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4 best air purifiers for cigarette smoke, according to our home lab tests

The best performing units we tested capable of tackling cigarette smoke in small and large rooms for as little as $150
Updated on December 3, 2023
Written by
Paul Allen
Paul is a staff writer for HouseFresh, with a focus on product recommendations and advice for smokers and apartment dwellers. He started writing in November 2020, when he joined the content production team at NeoMam Studios (our parent company).

We all know about the dangers that come with smoking cigarettes. Science has shown us that cigarette smoke is proven to not only damage our bodies but the bodies of those around us

Whether you smoke yourself, face secondhand smoke from a household member, or even if fumes creep in from a nearby neighbor, exposure to cigarette smoke can subject your home and health to a range of irritable toxins, carbon monoxide buildup, along with smells that will stick around for a long time

The average cigarette contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including benzene, carbon monoxide, ammonia, arsenic and formaldehyde. To put this into perspective, a recent study found that cigarette smoke contains ten times more particulates than the fumes from a diesel car’s exhaust. 

Breathing such substances can lead to cancer, heart disease, strokes, COPD and asthma while also causing inflammation and impairing immune function.

As for its stubborn smell, cigarette smoke spreads fast and penetrates almost every surface it meets.  What’s worse is that after cigarette smoke has been absorbed into your home’s furnishings and belongings, it will continue to pose a thirdhand smoke danger, as toxins are slowly emitted back into the air over time.

The best defense against cigarette smoke is to quit smoking. Of course, this is easier said than done, so reducing the smoke in your household is the next best thing.

Investing in an air purifier will equip you with a toxin-busting, odor-eliminating appliance that can deliver clean air throughout your home. Using our test data, I’ve hand-picked four top air purifiers to help eliminate cigarette smoke’s toxic fumes and odor as soon as the issue strikes.

  1. In our home lab of 728 cubic ft, we light an incense stick to generate particle pollution and VOCs.
  2. We set up our trusted Purpleair Indoor Sensor with the latest Bosch gas sensor to track levels of PM1ug/m3, PM2.5ug/m3 and PM10ug/m3 and VOCs in the air.
  3. We switch the air purifier to its highest speed and measure how long it takes to get our room air quality down to PM1 level to 0.
  4. We use an energy meter to measure precisely how much electricity is used when running the unit at the lowest and highest fan speed settings.
    enery meter
  5. We track sound levels emitted by the air purifier at different fan speeds with the help of a commercial sound meter.
    sound meter

Speed is important when facing smoke, so each option performed amongst the best in its class during our speed tests. I’ve also paid close attention to filter technology used and Smart features that will help control the spread of smoke with minimal input and maximum efficiency.

Our 3 favorite air purifiers for eliminating cigarette smoke

If you’re looking to tackle cigarette smoke ASAP, here’s a peek at my top three picks:

Levoit EverestAirLevoit Core 300SAlen BreatheSmart Flex
Air cleaning speed13 minutes40 minutes34 minutes
CADR rating360 CFM (612 m3/h)141 CFM (240 m³)225 CFM (382 m³)
Filter technology3-stage filtration (pre-filter, main filter and activated carbon)3-stage filtration (pre-filter, main filter and activated carbon)H13 HEPA with activated charcoal (Fresh, Odorcell and Heavy Smoke options available)
Maximum room size558 sq. ft.Up to 219 sq. ft.Up to 700 sq. ft.
Weight20.7 lbs (9.38 kg)5.95 lbs (2.7 kg)15 lbs (6.8 kg)
Our reviewLevoit EverestAir reviewCore 300S reviewAlen BreatheSmart Flex Review

Last update on 2023-12-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

For a more comprehensive guide to each recommended air purifier and why it’s a good option against cigarette smoke, be sure to check out the full article below. 

1. Best overall: Levoit EverestAir

Capable of performing 4.8 air changes an hour in a room up to 558 sq. ft, this high-performance air purifier can quickly remove cigarette smoke from large spaces.

If you or someone you live with smokes inside the home regularly, then the Levoit EverestAir is my top recommended air purifier. I was amazed by its cleaning power when we tested it in our home test lab, as it cleared all incense smoke contaminants in only 13 minutes – the fastest purifier we’ve ever tested. 

