We’ve said it before… an air purifier for smoke is not going to completely pull all of that cigarette smoke from the air. They will, however, help reduce the impact of the lingering smell and many of the particles contained in smoke. So to help you decide which of our recommended purifiers is best for you; we compiled a bunch of data and compared the important info below.
What to look for in an air purifier for smokers…
Before you jump to the comparison below let’s cover some of the features a smoker’s purifier offer.
- Activated Carbon – More is definitely what you’re looking for here. (Learn more about activated carbon)
- Size – You’ll want a purifier with a room size rating about 20-50% greater than the room where you smoke
- HEPA Filtration – This will not help with the cigar, cigarette, or weed smell or gasses produced but it will capture larger particles (Learn more about HEPA Filters)
- A Powerful Fan – Smoke dissipates into a room fast. It also doesn’t take many cigarettes to fill a room with a haze… remember when you could smoke on planes? So, for a purifier to keep up with the volume of smoke produced you’ll need circulation. The more air circulation the better. Measurements metrics vary but you’re looking for high air changes per hour, high CFM numbers, or a fairly large CADR rating. (Learn more about CADR)
- Long Life Filters – Nothing clogs up a filter like cigar, cigarette or weed smoke. Look for something that lasts beyond a year. Just for a point of reference; smoking cigars fairly regularly will clog an Austin Air Healthmate Junior in about 18 months… under normal use, that filter should last 3-5 years.
- Ionizer – This is not a “must have” but we didn’t want to ignore the topic. Especially since some of the best purifiers for smokers include ionizers as a key feature. Do they help? Perhaps a little… but activated carbon, HEPA filters, and circulation are king. (Learn more about ionizers)
Features you don’t need…
Here are just a few of the features that do not matter when it’s smoke you’re trying to tackle with a purifier.
- UV Light – We aren’t huge fans of UV treatment in most purifiers. You can read more about our UV opinions elsewhere on our site, but trust us no matter what you’re smoking a UV lamp isn’t going to help.
- Ozone Generators – We always see less reputable sites pointing smokers toward “the best ozone generators” as a cure all for smokers. They aren’t. And, we think it’s terrible that review sites recommend a fairly dangerous machine to readers. Ozone is very effective at killing odor, but it’s also very dangerous and irritating to respiratory systems of pets and love ones. (Learn more about ozone from the US EPA)
- Permanent Filters – Long story short a permanent filter equipped purifier isn’t up to the demands of smokers.
- A Low Price – This isn’t a feature per se, but it is important to get this out before you start shopping. If you’re a smoker, a sub $100 purifier isn’t your best option. Smokers place the greatest strain on a purifier, so invest wisely or prepare yourself for disappointment. There are a few fairly viable exceptions, but be prepared to compromise on performance.
Recommended Room Size
Recommended room size will give you a good idea how powerful and efficient a purifier is at moving air. Just imagine if you put a purifier rated for 1,500 square feet in a broom closet…
Remember though that since room heights vary from the 8′ standard (about 2.5 meters), always add a bit of capacity to compensate.
On paper, the Airmega is clearly the winner in this category.
|AirMega 400S||1,560 Square Feet|
|Austin Air Healthmate JR|| 700 Square Feet |
|Rabbit Air MinusA2|| 700 Square Feet |
|Honeywell 50250 S|| 390 Square Feet |
|GermGuardian AC4825||155 Square Feet |
Air Flow / CFM / CADR
Since most manufacturers list CADR more often than other measurements we’ll default to that. However, for purifiers that do not undergo AHAM certification, we’ll supply you with the equivalent rating.
Remember CADR is expressed as (Pollen Score / Dust Score /Smoke Score) for more info on CADR testing check out our full article on the subject.
|AirMega 400S||350 / 350 / 350|
|Austin Air Healthmate JR|| 250 / 250 / 250|
|Rabbit Air MinusA2|| 201 / 200 / 193|
|Honeywell 50250 S|| 125 CFM |
About 100-150 CADR
|GermGuardian AC4825||100 / 100 / 100 |
Activated Carbon & HEPA Filtration
Not every manufacturer will disclose the surface area measurements for their HEPA filter… nor will many tell you how much activated carbon they pack into the filter. Austin Air is an exception, however, they make it a point to clearly disclose the detailed composition of their HEPA filters and carbon filter. That’s one of the main reasons we selected the Austin Air Healthmate Jr as the best purifier for smokers. If the larger model were a bit more affordable it would have easily topped our list. It comes equipped with about 15 pounds of activated carbon and a HEPA filter that measures 60 square feet.
|Name||HEPA / Carbon|
|AirMega 400S|| YES / YES |
6.5 lbs Activated Carbon
30 Square Foot HEPA
|Austin Air Healthmate JR||YES / YES |
|Rabbit Air MinusA2|| YES / YES |
|Honeywell 50250 S||YES / YES|
|GermGuardian AC4825||YES / YES |
Filter replacement varies based on use. As a smoker expect to replace a filter more frequently. Some filters do offer washable pre-filters, but the particles from smoke probably won’t simply wash or vacuum out. If you live in a particularly dusty area, or with pets, those will definitely extend a filters life expectancy.