Best Air Purifiers for Smoke Review and Buying Guide 2019

When there is a smoker in the house or office, smoke removal is essential to everyone’s health and indoor comfort.

What is the best air purifier for smoke? That question is answered first with a list and reviews of the top smoke-reducing models.

That’s followed by our Buying Guide on the best air purifiers for smoke. In includes what to look for in an air purifier, how to choose the right size and other important buying tips.

What’s In This Guide

Best Air Purifiers for Smoke

Air purifiers aren’t “one size fits all,” so we’ve provided the top models to fit common needs room size and budget.

These units are very effective against smoke from cigarettes, cigars, cannabis, wood-burning stoves, campfires, wildfires and other sources.

Click the link for more information, current pricing or if you’re ready to buy and get on with your day.

Full reviews of each model are below.

Product List

Winix 5500-2

  • Carbon for smoke & odor
  • True HEPA
  • 3 purifying stages
  • PlasmaWave destroys smoke

Overall Best

LEVOIT Vista 200

  • Designed for smokers
  • Carbon smoke/VOC removal
  • True HEPA
  • Convenience features

for Small Rooms

AeraMax 300

  • 4-stage smoke removal
  • Eliminates odors
  • Anti-microbial
  • Certified for asthma patients

for Medium Rooms

Honeywell True HEPA HPA304

  • Top smoke removal rating
  • True HEPA
  • Choose White or Black
  • Filters air 5X/hour

for Very Large Room

Airpura Air Purifier

  • Best-in-class smoke removal
  • 26lb carbon filter!
  • Pre-filter for tar, chemicals
  • 1000-2000 square feet

Best Whole House

Pure Enrichment PureZone

  • True HEPA
  • Carbon for smoke odor
  • UV-C for germs
  • 5-year warranty!

Best Value

Dyna-Glo RA18LPDG Propane

  • HEPA-plus for smoke
  • Ozone-free ionizer
  • Air quality Auto mode
  • 10 color choices
  • Lifetime warranty!!!

Best Premium

Reviews of the Top Air Purifiers for Smoke

This section gives more details about each of the best air purifiers for smoke – why they’re on the list, their pros, cons, ratings and more.

Overall Best Air Purifier for Smoke

#1 Winix 5500-2 with True HEPA & Washable AOC Carbon Filter

This smoke-reducing air purifier is packed with filtration performance to break down smoke and remove particles and odor from the air.

Reason it is on the List: 3-stage filtration: True-HEPA, Advanced Odor Control carbon and PlasmaWave.

PlasmaWave breaks down smoke particles into smaller, safer molecules with no odor. Molecules called hydroxyls are created that attach to smoke, VOCs and other odor-causing particles. The hydroxyls break down

User reviews:

  • Best pro: “Works great. We dust less, there isn’t so much pet (3 dogs) hair around and my allergy-related skin issue cleared up.”
  • Best con: “Concerned about ozone. If you have asthma, run it with the PlasmaWave off. It will still filter the air quite well.”

Room Size: Up to 360 square feet

Smoke Rating: CADR 232

Features:

  • Air quality sensors and indicator
  • Dirty filter indicator
  • Auto fan speed adjustment based on air quality
  • 4 fan/cleaning speeds
  • Sleep mode automatically dims the display light and reduces fan speed
  • Remote

Features Rating: 4 – Main concern is that the PlasmaWave, while not an ionizer, does create a very small amount of ozone that can be an irritant to breathing passages. PlasmaWave can be turned off, and you’ll still get outstanding filtration.

Filter Rating: 5 – True HEPA, carbon pre-filter and

Efficiency Rating: 5 – Energy Star certified

Quality Rating: 5 – Very reliable. 95% of homeowners give it excellent durability ratings.

Warranty Rating: 4 – The warranty is just 2 years. While that’s about average and matches high-end Dyson’s warranty, many good air purifiers offer longer warranties at this price.

Overall Rating: 4.6 out of 5

Best for Small Rooms

#2 LEVOIT Vista 200 Air Purifier for Home Allergies & Smokers

Levoit designed this air purifier with smokers in mind, and it does a very good job with cigarette, cannabis, cigar and other airborne smoke.

Reason it is on the List: 3-stage filtration. The washable pre-filter catches hair and large dust, so those debris won’t clog the main True HEPA filter. There’s also a premium activated carbon filter that is the key to absorbing smoke particles out of the air – no smoke and no smell. It does not produce ozone.

User reviews:

  • Best pro: “This is a versatile air purifier. I use it in the front room when my hubby’s pipe smoke drifts in the open window from the front porch. It removes cooked fish odors from the kitchen in less than an hour. It does the job wherever needed.”
  • Best con: “After 9 months or so, it started getting a little loud. I changed the filter, and that helped some. Not too loud for sleeping.”

Room Size: Up to 200 square feet.

Smoke Rating: 50 (Keep in mind smoke rating relates to room size. 50 is appropriate for rooms up to 200 s.f.).

Features:

  • 3 filters, each with a specific function
  • 3-setting timer
  • Sleep mode runs quieter and dims the light
  • 3-speed fan/cleaning
  • 360-degree air intake

Features Rating: 4 – Solid, basic performance features.

Filter Rating: 5 – HEPA, carbon and pre-filter.

Efficiency Rating: 5 – Energy Star

Quality Rating: 4 – Should give you 5+ years of durable service.

Warranty Rating: 4 – The 2-year warranty is pretty decent given that this unit costs less than $100.

Overall Rating: 4.4 out of 5

Best for Medium Rooms

#3 AeraMax 300 Air Purifier Mold, Dust, Smoke and 

Allergens 

Designed to capture first-hand and second-hand smoke plus other pollutants and allergens.

Reason it is on the List: 4-stage smoke removal including proven activated carbon and a true HEPA filter. Certified by the AAFA for asthma patients and those with allergies. It goes beyond the 99.97 for true HEPA to 99.995% filtration of smoke from cigarettes and other sources.

User reviews:

  • Best pro: “I started letting a couple friends smoke in my apartment when we play cards. By the next morning, the smoky smell is gone. Works on cannabis too. One AeraMax works better than two other brand air purifiers I had.”
  • Best con: “Works well, but the ionizer can make a whining noise sometimes. The noise stops if you turn off the ionizer. Press the ionizer button until it shuts off.”  

Room Size: 300+ square feet.

Smoke Rating: 196

Features:

  • Air quality sensor
  • Automatically adjusts fan/cleaning speed to air quality conditions
  • 4 fan speeds
  • Anti-microbial treatment
  • PlasmaTrue ionizer releases ions that attach to pollutants. The negatively charged particles then cling to surfaces, effectively removing them from the air.

Features Rating: 4 – Without the ionizer. We recommend that you NOT use the PlasmaTrue ionizer if you have breathing issues, pets with breathing issues or birds because they are sensitive to ozone.

Filter Rating: 5 – Even without using the ionizer, you have activated carbon and true HEPA filtration plus the antimicrobial coating.

Efficiency Rating: 5 – Energy Star

Quality Rating: 4 – Most run durably. A few develop a loud hum or whining that some users find annoying.

Warranty Rating: 4 – 3 years is better than some.

Overall Rating: 4.4 out of 5

Best for Large Rooms

#4 Honeywell True HEPA HPA304 Air Purifier for Large Rooms

This unit does a fantastic job removing smoke and even tiny particles down to the commercial-grade PM2.5 rating.

it was loud. Returned it. The replacement is quiet and doesn’t smell. Keeping our air fresher.”

This unit does a fantastic job removing smoke and even tiny particles down to the commercial-grade PM2.5 rating.

it was loud. Returned it. The replacement is quiet and doesn’t smell. Keeping our air fresher.”

Reason it is on the List: This Honeywell has the best smoke-fighting filters in this class, removing smoke, VOCs, viruses, bacteria and much more. On the highest fan speed, it will filter the room’s air 5 times per hour.

User reviews:

  • Best pro: “We own in indoor wood burning stove that was causing smoke odors. This unit cleaned the air. Then the Western wildfire of 2018 made the air terribly polluted, but this unit kept our house pure-smelling and easy-breathing. Definitely recommended.”
  • Best con: “First one I received smelled like burning wires and 

Room Size: Up to 465 square feet.

Smoke Rating: 300 (Rating is high because this is a large-room air purifier.)

