What is the Best Air Purifier to Get Rid of Smoke Smell?

When looking for air purifier for removing smoke smell, you need a unit that can get rid of:

  • Cigarette smoke and its smell
  • Wood smoke and smell
  • Burnt cooking smoke
  • Wildfire smoke and its smell
  • Dust, mold, pollen, other air contaminants

The main reason why people look for air purifiers to get rid of smoke is … cigarette smoke!

If you are a smoker, you must hate having to go outside every time you have to smoke. Besides, you do not want your family to be affected by secondary smoke.

To solve the problem of tobacco, or other smoke lurking indoors too long, get a high quality air purifier. Any unit that we have reviewed here can serve you very well.

Check these quick links to some of the top air purifying units on Amazon.com that get rid of smoke, and the smell of smoke from your indoor spaces:

BLUEAIR Air Purifier Large Room

Medify MA-50 Air Purifier with H13 True HEPA Filter

HATHASPACE Smart Air Purifiers for Large Spaces

Alen FLEX Air Purifier, Quiet Air Flow for Large Spaces

How air purifier removes smoke from the air

How air purifier removes smoke from the air

The secret is in the filter type that the unit you buy uses. Therefore, you must insist on getting one that has a HEPA filter.

But even then, you have to understand something about the smoke particles. Are they big or are they small?

What is the size of smoke molecules?

The size of tobacco and weed smoke particles is 0.1 microns to 0.5 microns.

This is really small! However, don’t worry because modern HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Arrestor) filters can handle most of these tiny wee bit particles.

Most HEPA filters can remove particles that are minuscule, say, up to 0.3 microns in size.

This is where most virus, bacteria, dust, mold spores and other indoor air pollutants fall.

If the pollutant is bigger than 0.3 microns, the HEPA air purifier filter such as you find in Honeywell Air Purifiers is going to help.

But then, we have already mentioned that smoke particles are really small, say, about 0.1 microns in size.

Don’t worry! There are special HEPA filter air purifiers that are specially made for removing such small smoke particles.

For instance, the LEVOIT Air Purifiers for Home Large Room that you can buy on Amazon.com has H13 True HEPA Filter.

It can help with smoke, dust, pet dander, pollen, dust mites, mold spores and other common indoor air pollutants.

Smart features and functions

This is another important consideration when you are buying an air purifier for smoke, dust removal and other pollutants.

Smart features include function such as automatic start and stop. Of course, this means that the air purifier must have a built-in air quality monitor.

Thus, when the air is clean, the monitor triggers a message to the circuit board, which then activates the on/off function.  

The unit can start running automatically even when you are not at home. This maintains the indoor air in a constant state of purity.

Check the noise level of the air purifier. With a low noise level, you can sleep through the night while the unit runs in the background.

Get an air purifier that is Energy Star rated. It will save energy, so it will not rack up your energy bill too much.

Energy efficiency is especially vital if you live in a place that has high air pollution.

Why air purifier with HEPA filter alone is not enough to remove smoke

Just because an air purifier has a HEPA filter does not mean it is going to remove cigarette, or any other smoke from your indoor air.

The reason is that smoke particles are smaller than 0.3 microns. Most TRUE HEPA filters are only going to remove pollutants that are bigger than 0.3 microns.

When you are buying your unit, look for a HEPA filter grade that is specially made to filter out particles as small as 0.1 microns.

What is the best air filter for smoke?

To cut to the chase, get an air purifier that has a carbon filter.

There is a reason for this.

You see, removing the smoke and removing the smoke odor are two different things.

The odor cannot really be “filtered” out since it is not a particle. It can only be absorbed!

This is why you have to find an air purifier with a carbon filter.

Now, in the design of the true HEPA filter, there is actually another filter behind it. This is a carbon filter for absorbing the smoke odor from the air.

Precisely, this filter contains activated carbon, which absorbs smells. Such an air purifier can also remove formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds (VOC).

Even then, do not buy an air purifier on the promise of it having activated carbon. Some vendors will claim that their units contain activated carbon.

However, if the units are cheap, they most likely contain just a pinch of activated carbon.

They can’t do a good job of removing tobacco smoke odor from your indoor air. You will not get good value for your money.

Look for an air purifier with a lot of activated carbon, even up to 1000 grams. It might cost more, but it is definitely worth it.

How to choose an air purifier for smoke smell

If you are looking to purify air in a commercial space such as a restaurant, you will need the best large room air purifier for smoke removal. There are so many of these in the market.

Three important things matter very much when you are choosing an air purifier for a large room:

  • Space rating
  • ACH – air changes per hour
  • Air filtration method

Space rating

If you have a large home, you need a large room air purifier to remove the smoke and the odor.

Air purifiers, humidifiers and dehumidifiers come with space rating.

