Breathe Easy With the Best Air Purifiers for Smoke, Tested

Avoid the adverse effects of smoke and other unwanted airborne pollutants with a quality air purifier. These appliances can quickly clear the air, so you can breathe easier and protect your health.

Best Overall

The Coway Airmega AP-1512HH Mighty Air Purifier on a white background.

Coway Airmega AP-1512HH Mighty Air Purifier

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Best Bang for the Buck

The Levoit Core 300 Air Purifier on a white background.

Levoit Core 300 Air Purifier

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Best Alexa-Compatible

The Clorox Alexa Smart Medium Room True HEPA Air Purifier and a phone showing it communicating with the Clorox mobile app via WiFi.

Clorox Alexa Smart Medium Room True HEPA Air Purifier

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Having smoke indoors is nothing to play around with, so to help protect you and your family, we meticulously tested four popular air purifiers for smoke to help find the right product for your home, office, dorm, or camper.

Smoke can irritate the eyes, sinuses, and throat and cause difficulty breathing. An air purifier can help filter out fine particles of smoke in addition to common irritants such as dust mites, pollen, mold spores, and other unwanted pollutants. But not all air purifiers are created equal—particularly when it comes to smoke.

Keep reading to learn which are the best air purifiers for smoke and be sure to check out other must-have products if you’re facing wildfires.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Coway Airmega AP-1512HH Mighty Air Purifier
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Levoit Core 300 Air Purifier
  3. BEST ALEXA-COMPATIBLE: Clorox Alexa Smart Medium Room True HEPA Air Purifier
  4. ALSO CONSIDER: Molekule Air Mini+ Air Purifier
An air purifier for smoke installed in the wall in a sleek and modern kitchen.

How We Tested the Best Air Purifiers for Smoke

Before we began testing, we researched dozens of models from the most respected brands and combed through hundreds of customer reviews to narrow down our options. We also followed the advice of Frontdoor HVAC expert Ryan McNabb, who advises, “The best filter to remove smoke is, in fact, a combination of filters: a HEPA filter, which removes smoke particles, paired with an activated-carbon filter, which removes odor particles.” Together, these two filters remove both smoke and odor particles.

Then we finalized our selections based on filtration efficiency, area coverage, noise level (as measured in decibels, or dB), and range of operating fan speeds. We also considered nice-to-have features such as portability and remote operation. These models are not only designed to remove smoke and eliminate odors but also dust mites and other particulates that can cause difficulty breathing and worsen indoor air quality.

To test the devices, we designed a series of real-world scenarios that would show how well the devices do their job. We burned incense near the purifiers and quantified their efficiency at removing the smoke from the air over an hour. We also emptied the contents of a vacuum cleaner to test the purifiers’ ability to remove visible particulates from the air. We used a detailed rubric to qualitatively and quantitatively assess the air purifiers’ performance for comparison.

In addition to these specific tests, we lived for months with the air purifiers in our homes, including in bedrooms, to assess noise levels.

Testing Stats

Products tested: 4
Hours spent testing: Over 6 months
Tests performed: 3
Average price: $203

Our Top Picks

After testing, we found that these models are among the best air purifiers for smoke. These recommendations are among the best air purifiers for smoke in their respective categories for clearing toxins and particles from the air.

Best Overall

Coway Airmega AP-1512HH Mighty Air Purifier

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Our Ratings: Overall 4/5; Ease of Use 4/5; Effectiveness 4.5/5; Noise 3/5; Value 4.5/5

Product Specs 

  • Dimensions: 18.3 inches tall by 16.8 inches wide by 9.6 inches deep
  • Remote control? No
  • Room size: 361 square feet


  • 4 layers of filtration: a prefilter, a true high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, a carbon filter, and an ionizer for the smallest particles
  • 5 airflow settings, including Eco mode for low-power usage
  • Automatic mode increases airflow under poor air quality conditions
  • Air quality indicator light shows current air conditions at a glance


  • Boxy design can be difficult to place in a room
  • No Wi-Fi connectivity or remote control

The Coway Airmega is a powerful air purifier that tackles everything from smoke to pet allergens thanks to its four filter layers. The machine has a prefilter that acts as a goalie against the largest particles, a deodorization filter to remove smells from the air, a true HEPA filter for tiny particulates, and a bipolar ionizer that targets the ultrafine particles that other filters can’t capture. These four stages effectively remove visible smoke and odors, including second-hand smoke, as well as common air pollutants like pet dander, dust mites, and gases. It’s designed with an at-a-glance air quality indicator light that turns blue for “good,” purple for “moderate,” or red for “unhealthy.”

