6 Best Air Purifiers for Wildfire Smoke

A blazing wildfire can travel at a terrifying speed for miles, and even if it doesn’t get too close to your neighborhood, strong winds can carry the smoke along with its harmful particles into your home. Wildfire smoke can have a drastic effect on the air quality inside, not to mention the smell that lingers around your home and sticks to your clothes, furniture, hair, and even your pets.

The amount of smoke wildfires cause is immense and can have a damaging effect on your health if not managed properly. It doesn’t only harm people suffering from respiratory diseases; long exposure to smoke is bad for everyone. [1]

If you’re in an area affected by wildfires, you may be familiar with: [2]

  • Stinging eyes
  • Persistent cough 
  • Chest pains
  • Headaches

The good news is, you don’t need to let wildfire smoke take over your life. By introducing the right air purifier with a HEPA + Carbon air filter into your home, you can eliminate many of these concerns. 

Carbon filters work by using activated charcoal to trap odors through a process called absorption. This means the smoke molecules attach to the outside of the filter instead of being soaked into it (absorption) eradicating them from the air in your home. [3]

As wildfires have been so prevalent again in the past year, air purifiers have become a much-needed item for households, but there are a few factors to consider before deciding on the right one.

Things you need to think about:

  • The type of filters it uses
  • How bad the smoke is affecting you and your family
  • The size of your room
  • Your budget

To help you find the right air purifier to match your needs, our research looked at:

1. Which filters are most effective for Wildfire Smoke? We decided only to recommend units that used pure or H13 HEPA and activated charcoal for those looking for air purifiers for wildfire smoke.

2. Consumer reports analysis. We evaluated the experience of users dealing with wildfire smoke as an issue to decide with different models of air purifiers work best.

What are the Best Air Purifiers for Wildfire Smoke?

1. Winix 5300-2

2. Blueair Classic 605 

3. GermGuardian AC5900WCA

4. Alen BreatheSmart FIT5

5. CONWAY AIRMEGA 400S

6. PARTU BS-08

Next, we will dig into the detailed review of our recommended units that we think are best for dealing with wildfire smoke in the home.

1. Winix 5300-2

Winix 5300-2 Air Purifier with True HEPA, PlasmaWave and Odor Reducing Carbon Filter,Gray

The Winix 5300-2 is a sleek black air purifier perfect for a modern household. It is ideal for rooms up to 360 sq.ft. We found this model to be exceptionally good value for money. Coming in at under $200, you’ll be hard-pressed to find another purifier with the same functionality as this at that price.

The 5300-2 uses a four-stage filtration system that includes a washable pre-filter, HEPA filter, and of course an activated carbon filter that focuses on reducing the smoke from wildfires and VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). Winix does say you’ll need to change the filter every three months, but by making full use of the washable pre-filter and keeping them clean, you should get a bit more life out of each one.

One of the best things about this air purifier is its smart sensors. These monitor the air quality and will adjust its fan speed accordingly, which is perfect as smoke particles can get into your home undetected by human smell. The LED light on the front panel will also give you an easy-to-read indicator so you know the state of your air quality in real-time. 

What we love: 

  • Automatic sleep mode when it gets dark

We don’t like this as much:

  • Changing filter often can get expensive
Sale
Winix 5300-2 Air Purifier with True HEPA, PlasmaWave and Odor Reducing Carbon Filter,Gray
  • True-HEPA filter captures 99.97% of airborne pollutants; dust mites, pet dander, pollen and other allergens as small as 0.3 microns.
  • 3 Stage cleaning, removes a range of allergens: dust, cigarette smoke, pollen, odors, pet dander, mold spores and organic chemicals. CFM (Sleep / Low / Med / High / Turbo) : 35.31 / 70.63 / 91.82 / 123.60 / 240.14
  • PlasmaWave acts as a permanent filter to safely break down odor, allergens, chemical vapors and other pollutants - with no harmful ozone
  • Delivered air flow :236 CFM, decibels : 27.8 . Smart Sensor gauges the air and our Auto Mode adjusts the fan to filter the air as needed; with a sleep mode for silent night-time operation
  • No remote control . CADR rated for 360 sq. ft. Suitable for medium and large rooms; kids bedrooms, baby nurseries and offices

2. Blueair Classic 605 

Blueair Classic 605 Air Purifier for Home with HEPASilent Filtration for Allergies, Pets, Viruses, Asthma, Odors and Smoke, Wi-Fi Enabled, Alexa Compatible- Large Rooms

A big name in the air purifier game, the Classic 605 from Blueair is one of the larger units on our list and by far the most expensive. But with this purifier, you’re paying for a highly-effective product for larger rooms and homes. If your surrounding area is on the front line of wildfire smoke, the 605 will clear rooms up to 775 sq.ft., which is perfect for open-floor plan and studio areas. 

