Smoke (especially wildfire smoke) is impossible to get rid of.
Not true at all.
Cigarette smoke, wildfire smoke, even cigar, and weed smoke can be effectively removed. The device that helps you do that is an air purifier for smoke. Preferably one specialized in removing high concentrations of smoke (HEPA + activated carbon filters). The best air purifiers for wildfire smoke are those with the highest ‘smoke CADR’ rating.
Nobody really likes the smell of smoke, be it from a wildfire or cigarettes. We all want to get rid of it immediately. The reason for this is simple:
Not all air purifiers are best for smoke removal, however.
Luckily, the AHAM (Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers) has introduced its ANSI/AHAM AC-1 procedure. It’s a boring-sounding name for the procedure, but this test does one job very well:
ANSI/AHAM AC-1: It determines which air purifiers are the best for smoke.
This test provides conditions for the measurement of the smoke CADR rating. What is the smoke CADR rating?
Simply put, smoke CADR is a 0-450 specification (#1 Medify MA-112 is a powerhouse with 500 smoke CADR) that tells you how well a smoke air purifier removes 0.09–1.0 µm large particles of smoke.
Higher smoke CADR rating equates to better smoke removal in air purifiers.
Here’s the bottom line:
AHAM has developed a rating that tells you how air purifiers perform when it comes to smoke removal. It’s just a single specification. You can literally gather all air purifiers, put their specification sheets side-by-side, and compare which one has a higher rating.
And that’s exactly what we did in our comparison of the best air purifiers for smoke (both for cigarette smokers and for smoke coming from wildfires):
List Of The Best Air Purifiers For Smoke (With Highest Smoke CADR Rating)
Below the smoke air purifier comparison table, you will find the explanation of which air purifier filters actually remove smoke (activated carbon and HEPA filters).
Be sure to check the reviews of all air purifiers for smoke found in this table further on:
(Scroll right, and down)
Smoke Air Purifiers Reviews
Smoke consists of airborne particles that are less than 1 micron in size. In fact, more than 99% of smoke particles are sized between 0.09 µm and 1.0 µm.
To review air purifiers that are best suited to remove cigarette, wildfire, cigar, and weed smoke, we need to look at the following specifications:
Filters That Are Best For Smoke Removal
Here is the most important takeaway when it comes to the best air purifier for smoke:
The golden standard for smoke (be tobacco or wildfire smoke) is the combination of activated carbon filters and HEPA filters.
Here’s the deal when it comes to smoke:
You don’t need additional filters like UV-light (that’s for mold and bacteria). Nor do you need fancy PECO-filters Molekule air purifiers are known for.
To pick the best air purifier for smoke, we need to look at the quality of only two kinds of filters:
- Activated carbon filter. Also referred to as a charcoal filter, it’s designed to remove odors, including smoke smell (gas form).
- HEPA filter. The best ones for smoke are True H13 HEPA filters; they catch and remove all varieties of smoke particles (solid form).
The most effective smoke air purifiers use a powerful fan to push air through HEPA filters. HEPA filters are mechanical filters made out of polyolefin polymers and glass.
“Existing high HEPA filters filter particles of more than 0.3 μm with 99.97% efficiency fibers.” (ScienceDirect)
That’s exactly what is needed to filter out smoke particles effectively.
We also need to take care of the smoke smell. That’s why the best air purifiers for smoke include activated carbon filters; the thicker filter, the better.
These carbon-based filters adsorb volatile organic compounds (in a gaseous state) like smoke smell.
HEPA filters stop solid particles by mechanical action, and charcoal filters stop gaseous smoke smell by gas adsorption.
The result of actions of both these filters is measured by AHAM’s smoke CADR rating:
Smoke CADR Rating (Up To 450)
HEPA filters, in combination with an activated carbon filter, is all that’s needed.
The bigger the smoke CADR value, the better.
How to pick the best air purifier for smoke?
Simple: Look for air purifiers with the maximum smoke CADR rating. This is all that’s needed; always look for the sheer power of high smoke CADR rating.
You won’t find a CADR rating for all air purifiers. Producers need to ask AHAM to measure and certify the rating voluntarily; those air purifier brands who know they will score high CADR rating, will usually opt-in. This also assures you that the rating is valid.
In comparing smoke air cleaners above, you will find air purifiers primarily ranked based on the smoke CADR rating. Further on, you will find individual reviews of each purifier (check them out before buying one, or three for 3 rooms).
