If you smoke cigars you’ve pondered smoking indoors. Especially when it’s cold, raining, etc. Unfortunately, smoking anything inside the house is typically a bad idea. That is unless you take the steps to mitigate any damage (or evidence) to things like carpet, furniture, or living creatures. As a group who enjoys an occasional cigar we thought it would be a good idea to address the things you can do to increase your chances should you choose to light up a Cohiba, Opus, etc. in the comfort of your own home. We’ll cover what to look for in a cigar air purifier first, but we’ll also offer up some additional tips and tricks later.
Like a boat… sometimes the best cigar air purifier is the one you don’t own. If you can take advantage of a local cigar bar or shop from time to time do it. It’s a great way to get out of the house and eliminate any chance of getting smoke smell into that sectional couch.
If you do plan to smoke (or remove odor) you’ll need a purifier with activated carbon. It’s the best way to soak up any smells or chemicals produced during combustion. And when it comes to activated carbon in purifiers; the more the better. There are, of course, other things to consider but if you’re looking at carbon content alone… check out Austin Air’s Healthmate line. The largest model has 15 pounds of activated carbon (and Zeolite) housed in its pre filter.
We won’t go into too much detail here since pretty much every purifier with activated carbon is paired with a HEPA filter. However, we will say that a HEPA filter is effective enough to trap quite a few particles contained in cigar smoke. If it were up to us no one would buy a plug in purifier without a HEPA filter. If you’d like to learn more check out our guide to HEPA filtration.
A Cigar Air Purifier needs a Strong Fan
The biggest problem with cigars (indoors) is that they produce a ton of smoke. That means you’ll need a lot of circulation to keep the smoky air moving into the purifier. Much more than you’d need for a cigarette or anything else.
One way to help out your purifier is to turn on a ceiling fan. Or even crack a window, if you can. If you want to rely on the purifier alone to keep air in motion there are a few metrics to consider. The First is CFM, of cubic feet per minute. The more air it moves the better, generally speaking. However, you’ll have to make sure that an increase in volume is not caused by a reduction in Carbon or filter efficacy. Purifiers like those from AustinAir and AirMega top out around 400 CFM.
The other metric you can use is CADR or “clean air delivery rate.” It’s closely tied to CFM, but actually takes other things into consideration. The good thing is that when the AHAM tests for CADR they provide a specific smoke rating. A few years ago Cigar Aficionado picked the RabbitAir Minus A2 as the best cigar air purifier on the market. It provided a CADR smoke rating of 193 while topping out at 218 CFM (assuming they were referring to the MinusA2 780-A model). AirMega’s larger 400s model trounces the MinusA2 in both the CADR rating and max CFM. Coming in at a healthy 350 and 410 respectively.
The MinusA2 holds one significant advantage over the AirMega line. It’s much more compact. So, if you’re smoking in a smaller room there are scenarios where the RabbitAir makes more sense. But, when it comes to overall performance and status as the best cigar air purifier… we respectfully disagree with Cigar Aficionado. Both the AustinAir and the AirMega are better than the cigar magazine’s choice.
So Which Purifier is the Top Cigar Air Purifier?
We strongly recommend buying an AirMega purifier if you’re going to smoke cigars indoors. They’re a good balance of price and performance for one or two cigars in a medium sized room. If you’re looking for a purifier for a cigar shop or cigar bar, look at models from IQAir or some of the commercial units from BlueAir. But be prepared for a bit of sticker shock. For the 90 plus percent of us who smoke a cigar here and there, the AirMega is a smart choice.
The AirMega 400S sits at the top of the range; offering the most features and performance. The flagship 400S provide a handful of awesome intelligent purification features. First and foremost, it monitors air quality and adjusts on its own increasing fan speed as the environment demands. Light up a Churchill or two and it knows that the room’s air needs a good cleansing. And, when the filters need some maintenance… the AirMega will let you know. There are a number of other cool features of note, but we would be foolish to gloss over the fact that the “s” models offer the option to monitor everything from an app. For more details on that check out our full review on the AirMega line.
If you want the power of the 400S, want to save a few bucks, and don’t care about smart features… look into the 400 model. It’s a slightly stripped down version. In fact, there is also a smaller non “s” model that’s even more affordable; the AirMega 300. And, if you like the smaller purifier, but want some smarts there’s a 300S. It’s small but smart.
Beyond the Purifier
A purifier is the best way to combat the smell and particles produced while smoking. However, there are other steps you can take to help keep the smell at bay.
Does the Carpet Match the Drapes?
First, if you can avoid smoking in a carpeted room do so. Carpet fibers are like a sponge.. they’ll soak up odor if you don’t get rid of it ASAP. We recommend smoking in a room with tile, hardwood, or other hard flooring. If you have an area rug get one that has a short pile or a tight weave. And, be ready to have it cleaned regularly. Drapes and window coverings will also absorb odors, so keep that in mind before you light that cigar. Carpet and drapes are odor magnets… plan accordingly.
Another Reason to Buy Leather
Second, go with leather seating. Fabric chairs and couches soak up the worst of that smoked cigar smell. And, since the foam cushion is wrapped in a permeable fabric; that smell will go deep. Leather surfaces don’t soak up as much of the smell as fabric. And, they have that wonderful leather scent, which will help cover up some of the residual cigar odor. Best of all they look the part. Who wouldn’t want to settle into a plush leather sofa with a scotch in one hand and a Opus X in the other.
Location, Location, Location
Third, place your ashtray close to your air purifier. Not so close that the exhaust blows ashes all over the room. But, close enough that the smoke from a resting cigar has a short trip to the purifier’s intake. And, since the ashtray is close to the purifier chances are you and your smoking buddies will be too. That means the purifier will also collect the smoke you exhale with ease.
Crack a Window (or door)
Fourth, keep the room well-ventilated when you aren’t smoking. You (or those you live with) may want to seal up your cigar room but an open window or door will help keep things fresh. Any room that’s sealed up like Fort Knox isn’t going to smell good.
Add a Natural Scent if Need be
Finally, if you want to add some scent use only natural products like essential oils or chemical free potpourri. Our favorite scent is Santa Maria Novella potpourri. It smells amazing and is neither masculine or feminine. But, it does make an impression. Plus it’s made in a 600 year old monastery… in Florence Italy. It will set you back about $35 for a 100g bag, but it’s free of chemicals and whatever else they make big box store “potpourri” out of.
When it comes to smoking cigars indoors a purifier is the clear choice. And when you’re searching for a cigar air purifier get one with activated carbon, a HEPA filter, and a powerful fan. Skip the gimmicks like ionizers, UV Lights, and filterless purifiers. And, smoke responsibly. Do what ever you can to reduce secondhand smoke exposure to children, neighbors, and pets.
Oh and one more thing…this should be obvious, but never use an Ozone generator. At least not as an air purifier. Ozone is a pretty harsh compound that will harm your respiratory system. Only use one if you absolutely need to remove a lingering smell from a room. Do so when no pets or humans are in the home, and give it a few days to clear out before you return. In fact, it might be something you want to hire out.