The Air Purifier Smoke Eater Club
As a quick overview, air purifiers draw air from a given space into the unit and then have it pass through several layers of filtering devices within the unit and then the recycled air is released back into the room, through a vent from the unit, as clean or purified air.
Can Air Purifiers Remove Smoke?
With respect to smoke, air purifiers or air cleaners not only remove the harmful airborne particles but also work to eliminate the odor. This is especially important for smoke given its impact on indoor air quality. Smoke is often noticeable as an irritant for multiple reasons, such as:
- It is an irritant when breathed into the lungs
- It can irritate the eyes
- It can irritate the nose...and it smells
What causes smoke and what are the common sources for it? In a nutshell smoke is the result of incomplete combustion when the fuel or source is not completely burned due to inadequate oxygen supply.
Here are the common sources of smoke particular matter that can be immediately addressed by an air purifier smoke eater:
- Tobacco (use of cigarettes, cigars, pipes, etc.)
- Cannabis (use of joints, vapes, pipes, etc.)
- Wood Burning Fireplaces
While visible smoke is mostly carbon soot, tar, oils, and ash; the invisible constituents are a collection of tiny solid, liquid and gas particles composed of different chemicals that can be quite dangerous. In fact, about 3/4 of home fire victims die from the smoke rather than the fire.
Moreover, Tobacco smoke contains thousands of organic and inorganic chemicals. With respect to the gas phase, cigarette smoke includes nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, CO, acetaldehyde, methane, hydrogen cyanide, nitric acid, acetone, acrolein, ammonia, methanol, hydrogen sulfide, hydrocarbons, gas phase nitrosamines, and carbonyl compounds. - Borgerding and Klus 2005.
If you live in an environment with excess smoke, you need an air purifier smoke eater, and some air purifiers can eat more and better than others. So, our recommendation of the "best air purifier for smoke" focuses on the more/better approach to remove smoke and address related air quality concerns.
Typically, for air purifiers with traditional filters, smoke consumption is accomplished by HEPA Filters (to remove the air pollutants, fine particles, and the visible smoke elements) and Activated Carbon Filters (to adsorb gases and chemicals...and odor). Together, they form a very effective air pollutants filtration system.
What are the Best Air Purifiers For Smoke?
The Airpura V600 and V614 add a Pre-filter before the True HEPA Filter and Super HEPA Filter respectively, and pack 18 pounds of carbon.
The Airpura T600DLX uses a special Tar-trapping Pre-Filter and Super HEPA Filter and packs 26 pounds of carbon.
The AllerAir Pro 5 HDS and AllerAir Pro 6 HDS use a special Tar-trapping Pre-Filter along with Super HEPA and 23/28 pounds of carbon respectively, that's 3.5 inches thick.
Best for Wildfire Smoke
Best for Heavy Tobacco Smoke or Cigarette Smoke
Typically, for air purifiers without HEPA filters, smoke consumption is accomplished by breaking apart the molecules of the polluted air and converting it into pure air.
The Airocide APS-200 PM 2.5 (although it does use MERV-12 Media) core technology contains two catalytic converters that help to break down and destroy harmful smoke particles. This technology was designed originally by NASA for use in space and is now available for your home.