Holds a Master’s degree in Engineering and is keen on her own home’s climate. Sometimes we think that Carolina owns every single product she writes about – that’s how profound and insightful her reviews always are.
For 8 years, Richard had been working as an HVAC specialist and AC unit installer since his student years. Now, he’s our main consultant on every technical aspect that may arise during our tests and research.
Last updated: January 09, 2021
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While the wood smoke from a campfire can be a pleasant aroma if you are on a camping trip, smoke is usually not a welcome odor in a home. Whether it be by choice, such as cigar or cigarette smoke, or by accident, such as a forest or home fire, smoke is not something you want hanging around in your home. The best air purifier for smoke will remove not only the odor but the smoke itself as well. This is essential so that your home doesn’t have an off-putting aroma, and the air in your house won’t have any adverse effects on anyone’s health.
As the name suggests, the best room air purifier for smoke will work to purify the air. It does this with a specialized filter that removes microscopic allergens and bacteria from the air so that it smells better and is much cleaner. When we were putting together this review, we made sure to look at the number of cleaning levels that each purifier could offer. This led us to then look at the different types of filters available since you want to remove as many particles from the air as possible. Finally, we looked into the coverage area and the size of the purifier, as these two factors will determine where it could be used effectively.
When putting together our comprehensive list, we spent tens of hours reading through hundreds of user reviews. Once we had our list, we dived deeper and did detailed reviews of each purifier, so that you would be able to determine which model fits your needs. Of course, if you aren’t ready to select from this list of the best air purifiers for smoke quite yet, then be sure to check out our comprehensive buying guide, which will tell you everything you need to know to find the perfect purifier.
If you are truly looking for the best air purifier for smoke removal, then you have got to check this model out. It has a ton of features that make it ideal for either cleaning the smell of smoke out of a space or making sure it never takes hold. The reason that it is so effective is thanks to its four cleaning levels.
This four-stage filtration process helps to keep the air clean in the space that you choose to place it in. This purifier has a coverage area of 360 square feet, so it works well in large, medium, or small rooms. The washable pre-filter captures large particles, which helps to prevent the more effective filters from needing to be replaced as often, though it does have an indicator to tell you when that needs to happen. The carbon filter is excellent for removing odors.
The HEPA filter is what really does the bulk of the work, however, as it is the one that captures fine particles as you would find in smoke. These particles have nowhere to go once they have been sucked into the filter, as it is designed to capture contaminants all the way down to the microscopic level. It is no surprise that this purifier has such a high CADR rating.
Some customers reported clicking sounds produced by the fan when on low setting. However, it doesn’t seem like a serious drawback as the noise is very low, and the unit does its job superbly. No wonder, that this model is also number one among best 20 air purifiers!
One of the most common places that people want to use an air purifier is in their bedroom. This, of course, makes a lot of sense, since smoke odors and allergens can make it very difficult for anyone to sleep very well. The only issue with this arrangement, however, is that many air purifiers are too loud for anyone to sleep soundly. Thankfully, this is not the case with this model. It is extremely quiet. In fact, it has the same decibel level on its lower fan settings as someone sitting across the room and whispering to you. While the higher fan setting does get louder than this, all you have to do is make sure to turn the fan back down when it is time for bed.
Something else that makes this such a wonderful idea for use in the bedroom is that it comes with a remote. With this essential tool, you can set the air purifier to whatever speed or mode you desire, without having to get up and out of the comfort of your bed.
This is also one of the most cost-effective models on the market, especially among Winix air purifiers. It has a three-step filtration system that utilizes washable filters. Not only is the pre-filter washable, but the carbon filter for odors is washable as well. These filters will cost you a lot less money to use in the long run in comparison to other purifiers. Of course, the HEPA filter is not washable and will need to be replaced after a month or so. All in all, it’s a perfect air purifier for pet dander, cigarette smoke, and dust removal that is also quiet when running even if you need it to work at night.