These are the primary specifications when choosing the best air purifiers for smoke. Let’s look at some secondary specifications:
Max. Coverage Area (540 Sq Ft To 2500 Sq Ft)
The coverage area is related to the smoke CADR rating. In general, a bigger coverage area equates to a higher CADR rating. Here are two examples:
Example 1: Medify MA-112 (#1 pick) has the highest possible smoke CADR rating (450+). It has a maximum coverage area of up to 2,500 sq ft. That means it will remove smoke from large rooms very well.
Example 2: Blueair 211+ (#4 pick) has a high smoke CADR rating. However, it has the lowest coverage area of 540 square feet. That means that it will remove smoke from smaller rooms very well (with multiple ACH).
Power Output And Energy Usage (From 40W To 90W Max.)
Air purifiers for smoke usually run 24/7. That’s why it’s important that they don’t spend a whole lot of electricity.
The maximum power of air purifiers in the list ranges from 40W to 100W. Here is the calculation for the maximum daily electricity cost if we run these smoke air cleaners at maximum speed, with an average kWh price of $0.1319:
- Low electricity cost (45W Alen BreatheSmart 75i): 0.15$/day. Uses about 1 kWh.
- High electricity cost (95W Powerful Medify MA-112): 0.30$/day. Uses a bit more than 2 kWh.
In short, air purifiers for smoke are quite inexpensive as far as electricity costs are concerned. However, the wattage can be a factor when you buy more than 1 unit (people usually buy 2-3 units for 2-3 rooms).
Noise Levels (From 25 dB To 70 dB)
In general, it’s better to have a quiet air cleaner. However, noisy air purifiers tend to remove smoke from indoor air faster.
For the best noise profile, air purifiers for smoke have several fan speed settings. Every setting has its own decibel level. Here is an example of how to use Medify MA-112, which removes smoke particles the fastest on the maximum setting:
- During the day: Use the fast smoke removal setting that produces 60 dB of noise.
- During the night: Use the low-speed fan setting that produces only 30 dB of noise.
Air Purifier For Smoke Prices (From $300 To $900)
The best and most powerful indoor smoke air purifiers cost between $300 and $900.
Well-known brands such as Medify, Blueair and Alen tend to price their air purifiers higher.
The up-and-coming brands such as Levoit are usually more affordable but less reliable.
In the end, you have to review each air purifier for smoke to see if it’s worth the price. That’s exactly what we have done for all the best units here:
1. Medify M-112 (Most Powerful Purifier For Smoke; 500 CADR Rating)
|Max. Coverage Area:||2,500 sq ft|
|Filters:||3-Stage Filtration (H13 Medical-Grade HEPA + Activated Carbon)|
|Power Output:||95 Watts|
|Noise Levels:||Below 70 dB|
|Dimensions:||28.3″ x 15.7″ x 15.4″
(H x W x D)
Medify M-112 is as close to an industrial air purifier for smoke as it gets. With a 500 smoke CADR rating (H13 Medical-Grade HEPA + Activated Carbon filters), it’s more than capable of removing airborne smoke particles and odors. The combination of advanced H13 HEPA filters, with incredible max. coverage of 2,500 sq ft, makes the Medify M-112 the best air purifier for any kind of smoke (including cigarette and wildfire smoke).
For complete smoke removal, you really need a thorough filter. Standard HEPA filters (H10-H12) remove 99.7% of smoke particles that are 0.3 microns in size. Medify-112 uses advanced H13 HEPA filters capable of removing 99.9% of even the smallest 0.1 microns in size smoke particles. That means that the removal of smoke air particles is thorough. Even the smallest smoke particles are caught in its filter.
To generate an airflow through such a dense and thorough filter, you need one thing: Power. That’s why Medify M-112 is one of the most powerful air purifiers in general. With its 95W, it can create a big airflow that pushes air through the H13 HEPA filter. The filter captures the smoke, and the clean air passes through it without problems.
As a result, this big airflow (with dual air intake, mind you) prompts up the Medify M-112’s max. coverage to up to 2,500 sq ft. That’s the largest smoke air purifier; the majority of other air purifiers have a below 1,000 sq ft coverage.
