Compact air purifiers are what you need for smaller rooms at home, such as a bedroom. While some manufacturers may claim a really high clean air delivery rate (CADR) to perhaps show that their affordable purifiers are more capable than the rivals, the limitations of physics do come into play—a small form factor means a smaller fan and smaller filters, which will otherwise struggle in a larger room. Not to fall for the inflated claims game, Whirlpool has the Purafresh W210 purifier which is ideal for bedrooms and smaller rooms at home. It is priced at Rs8,490 (Amazon.in) and competes directly with the Honeywell Air Touch A5 (Rs9,500; Amazon.in).

The Whirlpool Purafresh W210 has a fairly standard design in terms of the clean front panel and the air intake vents on the side. However, it is impossible to ignore the fact that the circular air quality display on the front and the control keys around it quite resemble the Philips AC4012 (around Rs16,000; Amazon.in). These are well-labelled, though the info that you see on the display (such as the comfort mode) isn’t always easily readable unless you are looking at it from straight on. The Purafresh W210 is dressed in a classy champagne gold colour for the front panel, while the sides and the rear have a white colour finish. In terms of the design, the Honeywell AirTouch A5 has a rather unique look. It has a topple resistant design, for starters—though not to say that the Purafresh W210 can be made to topple over easily either. The control panel is on the top, which some users might find a tad more comfortable. But, the Air Touch A5 takes in air from the lower front side, which means it is quite prone to sucking in dust that may otherwise be lying on the floor nearby. Both design languages have their own advantages, and there really isn’t much that we can criticize with either.

Both Purafresh W210 and the Air Touch A5 have three filters—a pre-filter, a HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter. There is a slight variation in the CADR ratings too, with the W210 rated at 210 cubic metres per hour, while the Air Touch A5 is slightly more powerful at 250 m3/h. In terms of the ability to clean a typical bedroom sized room, the Purafresh W210 took about 25 minutes to bring the air quality down from a fairly unhealthy 90μg/m3 to about 21μg/m3, and kept it stable at 18-21μg/m3. In turn, the Honeywell Air Touch A5 manages to improve the air quality level a tad bit more, by keeping the same room stable at around 15μg/m3. This is negligible difference, and both are performing the way they should.

What it then boils down to are the rather fine differences. At medium and high fan speeds (sometimes, purifiers automatically kick up the speeds when they detect changes in air quality), the Air Touch A5 is a tad less noisy between the two. However, the air quality sensors that Whirlpool have used in the Purafresh W210 are genuinely very sensitive, and immediately detect even the slightest changes—walk into the room after spraying even the slightest amount of deodorant, from another room, and the fans will kick up a notch and the air quality indicator on the front display will revert from the perfect blue to an acceptable green or an unhealthy red colour. In the night mode however, while both purifiers are perfectly silent, the Air Touch A5’s lights turn off completely, while the Purafresh W210 still retains some bit of lighting on the front display which can annoy you if you like sleeping in pitch darkness.

At a time when air purifiers are becoming an essential gadget in our homes, you will need to start looking at devices that are optimised for specific room sizes. Putting a purifier one size too small in a larger room will be a futile exercise, while using too large a purifier in a smaller room will mean it’ll remain underutilized. The Whirlpool Purafresh W210 and indeed the Honeywell Air Touch A5 are ideal for smaller rooms. Performance is at par in both cases, and each has their own set of advantages too. We are genuinely pleased with the quality of filters that Whirlpool have deployed in the Purafresh W210—hold them up before installing them for the first time, and the thickness and the overall feel of the HEPA filter is reassuring. It is too close to call between the two, unless one of the finer differences we illustrated above come into play for your use-case.

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