- Top 10 Best Air Purifiers for Smoke in 2019: Buying Guide
- How Does Smoke Cause Odors?
- What are Volatile Organic Compounds?
- What Does CADR Mean?
- What Are the Main Odor-Reducing Components of an Air Purifier?
- Are There Other Air Purification Technologies Beside HEPA and Carbon Filters?
- Top 10 Air Purifiers for Smoke
- 10 – Pure Enrichment PureZone 3-in-1 True HEPA Air Purifier
- 09 – Koios Desktop Air Purifier with True HEPA Filter
- 08 – Outlines Desktop UV Air Purifier
- 07 – GermGuardian AC9200WCA Hi-Performance Air Purifier
- 06 – GermGuardian AC5350W Elite 4-in-1 Air Purifier
- 05 – Alen BreatheSmart Customizable Air Purifier
- 04 – GermGuardian AC4825 3-in-1 Air Purifier
- 03 – Alen BreatheSmart FIT50 Customizable Air Purifier
- 02 – Biota Bot Model #MM208 Air Purifier
- 01 – Levoit Air Purifier Filtration
- What Are Some Common Features of Air Purifiers?
- What Are Important Usability Features to Look for in an Air Purifier?
Top 10 Best Air Purifiers for Smoke in 2019: Buying Guide
Cigarette smoke. From a non-smoker’s point of view, the pungent smell of cigarette smoke is automatically detectable. If you live with someone who smokes, you undoubtedly get tired of arguing about his or her habit and how it makes the house malodorous.
On the other hand, if you are a smoker, you don’t want your entire house to smell like a stale cigarette, but you don’t want to sweat or freeze to death just to go outside for a cigarette. Even if nobody in your house smokes, you may invite smokers over on occasion, and you don’t want to gripe at them for smoking indoors.
What’s the solution to eliminating the smell of cigarette or cigar smoke? Sure, you can designate a single room just for smoking or breathe the smoke out of an open window, but the smell will still linger. A better solution to living in smoke-free harmony is an air purifier.
This miraculous machine draws in dirty, contaminated air through large inlets. Then, it circulates the air through a series of filters and particle-destroying mechanisms before it releases the now-clean air back into the room. An air purifier can destroy all types of smoke-causing odors, including those from cigarettes, cigars, fireplaces and stoves.
How Does Smoke Cause Odors?
When someone lights up a cigarette, over 7,000 chemicals are released into the air through secondhand smoke via a twofold process.
First, there is the smoke that comes from the lit end of a cigarette, which is called sidestream smoke. Then, there is the smoke known as mainstream smoke that comes from the exhaled smoke.
Sidestream and mainstream smoke contain particles of ash, burned tobacco and an array of chemicals and carcinogens. Some of these chemicals are deliberately added by cigarette manufacturers while others are byproducts of combustion.
These particles not only enter the bloodstream and respiratory system but also attach to books, fabric and other porous surfaces. Plus, the tar resin from cigarettes becomes sticky as it cools, eventually leading to telltale yellowed walls and facilitating the ability of ash and smoke to stick to surfaces.
What are Volatile Organic Compounds?
Volatile organic compounds are chemical gases released by tobacco smoke, air fresheners, burning wood and other items. In cigarettes, some common VOCs are carcinogenic particles like benzene and formaldehyde.
VOCs can lead to acute ailments such as eye irritation, headaches and fatigue. This health problem is sometimes called sick building syndrome. Luckily, many air purifiers can reduce the concentration of VOCs in the air.
What Does CADR Mean?
When shopping for air purifiers that can get rid of smoke odors, you’ll see the acronym CADR a lot. In order to determine the effectiveness of an air purifier, the Association of American Home Appliance Manufacturers measures how much clean air is emitted from an air purifier while on the highest speed setting.
This measurement is given in cubic feet per minute, and it’s known as an air purifier’s clean air delivery rate.
To give consumers a full picture of an air purifier’s capabilities, the AAHAM puts a CADR score on the machine’s ability to eliminate particles from 0.09 microns to 11 microns; therefore, every air purifying machine has a CADR number for smoke, dust and pollen. For tobacco smoke, the CADR number ranges from 10 to 450.
