What is the Best Air Filter for Smoke?

When it comes to air purification, the best air filter for smoke is one that combines both activated carbon and HEPA filters. This combination is the gold standard for eliminating smoke particles, whether from tobacco or wildfire smoke. The most effective air purifiers for cigarette smoke use a powerful fan to push air through HEPA filters, which are mechanical filters made of polyolefin polymers and glass. HEPA filters stop solid particles by mechanical action and carbon filters stop the smell of gaseous smoke by gas adsorption.

For complete smoke removal, a complete filter is really needed. Standard HEPA filters (H10-H1) remove 99.7% of smoke particles that are 0.3 microns in size. However, advanced HEPA H13 filters are capable of removing 99.9% of even the smallest 0.1 micron smoke particles. This means that the removal of smoke and air particles is thorough.

Our top picks for the best air conditioner and furnace filter for wildfire smoke are CAL16 and CAL20. They include an absorbent carbon layer and offer the highest efficiency in the 0.4—0.7 micron particle size range (which is extremely important during a wildfire, as noted above). The Medify M-112 is as close as possible to an industrial air purifier for smoke. With a CADR rating of 500 fumes (H13 medical grade HEPA+ activated carbon filters), it is more than capable of removing smoke particles and odors from the air.

The combination of advanced H13 HEPA filters, with incredible 2,500 square foot coverage makes the Medify M-112 the best air purifier for any type of smoke (including cigarette smoke and wildfire). Alen air purifiers are top of the line, and the BreatheSmart 75i is the unit with the highest CADR smoke rating. It has a powerful fan to push air through HEPA filters and activated carbon filters to capture smoke particles and eliminate unwanted smoke odor. Filtrete has been a trusted name in household air filters for many years because they don't make the HVAC system work too hard, but they are still effective at eliminating smoke odor and smoke residue.

Available in a variety of sizes and usually at a lower price than other similar competitors, this pleated electret filter traps just about anything you'd breathe at home. Compared to a typical 30-day lifespan for fiberglass or synthetic flat filters, this pleated filter lasts up to 90 days before needing replacement. We think manufacturers' concerns are a little cautious, partly because a recent innovation in air filters allows for high MERV ratings (11 to 1) with low pressure drop. He later chaired the ASHRAE 52.2 committee, which regularly updates the standard to address changes in filter technology.

Glenda Domio
Glenda Domio

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