There’s no escaping that this level of design comes with a hefty price tag. The EverestAir somewhat broke the mold of Levoit’s low-cost product range. Costing over $600, you could alternatively purchase two Core 600S units (which features later in the list) and arguably achieve cleaner air with cash left over. But for those looking for a single unit that does it all, the EverestAir is the best air purifier available for cigarette smoke. 

What we really like

All of Levoit’s power in an improved design
A state of the art onboard air quality sensor 
It has adjustable vent angles, a feature unique to this model, to control the direction of fresh air
Impressive performance — the EverestAir is the fastest air purifier we tested so far, removing pollutants from the air in our home lab in just 13 minutes

What we think could be better

For a top-tier air purifier, the 2-year warranty falls a bit short considering you can get a lot more from other manufacturers
Filter costs are higher than other Levoit units but they do last longer than cheaper Core series units — up to 15 months

The EverestAir’s sheer speed means that the toxic particles from second-hand smoke will be swiftly removed. Capturing both harmful particulate matter as well as odors and gasses in its huge 3-stage filter that comes stacked with a thick layer of activated carbon. 

To show you just how chunky the activated carbon filter is, check out this comparison photo where you can see the EverestAir’s filter to the left against the industry-leading IQAir Healthpro Plus‘ filter to the right:

I was impressed by Levoit’s new and improved control panel (see photo above), which shows highly accurate air quality readings in real time. The EverestAir also boasts handy smart features like Auto-Mode and the Levoit VeSync app that will help you fight cigarette smoke whenever required.


Cigarette smoke is no joke. It is not only packed with dangerous breathable particles but it also leaves unwanted smells behind. If you’re looking for the best possible air purifier to help with both, then the EverestAir is my top pick.

HouseFresh Rating:★★★★★
Time to clean our test room:13 minutes
Air purifier technology:3-Stage Filtration (Pre-filter for large particles, main filter for airborne particles, high-efficiency activated carbon filter for odors and gasses)
Recommended room size:558 sq. ft.
Clean air delivery rate (CADR):360 CFM (612 m3/h)
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):18.9L x 8.5W x 23.2H inches (48L x 21.6W x 58.9H cm)
Weight (in pounds / in kg):20.7 lbs (9.38 kg)
Noise level (low – high):24 – 56dB
Filter life:12-15 months
Warranty:2 years
Estimated energy consumption:$87.25 per year

2. Best for large spaces: Alen Breathsmart Flex

The Alen Flex is easy to use and easy on the eye, but most importantly, it contains a powerful fan and a choice of top-of-the-range filters.

Alen has a range of air purifiers to cater to different room sizes, like the BreatheSmart 75i and 45i. But for the issue of removing cigarette smoke from your room, I recommend the BreatheSmart Flex. Those concerned about chemical byproducts from ionizers will be happy that the Flex has no ionizer, so all filtration is mechanical with zero byproducts.

Where most air purifiers are aimed at dust and allergies and have small levels of activated carbon, with Alen, you can customize the Flex’s filters to suit your needs best. The FL40-H Heavy Smoke Filter is the pick of the bunch, as it comes with 2.3 lbs of active carbon that is perfect for adsorbing the chemicals and gasses that cigarette smoking generates. 

It’s worth highlighting that Alen’s filters go above and beyond most generic HEPA-type filters, too. Certified as medical-grade H13, they will capture 99.9% of particles as small as 0.1 microns in a single pass. This is great news for those who are immunocompromised or suffer from respiratory problems..  

What we really like

It comes with large amounts of activated carbon to tackle undesirable cigarette smells + a medical-grade HEPA H13 for particulate matter
It is a looking device that doesn’t take up too much floor space
It comes with a lifetime warranty – most brands offer 12 months only
High-quality build quality from a U.S. company

What we think could be better

Higher price ratio to air cleaning power compared to brands like Levoit
No smart mode or auto-mode — you’ll need to upgrade to 45i for these features

Overall, the Flex is very similar to Alen’s most popular unit, the Alen 45i, but it doesn’t include auto-mode, ionizer or smart features. In exchange, you can buy the unit for much cheaper. In real terms, this trade-off won’t make a difference to air cleaning capability. The 45i completed our clean air speed test in 33 minutes compared to the Flex, which cleared all pollutants one minute slower. 

However, it does mean that you’ll have to take a more hands-on approach to using the air purifier, remembering to turn up fan speeds whenever cigarette smoke occurs. Nor will you be able to track levels of pollutants in the air, as this model doesn’t have an in-built air sensor.