Cigarette smoke can be a real issue in a home. Once it has had a chance to settle into the carpeting, furniture fabrics, and other parts of a house, it can be challenging to remove not only the odor but the harmful chemical particles that are created when someone smokes a cigarette. Thankfully, this purifier from Airthereal is up to the task. It works wonderfully effectively at not only getting rid any new smoke from an area but also removing the odor of it from past uses.
It is able to do this thanks to its four cleaning levels.
The carbon filter is one of the best on the market at removing odors. This is especially true for smaller spaces, though it can be used up to 355 square feet. It will just take a longer time in a larger area.
Another reason that it is so good at removing long-lasting odors is because of its UV-C light. This ultraviolet light works quickly and efficiently to neutralize any and all microorganisms that could be causing foul smells to permeate a room.
The display for this machine is effortless to read, though the instructions can be difficult to understand at first. Of course, after you have a bit of practice, this is very easy to use purifier. One thing that you will need to keep your eye on if you should purchase it is that the filter change light is not very easy to see. You need to make sure that you change the filter as often as recommended, or the purifier will not work correctly.
What we liked:
Four cleaning levels
What could be better:
Difficult to follow instructions
Filter change light is not very noticeable
AeraMax 300 – Best Small Purifier for Smoke Removal in Big Spaces
Cleaning levels: 4
Filters type: carbon filter; true HEPA filter
CADR smoke: 191
Coverage area: up to 600 sq. ft.
Noise level: not specified
Dimensions: 8.1 x 16 x 25.1 inches
More features: 4 fan speeds; filter indicator lights; Energy Star certified; PlasmaTRUE ionizing technology
While this is one of the smallest air purifiers for smoke removal on the market, don’t let its small size fool you. It is still very effective at removing plenty of smoke, can serve you as an air purifier for odors and free you from other particles from a large area, despite its slim design. This is thanks in part to its four-stage filtration system.
What really sets its cleaning levels apart is the ionizer that it uses. This ionizer creates a static electric charge which attracts positively charged particles into the filter. Thus it’s much easier to collect and remove smoke particles from the air. The reason that this ionizer is so effective, however, is because it operates in a broader area, rather than only the air right around the unit.
Of course, this doesn’t come without some issues. The ionizer makes this one of the louder units on the market. While it is still not so loud that you couldn’t have it running in your living room, it is undoubtedly much too noisy to have in your bedroom, especially if you are a loud sleeper. Something else to keep in mind is that while this is certainly an excellent option for removing smoke, it does take a bit longer to remove the odor in comparison to other units fully.
As you would expect with such a compact air purifier, this is an energy-efficient model. Even if you run this purifier all the time, you should not end up paying a ton of money on your electric bill.
What we liked:
Large coverage area
Four cleaning levels
Energy Star certified
Ionizer included for extra dust removal
High CADR level
What could be better:
Needs to be used for a long time before it becomes effective in a large room
If you live in an area that has had a lot of exposure to smoke for a long period of time, then you are going to want to make sure that you get an energy-efficient model. Otherwise, you will end up spending a ton of money just so that it can run as much as it needs to in order to remove the smoky odor.
If that sounds like you, then you will want to check out this purifier. It is Energy Star certified, which means that it is designed to run as efficiently as possible. It comes with an automatic mode that might run a bit too much though. However, it can also be used on a variety of fan speeds allowing you to choose the speed and, therefore, noise level.
The most efficient way to run this particular model is to pick the middle or lowest fan speed and let it run continuously. That way, you won’t need to deal with the startup and speed variation of the auto mode, while still being able to remove plenty of particles from the air.
The touch control panel is extremely easy to use, and the three cleaning levels do a good job at removing plenty of particles from a pretty large area. In fact, with a CADR smoke rating of 230, this is an especially effective unit considering how little energy it consumes, though it might be a bit too noisy for some users. Due to its noise level, it would probably be best suited in a living room, not in a bedroom or a nursery.
One thing that you will begin to notice if you look at a lot of different air purifiers is that they tend to be somewhat bulky in their design. This usually is not that big of a deal, especially if you are going to be using your purifier in a larger space. If you are trying to fit a purifier in a smaller area for smoke removal, then you need a compact device, which is exactly what this model can offer you.
