Best Air Purifier for Smoke

A question we often get is what the best air purifier for smoke.  Removing tobacco smoke whether it be cigarettes or cigar smoke can be a daunting task. We manufacture many different air purifiers. Each one of our models is geared for different locations and uses. We will try to look at this question from a number of different angles.

The Maxum HEPA removes more smoke and odors than ANY air purifiers in its class. It is the most powerful tabletop air purifier at 600 CFM.

The LA1400-s is great for small venues like private smoking rooms. It’s washable filter makes it a low maintenance cost winner

The LAFC line of smoke eater are used in many upscale operations like cigar and hookah bars. Their overall performance makes them popular in many other professional setting like clean rooms and doctors  and dentist offices.

The LA2000-OC is a smoke odor killing giant. Its electrostatic cell eliminates all smoke. The 10 pound activated carbon filter removes smoke odor from a room 40′ x 40′. The LA2000-S provides 2100 CFM of clean air for the smokiest places in your facility.

Reasons We Have All Heard

The horror stories of the dangers of smoking and second hand smoke are everywhere. We will enumerate a few and then quickly move onto the solution. Tobacco smoking is the number one risk factor in lung cancer and linked to as much as 90% of lung Cancers. In 2017, 234,000 new cases of lung cancer were reported. 3000 non smokers die each year from lung cancer. Second hand smoke is the leading cause of these cases. The very young and very old are most susceptible to the affect of second hand smoke. Asthma  and allergy sufferers have more episodes when exposed to 2nd hand smoke. Pets are adversely affected by 2nd hand smoke. Because they are smaller the affects can be much worse for our fury friends. The mess and contamination go beyond our lungs. Smoke from cigarettes and cigars leaves a toxic residue all over the entire house. We all know smoking is bad for you, but that does not make the people who smoke bad. 

The Easy Answer but Hard Choice

Best Air Purifier for smoke is no smoking

The best air purifier for smoke is you. Quit smoking or help someone you love quit. This will eliminate smoke from your home by removing the smoking source. It is not always possible to eliminate the smoke if you are not the smoker. Remember, Smoking is a deeply ingrained habit and quitting smoking takes a lot of effort, dedication and support. Even though smoking is dangerous for the smoker and the members of their families, the issues of smoking seldom go away easily..  Smoking can rip a family apart, but you love the smoker, but not the smoke. If you can work with the smoker, help him or her quit, that is by far the better. When quitting is not a reasonable answer there are other answers

Move the Problem

The Center for Disease Control estimates that the air inside a home is probably up to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air. That statistic does not take into account that some people smoke in the home.  Homes keep most of the air inside on the inside. This is because heating and cooling outside air is expensive. With all this air trapped inside,  IAQ becomes a serious issue. Just like the wonderful smell of cooking can be smelled everywhere at home, cigarette smoke moves throughout the entire home. The smoke affects everyone and everything inside the home. Not Everyone can quit, but it is possible to remove the problem from the members of the family. The second most effective way to remove smoke is moving the smoke outside.  Smokers should take the smoking habit outside if possible.. Hopefully this option will work in your home.

Designate an Area

When you choose an area for smoking a bit of thought is required. Putting an air purifier next to the ash tray will help some. Smoke can still filter throughout the entire home.  This is not the best answer. Choose a separate and isolated room. Several elements go into creating a safe smoking area. The room should be well sealed so smoke will not leak through walls or cracks. The floor plan below illustrates some of the more important aspects of smoking room design. You can modify this plan. This sample floor plan will work for most homes. A Key element to a good smoking room is providing positive air pressure to the room. Positive air pressure will force dirty air outside. The Air purifier in the room will help protect the house from residual smoke that could possibly escape into the home.

  • Room should have an exterior window to be opened slightly
  • The return vent should be blocked off
  • Install weather striping around door to provide good seal
  • Install a high quality LakeAir Air Purifier
  •  
Using a home smoke eater to make a smoking room

Remove the Smoke

If you cannot eliminate the problem and you can’t move the problem then we need to clean it up. There are 2 great ways to eliminate smoke with an air purifier. HEPA and Electrostatic are the 2 technologies that get the job done. Each has it’s pros and cons. One important point to consider is that neither of these are worth a hill of beans without activated carbon filtration.

 

HEPA VS Electrostatic

All things being equal, HEPA is better than electrostatic. All things are seldom equal.  Let’s look at the difference between the 2 and see what you can expect. We will look at operating costs. We will consider room sizes. What are the sound levels.We will consider these options and other important criteria the doesn’t  depend on filter type.

 

Our Champion

What filtration type does LakeAir like best? We sell both, we don’t care what you choose! But, we want you to find the choice that works best for your individual situation. You don’t have to be 100% right. if you like HEPA better, choose it. If you love the dirt zapper, go electrostatic. Make the right choice for you, for the right reasons.

Honest Comparisons

So many times when you look at comparison charts you just know there is a Bias. We will do our best here to provide a comparison to help you choose what is best for you rather then steer you to a product. In a single cycle HEPA always out cleans Electrostatic. But most times, when 2 heavy weights get together, there is more than 1 round.

