Best Air Purifiers 2021: Combat Cigarette and Wildfire Smoke - Rolling Stone
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RS Recommends: The Best Air Purifiers for Smoke and Smog

These air purifiers help improve the air quality in your home, while ridding your space of harmful smoke, smog, mold and allergens

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Amazon

Products featured are independently selected by our editorial team and we may earn a commission from purchases made from our links; the retailer may also receive certain auditable data for accounting purposes.

Whether you live in close proximity to someone who routinely smokes cigarettes or you live in an area affected by wildfires, regular exposure to the microscopic particles found in smoke can have a devastating effect on your lungs and overall health. So what do you do when the thing you’re trying to protect yourself against is not only invisible to the naked eye, but is hiding in the air you’re breathing?

Your answer might vary depending on the smoke you’re dealing with. If you’re trying to protect yourself from the smoke and smog produced by wildfires, you may think that shutting your windows and doors is enough to keep you safe. But actually, there is evidence that suggests that some of these damaging particles can penetrate entryways even when they’re closed. If you’re trying to combat the nuisance that is cigarette smoke, you may invest in a fan to try to repel the smell. While some circulation is better than none, one option you should consider regardless of which situation you find yourself in is an air purifier.

How Does An Air Purifier Work for Smoke?

The best air purifiers remove contaminants from the air through a circulating fan and one or more filters. The fan sucks up the air in the room the device is placed in, and pushes it through the filter, where all of the contaminants are removed and trapped. The purified air is then pushed back out into the room.

By investing in a solid air purifier, you can have peace of mind that the air you’re breathing while in your living space is clean. That said, these devices aren’t a be-all end-all solution to removing smoke and smog. Still, a good air purifier can definitely help keep you safe when implemented along with other safety precautions, such as sealing any openings, wearing face coverings (in cases of extreme smoke) and evacuating the premises if the smoke gets too close or dangerous.

What Are the Best Air Purifiers for Smoke and Smog?

There are a number of brands making air purifiers for smoke and smog. When you’re evaluating the purchase of your potential air purifier, consider the following criteria.

Filter: The average air purifier isn’t equipped to handle the contaminants found in smog or cigarette smoke. You’ll need to look for one outfitted with a HEPA filter to effectively safeguard your space against these particles, as well as a carbon filter to ward off those pungent odors.

You’ll also want to take a look at how often your filter(s) need to be replaced. This could be an important factor when assessing your decision if replacement filters are particularly costly.

Size: Bigger rooms and living spaces need a larger air purifier to work effectively, so make sure you know how big the room you’re looking to purify is and see what the capabilities of your potential air purifier are before making a purchase.

Noise: To make sure you’re getting the most out of your air purifier, you should be running it all day, every day. Because of this, you’re not going to want one that makes a lot of noise, especially if you’re someone who is still working from home or who is a light sleeper. You want your purifier to solve problems, not make new ones.

1. Levoit LV-PUR131 Air Purifier 

BEST OVERALL

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Amazon

We love this purifier’s very impressive three-stage filtration system, which can rid the air of heavy smoke and nasty odors in rooms up to 900 square feet in just an hour. If you really want to make sure that the air in your room is clean, turn on the “Smart Auto” feature, which will not only allow the purifier to evaluate the air quality of the room, but change its fan speed to fit the situation. The device’s nifty sleep mode helps create a peaceful, soothing environment while keeping the air free of harmful particles.

In terms of filter replacement, you should only need to change it every 6-8 months. However, you can monitor the filter’s life on the handy VeSync app, so you’ll never have to be left guessing as to when it’s time to replace it.

Buy: Levoit PUR131 Air Purifier at $159.99

2. Molekule Large Room Air Purifier

BEST DESIGNED

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Amazon

This air purifier from Molekule boasts a smooth and portable design and is easy to use, either by the touch-screen display or from your smartphone via the iPhone and Android app. By using a process known as Photo Electrochemical Oxidation, this purifier traps and breaks down all volatile organic compounds (VOCs); in other words, it literally replaces the air in the room, keeping you safe from wildfire smoke and dust. Designed to purify rooms up to 600 square feet, we recommend placing this in a bedroom or living room.

Buy: Molekule Large Room Air Purifier at $799.00

3. Blueair Blue Pure 211+ Auto

BEST FEATURES

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Amazon

Once you start looking at all of the capabilities and features, it’s easy to see why the Blueair Blue Pure 211+ Auto was selected as Amazon’s choice air purifier. For starters, it promises to completely filter the air in large rooms every 12.5 minutes, targeting up to 99 percent of fine particles from wildfires as well as pollen, dust and pet dander. And while it’s powerful it doesn’t utilize a lot of energy. In fact, all three speed settings use less energy than the average light bulb; the filter itself is ENERGY Star certified, so you can sustainably purify your air.

Buy: Blueair BluePure 211+ Auto at $292.99

4. Levoit H13 True HEPA Filter

STARTER PICK

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Amazon

If you’re looking for a more inexpensive option, we recommend this best-selling model from Levoit. It’s powerful enough to refresh the air five times per hour, though it’s smaller size lends itself to working in rooms up to 219 square feet.

Our favorite quality of this purifier is its capability to support different filters; you also have the ability to choose the filter that best suits your situation. Whether you’re looking to combat wildfire smoke or rid the space of pesky allergens, you can ensure your needs will always be met. But don’t just take our word for it, head on over to Amazon and read any one of the over 35,000 five-star reviews. One user wrote that out of the five air purifiers they went through and tested, this stood out as the best of the bunch.

Buy: Levoit Air Purifier for Dust and Smoke at $99.99

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