Choosing an Air Purifier for Second-hand Smoke

Second-hand smoke and cooking odors tops the list of condo/apartment complaints along with other unpleasant odors. Nearly 33% of tenants polled in a survey by the American Academy of Pediatrics (2012) have smelled smoke in their buildings.


Mass-market air cleaners as a whole are largely unreliable when it comes to most types of odor control, especially smoke. Even the most expensive HEPA-type air purifier can’t remove chemicals and smoke odors. That’s because a particle filter is not designed to capture the gases and chemicals that make up about 90% of second-hand smoke. To successfully remove chemicals, gases and odors an air purifier needs to have a filter capable of trapping pollutants much like a gas mask that protects soldiers. 


Models with the DS and DXS designation are designed for treating smoke including wildfire smoke, tobacco and other smoking products. Smoke presents a unique air quality challenge. The complex mix of fine particles, widely ranging chemicals (depending on what’s burning) and penetrating odor requires a special air purifier. Units in the DS and DXS range come with a tar-trapping filter which traps sticky pollutants that would otherwise clog the main filters. DS and DXS models also come with a special carbon blend to better attract and trap smoke chemicals and odors. DXS is the largest of the smoking filters, while the DS is ideal for moderate levels of smoke.