How is the air quality in your home? Recently I was concerned that the air quality in my house wasn’t good. I decided to build my own air quality sensor. Then I decided to add outdoor air quality monitoring to Home Assistant as I improved upon my air quality sensor design. We’ve recently had some historically poor air quality in our area. My sensors also showed poor air quality in our home at that time. So, I decided it was time to invest in an air purifier. And since I like all things smart, I went with the Xiaomi Mi 3C Smart Air Purifier. Here’s my review.
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Criteria for air purifier
I’m not an expert in air purifiers, so I wanted to get my feet wet before going all out purchasing an expensive one. Here are my criteria:
- Able to improve the air in a single room (300-400 Square feet would be great)
- Relatively inexpensive (less than $100 preferably)
- Integrates without much headache with my smart home hub, Home Assistant (I would prefer a local integration to a cloud integration)
- Has an integrated air quality sensor
- It uses easily replaceable HEPA filters
There might be more things I should be looking for, but these are the primary features I’m interested in.
Other models I considered
Of the criteria above, the primary limiting factor is the integration with Home Assistant. Here are three additional models I investigated:
These all had their shortcomings. In the case of the Levoit, it only integrates with Home Assistant via cloud control. Not a deal breaker for me, but not ideal. It also doesn’t have an air quality sensor. Although I have air quality sensors I can use, it would be nice to put this in a location without a sensor so I can know how well it is working.
The meross also lacks an air quality sensor. Plus, integration with Home Assistant takes a little more work as you need to use a Home Assistant Community Store integration as there is no official integration. All you can do is turn it on or off; you can’t control the fan speed. The good news is that it does have local integration. It also works with Apple HomeKit, which means you may be able to use homebridge or similar to integrate it with more control in Home Assistant.
Finally, the Dyson looks great, but it is too expensive. Although the integration with Home Assistant is doable and local it takes a few steps and is not officially supported.
Additional ones I know about but didn’t consider:
- Ikea Starkvind air purifier — This is a Zigbee air purifier. If you have a Zigbee radio in your Home Assistant ecosystem this offers local control.
- Other Levoit Models — You can’t get ones that work with larger rooms and have air quality sensors, but you’ll pay more and still be limited to cloud integration.
Why I chose the Xiaomi Mi 3C
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The Xiaomi Mi 3C seemed to tick all the marks:
- It has an officially supported Home Assistant integration that uses local control
- It is rated to work in rooms up to 409 square feet
- It has an integrated air quality sensor with a visible readout
- Uses easily replaceable HEPA filters
Note the price of this unit fluctuates quite a bit. I put a price tracker on it and ended up buying it for under $100. I suggest you wait for a sale.
There are many Xiaomi Air purifiers that will work. They offer some varying features and different coverage areas and prices. Here are some others worth considering:
Xiaomi Mi 3C setup and adding to Home Assistant
Xiaomi setup was a piece of cake. You have to download the app and set up your credentials. Then the app should automatically discover your Mi 3C and then you can control it via the app.
Home Assistant setup is just as simple. Add the Xiaomi Integration and then supply the credentials you used when setting up your account. The integration needs these to get a token for initial setup, but after that, control from Home Assistant is local. You’ll then have Home Assistant entities that allow you to turn on and off your Mi 3C and monitor its filter life, motor speed, PM2.5 reading, and more.
Xiaomi Mi 3C use and effectiveness
This is the best part. It works! I had some bad air quality going on in the house, and I turned this on in my office the air quality in my office was significantly better than in the rest of my house, as measured by the Mi 3C and my homebuilt air quality sensor.
That’s the bottom line. However, there are a few other things I’ll note about the machine:
- It has a quiet mode, and it is almost silent in this mode. But other fan speeds are noticeable.
- The display can be very bright in a dark room. Luckily, you can control the display brightness, and even turn it off. And you can do that all from Home Assistant too.
- Although you can automate when it turns on via Home Assistant you don’t have to. It has an auto mode that will turn it on when the air quality gets bad.
- The Home Assistant integration has been rock solid.
- It has a couple of control buttons on the top that can adjust the LED brightness and change the mode (auto, quiet, etc.) of the air purifier.
I’m happy with this purchase, and I may buy more air purifiers or at least one for our bedrooms. After suffering through almost two weeks straight of bad air quality this year, I started to really feel the effects, and I wish I had already bought one of those. I’ll be prepared next time.
Do you have an air purifier? How well does it work? Does it integrate with Home Assistant? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter.