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When I was growing up, it wasn’t unusual to see adults smoking a cigarette as they drove with their children in the back seat. Fortunately, society is more aware of the dangers of secondhand smoke today.
Even though the best way to keep smoke out of the air in your home or office is to not allow smoking, sometimes, our best-laid plans go awry. In those cases, even air purifiers can help, though they won’t shield you and your loved ones completely.
As the Mayo Clinic notes on its website, tobacco smoke is made up of gaseous pollutants and particulate matter. “Most air purifiers, also called air cleaners, aren’t designed to remove gaseous pollutants,” the clinic says.
However, air purifiers will reduce levels of airborne particles, according to the clinic. If you live with a smoker, are hosting a house guest who’s lighting up, or your home improvement contractor is puffing away while replacing the floor of your family room, some filtration is better than nothing.
Here are five-top rated air purifiers for smoke:
Combining HEPA filtration with gas and odor filtration, the GD MultiGas promises to remove particles of all sizes, including 95% of ultra-fine particles, which come from sources such as car exhaust down to .0003 microns. It comes with cartridges with a “micro-charged” filter sleeve that removes additional particles.
Austin Air Allergy Machine Purifier
Deploying a high-energy gas absorption (HEGA) filter—which combines a HEPA filter with an extra military carbon cloth filter medium, the sturdy, stainless steel Austin Air Allergy Machine Purifier was developed by the British military for use against chemical warfare and has been employed by the Red Cross and FEMA in situations such as dealing with air-quality problems in post-9/11 New York City. It is effective for a room of up to 1,500 square feet.
Designed to completely replace the air in a large, 600-square-foot room once every hour, Molekule relies on a prefilter to trap dust and other larger particles, and a “photo electrochemical oxidation” (PECO) filter to breaks down VOCs (volatile organic compounds), bacteria, viruses and other pollutants and, according to the company. Molekule says a PECO filter can eliminate the particulate pollutants and VOCs of cigarette smoke, reducing the smell and harmful side effects.
GermGuardian AC9400W Hi-Performance Tower Console Air Purifier
The GermGuardian AC 9400W includes a HEPA filter that captures dust and allergens as small as 0.3 microns in size. It also relies on a large activated carbon filter that reduces household odors including those caused by smoke. It also claims to reduce VOCs such as burning wood. For those who like knowing exactly what they’re breathing, this model includes an Air Quality Monitor that detects the number of particles in the air and automatically adjusts the speed to optimize the air quality in the room.
Levoit LV-PUR131 Air Purifier
This sleek white model has a three-stage filtration system with a prefilter, a HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter, which effectively removes smoke, in addition to other pollutants, odors, pollen, dander, spores and allergens. If you put the device in “Smart Auto” mode, it gives you an assessment of the surrounding air quality. And, if you want to keep it running once you go to sleep, you can put it into “sleep mode,” to maintain a low fan speed that keeps the room quiet—a valuable if you want to use the machine as much as possible.