5 Of The Best Air Purifiers For Smoke Under $100 – Buyer’s Guide And What To Know

Best air purifiers for smoke under $100 featured image

Dealing with smoke? Let’s face it: smoke and its related odors can be a pain to get rid of.

Here you’ll find 5 of the best air purifiers for smoke under $100 along with details, info, and the pros & cons to know before spending a dime.

You can definitely get a good buy that’s affordable! You’ll also find lots of helpful information about smoke and air purifiers too.

Read on to learn more!

Contents

Infographic – Cigarette smoke and air purifier facts

What is in smoke? How small are smoke particles?

Image of a cigarette smoke particle under microscope

A microscopic image showing two fine aluminum silicate particles in smoke from a Marlboro Medium cigarette. Note the size scale in the image is an incredibly small 1 micrometer (1um). A micrometer (or “micron”) is 1/1,000,000 of a meter. Cigarette smoke particles have been studied and measured (see below). Their incredibly small size is one reason they’re such a problem for odors and irritation. Microscopic particles can travel to many areas of your home and surfaces.

Smoke from pipe tobacco, cigarettes, and cigars contains a huge amount of chemical particles released when the tobacco burns. This is because tobacco is treated with a variety of chemicals and substances before being packed for used by smokers. Some aren’t intentionally added but occur as tobacco is cured.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug administration over 7,000 chemicals are released from cigarette smoke.

How smoke builds and becomes worse

Smoking indoors is a self-building problem: the more you smoke indoors, the more it builds and the worse it becomes. Smoke after-effects don’t disappear or “evaporate.”

As most homes or business aren’t open to outside fresh air, smoke particles are trapped inside and never leave. They build up over time and accumulate on surfaces and even your skin, clothes, and more.

I’ve seen the results of heavy smokers who stayed indoors and smoked. Over time, the white walls actually became dark yellow in color. It permeated nearly everything inside!

Once smoke particles bond to surfaces and fabrics, it’s very difficult to restore them to their original freshness. Taking preventative measures can prevent this easily.

Even if smokers don’t smoke indoors, they bring in odors and smoke residue which are strong and a source of irritation. I’ve been in contact with someone once who was a heavy smoker, and because of the smoke particles on her body it caused me to break out in a rash.

You’ve got to eliminate the problem as effectively as possible to remove smells and avoid causing allergic reactions, coughing, and other side effects of bringing in smoke residue.

Do air purifiers help with cigarette smoke and odors?

Image of Levoit LV-H132 air purifier in bedroom
Yes, a good air purifier of the right type can effectively remove smoke, smoke by-products, and odors.

An air purifier removes smoke and related odors by using a fan to circulate air in the room which is passed through filters. These filters permanently trap smoke & its particles suspended in the air. Odors can be removed, too.

Air fresheners and other attempted solutions like that don’t work – they cover up (mask) the problem. Air fresheners cannot actually process the air or change the air contents as a purifier can.

One of the challenges of removing smoke isn’t just as simple as paper burning. Unlike smoke from other sources, cigarette and tobacco smoke is made of a huge range of microscopic particles. Gaseous chemical substances are released into the air, too.

Cigarette smoke typically contains elements that range in size from about 0.1 to 1.0 um in size.

You’ll need something that can eliminate these incredibly small elements in the air. That’s where an air purifier comes in – they’re practical, affordable, and most of all they’re effective. Air purifiers work well and get the job done safely.

Dirty air is one of many reasons why you might not be getting good rest, too!

What kind of air purifier do I need for smoke?

While there are many low-cost “air filters” and “air cleaners”, etc., on the market, you need to shop for a filter-based product. Not just that, but you should also be sure to shop for the following kind:

  1. Uses a quality High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter
  2. A purifier that includes an activated carbon filter

What is a HEPA filter?

 

Diagram showing efficiency of HEPA filter removing smoke particles
A HEPA filter is an air filter used to remove very small particulates from the air. “HEPA” is name used to describe an old standard created in the United States back in the 1950s to ensure the cleaning efficiency of air filters.

This type of filter is excellent at removing  and amazing 99.7% of the contaminants that enter it when air is forced through it. This means that only a tiny 3 out of every 10,000 particles that enter it are able to escape!

They can trap microscopic particles down to an incredibly small 0.3 microns in size. This is less than 1/1,000,000 of a meter! For references, the human eye can only see particles which are a bit larger than 5 microns in size.

As smoke contains particles that range from below 1 micron to above 1 micron, it’s critical to have this amount of filtering ability to remove smoke by-products from your air.

However, as effective as these filters are, they’re not able to trap odors and other vapors that smoke introduces in your air. You’ll need a carbon filter also for that.

What is an activated carbon filter?

Illustration of HEPA air purifier for dust sectionsAn activated carbon filter (shown here in black) is often made with a course/thin pre-filter material. These are typically used in conjunction with a HEPA filter for better smoke air filtering. The activated carbon filter traps odors and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The pre-filter is great for dust and hair. The HEPA filter permanently removes microscopic smoke particles from the air around you.

An activated carbon filter is a somewhat thin air filter section that is dark in color. They’re normally black due to the very small pieces of carbon used in them. Activated carbon attracts and traps odors and other chemical substances in the air.

This includes odors and other emissions from smoke which cause discomfort and breathing problems. Not only that, but they’re great for removing those awful smells that come from cigarettes and other smoke sources.

Carbon filters aren’t normally used by themselves – in air purifiers, they’re used alongside a dense HEPA filter to form a more comprehensive air purification system.

They’re especially important when it comes to dealing with smoke by-products and odors. You shouldn’t purchase an air purifier without one.  As I mentioned earlier, a HEPA filter alone can’t remove odors and gaseous substances in the air.

Air purifier filter replacement

GermGuardian FLT4825 replacement filterReplacing the expired filters in an air purifier usually means buying a replacement set made by the manufacturer. Pricing depends on the specific product and brand, but around $30 is typical. However, for some models it is possible to replace only the pre-filter & activated carbon filter section for less money. These are sometimes sold both by the air purifier manufacturer and from 3rd party companies. In that case you can extend the life of the HEPA filter section. Shown here is a replacement filter set for the GermGuardian AC4825, one of the most popular air purifiers sold today. It’s a great choice for smoke.

Trapping unwanted elements in the air is the basis for how air purifiers work. This also means that eventually they’ll become saturated with debris and particles.

Average replacement times for the HEPA filter section are about 6 to 8 months, although that varies with how dirty the air is where the purifier is used.

Optionally in some cases it’s possible to replace only the pre-filter/carbon filter section and extend the life of the HEPA filter. This can save quite a bit of money as well – often by 1/2 the cost of replacing both.

Many air purifiers sold today include a replacement reminder. In that case, you’ll be reminded to check the filter and replace only if necessary. However, bear in mind that for smoke use you should at least replace the carbon filter section every 6 months and possibly sooner if heavy smoke is present.

★ 5 of the best air purifiers for smoke ★

Our top picks at a glance

ImageProductDetails
sample-table__image★ OUR #1 PICK! ★GermGuardian AC4825
  • Best seller and overall an excellent value! Easy to use and quiet.
  • 155 sq ft coverage, 100+ CADR lab tested rating
  • True HEPA, carbon filter for odors, UV-C germ killer
Check on Amazon
sample-table__imageULTRA QUIETLevoit LV-H132
  • Electronic controls and super quiet operation
  • 129 sq ft, true HEPA + carbon filter
  • Touch controls, night light, and memory feature
Check on Amazon
sample-table__imageGermGuardian AC4100
  • Great for dorms and small rooms
  • Same HEPA filter + carbon filter quality as larger models
  • Includes germ-killing feature
Check on Amazon
sample-table__imageLevoit PUR131
  • 322 sq. ft coverage, 3-stage HEPA. Low-noise sleep mode
  • Auto-sensing and auto-off advanced features
  • Digital display and touch controls
Check on Amazon
sample-table__imageLarge room valueHoneywell HPA300
  • Huge 465 sq. ft. coverage. Easy filter replacement, too!
  • Electronic touch controls, dimmer, and sleep timers
  • True HEPA and carbon filters. High-speed Turbo mode
Check on Amazon

Product reviews and details

1. GermGuardian AC4825 – Not just a best seller but a great value! Get good performance and coverage for less.

Another purifier with wonderful buyer reports and a top seller, the AC4825 doesn’t include the same features as the Levoit LV-H132 but offers more room coverage and also includes an ultraviolet (UV) germ killing feature.

A true HEPA filter design ensures it cleans your air well and leaves the room fresh and allergen & dust-free. The pre-filter, an activated carbon filter, handles larger particles and odor removal. Additionally it provides nearly twice the room coverage of similarly priced models.

It’s a great overall value and an excellent choice. I’m a proud owner and you can read more about it in my detailed review here.

GermGuardian AC4825 top view of controls

The AC4825 features one of the easiest-to-use control setups you’ll find. It’s incredibly easy to use! Set the rotary control to one of the 3 fan speed settings. Use the UV push button to switch the germ killing feature on or off. A power-on indicator LED lights when the purifier is working.

A 3-speed fan control is provided and a great choice for those who prefer simple controls & operation. The filter is easy to remove and replace by opening the rear door and simply swapping it out. A replacement reminder is included too.

GermGuardian AC4825 side view UV-C feature glowing

The lovely blue trim ring lights up when the UV-C feature’s in use. Don’t worry though – it’s perfectly safe, as the ultraviolet light is trapped inside. It’s a great-looking way to see when the feature is on. I like it!

At 22 inches in height, it’s not a compact as others listed here but the small base size allows it to fit well in corners and small places where height is not an issue. Replacement filters cost about $30 and last approximately 6 months, depending upon use.

You can also find 3rd party brand filters which are cheaper.

PROS:
  • Simple 3-speed fan switch is great for nearly everyone
  • Good overall value for performance & room size vs. the Levoit LV-132
  • Great filtering performance
  • Quiet fan operation on low speed setting
  • Germ & microbe-killing UV-C feature not found in many others
  • Filter replacement reminder
  • Soft LED when power is on
  • Vertical size is great for corner or areas with more vertical space
  • Good room size coverage (155 square feet)
  • 3-year limited warranty
CONS:
  • No auto-sensing modes
  • No electronic controls
  • No auto-off feature
  • Cannot wash & reuse filter
  • Design is less stylish and attractive than other competitors in its price range (ex. Levoit LV-H132)
  • Warranty requires paying for return shipment for service

Even better, it’s also available in a sharp-looking version called the AC4900CA. It’s identical in performance as well. Note that prices are often slightly different between the two despite being functionally identical.

