Most Recommended Air Purifiers for Wildfire Smoke

Filtration & Air Quality Expert Jeff C. details the best air purifiers to use in the age of rising wildfires and the smoke that comes with them.

Photo by Marcus Kauffman

Photo by Marcus Kauffman

As I write this article, the Governor of Oregon has just declared a state of emergency. As of the writing of this article, there are 28 active wildfires, burning over 21,000 acres in the state. Wildfires and wildfire smoke are on the rise in the United States! The problem has become so great that state and federal agencies have made available dedicated websites to keep the public informed about air quality. One such website created by the state of Oregon can be viewed on Central Oregon Fire’s Fire and Air Quality Maps page.

And while the majority of wildfires take place in our western states, smoke and smoke odors are still a problem across the country in the suburbs and rural areas. For example, many folks in the suburbs and rural areas have to battle smoke from a different source: outdoor burning! Maybe the neighbor is clearing brush or in some rural locales they have a trash bin that they burn on a regular basis. The particulates, gasses, and odors that become trapped in the smoke have become a detriment to indoor air quality. According to the EPA, the air inside the home can be as much as five times more polluted than the outside air! The main thing to look for are units that contain high-efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) filters. The good news is most modern air purifiers come with some form of a HEPA filter.

Sheltering indoors may not protect you from the fine particles that make their way inside the home. Whether it’s wildfire smoke, cigar smoke, cigarette smoke, or cannabis smoke, the following units fit the bill. All are HEPA air purifiers, contain multi-stage filters, and will help mitigate wildfire smoke. What device to buy? Let’s take a look at the best air purifiers and how they can trap the particulate matter that is contained in smoke particles. After all, the goal here is to help keep you and your family safe! So if you’re coughing and are experiencing red watery eyes because of all the smoke in the air, check out the following most recommended air purifiers for wildfire smoke based on four categories of style; wall-mounted, tower, console and tabletop. The goal is to inform you so that you can choose the best home air purifier that fits your needs and budget.

Wall-Mounted Air Purifiers

Wall-mounted air purifiers are designed and sound just like their name states: They are mounted on the wall. Being mounted on the wall is a great position for an air purifier because it allows the best access to indoor air and utilizes the existing airflow most thoroughly.

Fellowes Air Max Pro AM3

Product image of Fellowes AeraMax® Pro AM3 Air Purifier

The first air purifier that I'd like to discuss is generally considered a commercial unit and is most recommended in the wall mount category. That’s not to say that if you’re very serious about air quality and have a liberal budget that this purifier couldn’t be installed at home, it would make for a very dynamic home system. It is a true-HEPA air purifier. According to the Fellowes website, the AeraMax Pro AM3 is the only air purifier that automatically responds to room occupancy and air quality. This option is especially useful in small business applications. As the number of people in the room increases or decreases, the fan speed of the unit will respond accordingly to keep providing clean, fresh air to your business. A side benefit of using this purifier to mitigate wildfire smoke is that it will take some of the strain off of your HVAC system, prolonging the life of your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system filters. Here are the Pro AM3’s key features:

  • Air Changes. The unit is capable of providing 3-5 air changes per hour (ACH) in 300 - 500 square feet of shared spaces such as waiting rooms, community clubhouses, and restrooms.
  • Patented EnviroSmart technology. This feature allows the Fellowes Aeramax Pro AM3 to continuously monitor occupancy and room air quality and automatically adjusts to keep the air clean.
  • 4-stage True HEPA filtration. HEPA filter systems remove 99.97% of all airborne contaminants, including viruses.
  • Anti Microbial filter. An antimicrobial treatment is integrated into the HEPA filter. A carbon filter, in the form of an activated charcoal filter, reduces odors and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
  • Commercial grade wall mount. The optional wall mount allows you to hang the purifier on the wall.
  • Five-year limited warranty.

Tower Air Purifiers

Tower air purifiers are the types to be most widely seen and used in spaces. With their standalone construction, they are conveniently portable to move around as needed.