Alen is the only manufacturer on the market to offer a lifetime warranty. This is a big bonus when considering the extra strain a purifier will go through when constantly battling thick cigarette smoke. But remember, you’ll need an active filter subscription for this warranty to be valid, so I recommend considering the 12-month option that will keep you protected 24/7, 365 days a year. 

HouseFresh Rating:★★★★☆
Time to clean our test room:34 minutes
Air purifier technology:H13 HEPA with an option for activated charcoal (Fresh, Odorcell and Heavy Smoke options available)
Recommended room size:700 sq. ft.
Clean air delivery rate (CADR):225 CFM (Smoke:  191 / Pollen: 245 / Dust: 209) 
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):25H x 15W x 8.5D inches (63.5 x 38.1 x 21.59 cm)
Weight (in pounds / in kg):15 lbs (6.8 kg)
Noise level (low – high):25 – 50dB
Filter life:Every 9-12 months
Manufacturer’s warranty:Lifetime (with product registration & active filter subscription)
Estimated energy consumption:$25.23 per year 

3. Best performance per $ spent: Levoit Core 300S

A good alternative for those affected by cigarette smoke from a neighbor or who want to keep a small room in the house smoke-free without breaking the bank.

For households facing frequent cigarette smoke, I suggest looking at the other bigger units on this list. But for those affected by a neighbor or looking to keep a specific space in the house smoke-free, then the Levoit Core 300S can help keep your air clean without breaking the bank. 

The 300S shares many of the same quality features as its bigger siblings from the Core range (400S and 600S). You’ll find Levoit’s 3-stage filtration, impressive CADR to $ costings and even Smart features such as an Auto mode that will kick into action whenever smoke particles are detected.

What we really like

Good price-to-performance ratio — a whooping 145 CFM for only $150!
The Core 300S uses mechanical filtration technology without ionizer technology, meaning it doesn’t generate ozone
You can easily find many generic filter options to keep replacement costs low
A fair level of noise-to-power ratio

What we think could be better

It is still underpowered to remove cigarette smoke for medium to large rooms, so you will need multiple units or to look for a bigger option
Not the best option for smokers looking to use this as a primary unit 

While most budget air purifiers use carbon-impregnated fabric, I love that the Core 300S uses activated charcoal pellets that provide a larger carbon substrate for dealing with the gasses and odors. With this unit, you’ll also benefit from quiet operating volumes and low energy bills, allowing you to run the unit around the clock for 24/7 protection from cigarette smoke. 

Although I am a huge fan of the 300 and 300S, with a lower CADR score of 145 CFM, it’s only suitable for use in smaller rooms like bedrooms or offices. When we tested the unit for ourselves, it cleared the test room, which is relatively small at 705 cubic feet, in 40 minutes, so do bear this slower performance in mind if you’re especially vulnerable to smoke or looking to eradicate smokey odors before they have a chance to take hold.  


If you find your budget is really tight, then the Levoit Core 300 can regularly be found for less than $100. This unit has no smart features or auto mode like its upgraded smart model, the Core 300S. But for those happy to react, the Core 300 offers excellent cleaning power for your buck, which is paramount when dealing with an issue like cigarette smoke

HouseFresh Rating:★★★★★
Time to clean our test room:40 minutes
Air purifier technology:3-stage Pre, Primary and Activated Carbon Filter
Recommended room size:219 ft²
Clean air delivery rate (CADR):145 CFM (246 m3/h)
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):8.7L x 8.7W x 14.2H inches (22L x 22W x 36H cm)
Weight (in pounds / in kg):7.5 lbs (3.4 kg)
Noise level (low – high):24dB – 50dB
Filter life:6 – 8 months
Manufacturer’s warranty:2 years
Estimated energy consumption:$47.30 per year

4. Best budget option for large spaces: Levoit Core 600S

An alternative for those with large rooms who don’t want to spend more than $300 but still need a powerful unit to deal with cigarette smoke.

Looking for an air purifier suitable for large spaces but can’t fit the EverestAir into your budget? Levoit’s wallet-friendly yet fast-acting Core 600S has you covered. This is the second fastest air purifier we’ve ever tested, taking just 15 minutes to clean our test space – 44 minutes faster than the average unit (59 minutes).

These rapid results are fueled by the Core 600S’ colossal fans and filters. This gives the purifier a CADR score of 410 CFM, making it the most powerful option on this list. The ability to clean such high quantities of air means that this purifier will eradicate toxic fumes and stale odors created by cigarette smoke in no time at all. 

