Getting a decent air purifier for cheap is always tricky and let’s be honest, less than $100 is super cheap in the world of air purifiers which can be up to 1000 dollars for medical units.
One of the most challenging smells and a big issue for any air purifier system is smoke, this could be cigarette smoke, cigars, or second-hand smoke from neighbors.
When we are looking at air purifiers for cigarette smoke we are looking for a large charcoal filter which are generally expensive. The reason is that carbon filters work by capturing tobacco smoke and work best when they have a large surface area – the more carbon the more $$.
Odor causing particles are really tiny and studies have even shown that the smallest particles have the strongest smell [Full study.]
This issue of tiny particles means that we can’t rely on technology like True HEPA as odor-causing particles will just pass right through them but they are amazing for relatively larger particles like pet dander and pollen.
Sadly the reality is that most “cheap air purifiers” and specifically those for less than $100 just don’t contain enough Carbon to do a decent job of removing cigarette smoke from a home of a regular smoker of tobacco.
I would recommend that you spend a little more budget and go for something like the InvisiClean Claro for double the money.
But I understand that $100 might just be the most you can spend so I have looked at putting together a list of the best air purifiers for less than $100 that are available to buy today in 2020.
Just be aware that the odor-reducing effects will only really work in a very small room and not for a very heavy smokers – you have been warned!
Top 3 Air Purifiers Under $100 [Review]
1.LEVOIT Air Purifier H13
Any long term readers will think I have a love affair with this air purifier but the reality is that when this model was released it was a major jump forward for the category as a whole.
Pre LEVOIT H13, most decent cheap air purifiers were just ionizers that had to be regularly cleaned and some people even had issues with the small amounts of ozone created.
Somehow the team at LEVOIT has managed to stuff a true HEPA filter in with a decent-sized activated carbon filter. The activated carbon is what will be used to remove cigarette smoke and whilst it’s not the largest size, the fact you can get these air purifiers regularly for less than $100 is amazing.
As this is still a fairly small purifier, it would be best suited for dealing with second-hand smoke rather than in a room with someone who smokes daily.
Filters can be found for less than $25 for one and generally should only need replacing every 12 months so this is something to consider when comparing with other models. A heavy smoker may need to replace these filters more regularly so I would generally recommend going for a higher budget purifier that needs replacing less often.
- Genuine Replacement Filters: Search for core300-rf or core 300 replacement filter for Replacement Filters. Use genuine Levoit replacement filters to maintain the best performance and to ensure what you're buying is worthy of your investment
- Higher Purify Performance: Use the Core 300 to fill your environment with crisp, clean air. Its Vortexair Technology creates a stronger air flow, CADR number is 230+m3/h, allowing it to cover up to 219 sq. ft. AC 120V/60HZ for USA and Canada
- Improved Filtration: With larger expansion area and longer length than others, the H13 Ture HEPA filter works with ultra-fine Pre-filter and activated carbon filter, trapping 99. 97% of fine particles and allergens as small as 0. 3 microns and large pollutants such as dust, pet dander, smoke, mold, pollen
- Most Silent Air Cleaner: The noise level is nearly voiceless at sleep mode with only 24db, its QuietKEAP Technology reduces noise so you can sleep in a restful and soothing indoor environment
- Ultra-long Service Life: Industry leader provider's bearing makes this levoit core300 hepa air purifier durable and reliable. The AC capacitor motor uses durable high-precision bearing, and excellent internal structure increases abrasion resist, which obviously extends the life of machine
2. Vremi Air Purifier
The Vremi is another fairly small purifier that combines a true HEPA, Carbon filter and an ultrafine pre-filter (that removes things like hair.)
It has multiple fan speeds but we would recommend if this air purifier is used for smoke then you will likely be always using it on full-power.
The addition of an air quality indicator is a nice addition and not normally seen as this price bracket but a lot of customers reported that it wasn’t super accurate.