I personally own a AC4825 and now I understand why it’s a best seller. It’s well made, works great for cleaning the air, and is frustration-free.

You’ll find the best price and thousands of happy buyer reviews over at Amazon.

2. Levoit LV-H132 – Sleek and with nice features. Many happy buyers agree it’s a great choice.

Levoit LV-H132 purifier white front view

One of the most popular units available, the Levoit LV-H132 (smaller sibling to the Levoit LV-PUR131) is a great choice for the money. If you’re wanting to remove smoke odors & particles that aggravate breathing & allergic reactions but prefer more features this is an excellent option.

Like its competitors, it features a true HEPA filter with 3-stage filtration for good performance when removing smoke & odors.

Although it provides less coverage than competitors like the GermGuardian AC4825, the Levoit makes up for this by including more. It’s also a great looking choice for small rooms or light duty use in medium-sized rooms.

Not only this but buyer reviews are excellent and it’s a top seller in its category.

Levoit LV-H132 features image

The Levoit LV-H132 is sophisticated yet still easy to use. Electronic touch controls are provided and beep when operated. After power is switched off the last settings are saved. Upon the next use, the purifier remembers your last settings and restores them automatically.

It offers some of the most features in its price range. The fan offers pleasant and quiet operation on low speed. A built-in night light with 2 brightness settings is a bonus feature.

A convenient filter replacement reminder lets you know when it’s time to change the filter and replace it if needed.

Levoit LV-H132 filter replacement image example

Filter replacement is a bit different for the LV-H132, but very simple. Turn the unit upside-down, rotate the cover, and then you can pull out and replace the old 3-in-1 filter assembly. Note: unlike some competitors, in most cases you can’t replace the carbon prefilter separately. It’s something to keep in mind.

Replacement filters run around $30 and are simple to replace by opening the top cover. In my hands-on testing I found the LV-H132 to be a very well made and designed purifier.

It’s sleek, extremely quiet, and a great choice.

PROS:
  • Shorter height than competing tower purifiers
  • 2-year warranty
  • 3 fan speeds
  • Night light with 2 brightness levels
  • Nice looking, modern design
  • Electronic soft button controls
  • Quiet operation on low level won’t disturb sleep
  • Filter replacement reminder
  • Great build quality & high reliability
  • Easy filter replacement
CONS:
  • Smaller room coverage than others in its price range (129 sq. ft.)
  • No auto-off timer feature
  • No air quality sensor
  • Electronic controls may not be suitable for some
  • High speed is not quite a fast as other products

It’s an excellent purifier with wonderful buyer reviews and great air cleaning performance. Without a doubt it’s one of the lowest-noise purifiers money can buy.

Be sure to check out why it's one of the best sold today and was awarded the Amazon's Choice label.

Levoit LV-H132 black model

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3.  GermGuardian AC4100 3-in-1: Great for your office, dorm room, or bedroom. Small but good!

GermGuardian AC4100 angle view

An affordable model, the AC4100 has an excellent reputation and is a great looking, well performing little purifier for small rooms, offices, and other close spaces.

Measuring only 7.5 x 6.5 x 11″ in size uses a true HEPA filter & charcoal section to produce fresh, clean air. Unlike other products priced near $50 and below, it uses the same high-performance quality of filters as its more expensive GermGuardian siblings.

As an added bonus the UV light along with titanium dioxide kills germs to make your air more safe and prevent illness.

A replacement filter costs about $18 and there’s a filter installation date wheel on the rear to help you know when it’s time to replace it.

Image of a GermGuardian AC4100 showing HEPA and activated carbon filters

The AC4100 features the same 3-in-1 filtering design as its larger siblings. You’ll get a true HEPA filter, prefilter, and odor-absorbing section but for smaller rooms and on a budget.

Operation is simple: a 3 speed fan control. It’s quiet and generates a pleasing low noise level on the lowest setting. When set to high sound similar to white noise is produced.

GermGuardian AC4100 filter replacement how to image

Filter replacement on the AC4100 is easy! Just open the rear cover, pull out the old filter, and insert the new one. You can also use a vacuum to remove larger particles like dust. As you can see my AC4100 caught more and more dust as I used it!

Unlike its bigger brothers the AC4825 and AC4900CA, the UV germ killing switch is an on/off type control rather than a push button. I don’t like is that there’s no indicator light for the UV feature like the larger models.

However, that’s a pretty minor complaint. All in all, it’s a great little purifier I recommend for small rooms up to about 75 square feet and below in size.

PROS:
  • Simple 3-speed fan control and on/off UV-C switch
  • Good for small rooms (75 sq. ft. and below)
  • UV & titanium dioxide design to kill germs
  • Great filtering ability for its small size
  • High speed setting moves a lot of air for purifying quickly
  • Filter replacement reminder wheel (month installed)
  • Low filter replacement price (about $19)
  • Filter replacement date wheel (marks month installed)
  • Sleek, modern design
CONS:
  • 1 year warranty is shorter than other models
  • Fan speed on high could be slightly better
  • No filter replacement light
  • No additional colors offered

Following the same great quality that has made GermGuardian purifiers some of the best today, it’s a great choice.

Be sure to see the many great buyer reviews and and current sale price at Amazon.

4. Levoit LV-PUR131 – Great smoke & odor removal for med/large rooms with auto-sensing.

Levoit LV-PUR131 side front image
For those who need to remove smoke in a larger room, this Levoit model is one of the most popular and well-reviewed units you can buy today.

It’s stylish, powerful, and has several cool features that really appeal to someone like me who worries about being able to sleep with electronics running. Check out the reviews – it’s an excellent addition to your home, office, or even workplace and great at removing smoke odors & residual particles in the air.

Electronic controls are simple to use (similar to its smaller sibling the LV-H132) and it includes a sharp-looking LCD display.

A low-noise sleep mode option is provided to ensure the LV-PUR131 doesn’t disturb you at night time and it’s super-quiet.

Levoit LV-PUR131 control panel features

The electronic control panel looks a bit complicated at first glance but it’s easy to use. Touch controls easily rotate through their various on/off settings such as the fan speed or mode. A digital display shows the remaining operation time when the auto-off timer in use as well as the current air quality detected.

What makes this Levoit model such a wonderful choice is not only the same 3-speed push button fan control but also an automatic mode which increases or decreases fan speed as need when the air filtration is especially more demanding.

There’s more, too. One of my favorite features, auto timer lets you set and forget it. The purifier will turn itself off automatically after 1-12 hours of operation as selected.

Filters are typically replaced about every 6 months and the replacement reminder will let you know when it’s time to check the filter. Expect to pay around $35 for a replacement, which still relatively economical when compared to other competitors in its price range.

Levoit LV-PUR131 purifier HEP filter sections diagram

The LV-PUR131 continues the tradition of Levoit’s great air purification filter design. The true HEPA filter traps finer, more difficult dust particles while the preliminary filter quickly and permanently removes airborne dust particles of normal size.

A quiet sleep mode ensures that you’re not disturbed by noise as it provides a very low level of noise during operation.

As it’s only about 11.2 lbs in weight and 14.5 x 7.2 x 18.5 inches in size, the PUR131 provides more square feet coverage (322 square feet) than others but can be placed on many counter tops, shelves, and desks if needed.

A 2 year warranty is provided.

PROS:
  • More room coverage for the money (322 sq ft)
  • Auto-sensing mode adjusts fan speed automatically
  • Sleep mode for very quiet operation
  • Electronic, simple controls
  • LCD display
  • Auto-off feature: 1 to 12 hours for “set and forget” operation
  • Great smoke removal performance
  • Excellent overall reviews and customer satisfaction
  • Lower weight and smaller size than others – can be used more places
  • 2 year warranty
  • Nice, modern appearance
CONS:
  • No remote control
  • Auto-sensing mode does not indicate air quality levels visually
  • No night light
  • Replacement filters aren’t the cheapest (near $35 or so)
  • Warranty is shorter than some competitors
  • White color only

As it’s a fantastic compromise between cost, room size coverage, features, and performance it’s a purifier you can’t go wrong with.

Check it out! Find out now why it's one of the best selling models you can buy today at Amazon.

5. Honeywell HPA300 – Bigger room coverage and turbo air cleaning mode. More powerful smoke removal!

Honeywell HPA300 HEPA air purifier product image

The Honeywell provides the greatest room size coverage and smoke filtering ability of the units listed here. It’s a great unit with excellent reviews and some of the best smoke and odor removal ability you’ll find anywhere. It’s not short on features, either!

As it is a true serious unit, the HPA300 is a large and heavy unit, weighing about 21 lbs. The filters (carbon/pre-filter section, and separate true HEPA filter sections) are more complex but not difficult to replace.

Expect to pay around $68 or so dollars for a complete 3-filter supply for your purifier. Replacement time is about 3-5 months depending on how heavy the purification work was.

Honeywell HPA300 electronic controls top view

The purifier features excellent touch panel electronic controls. Just touch one of the controls to rotate easily through the settings like fan speed, the light dimmer, and to set the auto-off timer feature.

It’s easy to use and has electronic tap controls for fan speed, light dimmer, and auto-operation. Indicator lights give separate reminders for both the HEPA filter sections and the pre-filter carbon filter section.

For very heavy-duty air cleaning the high-speed mode provides its maximum cleaning ability although it’s far quieter at minimum fan speed. Automatic mode shuts off the unit after either 2, 4, or 8 hour operation.

Honeywell HPA300 filter replacement image

Filter replacement is very simple! The main cover uses 2 push-releases at the top to secure the cover. After removal the prefilter can be replaced or the 3 standard Honeywell HEPA filters as well. It’s easy to do, in my experience.

The HPA300 also has 3 operational modes: allergen, general, and germ for maximum effectiveness if you’re not using it for only smoke odor & particle removal.

Hit the Turbo button for a great boost in air cleaning speed!

I bought the HPA300 myself and gave it a great going-over, and I’m impressed! Check out my in-depth review of the HPA300 here.