What we really like

The Core 600S comes with smart functions, so you can control the air purifier through the Levoit app remotely
The CADR is high for an air purifier at this price point — super impressive 410 CFM (697 m³/h)
The Core 600S is a quiet air purifier, which is surprising considering how powerful a machine it is
Unofficial generic replacement filters are easy to find on Amazon

What we think could be better

It might be overkill for those with small rooms as it is pretty big
They placed the air quality sensor at the back of the unit, so you need to make sure not to place your Core 600S too close to the wall or the sensor will struggle

Opting for a Levoit device, you can rest assured you’ll get bang for your buck across performance and user experience. The 600S comes with all the bells and whistles you’d expect, including QuietKeap tech that keeps the volume to a minimum, AirSight Plus for real-time air quality readings and Auto and App compatibility, which allows you to target cigarette smoke head-on, even if you’re not in the space at the time. 

The cherry on top is that the 600S will do all this for a fraction of the price you’ll pay for a top-level air purifier.


Retailing at just $299, this is incredible value for money when considering other units with similar cleaning performances come in at over $500.

HouseFresh Rating:★★★★★
Time to clean our test room:15 minutes
Air purifier technology:3-stage Pre, Primary and Activated Carbon Filter
Recommended room size:635 sq. ft. 
Clean air delivery rate (CADR):410 CFM (697 m³/h)
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):12.3 x 12.3 x 23.6 inches (31.3 x 31.3 x 60 cm)
Weight (in pounds / in kg):13.7 lbs (6.2 kg)
Noise level (low – high):26 – 55 dB
Filter life:6 months
Manufacturer’s warranty:2 years
Estimated energy consumption:$51.51 per year

Other units we tested but don’t recommend for cigarette smoke

  • Okaysou AirMax 10L ProA super popular air purifier thanks to its slick use of TikTok influencers, but it failed to match our expectations. It cleaned our test room in 4 minutes longer than the much cheaper Core 300, and it made claims about its 5-in-1 filter technology that wasn’t true.
  • Dyson HP04 – A high price for a good-looking device, but it has a very small CADR, and it took 1 hour and 24 minutes to clean all pollutants measuring 1 micron in our test room. Unless you like the fan function, this will be nearly useless for cigarette smoke issues.
  • Levoit LV-H128 – At less than $40, this is a great price but a terrible air purifier as it took 2 hours and 42 minutes to clean our test room of 705 cubic feet of particle pollutants measuring at least 1 micron. It will be totally useless for any sized room for dealing with smoke from cigarettes.
  • Molekule Mini – You have probably seen adverts for this good-looking device from Molekule. We were a little suspicious of its PECO technology, and it took over 2 hours to bring down the levels of PM1 to breathable levels, and we found it hard to remove them completely. At this price level, it’s just a total waste of money, and you are better off with any of the other air purifiers we recommend.

What to look for in an air purifier for cigarette smoke

“Cigarette Smoke is one the most challenging pollutants for air purifiers, so make sure you choose a powerful unit, even for use in small spaces. You must also choose an option with lots of activated charcoal to deal with gasses and odors that the HEPA filter won’t trap.”
— Danny Ashton, HouseFresh Founder & Senior Writer

To tackle the harmful pollutants created by cigarette smoke head-on, here are five key things to consider: 

1. High-quality air filters for smoke particles removal

Up until recently, this tip would have read HEPA filters are a minimum requirement. But as Dyson recently took Levoit to court to challenge whether their filters were in fact HEPA certified, we’ve slightly readjusted this advice.

While True HEPA – a certification that an air filter can capture at least 99.97% of particulate matter as small as 0.3 microns – is a great way to identify a reliable air purifier, other efficiency rankings, such as MERV, exist. 

We are still confident that Levoit produces some of the most effective air purifiers on the market (much better than Dyson, at least), thanks to our independent reviews in which we witnessed their impressive cleaning capability first-hand.  

This blurs the line between what is a trusted filter and what is not. So be sure to check out our reviews, where we share how well each purifier’s filter performed in the real world. 


Read more about the different types of HEPA filters in our guide to medical-grade HEPA versus True HEPA versus HEPA.

2. Activated carbon for cigarette smell removal

90% of cigarette smoke is a gas or vapor that won’t be removed by a primary or HEPA filter.

