When the Mila Air Purifier first arrived with us for testing, there were three things we weren’t expecting. First, it’s a tad more compact than we thought it would be (we aren't complaining). Second, it’s very easy to set up. And third, it truly is stylish (which genius gave it a polka dot design?).
You see, after spending so long reviewing the best air purifiers, we’ve come to associate most of them with being unattractive machines that love nothing better than kicking into high gear and drowning out the sound of your favorite TV show. But not the Mila.
This one is smart, manages all the air cleaning chores automatically (if you let it), and knows when to keep the noise down. But that isn’t to say it’s perfect, because it isn’t - we’ll get to that shortly in our hands-on Mila Air Purifier review.
We’ve been testing the unit for over eight weeks now and have a good idea of what really gets its Automatic Mode firing (ie, the indoor air pollutants it loves to tackle the most), and what you can expect if you made space for one in your home.
Mila Air Purifier review: Spec, price, release date
After launching on Kickstarter in November 2019, and raising over $1.5 million in pledges, the Mila is available to purchase from the brand’s website and from Amazon. It first went on sale last July, and the brand has been so inundated with orders, there’s now a short waiting list.
The price of the Mila Air Purifier starts from $349 for the unit itself (currently $358 at Amazon), with replaceable filters starting from $59 for the Basic Breather Filter. Subscribe to the Auto Fill service (more on this and the complete range of Mila filters shortly) and you'll get your first filter for free.
If that sounds too pricey already and you have a much smaller budget, read our Honeywell HPA300 Air Purifier review for a cheaper unit. However, keep firmly in mind that the Honeywell isn't anywhere as powerful or as feature-rich as the Mila.
Here’s the Mila's spec:
- Type of purifier: True HEPA
- Dimensions: 11.8(W) x 15.5(H) inches
- Weight: 15lbs (6.8kg)
- Filters: CADR: 245 – 447 m3/hr; Odor & VOC; Particulate filter 45 ft2 of true HEPA (H12-H14)
- Sensors: Particulate (PM1, PM2.5, PM10), VOC, Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Humidity, Temperature, Room Presence
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Over-The-Air Updates, app (iOS, Android)
- Controls: Integrated touch display and app
Mila Air Purifier review: Set up
The thing about some smart purifiers is that they get ahead of themselves and overly complicate the setup process. You don’t get any of that with the Mila, and for the most part this machine is simple to activate, pair with your phone, and kick into Manual Mode (you’re in control) or Automatic Mode (Mila’s in the driver’s seat).
After unboxing the purifier and the two filters we were sent for testing (the Basic Breather Filter, $59, and the Overreactor Filter, $99), our first jobs were to download the app (iOS for us), insert a filter into the Mila itself, close the unit up again, and plug it into a mains power source. So far, so good.
The device connected quickly to our home’s Wi-Fi, and via the app we were soon adding in all sorts of information about the size of our home, where it’s located, if it’s an urban or suburban setting, and which room the Mila is sat in. Basically, the more information you feed it, the better it adapts to your environment.
The Mila promptly kicked into calibration mode, and it was fun to see the slick digital display firing up during this stage. What wasn’t fun was the noise. Yes, the Mila got LOUD during calibration. Ours ran for quite some time in that mode too, to the point where we almost switched it off and restarted, as we assumed there might have been an issue. But finally Mila chilled out, quit calibrating, and we were able to dig into the app and play around with the settings.
For all the data nerds out there, the Mila app is a treasure trove. This is where you’ll be able to see what the purifier is up to, how many nasties are floating around in the air inside your room of choice, and how the air quality index (AQI) in your room compares to that outside (it gets this from Purple Air sensors in your neighborhood).
Once the Mila and companion app are talking, click on the Device Control button and you’ll see the name of the room the unit is placed. You’ll see a ring diagram in the middle, plus the Indoor and Outdoor AQI readings. At the bottom sits the fan speed (you can adjust this and the target AQI in Manual Mode), plus a button to switch between Auto and Manual Mode.
Mila Air Purifier review: Design
As mentioned a few times already, the Mila is very stylish. We can imagine James Dyson looking at it enviably, and wondering why his engineers didn’t think to festoon all of Dyson’s purifiers with a snazzy polka dot design. (It isn’t an actual polka dot print, by the way, just tiny holes punched into the unit’s outer casing).
While it isn't small, the Mila isn't so big as to take up swathes of precious space in smaller rooms, such as bedrooms and nurseries. (If you need a very compact machine, read our Kenmore 83396 Air Purifier review.) It perches on four dinky wooden feet, and has a glossy black top with a touch control panel in the middle. This doesn’t offer anywhere near as much control as the app, but with it you can switch the unit from Auto to Manual Mode and vice versa. It will also give you a little glimpse of those telltale AQIs.
Of course, ‘design’ also means what type of purifier this is, and the Mila is one that serves up 45 ft2 of certified HEPA, which the team describes as “the gold standard in ultrafine particle filtration.” As a filtration system, certified HEPA removes 99.97% of airborne particles measuring 0.3 micrometers in diameter. What could those be? This lot:
- Dust mites
- Pet dander
- Mold spores
- General house dust
- PM2.5 and PM10
The Mila also has a patent-pending Dual-Flow filter, thanks to which it can “hold 1lb of granular active carbon in a three-inch bed” for enhanced household odor and VOC filtration.
