Best Air Purifiers for Wildfire Smoke

Air purifiers are key to protecting yourself from wildfire smoke in your home. But with the number of purifiers on the market, it can be confusing to know which are the best air purifiers for wildfire smoke. In this article, we dive into what to look for when buying an air purifier for wildfire smoke, as well as what to avoid.

What Pollutants Are In Wildfire Smoke?

To determine which air purifiers are best for removing wildfire smoke from your home, we need to first know what pollutants the purifier needs to remove.

It turns out, wildfire smoke is made up of both dangerous small particulates called PM2.5 and VOC gases.

Pollutants in wildfire smoke

Both PM2.5 and VOC gases are harmful to humans. Small particulates in wildfire smoke such as PM2.5 can enter our bloodstream, get into our organs, and even cause cancer. VOC gases in wildfires include ethane, aldehydes, benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene, formaldehyde, and acetaldehyde, which can have similar devastating effects on our bodies.

Read More: What is in Wildfire Smoke and How Wildfires Affect Air Quality

Watch: Five Things You Should Know About PM2.5 Pollution in Wildfire Smoke
5 Things You Should Know about PM2.5 Air Pollution

So what air purifier setup is best to remove these wildfire smoke pollutants?

Two Features Air Purifiers for Wildfire Smoke Need

No one filter is able to effectively remove both small particulates and dangerous gases from the air. Therefore, the best purifiers for wildfire smoke use a combination of two air filters: a HEPA filter and a carbon filter.

1) HEPA Filter

HEPA filters take care of removing the small dangerous particulates such as PM2.5. HEPA filters remove over 99.5% of nearly all sized pollutants in one pass through the filter, including the smallest particles under 0.3 microns in size. Below is a room test we did with the Sqair air purifier with a HEPA filter. Within an hour all of the PM2.5 was removed from the air.

HEPA filters remove dangerous particles from wildfire smoke

2) Carbon Filter

With the HEPA filter removing the dangerous particles from the wildfire smoke, what’s left are VOCs and other gases. This is where the carbon filter comes in. Carbon filters are extremely effective at removing VOCs and other gases that are in wildfire smoke. Below is a room test we did with an air purifier with a carbon filter. Within two minutes nearly all of the VOCs were removed from the air.

Activated carbon removes VOC gases from wildfire smoke

Air Purifiers for Wildfire Smoke: What to Avoid

1) Avoid Purifiers With Ionizers

Air purifiers with ionizers are ineffective at reducing both PM2.5 and VOC gases. In fact, research shows ionizers can increase air pollution by releasing ozone and creating formaldehyde and fine particles. Skip the ionizers.

Read More: What Are Ionizer Purifiers and Do They Work?

2) Avoid Ozone Generators

The problem with ozone generators is they produce ozone, which harms and even kills people. Skip the ozone generator.

3) Avoid UV Lights

Some purifier companies put ultraviolet lights in purifiers because UV kills viruses and bacteria. This not only has no effect on wildfire smoke, but studies also show purifiers with UV lights don’t have enough time to kill the viruses and bacteria in the short time the air goes through the filter (according to the EPA). Skip the UV light.

Read More: Two Other Ways to Protect Yourself From Wildfire Smoke

How I Protect Myself From Wildfire Smoke

Smart Air is a certified B Corp committed to combating the myths big companies use to inflate the price of clean air.

The “Chemical Warefare” model of the Sqair air purifier comes with both a HEPA filter and a carbon filter. The Sqair is good for areas under 40 square meters (or two bedrooms).

For larger areas, check out the Blast and Blast Mini HEPA air purifiers which can also have a carbon filter added on.


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Smart Air is a social enterprise that creates simple, no-nonsense air purifiers and provides free education to protect people’s health from the effects of air pollution. We are proud to be the only certified B-Corp dedicated to fighting air pollution.