PROS:
  • Electronic touch controls
  • Maximum room size capability for the money (below $300 range)
  • Turbo mode for heavy air cleaning operation on demand
  • Automatic operation with 2, 4, and 8 hour settings
  • Quiet low speed operation
  • Largest room/house coverage (465 sq. ft)
  • Filter replacement reminder for both HEPA and pre-filter sections
  • 5-year warranty
  • Dimmer control
CONS:
  • Auto-off timer adjustable only in increments of 2 hours – no 1hr settings
  • Not as sleek-looking as some competing products
  • No auto-sensing mode for self-adjusting ability
  • Black color only

Dealing with smoke in your home and larger rooms? Then you can’t go wrong with the HPA300.

Find out now why it's one of the best large room air purifiers for smoke sold at Amazon today.

Honeywell HPA200 promotional image originalIs the HPA300 a bit too big and expensive for you? Great news!

The HPA200 has the same exact features in a smaller size for a bit less money. It’s great for large rooms. Find out the current price and read how many people love it here.

Just like it’s big brother I wrote a thorough review you can check out here as well.

A tip on filter replacement and use

Air purifiers with filter the replacement reminder feature operate based on operation time and cannot sense how much filtration work was actually done. You’ll want to check the filters and determine whether or not the filter truly needs replacement or not.

When an air purifier is not used heavily – say periodically, for example – the actual time between filter replacement is extended.

For heavy smoke filtration, don’t forget that the pre-filter/carbon filtration section is essential for removing many odors and therefore will definitely need replacement after regular use.

Additional reading

If the GermGuardian AC4825’s style doesn’t appeal to you, also check out the AC4900CA. It’s also identical in performance but with a different design style. I highly recommend these for smoke!

If you also have dogs or cats, you can read more about how air purifiers help with dog smell or cat hair as well.

Does An Air Purifier Remove Smells? Dealing With Common Odor Problems

Does an air purifier remove smells featured image

Sure – you can prevent some smells from getting into your home. But many are just a fact of life. Even without some of the most common problems (like pets, smoke, and cooking odors) smells just seem to find a way in.

Dealing with them can be a hassle, and air fresheners often only mask the problem. Additionally, some causes in particular (like smoke) come with even more side effects.

Does an air purifier remove smells? Should you buy one for your home? Read on to find out the answer.

Contents

Understanding smells

Home kitchen example image
Odors are everywhere! Unlike the outdoors, indoor odor sources don’t have much air circulation and can be even more noticeable. The addition of a well-designed, properly chosen air purifier can help relieve a variety of odor symptoms everywhere from rooms with pets to your kitchen.

In order to better understand what we’re dealing with and how air purifiers may help, it’s important to understand the problem.

What exactly is an odor or “smell”?

Odors are actually caused by volatile chemical compounds which basically means they’re the molecular composition of materials or chemicals that present in the air. When this occurs your nose’s olfactory nerves detect them as scents and you have a related reaction (good or bad, depending on the type).

Not only that, but the sense of smell varies from person to person. So while some odors may not bother you greatly, for others the effects can be much more unpleasant or even trigger problems.

Likewise, some smells don’t bother me as much as others – but some really get on my nerves!

Common types of odors

I’ve made a brief list here, along with added details, of some of the most common odor sources you may be dealing with. After that, I’ll show you how a purifier can help.

Cigarette smoke

Best air purifier to remove cigarette smoke featured image for post
Cigarette smoke is one of the most bothersome odor sources anywhere. Not only do the by-products of smoke find their way into the air, but they also cling to surfaces like your clothes and hair. A purifier is highly recommended when smokers are present.

This one has always bothered me a lot! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve left my local sports bar while wearing nice clothes, that smelled absolutely terrible afterward. Even my hair smelled bad!

Even if you don’t smoke, you might live with a family member or roommate who does. Either way, tobacco smoke is capable of moving between rooms and distributing small particles that can irritate people with allergies, or even cause cancer as you may already know.

Smoke particles contain elements that are incredibly tiny in size – down to a fraction of other airborne contaminants like pet dander and dust, for example. That’s one of many reasons it’s harder to deal with.

Additionally, burning tobacco and paper releases gases into the air as well. You’ll need an effective solution to successfully get rid of those (and not just cover them up).

Pet odors

Wet dog smell odor infographicPet odors are caused by organic substances from microorganisms present on and released by animals. A great example is the “wet dog smell” everyone knows. Pets also produce a number of other odors that can stink up your home.

I love pets just as much as you do. But it seems like no matter how much we wash or bathe them, they always smell a bit. And pets always like to get into trouble, so they often end up bringing something smelly into the house.

We’ve all smelled the infamous “wet dog smell” I’m sure!

As much as pet hair and dander is a problem also, it’s the other sources of smells from them that need to be captured and removed from the air: organic sources like bacteria and their bodily functions in addition to the oils naturally secreted by their skin.

One more benefit of using a purifier is being able to capture allergy-causing dander as well as some of the hair they leave behind.

Food and cooking

Image of cooking at home on stove skillet

Cooking is especially notorious for releasing odors into the air. As a matter of fact, some dishes release substances that can cling to your kitchen’s interior and build up over time. Using an air purifier to remove airborne food-related substances is a great idea.

Some of the most common dishes like burgers or fried fish can leave a strong, lingering scent behind. Foods with spices and similar ingredients are especially bad at releasing organic compounds that cause very strong odors.

Sometimes it’s not just you that feels the effects, but your neighbors to, since odors can rise and permeate rooms and buildings.

Cooking appliances and food release particulate matter into the air when you cook which can spread throughout your home, leaving your entire house smelling like what you ate for dinner for a long time afterward.

To make matters worse, some foods, when cooked, distribute minute food particles in the air which can build up over time on your interior surfaces.

Garbage

Image of garbage cans at home
I’m certainly not perfect. Every once in a while I forget to take out the garbage. The problem is that leaving meat or old vegetables in the garbage can make the house smell even after I take out the trash.

Garbage has a variety of materials that tend to begin to decompose in a short amount of time, creating gases in the air which surface as very strong odors.

When bacteria begin to increase in numbers and start breaking down organic substances like old food or waste items it can become a big problem.

While the only true remedy is to remove the garbage from indoors, a purifier can help to reduce the problem while it’s in your home.

Household chemicals and construction materials

Image of household chemicals on a shelf
Other common substances like paint, cleaning chemicals, and even renovated rooms in a home emit harmful substances into the air by a process called “outgassing.”

Outgassing is a process in which everything from new carpet to household chemicals, paint, or building materials release molecules into the air as chemical vapor odors.

Some actually are harmful, like chemicals with vapors which can affect the central nervous system and internal tissues if inhaled.

That’s a definite source for headaches but potentially other health problems, too. You’re much safer with a means of capturing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and removing them from your breathing air.

How does an air purifier help with smells?

There 2 main ways in which a purifier can help relieve odors:

  1. Removing some airborne particles that carry odor-causing elements
  2. Absorbing and trapping odors substances from the air

Of these 2 factors, the most significant one is the ability to trap odors and remove them from the air. However, you’ll have to pick the right kind of product to do so.

Not to worry, though – I’ll cover that below as well.

How does an air purifier work?

Diagram showing how air purifier reduces odors

Air purifiers reduce odors by continuously cycling the air in a room and filtering out both solid and gaseous substances like odors and chemical vapors. There are 2 main filters (with 3 functions, often called a “3-in-1” purifier) that do so: a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter section and a pre-filter section with activated carbon inside or specialized chemical treatment. A good quality air purifier like the popular GermGuardian AC4825 will move a good amount of air quickly and will reduce odors in your home.

Air purifiers work by using a fan to cycle the air in a room and filter out unwanted particulates and odors too.

In order to do so, you’ll need to buy one that’s capable of moving a sufficient amount of air in the room it’s used in. Ratings like the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) or air flow rate specifications such as the Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM) describe the effectiveness of a purifier.

However, I realize that can be a bit confusing and may feel a bit like a hassle to have to figure out. The good news is that the major purifier manufacturers specify the recommended room size in square feet.

For example, a 10 foot by 15 foot room has a size of 10 x 15 = 150 sq ft (square feet). Using the recommended room size you should be fine when buying.

How air purifiers remove odors

GermGuardian FLT11CB4 carbon filter diagramAir purifiers (specifically, filter-based products) use activated carbon (charcoal) to absorb and trap odors. Carbon is an industry-standard element used in many types of filters including for water. Once it’s used up the filter should be replaced.

Activated carbon is the essential element required for removing odors and terrible smells with an air purifier. I bring that up because in fact not all purifiers include this type of filter!

However, most high-quality and best-selling models do.

Activated carbon (which is a form of charcoal) is a granular, tiny element used as an ingredient in a special section of the air purifier’s 2 or 3 filters. The carbon is a porous and absorbent element that has the ability to trap odors and airborne chemicals present.

When the purifier’s internal fan draws air through the carbon filter, substances can be absorbed and removed from the air, removing odors and harmful chemical vapors.

The HEPA filter’s role

HEPA filters are a standardized filter section made of extremely dense fiber which can trap microscopic particle down to 0.3 microns in size (a micro is an amazing 1/1,000,000 of a meter!). They’re designed to capture solid particulate in the air, and not gases or vapors.

While that’s true, they can trap some nasty particles like hair and debris that can carry a bit of odor-causing molecules. Generally speaking, however, the carbon filter section is the most essential.

Carbon filters are typically separately replaceable from the HEPA filter section and tend to have a life of around 6 months or so, though this varies with use.

Air purifier types

2 air purifier types comparison image

Shown: (Left) Emitting air purifiers create a by-product that’s released into the air around you. (Right) Filter-based, or non-emitting purifiers, do not. The simply remove air contaminants as they pass through filters.

There are several different types of air purifiers sold today and it can definitely be confusing and in some cases – even misleading! And that’s a shame – unsuspecting buyers can get tricked into buying a poor-quality product that will do little, if anything, to improve their air quality.

Just to keep it simple, I’ll break down the most common types you’ll likely run across when shopping:

  1. HEPA (filter-based) purifiers
  2. Ionizers
  3. Ozone generators

Purifiers to avoid

Ionizer and ozone generator examples imageProducts like the Oion B-1000 ionic air purifier (left) and ozone generator (right) should be avoided. Ionic air purifiers do work to a degree, but they’re very weak and typically have extremely low airflow rates compared to HEPA-type purifiers. Ozone generators, however, are ineffective at safe ozone levels. At ozone production levels at which they become effective, they’re unsafe to be around. Most sold as “air purifiers” are a waste of your hard-earned money.

