Smartmi Air Purifier P1 review: A smart way to solve those seasonal sniffles
Over the last year, air purifiers have changed from a luxury product for folks with allergies to a mainstream necessity. Many of us picked up HEPA filtration systems in the hopes it might make a dent in our at-home safety during the pandemic. Whether you’re still in that mood or not, Xiaomi’s Smartmi Air Purifier P1 is a surprisingly decent buy, with an attractive design, cheaper-than-average filters, and the sort of voice assistant integrations you expect in 2021. However, those integrations are a little limited, and the $180 price is on the steep side.
Design, hardware, what’s in the box
The Smartmi Air Purifier P1 is a mostly metal cylinder (I scraped it to be sure — it’s metal), taller than it is wide, but less than a foot across. The air filter’s intakes are a series of perforations all around the base, just under halfway up the sides. It vents through a grille out the top, with a series of small indicators and controls in the center.
A numerical display indicates the detected level of particulate matter (PM). There are also indicators for the Wi-Fi connection, a color-based “pollution” level, custom or operation modes, and three touch controls: one for power, one for fan speed, and one for a sleep timer.
The big round filter lives on the bottom of the unit, where it twists up into place. Though it comes with a “pollen” filter, replacements are also available in a “pet” filter type. Unlike some other air purifiers, the multiple filter stages are enclosed in a single part. That might make for easier replacement, but it could potentially reduce their lifespan, though they are rated to last 6-12 months.
That longevity estimate seems to bear out and the app estimates around 300 days per filter based on my own use. Your mileage may vary.
However, The P1’s replacement filters are also a bit cheaper than some other popular high-end air purifier brand filters, costing around $40. There are air purifiers with even cheaper filters, but this is on the lower-end of the average for what I’ve seen. You don’t get a replacement filter in the box, just a power adapter and the usual documentation.
Software, integrations, and performance
The air purifier itself is easy to use, with just three capacitive buttons, but you can also connect it to Wi-Fi and the Smartmi Link app for extra controls, filter status tracking, air-quality data tracking, or to enable/disable sound feedback or the on-device screen. In short: you should use the app.
I know, usually, the apps for random smart home gadgets are kind of awful, and the design here isn’t the best. But the Smartmi Link app is fully functional, with a reasonably intuitive layout and no show-stopping bugs that I’ve run into. It’s not great, but it works.
Controls in the Home app are limited.
You can also link the Air Purifier P1 to your Google Home/Google Assistant/Google account via the Home app, and you’ll be able to control the device in more places, like from smart speakers, displays, the on-device assistant, or Android’s smart home control menu. It also works with Alexa and HomeKit if you’re on a different team — sorry, Android is our schtick, I didn’t test those integrations.
I have intermittently run into an issue where the air purifier would register as “not responding” in Google Home, even though the app could control it wirelessly just fine. The “relink” option available in Home didn’t work, and manually removing the Smartmi integration and re-adding it indicated there were no devices available in my account at all. Then, later, it randomly reappeared all on its own. It might perform differently for you, but the Assistant integrations do seem to be a little buggy.
But there are more on your smart display.
Device controls might seem limited at first in Google’s Home app, with just on and off listed, but you can also set the current operating mode with your voice, and those extra controls are also available visually on smart displays. I have some air purifiers that also offer granular fan speed, sleep timer controls, and some even provide air filter wear details all via the Assistant, but those sorts of commands didn’t work for me with the Air Purifier P1 in my testing, and I couldn’t find a full published list of supported commands. All I could reliably trigger with my voice were the same commands listed on my Assistant-connected smart display (above). While it does have more than the bare minimum of smart home integrations, it would be cool if it supported more Assistant commands, as some of its competitors do.
I don’t have a bunch of extra gear to test how accurate the Smartmi Air Purifier P1’s measurements are or how well it filtered the air in a room. But, I do have allergies, and I can report that after getting a good string of sneezes and sniffles going in my office, running the air purifier did make a noticeable difference — at least, until my own movements kicked up more of the pollen and allergens that had settled onto surfaces.
Should you buy it?
Smartmi Air Purifier P1
I wasn’t precisely excited to review an air purifier, but when the offer for the Smartmi Air Purifier P1 came in a couple months ago at the height of my grass allergies, it was pretty hard to say no. As much as I’d hoped otherwise, the air filter didn’t magically make all my problems go away — I’d probably need several of these working in tandem across my whole house, plus some extra weatherproofing (and maybe an airlock leading directly to my car). But sitting next to me in my office, it did make a notable difference for a seasonally sniffly Ryne during the day.
The cost of replacement filters is also cheaper than I expected and lower than some other premium air filtration options. However, with just a single filter handling all filtration stages, that could work out to more frequent replacement, and the Assistant integrations were both a little buggy and more limited compared to things like Coway Airmega products. I also have an Airmega 400S, and while it’s two to three times as expensive, it has a multiple-stage system with parts you can clean yourself to stretch out the life of the primary filter, and it offers more in the way of Assistant-based controls (though its Wi-Fi connection is frustratingly flaky). We haven’t had a chance to examine it for ourselves, but the NASH Smart WiFi Air Purifier hits a lower $100 price with similar specs, cheaper filters, and Assistant integration, though it’s objectively ugly, and this isn’t.
Ultimately, I like the Smartmi Air Purifier P1. It might be a little on the expensive side, but the filters are also a little cheaper than average, which could balance that out over long-term use. Still, I can’t help but be a little critical of how limited the Assistant controls are. If those integrations are superfluous for you, there are plenty of no-name, Amazon special, dumb air purifiers for a fraction of the price. And if you want a high-end model in a comparable square footage, the Coway AP-1512HH Mighty is the gold standard these days with a much more advanced filtration system, and often available for a similar price.
I still recommend the Air Purifier P1, but you’ll need to weigh what you’re after in an air purifier before buying it.
Buy it if…
- You want an Assistant-integrated smart air purifier.
- It needs to fit into your home’s contemporary stylings — lots of air purifiers look like they stepped out of 1995-2005.
Don’t buy it if…
- A (cheaper) dumb air purifier will work for you.
- You need one to cover a larger area — this is good for a single medium-sized room.