All You Ever Wanted to Know About Smoke Eaters

What is a Smoke Eater?

A Smoke Eater is any air purifier that has the capability to remove smoke from the air. Smoke Eater is a generic term for a large group of products. Smoke Eaters can use different technologies (filter systems) to remove smoke from the air. Along with smoke, a smoke eater may also remove the odor caused by the smoke that is being removed. There are a few filtering systems that will remove smoke and these might be used in the “smoke eating” process. To make it easier to understand, think of it this way: 

A Smoke Eater is really just another name for Air Purifier. An air purifier that is adept at removing smoke can be referred to as Smoke Eater.  Smokeeter  is a brand of air purifiers that have a reputation for removing smoke from the air. Don’t get hung up on the names. If you need to remove smoke from the air, buy an air purifier that is good at removing smoke. To make things easy we will refer to them as Smoke Eaters.  It is important to remember that not all air purifiers are good at removing smoke. In this post we will briefly visit different aspects of a smoke eater. For a more in depth look at smoke eaters we invite you to visit our Smoke Eater page 

How Does a Smoke Eater Remove "eat" smoke

The Fan:

A smoke eater operates by drawing or pushing air through a filter. Pulling air through a filter is the most common method of air movement. Certain devices are better at pulling air through a filter. These devices are most often referred to as fans, blowers, squirrel cages. There are many types of fans and blowers. Some look like air plane propellers, some like a hamster wheel (squirrel cages) and others like impellers. Each one of these air moving devices are designed for a specific method of moving air. For this discussion we can suffice to say a smoke eater requires a fan to move air through a filter.

The Filter:

We have a established that a smoke eater works by moving air that contains smoke through a filter. Which filter is best, what filters should we consider to purchase and what are the plusses and minuses of different filter types will be covered a bit later in this article. For now lets look at some general principals of filtration. Some smoke filters work like a sieve. they have very tiny holes that only allow the smallest of particles to pass through. Other filters attract smoke particles through electromagnetic forces. Still other filters claim to remove smoke by adding molecules to smoke and making them fall out of the air stream. Regardless what method, a smoke eater uses, the filter is the second component of a smoke eater.

Question: How does a smoke eater remove smoke?   Answer: By forcing air through a filter that can remove it from the air stream 

What types of filters do Smoke Eaters Use?

HEPA Filers for Smoke

A HEPA filter is the most effective way for a smoke eater to remove smoke from the air. It is designed with many layers of synthetic and natural fibers woven together to form pockets of particle trapping media. The image to the right shows a HEPA filter cut on at the cross section. Notice how the filter media is formed into deep narrow cavities that can capture and hold a large amounts of  smoke. True HEPA filters like the one in the picture are designed and tested to remove 99.97% of smoke from the air. To be a True HEPA it must remove smoke as small as 0.3 microns. Only a few natural smoke particles are that small. Studies have shown the True HEPA filter removes even the tiniest of smoke particles. For more information on how HEPA filters remove smoke and other particles please see our HEPA Filter page

Electrostatic Filtration for Smoke

HEPA Filter Repurposing
Illustration of electrostatic smoke removal process

MERV Media Filters for Smoke

Electrostatic is popular smoke eater filter type. This technology adds a negative charge to smoke molecules. the smoke particles are then trapped on collecting plates. The filtration is up to 99% efficient.  The amount of efficiency varies by the amount of voltage, how clean the collecting plates are and a number of other factors. The complete conversation about  electrostatic precipitators is a lengthy one. For the sake of this post it suffices to say the electrostatic filters are a major filter type used by many commercial and a few home smoke eaters.  One reason for the popularity of this filter is that electrostatic filters are washable and last decades. By washing the filter as opposed to replacing it the consumer can save hundreds of dollars each year.

A MERV 15 Media filters will  remove 90-95% of the smoke that enters it. The finer smoke slips through the filter media. If the goal is to produce very clean air the MERV 15 might not be such a good smoke eater option.

The primary reason people select MERV  media to filter smoke is to save money on the cost of replacement filters. MERV 15 filters  for example are about 40% cheaper than HEPA filters and have a similar life span.

Another reason people choose MERV media over HEPA filters is greater air flow. A MERV 15 filter will allow around 20% more air to pass through it. This isn’t normally a good enough reason to choose MERV Media filters, but for some consumers these advantages add up to enough of a reason to choose MERV media smoke filtration.

High Capacity MERV 15 Air Filter

Other Filter Types

There are other types of smoke filtration technologies available on the market. Because these filter types have not been endorsed by ASHRAE, we will not spend much time on them in this blog post. The two filtration types not fully supported by ASHRAE  are PECO  and Bi-Polar Ionization. The professionals don’t say that these technologies work, they only say that they have not been fully tested and consumers should use caution before purchasing them.


Can Smoke Eaters Remove Smoke Odor?

The simple answer to that question is YES. Do they all remove smoke odor?  The simple answer is NO. To qualify as a smoke eater, a machine does not have to remove smoke odor. To qualify as a good smoke eater the product has to remove smoke odor form the air steam. In the next section of this article we will look at how a quality smoke eater removes the smell of smoke from the air.

How does a Smoke Eater remove the odor of smoke from the air?

The only effective way to remove odor form the air is through adsorption by activated carbon or some other odor absorbing media. The primary filter removes the smoke from the air. Smoke odor is a gas. It is not removed in the main filter. It travels through to the carbon filter. In the carbon filter the odor molecules come into direct contact with the carbon crystal and are absorbed. This absorption isn’t automatic. It takes a certain amount of time for carbon to soak up the odor. This amount of time is known as residence time. The longer odors are in direct contact with the activated carbon the more of the odor that is removed. The illustration to the right shows how smoke odor molecules are trapped in carbon crystals.

The more activated carbon a filter contains the more odor is can adsorb. The longer the filter bed the quicker the activated carbon filter can adsorb. The odor adsorption process and the nature of carbon is fascinating. To read more about how carbon filters remove smoke and other odors form the air you breathe we invite you to visit our carbon filter page to delve deeper into the world of odor removal

Activated Carbon odor absorption illustration

What's the Best place to put a Smoke Eater?

The best place for a smoke eater is as close to the smoke as is possible. Now in many cases that’s just not possible. However when you are planning a smoke eater purchase keep that in mind. Smoke removal systems can be installed in many different places in and outside of a room or area. Not all companies smoke air purification systems have as many mounting options as LakeAir systems. When looking at places to mount your smoke eater here is the short list: Flush Ceiling, To the Ceiling, Ceiling hung, Wall Mount, Flush to wall, Surface top and Floor. The following section shows descriptions and images of the different smoke eater mounting systems.

Flush Ceiling Mounted Smoke Eaters

A flush ceiling mount, installs the air purification equipment with its face  on the same plane of the ceiling. This mounting is most frequently used with a drop grid ceiling. The smoke eater sets into the frame designed to hold the ceiling tiles. Another option is mounting into a drywall or wood ceiling. A hole is cut into the ceiling material and the unit is brought flush with the rooms ceiling. In both of these cases the the smoke eater needs to be supported from above the ceiling face. To look closer at flush ceiling smoke eaters visit the supplied link

Flush Ceiling Mount Example
Ceiling Mount Example

Mounted to the Ceiling

A ceiling mount is just that. Yo take and attach the smoke removal equipment directly to the ceiling. The unit is usually fastens to the ceiling trusses with bolts or screws. This is a simple matter in most cases especially if the unit come with adapting hardware or is properly designed to attach the the ceiling supports.

Ceiling Hung Smoke Eater

This mounting method is probably the most common ceiling mounting style. Ceiling Hung mounting systems are often used in rooms with very high ceilings. The smoke removal equipment is suspended in the air by chains, cables or even threaded rod.  This mounting option allows for easier unit repositioning. Care has to be taken that the supporting structure above can hold the weight of the smoke eater. LakeAir offers several different ceiling hung smoke eaters

Ceiling Hung Smoke Eater

This mounting method is probably the most common ceiling mounting style. Ceiling Hung mounting systems are often used in rooms with very high ceilings. The smoke removal equipment is suspended in the air by chains, cables or even threaded rod.  This mounting option allows for easier unit repositioning. Care has to be taken that the supporting structure above can hold the weight of the smoke eater. LakeAir offers several different ceiling hung smoke eaters

Wall Mount Smoke Eater

Wall Mount smoke removal systems are hung using some sort of bracket. The brackets are attached to the wall. The brackets are usually  designed for wall studs on 16 or 24 inch centers. These  are the most common stud lay outs in homes and commercial building in the USA. The drawing to the right shows a 2 piece wall mounting bracket. Most smoke eater manufactures sell wall mounting brackets designed specifically for the products.

Heavy Duty Wall Mounting Bracket
Flush to the Wall Mount example from the LakeAir
Wall Mount from LakeAir PCA Booth 2022

Flush to the Wall Mount Smoke Eaters

A quick search of Google and Google Images did not show any Flush mounting smoke eaters other than the one offered by LakeAir. This is a new an innovative application. The flush to the wall mount units are designed for commercial walls with supporting studs set on a 24 inch center. As you can see by the image to the left a bit of the Wall mount smoke eater extends beyond the 2 x4 wall. This mounting system offers consumers a number of new opportunities to supply smoke eaters without cluttering the ceiling or floors. To explore flush wall mount smoke eater options please visit the supplied link.  

