The Best Air Purifiers for Smoke
Smoke can take various forms such as cigarette smoke or wildfire smoke. Each of these can pose health issues. To help you, we offer carbon air purifiers for smoke. Each air purifier has HEPA quality air filtration or better, allowing you to remove up to 99.9% percent of smoke particles from the air. For tobacco smoke removal, consider the new EJ Air Purifier. This cute guy has more than 3 pounds of advanced activated carbon, true HEPA filtration and is super quiet. If you need to remove smoke odor the EJ will do better than our Max model.
Top Air Purifiers for Smoke 2018
Super Quiet - no air purifier on the market produces so little noise with such a high air flow Best Quality - all key components made in USA. MERV17 HEPA filter tested up to 99.99%. Advanced carbon for smoke removal.
- Living Room
- Large Living Areas
- Pet Dander
- Meet EJ, the Tesla of air purifiers - made in USA with a super efficient & quiet German motor and top notch performance
- Removes Allergies, Asthma, Dust, Bacteria, Pollen, Mold Spores, Pet Dander, Smoke
- Medical Grade HEPA filter (MERV17) tested to remove 99.99% of airborne allergens & particulates. Ideal for tobacco smoke removal
- Best for Bedroom, Office, Living Room, Basement - small to large sq ft rooms
- An alternative is our 220V International EJ model
- What's included: Air purifier with filters installed, User's Manual
Buy 2+ & Save $70 per unit
Availability: Usually Ships in 1 to 2 Business Days
Buy 2+ and Save $70 per unit
Best Quality - made in USA. Latest German motor uses up to 90% less energy. Best filters - MERV18 HEPA (99.99%+) and bed of proprietary gas filter media.
- Whole House or Facility
- Healthcare Facilities
- Mold Remediation
- All airborne particulates
- MERV18 HEPA filter removes 99.99%+ of all particles - better than HEPA. Patented design. The highest level of air filtration in the market.
- Your home or office will smell fresh and clean. Relieve nasal stuffiness and odors to make the air more breathable.
- Proprietary gas filter media effective for wide range of gases, odors, smoke.
- For residential, healthcare facilities, offices, mold remediation, abatement. Small to large sq ft sized rooms.
- What's included: 1 Erik Air Purifier with filters, User's Manual
Buy 2+ & Save Over $400 ($1395 Each)
Availability: Usually Ships in 24 to 48 Hours
Buy 2+ & Save Over $400 ($1395 Each)
What Our Customers Are Saying
Smoke is so hard to remove because it is a combination of airborne particles and hundreds of gases. For you to get fresh, clean air the air filtration system needs to handle it all. And that's a tall order. And becomes even more challenging if you need fresh air in a large square footage room.
In this article we will explain what you need to begin breathing cleaner air. And how to select the best air purifier for smoke removal.
Do Air Purifiers Remove Smoke?
Smoke is made up of a mixture of airborne particulates and many gases. So, for an air purifier to work well it has to remove both the fine particles as well as the gases and odors.
Therefore, an air purifier can remove tobacco smoke but it needs to have solid filters AND sufficient air flow to clean the size of your room. From our many years of experience, this is the most difficult thing to remove from the air but it can be done.
Keep reading and we will go a little deeper to explain how to remove the smoke odors with a high quality activated carbon filter and the particulates with a true HEPA filter.
Do HEPA Filters Remove Cigarette Smoke?
A HEPA filter will not help. This is because the smoke smell is from a variety of gases. Gases are so small they will pass through the fibers of even a true HEPA filter. It's like trying to hold water with a strainer. If by chance, the HEPA filter catches some of the smoke odor, chances are it will be re-released at a later time.
The best way to get rid of most gases is with an activated carbon filter.
Many air purifiers have a carbon air filter. But they do not all perform the same. As we say with filters it comes down to quality and quantity.
The carbon in air purifiers is either from coconut shells or coal. Coconut shell absorbs more and more eco-friendly. Coal is cheaper and more plentiful. If your carbon filter is made in China it is most likely coal based. We use coconut shell carbon in our EJ and Erik air purifiers.
Granular Activated Carbon (GAC)
The best type of carbon for smelly smoke is granular activated carbon. This is in the shape of small pellets.
To activate carbon, it is cooked in an oven until it develops the proper cracks and crevices. Once in this state the carbon is considered activated. At this point it begins to adsorb all kinds of gases.
The quality of the carbon is a function where it is coconut shell or coal and how well it is baked. The other performance aspect in removing smoke odors is the quantity of activated. This is usually given in pounds. So, 5 pounds of carbon will perform better than 0.5 pounds.
Some air purifiers like our Finn have an activated carbon pre-filter. This is foam type filter with activated carbon sprayed onto it. While this works for light odors it is not going to do well for tobacco smoke odors. It just doesn't have enough carbon.
There is one other consideration to help with the odors. That is ventilation. If possible bring in fresh air from the outside.
Remove the Smoke Particles with a True HEPA Filter
With the smell under control you are halfway there. Since cigarette and cigar smoke also has a lot of airborne particles you will want to capture those as well.
A true HEPA air filter works best for particle removal. By definition it will catch 99.97% of all particles that are 0.3 microns and larger.
The efficiency of an air filter means the percentage of particles that it removes with each air pass. In the US, we use the MERV ratings scale to compare air filters. The scale ranges from 1 to 18. With 18 being the most efficient.