What Are the Main Odor-Reducing Components of an Air Purifier?
For an air purifier to get rid of the odor caused by cigarette smoke, it must do more than trap dust and dander, so a standard filter won’t work for reducing smoke odors. It also needs to address the smaller airborne particles that cause odors. Therefore, only an air purifier with HEPA and carbon filtration will get the job done.
A true HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, filter is a type of filter that can trap almost 99.97 percent of microscopic particles such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, allergens and irritants as small as 0.03 microns.
However, just because a purifier says it has a HEPA filter doesn’t mean the filter is a true HEPA filter. While some HEPA-type filters resemble true HEPA filters, HEPA-types consist of looser fibers, so they capture the same amount and size of particles.
Instead, HEPA-type filters can only trap 25 percent to 99 percent of airborne contaminants. Often, these filters max out at 2.0 microns, making them excellent at collecting dust but ineffective at eliminating smoke particles. Sometimes, air purifiers are equipped with a pre-filter, which blocks larger particles to optimize the HEPA filter and lengthen its lifespan.
Often, manufacturers include a carbon filter to expand the air purifier’s capabilities. Activated charcoal/carbon filters are extremely porous, and they are highly adept at trapping gas particles such as VOCs through a chemical reaction caused adsorption. To produce the best purification results, a carbon filter is usually paired with a HEPA filter.
Are There Other Air Purification Technologies Beside HEPA and Carbon Filters?
Although the process of drawing in dirty air and releasing clean air is at the core of any air purifier, that’s where the general similarities between air purifiers stop.
Some models are built with one or a combination of technologies, all of which are designed to clean air in different ways. Apart from HEPA and carbon filters, there are three popular technologies used by air purifier manufacturers.
Also known as anions, negative ions are particles with a negative charge. Typically, an air purifier creates negative ions by directing voltage to integrated needles. Then, the purifier releases these anions into the surrounding air where they attach to smoke particles and other allergens.
In turn, the newly formed particle is large enough to be easily captured by the air purifier. On its own, an anion generator can’t remove smoke odors. However, when anion generation is combined with the right filtration system, the purifier becomes more efficient at odor removal.
Like negative ions, some purifiers create ozone on purpose, which is made from three molecules of oxygen. With the help of an electrostatic plate, a purification machine takes in oxygen from the surrounding air and electrically charges it. When this happens, the oxygen molecules separate and scatter, turning into O3, or ozone. This is similar to what occurs when lightning strikes. Once it has made 03, the machine releases the O3 into the room’s air.
From there, the ozone sticks to odor-causing particles. However, instead of waiting for the purifier to draw in the ozone-combined particles, the ozone destroys these particles at the molecular level. This process not only gets rid of foul odors but also allows O3 to turn back to a single molecule of oxygen.
Again, for an ozone-producing purifier to be effective at getting rid of smoke and its accompanying smell, it should utilize other technologies along with ozone generation. To be safe, it’s important to ventilate the room when an air purifier is releasing ozone to prevent lung damage.
Another method used by manufacturers to sanitize indoor air is ultraviolet light. Inside of some air purifiers, there is a bulb that contains artificially-made UV-C light. In order to harness the power of UV-C light, an air purifier pulls in dirty air, so there is no risk of ultraviolet exposure to users. First, this air goes through a HEPA filter. Then, the filtered air reaches a compartment that holds the UV-C light bulb.
At this point, the germicidal UV-C light destroys the DNA of all types of microorganisms. In some cases, the air passes through a post-filter before it’s released back into the room. Although UV-C light is great for killing bacteria, mold and viruses, it’s not ideal for eliminating cigarette smoke.
However, it keeps an air purifier’s filters from becoming clogged, so the filters and other technologies can work more efficiently at drawing in air and destroying smoke odors.
Top 10 Air Purifiers for Smoke
10 – Pure Enrichment PureZone 3-in-1 True HEPA Air Purifier
Pure Enrichment’s PureZone air purifier is ideal for floor or table placement in small living rooms or kitchens and average-size bedrooms of up to 200 square feet.