Table-top (surface) Smoke Eaters

Table-top units are most often referred to as home smoke eaters. While we use the term table-top it really refers to any flat surface. These units can be placed on a table, but also work well on file cabinets, shelves anywhere with a flat surface large enough to support the air purifier. Many people ask these units can be placed on the floor? the answer is yes, so long as there is enough air flow. Your smoke eater has to be able circulate the air in the room to clean it.

table-top smoke eater example

Floor (portable) Smoke Eaters

The Last place we will look at is probably the most obvious. Placing  a smoke eater often makes sense. Many people don’t want there tables cluttered with an appliance. The LakeAir MAX Guard floor smoke eater will double as an end table. The solid construction of this product lends itself to multi-uses. When placing your floor smoke removal system try to place it near the source of the smoke. Be sure to set it in a manner where there is good air flow in and out of the unit. If you place it in a back corner don’t be surprised when your room air has not been cleaned.

Commercial Smoke Eaters

Commercial Smoke Eaters refers to smoke removal systems that are use in a commercial setting. Depending on the size of the space to be treated for smoke a consumer will choose different models  LakeAir offers smoke eaters with volumes from 275 to 6000 CFM. 

To create a pleasant environment, a commercial smoke eater should provide a high number of air changes per hour, typically around 12-15 (ACH) air changes per hour. This means that the air in the room is filtered and refreshed at least 12-15 times every hour, which helps to keep the air clean and fresh. With a large number of cigar smokers the ACH may need to be raised above 20 air changes per hour. 

Overall, a commercial smoke eater is an effective solution for creating a pleasant and comfortable environment in a cigar or pipe smoking area. By providing clean air and reducing smoke, odors, and other pollutants, it can help to improve indoor air quality and make the space more enjoyable for everyone.


The LA6000 is a Industrial smoke eater. This product is used in manufacturing facilities. 

LA6000 Product Sketch

What type of Smoke Eater is Right for Me?

LakeAir  manufactures many different  types of smoke eaters. In fact LakeAir has the largest line of smoke eaters made in the USA. Deciding what the right smoke eater is for you comes down to a bit of exploration.

Choosing the right kind of smoke eater can be an important decision to make if you are removing smoke for recreational smoking, for cooking or some other source of smoke.. The right smoke eater can help to improve indoor air quality and create a more comfortable environment, but it’s important to consider your specific needs and preferences when selecting a model.

One of the first factors to consider when choosing a smoke eater is the type of filtration that is best suited to your needs. Above we looked at HEPA, Electrostatic and MERV 15 filtering systems. Apply that in formation to make a choice that fits your needs in performance, maintenance and budget. If odor is a concern find a model with an effective activated carbon filtering system.

Another important factor to consider is where the smoke eater should be mounted. As shown above  smoke eaters are designed to be mounted in many places and ways. Consider the layout of your smoking area and choose a smoke eater that can be easily mounted in a convenient location.

Finally, consider the volume of air purification needed. This will depend on the size of the smoking area and the number of smokers who will be using the space. Look for a smoke eater that is capable of providing the appropriate level of air purification for your needs. A smoke eater with a higher CADR (clean air delivery rate) rating will be able to purify a larger volume of air more quickly, while a smoke eater with a lower CADR rating may be sufficient for smaller spaces.

In summary, choosing the right kind of smoke eater requires considering your filtration choices, where the smoke eater should be mounted, and the volume of air purification needed. It’s also important to read reviews and compare different models before making a decision. By taking these factors into account, you can select a smoke eater that will help to improve indoor air quality and create a more comfortable environment in your smoking area.

Choosing LakeAir Products

LakeAir is a trusted and reputable brand when it comes to smoke eaters. They have units for homes, lounges, bars, restaurants, shops, and factories. Thier smoke removers are effective in areas ranging from 50 to 50,000 square feet. There are several good reasons to choose a LakeAir smoke eater for your home or business.

Firstly, LakeAir smoke eaters are highly effective at removing smoke and other pollutants from the air. They offer smoke removal systems that use a combination of filters, such as HEPA and activated carbon, to remove particles and odors from the air, creating a clean and fresh environment.

Secondly, LakeAir smoke eaters are designed to be energy-efficient, using less power than many other smoke eaters on the market. This can result in cost savings over time, as well as a reduced environmental impact.

Thirdly, LakeAir smoke eaters are easy to maintain and operate. They typically require minimal maintenance, such as changing the filters periodically, and can be operated using a simple on/off switch or remote control.

Finally, LakeAir is a reliable brand made in the USA with a history of providing high-quality smoke eaters. They offer a variety of models to suit different needs and budgets, and their smoke eaters are backed by a comprehensive warranty and customer support.

Overall, choosing a LakeAir smoke eater for your home or business can provide a range of benefits, including improved indoor air quality, cost savings, ease of use, and peace of mind.