If you buy a small air purifier, it will not serve you very well. In fact, it might not remove smoke and odor from your rooms.

To know whether a unit is going to be enough for your room, you need to have an idea of how big the space is.

This is easy since you just need to know the length, width and height of the room.

Air changes per hour

Let’s demonstrate this by a simple example:

If the unit has an air changes per hour rating of 5 times an hour, it means it changes air over five times an hour. That’s pretty high and most units do 3 to 4.8 times an hour.

You might also want to check the CFM rating. This means cubic feet per minute, a unit that’s used to measure air movement through the air purifier.

To calculate the CFM of a unit, just find the cubic size of the room (in feet) that you intend to use the unit in.

Multiply it by the ACH of the unit (given by manufacturer) and then divide by 60 to know how much air it will move per hour.

{Length X Width X Height of room} X ACH/60

This is just an example that we are giving here. However, you get why size and space considerations are so important when buying an air purifier.

For large rooms, try the BISSELL® air280 Smart Purifier that you can buy on Amazon.com.

It has HEPA and Carbon Filters, so it does a great job of capturing smoke and odor from your indoor air.

Three stage filtration

It also has a large space rating of up to 1350 square feet. It also has three-stage filtration, so it can remove large as well as very fine particles or pollutants.

The filter with activated carbon captures odors and gasses, VOCs and others.

This unit has air change per hour rating of three times in an hour.

With an ACH of three, the air passes slowly through the carbon filter so that it can remove the odor.

If it passes through the filters too fast, the carbon won’t be able to absorb all the odor.

6 other ways to remove smoke smell from your house

If you do not want to use an air purifier to remove smoke smell from your indoor air, there are other ways.

These are DIY (Do It Yourself) cigarette smoke removal tips. And they are effective. 

But they will never match the effectiveness of an air purifier for smoke removal, especially when there is intense smoke odor.

Try some of the following ways:

1. Use white vinegar

White vinegar is very good for neutralizing smells. Therefore, pour small to medium amounts of it and place them at different points in the room.

Leave them overnight or even for a bit longer than that, and they are going to neutralize the smell.

Even if you place too much of white vinegar in the room, it cannot do any harm.

White vinegar is also a good cleaning product for removing mold, so you can use it to clean different areas in your home.

2. Wash your clothes with baking soda

Like white vinegar, baking soda is also very good for removing cigarette smoke from your clothing.

You need to pay attention to the clothes because they absorb the smoke.

To remove the smell of tobacco smoke from your clothes, use baking soda in the washing machine or in the sink when handwashing.

Add one or more cups of baking soda to the washing machine, or to your basin with soapy water.  You can add more baking soda if you think it is necessary.

3. Open the windows and run your fans

Opening the window brings in fresh air while the stale air escapes. This is also a good time to keep the fans running.

They will whip the air over and over again, pushing it out of the house through the ventilation and whipping fresh air back in.

An exhaust fan might help too. It pulls the humid air out of the house.

The most important thing here is to try and get as much of the smoke filled air outside and bring fresh air in.

4. Remove your carpets and clean them

Old carpets can soak up a lot of tobacco smell over the years. It can be really hard to clean the smoke out of them.

Tear the old carpets out and install new ones. While you are at it, also remove other soft surfaces on your walls.

You can replace them with new ones. If the carpets are not too old, you can clean them thoroughly.

5. Steam cleaning your furniture

If you have upholstered furniture, it has been absorbing smoke. It has been contributing to the strong smell of cigarette smoke in your home.

Steam-cleaning the upholstered furniture, your carpets and any soft surface in your home can help a great deal.

Also, cleaning with steam is very effective for removing dust mites, pet dander and grease that builds up in small nooks and crannies over time.

Remember, steam cleaning involves using heat, so you might want to hire professionals for the job.

6. Prevent smoking smell in the house altogether

13 out of 100 American adults smoke cigarettes. If you are one of them, and you smoke a lot in your house, you might consider stopping altogether.

This is the best, long-term solution to cigarette smoke smell in the house, in your car, in your office and elsewhere.

However, if you cannot stop, just consider giving your indoor space a deep steam cleaning every so often.

Cook carefully, to prevent burning your food because that produces a nasty smell that can linger for weeks.

If wildfire smoke finds its way into your indoor spaces, you will need to use all the techniques to remove the smoke smell, and run an air purifier.

Wrapping it up

Investing in an air purifier that can remove smoke, odor, dust, formaldehyde, and mold spores can make your indoor spaces comfortable and enjoyable to live in.

A modern air purifier uses less electricity, so it is not going to rack up your electricity bill.

Choose a unit that comes with air quality sensors, auto on/off so that it can keep your air clean all the time, even when you are traveling.

Stay up to date on your appliance’s health. If it needs filter cleaning or replacement, do it in good time.