To top it off, Medify M-112 has a 450+ smoke CADR rating. The overall CADR rating is 500; that’s off the scale. For such a powerful and thorough device
2. Blueair Classic 680i (Top-Rated Air Purifier With 450+ Smoke CADR Rating)
|Max. Coverage Area:||698 sq ft|
|Smoke CADR Rating:||450+|
|Filters:||HEPASilent + DualProtection|
|Power Output:||15-100 Watts (EnergyStar)|
|Noise Levels:||32-62 dB|
|Dimensions:||29.2″ x 24.5″ x 16.5″
(H x W x D)
The big Blueair Classic 680i is the quintessential air purifier for smoke. It’s the only one with the maximum 450+ smoke CADR rating; it surpasses all other air purifiers, with the exception of #1 Medify MA-112. In fact, it goes off the AHAM’s smoke CADR scale (maximum is 450, Blueair Classic 680i goes beyond that).
This is a powerhouse air purifier for smoke. With 43.3 lbs and dimensions 29.2″ x 24.5″ x 16.5″, it was designed to handle big quantities of indoor smoke, including:
- Cigarette smoke.
- Wildfire smoke.
- Cigar smoke.
It has top of a line filtration system, including the Blueair’s patented HEPASilent filters with DualProtection tech and a thick activated carbon filter (smoke smell removal).
Such a powerful and thorough air purifier needs up to 100W of energy to run at full speed. However, it’s extremely energy-efficient, and it has even earned a coveted Energy Star rating. That makes Blueair Classic 680i the most energy-efficient smoke air purifier.
The biggest concern is the 62 dB noise levels on maximum fan speed. Such a high fan speed does take care of smoke very quickly; the higher noise level is a trade-off.
Blueair is known to be the best air purifier brand for smoke removal. Their air purifiers have exceptionally high smoke CADR ratings; nonetheless, the Classic 680i model is in its own heavyweight class.
All in all, Blueair Classic 680i is the faster-working big space air purifier for smoke. With such amazing specs and a thorough filtration system, it’s one of the best smoke air purifiers on the market.
3. Levoit LV-H135 (Cheapest Air Purifier For Smoke Under $300)
|Max. Coverage Area:||795 sq ft|
|Smoke CADR Rating:||360|
|Filters:||3-Stage Filtration (HEPA + Activated Carbon)|
|Power Output:||45 Watts|
|Noise Levels:||26 dB or more|
|Dimensions:||24.61″ x 13.38″ x 13.39”
(H x W x D)
Levoit LV-H135 is, spec-wise, one of the best air purifiers for cigarette smoke. The high smoke CADR rating of 360 is the best testimony to its effectiveness against smoke.
What is really incredible with Levoit (and the reason why its price-performance a better unit than Blueair 211+ and Alen 45i) is the exceptionally low price point.
It’s also a very energy-efficient smoke air purifier, running on 45W or less. On top of that, it can produce as low as 25 dB noise levels.
What’s the catch? How come such a great purifier is available at such a low price?
Well, it’s a Chinese brand, and the materials are not of the highest quality. It’s mostly made out of hard plastic; which explains the budget-friendly price point.
With that in mind, the Levoit LV-H135 is the cheapest air purifier for cigarette smoke. It might not have the NASA-grade quality, but it has a crazy high smoke CADR rating and does the job of removing smoke from indoor air very well.
4. Alen BreatheSmart 75i (Quietest Air Purifier For Cigarette Smoke)
|Max. Coverage Area:||1300 sq ft|
|Smoke CADR Rating:||350|
|Filters:||75i True HEPA|
|Power Output:||1.8 – 45 Watts|
|Noise Levels:||25-49 dB|
|Dimensions:||27″ x 18.5″ x 11.5″
(H x W x D)
Now, Alen BreatheSmart 75i is the 1st class air purifier. This is not an air purifier specifically designed to remove smoke. Alen is traditionally one of the best air purifier producers in general.
Given the specifications of the big Alen BreatheSmart 75i air purifier, it’s evident that it works excellent when it comes to smoke.
For one, Alen BreatheSmart 75i is big. It weighs 27 lbs, is powered by up to 45W, and it has a maximal coverage area of 1,300 sq ft. It’s the biggest of all BreatheSmart air purifiers, which were specifically designed to improve sleep quality. To read more about Alen units, you can check out the Alen BreatheSmart reviews here.
Despite being big and powerful, the Alen BreatheSmart 75i is the quietest air purifier for smoke. Its maximum noise level is below 50 dB; remember that it was designed to improve sleep. Good sleep equals a very quiet air purifier.
All in all, Alen air purifiers are top of the line, and the BreatheSmart 75i is the one unit with the highest smoke CADR rating. Obviously, Alen air purifiers aren’t cheap, but they are pretty much the best and most reliable air purifier around.
