The Best Air Purifier for Smoke
Air purifiers are becoming increasingly popular as people start to worry more and more about their respiratory health. They are excellent at removing allergens like pet hair and dander, making them essential for people with allergies or asthma.
However, one of the more common uses for air purifiers is to remove traces of smoke. If you can’t imagine life without tobacco or other smokable products, but don’t like smoking outside your home, you’ll appreciate what an air purifier can do for you.
In addition to removing carcinogens, tar, and other by-products of smoking, many modern air purifiers will also remove the unpleasant odors of wildfire smoke.
The main challenge when it comes to buying an air purifier is knowing which ones are worth your money. There are hundreds of models from dozens of manufacturers, all making extraordinary claims about their products’ effectiveness.
We took a look at some of the more popular models on the market to find air purifiers that match up to their claims. We evaluated the effectiveness of these different models on various smoke types to find the best one to match your particular needs, including portable air purifier options for use in multiple rooms.
Read on to find the best air purifier for smoke that will be best for your home or office.
Best Air Purifier for Cigarette Smoke Removal
The Honeywell HPA300 is an excellent option for mid-sized rooms since it has a coverage area of around 465 square feet. It has a CADR of 300, meaning it can cycle the air in 465 sq. ft. area five times per hour.
The Honeywell has both an activated carbon pre-filter and a second-state HEPA filter to deliver excellent results. The carbon filter will remove most odors and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), while the HEPA filter removes fine particles like tar and carcinogens associated with smoking making this one of the best air purifiers for smoke.
An important factor to consider when choosing an air purifier is its ease of use. The HPA300 has an intuitive system with a filter-change indicator that will let you know when it’s time to replace a particular filter.
According to the manufacturer, you can expect to replace the carbon filter every three months and the HEPA filter once a year. However, it’s important to note that this timeframe is a guideline only, and you may need to replace your filters sooner or later, depending on the amount of smoke in the air.
- High CADR rate
- Easily replaceable filters with filter-change indicator
- Sleek, modern design
- Some people find the touch controls fiddly and prone to failure
Best Portable Air Purifier for Cigarette Smoke
The Fellowes AeraMax 90 weighs just nine pounds, making it ideal for moving around from room to room. It has a small base and minimal control panel that helps it blend into the background where it efficiently does its job of purifying the air.
The AeraMax 90 uses a four-part air cleaning system to remove smoke particles, odors, and any other airborne pollutants and pathogens. The system includes:
- Activated carbon filter: The carbon filter acts as a pre-filter, catching larger particles and neutralizing most unpleasant odors.
- True HEPA filter: The main workhorse of the air purifier, the true HEPA filter, stops any particles under 0.3 µm from passing through. It’s enough to stop most allergens, viruses, bacteria, mold spores, mites, and smoke particles.
- Antimicrobial treatment: As an extra layer of defense, the HEPA filter has an antimicrobial coating that prevents the growth of mold or bacteria in the filter, extending its lifespan and preventing strange odors from coming from the purifier.
- PlasmaTrue ionizer: The final filter is an ionizer that removes all the tiny particles that slip past the HEPA filter. These particles are light enough to get ionized and stuck to the plates of the filter. If you’re concerned about the health effects of ionizing filters, you can turn this option off. However, the filter does comply with the standards of both the CARB and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America for ozone emissions.
Since it’s a portable air purifier, the AeraMax 90 has relatively small room coverage of 100 sq. ft. and a low CDR of 75 for smoke. It can exchange air three times an hour if used within its capacity making it one of the best air purifiers for smoke.
One appealing feature of the AeraMax is the Smart Sensor function, which detects pollutants and automatically turns itself on. It will also adjust fan speed depending on the concentration of contaminants, which will save energy and prolong your filter’s lifespan.
- Affordable and portable
- Excellent True HEPA filter with an extended lifespan
- Three-year warranty
- Smart Sensor function will save you energy and prolong the filter’s lifespan
- The ionizer is noisy, which may be distracting to some people
Best Air Purifier for Weed Smoke
The main issue with marijuana smoke, or as it’s sometimes known, “weed smoke”, unlike tobacco smoke, is it has very few particles but an intense and pungent smell. This makes it essential to choose a purifier that has a robust odor removal filter if you want to purify weed smoke.
The Honeywell Eviracaire purifier can cycle air in a small room up to 25 times an hour and will cycle a large volume of air up to five times per hour. Its rated capacity is for 390 sq. ft. and has a complete 360° airflow design to move air through the unit effectively.
This speedy CADR makes this purifier a solid choice for small rooms where you want an air purifier for weed smoke to eliminate the smell as soon as possible. The unit also has three-speed settings, allowing you to find the balance between speed and power consumption making it one of the best air purifiers for smoke.
The Honeywell Enviracaire 50250S is an excellent combination of a true HEPA filter and activated charcoal. We found that the HEPA filter and activated charcoal were more than sufficient to handle dust, dander, and smoke with ease.