It’s worth noting that the Coway purifier is a bit bulky; we found that its large square design can make it hard to place in a room. Unlike cylindrical or tower-style purifiers, this one doesn’t fit as well in a corner. But its high degree of efficiency at removing smoke during our tests made up for any aesthetic flaws. The machine has a smart Auto mode that responds quickly to air quality changes. We especially noticed this when cooking; even if the food wasn’t producing much smoke, the machine would increase its fan speed to remove particles that were otherwise undetectable to the naked eye.

Though the Coway Airmega doesn’t offer fancy bells and whistles like a remote control or Wi-Fi connection (though that is available on the AP-1512HHS), it’s straightforward to control and does an exceptionally good job of keeping the air clean.

Get the Coway air purifier for smoke at Amazon or Coway.

Best Bang for the Buck

Levoit Core 300 Air Purifier

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Our Ratings: Overall 4/5; Ease of Use 4.5/5; Effectiveness 3/5; Noise 5/5; Value 3.5/5

Product Specs

  • Dimensions: 14.2 inches tall by 8.7 inches in diameter
  • Remote control? No
  • Room size: 219 square feet


  • As quiet as 24 dB on the lowest setting for bedroom use
  • Energy Star certified for efficient electricity use
  • Compatible with the brand’s pet allergy and toxin absorber filters
  • Filter replacement indicator helps ensure timely filter changes


  • No remote control or app compatibility
  • Smaller room coverage than similar air purifiers

Levoit is a trusted brand name in the world of air purification, and its Core 300 model lives up to the brand’s reputation. This compact, sleek-looking cylindrical purifier blends into any room and has a straightforward touch-screen interface to toggle between the three air speeds, nighttime mode, and the built-in timer. It can run continuously or automatically shut off after 2, 4, 6, or 8 hours. Its lock mode prevents accidental changes to settings, making this purifier a safer option to keep in children’s rooms.

During testing, the Levoit removed dust and smoke from the air after an hour. Though it doesn’t have an automatic mode that increases the fan speed in response to increased particulate matter, we found that it’s easy enough to bump up the speed manually if you experience smoke or an increase in particulate matter in the air. Besides its air-cleaning capabilities, we were particularly impressed with how quietly this model operates.

Our tester kept the Levoit Core 300 purifier in her bedroom for months; even as a light sleeper, she experienced no disturbances with the purifier on nighttime mode. It gets as quiet as 24 dB, which is about the noise level of someone breathing from a distance of about 3 feet away.

Get the Levoit air purifier for smoke at Amazon, Lowe’s, Target, or Levoit.

Best Alexa-Compatible

Clorox Alexa Smart Medium Room True HEPA Air Purifier

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Our Ratings: Overall 4/5; Ease of Use 5/5; Effectiveness 4/5; Noise 3/5; Value 5/5

Product Specs

  • Dimensions: 14.65 inches tall by 8.74 inches in diameter
  • Remote control? Yes, through Alexa
  • Room size: 225 square feet


  • Air quality status instantly visible with color-changing light on the front
  • Automatic mode changes fan speed in response to current air conditions
  • 3-stage filtration removes large particles, allergens, and odors


  • Not compatible with Google Assistant
  • Fan is noisy on highest speed setting

This Clorox air purifier is a great choice for homes built around the Alexa/Amazon ecosystem, allowing remote control and voice control with the Alexa app. Its true HEPA filter removes 99.97 percent of allergens as small as 0.1 microns and 99.9 percent of bacteria and viruses. This model closely tracks indoor air quality in real time and the color-changing light on the front of the purifier indicates the current status, ranging from green (healthy air quality) to red (unhealthy air quality). On auto mode, the purifier will instantly increase the fan speed in response to a drop in air conditions.