This white purifier weighs 8.4 pounds and measures 12.1 inches tall by 10.8 wide, so if you go the tabletop top route, make sure it’s large and sturdy enough to accommodate the purifier. As far as the warranty, Pure Enrichment covers the machine for 5 years, which is much longer than what many other manufacturers offer.
The top-located control panel is equipped with clearly marked touch buttons, one of which is for resetting the filter indicator. There are two recessed handles on the side that allow you to pull off the front panel for quick bi-yearly filter changes. Behind this panel, you’ll find a pre-filter that collects dust and hair as well as a true HEPA filter and activated carbon filter for smoke absorption.
Additionally, the panel lets you reach the UV-C light bulb. However, with a 20,000-hour lifespan, you’d only have to change it once every two years even if you used the machine 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Since the UV-C lamp emits 254-nanometer wavelengths, it’s capable of killing all types of germs that circulate through the purifier.
With this air purifier, you can choose from among three fan speeds, which range in decibel output from 30 to 50. There is also a 2, 4 and 8-hour timer option. Plus, there is a sleep mode that runs the fan at the lowest speed and turns off all indicator lights. AHAM gave this purifier a CADR of 80 cubic feet per minute, so it can definitely handle smoke-particle removal.
09 – Koios Desktop Air Purifier with True HEPA Filter
Now, you can have clean air anywhere. The 7.5-inch by 6.9-inch Desktop Air Purifier from Koios has a CADR rating of 16 cubic feet per minute, making it ideal for close-range purification. At only 2.05 pounds, it’s portable too. When you buy this air purifier, you get a standard warranty period of 12 months.
Koios decided to stick with the tried-and-true basics. This air purifier contains three filters – a pre-filter, a true HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter. To maximize the purifier’s air intake, the inlet surrounds the circumference of the machine’s entire bottom half. Every 6 to 8 months, you’ll need to replace the filter by simply twisting off the top.
To keep it user-friendly, there is just one button to power the air purifier on and off and cycle between two gentle-sounding fan speeds. On its highest setting, the purifier consumes a negligible 8 watts of power. It’s also equipped with a blue ring that acts as a soothing nightlight in the dark.
08 – Outlines Desktop UV Air Purifier
While slightly larger, this is another cylindrical desktop purifier like the one at our number 9 spot. At a mere 2 pounds, the Outlines Desktop UV Air Purifier is ultra-lightweight. With its sleek, black casing, it looks fantastic in any modern-style office or small room.
Since the mini purifier is just 5.2 inches in diameter and 9.7 inches in height, it won’t take up much room on your bedside table or desk.
At the top of the air purifier, there is a beautiful bronze-colored outlet where clean air is released after it goes through three stages of filtration. There is a pre-filter for large particles, a HEPA filter that catches 99 percent of small particles and a carbon filter that eliminates odors from smoke and other sources. Thanks to the slide-out drawer, changing the filter every 3 to 6 months couldn’t be easier.
In order to increase the personal air purifier’s efficiency, the three-button touch panel lets you turn on a 254-nanometer UV lamp that’s jump-started by a photocatalyst. Additionally, the air purifier generates ozone for 1 hour at a time if you choose to use this function. As a bonus, the machine even draws in and kills mosquitoes. No matter what features you use, the purifier never gets louder than 45 decibels.
07 – GermGuardian AC9200WCA Hi-Performance Air Purifier
The 20-pound GermGuardian AC9200WCA Hi-Performance Air Purifier is made for large rooms of up to 378 square feet. With its rounded corners, the 27-inch by 17-inch machine has a safe design for households with young children.
The purifier also features a top handle to help you carry it from room to room, and its 6-foot cord gives you a lot of leeway in terms of placement. Thanks to the 3-year warranty period, you’ll get years of use out of this efficient air purifier.
As you would expect from a fast-working air purifier with a smoke CADR rating of 244 cubic feet per minute, this purifier contains a true HEPA filter that traps 99.97 percent of allergens and bacteria as small as 0.3 microns. It also has a carbon filter to wipe out bad smells and dangerous VOCs. Plus, there is a protective filtration screen to keep the 6-month-lasting HEPA filter from becoming clogged.