The air purifier also has a handy electric replacement indicator, so you don’t have to worry about your filter’s lifespan. Removing and replacing the filters is also very easy, requiring no tools. The filters are also relatively affordable, making this an excellent buy for people on a budget.
The main drawback of the Honeywell 50250S is its power consumption. It’s one of the few air purifiers that doesn’t have an EnergyStar rating, which means that extended use can use up a lot of power, especially when using the fastest fan setting.
- Long-lasting filters and useful replacement indicator
- Excellent at removing odors due to its high CADR, especially in smaller rooms
- Affordable and compact
Best Air Purifier for Wildfire Smoke
Wildfires generate a lot more air pollution than any other type of smoke. In addition to odors and harmful chemicals, wildfires also create lots of debris and dust that can irritate your lungs and affect your health.
The AeraMax DX95 is a premier air purifier for large rooms of up to 300 sq. ft. It’s still quite lightweight at 12 pounds, making it relatively portable when you need to move it around. It has a CADR of 188 for smoke and can cycle air in a maximum capacity room five times per hour.
Like all other AeraMax models, the flagship DX95 has a four-filter system that includes an activated charcoal pre-filter, a true HEPA filter coated in an antimicrobial treatment, and an ionizing filter to remove the finest particles with ease which makes it one of the best air purifiers for smoke.
Where this air purifier shines is in the extra features. The Smart Sensor detects air pollution and will adjust its fan power accordingly, saving you money on your energy bill. One feature we liked is the Aera+ mode, which increases the air turnover rate dramatically.
If you’ve been affected by wildfires and don’t want to spend your day cleaning char off the furniture, you’ll appreciate the Aera+ mode feature that will clean the air in your room significantly faster, while still being relatively energy-efficient.
- Several useful features
- True HEPA filter that has a year lifespan
- EnergyStar certified
- Powerful CADR for effective cleaning
- Replacement HEPA filters are expensive
Best Air Purifier for Smoke Under $100
If you’re looking for an affordable air purifier, the Levoit Core 300 is probably the best air purifier for smoke. It has a compact design along with a 360° intake grill to maximize airflow through the unit.
The air purifier uses a three-filter system to remove almost all contaminants in the air. The nylon pre-filter catches large particles and protects the HEPA filter from damage. It’s easy to clean, which you’ll appreciate because you’ll do it often.
The true HEPA filter is the second line of defense, removing almost all particles from the air. Finally, the activated charcoal filter removes foul odors, such as the smell of smoke.
The Levoit Core 300 also has an airtight sealing strip, ensuring the filters remain sealed and won’t release contaminated air back into your room. If you want to customize your air purifier for cigarette smoke, you can do so by choosing the Toxin Absorber option, which has a customized air filter for better performance.
- Customizable filtration options based on your needs
- Excellent CADR and room turnover time
- Quiet operation at just 24 dB(A)
- No smart sensor
Common Types of Smoke
All kinds of smoke, including cigarette, weed, and wildfire smoke, contain carcinogens and other compounds that are harmful to human health. Even mild exposure to smoke can result in lung and eye irritation, and unfortunately, the smell of smoke also can linger for days afterward.
Air purifiers are an excellent way of getting rid of smoke, but it’s also important to note that various types of smoke have different characteristics. If you’re predominantly worried about wildfire smoke, you may want a different air purifier to someone who wants to get rid of cigarette smoke.
Tobacco smoke has a distinct aroma that permeates into every part of your home, from your clothes and hair to your furniture and carpet. Second-hand smoke is as dangerous to your family’s health as first-hand smoke is to your health, making air purifiers an excellent option for families with smokers.
An added benefit of installing an air purifier is that it reduces tar build-up. Houses with heavy smokers tend to accumulate tar on the walls and furniture, which causes a yellow discoloration that’s difficult to remove.
If you’re looking for an air purifier to handle tobacco smoke, you need one that can remove the small, harmful compounds, tar, and odors associated with this type of smoke.
Now that marijuana is legal in most states, many people are enjoying its effects at home. However, while some people appreciate the pungent odor of weed, many people dislike it intensely.
Weed smoke produces less tar than tobacco smoke but will still produce some harmful compounds as part of the burning process.
Ideally, to remove weed smoke, you want an air purifier that can handle the strong odor associated with the herb.
If you live in an area with regular wildfires, you know the effect that both the smoke and particulates can have on your health. Wildfires generate many carbon particles that are detrimental to your health and produce a strong odor that’s difficult to remove.
When looking for an air purifier to deal with wildfire smoke, look for one that has a good particulate filter, as the greatest risk from wildfire smoke comes from these carbon particles.
Types of Filters
There are three different general types of filters that each remove a different component from the air: mechanical filters remove solid particles, chemical filters remove gases, like smoke odors, and biological filters remove biological compounds, such as bacteria and viruses.
Some filters remove several different compounds at the same time, while others specialize in removing one. Understanding what different filters do will help you choose the right one to combat smoke in your home.
High-Efficiency Particular Arresting, or HEPA, filters are some of the most common filters on the market. This ultra-fine glass fiber filter traps solid particles as well as bacteria and viruses that are too large to pass through the holes in the filter.