Because of the coronavirus, viruses have never weighed so heavily on our collective mind, and for those who have taken a particular interest in ways to reduce bugs at home, the Mila has been through third-party lab testing to prove it can filter up to 95.7% of airborne viruses in 30 minutes. No purifier can stop you from getting sick, but this type of technology can help dilute the concentration of airborne nasties floating around you.
In terms of cleaning power, the Mila is built to deliver 447 CADR m3/hr, which is impressive. So confident are the team about this power, they’ve even created a comparison table on the site so you can pit the Mila against two other popular purifiers, the Molekule Air and the Dyson Pure Cool Link, in a digital head-to-head. It’s a rather bold move, if you ask us.
Mila Air Purifier review: Features
During the eight weeks we’ve had the Mila for review, there have been a couple of app and firmware updates that make using it far easier in a range of scenarios. Aside from the Manual and Auto Modes, there are a number of Automagic Settings that you can play around with:
- Quiet Mode - reduces fan speeds to whisper-quiet levels whenever the Mila detects your presence.
- Housekeeping service - opt in for this and Mila can deep clean the room it’s in when no one is around.
- Bubble Boy Mode - if you can handle the noise, this is the mode where the Mila will really stretch its legs and do whatever it takes to make your room as particle-free as possible.
If you're considering the Mila for your bedroom or a nursery, there are three sleep-friendly options on offer. The first is Sleep Mode, where all unit lights are off, fan speeds are reduced, and fan fluctuations are controlled. The second is Turndown Service. You have to set a sleep schedule in the Mila app to use this, but once that’s done, the Turndown Service automatically kicks in an hour before your bedtime to deep clean the air in your bedroom. This could be useful for allergy sufferers.
The third, and our favorite, is Whitenoise Mode. This adjusts the rhythm of the oscillating fans to mimic more soothing sounds. While we aren't saying it’s good enough to replace the best sound machines, it’s a neat feature if you find white noise relaxing, especially before sleep, or if it aids productivity when you’re working.
Mila Air Purifier review: Filters
As mentioned earlier in our Mila review, the unit is designed to work with seven different types of custom filter that should be replaced every six months. Whereas some purifiers have washable filters, which admittedly keeps the cost down long-term, the Mila doesn’t. Instead, it opts for these high-tech filters designed to address a range of health and wellness needs.
The filter you pick depends on your health, your lifestyle, your home and your budget. For review purposes, we were sent The Basic Breather and The Overreactor. Here’s the full line-up, with prices:
- The Basic Breather - $59, ideal if you have no specific needs
- The Big Sneeze - $69, best-suited to folks with allergies
- The Rookie Parent - $69, particle and virus protection for young families
- The Critter Cuddler - $79, removes pet dander and odors
- The Home Wrecker - $79, targets the harmful chemicals that come with home renovations
- The Mama-To-Be - $79, with “hospital-grade protection” from airborne nasties
- The Overreactor - $99, the most protective filter of them all
Mila Air Purifier review: Performance
Out of all the purifiers we’ve tested, the Mila was the most fun. It’s really tricky to tell if these types of devices are doing anything, but the Mila app serves up real-time data so that you can see what’s happening and why.
When we first activated our Mila and put it into Auto Mode, our AQI reading was incredibly high (that’s bad) and it took a lot of fire power for the purifier to bring it down to a healthier number.
Our living room is located next to our kitchen, and the Indoor AQI shot up every time we cooked a hot meal, especially if it involved frying or roasting foods. Other things the device picked up on were incense sticks and candles burning anywhere on the downstairs floor, plus liberal squirts of cleaning products, including furniture polish and carpet cleaner.
The Mila is packed with eight air quality sensors (they capture real-time data) designed to measure micro-particles as small as 0.01 microns wide, through to VOCs and humidity. Those sensors work in tandem with an algorithm to detect what is going on in the air around you, and how to clean it quickly. So there’s a lot going on inside this pretty purifier.
In addition, it tracks carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, and will beep (alert you) if it detects the latter. The humidity sensor is handy if you think your home is prone to mold growth, and could save you having to splash out on one of the best dehumidifiers if you have a build-up of damp and moisture in your room.
Should you buy the Mila Air Purifier?
Size is a personal thing, and while we think the Mila is a good size (our room isn't huge, but it isn't small either), other reviewers say the footprint is too big. So just bust out your measuring tape before buying to ensure it fits the spot you have in mind.
And yes, the replaceable filters get quite pricey, especially for the $99 Overreactor, and could potentially add up to $198 a year to your costs (a filter needs replacing every six months). We also think – in an age where you can boss home tech around just by talking to it – the Mila really could benefit from voice control. But that would inevitably push the price up further.
If you want a basic purifier, this is probably OTT for you. But if you want to know that a purifier really is cleaning the air in your home – and can prove it with stacks of data – and you want a range of modes and functions, plus filters specifically suited to your health needs, there's nothing quite like the Mila right now. It's a superb choice... if you manage to snag one before they sell out again.