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Is This the Smartest Air Purifier on the Market?

The Mila air purifier is a breath of fresh air.

air purifier
Mila

Between fears over coronavirus and being cooped up at home practically 24/7, air purifiers have been a hot ticket item in 2020, continuing into the new year. Coway and Blueair are stalwarts in the category, but Mila, which started as a Kickstarter project, is giving the legacy brands a run for their money.

Mila made its Kickstarter debut in late 2019, and there was no way the brand would know how badly the population would be itching for a unit in the near future. Since its first shipments of the air purifier in June 2020, the brand sold out of two production runs. And with an inaugural product that no one could test out yet, shoppers had to reply on the brand's lofty claims about its product's effectiveness. From its promise of offering unparalleled information on your indoor air quality to the basic premise of it working or not, Mila had a lot to uphold. I took Mila for a test run, and this is how it went.

Price (Amazon): $358, includes one filter | Price (Mila): $299, $59+/filter

SHOP NOW (AMAZON) | SHOP NOW (MILA)

What's Good

Air purifiers come with a set of terms and phrases that can make shopping for a unit daunting. Mila understands this struggle, and while it doesn't simplify the science of air purifiers, it does make it easy for people to understand just what the heck is going on with their air quality. Most judge an air purifier by its clean-air delivery rating, or CADR, which is the measurement of an air purifier's effectiveness by noting the volume of clean air produced per minute based on the space of a room. The higher the number, the better, and Mila clocks in at 447 for rooms up to 1,000 square feet, an impressive feat.

air purifier in room next to chair and plant
Mila

Mila's greatest asset is that you can set your device up (fairly quickly, I might add) and have it working in the background, making sure your indoor air quality is always at its best. After a quick calibration and app synchronization, Mila is ready to go in either manual or auto mode. In manual, you can set your target air quality index (the lower the better), or AQI, and it'll tell you how long it will take to get there. Auto mode gives Mila full control and you can essentially leave it running without having to worry about making adjustments. Mila tracks more than AQI. It also has sensors to keep track of the bad stuff in the air, such as particulates and volatile organic compounds (commonly referred to as VOCs) as well as temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.

Most air purifiers feature one type of filter for its unit, but Mila offers seven, each with a playful name that clues you into what the filter is tailored for. What's important to note is that they're all True HEPA filters — which remove 99.97 percent of particulates measuring .3 micron in diameter — and feature various carbon filters that are either multi-use or adept at targeting at specific concerns. I'm currently using the Basic Breather filter, and even as the base-level filter, it's been working well.

top view of air purifier's digital display
Mila

The air purifier contains a host of features that make this a thoughtful device for everyday living. A sleep mode allows users to set their daily bedtime so Mila knows when to quiet down, and there's even a white noise mode to assist with sleeping. Besides keeping track of air quality, Mila keeps track of you, but not in a creepy way. A motion sensor can keep track of when you enter a room so it quiets down, and if you get close enough, it'll light up the display panel.

What's Not As Good

As smart as Mila is, there's a question as to why the unit operates with a manual on/off switch. Because of this, you can't turn power on or turn off the device remotely. Also, the air purifier does not work with voice assistants, which is odd for a smart device.

Mila is adept at purifying various size rooms, but because it does lean on the larger side — 11.8 inches by 15.5 inches — it does take up a considerable amount of space in a small room. In those instances a smaller model would better serve a small room. Subjectively, Mila looks good and not like a sterile piece of medical equipment, nor does it look or feel like cheap plastic. If you suffer from trypophobia, or the discomfort of seeing tightly packed clusters of holes, bumps or patterns, Mila may be a trigger. As someone who does have trypohobia, however, Mila does not induce the same visceral reaction I've had when looking at other triggers.

The cheapest filter that Mila offers is $59, and a subscription service sends you a fresh filter every six months. Having a washable filter would have been nice to help cut down on costs, but then there's the whole issue of having to wash out a grimy filter every so often.

Alternatives

Any air purifier with smart capabilities is a rival to the Mila air purifier. The Coway Airmega AP-1512HHS ($299) and the Dyson TP04 ($550) both have similar app functionalities, and offer a wealth of information, but neither is as in-depth or offers as many features as Mila and its app. Mila has an exceptionally high CADR rating that rivals those of large-room units that cost hundreds of dollars more, notably the Coway Airmega 400 ($649) and Coway Airmega 400S ($749), the model that works with the Coway app. The plethora of filters that Mila offers means that the one unit can be tailored to address different air-quality worries without having to buy multiple units that specialize in one area of interest.

Verdict

Whether you care about getting into the minutiae of your indoor air quality or not, Mila is an excellent air purifier. It's priced competitively when compared to pricier models from brands such as Coway and Dyson, and the plethora of info you get from the unit itself and the app ensures you that the thing actually works. Mila also cares about longevity. Constant firmware and app updates will mean your device continues to work day after day. Signing up for a filter subscription will be a godsend because Mila is truly a set-it-and-forget-it type of air purifier; you might forget it's there, but the brand will make sure you always get a fresh filter every six months. Basically, Mila stays smart so you don't have to.

Price (Amazon): $358, includes one filter | Price (Mila): $299, $59+/filter

SHOP NOW (AMAZON) | SHOP NOW (MILA)

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