Features:

  • 3 fan/cleaning speeds plus Turbo
  • 3 fan/cleaning speeds plus Turbo
  • Timer (2, 4 or 8 hours)

Features Rating: 3 – For the money, it would be reasonable to expect a remote for convenience or an air quality sensor to automatically adjust fan/cleaning speed.

Filter Rating: 4 – HEPA and carbon, but no pre-filter to prevent pet hair from clogging the main filters.

Efficiency Rating: 5 – Energy Star

Quality Rating: 4 – Very durable.

Warranty Rating: 5 – The unit is backed with a 5-year warranty, good for a model in this price range.

Overall Rating: 4.2 out of 5

Best for the Whole House

#5 Airpura Air Purifier Control for Heavy Tobacco Smoke

This air purifier is perfectly titled. It has the largest, most effective carbon filter in its class.

Reason it is on the List: It quickly and effectively removes smoke from cigarettes and cigars, cannabis (marijuana) wildfire smoke and any other source.

In testing, within 20 seconds, the unit releases 0 particles larger than .3 microns.

User reviews:

  • Best pro: “Got this for my dad for his mancave/cigar room. I’d say it eliminates 90 percent or more of the smoke smell immediately. Within a couple hours, it is all gone.”
  • Best con: “The carbon filter is amazing – but the replacement cost is pretty high.”

Room Size: 1000-2000 square feet.

Smoke Rating: 395

Features:

  • 26lb activated charcoal filter made from 100% coconut shell carbon.
  • Casters for moving easily.
  • Multiple fan options.

Features Rating: 3 – Not a ton of features, just tremendous filtration for residential use but also for commercial and institutional settings.  

Filter Rating: 5 – 26 pounds of activated charcoal in the bed plus tar-barrier pre-filters remove smoke, tar, VOCs and other chemical pollutants.

Efficiency Rating: Unknown

Quality Rating: 5 – Excellent design and build.

Warranty Rating: 5 – The warranty covers parts for 5 years and labor for 10 years.

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Best Value

#6 Pure Enrichment PureZone 3-in-1 True HEPA w/ UV-C 

While it is an outstanding value due to the low cost and great performance, we considered making this the Best Overall air purifier. It’s that impressive.

Reason it is on the List: This is a highly rated air purifier at a very reasonable cost. The ratings are better than for many units that cost 2-4 times as much.

User reviews:

  • Best pro: “Air Quality Index was above 400 last week from the Canadian wildfires. I walked in the door of our house expecting a smoke smell. Nothing. Excellent on smoke from cigars and weed too.”
  • Best con: “I have bad pollen allergies. My spouse has a habit of opening the bedroom window for a few hours to get fresh air in there before sleeping. If its during heavy pollen season, it takes this unit more than an hour to clean the air in the bedroom = about 175 s.f.” [Note if you have bad allergies of heavy smoke to deal with, it will be helpful to buy an air purifier 25% to 50% larger than you need.]

Room Size: Up to 200 square feet.

Smoke Rating: 80

Features:

  • Auto timer (2,4,8 hours)
  • 3 fan/cleaning speeds
  • Filter replacement notification
  • UV-C mode (optional) to kill viruses and bacteria
  • Easy-carry handle

Features Rating: 4 – About average for a compact air purifier designed for small rooms. No remote or Auto mode.

Filter Rating: 5 – Active carbon, true HEPA and UV-C. This is a great choice if anyone in your household is susceptible to viruses or to help prevent the spread of germs when someone is sick.

Efficiency Rating: 5 – Energy Star

Quality Rating: 4 – Excellent durability and reliability.

Warranty Rating: 5 – The 5-year warranty is well above average for air purifiers this affordable.

Overall Rating: 4.6 out of 5

Best Premium

#7 Alen BreatheSmart-Pure Air Purifier, Allergies & Dust

This is an upscale air purifier for those that want pure air despite smoke, pets and other sources of pollution in your home or commercial setting.

Reason it is on the List: Excellent air filtration, ozone-free ionization, 10 color options and a lifetime warranty.