The design of this purifier is very different in one main way. That is, obviously, that instead of being short and boxy, it is tall and thin. This doesn’t cut down on its effectiveness in the least, though this does have a smaller coverage area than some other models. It is also a bit noisier, which is to be expected from any device with such a thin design. Of course, it is still not all that loud, as its 62 decibels is only about as loud as normal conversation.
Even though this model is has a compressed body style, it still has four separate cleaning levels that are highly effective at removing plenty of smoke particles from a room. This includes a carbon filter, HEPA filter, ionizer, and UV-C light. With these four layers of filtration, this purifier is very effective at removing even the smallest of airborne particles.
This is by far the best air purifier for removing smoke from a wildfire. When most people think of air purifiers for smoke removal, they usually only think about the most common causes of smoke, cigarettes, and cigars, as being the main culprit that can be blamed for the odor that needs to be removed.
Unfortunately, some unlucky individuals also have to deal with the cleanup efforts associated with wildfires. Though smoke from cigarettes and smoke from wildfire are very similar in how they need to be removed, the biggest difference is the volume of particles that each type of smoke produces. Since cigarettes are only being produced by one or two people at a time, they are much easier to clean up than the particles from a wildfire, which is produced by hundreds, if not thousands of trees burning at the same time.
The reason that this purifier is so useful for wildfire cleanups is its large CADR rating, which is the highest of any model that we included in our listing. This means that for its coverage area, not for nothing this model is considered to be one of the best air purifiers for large rooms, this device can remove more particles than any other available. It is surprisingly energy-efficient, even though it removes so many particles.
The only real drawbacks to this purifier are that it is somewhat noisy and that it puts out a chemical smell for the first week or so of use. This is not altogether surprising, however, considering that it is working so hard to quickly remove a ton of smoke particles. Thankfully, this smell dissipates very soon, and will not come back with continued use.
What we liked:
Three cleaning levels
Large coverage area
High CADR rating
Comes in multiple colors
What could be better:
Puts out a chemical smell for a while after first use
While each of the different air purifiers that we have in our listing is very effective at removing smoke and its odors, not all of them work very quickly. Of course, this isn’t that big of a deal in most cases, since you are trying to clean up your home’s air for the long term. If for whatever reason, you need to remove the smell and all of the smoke particles from your home quickly, then this is a great purifier. It might not have a lot of cleaning levels, but what it lacks in filters, it makes up for in fan speed.
Most air purifiers have multiple fan speeds so that you can decide how quickly you want the air to circulate through the device. This particular model has the fastest maximum fan speed of any purifier out there. This quick speed, which Honeywell terms as a “turbo” speed, circulates the air exceptionally rapidly. Since the air is moving so rapidly, it can remove airborne smoke particles much faster than other purifiers.
Even though this purifier can operate at such high speeds, it is still pretty quiet. This in part thanks to the fact that it only has two cleaning levels and how well the filters are made. While it is nice that these filters work so well, you can only use genuine Honeywell filters, which could become a bit pricey over time, especially since they need to be changed often.
Most air purifiers are only designed to be used in one room, or at most, on one floor of a home. This model, on the other hand, is perfect for more than one room, or even a whole home. This makes it ideal for use in a larger space. Of course, it is also a very large machine in its own right, which is only to be expected. This larger than average design might be complicated for some homes to accommodate, although it makes it very durable since it is made with thicker materials.
As you would expect from a model with such a large coverage area and durable design, this is a rather expensive air purifier. If, however, you have a big space that you want to remove smoke from, then it is well worth it.
It has a remote control that makes it easy to operate from a distance. With this remote, you can set it to six different speeds. Incredibly, even at the fastest speed, this purifier is still rather quiet.
This model is equipped with three filters, which will all need to be replaced periodically. Though it might sound counterintuitive, the odor remover filter will give off a bit of an odor when you first use it. This will be the case whenever you change the filter as well. It goes away fast, however, so that it isn’t all that much of a detriment.