The Clorox purifier has three layers of filtration. First, a prefilter catches large particles and pet hair; then a true HEPA filter removes allergens, particulates, bacteria, and viruses; and finally, an interior active-carbon filter clears odors, and gases, and reduces volatile organic compounds (VOCs). After months of constant use in a New York City apartment, we have found this to be a reliable and user-friendly purifier that does the job when it comes to smoke and other visible particles. It’s also very easy to control from anywhere and is Energy Star certified.

Get the Clorox air purifier for smoke at Amazon, Wayfair, or Clorox.

Also Consider

Molekule Air Mini+ Air Purifier

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Our Ratings: Overall 4.5/5; Ease of Use 5/5; Effectiveness 4/5; Noise 5/5; Value 3/5

Product Specs

  • Dimensions: 12 inches tall by 8.26 inches in diameter
  • Remote control? Yes, through app
  • Room size: 250 square feet


  • Patented photoelectrochemical oxidation (PECO) filter removes pollutants as small as 0.3 microns, including mold and viruses
  • Modern design that suits many home decor aesthetics
  • Connected app for remote control and air quality monitoring


  • Pricier than similar products
  • Replacement filters cost $100 each without a subscription

The Molekule Air Mini+ has an attractive minimalist design that includes a handle for portability, making it a great choice for those who’d like to move the air purifier where it’s needed. Plus, the Molekule app enables remote control from a smartphone, and the app tracks and stores indoor air quality numbers, offering a real-time log of home air conditions.

The Air Mini+ is equipped with three layers of filtration: a true HEPA filter that captures 99.97 percent of particles, an odor- and gas-absorbing carbon layer, and patented PECO technology, which helps eliminate viruses and bacteria. The AirMini+ is also California Air Resources Board (CARB) certified.

The Mini+ effectively removed smoke and particles from a vacuum bag during our tests. When cooking over high heat produced a lot of smoke in an apartment, the Mini+ cleared the air in 10 to 15 minutes. We also found that it’s exceptionally quiet at 39 dB on its slowest setting. The main downside to this otherwise effective air purifier is the price, costing over $100 more than most of our other favorite models.

Still, for patented technology, remote control, and air quality monitoring, all in a portable, good-looking package, the Molekule may be worth the high price tag.

Get the Molekule air purifier for smoke at Amazon, Staples, or Molekule.

Jump to Our Top Picks

What to Consider When Choosing an Air Purifier for Smoke

If you’ve never owned an air purifier or you’re facing wildfire season and want to know how to keep smoke out of your home, finding the right model is much easier if you first understand the technical features and air and environmental ratings. Familiarizing yourself with the numerous acronyms makes comparison shopping much simpler. Here’s what we considered to determine the units on our list of the best air purifiers for smoke.


First, we prioritized filtration. Our recommendations feature multiple filters, including an activated-carbon filter to capture the lingering odors of cigarettes and flames and a true HEPA filter.

HEPA filters remove larger unwanted particles while carbon filters target smaller pollutants, including odors and toxic gasses. HEPA filters are proven to trap 99.97 percent of particles with a size of 0.3 microns or larger, including pollen, pet dander, dust mite waste, mold spores, and smoke. They last 6 to 12 months and then need to be replaced.

Look for an air filter that uses “true HEPA” or “HEPA” filters. Be careful when shopping, though—purifiers labeled “HEPA-type” or “HEPA-like” often don’t have a real HEPA filter at all. These types of filters don’t always meet U.S. Department of Energy standards.

In addition to HEPA filters, air purifiers tackling smoke removal should also employ two other types of filtration:

  • Prefilters capture large particles in the air before reaching and clogging the filtration system. While not a must-have, they are highly economical. HEPA air filters are more costly to replace than prefilters, so the inclusion of both saves money in the long run. Maintaining the prefilter involves monthly cleaning and replacing it only if it gets damaged.
  • Activated-carbon air filters aid purifiers by capturing some of the gaseous molecules found in wildfire smoke and reducing the associated smell. Activated-carbon filters remove contaminants ranging from unwanted odors to VOCs by absorption and adsorption. The carbon filter chemically attracts the unwanted elements and traps them in interior pores (absorption) or on its textured surface (adsorption). Carbon filters need to be replaced every 3 to 6 months, following manufacturer recommendations.McNabb emphasizes the importance of a carbon filter when purchasing an air purifier specifically for smoke. “This type of filter is needed to remove odors found in smoke. While a HEPA filter is great at filtering out smoke particles, it is unable to remove those that cause odor,” he says. “A HEPA filter unit with an additional activated-carbon filter is what you need to remove smoke and associated odors.”

