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Your Options for Clearing the Air as a Smoker

Updated on January 4, 2019
tamarawilhite profile image

Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, industrial engineer, mother of two, and published sci-fi and horror author.


If you’re a smoker, it is likely you’re looking for the best air purifier for cigarette smoke and cigar odor. You want to minimize the smoke residue for your own health and certainly for the health of those around you. If you can control the odor and minimize the smoke, you will experience less conflict with neighbors and visitors over the smell.

The best air purifier for cigarette smoke removes the fine particulates in the air as well as the smell, so you don’t need to clean the residue off every flat surface in your home. There’s no need to spray more chemicals into the air to try to neutralize the smoke residue. A good air purifier truly improves your quality of life.

A Buyer’s Guide for Air Purifiers

When you’re shopping for an air purifier, there are several factors to consider. One factor is the coverage area of the air purifier. Are you shopping for an air filter that removes all odors from the room you smoke in? Or do want an air purifier that can treat your entire house?

Another factor to consider is the odors it can remove. All of the air purifiers on this list can remove cigarette smoke and dust from the air, but not all of them will purge the smell of the pet’s accident or household cleaners from the air.

Something many home owners overlook is maintainability. How hard is it to replace the air filters? How difficult is it to find replacement parts like air filters? If you hate maintaining your appliance, something that can run six months without maintenance is worth more than a purifier that requires at least one ozone plate or carbon filter replaced each month.

Energy usage is a minor concern, but if you’re going to run the air purifier continually, energy usage is a consideration. The noise the unit generates will affect quality of life if you will be putting the air purifier in a bedroom or it runs constantly.

Zen Living Model ZL-3C Ionic Air Purifier

The model ZL-3C air purifier by Zen Living was designed for smokers. It has a number of features intended to benefit both light and heavy smokers, including cigar smokers.

It doesn’t have HEPA filters. Instead, it has a high density carbon filter that filters the air while neutralizing heavy odors that works better than a HEPA filter. It can remove cigar smoke odors, cooking odors and pet smells. Or use it to remove the volatile chemicals outgassing from your new paint job. This air filter can handle it all.

It has a dual ionizer to help neutralize smoke odors even of the air that hasn’t yet passed through the unit. The unit has two ozone generating plates, too. It can thus be set to generate as much ozone as necessary to neutralize odors but not use any more power than necessary. It can remove dust, bacteria and smoke from your air. The 800 milligrams of ozone per hour it generates helps to destroy mold and mildew in the air of your home.

This unit is truly a whole-home air filtration system. It can treat an area up to 3000 square feet. And it does all of this consuming only thirty watts of power. The analog controls are easy to use.

This model has a five year manufacturer’s warranty. The challenge for many is getting repairs done under warranty without having to pay out of their own pockets for shipping the unit to one of the few approved repair shops.

One downside of this model is the noise it generates.


  • Large coverage area
  • Excellent sterilization of surrounding area


  • Noisy

Not all air purifiers capable of removing smoke from the air handle pet smells, too.
Not all air purifiers capable of removing smoke from the air handle pet smells, too. | Source

Winix Model 5300-2 Air Purifier

Winix air purifiers have a modern industrial design that fits into any décor, especially if you have stainless steel appliances. It has true HEPA filtration. The HEPA filters capture not just cigarette smoke but mold, pollen and allergens. It can remove cigarette smoke odors and chemical odors, too. It will remove outdoor pollutants that enter your home, too. This is supported by the PlasmaWave technology built into the Winix air purifier. And it achieves this without creating potentially harmful ozone.

You can turn the ultraviolet purifier off to save power and extend the life of the UV bulb. With or without the UV air purifier, the single filter only needs to be changed every six to eight months. Leave the UV light on to control dust mites and airborne germs. Instead, the Plasma Wave creates hydroxyls that purify the air and neutralize odors. You can turn off this technology if concerned about it or simply want to reduce energy usage by the air filter.

It moves 236 cubic feet per minute and only puts out about 28 decibels of noise. It is smart enough to sense the air quality and adjust the air flow accordingly. If it senses that the air is clear, it shuts down. You can turn on sleep mode so that it runs as quietly as possible while still clearing the air at night. It is suitable for placing in a bedroom without disturbing the sleepers.

This unit is rated for rooms up to 360 square feet. It will cover a large bedroom or a small living area. Replacement filters are readily available through retailers who sell this air filter.

The manufacturer generally offers a two year limited warranty.

