Best Air Purifiers for Smoke, Smog: 2023 Reviews, Top Brands, Ratings


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May 04, 2023

Best Air Purifiers for Smoke, Smog: 2023 Reviews, Top Brands, Ratings

By Jon Adams If you purchase an independently reviewed product

By Jon Adams

If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, Rolling Stone may receive an affiliate commission.

Whether you live in close proximity to someone who routinely smokes cigarettes or you live in an area affected by wildfires, regular exposure to the microscopic particles found in smoke can have a devastating effect on your lungs and overall health. So what do you do when the thing you’re trying to protect yourself against is not only invisible to the naked eye, but is hiding in the air you’re breathing?

Your answer might vary depending on the smoke you’re dealing with in your home. If you’re trying to protect yourself from the smoke and smog produced by wildfires, you may think that shutting your windows and doors is enough to keep you safe. But actually, there is evidence that suggests that some of these damaging particles can penetrate entryways even when they’re closed.

If you’re trying to combat the nuisance that is cigarette smoke, consider investing in an air purifier to smoke to try to repel the smell. These days, many companies are making air purifiers specifically for smoke and smog.

What Are the Best Air Purifiers for Smoke and Smog?

How Does An Air Purifier Work for Smoke?

How We Chose Air Purifiers for Smoke and Smog

There are a number of brands making air purifiers for smoke and smog, but these are our top choices, based on filtration efficacy, odor reduction, and air turnover rate.

BEST OVERALL: Levoit LV-PUR131 Air Purifier

BEST DESIGNED: Molekule Air Pro

BEST FEATURES: Blueair Blue Pure 211+ Auto

BEST STARTER: Levoit H13 True HEPA Filter

We love this purifier's very impressive three-stage filtration system, which can rid the air of heavy smoke and nasty odors in rooms up to 900 square feet in just an hour. If you really want to make sure that the air in your room is clean, turn on the "Smart Auto" feature, which will not only allow the purifier to evaluate the air quality of the room, but change its fan speed to fit the situation. The device's nifty sleep mode helps create a peaceful, soothing environment while keeping the air free of harmful particles.

In terms of filter replacement, you should only need to change it every 6-8 months. However, you can monitor the filter's life on the handy VeSync app, so you’ll never have to be left guessing as to when it's time to replace it.

Buy Levoit PUR131 Air Purifier $179.99

This air purifier from Molekule boasts a smooth and portable design and is easy to use, either by the touch-screen display or from your smartphone via the iPhone and Android app. By using a process known as Photo Electrochemical Oxidation, this purifier traps and breaks down all volatile organic compounds (VOCs); in other words, it literally replaces the air in the room, keeping you safe from wildfire smoke and dust. Designed to purify rooms up to 600 square feet, we recommend placing this in a bedroom or living room.

Buy Molekule Air Pro $799.99

Once you start looking at all of the capabilities and features, it's easy to see why the Blueair Blue Pure 211+ Auto was selected as Amazon's choice air purifier. For starters, it promises to completely filter the air in large rooms every 12.5 minutes, targeting up to 99 percent of fine particles from wildfires as well as pollen, dust and pet dander. And while it's powerful it doesn't utilize a lot of energy. In fact, all three speed settings use less energy than the average light bulb; the filter itself is ENERGY Star certified, so you can sustainably purify your air.

Buy Blueair BluePure 211+ Auto $319.00

If you’re looking for a more inexpensive option, we recommend this best-selling model from Levoit. It's powerful enough to refresh the air five times per hour, though it's smaller size lends itself to working in rooms up to 219 square feet.

Our favorite quality of this purifier is its capability to support different filters; you also have the ability to choose the filter that best suits your situation. Whether you’re looking to combat wildfire smoke or rid the space of pesky allergens, you can ensure your needs will always be met. But don't just take our word for it, head on over to Amazon and read any one of the over 35,000 five-star reviews. One user wrote that out of the five air purifiers they went through and tested, this stood out as the best of the bunch.

Buy Levoit Air Purifier for Dust and Smoke $99.99

The best air purifiers for smoke remove contaminants from the air through a circulating fan and one or more filters. The fan sucks up the air in the room the device is placed in, and pushes it through the filters, where all of the contaminants are removed and trapped. The purified air is then pushed back out into the room.

Air purifiers equipped with HEPA filters specifically can reduce particle concentrations by up to 85%, according to the EPA. This is because smoke particles (like from cigarettes) tend to be between 0.1 and 1.0 microns in size, but a True HEPA filter can remove 99.97% of particles up to 0.3 microns in size. One thing to consider, though, is that cigarette smoke can contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that a HEPA filter won't work well for, which is where an activated carbon filter comes in. The more carbon in the filter, the more effective it will be against VOCs.

By investing in a solid air purifier, you can have peace of mind that the air you’re breathing while in your living space is clean. That said, these devices aren't a be-all end-all solution to removing smoke and smog. Still, a good air purifier can definitely help keep you safe when implemented along with other safety precautions, such as sealing any openings, wearing face coverings (in cases of extreme smoke) and evacuating the premises if the smoke gets too close or dangerous.

When we were evaluating potential air purifiers for smoke and smog, we considered the following criteria (and you should too).

Filter: The average air purifier isn't equipped to handle the contaminants found in smog or cigarette smoke. We chose purifiers outfitted with a HEPA filter to effectively safeguard your space against these particles, as well as a carbon filter to ward off those pungent odors.

You’ll also want to take a look at how often your filter(s) need to be replaced (more smoke means a dirtier filter, quicker). This could be an important factor when assessing your decision if replacement filters are particularly costly.

Size: Bigger rooms and living spaces need a larger air purifier to work effectively, so we made sure these air purifiers could either handle big rooms or had a high enough air turnover rate that they would remain effective no matter the space.

Noise: To make sure you’re getting the most out of your air purifier, you should be running it all day, every day. Because of this, you’re not going to want one that makes a lot of noise, especially if you’re someone who is still working from home or who is a light sleeper. We picked air purifiers with relatively silent operation, or at the very least have a "quiet" mode.

What Are the Best Air Purifiers for Smoke and Smog? How Does An Air Purifier Work for Smoke? How We Chose Air Purifiers for Smoke and Smog BEST OVERALL: BEST DESIGNED: BEST FEATURES: BEST STARTER: 1. Levoit LV-PUR131 Air Purifier 2. Molekule Air Pro 3. Blueair Blue Pure 211+ Auto 4. Levoit H13 True HEPA Filter Filter: Size: