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Air purifiers are devices that can remove particles, including those from smoke, from the air. People living in areas where wildfires are common may benefit from these devices.
A quick look at 4 of the best air purifiers for smoke
Air purifiers are devices that filter small particles from the air. These particles may be from:
Air purifiers usually have one or more filters and a fan, which together circulate and filter the air in a room.
Most devices require new filters after a certain amount of time. Each product’s manufacturer will include information about which filter the device requires in the product manual.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends purchasing an air purifier and taking certain other measures to reduce the effect of wildfire smoke. People should also keep up to date on air quality reports and stay inside if there is smoke in the air.
A 2021 study suggests that even lower-cost air filtration units with a Minimum Efficiency Rating Value-13 (MERV-13) are highly effective at reducing indoor fine particulate matter in a single room, and may reduce exposure to wildfire smoke.
Medical News Today chooses products that fit the following criteria:
- Budget: We choose products that are suitable for a range of budgets.
- Suitability: We choose products that are suitable for a range of room sizes.
- Features: We choose products that have a range of features, such as displays and extra filtration.
Below are some air purifiers available online that may be beneficial for reducing the effects of wildfire smoke.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.
Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.
Best for fast filtering: Blueair Blue Pure 211+ Auto
- Price: around $340
- Dimensions: 20 x 13 x 13 inches (in)
- Clean air delivery rate (CADR): 353 cubic feet per minute (cfm)
- Room size: 550 square foot (sq. ft)
This air purifier filters the air at a rate of five times per hour.
The Blueair Blue Pure 211+ Auto uses a HEPASilent filter and has a three-part filtration system:
- fabric prefilter that captures large particles
- combination particle and carbon filter to capture odors
- particle filter that removes airborne particles
Some additional features of this product include a power usage of 4–28W, a 360-degree air intake and three speed options. It also has a filter replacement indicator.
Blueair offers free shipping, a 60-day returns policy, and a free extended warranty.
Best for smaller rooms: Levoit LV-H135
- List price: around $250
- Dimensions: 11.2 x 11.2 x 20.9 in
- CADR: 212 cfm
- Room size: 463 sq. ft
The Levoit LV-H135 uses a HEPA filter that traps 99.97% of particles, including dust, pollen, and smoke.
The device has a noise level of 26–54 decibels (dB), a power usage of 40W, and an LED air quality information display.
In addition, it features a timer function and a 360-degree, three-stage filtration system.
Levoit offers free shipping, a 30-day returns policy, and a 2-year limited warranty.
Best for open concept spaces: Alen Breathesmart 75i True HEPA Air Purifier
- List price: around $742
- Dimensions: 27-in x 18.5-in x 11.5-in
- CADR: 347 cfm
- Room size: 1300 ft2
With the Breathesmart, people can choose from three HEPA filters. These remove up to 99.9% of particles:
- Pure: This filter captures allergens, dust, mold, and germs.
- Fresh: This filter captures allergens, dust, mold, germs, cooking odors, smoke, and volatile organic compounds.
- Pet: This filter captures allergens, dust, mold, germs, pet dander, and pet odors.
Additional features of this device include a noise level of 24–49 dB, a power usage of 1.8–45W, and automatic fans.
The company offers free shipping, and a forever guarantee upon registration of a device.
Best for offices: Molekule Air Pro
- List price: around $2,000
- Dimensions: 11 x 11 x 23.1 in
- CADR: no information
- Room size: 1000 sq. ft
Molekule state that the Air Pro model is suitable for business spaces and large rooms, with a range of 1000 sq. ft. This air purifier uses a multi-layer photoelectrochemical oxidation (PECO) filter. The company claims that this breaks down air pollutants at a molecular level.
The Air Pro has two automatic fan speed modes, standard and quiet. Sensors automatically change the speed as they detect particles, VOCs, CO2, and humidity.
The company offers a limited 2-year warranty.
The following tables compares the air purifiers in this article on price, CADR, dimensions, and more.
The EPA recommends that people consider the following factors when purchasing an air filter:
- Clean air delivery rate (CADR): An air filter should have a CADR that is high enough for the room a person intends to use it in.
- Fan speeds and run time: Air filters with higher fan speeds and longer run times will be able to filter more air.
- Filter type: Devices with HEPA filters can remove more, and smaller, airborne particles, while carbon filters can reduce strong odors.
The following table describes the EPA’s guidelines for purchasing an air filter that is suitable for different room sizes:
|Room size (square feet)||100||200||300||400||500||600|
Wildfire smoke contains particle pollutants, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and other toxic air pollutants.
The EPA states that the small size of fine particle pollutants from wildfire smoke mean they enter deep into the lungs. This can cause short- and long-term effects.
Some short-term effects of inhaling wildfire smoke include:
Inhalation of smoke is also linked to premature death.
The EPA states that the following groups of people are more at risk when inhaling smoke:
- People with heart or lung disease: Wildfire smoke can make the symptoms of heart and lung disease worse, and people may experience chest pain or discomfort and shortness of breath.
- Older adults: Heart and lung disease are more common in older adults.
- Children and teenagers: Asthma is more common in children and teenagers than adults. Additionally, these groups breathe in more air per pound of body weight than adults and are more likely to be active outdoors.
- People with diabetes: People with diabetes are more likely to have underlying chronic conditions that may become worse after inhaling smoke.
- Pregnant people: Wildfire smoke can cause potential health problems in pregnant people and their babies.
Below are some common questions about these products.
What is the best air purifier for smoke?
The EPA recommends that people purchase air purifiers that use HEPA filters. These filters can remove up to 99.97% of airborne particles, including those from smoke. Some people may wish to purchase a device that also uses a carbon filter, which can help remove smoke odors.
It is important to purchase an air purifier that can filter the air inside a room. People should look at the CADR of an air purifier and the room size the manufacturer suggests.
How often do people need to change filters?
The manufacturer will include information on when to change filters in the user manual. Some devices may have a filter display that alerts people when it needs changing.
It is important to replace filters when the manufacturer recommends. Filters that need changing will not clean the air as well or as efficiently as clean filters.
What else can people do to reduce indoor smoke from wildfires?
The EPA recommends the following actions to help reduce indoor smoke during a wildfire if a person has not received instructions to evacuate:
- keeping windows and doors closed
- using fans and air conditioners to stay cool
- reducing the amount of smoke that comes into the home by using heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems or evaporative coolers
- using a portable air filter
- avoiding activities such as smoking, using gas or wood stoves, spraying aerosol products, and burning candles
- using N95 respirators
- airing out rooms when the air quality improves
Is there a device that absorbs cigarette smoke?
Air purifiers can help reduce odors and contaminants from smoke, but may not be able to get rid of them entirely. People should look for products that use HEPA and carbon filters.
Air purifiers may help reduce the harmful chemicals and odors that are indoors during a wildfire. The EPA recommends using air purifiers alongside other methods to reduce the harmful effects of wildfires.
People should stay inside, keep their windows and doors closed, and try to minimize the amount of smoke that comes into the home. If the state or federal government advises evacuation, a person should do so as quickly as possible.