Whether you smoke, or just can’t escape nearby smokers you likely want to reduce the impact of smoke on your home. Or perhaps those in your home. And one of the best ways to keep smoke from harming neighbors, loved ones, or stinking up your home is with a cigarette smoke air purifier.
But, before you go out and grab any purifier off the shelf of your local big box store let’s consider a few things.
|Rabbit Air BioGS 2.0|
Not all purifiers are created equal…
Purifier Footprint, Shape and Size
Generally speaking, if you find two comparable purifiers with very different footprints, choose the one that occupies less floor space. In our experience a small footprint purifier is easier to live with in the long run. However, many tower purifiers (very small footprint) don’t perform nearly as well as other options. So it’s definitely a balancing act when it comes to evaluating the size and shape of a purifier.
Purifiers come in many shapes and sizes. Some are tall while others are short and wide. There are purifiers that can operate next to a wall, and some need a bit of breathing room. For example, Honeywell’s 50250-s should be placed about three feet from a wall for best results. Others, like the MinusA2 from Rabbit Air, can be mounted on a wall if you like. Shape and size are pretty important, but when it comes to cigarette smoke air purifier options; consider other things first.
Another key consideration is price. Smoke battling purifiers encompass a price range with a floor around 30 bucks and a ceiling that extends well beyond a thousand dollars. Expect to pay at least two hundred for a basic model that provides adequate results. The Honeywell 50250-s is the one we’d choose if the purchase price is a bigger concern than performance. It has a great true HEPA filter and a decent amount of Activated Carbon. However, don’t expect premium results from a value priced purifier. Look for value rather than the lowest price.
If your budget has a little more wiggle room we think you should spend a bit more and get something with a lot of activated carbon. Our favorite carbon packed purifiers are built by Austin Air. Smaller units have well over five pounds and larger ones offer as much as fifteen pounds of activated carbon. We’ll get into why that matters a bit later. But, for now, just know that the Austin Air Healthmate and Healthmate Jr will exceed your expectations.
Things to Avoid in an Air Purifier for Cigarette Smoke
There are many great options in the purifier market, but this is probably a great spot to look at what to avoid. First, we’ll get the ozone generator statement out of the way. Yes they work well, but they do have some significant downsides. And, those downsides are big enough for us to recommend that you avoid an ozone generator for general smoke removal. Their price tag is attractive and reviews are generally positive, but you should really read this before you buy one.
Next up, avoid non-HEPA filters, HEPA style, and filterless purifiers. There’s a lot to go over as to why, but to keep things simple we’ll just say go with a true HEPA filter for cigarette smoke. Almost all of the particles produced in combustion are larger than the holes in a HEPA filter. In fact almost all of them measure .1 to .5 microns. And that HEPA filter will stop pretty much anything (99.7%) larger than .03 microns.
You’ll also want to avoid many of the purifiers with gimmicks like UV Lamps, Ionizers, or other too good to be true claims Actually, there are a few ionizers that really work, but tread carefully. We like purifiers from Rabbit Air, and trust that their ion generators are safe enough to use around loved ones.
What about VOCs?
We’ve all seen the commercials and posters that tell us cigarette smoke contains dangers chemicals and gasses. Those fall into the category of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). And they’re all too small to be trapped by a HEPA filter. That’s why you need the activated carbon we mentioned earlier. It’s the best way to remove everything else in cigarette smoke. Including the smell.
The good news is that it works really well. The bad news is that you should probably have about 5 pounds of activated carbon to do the job effectively. Remember when we said all purifiers aren’t created equal? Even higher end purifiers fall short when it comes to carbon content. Often only offering a few ounces, or a pound or two in their filter. Sure, any amount works a little but we think you should get as much as you can if you’re battling cigarette smoke.
The best way to deal with smoke is obviously removing the source. If you can, smoke outside. If smoke is creeping into your home seal things up. But, if you want something that actively fights smoke odor and particles you should definitely consider a quality air purifier. They’ll trap most of the smell and other stuff you can’t avoid otherwise. Plus they’re great for fighting allergies and smells from our furry friends.
Skip the ultra cheap purifiers. Avoid gimmicks and marketing slogans. And, remember HEPA + Activated Carbon is the key to battling cigarette (or cigar… or weed, whatever) smoke.