When shopping avoid the following two kinds which are often hyped-up with clever marketing and many technical phrases. They’re sold using misleading promises and a lack of actual performance data:

  • Ionizers (ionic purifiers)
  • Ozone generators

Ionizers do actually work, but in my experience, they’re extremely poor performers and simply are a terrible use of your money. For example, my GermGuardian AC4100 purifier is about the same price as the Oion B-1000 yet can run circles around it!

Good purifiers to buy for odor relief

Winix 5500-2 air purifier review featured image

To effectively combat odors, I recommend a quality air purifier with good airflow rate. This means it can cycle and clean the air in the room relatively quickly. Note: it’s critical to buy the appropriately sized purifier for your room size! While there are other very popular products available, one of the best I’ve owned and tested is the top-rated Winix 5500-2 model with a real carbon pellet odor capturing filter.

Whichever product you decide to try, be sure to buy one with the following criteria:

  • A quality purifier with proven buyer reviews
  • An activated carbon filter section
  • Adequate airflow rate / recommended room size meets your room

While the things I’ve mentioned here are of great importance, remember the following: no purifier can prevent odors 100%. You should treat the problem at its source.

In other words, don’t expect any purifier to work miracles. They’re very helpful and can definitely reduce odors, but they’re a way of dealing with the symptoms of the odor source.

Bad smells often require treating the source, depending upon the type of problem.

The most effective type of prefilter

Closeup of Winix 5500-2 activated carbon prefilter

Closeup of the activated carbon filter from a Winix 5500-2 air purifier, containing real pellets (rather than the standard coating most use). This is a more effective odor control option.

If possible, for the best odor control pick an air filter with a prefilter that uses real carbon pellets. They’re more powerful for odor control than the standard coating type used by most on the market.

They also have a greater life expectancy and use capacity as well, as they contain much more activated carbon.

Additionally, some can be rinsed off (like those in the Winix 5500-2) for maintenance.

Summary – Does an air purifier remove smells?

So does an air purifier remove smells? Let’s break it down.

  • In short, yes! A good-quality air purifier with an activated carbon filter can reduce odors and airborne chemical vapors
  • Not all HEPA purifiers include this type of filter – be careful and shop wisely
  • Ionizers and ozone generators may give the impression of fresh air, but they’re generally either 1) very weak and ineffective, or 2) can produce irritating or harmful ozone. They should be avoided.

Now that I’ve cleared that up, perhaps you’re wondering what kind I’d recommend?

I’m a proud owner of one of the most popular purifiers sold today, the GermGuardian AC4825. It’s one of the most popular & highest-reviewed products of all time at Amazon.

You can find a great buyer’s guide to help with some of the best purifiers for odors here.

Honeywell HPA 300 Review – Check It Out!

Honeywell HPA 300 review featured image

Not unlike the GermGuardian line of air purifier products, Honeywell also produces a large range of popular air purifiers. The HPA family of purifiers includes several models with similar styling and controls.

In my detailed Honeywell HPA 300 review I’ll share with you what you need to know before buying.

There are lots of details I’ve got for you before my final review score and summary so let’s get started!

Contents

Getting to know the Honeywell HPA300

Honeywell HPA series family image

Honeywell makes a number of similar products in the HPA series of air purifiers. Shown are 3 very popular models and the suggested room sizes they can clean well.

The HPA300 is actually the larger member of a family of similar products from Honeywell. All of which are reputable models with overall excellent buyer reviews. They’re very popular sellers, too.

The HPA300 and its smaller siblings use 2 types of filters: true HEPA and a separate pre-filter. Both are replaceable. The purifier works by drawing air through a “true” HEPA filter that is very efficient at permanently removing particulates in the air around you.

The front grill draws in air which is filtered and then forced out through the top vent section next to the control panel.

Standing at a large 22.3″ (56.6 cm) tall, it’s a big one.

Unpacking the HPA300 – First impressions

Packaging

Honeywell HPA300 in box

When picking up my HPA300 I had a good impression right from the start. Much like GermGuardian products I’ve reviewed, I got an impression of quality right away. The box displays a large amount of benefits the purifier provides and also the type of replacement filters you need. I can’t say the same for all products I’ve tried. I was eager to try it out.

How’s the build quality?

HPA300 front image
Build quality is good and it’s a great looking product. The body is made of ABS plastic, but it’s well put-together and I didn’t find any gaps or poor assembly. The finish is a satin black. Both the front and rear are styled similar (note: air is drawn in on the front side only).

After unpacking and removing the top quick start label, I examined the purifier for any noticeable quality control problems. The construction is good, and while like the other purifiers sold today, it’s made of plastic. However, it feels good to the hand and not flimsy. No complaints here.

Looking it over I found no issues with the fit & finish. Gaps between parts were nice and tight and consistent. The purifier doesn’t have any rattling or loose parts, either.

It’s by no means a small product (after all, it is a large/extra-large room purifier!) but I found it easy to remove from the box as well and move around.

New user label

HPA300 quick start label image
One of the things I enjoyed finding was the “new user” label attached to the stop after unpacking. It’s a great way for new buyers (especially those unfamiliar with air purifies or Honeywell products) to get going.

It’s clear and well-written. I’m kind of glad it’s there because otherwise I might have assumed the filters were ready to use and would have turned it on right away. The label instructs you to open the front cover, remove the HEPA filters from their plastic bags, and replace the front grill.

Additionally, it covers basic operation so you can get going without needing the owner’s manual (which I cover below as well).

In my opinion, it’s a great idea. Simply peel it off before using it, as it blocks the fresh air output vent.

Built-in quick reference guide

HPA300 quick reference guide

A handy quick reference guide is built into the body, near the controls. There’s a small tab located at the top of the purifier which when pulled reveals a nice guide to help you.

A nice little surprise was the quick reference guide built-in to the purifier. Located above the touch control panel is a tab sticking out of the body slightly. Pulling it reveals a simple list of helpful instructions as well as the company’s customer support phone number.

It’s an excellent idea and lends a good impression to me about both the design and the company. This is a small but nice feature I haven’t seen in competing products.

Checking out the HPA300’s controls

HPA300 touch control panel image

The Honeywell HPA300 shares a similar control panel with the smaller HPA200 and HPA100 models.

It features touch-sensitive controls that allow you to change cleaning modes, engage the Turbo speed feature, set the auto-off timer, and dim the control illumination.

How do the controls work?

It’s easy to operate in my experience, and I found it a pleasure to use. People who are accustomed to traditional push buttons or rotating switches (as many GermGuardian products use) may find them odd at first. But because the design is so convenient and works so well I can’t find any real faults with it.

The touch controls work smoothly, although on rare occasions I did see it miss my touch or it didn’t register that I was switching cleaning modes. In that case I had to touch it again.

That’s not unheard of for touch-sensitive devices, however, so don’t let it deter you at all. It didn’t happen very often and really wasn’t a concern for me.

Changing cleaning and other modes

3 basic modes of operation are provided:

  1. Germ
  2. General
  3. Allergen

Touching the Power (center) section of the panel rotates the current mode. The modes follow this pattern: Off -> Germ -> General -> Allergen -> Off.

The dimmer also rotates the brightness level of the blue indicator lights used to display current modes. Touching the dimmer control moves though: Full -> Medium -> Low -> Off -> Full and so on.

Similarly, the auto-off timer is initially off and can be rotated through the 3 time options available: Off -> 2 hours -> 4 hours -> 8 hours -> Off.

I found the controls very intuitive to use. I’m pretty confident that nearly anyone would agree. Additionally, you’re off and running after unpacking it in only seconds, because it’s so easy!

I’m not quite sure why Honeywell has named these three modes the way they have, as I noticed when testing it that they’re more similar to low, medium, and high. Perhaps it’s due to the amount of airflow, but unfortunately, the owner’s manual doesn’t go into detail about these modes.

Specifications

Honeywell HPA300 Specifications
  • Room size rating: 465 sq. ft (large/extra-large room)
  • 3-mode/speed fan control: Germ, General, Allergen
  • Turbo high-speed fan mode for rapid cleaning
  • True HEPA filters (uses 3 Honeywell Type R filters)
  • Smoke CADR rating: 300
  • Dust CADR rating: 320+
  • Pollen CADR rating: 300
  • Touch control panel
  • Quick start guide built into body
  • 2, 4, and 8 hour auto-off timer feature
  • HEPA filter replacement reminder
  • Pre-filter replacement reminder
  • 5-year limited warranty
  • Replacement HEPA filter: HRF-R3 (3 filters)
  • Replacement pre-filter: HRF-AP1
  • Weight: 21 lbs (9.5 kgs)
  • Cord length: 6 ft.
  • Control location: top
  • Size: 20.08 x 10.83 x 22.32″ (51 x 27.5 x 56.7 cm)

CADR ratings

The HPA300 is a larger purifier with a significantly more powerful fan so it’s not surprising to see that its Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) is much higher. It’s advertised as being able to cycle and clean the air in a large room in 5 hours and I believe it.

Honeywell HPA300 CADR ratings

The HPA300 has passed an independent 3rd party’s verification test to determine its air cleaning effectiveness. Seen here are the actual ratings.

The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) testing for CADR ratings provides a way for home appliance manufacturers to demonstrate the effectiveness of their products. Air purifiers in particular are rated according to dust, smoke, and pollen cleaning efficiency, where a higher number is better.

For typical products for small to medium-sized rooms, the CADR from quality air purifier manufacturers tends to be around 100 or so. As you can see here, the HPA300 has an outstanding 300+ CADR for cleaning the most common air quality problems!

That’s fantastic. Most importantly though, you should be spending your money on a product with proven air cleaning performance. The HPA300 meets this & more.

Carrying & moving the purifier

Honeywell HPA300 side carrying handle image

While I’ll admit it looks very big and maybe a little bit intimidating, when actually testing it I found the HPA300 to be fairly easy to move around.

Both sides, near the top, have a place to put your fingers to allow easy moving of the purifier from place to place. It’s a great feature and I didn’t fully appreciate it until I tried it. Really nice!

At 21 lbs in weight (about 9.5 kgs) and 22.3″ (56.7 cm) tall in size, at first glance, you’d think it’s going to be a pain to move to the best spot in your room to use it.