User reviews:

  • Best pro: “The default HEPA filter was OK on cigarette smoke and wood-burning smoke in my 900-foot workshop. I changed it after a few months to the one especially for smoke [HEPA-Freshplus], and smoke smells disappear quickly.”
  • Best con: “We have a fireplace on the deck, and smoke comes in the house a lot in the summer and fall with people in and out. This unit works well, but not better than the cheaper Honeywell ($175) model we had for years that finally broke. If you don’t have a heavy smoker in the house or bad allergies, you might get by with a less expensive model.”

Room Size: Up to 1100 square feet.

Smoke Rating: Unknown

Features:

  • Smart Sensor monitors the air
  • 4 fan speeds
  • Auto-mode: The air purifier automatically adjusts to the fan speed needed for air cleaning
  • Sleep/Lights-off mode for nighttime
  • Timer
  • Non-ozone emitting ionizer is safe and can be turned off

Features Rating: 5 – No remote, but otherwise outstanding.

Filter Rating: 5 – True HEPA filter with optional ionizer to remove particles from the air without clogging the filter. Also, you have four main filter options:

  • Standard HEPA-Pure (dust & allergies)
  • HEPA-Silver (Plus mold, germs, asthma-causing pollutants)
  • HEPA-Freshplus (Plus Smoke, VOCs)
  • HEPA-Odorcell (Best for pet and diaper odors)

Efficiency Rating: 5 – Energy Star certified

Quality Rating: 5 – Very good quality should last 10+ years.

Warranty Rating: 5 – Lifetime warranty is the best in the industry.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5. We didn’t make this unit our Best Overall due to its higher cost.

Where’s Dyson?

Many readers come looking for a Dyson air purifier on our list. Dyson makes excellent air purifiers, coming up second-best in some of our categories.

However, the ratings we gave to Dyson coupled with their higher cost kept them from being chosen best in any area.

See our complete Dyson Air Purifier Reviews and Buying Guide for all the details. There are buying options there too.

What About Molekule?

Molekule air purifiers are truly innovative with PECCO, or photo electrochemical oxidation.

They are outstanding air purifiers, as independent testing has shown. We think they’ll prove to be durable. Molekule didn’t make this year’s list because the technology is so new. Perhaps we’ll have a better idea of the Molekule air purifier durability in a year or two.

Here is out Molekule Review and Buying Guide

Guide Section

If you’re here, you’d probably like more information before buying an air purifier for smoke.

That’s what we’re going to cover.

What Makes an Air Purifier Good for Smoke?

Carbon, carbon, carbon. And HEPA.

An activated carbon filter is a smoke eater. Carbon is extremely porous. One pound of carbon has the surface area of an acre.

Think about it. One pound of carbon ash, like scooped out of the firepit or fireplace, has a surface area of 43,560 square feet.

That’s a lot of surface space for smoke particles and other pollutants to stick too.

Why does smoke stick to carbon?

Because the activated carbon is charged with positive ions to attract negative-charged smoke. Opposites attract, and that means cleaner air for your home, office, cabin, mancave or RV.

Here’s a technical definition for the many readers that appreciate the technology behind cleaner air. It is from Science Direct.

Activated carbon is purified, powdered charcoal. It is treated physically or chemically to generate microfissures that vastly increase its adsorptive surface area. The large surface area (between 500 and 1500 m2/g) and electrical charge effectively adsorb a wide range of compounds, notably phenols and their derivatives.”

Smoke is loaded with phenols! Activated carbon absorbs smoky phenols quickly and holds them securely.

Did you say something about charcoal?

Science Direct did. “Activated carbon” is the popular term now, but for a few decades, “activated charcoal” was the preferred term.

Everything from Odor Eaters shoe insoles (still available) to water purification filters used activated charcoal, and still do. Now it is in toothpaste, and you can buy a bag of it and do whatever you want with it. This product offers creative ideas including food coloring and making beauty products.

In short, there is no difference between activated carbon and activated charcoal.

Activated Carbon is Versatile

Every good air purifier has an activated carbon filter, usually a pre-filter or post-filter. Its purpose is the same – to trap the fine particulates in the air that cause odors. That includes smoke, cooking smells, pet smells and more.

The More Carbon, the Better

Most air purifiers for smoke have a thick activated carbon pre-filter that supports the main HEPA filter.

If there’s a lot of smoking going on (cigarettes, cigars, cannabis, pipes) where you are, then the activated carbon pre-filters will do most of the job, but maybe not all.