Efficiency

This is the category we see all the time. These are facts:  In a single pass HEPA filters remove 99.97 percent of all particles that are .3 microns or larger. Electrostatic  filters removes 97 percent of all particles that are 1 micron or larger. In a one punch fight HEPA whoops Electrostatic. Kinda makes sense, HEPA is the younger. It’s been around for 70 years commercially. Electrostatic is almost 200 years old. This is not a 1 round event, indoor air pollution comes back again and again.

Air Changes

The number of air changes per hour is somewhat product specific. But, because of the nature of the filters, they can be very easily compared. A fan in a air purifier is rated in CFM (cubic feet per minute). Regardless if your air purifier is HEPA or electrostatic the fans are still rated the same. Air passes through different filters at different rates. The method used to measure this is called pressure drop. The VERY best HEPA filter has a pressure drop of about .6. Here is a link to explain pressure drop. We don’t need to go into that here, it’s a lengthy subject.

 Our Average HEPA filter has a pressure drop of 1.  A normal fan cannot even pull air through a HEPA filter. To effectively move air through a HEPA filter you need a centrifugal fan.If your HEPA air purifier has a radial fan, its not doing you any good. Centrifugal fans create a lot of suction and move smaller amounts of air through dense filters. Radial fans provide a great deal of air movement through less restricted  areas.

A fan comparison between Centrifugal and radial fans

When you compare air purifier efficiency the number of air changes per hour is very important.   Here is an example  Comparing a HEPA at 99.97% to an electrostatic at 97% in  room that contains 32,000 ml of smoke, After the first cycle the HEPA leaves behind 40 ml. The Electrostatic leaves behind 41ml. On the second cycle .4 ml is left by the HEPA and .425 by the electrostatic. Most HEPA air purifiers only provide 2 cleanings per hour for the intended room size. A third cleaning by the electrostatic brings the remaining smoke down to .004 ml, a 4th leave so little you  have to use scientific notation to express it. 

While efficiency is very important, the number of times it cleans per hour is far more important. An EPA study comparing HEPA and Electrostatic found they worked as well on the smallest particles. The HEPA did remove more on each pass. But if the number of cleaning cycles were greater by the Electrostatic, the Electrostatic did a better over all job.

 

Examining the filter

When you compare a HEPA and an Electrostatic sell side by side it is easy to see the difference. The Electrostatic cell allows air to pass through without any obstruction. The HEPA filter is very dense and restricts air flow. Each filter has its place. Both filter systems are very good. You should decide which is best for you. Each has its pros and cons we can examine this side by side

Electrostatic Characteristics

  • 97 % Efficient
  • Washable / Reusable
  • Zero pressure drop
  • Emits a small amount of Ozone
  •  

HEPA Characteristics

  • 99.97% efficient
  • Last 6 months to a year
  • 1.0 average pressure drop
  • No Ozone
  • Replacement cost of $ $145.00

Quality is Important

Air purifiers can be found in any department or big box store. There are hundreds of models available on the internet. It was recently reported that Amazon had over 21,000 air purifier products listed. Some of the products listed on Amazon are truly great products, others, not so much. When you are purchasing an air cleaner for smoke, look for these key elements.

Fan Power

Does the air purifier you are looking at have a strong enough fan? Some air purifiers have no fans at all, some have undersized fans. The amount of fan power to clean the air in a room is crucial. Many so called HEPA units on the market do not have enough power to pull the air through the filter. Or they will pull so little through there is not enough circulation to clean the room. The best air purifier for smoke should clean the air at least 6 times an hour in the entire room. More cleaning cycle at a lower efficiency is better than low cleaning cycles at high efficiency. The free flow design of an electrostatic air purifier shines in the number of cleaning cycles. LakeAir Products use high power fans and blowers.

Solid Construction

Most air purifiers for sale today are made of mostly plastic. While plastic is certainly acceptable for some applications. It is not a good choice in Air purifiers. An Air purifier should last more than 10 years. If you accidentally drop the average air cleaner of the table it is going to break.  An all steel construction air purifier from LakeAir is made to keep running even with not so gentle handling. A quality air purifier for smoke will be made of high grade components.  We use American steel, copper and aluminum. Your air purifier is only as good as the products used to build it.

Effective Filtration

There are many types of filtration that remove smoke. HEPA, Activated Carbon, Media and electronic methods can all be effective at removing smoke. No one technology is always the right answer. There are many factors to take into account. Cost, product quality, product warranty are all strong points of the LakeAir brand. If you need more help determining what is the right answer for you, or if you would like more information on how to design your smoking room feel free to give our customer service department a call. 800- 558-9436

Conclusions

The  best  air purifier for smoke varies from use to use. For the home, the economical choice to control cigarette, cigar and cooking smoke we recommend the Maxum Electrostatic.  The Maxum HEPA costs $150.00 more and about that much again to run for a year. It is however more powerful and will out perform just about every air purifier in its class. This powerful air purifier will clean the air in a huge area of 1120 square feet. For small commercial applications like billiard rooms the LA1400 Electrostatic cleans the air well. One LA1400 can control moderate smoke in a room up to 40′ x 40′ Upscale locations with drop ceiling can benefit greatly from the LAFC HEPA. These quiet smoke eating monsters will off 99.97% efficiency for rooms up to 30′ x 30′.  LAFC HEPA units are often grouped to improve smoke handling. For the biggest of rooms and in heavy commercial and light industrial applications the LA2000 is the smoke eater of choice. If you have questions as to what is the right LakeAir product for you please call our customer service number 800-558-9436.