We’ve reviewed a ton of purifiers built to eliminate odor in your home. And, there are some truly great options out there. But, we think Austin Air purifiers might offer the most bang for your buck. They pack as much as 15 pounds of odor destroying activated carbon into their machines.
Beyond that, they offer medical-grade HEPA filters that measure as large as 60 square feet. It’s the best air purifier for dog smell, litter box stink, pretty much any odor you can imagine. We really think these units will exceed expectations.
You may not like the Austin Air if:
- You’re kind of lazy… like us. You don’t want to manually turn off/on or adjust the purifier. Austin Air purifiers are very, very basic when it comes to features and connectivity. If you want something that offers the flexibility that will allow you to monitor air quality, adjust settings from your phone you should check out something from AirMega.
- You care about looks. These purifiers aren’t ugly… but nobody will accuse Austin Air of making a pretty purifier. If you have a modern home, or spend a lot of time and money on designing your living space you should look elsewhere. The Austin Air purifiers are not easy to hide, and like many other purifiers they don’t fit in well with most decor. Look at Alen, Rabbit Air, or even the newer Blue Pure filters if you care about style.
- You don’t have a lot of room. These purifiers offer a lot of performance for a good price because they’re bigger than other competitors. They have a huge HEPA filter, a ton of activated carbon, and a powerful fan. Those all require a lot of space… which makes the purifier pretty large.
- You need quiet. The fan in this machine gets a little loud. Okay… maybe a lot loud. But, again, it’s the price you pay for affordable performance. If you’ve been around a Honeywell 50250-S… you probably understand what we mean. Bottom line if you want performance and quiet expect to pay more for your purifier. But, almost any higher end purifier (like an ultra quiet Blueair or Rabbit Air) will better meet your needs.
Don’t get us wrong… we do love Austin Air. But, they’re not for everyone. If you care about appearance, size, or noise we’ve provided some great alternatives below. Scroll down to see our other top picks.
What you need to look for…
If you want a purifier that removes dust and allergens from your home you won’t have much trouble finding one. However, if you want to eliminate odors you will face a much larger challenge. Above all else, identifying the ideal odor eliminating air purifier requires that you look past the clever advertising. You need a purifier built for odor elimination.
The first question to ask is “do air purifiers remove odors?” The good news is that yes, with the right filter a purifier is a beast of an odor eliminator. Our guide to the best air purifier for odor removal will help you sift through the jargon and make an informed decision.
Common Household Odors
Odors come from a wide variety of sources. Whether it’s a diaper bin’s brutal attack on your beautifully decorated nursery, or that foul litter box in the laundry room… your objective is clear. You must kill the smell and get rid of the evidence.
And while everyone from candle makers to purveyors of odor masking sprays will tell you they have the tools you need, the truth is eliminating odor is pretty straight forward.
- First, identify the source. Well used litter box… check.
- Next, eliminate the source. Change the litter…easy.
- The final step, remove any lingering odor from the air. Window open or turn on your new purifier.
But, remember… the best odor eliminating air purifier will come equipped with an activated carbon filter (or pre-filter). Sure, some of the other “tech” works, but activated carbon is really the key.
Pets produce a bulk of the odors buyers seek to eliminate. And, while some significant other might advise us to rethink pet ownership… you and I know that’s not the answer. So, for pet owners who want to tackle allergies and odor. Look for a combination of HEPA filters and activated carbon. The HEPA will strip anything larger than .3 microns from the air and that carbon will lock away any stink that passed through the machine.
For the most part, you won’t need anything too heavy duty for the average dog smell. But, as many of us know cats are responsible for the most difficult to tackle pet odor. Their litter boxes are notorious for producing nearly disabling odors. They can even be hazardous to your health (hint: cat poo has some pretty toxic byproducts). So if you’re battling a litter box, hamster smell, or anything that requires a lot of odor scrubbing power be ready to invest in a better unit.
Odor from Smoking
Smoke is a very intrusive odor. Even if you’re not smoking indoors it will find its way into your home. If you smoke inside; it will damage, furniture, or clothing if you don’t pull it from the air ASAP. That smoke will stain walls, and make itself at home in carpeting and fabric. This is a huge problem for renters and homeowners when it’s time to hand over the keys. We really recommend smoking outside, but know that is sometimes easier said than done. So, look for a lot of carbon and an air purifier that can move a ton of air – fast.
Chemicals, Fumes & VOCs
Volatile Organic Compounds depart many household items and materials only to float around aimlessly in the air you breathe. And, they’re dangerous. VOCs are most commonly found in cleaning supplies, and even the materials used in the construction of your home. Fortunately, things are getting better and regulations are combating the amount of VOC’s common products release. But, since VOCs both dangerous and stinky… we think you should do your part to keep them down. Through ventilation and with the help of a quality purifier.
Unfortunately, VOCs are a form of gas molecule, which are very small, about 0.001 microns. This means they will slip through even the best HEPA filters. The solution, once again, is activated carbon. Its porous structure will trap VOCs thus improving the air you breathe.