For heavy smoke of any kind, consider an activated carbon monster like the Airpura Air Purifier Control for Heavy Tobacco Smoke.

There isn’t a carbon pre-filter. In this model, it is called a “carbon bed.”

The main filter is a 26-pound activated carbon filter. If it is worth the extra money to get the best activated carbon air purifier available for less than $1,000, don’t hesitate to buy this one. It is highly rated because it works.

True HEPA

Not much needs to be said here. A true HEPA filter, not a “HEPA-like” filter as some cheap brands offer, is part of any air purifier worth considering. 

What About Ionizers for Smoke?

Ionizers create negatively charged ions and emit them into the air.

The good: Those ions attract pollutants like smoke, the chemicals in smoke, VOCs and other really harmful pollutants.

The charged particles then cling to walls, the ceiling, cabinets, etc., through static electricity. It doesn’t remove or filter them out, it just secures them to objects. The pollution remains in your home or workplace, but isn’t loose to be breathed.

The bad: Those charged ions can be breathed. They will cling to your breathing passages. If you’re healthy, it might not cause issues or be notices.

But if you have asthma, an ionizer will almost certainly make your symptoms worse or cause an attack. That is well-documented. The EPA created a bulletin on ionizers. It’s worth reading before you buy one.

If the air purifier with an ionizer also has a true HEPA filter, it might still be worth buying. Most ionizer features can be turned off. We can’t recommend using an ionizer, but a HEPA air purifier with the ionizer turned off can be a good air cleaner.

Non-conventional Technologies to Consider

There are three technologies advertised as better than traditional technology.

PlasmaTrue: This one is a fraud. It’s just an ionizer from AeraMax. The company seems to be taking a clue from Winix’s PlasmaWave technology. It’s not worth buying an AeraMax for PlasmaTrue. The brand’s units are excellent even if you turn the PlasmaTrue off, which we suggest you do.

PlasmaWave: This technology from Winix offers good and bad, in our opinion.

First the bad. PlasmaWave releases a small amount of ozone. The amount is much lower than the ozone released by ionizers, but is might cause issues to those with severe asthma. Either choose another brand or be sure to run a Winix PlasmaWave air purifier with this function turned off. Winix, even without PlasmaWave, provides true HEPA filtrations. Most models also have activated carbon filters for smoke and odors.

The upside to PlasmaWave is that it emits hydroxyls, which are molecules demonstrated in multiple independent tests to be a safe alternative to ionization. Winix says that its technology, “Creates Hydroxyls to instantly neutralize bacteria, VOCs, odors and gases while emitting no harmful ozone.” Hydroxyl, or -OH, has a negative charge which attracts pollutants with a positive charge. Once the molecules are attached, new combinations occur which change the harmful substances to less harmful or harmless substances.

PECCO (Molekule): The Molekule brand air purifier uses a PECCO filter. PECCO stands for photo electrochemical oxidation. Specifically, according to Molekule, “A chemical reaction occurs when a nanoparticle-coated filter is activated by light, breaking down harmful pollutants to their most basic molecular components.” The harmful pollutants changed at the molecular level by PECCO include smoke and other VOCs.

The research seems to be clear – this technology is safe and effective. Molekule air purifiers are costly though, and they don’t use a true HEPA filter. Using one in conjunction with a True HEPA model would be a very effective way to clean the air in your home.

See our Molekule Review and Buying Guide for complete information.

Tips for Using an Air Purifier for Smoke

These are common-sense tips for reducing smoke in the air you breathe.

1. Smoke outside or near an open window with a fan facing out the window, when possible

2. When not possible, designate one room as a smoking room. The best smoking rooms have tightly closing doors and windows located across from one another to improve airflow in and out. Fans are useful in pushing out smoky air and pulling in fresh outside air.

3. Select an air purifier for smoke that fits the space you want to purify of harmful smoke toxins.

4. Consider a whole-house ventilator. An HRV/Heat Recovery Ventilator is the best choice for a cool/cold climate. An ERV/Energy Recovery Ventilator is best for warmer climates. Both types exchange polluted indoor air for fresh outside air. They can make the job of an air purifier for smoke quite a bit easier.

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