The truth is, it wasn’t at all. I found it pretty easy to move and not at all a problem to deal with.

Air cleaning ability & performance

As it’s rated for up to 465 square feet by the manufacturer, it’s a great choice for extra-large rooms. However, you can definitely use it for large rooms as well. It will simply cycle air and clean them more rapidly than a larger room.

I tested the HPA300 over a series of days and let it run all day while I was out of the house. It’s a great way to come back home and feel the “fresh air” difference that a good air purifier can make.

Additionally, I have a bit of a dust problem so I’m always able to tell what’s working and what isn’t.

Consistently, the HPA300 was very good at removing airborne particles (especially dust, in my case) and left fresh, healthy air for me to come home to.

The Turbo mode is especially helpful if you’re bothered by an air quality issue and need the fastest possible relief.

Other products including the GermGuardian AC5000E don’t provide that special feature.

What kind of filters does it use?

Honeywell HPA300 new filter view image

Right out of the package, the HPA300 comes with all the filter you need, but unlike other brands they’re sealed in plastic bags. Per the instructions (included) you’ll have to open the bags and install the filters. It’s very easy, though. Note that the HPA300 and other similar models use the same filters – just a different quantity.

The Honeywell HPA family of purifiers uses High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters as well as an odor-reducing pre-filter for large elements and odors.

HEPA filters are made of very dense material and are very efficient for cleaning air. They can remove 99.97% of nasty elements in your air down to an incredibly small 0.3 microns in size. (A micron, or micrometer, is 1/1,000,000 of a meter in size).

HPA300 HEPA filters open package
Opening one of the Type R HEPA filters before installing it and using the purifier. The included filters are made of a soft but dense material that filters out an incredible amount of unwanted particles in the air. These particles cause allergies, sneezing & sniffling, and much more.

Installing the filters

HPA300 HEPA filters installed new
Installing the new HEPA filters before inserting the pre-filter. Note the easy pull-tabs on the filters. When replacing, this makes removing the dirty filters very easy to do!

Included are 3 Type R true HEPA filters which you’ll need to remove from their plastic bags and insert into the front of the purifier. It’s really easy to do and only took me a few moments.

Honeywell HPA300 pre-filter installation
Installing the odor reducing pre-filter, which is simply placed over the HEPA filters and then covered with the front grill snapped into place.

The odor reducing pre-filter that’s included is basically a large square section of a filter material without a rigid frame attached as some competitors do. It’s simply a matter of placing it in front of the HEPA filters and then attaching the front grill.

Here’s the basic list of air contaminants the HPA300 can remove:

  • Pet dander
  • Pet hair (thanks to the pre-filter)
  • Dust mite allergens
  • Pollen
  • Dust
  • Home construction particles
  • Smoke residue
  • Smoke odors
  • Chemical and organic odors

The pre-filter section is a less dense & thin section covering the active carbon filter. It’s job it so first capture larger items in the air like pet hair, dust, and so on. The active carbon filter traps odors and other chemical substances in the air.

Together, they work well. As I’ve mentioned in my other posts, I have a problem with dust and HEPA purifiers have really helped a lot.

For odors, though, you need to understand that the Honeywell purifier will help, but it isn’t an instantaneous solution. It takes time for it to cycle the air and remove odors…but it definitely helps!

Opening the front cover/grill

Honeywell HPA300 how to open front grill illustration
In order to replace filters or to initially get your purifier set up, you’ll need to remove the front grill.

On the HPA300 this is done by slightly pressing marked points on both the left and right sides as indicated. These are snap-click retainers which hold tabs on the grill in place. The grill has 2 tabs on the bottom which hook into slots before the grill is moved upward and snapped into place.

In doing so, I discovered that it’s very easy to do. However, if you move the purifier and even lightly touch the grill near the top it has a tendency to become loose and the grill needs to be re-seated.

This is a minor complaint, but something to be aware of.

Filter life and costs

Honeywell HPA300 replacement filters imageHoneywell recommend replacing the HEPA filters every 12 months or so and the pre-filter every 3 months.

This is because using the pre-filters both extends the life of the more expensive HEPA filters but also pre-filters have a limited life for absorbing odors and other chemical substances in the air.

This is in contrast to others which average 6 to 8 months before recommended replacement, so that’s actually very good.

Replacing all 3 HEPA filters will cost around $57 dollars or so for a 3-pack made by Honeywell. The pre-filter averages somewhere close to $6, so it’s really a good deal in that case.

While $57 or so may sound like a lot, it’s actually about average as most others cost close to $30 for 6 months or so replacement. Therefore it works out about the same.

Filter replacement reminders

What sets the HPA300 apart from other purifiers is that it features separate replacement reminders for the HEPA and pre-filter elements. It’s a unique feature that few products have.

After a replacement reminder comes on you can check the filter and clear the reminder by pressing the lighted button and hold it for about 2 seconds. It will clear and the reminder will be reset.

Note: you can also replace filters before the reminder occurs and reset the reminder ahead of time, according to the manual. With the unit turned off, press and hold each button separately for 5 seconds. The indicator light will illuminate. Then press and hold that indicator light until it goes off. After this the particular reminder will be reset to its “clean” initial state.

Is it safe? Can the Honeywell HPA300 cause headaches?

As I’ve discovered that many people search for answer to this question, I wanted to cover this topic in my review as well. As I explain more in this post, an air purifier based on filtering the air doesn’t produce any emissions.

The HPA300 simply filters the air – it doesn’t add anything to it or produce harmful or irritating by-products. It will not cause headaches. It is perfectly safe and there are NO health concern to worry about

Using the auto-off timer feature

HPA300 auto off timer feature

The auto-timer shuts off the purifier after 2, 4, or 8 hours have passed. I have to say it’s one of the easiest features like it I’ve ever used! Works great, and the purifier shuts itself off just as expected automatically.

In order to use it, simply touch the clock symbol to rotate through 2, 4, or 8 hour options. Doing so a 3rd time will turn it off again.

I like it – what a great option to have before bedtime. No need to worry about having to get up in the middle of the night to turn it off.

The owner’s manual

Honeywell HPA300 owners manual image

The owner’s manual is only about 8 pages in length for the English section, but it’s very straightforward and clear. Well-written and concise, it covers the most important basic information you need to use and maintain your purifier.

Additionally, one of the best things is that it makes it easy to find the customer service telephone number if you need it!

If you’d like to read more before buying, you can view or download the HPA300 owners manual here.

Noise levels during use

For such a big purifier, noise levels seemed to be very reasonable for Germ, General, and Allergen modes! Germ mode was especially quiet and in fact as low as some of the small or medium room purifiers I’ve tested!

After trying the purifier, it seemed as if those 3 operational modes corresponded to low, medium, and high respectively.

Turbo mode is much louder and of course, isn’t suitable for sleep time. But it’s a great feature to have when you can run it full-speed if the noise won’t be too much for you.

Volume measurements

I used a great little sound level meter to measure volume levels. I tested the volume levels at 1 meter (3.28 ft) from the purifier.

Measurement/ModeVolume (dB)
Off (Room noise)39.3
Germ mode43
General mode49.5
Allergen mode55
Turbo mode61

Turbo is definitely a bit loud and is not suitable for times when you’re close to it. As far as the others are concerned, it’s almost the exact same (relatively low) as smaller purifiers I’ve reviewed before.

I was impressed with that, as originally I thought the 3 main modes would be much worse in terms of noise. It’s a pleasant surprise to use it and not even notice it’s running!

Brightness levels in a dark room

Honeywell HPA300 brightness in a dark room image

I’m very particular about the brightness of my air purifiers during testing, as normally I’m very sensitive to both light and sound when sleeping. The HPA300 does have blue LED backlighting for the controls, however it wasn’t too bright. I was able to sleep without any problem and never actually had to use the dimmer feature.

What’s interesting about this particular model is that despite the fact that I’m normally sensitive to light when I sleep, I never had to use the dimmer feature. Honeywell has built-in a nice little dimmer control (accessed by simply touching the Dimmer button area) for 3 levels of control illumination: Medium, Low, and Off.

However, while doing my “overnight” testing I never had a problem. The HPA300 isn’t very bright at all, unlike the GermGuardian AC4825 for example.

You should have no concerns whatsoever about it keeping you awake at night even in the same room.

Review score & summary

After owning and using the Honeywell HPA300 for some time, I have to say overall I’m impressed! It’s a great purifier and it’s really easy to use.

It does what it’s supposed to and does it well – cleaning the air in large or extra-large rooms. With well-designed features, it’ll be a great choice for your home, too.

Image of HPA300 with Editors Choice badge for review score summaryDefinitely head over to find out for yourself why it's one of the top-rated purifiers sold today at Amazon.

Overall
8.9/10
8.9/10
  • Value - 8.7/10
    8.7/10
  • Ease of use - 9.7/10
    9.7/10
  • Air cleaning ability - 9/10
    9/10
  • Features - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Noise levels - 8.6/10
    8.6/10

Good quality, great features, and Turbo speed air cleaning ability make it a smart choice for clean, fresh air in bigger rooms.

Testing the HPA300 was a joy. Although it’s large at 21 lbs and 22″, it’s surprisingly easy to move from one spot to another. Filter replacement is simple and uses readily available/affordable Honeywell modular replacements. Features like Turbo mode and separately removable pre-filters are especially nice. The touch-sensitive controls are a breeze to use and nearly anyone will get accustomed right away. It’s also surprisingly quiet during normal operation. A great buy for your money for larger rooms. It’s a pleasure to own and you’ll love it just as much as I have.

Pros

  • High-speed Turbo mode for faster cleaning
  • High CADR rating – great purification efficiency
  • HEPA filters last approx. 12 months
  • Odor-reducing pre-filter is inexpensive ($6 or so)
  • Pre-filter can be replaced separately
  • Carrying handles on both sides
  • 5-year limited warranty
  • Height is about the same as lower-capacity competitors (22″)
  • Touch controls work well and are easy to learn
  • Built-in quick start guide
  • Customer support is good
  • Good owner’s manual
  • Auto-off timer shuts off automatically
  • Low noise levels except for Turbo mode
  • Filter replacement is simple to do
  • Indicator lamp brightness is low for night use
  • Good build quality, fit and finish are nice
  • Filter performance is good, fresh air quicker

Cons

  • Auto-off timer only adjustable in 2, 4 or 8 hours
  • Manual doesn’t clarify the 3 main operational modes (Low, med., high?)
  • No auto-sensing feature at this price level
  • Germ-killing feature not available
  • Pre-filter doesn’t feature activated carbon like competitors

What’s The Best Air Purifier To Remove Cigarette Smoke?