Winix XLC

Product image of Winix XLC Air Purifier

The Winix XLC is the most recommended choice for the removal of wildfire smoke in the tower category. The Winix XLC has been independently tested and certified by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers known as AHAM for short. It also has the ability to be controlled from anywhere at any time via a smartphone app. In addition to removing wildfire smoke, it is also a great unit for removing bacteria, pollen, dust, and allergies caused by pet dander. Here are the Winix XLC’s key features:

  • AHAM verified at 620 sq ft. It will also clean 3000 sq ft in one hour, 1500 sq ft in 30 minutes, 1000 sq ft in 20 minutes, and 750 sq ft in 15 minutes.
  • Smart Air Purification. The Winix XLC allows you to control and monitor the unit anywhere by using the Winix Smart app through WiFi.
  • Washable fine mesh prefilter. The pre-filter is designed to capture large airborne particles.
  • Activated Carbon Filter. The activated carbon filter is designed to eliminate VOCs. VOCs in wildfire smoke are in the form of trapped gasses that often bond with household dust.
  • Winix designed true HEPA filter. This filter is designed to capture 99.9% of allergens and particles as small as 0.003 microns in size. One micron is 1/25000th of an inch.
  • PlasmaWave. The plasma wave air cleaning technology uses free radical technology to destroy things like mold spores at a molecular level.

For more on Winix’s air purifiers, check out this article!

Console Air Purifiers

Console air purifiers have a wider body usually than tower air purifiers, which make them great for larger rooms and wider spaces.

Rabbit Air BioGS 2.0

Product image of Rabbit Air BioGS 2.0 Air Purifier

The Rabbit Air BioGS 2.0 is a favorite, all-encompassing purifier in the console category. Its popularity is not only for its ability to treat wildfire smoke, but it is also a favorite of people with asthma and people who suffer from shortness of breath! So whether you have pets and/or cigarette smokers or are just concerned about air quality, this unit is for you! It comes equipped with a 4-stage HEPA filter and has a five-year warranty. Here are the BioGS 2.0’s key features:

  • Standard coverage. This purifier is recommended to provide coverage up to 625 sq ft. Providing up to five air changes per hour.
  • Pre-Filter. The pre-filter is specifically designed to remove large particles. This extends the life of the HEPA components of the purifier.
  • Fan motor. The BioGS 2.0 has a super quiet motor. The brushless direct current (BLDC) motor contains an inverter (converts AC to DC current) and has five different speeds. This brushless motor saves on energy costs, and at the slowest speed you barely know that the unit is on!
  • Particle and odor sensors. The sensors in this purifier will sense the amount of smoke and dust in the air and automatically adjust fan speed. It uses energy when most needed and conserves energy when not needed. This will save on electricity costs in the long run!
  • Power consumption. The BioGS 2.0 uses 5 to 29 watts, depending on fan speed.

Tabletop Air Purifiers

Tabletop air purifiers are another self-explanatory type. These purifiers are often designed and good for office spaces and more personal, smaller spaces to clean the air.

Winix A231 Air Purifier

Product image of Winix A231 Air Purifier

The Winix A231 wins the day in the tabletop category! If you have a small area like an office or bedroom and still want to remove wildfire smoke from the air the Winix A231 is most recommended in this category. It’s compact and light and can easily be moved from room to room. It has a 4-stage filter made up of the same components as the larger models, including true HEPA filtration, activated charcoal, and a pre-filter to trap larger particles. And at 25 decibels, it’s whisper quiet! Here are the A231’s key features:

  • AHAM verified at 230 sq ft. Providing five complete air changes in this size space in one hour. It also treats rooms up to 1,110 sq ft. with one air change per hour.
  • True HEPA filter. The all-in-one 4-stage filter provides medical-grade HEPA filtration and a built-in activated charcoal filter to remove contaminants and odors.
  • Fine meat pre-filter. This filter provides the first line of defense, capturing larger particles.
  • Plasma Wave Air Cleaning Technology. Just like its big brothers, this unit uses free radical technology to destroy contaminants at a molecular level.

Now That We’ve Cleared the Air…

The units listed above are the most recommended air purifiers for wildfire smoke in each category type: wall-mounted, tower, console, and tabletop. It’s my hope that the information provided will help you make an informed decision when shopping for an air purifier to keep you and your family safe. During the wildfire season and throughout the year! As always, I encourage you to get with an air purification expert and discuss your needs with them. Ask questions (we love answering questions) because our goal at Curated is to provide you with the best advice available anywhere! Connect with a Filtration & Air Quality Expert today!

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Written By
As a child of the '70's I've always been interested in clean air and water! This led me down a career path heavily focused on the environment! The whole science of taking contaminated air and water and making it safe to use again has been very rewarding. I'm still an active consultant with the Mojav...

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