One issue that did crop up is that it was unclear that you had to remove the plastic from the filter before using it for the first time. Some unlucky customers then had the smell of plastic to deal with!
There is also a current lack of filters available, which is why we ranked the LEVOIT higher as it had plenty of filters to buy as of April 2020.
- TRUE HEPA AIR PURIFIER - Our air purifier utilizes a True HEPA H13 to help clean air and is perfect for offices, bedrooms, living rooms, and other medium to large size spaces up to 217.5 square feet.
- POWERFUL 3-STAGE FILTRATION - Includes ultra-fine pre-filter, True HEPA filter and activated carbon filter for odor reduction. Air filter run time is approximately 4320 hours (~180 days). IMPORTANT: The included filter (located INSIDE the air purifier) ships with a protective plastic sleeve. Please REMOVE PLASTIC SLEEVE from filter BEFORE use
- SMART AIR QUALITY MONITOR - Features a built-in air quality sensor that measures and displays air quality level (blue, green, orange or red) and adjusts the fan speed (low, medium or high) in real-time. The unit comes with a reset filter indicator that flashes when it’s time to replace the filter
- COMPACTLY ENGINEERED - Our portable home air cleaner machine in premium quality ABS housing measures 15.5 inches in height and 8.7 inches in diameter with 360-degree aerodynamic air intake, and modern design suitable for living room, bathroom, bedroom, and office
- QUIET WITH GENTLE NIGHT LAMP - Operates more quietly than other air purifiers (less than 52 dB). Includes warm night light with multiple brightness levels, plus a built-in 2, 4 and 8-hour timer for added convenience. Free 1-year warranty and hassle-free returns
3. Hamilton Beach TrueAir
An air purifier capable of dealing with tobacco smoke for less than $50 – get out of here!
The Hamilton beach seems to do the impossible with a True HEPA filter combined with activated Carbon Zeolite filters.
It’s really not made for massive spaces – 140sqft max but there is likely those with very small rooms who looking to get something that will make life a little easier without breaking the bank.
The actual unit is fairly small and can be used both horizontal or vertical.
You can even vacuum the HEPA filter, although you will likely need replacing at some point but the price is very fair.
There are currently two versions available on Amazon.com at the moment so make sure to go for the version with odor eliminator and this will contain the activated carbon which is what you are looking for when trying to deal with cigarette odors and smoke.
Two HEPA filters can be bought for less than $20 and the carbon filters are between $10-$20 for a three-pack.
- 3 Filtration Stages: Permanent true HEPA filter captures dander & airborne particles plus 2 replaceable carbon zeolite filters to target pet odors plus a pre filter for pet hair and larger particles
- High Performance True Hepa Grade Filter: Captures 99.97 Percent of Pet Dander, Dust, Dust Mites, Pollen, and Mold/Mildew Spores as Small as 3 Microns From the Air
- Reduces Odors: 2 Activated Carbon Zeolite Filters Help Reduce Unwanted Household Odors From Pets, Smoke, and More
- Quiet and Powerful: Use Whisper Clean for Extra Quiet Operation at Night, the Medium Setting or the Quick Clean Setting for More Powerful Air Cleaning
- Easy to Clean: Permanent Hepa Filter Can Be Vacuumed Clean; No Replacement Filters to Buy
Should you buy an air purifier for less than $100?
The market is flooded with cheap air purifiers and it can seem to the untrained eye that there is a lot of choice in the market.
The reality is that at this end of the market is full of poorly built products that are unlikely to do anything for cigarette smoke.
So it really is a minefield to choose a purifier that will actually help.
Most of these cheap air purifiers are generally very small so they can be used in spaces that more expensive units couldn’t such as a shed or in trendy speak, the “man cave.”
If your budget is stuck at the $100 then I hope my list of 3 air purifiers under $100 is useful and as always let me know if you have any other recommendations or if you have had any issues with the air purifiers mentioned.
Last update on 2020-08-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API