What we liked:
Enormous coverage area
Three cleaning levels
Six fan speeds
Surprisingly quiet for such a large model
What could be better:
Odor remover filter has a smell when you first use it
One of the biggest issues with air purifiers for smoke removal is that some models are prohibitively expensive. This does not, mercifully, need to be the case. If you are trying to remove the odor of smoke from your home and are on a budget, then this is the model for you. It is extremely easy to set up. All you have to do is install the filters correctly, plug it in, and switch it on. You can select from a variety of fan speeds to get the right amount of air circulation. It also features a UV-C light to remove even more harmful allergens from the air.
This is also a very compact unit, which is not surprising since it is so inexpensive (you can get this air purifier for under $100 only). It is also extremely quiet, making it perfect for use in smaller spaces than larger models.
Due to the small design of this purifier, and its bargain price, this purifier can only be used in very small spaces, maxing out at a coverage area of 78 square feet. The CADR rating is also very low, meaning that this purifier is not as effective as more expensive models. It will still do a pretty good job, as long as you only use it in tiny areas.
In this section, we will guide you through every aspect of what to look for in the best air purifier for smoke odor. We have also taken the time to answer several frequently asked questions, so be sure to check those out if you still have any questions about air purifiers.
Why should you get rid of smoke
Smoke, whether it be from cigarettes, cigars, or a forest fire, can be extremely detrimental to your health. Even if you are a totally healthy individual otherwise, prolonged exposure to smoke can have debilitating consequences. If you are a cigarette smoker, you will bear the brunt of the damage caused by smoking, though the other members of your household will still deal with issues.
Second-hand smoke from cigarettes and cigars can cause people, and pets, to develop a cough, catch colds more often, and may even lead to asthma. Pneumonia, emphysema, and even lung cancer can also be consequences of breathing in second-hand smoke from cigars and cigarettes. Second-hand smoke is especially dangerous for children, whose lungs are still developing as they grow. Excessive exposure to this type of smoke could have a lasting effect on their entire life, which is why it is so important to remove it from the air that they are breathing.
If you are unfortunate enough to live where there is a significant risk of a forest fire, then you will want to be prepared with the best air purifier for forest fire smoke, just in case. Though smoke from a wildfire will not have all of the same toxins in it that smoke from a cigarette has, it can still be a big problem, especially for young children, older adults, and anyone with breathing issues. The biggest danger from the smoke of a forest fire is the fine particles that are in the smoke. These particles are what cause coughing fits and watery eyes. Thankfully, if you get a good air purifier, you can capture these fine particles, which are too small to be seen, so that they don’t cause any big issue for you, your pets or anyone in your family.
Features to consider while choosing an air purifier
As you can imagine, there are several different features that you need to factor in before you find the best air purifier for smoke removal. In this section, we will go through everything you need to know so that you can make the best decision on the model that will best meet your needs.
The number of cleaning levels might sound like an indicator on the purifier for how hard it is working, but this is not the case. It is instead, the number of different levels or parts inside of the purifier that the air will be pulled through. Each of these levels will work differently to try and capture harmful particles from smoke, bacteria, or allergens so that your air is as clean as possible. Apparently, the number of levels will have a direct effect on how clean the air will end up being. The higher the number of levels, the cleaner the air. For instance, the Coway AP-1512HH, which is our pick for the best overall air purifier for smoke removal, has a total of four levels. Not each of these levels will be a different filter, however.
While each purifier should have a series of filters to clean the air, other components can also be used. Many models will also have an ionizer built-in, which send out negative ions into the air to attract positively charged particles such as dust, bacteria, pollen, smoke, and many other allergens. Some purifiers will also include a UV-C light. This technology can also be found in water purifiers. It uses a bright, ultraviolet light to destroy harmful bacteria and allergens, which makes it much easier, and safer, to breathe in your home.