Beware of the many HEPA-like filters that don’t have the same filtration level that true HEPA filters do. If you want the best protection and air purifying capacity, stick to certified filters that block 99% of 0.3 µm particles.
Activated carbon is the most common filter used to remove odors. The filter contains activated carbon that can bind to gases and render them inactive. Unfortunately, once every molecule of active carbon has absorbed a gas, the filter will start losing effectiveness, and you’ll need to replace it.
UV purifiers are excellent at destroying biological contaminants such as bacteria and viruses. Isolation wards in hospitals use UV purifiers along with HEPA filters to keep the air inside sterile.
UV purifiers work by damaging the DNA of the living organism so that it can’t reproduce. While prolonged exposure to UV is also harmful to humans, UV purifiers keep the rays in a filtration box to limit human exposure.
Ionic filters work on the principles of polarity. The ionic plates generate a negative charge, which attracts positively charged molecules in the air, removing them and sticking them to the negatively charged plates.
Ionic filters are effective at chemical filtration and some mechanical filtration, but often need a combination with some other filter to be effective.
Photocatalytic electrochemical oxidation, or PECO, filters destroy particles by oxidizing them with a reaction powered by light energy. Since PECO filters are still relatively new, you can expect to pay a hefty premium for the privilege of using one.
Other Considerations When Choosing The Best Air Purifier for Smoke
It’s always a good idea to do your research before buying an air purifier. With so many options on the market, you need to have a clear understanding of your needs before you start shopping around. There are a number of factors to consider when choosing the best air purifier for smoke.
Different air purifiers have different power levels, which impacts the size of the area they can effectively purify. Most manufacturers will specify the area for which the air purifier is suitable, and it’s a good idea to keep slightly under the maximum area for the best performance.
Also, consider the CADR, or clean air delivery rate, which measures how efficiently and quickly the purifier handles a certain volume of air. A lower CADR indicates an air purifier that will take longer to purify a volume of air than a machine with a higher CADR.
If you smoke a lot, the best air purifier for smoke will likely be a unit with a higher CADR and a larger maximum area to speed up the purification process.
Different filters have different lifespans influenced by how much use they get. A HEPA filter can last up to five years with light use or get clogged up within two years with heavy use.
Carbon filters are notorious for having relatively short lifespans, so be sure that you can afford to replace a filter regularly to ensure optimal performance.
Some filters will need less maintenance than others. UV filters need a replacement bulb every couple of years, while ionic filters need a gentle clean according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Whether or not you need a portable air purifier will depend on how you plan to use the machine. Some air purifiers are very large and can weigh up to 20 pounds. Most people will place these purifiers in a room without the intention of moving them. In this case, the best air purifier for smoke may be the one that is easiest to move around.
There are also more portable models that are smaller, but they are less effective at cleaning a large area than their bigger counterparts. However, if you move around the house a lot, a smaller portable air purifier may be the right choice for you.
Unlike commercial air purifiers, most residential air purifiers don’t need professional installation. Just place it where you need it, plug it in, and enjoy the cleaner air.
Most air purifiers have a pump to move air through the filter. Some are quieter than others, and what you feel is ‘too much’ will depend on your personal preference. You may be fine with a loud unit in the kitchen or lounge, but it won’t be suitable for your bedroom at night.
Typically, most air purifiers will have a decibel rating of between 17 to 56 dB(A), which is below ordinary conversation levels. If possible, try out several purifiers in a small area to see how well you tolerate the noise they make.
With energy prices on the rise, it’s important to consider air purifiers that are energy-efficient. Look for Energy STAR compliant models, as they’ll use significantly less power than non-compliant models.
Higher-capacity models will use more energy than lower-capacity models, and certain types of filters will consume more power. Check the wattage on the various models to find one that best meets your needs.
Warranties are a good indicator of how much manufacturers trust their products. Shorter warranties may not be an indicator of low-quality products, but if you have to choose between two models, choose the one with the longer warranty.
We also strongly recommend reading the fine print of a manufacturer’s warranty. A five-year warranty sounds great, but it may only cover certain parts under certain conditions. Make sure you fully understand a warranty to avoid unpleasant surprises in the future.
Your price range should factor in your budget and how often you plan to use your unit. Higher-quality units will process air faster but cost more money, which may be a waste if you intend to get rid of some marijuana smoke only once a month.
Many people also make the mistake of buying a significantly higher capacity air purifier than they need, thinking it will work faster. Remember that area and CADR are two different factors, and ideally, you want an air purifier that has a similar capacity to the room you’ll use it in. The best air purifier for smoke does not always need to be the most expensive option.
Buying The Best Air Purifier for Smoke
If you’re searching for an air purifier to help with the smell of smoke in your home or office, we have some great options for you to choose from. The best air purifier for smoke will really depend on your needs, but don’t worry, if you’re not sure what you’re looking for, our customer support team is here to help. Give us a call or send us an email and we’d be happy to point you in the best direction.