Do Air Purifiers Help With Smoke and Remove Odor? (The Real Truth)

In Brief: Do Air Purifiers Remove Smoke & Odor?

Air purifiers can eliminate both smoke and odor. Thus improving the air quality and allowing people to breathe in the fresh air. But not all types of air purifiers can do it. PECO (Photo Electrochemical Oxidation) air purifier is the best in destroying smoke and odor. Filters like HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter and Activated carbon filter are combined to remove smoke and odor since they are not capable of removing them individually.

Yes, air purifiers do help with removing both smoke and odor.

A variety of air purifiers are available on the market. If you are looking for an air purifier to remove the smoke and odor, you have come to the right place.

We will now address this in detail in this article. This article will help you decide which air purifier works best for smoke and odor.

What is smoke and how it is caused?

Smoke is the visible airborne contaminants mixed in the air. It is formed as the result of the incomplete combustion of materials.

The smoke is composed of compounds like carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and particulate matter.

Now let us discuss the causes of smoke and its effects. There can be a large number of causes for the same, some are more common and while others are less.

Smoke from vehicles – The smoke produced by vehicles is due to the incomplete combustion of fuels. This is one of the most common causes of smoke around us today.

Smoke from factories – Smoke emitted from the industries is mainly caused by the burning of fossil fuels. The smoke contains fluorine-containing gases that are potentially harmful to all living beings.

Smoke from burning – The smoke produced from burning materials like garbage, plastic, etc., contains toxins like nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide, VOC, etc. It causes long-term health problems and even cancer when exposed for a long time for people who work in this field.

Smoke from food – The smoke produced while cooking food, though not harmful, releases a strong odor that fills the atmosphere. Smoke adds flavor to the food.
It is a good marketing strategy for food service providers, but people lose appetite when different food odor combines.

Smoke from cigarettes – Cigarette smoke contains several toxins like carbon monoxide, benzene, hydrogen cyanide, etc. The smoke from a cigarette is harmful to both the smoker and the people who inhale it (passive smokers). It causes respiratory ailments and is carcinogenic in nature.

Smoke from wildfire/burning of waste/crops – Smoke produced due to forest fire or burning of waste or crops (as done around winter season) are the cause of the smoke.

Smoke from buildings – Smoke from building fires contains dangerous toxins like HCN and CO that cause death or permanent damage with long-term effects. Building fire may occur due to damaged electrical contact, gas explosion, etc.

How air purifiers can Benefit in removing smoke and odor?

Let us analyze how air purifiers benefit in removing smoke and odor.

At Home

Air purifiers benefit the home by removing the food smoke and odor from the kitchen, pet odor, and cigarette smoke and smell if the house has smokers at its residence.

It protects the passive smokers from inhaling the smoke and allows them to inhale pure air.

It can also help in removing smoke from vehicles or burning outside the house.

At public/private buildings

Air purifiers used in the food industry eliminate the smoke and smell produced while cooking food, thereby providing a cozy place for its customers.

Air purifiers are used in the smoking areas of restaurants, pubs, companies, etc., to remove the cigarette smoke and odor and also to provide fresh air to breathe in.

In Vehicles

Cabin air filters used in the vehicle benefit the passengers by removing the cigarette smoke and other impurities that enter the car (automobile) from outside.

These are some of the benefits of using air purifiers in removing smoke and odor in different fields.

What kind of air purifiers work best for smoke and odor?

The first thing to understand is that NOT ALL air purifiers can effectively eliminate smoke and odor (especially odor). Thus you have to be careful while buying an air purifier if you have this specific requirement.

Let us now discuss some of the air purifiers that work on smoke and odor.

HEPA Air Purifiers

HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) air purifiers are filters that uses a multi-layer mechanical filtration method to filter the smoke.

But, HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters cannot eliminate odor.

Activated carbon filter

Activated carbon air purifiers are filters that used adsorption phenomena to eliminate odor.

However, they cannot trap smoke.

Hence, manufactures have combined the above two filters to produce an air purifier that is capable of eliminating both smoke and odor. It is called a Hybrid air purifier.

Ionizer air purifier

Ionic air purifiers are filters that use the ionization method to remove the smoke (aerosol) in the air. It can also eliminate the source of the odor.

But it is not preferred since the ions are harmful to the body.

PECO air filters

PECO (Photo Electrochemical Oxidation) air purifiers are filters that rely on the photoelectrochemical reaction of the filter to eliminate the smoke and odor.

Which air filters remove smoke and odor most efficiently?

Air purifiers with HEPA filters + Active carbon filters are great for smoke and odor. Another great option is PECO air purifiers.

The best budget option is a good quality HEPA + Carbon filter fitted air purifier. But you need to make sure both these are present in the air purifier you buy.

Fortunately, these are present in almost all good-quality air purifiers today.

Another great option is the PECO (Photo Electrochemical Oxidation) air filter is the most efficient single filter option since it can remove both smoke and odor.

Let us now see how the PECO (Photo Electrochemical Oxidation) filter removes the smoke and odor.

PECO (Photo Electrochemical Oxidation) air purifier works on the mechanism where the UV-A rays are emitted onto the filter coated with nanoparticles. It creates a photoelectrochemical reaction on the filter, which in turn breaks down the molecular structure of the particles in the air.

When the smoke enters the air purifier, the VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) in the smoke is destroyed by photoelectrochemical reaction.

PECO is excellent in reducing allergens such as bacteria, etc. from air. But these air purifiers are generally expensive.


Thus, air purifiers can eliminate both smoke and odor. It improves the air quality and ensures that people breathe pure and fresh air.

But you need to ensure you buy the right type of air purifier for the same.

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