Only air purifiers that contain activated carbon filters will remove odors and gasses in a process known as adsorption. During this process, harmful gas molecules become trapped in the porous surface of a carbon substrate. This is why I always recommend looking for filters with plenty of carbon inside.


Looking to learn more about how this process works? Check out our guide to activated carbon filters.

3. High CADR rating for enhanced air cleaning performance

Cigarette smoke is thick and can travel easily between rooms. Experts advise removing smoke as quickly as possible to reduce its harmful impact. 

“Although chronic exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) (i.e., secondhand smoking) is considered one of the major human health hazards, it is a preventable one. Adopting smoke-free environments is an effective strategy to prevent the negative effects of ETS and facilitate smoking cessation.”
Madonna A. Fekry, MPH – Epidemiologist and Public Health Specialist

To do so, ensure the air purifier you choose is powerful enough to combat thick, smoke-filled air, feel free to use our calculator below that will tell you what CADR you need for your room to provide 4.8 ACH.


Not sure what this means? Check out our guide on CADR rating.

4. A price you can afford without breaking the bank

These days, you can find air purifiers with excellent HEPA and activated carbon filters and a solid CADR rating to boot, all without paying over the odds. Check out the price ranges we covered above to find the best unit for your budget. Don’t forget to check filter replacement costs and estimated energy usage, too, as these may affect your overall budget. 

5. A unit that will be able to clean the air in your room at least 4 times per hour

In the air purifier world, size matters. Without adequately powered fans, the air purifier will struggle to circulate all the air in your space. Pay attention to the ‘recommended room size’ row in the specs tables of the air purifiers we have shortlisted above and find the one that suits your room best.

We also built a tool that allows you to input your room size and then it will tell you how much CADR you will need to provide 4.8 air changes per hour as per EPA guidelines:


Do you smoke around the house? If so, read our guide on whether you should get an air purifier in every room.

Common questions about cigarette smoke

The best way to remove cigarette smell and smoke from your home is to stop smoking, but if that is not an option, then you should choose an air purifier with a medical-grade HEPA filter and a heavily loaded activated carbon filter. These filters can capture the toxic particles from cigarette smoke, leaving the air in your home feeling fresher and healthier to breathe.

The Levoit EverestAir is the best air purifer for combating cigarette smoke as it provides rapid results, as seen in our clean air speed test. This unit, however, may be out of budget for some and overkill for those who live in smaller apartments. 

When choosing the best air purifier for your needs, ensure it uses high-quality filters with lots of activated carbon and is capable of performing at least 4 air changes an hour in your specific space. 

Place your air purifier as close to the source of pollutant as possible. When smoking, this means next to you or nearby on a table or shelf. 

This will enable the purifier to capture pollutants quicker, curtailing smoke’s ability to spread throughout the home. 

If possible, smoke near an open window or door to allow smoke to escape. Then, once you’re finished, switch your air purifier to the highest speed setting to maximize airflow. 

About HouseFresh

It usually feels like a safe bet to turn to large media companies like CNET, Forbes or Good Housekeeping for consumer advice.

But these big-name sites are simply cashing in on their large readership by recommending every product under the sun. From Airpods to air fryers, and you guessed it, even air purifiers. 

These guides, mainly written by freelance writers who have never even seen the product, may rehash the manufacturer’s marketing materials in an engaging way, but when it comes to purchasing an appliance charged with protecting your health, it’s best to look for someone who’s tried it for themselves. 

Here at HouseFresh, we purchase each purifier for ourselves and pride ourselves on our impartial reviews. We have no obligation to manufacturers nor corporate strategy to adhere to. Our only goal is to help people improve the air they breathe.  

If you have any questions about our testing process or have a question that I haven’t covered in this guide, please feel free to email me directly to 

At HouseFresh, we have been reviewing air quality products since 2010. In all these years, we learned not to rely on manufacturers’ claims and the ever-so-glowing marketing materials. That is why we buy products with our own money, so we can write unbiased reviews after we’ve had enough time to evaluate air quality products in our home lab. Every unit we recommend has been thoroughly tested to assess its performance, energy consumption, and noise levels emitted in real-life environments. If you have any questions about our testing process for different types of air quality products, just drop us an email at

Last update on 2023-12-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About the author

Paul Allen

Paul is a staff writer for HouseFresh, with a focus on product recommendations and advice for smokers and apartment dwellers. He started writing in November 2020, when he joined the content production team at NeoMam Studios (our parent company).

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