When it’s time to change the filter, an indicator light on the flat-button control panel flashes. From this control panel, you can change the fan from a low speed that generates 42 decibels of sound to a high speed that makes 62 decibels of sound, or you can set it to the happy medium in between.
Since it’s Energy Star qualified, you can use the purifier as often as you want without having to worry about high electricity bills. However, you can set a timer for 2, 4 or 6 hours, so the machine doesn’t run non-stop. Additionally, you can turn on the optional ionizer for negative ion production or the UV-C light with its titanium dioxide photocatalyst.
06 – GermGuardian AC5350W Elite 4-in-1 Air Purifier
When it comes to energy-efficient, powerful air purifiers, GermGuardian knows what they’re doing, which is why they appear on this list several times. Like the GermGuardian at number 7, the GermGuardian AC5350W Elite 4-in-1 is a tower purifier made for large rooms.
This 11-pound, 28-inch tall purifier has a smoke CADR rating of 109 cubic feet per minute, but it only uses 56 watts of power, making it Energy Star certified. For ease of use, the purifier features a recessed carrying handle and a digital display surrounded by four touch buttons.
Backed by a lengthy 5-year limited warranty, you can rest assured that you’re getting a quality product. Inside the purifier, there is a true HEPA filter and a huge pre-filter with a charcoal layer to get rid of food smells and smoke odors.
As air enters the expansive inlet, it moves at one of five speeds that you can choose by pressing the specified touch button. About every 6 months, the digital display tells you it’s time to change the filter, helping you save money on replacements.
With a lifespan of 1 year, even the UV-C bulb lasts for a long time. To boost its germ-killing effects, the UV-C light is kicked into gear by a plate of titanium dioxide, which is an excellent photocatalyst. While the UV-C light is destroying dangerous particles, the blue ring on the machine illuminates to let you know the light is working.
For your convenience, you can set the 8-hour timer to automatically shut off the purifier.
05 – Alen BreatheSmart Customizable Air Purifier
Thanks to its mid-century oak grain finish, this 21-pound Alen BreatheSmart Customizable Air Purifier is a lovely addition to any large room. If you ever want to change its appearance, there are 14 other color panels you can purchase separately that can quickly be interchanged.
With its large size of 26.75 inches by 17.75 inches, this purifier is well-suited for floor placement. It’s equipped with a recessed carrying handle, and it comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
With the machine’s powerful jets, it has the ability to cover spaces that are as big as 1,100 square feet, so you can use this purifier in open living rooms and spacious kitchens. It contains a HEPA-OdorCell filter, which is a specialized filter that destroys strong smells from smoke and pets.
Since the filter only needs to be changed one time per year, you won’t spend a ton on maintenance. There is even an ionizer function that releases negative ions into the air to enhance the HEPA filter’s efficiency.
To take the guesswork out of purifying the air, the machine has a SmartSensor that monitors and displays the air quality, self-adjusting to one of four fan speeds to create and maintain clean air. However, you can set a timer to run the purifier for 4, 8 or 12 hours.
At its lowest fan speed, it gets no louder than 41.5 decibels, just like a whisper. On the other end of the spectrum, the highest fan speed is 56 decibels, which is similar to the noise made by a box fan.
04 – GermGuardian AC4825 3-in-1 Air Purifier
Here’s another great air purifier from GermGuardian, the GermGuardian AC4825 3-in-1 Air Purifier. This black, rounded tower is topped with a silver chevron and control panel for those who love the look of modern appliances. Weighing 8.82 pounds and standing 22 inches tall, this purifier is meant to be used on the floor in average-size rooms.
Although it’s weight makes it manageable, there is a built-in handle to make carrying the machine easier, and it comes with a 3-year warranty for peace of mind.
Behind the rear inlet, there is a charcoal-coated pre-filter for wiping out odors, dust and hair. Under this filter, there is a true HEPA filter that captures 99.97 percent of germs and allergens. Every 6 to 8 months, the filter indicator will flash, letting you know that a new filter is needed.
GermGuardian also included a UV-C light with a titanium dioxide photocatalyst. From the top panel, you can push the UV button to control this feature. With the turn dial, you can even select from among three fan speeds. On its most powerful setting, the Energy Star appliance consumes just 55 watts of electricity, and it boasts a CADR rating of 112 cubic feet per minute.