The systems listed above act as smoke filters; remove allergens, gases, and toxins from the air; and leave your home odor-free.

Room Size

Air purifiers are labeled for specific room sizes, which are described in square feet. To find the size you need, calculate the square footage of a room by multiplying the length times the width. Another consideration to keep in mind when looking at room size coverage for air purifiers is the number of air changes per hour (ACH). This number shows how many times per hour the entire air volume of a room will be filtered. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends an air purifier with an ACH of 4.8.

As you look at product descriptions, you may notice that the rating may be shown for a different room size than the product’s “filters up to X square feet” statement, so be sure to read the fine print. For example, a general product description may indicate that an air purifier can be used for rooms up 1,000 square feet, but the air purifier may only offer one air change per hour at that room size, much lower than the EPA’s recommendation of 4.8. (Room size listed in the specs above allow for 4.8 to 5 ACH for the corresponding product; Molekule does not list ACH, however, only recommended room size.)

In addition to room size, where to place the air purifier in a room is key, and if smoke is your main concern, heed McNabb’s advice about where to put your filter: “Placing the air purifier close to the source of smoke is more efficient in removing smoke particles. Placing the air purifier in the same room and within close vicinity to the source of smoke will allow the air to circulate through the purifier with ease.”

EPA Rating and CARB Certification

Energy Star is a joint program of the EPA and the Department of Energy. The program’s goal is to help customers, businesses, and industries save money and protect the environment using energy-efficient products and practices.

An Energy Star certification means that the unit uses less energy than standard products. These certified energy-efficient appliances usually have lower operating costs and create less air pollution than standard equipment. Look for the blue Energy Star logo to find certified products.

CARB develops programs to fight climate change; part of that initiative is certification for certain products, including portable indoor air cleaners. To be certified, an air cleaner must pass electrical safety tests and, for electronic cleaners, must not produce ozone greater than 0.050 parts per million (50 ppb).

Electronic air cleaners refer to products that include electric air-cleaning technology, such as ionizers or devices with ultraviolet light components. Mechanical air cleaners, on the other hand, only use physical filtration, and as such, produce no ozone.

Air Quality Indicator 

If you live in an area associated with higher levels of air pollution—such as a city or town with industrial factories, power plants, or chemical facilities—awareness of the Air Quality Index (AQI) is especially important. The AQI is a national system managed by the EPA that is used to measure and report air quality based on five major pollutants regulated by the Clean Air Act: particle pollution, ground-level ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide.

AQI ranges from 0 to 500, with high values indicating greater air pollution levels.

  • 0 to 50: Good air quality conditions.
  • 100 to 150: Air is a moderate health concern for sensitive groups, including people with lung or heart disease, older adults, and children.
  • 151 to 299: Air is considered unhealthy for everyone, with the risks of adverse health effects increasing until conditions are deemed hazardous between 300 and 500.

To take the guesswork out of how to test air quality at home, some air purifiers feature an air quality indicator, which typically uses an infrared beam and sensor to detect particulate matter. Some smart air purifiers are capable of automatically adjusting fan speed in response to higher or lower detected air quality levels.

Noise Level 

Noise level can be an important consideration, depending on where you plan to place your air purifier.

  • Many large air purifiers operate at about 60 dB, the same noise level as a normal conversation.
  • Quieter air purifiers operate at a noise level of 40 to 55 dB, making them a better alternative for bedrooms, living rooms, and home offices.
  • Models that are as low as 20 to 30 dB are often made for bathrooms, small bedrooms, or even for traveling as they emit very little sound (as much as a muffled hum). Several of the models listed above have a nighttime mode specifically designed for minimum noise.


When in a new environment, air purifiers can help you sleep better and reduce exposure to airborne pollutants. As such, some air purifiers are designed for travel, with handles, wireless charging, and caster wheels for added mobility. These devices perform the same function as larger devices but are sized for smaller rooms.

If you need an air purifier for travel, you may want to look for a purifier that boasts a minimum clean air delivery rate (CADR) of 217—representing efficiency and airflow—suitable for an average hotel room size of about 325 square feet.