Best air purifier to remove cigarette smoke featured image for post

Dealing with cigarette smoke is tough. But what causes the odor? And why is cigarette smoke so hard to deal with? Maybe you’re already aware of how an air purifier can help.

If so, that’s great. But which air purifiers are the best to remove cigarette smoke and odors?

I’ve put together a list of the best choices to remove cigarette smoke to help you make a smart choice. There’s also some great information about smoke and how air purifiers work as well.

Contents

Infographic – Cigarette smoke and air purifier facts

What is in cigarette smoke?

Image of a cigarette smoke particle under microscope

A microscopic image showing two fine aluminum silicate particles in smoke from a Marlboro Medium cigarette. Note the size scale in the image is an incredibly small 1 micrometer (1um). A micrometer (or “micron”) is 1/1,000,000 of a meter. Cigarette smoke particles have been studied and measured (see below). Their incredibly small size is one reason they’re such a problem for odors and irritation. Microscopic particles can travel to many areas of your home and surfaces.

Smoke from pipe tobacco, cigarettes, and cigars contains a huge amount of chemical particles released when the tobacco burns. This is because tobacco is treated with a variety of chemicals and substances before being packed for use by smokers. Some aren’t intentionally added but occur as tobacco is cured.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug administration over 7,000 chemicals are released from cigarette smoke.

How cigarette smoke builds and becomes worse

Smoking indoors is a self-building problem: the more you smoke indoors, the more it builds, and the worse it becomes. Smoke after-effects don’t disappear or “evaporate.”

As most homes or businesses aren’t open to outside fresh air, smoke particles are trapped inside and never leave. They build up over time and accumulate on surfaces and even your skin, clothes, and more.

I’ve seen the results of heavy smokers who stayed indoors and smoked. Over time, the white walls actually became dark yellow in color. It permeated nearly everything inside!

Once smoke particles bond to surfaces and fabrics, it’s very difficult to restore them to their original freshness. Taking preventative measures can prevent this easily.

Even if smokers don’t smoke indoors, they bring in odors and smoke residue which are strong and a source of irritation. I’ve been in contact with someone once who was a heavy smoker, and because of the smoke particles on her body it caused me to break out in a rash.

You’ve got to eliminate the problem as effectively as possible to remove smells and avoid causing allergic reactions, coughing, and other side effects of bringing in smoke residue.

Do air purifiers help with cigarette smoke and odors?

Image of Levoit LV-H132 air purifier in bedroom
Yes, a good air purifier of the right type can effectively remove smoke, smoke by-products, and odors.

An air purifier removes smoke and related odors by using a fan to circulate air in the room which is passed through filters. These filters permanently trap smoke & its particles suspended in the air. Odors can be removed, too.

Air fresheners and other attempted solutions like that don’t work – they cover up (mask) the problem. Air fresheners cannot actually process the air or change the air contents as a purifier can.

One of the challenges of removing smoke isn’t just as simple as paper burning. Unlike smoke from other sources, cigarette and tobacco smoke is made of a huge range of microscopic particles. Gaseous chemical substances are released into the air, too.

Cigarette smoke typically contains elements that range in size from about 0.1 to 1.0 um in size.

You’ll need something that can eliminate these incredibly small elements in the air. That’s where an air purifier comes in – they’re practical, affordable, and most of all they’re effective. Air purifiers work well and get the job done safely.

Dirty air is one of many reasons why you might not be getting good rest, too!

What kind of air purifier do I need?

For best dealing with cigarette smoke you should be shopping for a filter-based air purifier. Avoid ionizers and ozone generators.

Purchase a product with the following features:

  • A HEPA filter (see below)
  • Activated carbon filter section
  • Sufficient room coverage
  • Filter replacement reminder (optional – recommended)
  • Proven effectiveness
  • Good buyer ratings

Note that you don’t have to spend a huge amount of money! For example, for products with basic features but solid performance, you should plan to spend from $55 (small rooms) to around $100 (medium-sized rooms). For larger rooms and additional features plan for around $150 and above.

It’s better to spend a few dollars more the first time rather than be dissatisfied with your purifier. You’ll waste time and money if you end up buying a cheaper, lesser product and return it later.

What is a HEPA filter?

Closeup image of air purifier HEPA filter material and carbon filter

A HEPA filter is made of dense, accordion-like material inside of a frame in order to be replaceable. Once very dirty, the filter can be swapped with a new one. They’re extremely effective at removing smoke and smoke particles. In addition many include a “pre-filter” section. These include material for catching larger particles while the carbon filter removes odors and chemical substances.

A High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter describes an air filter that’s made of very dense material. The name comes from a standard established many years ago to ensure effective air cleaning. Any filter sold as a “true HEPA” product must meet the standards set by this.

Because of their design and material used, they are able to trap microscopic particles down to as far as 0.3 microns in size.

HEPA filter effectiveness for removing smoke

Diagram showing efficiency of HEPA filter removing smoke particles
Diagram showing the effectiveness of a HEPA filter on smoke particles. Unlike ionizers or ozone generators, a filter-based purifier is very effective at removing smoke and cigarette smoking by-products. The filter permanent removes microscopic particles in the air flowing through it. They remain trapped and out flows fresh, healthy air.

As I mentioned above, this type of filter is ideal for combating smoke. A HEPA filter will remove 99.97% of all smoke particles that enter it after the pre-filter and carbon filter section.

This means that for every 10,000 smoke chemical particles that enter, only 3 will be able to escape! That’s excellent efficiency!

Furthermore, as I mentioned also, a carbon filter is needed for smoke removal as well.

The good news is that if your HEPA filter isn’t completely used-up you can, in many cases, replace the carbon/pre-filter section separately and save a bit of money.

Carbon filter effectiveness

GermGuardian FLT11CB4 carbon filter diagram

Filter replacements for good air purifiers like the GermGuardian AC4100 contain activated carbon. This is a porous material used in many types of for both air, water, and much more. The carbon section in better models is separately replaceable. This section traps gaseous chemicals in the air as well as odors of various types. It’s highly effective in reducing cigarette smoke and related issues.

Activated carbon (also called activated charcoal) has properties which cause it to be excellent at gas absorption. This is especially helpful for the gases and chemical compounds released into the air from cigarette smoke.

Carbon filters are commonly used in the best quality air purifiers, as they work alongside the HEPA filter to capture elements the other filter cannot.

If you’re dealing with smoke or other odors they’re especially helpful.

★ 5 of the best air purifiers for removing cigarette smoke ★

Our top picks at a glance

ImageProductDetails
sample-table__image★ OUR #1 PICK! ★GermGuardian AC4825
  • Best seller and overall an excellent value! Easy to use and quiet.
  • 155 sq ft coverage, 100+ CADR lab tested rating
  • True HEPA, carbon filter for odors, UV-C germ killer
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sample-table__imageULTRA QUIETLevoit LV-H132
  • Electronic controls and super quiet operation
  • 129 sq ft, true HEPA + carbon filter
  • Touch controls, night light, and memory feature
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sample-table__imageGermGuardian AC4100
  • Great for dorms and small rooms
  • Same HEPA filter + carbon filter quality as larger models
  • Includes germ-killing feature
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sample-table__imageLevoit PUR131
  • 322 sq. ft coverage, 3-stage HEPA. Low-noise sleep mode
  • Auto-sensing and auto-off advanced features
  • Digital display and touch controls
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sample-table__imageLarge room valueHoneywell HPA300
  • Huge 465 sq. ft. coverage. Easy filter replacement, too!
  • Electronic touch controls, dimmer, and sleep timers
  • True HEPA and carbon filters. High-speed Turbo mode
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Reviews and pros/cons

1. GermGuardian AC4825 – A best seller for many reasons! Solid performance and good room coverage with a germ killing feature too.

One of the most popular air purifiers sold today, the AC4825 doesn’t offer the fancier features of some competitors like the Levoit LV-H132. However, it’s a winner because of hassle-free ease of use, good performance, and good value.

It offers more room coverage and also includes an ultraviolet (UV) germ killing feature. The UV feature is safe and doesn’t produce any ozone like some other products.

The true HEPA filter design works very well to remove smoke and contaminants from your air. Filter replacement is easy and separate carbon filter/pre-filters are sold separately, allowing you to extend the HEPA filter life.

It’s so good that I had to buy one and try it myself! I’m a happy owner and you can read more about it in my detailed review here.

AC4825E top controls image

The AC4825 features one of the easiest-to-use control setups you’ll find. It’s incredibly easy to use! Set the rotary control to one of the 3 fan speed settings. Use the UV push button to switch the germ killing feature on or off. A power-on indicator LED lights when the purifier is working.

The 3-speed fan control is great for those who prefer simple controls & operation. To replace the filter, simply open the rear door and swap it out. The purifier also has a built-in replacement reminder which turns red when it’s time to check the filter.

GermGuardian AC4825 side view UV-C feature glowing

The lovely blue trim ring lights up when the UV-C feature’s in use. Don’t worry though – it’s perfectly safe, as the ultraviolet light is trapped inside. It’s a great-looking way to see when the feature is on. I like it!

With 22″ height, it’s not smaller and compact like some here but the small base size allows it to fit well in corners. Replacement filters cost about $30 and last approximately 6 months.

You can also find 3rd party brand filters which are cheaper.

PROS:
  • Simple 3-speed fan switch is great for nearly everyone
  • Good overall value for performance & room size vs. the Levoit LV-H132
  • Great filtering performance
  • Quiet fan operation on low speed setting
  • Germ & microbe-killing UV-C feature not found in many others
  • Filter replacement reminder
  • Soft LED when power is on
  • Vertical size is great for corner or areas with more vertical space
  • Good room size coverage (155 square feet)
  • 3-year limited warranty
CONS:
  • No auto-sensing modes
  • No electronic controls
  • No auto-off feature
  • Cannot wash & reuse filter
  • Design is less stylish and attractive than other competitors in its price range (ex. Levoit LV-H132)
  • Warranty requires paying for return shipment for service

I own a AC4825 and I can vouch for why it’s a best seller. It’s well made, works great for cleaning the air, and is very simple to use.

