Do HEPA filters remove smoke

Smoke is one of those elements that impact everyone—even if you don’t use tobacco.

It’s pumped into the environment from a variety of different sources, including vehicles, factories, cooking facilities, cigars and cigarettes, and other places.

That’s why many people are looking toward air purifiers to remove smoke from their indoor air.

But, do HEPA filters remove smoke?

Will a HEPA filter get rid of smoke and its odor?

Those are the questions we’re going to answer in this post.

If you’re concerned about your health and wellbeing or the quality of air inside your home, this information is for you.

You can also see our best air purifier for smoke reviews for recommendations on air purifiers that use high-quality HEPA filters.

Do HEPA Filters Remove Smoke?

The simple answer to this question is that yes, HEPA filters can remove smoke.

But they don’t remove every aspect of it. (More on that later.)

As visible smoke is pulled into the air purifier, it’s cycled through the HEPA filter, where it gets trapped.

Clean air is then forced through the fan and back into your home.

HEPA filters can also get rid of other common airborne pollutants such as dust, mold spores, allergens, and bacteria.

That means that not only are you getting rid of the smoke in your home, but you’re also reducing other contaminants that might have an impact on your health.

So, while you’re asking will a HEPA filter remove smoke, the answer is yes, but it’s not the only pollutant that gets trapped in the process.

See all of Amazon's Best Selling Air Purifiers

Are All HEPA Filters Created Equal?

The truth is that air purifiers come in all different types.

There are also various quality levels of HEPA filters.

Some HEPA filters do remove smoke while others are not so good at it.

Let’s explore this further.

Different Types of HEPA Filters

There are literally dozens or more versions of HEPA filters out there.

And each air purifier brand can use any type of filter that the company chooses.

These companies can also manufacture their own HEPA filter if they want to.

So, there are many different quality levels of HEPA filters out there; however, the whole mass of them can be boiled down into two categories:

  • Standard HEPA filters
  • True HEPA filters

While both types of HEPA filters are made with dense material, the True HEPA filter is the only one that’s certified to remove 99.97% of particles that are as small as 0.3 microns in size.

That design means that True HEPA filters can remove the finest particles of visible smoke from the air.

Standard HEPA filters, on the other hand, have various quality levels. Some may extract particles as small as 0.3 microns while others might only capture larger pollutants up 5 microns in size. That’s more than a 1,500% degradation in efficiency.

If you ever see an air purifier claiming that it can remove smoke, but it comes with a “HEPA”, “HEPA-like”, or “HEPA-type” filter, be very cautious with your purchase.

If the air purifier doesn’t state that it has a True HEPA filter, then you can’t guarantee that it will be the most effective for smoke. That’s why our recommendations for the best air cleaner for allergies here will always include this type of filter.

Another Helpful Filter for Smoke

As we mentioned earlier, HEPA filters don’t get rid of every aspect of smoke.

What we mean by this is that HEPA filters cannot remove smoke odor.

Smoke odor is caused by gas molecules and HEPA filters don’t capture gaseous particles.

HEPA filters only remove solid particles such as the ones that make up visible smoke.

To get rid of smoke odor, you’ll need an air purifier with an Activated Carbon filter.

Activated Carbon is the only substance that can trap airborne odor molecules as well as chemical vapors.

If someone in your house smokes tobacco, cooks a lot, or if you live in an area that experiences a lot of outdoor pollution odor, then it’s in your best interest to find an air purifier that has both a HEPA filter and an Activated Carbon filter.

Getting an air purifier that’s equipped with both types of filters will ensure that your indoor air is as clean as possible.

If you want some help finding a good quality air purifier like this, check out our best air purifier for smoke reviews.

How to Reduce Smoke in Your Home

Now that you know will a HEPA filter remove smoke, there a few ways for how to correctly use an air purifier to best reduce smoke in your home.

The first is placing the air purifier in the room that sees the most smoke.

The second is to consider getting more than one air purifier to place in other rooms in your home.

Smoke can easily drift from one place to another, and it can even cling to your clothes, where it will then be transported throughout your house.

That’s why it’s important to purify the air in every room of your house if you can.

Finally, you should run the air purifier 24 hours per day.

The more times the air purifier can recycle the same volume of air, the cleaner that air gets.

HEPA Filters and Cleaner Air

When asking, “Do HEPA filters remove smoke?”, the answer is clearly yes—especially when it comes to visible smoke.

If someone in your home is allergic to smoke or has a respiratory condition that makes them more sensitive to smoke, then getting an air purifier with a True HEPA filter is essential.

As you learned, the True HEPA filter version is the only kind that’s certified to capture 99.97% of particles down to 0.3 microns in size.

And for anyone who is serious about removing smoke particles indoors, a high-quality air purifier with a True HEPA filter is the best investment for that purpose.

We hope this article answered all of our questions on whether a HEPA filter removes smoke or not.

Avatar for David Morrison

About David Morrison

David is an Air Quality & Comfort Technician. He has expert knowledge on the technology and design of air purification, air conditioning, and heating systems. His main role is to write content that helps people get the most value out of their air purifiers, air conditioners, and heating units. (See Full Bio)