The smell of cooking brings back a lot of great memories. Fresh cookies, bread in the oven, or the symphony delightful smells produced on Thanksgiving day. But, it’s not all sunshine and roses. Cooking can create some nasty smells, which result from the enthusiastic preparation of strongly spiced foods. Some lingering cooking smells are due to poor ventilation. The good news is that cooking odors are pretty harmless compared to the others we’ve covered.
However, their composition is very similar to their more serious counterparts. How? Cooking food releases water, gases and sometimes smoke. When it’s in the air that most of that stuff is too small for most filters, too strong for odor masking sprays, and can’t be captured in HEPA filter alone.
The Difficulties of Odor Removal
Most air purifiers are designed to remove particles like dust, pollen, and pet dander from your home. However, the technology that makes for a good allergy machine is not at all similar to what you’ll need to remove odor.
Filters eliminate particulate pollutants mechanically through the use of a filter that screens the air and strips the particulate matter from the passing air. HEPA filters are the industry’s gold standard because they remove up to 99.97% of particles (those larger than 0.3 microns in size), which covers the majority of microscopic particles like mold, dust, and pollen.
Odors, however, often attack our senses in the form of gas molecules that are smaller than 0.3 microns. Many are as small as 0.001 microns, meaning they will stroll right through a HEPA filter. So as we said earlier… you’ll need some carbon.
The Best Tool for Eliminating Odor
We keep pointing out that HEPA filters are great for general air purification needs. And, that’s the absolute truth. However, if you are looking specifically to remove odors will want to purchase a machine that supplements the awesomeness of HEPA with something that addresses the tiny particles.
People have used activated carbon to filter out harmful substances for thousands of years. And now it’s the go-to solution in odor elimination purifiers. Activated carbon is effective at eliminating odors because it is an extremely porous material that has the unique ability to absorb (technically its adsorption, but you get the picture) the smallest pollutants in the air. Even gases, for the most part, can’t escape activated carbon.
One pound of activated carbon has a surface area of over one hundred acres. Crazy, right? That creates a lot of real estate for stinky odors and harmful gases. Many models claim that they are effective at eliminating odors, but contain cheap filters with very small amounts of activated carbon. The best odor eliminator machine should have a measurable amount of activated carbon. Look for the number. It’s important.
Our Favorite Air Purifiers for Odor
Austin Air HealthMate Air Purifier
Austin air purifiers were chosen by FEMA and the Red Cross in the aftermath of 9/11 in a push to restore clean air to indoor spaces throughout New York. Their machines are simple in appearance but contain one of the industry’s most elegant air purification designs.
They also pack a surprising amount of carbon into the purifier’s square shaped body, more than almost any other machine on the market – making it the perfect choice for eliminating the smallest pollutants from the air.
Highlights of the Healthmate Air Purifier
- 15 pounds of activated carbon
- 60 square feet of medical-grade HEPA filtration
- 360-degree air intake
- Large and medium-sized pre-filters
- 3 fan speeds
- Large machine rated to clean rooms of up to 1500 square feet
- 5 Year Filter Life
- Made in the USA
- It’s loud
- Zeolite soaks up moisture so avoid damp spaces
- No smart features or timer
Blueair 650E Air-Purification System
Blueair is another reputable brand that specializes in designing powerful air purifiers. The 650E is Blueair’s premier model, capable of purifying large rooms of up to 700 square feet. One feature unique to the 650E is a digital interface that displays the current level of odor in the air. We love Blueair purifiers and think you’ll definitely be pleased with any of their models.
The included filter is pretty good at eliminating odor. But, it is not the best that they offer. If you want the best… Blueair sells a SmokeStop filter. It provides extra activated carbon for those with more serious odor problems.
Highlights of the 650E
- HEPA filter with electrostatic technology
- Industry-leading clean air delivery rate of 450 cubic feet per minute
- Automatic setting
- 4 manual fan speeds adjustable with included remote
- Zero ozone emissions
- Pretty quiet on low
- Larger machine that takes up a lot of space
- Not the sleekest design (go for AirMega if looks are a deal breaker on the BlueAir)
Rabbit Air BioGS 2.0 SPA-550A
The Rabbit Air is one of the best looking machines on the market. But, that doesn’t make it any less effective. It features awesome features, but remains very user-friendly. Users rave about its ability to reduce smoke and it is also effective at eliminating other odors as well. In fact, Cigar Aficionado picked Rabbit Air for cigar smokers.
Highlights of the BioGS 2.0
- Very Quiet
- 4-stage Filter
- Activated carbon filter
- BioGS HEPA filter prevents bacteria growth
- Very quiet BLDC motor
- Auto mode
- Ionizer with on/off switch (we recommend that you keep it in the off position unless you know the risks)
- Includes a remote
- Long filter life
- Smaller machine rated to clean up to only 550 square feet (or 625 with the more $$$ model)
While all three of these machines are excellent choices for odor removal, the Austin Air Healthmate is the clear winner. It contains a much greater amount of activated carbon than the other two machines. And that makes it more effective at eliminating odors and harmful VOCs. If you are not as concerned with VOCs, the other two models are excellent choices to eliminate pet odor as well as cooking odor.
These machines are great at odor control. However, keep in mind that they are all top-of-the-line machines suitable for a variety of uses around your home. From pollen, to fumes, to smoke; they’ll help you improve the air you breathe.
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