03 – Alen BreatheSmart FIT50 Customizable Air Purifier
Although the FIT5 is smaller than Alen’s standard BreatheSmart model, the Alen BreatheSmart FIT50 Customizable Air Purifier is just as efficient.
The 16-pound purifier measures 22.25 inches by 16.75 inches, and it can cleanse the air of smoke in rooms up to 900 square feet thanks to its 188 cubic-feet-per-minute CADR score. It only uses 65 watts of electricity, so it’s also an energy saver. Plus, it comes with the manufacturer’s coveted lifetime warranty.
There is a lot going on behind the espresso wood front panel of this air purifier. Like the larger BreatheSmart air purifier, this machine contains a HEPA-OdorCell Filter for removing smoke, animal, food and other unpleasant smells.
Since this filter lasts as long as 18 months, the maintenance cost is minimal. To make sure no particles are left untouched, the purifier can also create and release negative ions at the touch of a button.
When on automatic mode, the purifier’s SmartSensor activates to monitor, control and show the volume of particles in the air. It’s also equipped with WhisperMax technology; therefore, it only reaches 32.4 decibels on low speed and 48.7 decibels on turbo speed. To make the air purifier work around your schedule, you can set a timer for 2 hours, 4 hours or 12 hours.
02 – Biota Bot Model #MM208 Air Purifier
With multiple types of purification technologies integrated into this Biota Bot Model #MM208 Air Purifier, it won’t take long before there is a noticeable difference in your home’s air quality.
The 25.6-inch by 16.5-inch purifier features smooth touch buttons and a circular digital display that indicates information like whether you’ve set the timer to 1 hour, 2 hours, 4 hours or 8 hours. At its size, this purifier can easily cover spaces of 430 square feet.
For capturing fine particles as small as 2.5 microns and getting rid of nasty odors, there is a HEPA filter along with a pre-filter and granular-layered carbon filter. With proper care, these filters can last up to 12 months. The digital display is surrounded by indicator lights that alert you to dirty filters and the status of other functions.
From the wide control panel, you can activate the UV-C light to kill germs or the anion generator to help the purifier draw in more airborne contaminants. When auto mode is on, the purifier determines the current air quality and reacts accordingly.
Sleep mode lets you run the machine on low speed while the fan button allows you to choose from three fan speeds that produce a maximum of 60 decibels at the highest setting.
01 – Levoit Air Purifier Filtration
This personal Levoit Air Purifier in pearl white is made to provide you with close-range air purification from while you’re working, sleeping or cooking. With self-explanatory illustrated buttons that line around the rim of the cylindrical purifier, using this machine is a breeze.
Since it’s only 12 inches tall and 7 inches in diameter, you’ll barely notice it on a crowded surface. To make sure it stays put, the purifier is equipped with anti-skid pads.
With its 2-year warranty, you are sure to get years of reliable air purification. Because it is a compact air purifier, this model is capable of purifying 86.1 square feet. It contains three filters to keep germs and odors from fouling up the air, including a pre-filter, a honeycomb activated carbon filter and a true HEPA filter. To change the filters twice per year, simply twist and pull off the bottom of the purifier.
Although it’s small, the purifier does offer a few options, so you can customize how it runs. There are three fan speeds that never climb above 50 decibels of sound. In addition, you can turn on the blue circular nightlight, which has two brightness settings. Even with the fan and light on their highest settings, this low-energy air purifier only uses 28 watts of electricity.
What Are Some Common Features of Air Purifiers?
Without a doubt, the chemicals found in smoke contain numerous airborne toxins. Besides the obvious health dangers, you certainly don’t want your home to smell like an ashtray, burnt wood or overcooked food.
Thankfully, there are air purification machines that can take away these harmful particles and the smells that come with them, leaving the air clean and fresh. While their room coverage, size and other facets may differ, most high-quality air purifiers share many similar features.
HEPA Filter & Optional Purification Technologies
Whether it’s a true HEPA filter or HEPA-type filter, any decent air purifier is going to have some version of a HEPA filter. Along with the fan, this filter is responsible for capturing allergens.