Forget analog controls you have to get just right. This model has a digital display panel with soft-touch buttons. The air quality indicator is based on clear color coded lights; red equals poor quality air, blue is for good quality air and yellow is fair quality. Based on these air quality ratings, the system will increase the air fan speed until the air quality improves. Or you can manually adjust the fan speeds by putting it in manual mode and altering the settings at will. There is a filter replacement indicator light, as well. The company recommends replacing the carbon filter every three months. One point in favor of this model is the maintainability – the units generally ship with several extra filters so you don’t have to worry about replacement parts for a long time.

The unit weighs less than twenty pounds and comes with a built-in carrying handle. Move it to wherever you need it with ease.


  • Portable
  • Maintainable


  • Small coverage area
  • Can’t handle pet odors

Austin Air Health Mate Model HM 400 Air Purifier

The classic black body looks like any other modern appliance; it could be mistaken for a speaker. Why isn’t it number one? Because it doesn’t have the ability to hide behind an artwork print of an air filter.

The Austin Air Health Mate HM 400 air purifier is good at removing cigarette smoke from the air but can remove dust and pollen equally well. This is an excellent choice for those with allergies or respiratory problems, since it can remove bacteria and mold from the air. This is a medical grade air filter capable of cleaning your home’s air to the levels you may only see in an industrial clean room or medical facility.

One of the perks of this model is its capacity. It can clear the air for up to 1500 square feet. In a 1500 square foot area, it will turn over the air twice an hour. In a 750 square foot living area or small apartment, you’ll see four air changes per hour. (This is the recommended rate for allergy sufferers.)

The unit doesn’t just capture pet dander and cigarette smoke particles from the air. It can neutralize a wide range of odors. It will neutralize the ammonia odor from a pet accident, and it will eliminate the chemical smells left by household cleaners and drying paint.

A potential concern is that it isn’t going to get side rooms very well, though it will purify the air of a single large living room quickly. It is also one of the more durable units, designed to run for years though the filters will need to be cleaned or replaced periodically. The unit has 360° air filters and fans that pull in all air in the room.

Perhaps the only downside is its size. It is large, and it is heavy compared to similar air filters. Conversely, the casters on the bottom of the unit make it easy to roll from room to room.


  • A literal work of art


  • Schedule function is too limited

Coway Model AP-1512 Mighty Air Purifier

This is our second choice of air purifiers designed for removing cigarette smoke. The carbon odor filter helps remove odors before the air flow reaches the air filter, reducing the need to change out the air filters.

It not only filters the air but uses an ionizer to help sterilize it. It uses more power when the ionizer is engaged, but if the ionizer is turned off, it uses surprisingly little power. It is Energy Star certified. Thanks to the fact that models like AP-1512HH release little to no ozone, they may also be CARB-compliant, meeting California’s incredible strict environmental standards.

You can set the fan speed to whatever works best for you. You can also set the timer for several hour intervals. This combination allows you to keep the noise level down and lets it silence itself when you go to bed. For example, you could set it on a four hour countdown in the evening so that it shuts down when you’re going to go to bed. At its highest fan speed, it puts out 54 decibels of noise. In its quietest mode, it only puts out 24 decibels.

In auto mode, it will automatically adjust the airflow speed itself to clear the air. In eco-mode, it will automatically turn off once it senses the air is clear enough for thirty minutes.

The unit’s built in indicators tell you when you need to change the air filter or if you’ll want to increase the air speed to improve ambient air quality.

It is rated for clearing the air in spaces as large as 500 square feet. It performs best in spaces of less than 300 square feet. This unit is best used for small apartments, mid-sized living rooms and bedrooms.

The stylish black and grey frame, unless you buy one of the white models, fits into the background of any home.

One reason why we don’t rate this unit higher is the difficult in getting it in the first place, and it can be hard to find replacement filters. In general, when you buy the replacement air filter, you get one or two carbon pre-filters, too. However, the pre-filter can be hand washed to extend its life.


  • Stylish
  • Energy efficient


  • Challenges maintaining it

Final Verdict

Breathe easier knowing that you can breathe clean, healthy air after installing one of the air purifiers on this list. They all go far beyond the average air filtration units on the market by removing odors and fine particles conventional air filters can’t adequately address. Some of the units on our list will leave your home’s air cleaner despite cleaning smoke from the air than it is in your non-smoker’s house.

© 2018 Tamara Wilhite


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