Check out the best price and thousands of happy buyer reviews over at Amazon.

2. Levoit LV-H132 – Compact and nice looking…a great purifier with good features.

Levoit LV-H132 purifier white front view

Another super-popular purifier, the Levoit LV-H132 (smaller sibling to the Levoit LV-PUR131) is a great buy as well. If you’re wanting to remove smoke odors & particles that intrude in your living space you can’t go wrong here.

Like comparable competitors, it uses a true HEPA filter with 3-stage filtration for good performance when removing smoke & odors.

Although it provides less coverage than competitors like the GermGuardian AC4825, the Levoit makes up for this by providing additional features. It’s also a great looking choice for small rooms or light duty use in medium-sized rooms.

It’s a top seller in its price range and buyer reviews are excellent as well.

Levoit LV-PUR131 control panel featuresThe Levoit LV-H132 is sophisticated yet still easy to use. Electronic touch controls are provided and beep when operated. After power is switched off the last settings are saved. Upon the next use, the purifier remembers your last settings and restores them automatically.

The fan offers pleasant and quiet operation on low speed. A built-in night light with 2 brightness settings is a bonus feature. A convenient filter replacement reminder lets you know when it’s time to change the filter and replace it if needed.

Levoit LV-H132 filter replacement image example

Filter replacement is a bit different for the LV-H132, but very simple. Turn the unit upside-down, rotate the cover, and then you can pull out and replace the old 3-in-1 filter assembly. Note: unlike some competitors, in most cases you can’t replace the carbon prefilter separately. It’s something to keep in mind.

Replacement filters run around $30 and are easy to swap out by removing the top cover.

PROS:
  • Shorter height than competing tower purifiers
  • 2-year warranty
  • 3 fan speeds
  • Night light with 2 brightness levels
  • Nice looking, modern design
  • Electronic soft button controls
  • Quiet operation on low level won’t disturb sleep
  • Filter replacement reminder
  • Great build quality & high reliability
  • Easy filter replacement
CONS:
  • Smaller room coverage than others in its price range (129 sq. ft.)
  • No auto-off timer feature
  • No air quality sensor
  • Electronic controls may not be suitable for some
  • High speed is not quite a fast as other products

I’ve owned and tested the LV-H132 and I have to say it’s a great one! Well-made, sleek, and has great filtering ability with the lowest noise levels I’ve measured yet.

Go have a look at the excellent reviews and find out why it regularly receives best choices awards at Amazon.

Levoit LV-H132 black model

NEW: Great news! There’s now No products found.

3.  GermGuardian AC4100 3-in-1: Lower-priced and great for small rooms – but not short on performance!

GermGuardian AC4100 angle viewA great lower-priced model, the AC4100 may be small but it features the same air purifying features as its larger siblings.

Measuring only 7.5 x 6.5 x 11″ in size, the true HEPA filter and charcoal sections work together to remove cigarette smoke and odors anywhere you need it. It’s perfect for a small room, office, dorm room, and much more.

One advantage included is the UV light along with titanium dioxide. These kill germs to make your air safer and prevent illness.

GermGuardian AC4100 filter replacement how to image

Filter replacement on the AC4100 is easy! Just open the rear cover, pull out the old filter, and insert the new one. You can also use a vacuum to remove larger particles like dust. As you can see my AC4100 caught more and more dust as I used it!

A replacement filter costs about $18 and there’s a filter installation date wheel on the rear to help you know when it’s time to replace it. Carbon filter replacements are sold separately so if you’re dealing with smoke and smoke odors that’s a great help.

Image of a GermGuardian AC4100 showing HEPA and activated carbon filtersIt’s really easy to use. Turn it on or off using the 3 speed fan control. It’s quiet and generates a pleasing low noise level on the lowest setting. When set to high it’s a bit louder but still not too loud. If you enjoy white noise you may find it relaxing.

Unlike its bigger brothers the AC4825 and AC4900CA, the UV germ killing switch is an on/off type rather than a push button.

One drawback I don’t like is that there’s no indicator light for the UV feature like the larger models. That’s a pretty small complaint for it, however.

PROS:
  • Simple 3-speed fan control and on/off UV-C switch
  • UV & titanium dioxide germ killing feature
  • Great filtering ability for its small size
  • High speed setting moves a lot of air for purifying quickly
  • Filter replacement reminder wheel (month installed)
  • Low filter replacement price (about $19)
  • Filter replacement date wheel (marks month installed)
  • Sleek, modern design
CONS:
  • 1 year warranty is shorter than other models
  • No indicator light for UV feature unlike larger models
  • Fan speed on high could be slightly better
  • No filter replacement light
  • No additional colors offered

Time and time again people testify to how good the GermGuardian line of purifiers is. And I agree – as I’m an owner!

Don’t wait! Be sure to check the great reviews that helped it become one of the highest selling products at Amazon.

4. Levoit LV-PUR131 – Great smoke & odor removal for med/large rooms. Fantastic auto-sensing feature.

Levoit LV-PUR131 side front image

Dealing with cigarette smoke in a larger room? This Levoit model is one of the most popular and well-reviewed units you can buy today.

It’s stylish, powerful, and has several cool features that really appeal to someone like me who worries about being able to sleep with electronics running.

Check out the reviews – it’s an excellent addition to your home, office, or even workplace and great at removing smoke along with odors, allergens, and dust.

Levoit air purifiers are well known and feature very good quality. I think they’re attractive and look nice at home, too.

The LV-PUR131 is no different. Electronic push button controls are simple to use (similar to its smaller sibling the LV-H132). A great-looking LCD display makes checking out operating conditions a pleasure.

A sleep mode option ensures the LV-PUR131 doesn’t keep you up at night. An auto-off timer lets you set and forget it. Select 1 to 12 hours of operation and it will turn itself off!

Levoit LV-PUR131 control panel features

The electronic control panel looks a bit complicated at first glance but it’s easy to use. Touch controls easily rotate through their various on/off settings such as the fan speed or mode. A digital display shows the remaining operation time when the auto-off timer in use as well as the current air quality detected.

What makes this Levoit model such a wonderful choice is not just the same 3-speed push button fan control. But the automatic auto-sensing mode which adjusts fan speed as needed as air conditions change. Really cool!

Filter replacement is about every 6 months. The handy replacement reminder will let you know when it’s time to check the filter. (It’s around $35 for a replacement)

As it’s only about 11.2 lbs in weight and 14.5 x 7.2 x 18.5 inches in size, the PUR131 provides more square feet coverage (322 square feet) than others but can fit in a few areas comparable products can’t.

A 2 year warranty is provided.

PROS:
  • More room coverage for the money (322 sq ft)
  • Auto-sensing mode adjusts fan speed automatically
  • Sleep mode for very quiet operation
  • Electronic, simple controls
  • LCD display
  • Auto-off feature: 1 to 12 hours for “set and forget” operation
  • Great cigarette smoke removal performance
  • Excellent overall reviews and customer satisfaction
  • Lower weight and smaller size than others – can be used more places
  • 2 year warranty
  • Nice, modern appearance
CONS:
  • No remote control
  • Auto-sensing mode does not indicate air quality levels visually
  • No night light
  • Replacement filters aren’t the cheapest (near $35 or so)
  • Warranty is shorter than some competitors
  • White color only

It’s a great compromise between cost, room size coverage, features, and performance.

Head over now to see why it's the best selling and highest rated purifiers today at Amazon.

5. Honeywell HPA300 – Powerful large room smoke removal. Reliable, well-established performance you will be happy to own.

Honeywell HPA300 HEPA air purifier product image

The Honeywell provides the greatest room size coverage and smoke filtering ability of the units listed here. If you’re in need of smoke removal in a larger room there’s no reason to look elsewhere. This is it.

The HPA300 is a real workhorse -a large and heavy unit, weighing about 21 lbs. The filters (carbon/pre-filter section, and separate true HEPA filter sections) are more complex but still simple to replace. Replacement filters are about $68 but you can replace carbon filters separately to keep costs down.

Replacement time is about 3-5 months depending on how much smoke you’re dealing with. The HEPA filter may get even more use if you’re swapping out carbon filters and the HEPA filter isn’t saturated from smoke removal.

Honeywell HPA300 electronic controls top view

The purifier features excellent touch panel electronic controls. Just touch one of the controls to rotate easily through the settings like fan speed, the light dimmer, and to set the auto-off timer feature.

The electronic controls are straightforward: fan speed, light dimmer, and an auto-operation option. LED lights give separate reminders for both the HEPA filter sections and the pre-filter carbon filter section.

For very heavy-duty air cleaning the high-speed Turbo mode provides excellent & fast cleaning ability. But it’s much quieter on low speed. Automatic mode shuts off the unit after either 2, 4, or 8 hour operation.

The HPA300 also has 3 operational modes: allergen, general, and germ modes. (General mode is fine for cigarette smoke removal)

Honeywell HPA300 filter replacement image

Filter replacement is very simple! The main cover uses 2 push-releases at the top to secure the cover. After removal, the prefilter can be replaced or the 3 standard Honeywell HEPA filters as well. It’s easy to do, in my experience.

What I especially like is that the filter replacement reminders are separate – one for the HEPA filter and one for the pre-filter. That’s a feature unique to the Honeywell design.

PROS:
  • Electronic touch controls
  • Maximum room size capability for the money (below $300 range)
  • Turbo mode for heavy air cleaning operation on demand
  • Automatic operation with 2, 4, and 8 hour settings
  • Quiet low speed operation
  • Largest room/house coverage (465 sq. ft)
  • Separate filter replacement reminder for both HEPA and pre-filter sections
  • 5-year warranty
  • Dimmer control
CONS:
  • Auto-off timer adjustable only in increments of 2 hours – no 1hr settings
  • Not as sleek-looking as others
  • No auto-sensing mode for self-adjusting ability
  • Black color only

Dealing with smoke in your home and larger rooms? Then you can’t go wrong with the HPA300. Find out why it's one of the best larger room air purifiers for smoke sold today.

Summary – My top pick under $100

The GermGuardian AC4825 is my top recommended air purifier for dust as it’s one of the best values around and works well. You’ll get more coverage for your dollar than competing models in its price class.