5. Blueair 211+ (Best Air Purifier For Smoke For Small Rooms)
|Max. Coverage Area:||540 sq ft|
|Smoke CADR Rating:||350|
|Filters:||3-Stage Filtration (HEPA + Activated Carbon)|
|Power Output:||30 – 60 Watts|
|Noise Levels:||32-56 dB|
|Dimensions:||20″ x 13″ x 13″
(H x W x D)
Blueair is one of the most well-known air purifier brands. Their best model – the 211+ – is overall one of the best air purifiers. With a high smoke CADR rating of 350, it works exceptionally well to fight any kind of smoke (cigarette, wildfire smoke).
Blueair 211+ is designed for smaller rooms with up to 540 sq ft. However, in these smaller rooms, it works very fast to remove smoke particles and helps you get rid of the cigarette smell.
It removes smoke with its high-quality 3-stage filtration system. It includes both:
- True H13 HEPA filter.
- Activated carbon filter.
A HEPA filter works well at removing 0.09 µm and 1.0 µm smoke particles. For that, the Blueair 211+ received the AHAM verification certificate that states:
“Verified by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) for performance and Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR).”
If AHAM verifies the official smoke CADR rating of 350, you can bet this is an excellent air cleaner for smoke particles.
It also has an elegant Swedish design and is, compared to Levoit, made out of relatively higher quality materials.
Blueair 211+ is a well-rounded and effective smoke removal air purifier. Given the high brand reputation, its price is well justified as well.
Related Smoke Purifier Question (FAQ)
Do Air Purifier Work For Smoke?
If by ‘work’ you mean ‘remove from air’, then yes, an air purifier can and do work for smoke. HEPA filters and activated charcoal filters capture smoke particles and remove the undesirable smoke smell.
Air purifiers work for all kinds of smoke, including:
- Cigarette smoke.
- Wildfire smoke.
- Weed smoke.
- Cigar and any other tobacco smoke.
What Can Absorb Smoke?
In short, an activated carbon filter can absorb smoke.
These carbon filters are usually in the form of a powdered block with numerous pores. It has a vast active surface area (it’s like human lungs; small but with an incredible surface area). This extensive active surface area adsorbs organic compounds in the air; smoke smell being one of them.
Smoke ‘sticks’ to the porous charcoal filter and is effectively removed from the indoor air circulation.
That’s why all the important air purifier brands – such as Alen BreatheSmart, Blueair, Coway, Winix, Honeywell, Okaysou, Dyson, and even Molekule – include some sort of activated carbon filtration. You can check the best of the best air purifiers here.
Can Smoke Smell Go Through Walls?
In some cases, yes, but not in most cases. Older brick walls are known to conduct smoke. This is troublesome because the lower indoor air quality because of tobacco smoke could be caused by having smoking neighbors in the adjacent apartment.
Luckily, concrete and even modern paints don’t allow for smoke to penetrate through walls.
Do HEPA Filters Remove Smoke?
HEPA filters do remove smoke particles. According to the DOE’s definition of HEPA filters:
“HEPA filters capture 99.97% of particles whose diameter is equal to 0.3 μm.”
That includes smoke particles. However, it does not include the smoke smell. Smoke smell is not a particle, but rather a volatile organic compound (VOCs) like all odors.
HEPA filters don’t capture smoke smell; that’s the job the charcoal filters do well.
Will Charcoal Filters Remove Smoke Smell?
Yes. Charcoal filters are specifically designed to remove bad smells – including removing smoke smell indoors – from indoor air.
You won’t find an air purifier for smoke smell removal without an activated charcoal filter. Smoke smell is a VOC (volatile organic compounds); it’s in a gaseous form and cannot be stopped by mechanic filters like HEPA filters.
Charcoal filters effectively adsorb all VOCs, including smoke smell, and remove them from indoor air circulation.
Overall Look At Smoke Air Purifiers
As we have seen, it’s not all that hard to pick the best air purifier for wildire smoke. We just need which filters remove smoke:
- HEPA filters remove solid smoke particles.
- Gaseous smoke smell is removed by an activated charcoal filter via the process of adsorption.
How well both of these filters and overall air purifier removes smoke is measured by AHAM’s smoke CADR rating.
The higher the smoke CADR rating, the better the air purifier against smoke.
Based on that, the selection of the best air purifier for smoke is quite evident.