The filter uses electrostatic technology, which charges the smoke particles that pass through it, making 99.97% of them stick to the filter instead of just catching them. By combining the HEPA filter with its activated carbon filter, those nasty odors are removed from your room at an impressive 500 CADR rating for smoke. The 605 also boasts that when running at lower speeds, it uses less energy than a lightbulb. 

A great feature that comes with this air purifier is the smart control app. You can connect your smartphone to the 605 and control the settings from anywhere. The app also gives you information about the air quality both inside and outside your home, allowing you to adjust the purifier accordingly. This technology is perfect for making sure pets are safe when you’re at work and allows you to come home to an already smoke-free environment.

What we love: 

  • Extremely quiet at low speeds

We don’t like this as much:

  • The app requires a lengthy setup
Blueair Classic 605 Air Purifier for Home with HEPASilent Filtration for Allergies, Pets, Viruses, Asthma, Odors and Smoke, Wi-Fi Enabled, Alexa Compatible- Large Rooms
  • Battle allergies, asthma and hay fever with HEPASilent technology which leverages electrostatic charge and mechanical filtration to deliver true HEPA performance capturing 99.97% of air airborne pollutants including dust, mold, pet dander, pollen.
  • Certified clean air delivery rate (CADR) of 500 cubic feet per minute with a superior, 5 air changes per hour
  • 3 fan speeds including whisper quiet operation allow you to breathe and sleep easier without disruption
  • Wi-Fi enabled for control through your Blueair friend app and amazon Alexa compatible. Sleep without disruption with noise-levels no louder than a whisper on low speed (32 db.) and equivalent to the white noise of a floor fan on high (62 db.)
  • For large rooms between 700 square feet and 800 square feet (aham rated at 698 square feet) such as large bedrooms, living rooms, and kitchens

3. GermGuardian AC5900WCA

GermGuardian Air Purifier 4 in 1,High CADR True HEPA Filter, Large Rooms to338 sq ft, UV Light Sanitizer Eliminates Germs, Filters Allergies, Pollen, Smoke, Dust, Pet Dander,Mold, Odors,QuietAC5900W

You’ve most likely seen this air purifier before during your search to combat wildfire smoke in your home. The 5900 from GermGuardian is great for midrange areas. It’s ideal for rooms up to 338 sq.ft., has three different speeds to choose from, and a timer that you can set for up to eight hours.

Using HEPA technology to capture small particles and take care of any ash that invades your home, it also contains a large 1.15lb activated carbon filter. The filter will need changing around every sixth to eighth month (depending on how hard the air purifier is working). The good news is that it will tell you when it needs to be changed and the filters are easy to come by.

The 5900 is easy to use with its intuitive controls and fan speed indicators. It may not be the quietest of the purifiers on our list at high speeds, but it will make your home a safer place to be when confronted with smoke caused by wildfire. 

What we love: 

  • Extremely portable

We don’t like this as much:

  • No air quality indicators
Sale
GermGuardian Air Purifier 4 in 1,High CADR True HEPA Filter, Large Rooms to338 sq ft, UV Light Sanitizer Eliminates Germs, Filters Allergies, Pollen, Smoke, Dust, Pet Dander,Mold, Odors,QuietAC5900W
  • 3 in 1 air purifier for home: True HEPA air filter reduces up to 99.97% of harmful germs, dust, pollen, pet dander, mold spores, and other allergens as small as .3 microns from the air
  • Kills germs: UV-C light helps kill airborne viruses such as influenza, staph, rhinovirus, and works with Titanium Dioxide to reduce volatile organic compounds
  • Traps allergens: Pre filter traps dust, pet hair, and other large particles while extending the life of the HEPA filter
  • Reduces odors: Activated charcoal filter helps to reduce unwanted odors from pets, smoke, cooking fumes, and more
  • Quiet operation: The lowest setting can be used as gentle white noise at night for a quiet, restful sleep

4. Alen BreatheSmart FIT50

Alen BreatheSmart Flex Air Purifier, Dust, Mold, Pet Odors + Heavy Smoke, White

Next is the BreatheSmart FIT50 by Alen. This stand-alone unit is ideal for rooms up to 900 sq.ft! It has four different speeds you can adjust depending on how bad the smoke may be that particular day. The purifier emits pink noise (low-frequency noise) which is designed to help with sleep.

With a few different types of filters to choose from, there’s an option for one designed especially for removing smoke and VOCs. This HEPA filter is equipped with 2+ lbs of activated carbon which will absorb wildfire smoke as well as filter 99.99% of airborne contaminants. The filter is usually good for 12 months and costs around $89. 

