What is the Best Air Purifier For Smoke?
The moment in June 2023 when New York City briefly ranked as the world’s most polluted city will have served as a wake-up call to anyone concerned about air quality. In that particular case, smoke from Canadian wildfires were to blame, causing the presence of airborne particles to rise to 14 times the safe level established by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Yet smoke from a variety of natural and manmade sources contaminates the air we breathe - even indoors - unless we can tame the levels with an air purifier. But not just any unit will do. Because smoke particles tend to be smaller (0.1 micron) than many filters can manage, the best air purifiers for smoke feature a HEPA filter to catch the smaller particles, and a carbon filter to eliminate the odor.
What’s in the Smoke We’re Breathing?
We notice the smoke that smothers the skyline, but sometimes we can only smell something we can’t actually see. Nevertheless, even small amounts of smoke can irritate the eyes, trigger asthma, and affect the respiratory system. Even within our own homes, we’re potentially exposed to smoke from a variety of sources:
- Cigarette smoke. Even if it’s second-hand smoke, it still contains 69 known carcinogens and thousands of toxic chemicals, as well as an aroma that lingers on clothing, furniture and walls.
- Cooking. Eliminating odors is the priority with kitchen smoke, and that calls for a carbon filter.
- Wildfires. There were 68,988 wildfires in the United States in 2022 but don’t assume they’re far away in the wilderness. As 2023 showed, smoke can travel to densely populated areas.
- Cars. Exhaust fumes from outside can enter the home, carrying carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and other fine particles that irritate the lungs.
- Residential wood burning. For all the energy-efficient qualities, burning wood still releases fine particles into the air, as well as harmful chemicals such as benzene and formaldehyde in some cases.
Unfortunately, there is often smoke without fire by the time it reaches your home, so you may not always be aware that air quality is about to plummet. The best standby solution? An air purifier that’s ready for action.
Why You Need a Special Air Filter
You’d be forgiven for thinking that a standard HVAC or ventilation system is sufficient for eliminating smoke, but in fact something more robust and innovative is required. Smoke particles are too small for conventional systems, yet make a big impact where odor and side-effects are concerned.
If you’re living in an area that is susceptible to wildfire, industrial or traffic smoke, we recommend our Airmega 300 system to capture the particles other systems can’t reach. To neutralize and eliminate odor, you’ll also need a carbon filter. Standard HEPA filters alone won’t address odor, but carbon is a powerful (and natural) antidote.
Size and Space Considerations
Even a small concentration of smoke within a room will make its presence felt. That’s why a single incense stick can change the aroma throughout the entire home. However, this becomes a challenge to overcome when you’re eliminating odor. A small unit will struggle to make a difference. Ideally, you want a purifier capable of coping with rooms larger than 350 square feet, and able to supply around five air changes per hour. That’s comfortably within the range of our Airmega 200M, for example, which offers 361 square feet of coverage and 4.8 air changes per hour.
How Coway Air Purifiers Deliver
Coway air purifiers provide the ultimate innovation in purification technology, without ever compromising on design and style. At the core of our clean air function is the HyperCaptive™ air filtration system which not only removes ultrafine particles (down to 0.01 microns) but also eliminates smoke and VOCs through an activated carbon filter.
As a smart, efficient solution to a serious problem, our air purification systems are ahead of the pack. Our AP-1512HH and Airmega 200M were rated as “well-priced, superb performers and reliable” by the New York Times, for example, but you’ll also find bigger units for extra large spaces of 4,000 square feet or more.
Selected models also feature a particle sensor and real-time air quality indicator for round-the-clock air monitoring. That means you’re the first to know if clean air has been compromised - and ready with a proactive response to restore a comfortable environment.
World Health Organization Air pollution