Based on maintenance costs, price, features, and performance the GermGuardian AC4825 is a great value and one of the best purifiers for your money.

A good quality air purifier doesn’t mask the problem – it treats it at the sources – by removing microscopic particles and gases in your air from smoke. That’s exactly what the recommended models I’ve listed do.

Additional reading

Wondering how many air purifiers you’ll need? Find out more here. Additionally, information about dust mites can be found here.

As a proud owner of the GermGuardian AC4825 I enjoyed it enough to write a hands-on review you can see here.

What Are Air Purifiers Used For? What They Do And How They Help

What are air purifiers used for featured image

Maybe you know someone who mentioned their air purifier. Or perhaps you’ve got an air quality problem you need help with. Are you wondering “What are air purifiers used for?” If so, you’ve come to the right place.

As it turns out, there are some great benefits they offer and they can improve your quality of life. I own several and I speak from personal experience.

In addition, it’s important to know a few facts ahead of time to avoid buying low-quality and ineffective products.

Read on and I’ll do my best to share the details you need.

Contents

Infographic – Air purifier uses and benefits

Air purifier uses and benefits infographic

What are air purifiers used for?

Air purifiers have a fundamental purpose: they circulate the air in a room and clean it by removing particulates and airborne chemical substances permanently.

Essentially, they remove bothersome particles, odors, vapors, hair, and more to produce clean, healthy air. They also help sickness and allergy symptoms since they eliminate many causes that trigger both.

While there’s a long list of air quality issues they treat, they’re most often used to treat several common problems found in many homes. They’re used not only in living rooms but bedrooms, work offices, kitchens, or any area where the effects of air quality problems are felt.

Removing odors

Image of garbage cans at home

Odors are the result of substances releasing their molecules into the air which enter your nose. Many are just bothersome and offensive (like garbage) but others like building materials and chemicals are potentially harmful, too.

Have you ever avoided making one of your favorite meals because you didn’t want your home to smell like it for days afterwards?

Sometimes the most delicious foods, like fried fish or burgers, can leave strong smells behind long after we finishing eating them. Spicy foods are especially known to do this.

This is because cooking releases the molecular organic compounds in those foods into the air. Likewise, chemical sources like cleaning products or solvents which release Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) can cause very strong and potentially harmful odors.

Garbage, pets, and musty areas can also release a number of organic substances that we sense as odors. Some materials like the new carpet you’ve had installed or construction materials have “outgassing” properties, which means for a period of time they release elements into the air with a strong odor.

The activated carbon filter in many purifiers is a type of filter section that can absorb and trap these odors and vapors, leaving fresh air behind.

Of course, there’s no substitute for treating the problem at its source, but they’re a great way to freshen the air around you.

Relieving allergies

Image note about pet allergies

One of the most popular reasons for buying an air purifier is allergy symptom relief. Allergens come from a variety of sources: everything from pet dander to pollen. To make matters worse, dust mites feed off of pet dander and human skin waste, creating even more allergens! The ideal solution is to remove them from the air.

Allergens are one of the most common problems faced by people. There are so many sources of allergy symptoms like sneezing, itchiness, asthma, and more, that it can sometimes seem overwhelming

These symptoms are caused by allergens that move in the air around you and on to your skin and air passageways. Additionally, those that settle on surfaces can be disturbed and get into the air over and over to cause relentless problems.

When allergens enter our breathing passageways or contact skin they act as irritants our body reacts to.

Air purifiers help with this particular problem by using the High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter section to catch allergen particles. Most allergens are a few micrometers in size and above (for reference, a micrometer or “micron” is 1/1,000,000 of a meter).

Some of the most common allergy sources they’re proven to relieve are:

  • Dust mite allergens
  • Pet dander
  • Plant pollen
  • Allergy-causing dust
  • Chemical allergens
  • Perfumes and cologne
  • Foods and other organic sources

HEPA filters trap the allergens in their dense fibers where they can’t escape. Fresh air escapes the other side and back into the room. They’re a safe and effective way to get relief. In the cases of odors (like perfumes or chemicals), these get absorbed by the carbon filter section (if provided).

Dealing with smoke

Image of a cigarette smoke particle under microscope

Smoke has an amazing amount of unhealthy elements and gases with chemical compounds. They get everywhere, and cling to surfaces! This image shows an aluminum silicate particle that’s microscopic in size – a by-product of cigarette smoke.

Smoke is a unique problem in that it’s a terrible combination of problems:

  • Bad odors
  • Chemicals released into the air
  • Particles that cling to and dirty surfaces
  • Health hazards when inhaled second-hand
  • Discoloration of surfaces if left untreated

Air purifiers are able to greatly help. Models with both a HEPA filter and activated carbon filter can trap a large portion of these, both when someone is presently smoking or from the remnants of smoke.

It’s important to understand that because smoke has so many incredibly small particles, it’s never a good idea to have smoke directly in your home. But if you can’t avoid it, or are simply dealing with the side effects, it’s great to leave the purifier running and you’ll feel a significant reduction in the problems.

Your health is very important. Did you know that second-hand smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals? It’s terribly bad for your health over the long term!

Be sure to stay healthy and safe – I recommend a good quality purifier with a well-rated reputation for alleviating smoke problems.

Reducing and removing dust

Dirty air purifier filter that has collected dust

Dust is another bothersome problem that I have personally dealt with. In the image above, my GermGuardian AC4825 purifier captured a lot of dust in the pre-filter. I had no idea how bad my dust problem was! It’s great to have an easy solution that keeps it under control.

Dust comes from a variety and sources – fabrics, home materials, the ventilation system, and many more. Tiny particles enter your home or break from many surfaces, materials, or get carried in when your central heating or cooling system operates.

For me personally it has always been a problem.

Dust control results

Purifiers work very well for dust as they’re good for cycling the air in a room and filtering out dust particles (which are generally larger in size than many other air contaminants).

Often the pre-filter, a more coarse section that serves as a “first stage” for debris, traps them. In many cases after a large build-up, you can vacuum off the dust and re-insert the filter for more use.

I’ve seen a good amount of success keeping dust under control and my home doesn’t need nearly as much cleaning as it once did! Additionally, I’ve noticed I don’t sneeze as much as I used to since using my purifier.

Treating pet odors and dander

Woman petting white dog image

Pets are wonderful, but bring a few things we have to deal with when they’re indoors. Pets generate a lot of by-products like hair, dander, and odors. They can also bring in substances from outdoors.

Pets bring with them a number of issues – not just allergens:

  • Dander
  • Odors
  • Hair
  • Outdoor particles
  • Skin oils (often odor causing)

As I mentioned earlier, pet dander can trigger allergy symptoms inside your home and can cause a number of problems. However, additional nuisances like “wet dog smell” are caused by micro bacteria that are activated when dog hair becomes saturated with water.

Pet hair can be difficult to deal with as well. A purifier can’t remove all pet hair from indoors (once settled on surfaces) but airborne hair can be trapped.

Pet odors are often caused by the natural organic compounds the product and release into the air. The same happens also with the natural oils on their skin and body.

Adding an air purifier is definitely a great idea. As many pet owners have discovered, it’s a good way to reduce the stinky smells and mess at home.

Note that it’s recommended you still bathe your pet fairly often as again it’s important to treat the problem at its source.

How does an air purifier work?

How air purifiers reduce dust diagram

An air purifier is generally a pretty simple – but effective – device. They work by cycling air in a room and continuously trapping the elements (like dust, for example) that cause air quality problems. Shown is one of the most popular, the GermGuardian AC4825. I’ve owned and enjoyed mine for some time now.

Air purifiers actually generally aren’t very complicated at all, although the designs vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Some have more advanced features like timers, sensors, and more, but work using the same basic principles.

Purifiers cycle the air in a room and filter out unwanted contaminants using replaceable filter cartridges.

As you can see in the image above, it’s like running a fan in a room – except that as it moves the air more and more contaminants (or odors, and so on) are trapped. They’re removed permanently.

The HEPA filter I mentioned earlier is a type of very dense and efficient filtering standard. It defines this type of filter as being able to eliminate 99.97% of all particulates that enter it down to 0.3 microns in size.

That means for every 10,000 particles that flow through it, only about 3 can escape!

GermGuardian FLT11CB4 carbon filter diagram

Activated carbon is found in many types of filters, including for drinking water. Because of its properties, it’s good at removing chemicals and odors from the air. Good purifiers include carbon or some type of odor-removal treatment in their filter design.

Activated carbon, often built alongside the more coarse “pre-filter” section, is responsible for eliminating odors, volatile chemical compounds, and similar nasty airborne substances we hate and shouldn’t breathe in.

Carbon (also called charcoal) is treated to give it the ability to absorb and trap these unwanted substances passing through the filter.

It’s necessary as the HEPA filter can only trap solid particles – not gaseous ones. When used together they form an effective way to treat your air.

Nearly all filter-based (HEPA) purifiers aren’t harmful and don’t produce any unsafe by-products to worry about. They simply remove particulates and substances from the air.

Good reasons to own an air purifier

While it’s great to buy one to get relief for a particular air quality problem, there are other reasons they’re a great idea:

  • They can help prevent sickness
  • Promote better sleep and overall better health
  • Reduce distractions due to air quality annoyances
  • Are great for children and babies (who are more sensitive to air)
  • They’re helpful for dealing with home upgrade dust and odors

GermGuardian AC4825 side view UV-C feature glowing

Some products also provide a germ-killing feature like the one pictured above. They use an ultraviolet light (UV) bulb design to destroy airborne microbes and bacteria.

Ionizers are also particularly effective at sanitizing air to prevent sickness.

However, they’re not very effective for the other purposes I’ve listed in this post, so I can’t recommend them for most buyers. I’ve been disappointed with the ones I’ve tested.

Summary

Hopefully I’ve helped you better understand what an air purifier can do for you. After trying various kinds (I own and have tested many!) I can honestly say they improved my quality of life.

To recap:

  • Air purifiers are used to help with common air quality problems
  • They work by cycling the air in a room and filtering out contaminants, odors, and more
  • Good products include both a true HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter section
  • Filter-based purifiers are safe and don’t generate harmful by-products

Considering buying one? I’ve got a great list and a buying guide with some of the best purifiers under $100 here.

Personally, I highly recommend the one I own – the GermGuardian AC4825 3-in-1.