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A home with an oven in need of an air purifier for smoke.

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. 

Coway air filter in a home.

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. 

Breathe in clean, safe, and breathable air with Coway. Visit our blog to learn more tips and tricks for improving your air quality and overall health.


World Health Organization Air pollution

NCBI Tobacco smoke particles and indoor air quality (ToPIQ) - the protocol of a new study - PMC.


1Coway air purifiers have been proven to trap dust, pollen, dander, viruses and bacteria in the air based on KCL (Korea Conformity Laboratories) testing.They have been tested in a 30㎥ size chamber according to the Korea Air Cleaning Association standard (SPS-KACA 002-132:2022 Modified) to measure the 0.01㎛ size of particle removal rate. It was tested on maximum airflow speed in normal room temperature and humidity conditions. The performance may vary in the actual living environment of customers.
→ Tested with Airmega Aim, 100, 150, 160, AP-1216L, AP-1512HH, AP-1512HHS, 200M, Icon, IconS, 230, 240, 250, 250 Art, 250S, 300, 300S, 400, 400S, ProX

299.97% of viruses, bacteria, fungi and pollen were verified to be removed from the air for Coway air purifiers which have Green True HEPA™ filter applied based on the Japan Food Research Laboratories(JFRL) testing according to JEM 1467 standard.
→ Tested with Coway Airmega AP-1512HH, AP-1512HHS, 250, 250 Art, 250S, 300, 300S, 400, 400S
→ All tested by JFRL and received above result within below time.

All tested by JFRL and received above result within below time.

- Virus: Tested with Escherichia coli phage ΦX174 NBRC 103405, 60 minutes
- Bacteria: Tested with Staphylococcus epidermidis NBRC 12993, 60 minutes
- Fungi/Mold: Tested with Penicillium citrinum NBRC 6352, 60 minutes
- Pollen: Tested with Cedar Pollen extract, 60 minutes

3Aerosol test conducted in a Biosafety level 3 laboratory with two Coway air purifier models, Coway Airmega 250 and 400 for removal of SARS-CoV-2 Aerosol by US based MRI Global, a not-for-profit laboratory and partner of US Department of Defense. The test was conducted in a 13.1ft3 chamber. Virus was aerosolized for 15 minutes and the product was turned on high for 2 minutes. Result showed each product effectively removed over 99.98% of the SARS-CoV-2 in 2 minutes. This is a result from a laboratory experiment condition and result may vary in different conditions. This result does not imply it kills SARS-CoV-2 or prevents the transmission of Covid-19. Coway Airmega 250S and 400S are identical to the tested models and has equal performance with an additional mobile connectivity function.

4The concentration of ammonia, acetaldehyde and acetic acid were proven to be removed within 30 minutes by FCG Research Institute, Inc. Human Life Science Lab. It is not a demonstration result in the actual use space. Not all odors and gases may be supported. → Tested with Coway Airmega 150, 160, AP-1512HH, AP-1512HHS, 400, 400S

5The coverage area of the air purifier is based on an area where the air cleaner can make two air changes per hour (ACPH). An air change per hour translates to how many times an air purifier can clean an area, assuming the height of a ceiling to be 8 ft, in one hour. Therefore ** means two air changes per hour means that the cleaner can clean the area once every 30 minutes and * means air changes per hour means that the air purifier can clean the area once every 60 minutes.

10Terms and conditions apply. Discounts, including promotions, coupons, bundle discount and subscription discount, cannot be stacked on top of other coupons. During promotional periods, discount codes will not be able to be applied to orders. Promo codes may apply to products only—filters, accessories, and new products within 3 months of the release date are not included.