimline 230

Rs16,399

The GoPure Slimline 230 is the only purifier that has a constantly updating numeric air-quality indicator. It has a 10m3/hr CADR with a boost mode. The air first runs through a pre-filter which catches the larger particles. In the second stage, the air runs through the HESA (high efficiency selective absorption) filter which filters microorganisms, dust and smoke. In the final stage, the air passes through the HEPA filter, removing chemical pollutants, gases, organic compounds and more. The replacement filter (codenamed GSF80X80) costs Rs1,388.

The Airoshine A-808 has a six-stage filtration process.
The Airoshine A-808 has a six-stage filtration process.

Airoshine A-808

Rs9,225

The Airoshine A-808 has a six-stage filtration process. The dirty air is first run through an elementary filter, with an aluminium mesh to remove the larger particles. The next stages involve the HEPA layer, followed by the activated carbon. While most in-car purifiers stop there, the A-808 goes a few steps further. There is a cold catalyst filtration layer which has antibacterial properties to help eliminate viruses such as e-coli and bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae. Just like many home air purifiers, the A-808 has an ultraviolet sterilization layer which kills a variety of bacteria and finally releases negative ions to suppress dust in the ambient air. The composite filter costs Rs800.

*Prices may vary

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