The FIT50 also comes with advanced particle sensor technology. An LED ring on the interface will change color, notifying you of the current air quality in your home. When the sensors detect harmful particles in the air, the purifier will automatically adjust its settings to counteract them.

What we love: 

  • Comes in eight different front panel colors

We don’t like this as much:

  • No remote control
Alen BreatheSmart Flex Air Purifier, Dust, Mold, Pet Odors + Heavy Smoke, White
  • ABSORBS HEAVY SMOKE: Recommended for dust, dander, allergens, fur, household odors, all while preventing the growth of mold and bacteria. Packed with activated carbon to absorb harmful airborne particles including heavy smoke (cooking, cigarette, cigar, fireplace), household chemicals, VOC’s, and more. With over 2lbs of carbon, it will help eliminate smoke from wildfires.
  • TRUE HEPA FILTER - Includes a Medical Grade H13 True HEPA layer that removes 99.99% bacteria, aerosolized viruses, and airborne particles larger than 0.1 micron. True HEPA filters last 3-5 months longer than standard filters.
  • CLEANS AIR FAST: Cleans 700 SqFt every 30 minutes, twice as fast as key competitors on Turbo speed. Sleek design fits in any space from small to extra large bedrooms, living rooms, offices, nurseries, kitchens, and basements.
  • SLEEP MODE: Features a “lights out mode”, press the power button once and the lights turn off. SleepScore validated and users feel more rested upon waking.
  • LOW ENERGY CONSUMPTION: 50 Watts on Turbo speed. Lowest setting will use less than 50 cents a month in electricity.

5. CONWAY AIRMEGA 400S

Coway Airmega 400 Smart Air Purifier with 1,560 sq. ft. Coverage

The Airmega 400S from Conway is a beast of an air purifier. This is your best choice for large rooms as it’s designed to cover an area of up to 1560 sq.ft. The price is a little steep but this model sells out quickly for a reason. It is quite a large unit, which you can tell by the design. It isn’t there to just look good, it’s there to work.

The 400S uses two pre-filters and two HEPA filters (one left, one right) packed with activated carbon to remove all the particles wildfire smoke intrudes our homes with. The pre-filters are washable, giving the “Max2” filters more life to work at their full potential, and with five different fan settings cleaning a large area two times an hour, they really are grinding.

On this sophisticated machine, the ‘S’ stands for smart. Not only will it adjust its fan speed based on air quality conditions automatically, but you can change any of the settings from your smartphone. When the unit is connected to Wi-Fi, it will send indoor/outdoor air quality reports to your app and will even send you a notification if there’s a spike, like winds carrying smoke in your home’s direction.

What we love: 

  • Fast-acting at high speeds

We don’t like this as much:

  • At 52 dB on high, it’s quite loud
Coway Airmega 400 Smart Air Purifier with 1,560 sq. ft. Coverage
  • Coway Airmega 400 room air purifier is designed to accommodate large room sizes up to 1,560 square feet and cleans the air at least two times per hour when used as recommended.
  • Coway Airmega Max2 filter—combined activated carbon and True HEPA filter—captures and reduces up to 99.97% of 0.3 micron particles in the air, including pollen, pollutants and other allergens. It also reduces volatile organic compounds by more than 99% and reduces fumes such as NH3 and CH3CHO. Includes washable and permanent pre-filter to catch larger dust particles.
  • Coway Airmega’s pollution sensor communicates indoor air quality testing in real-time. The brightly colored LED ring lets you know how clean or dirty your indoor air is, every minute of the day.
  • Coway Airmega has five fan modes: Smart, Sleep, Low, Medium and High. Noise level is nearly silent at lower speeds. Max noise at highest setting is 43.2 dB.
  • Coway Airmega is a smart, energy efficient air purifier with a three-setting smart mode to adapt to its surroundings. Fan speed automatically adjusts based on the room’s air quality and lighting conditions to improve air quality.

6. PARTU BS-08

PARTU HEPA Air Purifier - Smoke Air Purifiers for Home with Fragrance Sponge - 100% Ozone Free, Lock Set, Eliminates Smoke, Dust, Pollen, Pet Dander, (Available for California)

Our final selection may be the smallest unit, but don’t judge it on its size. At under $100, the BS-08 from Partu is your option if you’re not wanting to break the bank or if you’re only looking at an air purifier for a small room. This little black bullet won’t be getting in anyone’s way and features a touch screen panel as well as color-changing lights to fit your mood.

On the inside, the BS-08 houses a three-in-one filter made up of the essential pre-filter, HEPA filter, and the activated carbon filter to eliminate 99.97% of air contaminants for rooms up to 160 sq.ft. It won’t be very effective in a large room or in an area heavily affected by wildfire smoke but will do perfectly in a small home office as an extra precaution.