Number and type of filters
While ionizers and UV-C lights are nice additional tools for removing the odor of smoke in a home, they are not the most essential part of a good air purifier. How well a purifier works will come down to the types of filters it utilizes and the type of smoke that you are trying to remove. For instance, the best air purifier for cigar smoke is going to use different filters than the best air purifier for forest fire smoke. This, of course, only makes sense, since each type of smoke is unique, and the different particles need different filters.
No matter what type of smoke you are attempting to remove, you should be sure to have at least two filters. There are a lot of different types of filters out there, but the one that you should make sure that your purifier has is a HEPA filter. These filters are designed to remove extremely small particles from the air, which makes them ideal for clearing smoke and its odor from home. Charcoal filters are another good idea, as charcoal naturally attracts allergens and pollutants. These filters will need to be replaced often, which could become expensive. To combat this, you could purchase a purifier with a washable filter, such as the Winix 5300-2. That way, you can save a bit of money on the operation of your filter.
When you are looking for an air purifier for smoke removal, you will want to look for a model with a high CADR rating. This is a metric that was developed as a way of measuring the performance of air purifiers. It reflects the volume of the air in cubic feet per minute or CFM, that is cleaned of particles of various sizes. To measure how effective an air purifier is at removing different particles, each purifier is tested based on three types of particles: dust, pollen, and smoke. These represent large, medium, and small particles. Each is then measured and assigned its CADR score. Naturally, since we are worried about smoke removal that is the CADR score, we will focus on.
The CADR scale makes it simple to see how useful each model is. The higher the score, the better the purifier will be at removing the fine smoke particles from the air.
The most effective model on our list, the Blueair Blue Pure 211+, has a CADR score of 350. It is much more effective than a smaller model, such as the GermGuardian AC4100, which only has a CADR of 50. This makes it more suitable for lighter smoke removal jobs.
One of the things that you will want to pay special attention to when you are looking for an air purifier is the coverage area. This will usually be displayed as square feet. It will tell you how large of an area the purifier can be used to clean. The reason that this is so important is that if you buy a model that is too small for your space, it isn’t going to be very effective. On the other hand, if you buy a model that has a much larger coverage area than you need, you might end up overpaying for it.
Make sure you measure your space before you buy so that the purifier you get matches your needs.
If you have an ample space, then the IQAir HealthPro Plus is going to be your best bet. It can purify the air in a larger space, even up to 1,000 square feet. If, on the other hand, you have a much smaller space, you can get by with a model like the GermGuardian AC4100, which has a much smaller coverage area.
The noise level of any device, whether it be the best air purifier for smoke odor removal or a power tool, is always expressed in the same manner. Noise levels are measured in decibel, or dB, scale. The higher the number in dBs, the louder something is going to be. This will play a large part in where you have your purifier setup. If, for instance, you want to use it in your bedroom, you’ll need a much quieter model than you would if you were putting it in your basement or living room.
The quietest model on the market is the Winix 5300-2, which only has a dB rating of 27. This is as quiet as a whisper. This, therefore, makes it a great model for use in a bedroom. Thankfully, even the loudest air purifiers are not all that loud. The Pure Enrichment PureZone Elite 4-in-1 True HEPA Air Purifier, for instance, which puts out 60 dB of sound, is still only as loud as normal conversation, so you won’t have to worry too much about noise no matter which model you select.
Another big determining factor as to where you will put your air purifier is going to be its dimensions. The size of your purifier might limit where you can place it since you might not have enough room for it. Usually, the larger the purifier, the more coverage area it will have. This actually can work out to your benefit.
There are several different features that you can look for in to make your air purifier more effective at taking the smoke out of your home. While filters are the first line of defense against the small pollutant particles in your air, they don’t need to be the only removal feature. You can also get a purifier with either an ionizer or UV-C light. These will help to remove even more particles from the air, which will make the air that much cleaner.
Another additional feature that you might want to look for in a purifier is different fan speeds. With this option, you’ll be able to clean up the air at different rates based on how much smoke there is at any given time. Faster speeds are obviously better for quicker removal, which would be perfect for wildfire smoke. On the other hand, slower speeds are much more energy-efficient, which will help to keep your purifier running for extended periods of time.