Additional Features

Different comfort and convenience features can make a good air purifier even better. (Some air purifiers even feature a wireless charger for phones.) Popular features include smart technology, remote controls, operating modes, and easy access for filter maintenance.

  • Smart technology: Onboard air quality sensors can automatically adjust the output of the unit in response to the air quality in a home. Bluetooth connectivity, smart-device apps, and compatibility with personal digital assistants allow you to monitor air quality conditions and control the unit while away from home.
  • Remote control: Some air purifiers come with a remote control, allowing you to operate the device without accessing the control panel. With smart air purifiers, an app functions as the remote control, allowing you to adjust the device from virtually anywhere. Others are compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant for voice control.
  • Programs/settings: All of our favorite air purifiers offer variable fan speed settings, allowing you to increase or decrease filtration power in response to changing conditions, like when there’s a fire in the fireplace. Some include sleep mode, which runs the purifier at a lower, quieter setting, with or without a built-in night-light. With some smart indoor air purifiers, these operating settings can be programmed to run at specific intervals.
  • Filter replacements: Air filters need to be changed periodically, so it helps to have indicator lights that remind you when it’s time for a change. Filter replacement tends to be easier when filter covers and access points are located near the top or front of the machine and are fastened with magnets or sliding latches instead of screws.

A Note on CADR Ratings

In addition to the above callouts and features, air purifiers are also labeled with a CADR. This value is influenced by filter efficiency and airflow in cubic feet per minute (CFM). The higher the CADR rating, the faster the unit can deliver clean air. CADR values can reach a maximum of 450 for smoke and pollen, while 400 is the highest score for dust.

While CADR is a standard for air purifier performance in the U.S., the values can be misleading for purifiers that contain filters other than standard HEPA filtration. Some manufacturers design air purifiers to circulate a lot of purified air at a faster rate, filtering only the larger contaminants. The CADR test does not take into account gases, odors, or VOCs, which are targeted by carbon filters.


You might still have some questions about the best air purifiers for smoke to meet your needs. Check out the most commonly asked questions below and find the info you need.

Q. How do air purifiers work?

A typical filtration system includes a true HEPA filter for larger particles including dust mites, pollen, pet dander, and other allergens. Some include an activated-carbon filter for VOCs, gases, and odors. Additionally, certain air purifiers also include a fabric prefilter to trap larger particles before they reach and potentially clog the other air filters.

Q. How well do air purifiers work for smoke?

How well an air purifier works is dependent on the type of smoke, which relates to particle size. The best air purifiers for wildfire smoke effectively reduce particle concentration of visible smoke. For example, they remove wildfire smoke by up to 85 percent, according to the EPA. They further absorb and remove the smell of smoke from the air using an activated-carbon filter.

Q. Does a HEPA filter remove smoke?

Yes, though only some types of smoke. The combination of a HEPA air purifier with an activated-carbon filter is the best solution for smoke. Some kinds of smoke contain particles that pass through a HEPA filter. Smoke particles can be as small as 0.001 microns, while true HEPA filters trap 99.97 percent of particles between 0.3 and 10 microns. HEPA filtration traps visible and particulate matter, such as smoke from wildfires, cigarettes, and burning food. The filters on this list are further equipped with a carbon filter that traps and absorbs odors and toxic gases.

Q. Do air purifiers remove the smell of smoke?

Air filters for smokers should have strong or true HEPA filters for effectively removing the smell of smoke from the air in your home or office.

Why Trust Bob Vila 

Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series including “This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” he popularized and became synonymous with “do-it-yourself” home improvement.

Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today with expert yet accessible home advice. The Bob Vila team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.

Meet the Tester

Lizzy Briskin is a writer and chef based in New York City. She has been testing and reviewing home products and appliances for over 7 years and has worked as an editor at Real Simple, Food Network, and Pioneer Woman Magazines. She contributes to Wirecutter, The Kitchn, Apartment Therapy, and Simply Recipes.

Additional research provided by Mark Wolfe.

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Mark Wolfe

Staff Writer

Mark Wolfe is a second-career freelance writer based in Georgia and has an extensive background in the horticulture industry. Since 2020, he has contributed numerous gardening and home improvement articles to, along with a variety of consumer product reviews.