The Partu has three fan speed settings, a filter indicator, and an Anion mode. This sends six million negatively charged ions into the air to attract unwanted particles. It may not have all the bells and whistles from the others on our list but it still gets the smaller job done.

What we love: 

  • Easy to operate

We don’t like this as much:

  • Quite loud for its size
Sale
PARTU HEPA Air Purifier - Smoke Air Purifiers for Home with Fragrance Sponge - 100% Ozone Free, Lock Set, Eliminates Smoke, Dust, Pollen, Pet Dander, (Available for California)
  • ★EFFICIENT THREE-STAGE FILTRATION SYSTEM: PARTU HEPA Air Purifier features a three-stage filtration system. This comprises a pre-filter, a HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter, powerful enough to captures up dust, pollen, smoke, odor, pet dander, filters particles as small as 0.3 microns and air pollution of PM 2.5.
  • ★AIR PURIFIER WITH FRAGRANCE SPONGE: Add a drop of essential oil (Not Included) and some water into sponge below the purifier air outlet, then fragrance will flow with air movements. (Such as Citrus, Honeydew Melon, Musk, Vanilla, Orris or Vetiver)
  • ★LOCK SET: It's efficient to avoid error operation caused by pet or child's during their curiosity. (Keep pressing the Lock button for 3 seconds to start avoiding touching mode.) Three fan settings let you control the speed and volume of the Air purifier.
  • ★BLACK CASE AND SLEEK DESIGN: Compact enough to fit on your desk. Effective area 107sq.ft/ 10m² (bedroom/ office). Noise Level :38-59 dB. 12 Watts; 0.8 A; Better suited to small rooms than large homes. (A voltage converter is needed if you want to use this air purifier beyond the US.)
  • ★IMPORTANT: The replacement filter should be replaced every 3-6 months depending on the air quality in your area and use of the Air Purifier to ensure best results. Easily obtainable under 25 dollars with the replacement filter (Search for: B07KY5WZVQ). Note: please remove the plastic bag of the HEPA filter and charcoal filter before running the air purifier.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do air purifiers help with wildfire smoke?

Yes, they do. By introducing the right air purifier into your home that will recirculate the air, you can reduce the number of smoke particles, clear any unwanted airborne dust and ash, and combat the nasty odor wildfire smoke leaves behind. [4]

How well do air purifiers work for wildfire smoke?

Air purifiers can be extremely effective for removing wildfire smoke from the home. You can maximize their effectiveness by having the unit on continuously or as often as possible on the correct setting for the situation. You can also aid the purifier by keeping windows and doors closed and placing them in the worst affected areas. [5]

What features and considerations are important when buying an air purifier for wildfire smoke?

There are a few considerations you need to make before you jump in and buy. 

  1. Look at the size of your home and find which purifier is best suited to the area it will be working in.
  2. Focus on the type of filter it uses. HEPA filters are scientifically proven by NASA to be the most effective all-round, but in the case of wildfire smoke, you want a purifier with an activated carbon filter to deal with the odor. The basic rule here is, the more carbon it has, the more effective it will be. 
  3. Assess your budget. Don’t go blowing your kids’ college fund on a huge unit if you live in a small apartment. In the same breath, don’t buy a $90 one for a big room as it won’t do the job properly.
  4. Whatever you do, don’t buy one that produces what they call ‘Ozone’. These emit harmful chemicals that can do more harm than good.

Which Air Purifier is Best for Wildfire Smoke in Your Home?

Your home is your refuge, a place where you’re safe and comfortable and nothing should compromise that. If you live in an area affected by wildfire smoke, you’ll know all too well the dangers it can cause to your health and the effect it has on your home. 

We made this list because we realize the different needs people have and the importance of buying the right purifier to meet those needs. Biggest is not always best. By identifying those needs and doing tons of research, we put together this solid variety of air purifiers.

Which Air Purifier is best for you?

  • Budget/smaller rooms –  We recommend the Partu BS-08. It’s perfect for small areas and costs under $100.
  • Mid-range – We recommend the Winix 5300-2 for its smart sensors and value for money.
  • Larger rooms – For a top-end purifier, we recommend the Conway Airmega 400s with its duel filters and smart technology.

Sources

1. EPA. 2002. Wildfire Smoke. airnow.gov

2. CDC. 2020. Protect Yourself from Wildfire Smoke. cdc.gov

3. Engineeredfiltrationsystems. 2020. Activated Carbon Air Filters for Wildfires. engineeredfiltrationsystems.com

4. Washington Department of Health. 2020. Smoke from fires. doh.wa.gov

5. Wildfire Smoke Frequently Asked Questions. cfpub.epa.gov6. AirNow. 2020. WILDFIRE SMOKE: A GUIDE FOR PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIALS. airnow.gov

Last update on 2020-10-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API