For the best results, make sure the model you choose has a true HEPA filter because this type of filter is able to trap the most .03-micron particles.
Although the HEPA filter and fan do a lot of the work, some manufacturers throw in other purification technologies. The most popular ones include a germicidal UV-C light, an ozone generator and a negative ion producer. While not essential, if you are someone who likes to have it all, any one of these features will only serve to enhance the air purifier’s efficiency.
Multi-Speed Fan & Timers
Every air purifier must have a fan in order to circulate incoming air through the filtration system. However, some of the economic models run on only one fan speed. While a single-speed fan is acceptable for personal purifiers, you’ll want an air purifier that lets you tailor the fan speed to meet the room’s square footage and the air’s level of cleanliness if you’re going for whole-room coverage.
Sure, there are times when you may want to run your air purifier non-stop. There are also times when you only need to use it for a few hours, such during and after a cigarette or while you’re cooking. These instances are when a built-in timer comes in handy.
Virtually all air purifiers with a timer let you set it for one of several time frames, ranging from 1 hour to 12 hours.
Nightlight and Sleep Mode
Air purifiers are a health-and-wellness product. Therefore, many manufacturers integrate a gentle nightlight into their purifiers to facilitate restful sleep; the light is usually blue, but it can be multi-colored. If you opt for one with a nightlight, make sure it gives you the option of turning it off or changing the brightness.
Sleep mode is not necessary, but it’s a nice convenience feature to have, especially if you’re a sensitive sleeper. On most models, the fan automatically drops down to its lowest speed when in sleep mode. Some air purifiers go one step further and turn off all lights, including nightlights and indicator lights.
What Are Important Usability Features to Look for in an Air Purifier?
Why buy an air purifier if it’s too difficult to use or expensive to maintain? Even worse, if it’s not sized right for the room, the purifier won’t do you much good in eliminating nasty odors. To rid an enclosed area of smoke smells, there are certain features that are important.
The control panel is perhaps one of the most important usability features – It’s where you can select and change every function on the air purifier, so you want to make sure it’s easy to use. A dial knob is always super simple. However, if you prefer the look and feel of a flat panel, make sure each button is clearly labeled with a word or logical picture.
Pre-Filter and Carbon Filter
A HEPA filter alone is not going to make smoke smells go away. The purifier also needs an activated carbon filter to capture those odors. In addition, the filtration system should also include a pre-filter that keeps dust, hair and other large particles from reaching the HEPA filter, so the machine runs as smoothly as possible.
No filter lasts forever, but you certainly don’t want to spend money every month on a new filter. At bare minimum, make sure the purifier you choose has a filter with a 3-month lifespan. To extend the life of the HEPA filter, read the manufacturer’s notes about filter maintenance – there are some pre-filters you can vacuum to make them last longer and maximize the purifier’s efficiency.
Also, pay attention to the measurements of the purifier. If you plan to put the air purifier on your nightstand or desk, you’ll need a lightweight model with a slim profile. However, if you need a model that can purify the air in a large room, that purifier is going to be bigger than the tabletop variety, and it most likely must be placed on the floor.
How big is the room where you will use the air purifier the most? If you choose a purifier that is too big for the room’s size, you’ll waste needless energy when running it. On the other hand, if the purifier is too small, it won’t be able to circulate all the air in the room, making it run harder and work ineffectively.
In relation to the square feet of the room, there is the machine’s clean air delivery rate. This number tells you how much air can pass through the purifier per minute. Your chosen air purifier should have a CADR rating that corresponds to the room’s size. You want to go for the highest number possible.
Want to learn more? Read our “Are Air Purifiers Worth It” article.
If energy efficiency is important to you, look at how many watts the air purifier consumes. This information should be listed on the box, in the manual or in the seller’s description. Since air purifiers are appliances, those that don’t drain a lot of electricity are typically Energy Star certified and will proudly display that certification logo.
Advanced air purifiers contain a particle sensor. This sensor measures the number of particles in the surrounding air, and it will show the results on the control panel’s digital display. Purifiers that have an auto mode will change the fan speed per the number of airborne particles when in this mode to make the purifier runs efficiently and cleans the air quickly.
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