While these other features are important, a clean, working filter, is still the essential part of any purifier. It can be difficult to tell when a filter needs to be changed, so it is a good idea to look for a purifier that has an indicator light that lets you know when you need to change the filter. This will help to make sure that the purifier is running as efficiently as possible.
You may also want to look for a model with a remote control for even more convenient use. Some smart air purifiers went further as they can be controlled via your smartphone with only a few taps.
Tips to maintain your air purifier
There are several things that you can do to make sure that your air purifier runs correctly. If you don’t properly maintain your purifier, it won’t do an excellent job at cleaning the smoke out of your home, which could be extremely detrimental to your health.
If your purifier has a permanent filter, you should vacuum it every few weeks.
Washable pre-filters should be rinsed out every month.
DO NOT drop or insert anything into the openings of the purifier.
Keep your purifier at least three feet from walls. Otherwise this will limit the air flow.
DO NOT put anything on top of your purifier.
When cleaning your purifier, DO NOT use detergents, solvents, or cleaners.
Be sure to turn the purifier off before you unplug it. Always unplug the unit when you are cleaning it.
Always be sure to plug your purifier into a grounded outlet, especially if it has an ionizer.
Any purifier should only be used in a room above 40 degrees and below 110 degrees.
The outside of the air purifier can be cleaned with a soft, damp cloth.
The vent can be cleaned with a small, soft brush.
You can also wipe the inside of the purifier out with a soft, dry cloth after you have removed the filters. NEVER use a damp cloth on the inside of the purifier, as this could promote mold growth.
Air purifiers are designed to run for long periods of time. It is a common misconception that you only need to run it for a few hours and the air in your home will be completely clean. This is not the case. In fact, if you have a forced air HVAC system for heating and cooling your home, you are going to want to have your air purifier running as often as this system. This is because any dust, dirt, allergens, or smoke that is trapped in the vents will be pushed into the air of your home each time your heating/cooling system runs.
You should most definitely run your air purifier overnight. That way, you will be able to make sure that the air in your home is as clean as possible when you sleep. This way you’ll breathe easier when you are sleeping, which will make you feel much more rested when you wake up.
Of all the different models that we looked into, the AeraMax 300, Blueair Blue Pure 211+, and Coway AP-1512HH were by far the most energy-efficient. Each of these models can be operated at different speeds, which helps to control the amount of energy that they consume. They also feature an eco-mode, which allows you to save even more electricity while still effectively removing smoke and other particles from the air in your home.
Each model is a bit different as for how often the filters should be replaced. However, a general rule of thumb to follow is that filters should be cleaned or replaced every 30-60 days. Of course, some factors can shorten or lengthen this time span.
For instance, if you are running your purifier on its highest speed continuously, then the filter will need to be changed more often. This is also true if your air is continuously full of smoke because of wildfires in your area. Conversely, if you rarely run your purifier or if your air is minimally full of smoke, then you won’t need to change the filter as often.
The Coway AP-1512HH is most likely going to be your best bet for an economical air purifier. It doesn’t use a lot of energy and thanks to its multiple cleaning levels the filters last much longer than they do in other models. This helps to make it a cost-effective and efficient purifier option to remove smoke from your home.
If you truly want to make sure that you have the very best air purifier for smoke removal, then you need to check out the Coway AP-1512HH. This model is compact, which makes it perfect for a wide array of spaces. It also has a large coverage area and a high CADR rating. It is also very quiet, and energy efficient. We highly recommend that you check this purifier out, you won’t be disappointed.
The Winix 5300-2 is an excellent option if you are looking for the quietest air purifier to run while you are sleeping. It operates at such a low decibel level that you’ll barely be able to notice that it is on at all. This makes it perfect for use in tight spaces or at night.
Cigarette smoke is one of the most common smoke types that people want to remove from their home, and the Airthereal Pure Morning APH260 is an excellent option. The carbon filter is second to none and excellent at removing both fresh and old odors with ease.