The Oransi Finn, OV200 and Max are MERV 16. The EJ is MERV 17. The ERIK650A is MERV 18.
You may see other names for filters such as HEPA-type. This means that it is like a true HEPA filter but does not meet the efficiency level. The best way to know how good the filter is is to see the MERV rating.
Similar to carbon filters, HEPA filters work better the higher the efficiency and the more filter media you have. For best performance you will want a high MERV rating and a lot of HEPA filter media. In our product specifications we list this information so you can more easily compare.
Size for Your Square Footage
Now that you know you need filter-wise there is one last step
That is, you need to move the air through the air cleaner.
What you may not realize is this is difficult if you have high efficiency HEPA filters and a lot of activated carbon. Both of them add a ton of air flow resistance (also called pressure drop). This means you get less air flow.
If you cannot properly circulate the air in your room you are not going to get rid of the smoke smell or particles.
Hopefully I have not depressed you. There are solutions. However since the job is much more difficult than just removing something like mold spores or dust mites, it requires a higher level air purification system.
To overcome this we make our filters larger. This reduces the air resistance and the noise level. We also use better motors. Our EJ an Erik air purifiers use super efficient motors from Germany.
We searched the world to find the best motors since we know things like cigarette smoke removal is so hard. And can clean spaces with up to 1,500 sq ft. We found them at a factory in Germany. They are more reliable, quieter and energy efficient. The motors alone cost about $300 so these are not your everyday air cleaner.
The best way to assess how much air is moving through the filters is by comparing the CADR rating. The CADR is the Clean Air Delivery Rate. It is measured in cfm (cubic feet per minute).
What you need to know is that a higher CADR means it can clean a larger space. To convert CADR to square foot, a rough rule of thumb is to multiply the CADR by 3 to get the room size coverage for 2 air changes per hour. So, if the CADR is 100, then a 300 sq ft room will be cleaned every 30 minutes. If you want 4 air changes per hour then a 100 CADR unit will clean a 150 sq ft.
For smoke removal we suggest you stick with the 1.5 multiplier for room size. This is especially true if you are not the smoker and are dealing with second-hand smoke.
While a true HEPA air cleaner with a good activated carbon filter is your best bet for cigarette smoke removal, there are other options.
A negative ion generator is an electrical device that emits a negative charge into the air. In some air cleaners this is used in combination with a HEPA filter to remove airborne allergens. The negative ion attaches to the particles making them more likely to be caught in the air filter.
For the purpose of removing smoke and particularly the odor, we see little evidence than an air ionizer will provide much benefit.
Ozone generators, though are another story. This is the fishing with dynamite approach.
Besides removing the source of the smoke or having great ventilation, ozone does a solid job in neutralizing smoke odors. Although it does nothing for the smoke particles that you also want to remove.
The issue with ozone generation is that it is awful for your lungs. It damages them. This is not a consumer product. Rather it is used as a commercial air cleaner. Like shocking a hotel room to get rid of the smoke smell. Or in casinos as a smoke eater to clear the air in a commercial building.
Besides being bad for you, ozone is especially bad for anyone with a weakened or developing system. It causes havoc for children and the elderly. And not to mention to your pets.
Six years ago the State of California banned these devices for consumer use. Since then they are available only for commercial use.
To safely remove smoke, you are better off with HEPA/carbon. It gets the job done and does not introduce an air pollutant to your home.
Can a Car Air Purifier Remove Smoke?
From the car air purifiers we have seen the answer is no. This is because the filters are so small and often lack the required quality and amount of HEPA and activated carbon to be effective. On top of that, car air purifiers tend to have very small air flows. They don't move enough air to clean your car interior.
Bottom line, it's simply not a good solution. If you must smoke in your car, opening the window is the best thing you can do. This will provide ventilation with fresh outdoor air.
This won't solve the issue with the tobacco smoke odor being held in the upholstery. For that you will need a good cleaner. If you become desperate you could try shocking the space with an ozone generator. While we do not recommend the use of these products due to health issues from the ozone, it can be effective for a one-time cleaning.
To summarize, this is a guide to help you choose the best air purifier for smoke removal. We get a lot of phone calls on how to best solve this problem. And not just from smokers but many who are dealing with second-hand smoke. In some cases thirdhand smoke.
Removing tobacco smoke is difficult. This is because smoke is made up of airborne particulates and hundreds of dangerous gases. No one solution can remove all of this.
The best solution is to use a genuine true HEPA filter plus at least 3 pounds of granular activated carbon.
You will also want to make sure the fan is able to move enough air through these filters to effectively clean your whole room.
The best way to know the air flow is to check the CADR rating. This will show you the amount of air moving through the air purifier filters on the highest fan speed. For cigarette smokers we suggest you multiply the CADR number by 1.5 to determine the square footage it can clean.
Other air filtration technologies are available. Commercial air cleaners sometimes use ozone generation to wipe out smoke and cooking odors. Due to serious health issues you do not want to be around when ozone is in use since it causes damage to your lungs.
For a recommendation, we are pleased to offer the EJ Smoke Air Purifier. We originally made this to help with the air pollution issues in China. It is super quiet and unmatched in smoke removal for a sub $1,000 air purifier to help you clean the air.
To learn more be sure to check out our Beginner's Guide to an Air Purifier.