Air purifiers are designed to improve the air quality in your home so it's cleaner and easy to breathe. So for those who live in areas affected by wildfires, an air purifier can be pretty vital. The key, however, is making sure you have a device that's as effective as possible.
These are the best air purifiers for wildfire smoke, according to experts:
- Best Expert-Recommended: Levoit MetaAir 538 Sq. Ft True HEPA Air Purifier
- Best Budget-Friendly: Germ Guardian True HEPA Filter Air Purifier
- Best Design: Levoit H13 True HEPA Filter Air Purifier
- Best Fast-Acting: Honeywell HPA300 HEPA Air Purifier
- Best Energy-Conserving: Coway AP-1512HH Mighty Air Purifier with True HEPA and Eco Mode
- Best for Small Spaces: Medify MA-14 Air Purifier with H13 True HEPA Filter
- Best for Large Rooms: Blueair Blue Pure 211+ Auto Large Area Air Purifier
- Best Splurge: Dyson Air TP01 Multiplier 40-Inch Bladeless Tower Fan
"When we breathe in lots of particles—as occurs with wildfire smoke—the upper airways of our lungs can get overwhelmed," says David Edwards, PhD, aerosol scientist and inventor of Fend. "The mucus of the upper airways begins to break up and little droplets can carry the particles deep into the lungs, where they can promote infection. Breathing air from wildfires therefore increases the chance of respiratory disease..."
There can be additional risks, too. "Wildfire smoke also causes inflammation in the lungs, and from there, can inflame other parts of the body, including the brain," says Santa Barbara-based internist John La Puma, MD. Children, pregnant women, and people with preexisting respiratory and cardiovascular conditions are most at risk of developing health issues as a result of smoke inhalation, he adds.
One solution that can keep your home as smoke-free as possible? Using an air purifier—in particular, one with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, which removes over 99.97 percent of particulate matter from the air, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
"These filters can help trap smoke particles to reduce a person's exposure while indoors, especially when particles are more likely to be airborne (while vacuuming, using a fan, or using central heating or air conditioning)," Sanjeev Jain, MD, PhD, board-certified allergist and immunologist at Columbia Allergy, tells Health. "When there is reduced exposure to the smoke particles, a person will be less likely to experience symptoms such as sneezing, itchy and runny nose, cough, itchy and watery eyes, and postnasal drip."
While it's important to choose an air purifier with a HEPA filter for best results, it's also crucial to replace the filter as needed (most manufacturers give relative guidelines for how often this should be) since dirty, clogged filters are less effective, Dr. Jain adds.
We invented a simple, inexpensive airway hygiene product to help the world breathe better.