Are you tired of having a smelly house?
Or maybe you have one particular room, like the basement or kitchen, that smells worse than the others?
Either way, you’ve come to the right place to get relief.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to find the best air purifier for odors so your home smells fresher all day long.
An air purifier is an excellent device for removing smells because it eliminates the particles that actually cause those unpleasant odors.
But, here’s the thing…
Not all air purifiers are built the same.
Your device must have certain features for it to do an effective job at odor removal.
And that’s exactly what you’ll find on this page—an in-depth guide on how to choose the best air purifier for smells that works.
Below, you’ll find out what the best air purifiers for odor elimination are for all types of smells in the home, including kitchens, cooking, pet smells, garbage, chemicals, and more.
So, if you want a high-quality air purifier odor remover to make your house (or room) smell good again, this guide was written for you.
Use these links below to jump to a specific section of the page:
- Best Air Purifier for Odors (At a Glance)
- Best Air Purifier for Smells Buying Guide
- A Brief Background on Odors
- What to Look for in an Air Purifier for Odors
- Best Air Purifier for Odor Elimination Reviews
- Best Air Purifiers for Odors & Smells List
- Common Questions About Air Purifiers
- Enjoy Your New Air Purifier for Smells
Best Air Purifier for Odors
In a hurry? Here’s a glimpse of the two best products you can get.
You’ll find out more about these air purifiers in the detailed reviews and buying guide below.
Levoit LV-PUR131 Air Purifier
Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier
Best Air Purifier for Smells Buying Guide
A Brief Background on Odors
Before we jump into the list of the top air purifiers for odor removal, we wanted to go over two things:
- What causes odors
- How smells travel through the air
Knowing this background information will help you better understand—and appreciate—how air purifiers work to eliminate odors in your home.
What Causes Odors?
Odors don’t just come out of thin air.
In fact, even though smells are invisible molecules, they always stem from a particular source, such as mold, pets, cooking, garbage, chemicals, etc.
An odor is caused when the chemical compounds within a substance become volatilized (released as a vapor).
And that smell (or scent) can be perceived as pleasant (fragrant) or unpleasant (repulsive).
Some substances are very volatile and produce a large number of odor molecules.
That’s what makes things like rotten food or chemical cleaning agents smell so strongly.
Other substances are not very volatile and barely have a scent at all, like metal and steel.
The truth is that some odors occur naturally during evaporation while others only happen during decomposition or chemical changes.
A fun fact is that the human nose can detect about one trillion odors which makes your sense of smell more powerful than you may think!
Most Common Types of Indoor Odors
As for the most common types of indoor odors, they stem from:
- Kitchen (cooking food, spices, and associated smoke)
- Garbage (rotting food)
- Chemical Cleaners
- Pets (Dog skin and Cat litter boxes)
- Paints and Varnishes
- Construction Materials (carpeting, wood, and drywall)
- Mold and Mildew
- Damp Rooms (basements and bathrooms)
Fortunately, the best air purifier for smells can eliminate most of the odors that come from those places so that the air around you smells fresh and clean.
We’ll get to the exact features for what to look for in the best air purifier for odors in the next section, but first, we wanted to share with you how smells travel through the air.
How Do Smells Travel Through the Air?
Unlike solid substances, like dust and pollen, that clump together and attach to surfaces, smells are free-floating gaseous molecules.
Therefore, odors don’t collect in one spot and remain there, but rather spread out far and wide through a process called “diffusion”.
Diffusion is a process where a high concentration of particles moves to an area of lower concentration.
This happens naturally with odors because gaseous particles move randomly from place to place without any controlled path.
Diffusion is the reason why even small sources of odors, like a dog bed or a burnt piece of toast, can spread throughout an entire room or house.
Those odor molecules can’t stop invading the fresher air because of diffusion.
What to Look for in an Air Purifier for Odors
Air purifiers are amazing machines.
However, not all air purifiers can remove odors.
In fact, if an air purifier doesn’t contain at least one particular type of filter, then it won’t reduce any odors at all.
Also, some air purifiers claim to be odor removers, but the technology they use only masks the smell as opposed to getting rid of the gaseous molecules.
So, to make sure you get the best air purifier for odor elimination without wasting your money, you’ll want to look for these features in the product that you buy:
An Activated Carbon Filter for Odor Elimination
An Activated Carbon filter is the only type of filtering material that can actually eliminate odor molecules.
It’s a highly porous substance that traps the organic chemicals that create smells.
As air passes through the Activated Carbon filter, odor particles are adsorbed to the material, while fresh air passes through the other side.
On a scientific level, Activated Carbon is a specially processed form of carbon that contains millions of microscopic pores.
This results in a greater surface area that’s designed to trap gaseous molecules of all types.
If removing odors is your top concern, then make sure that the air purifier you choose has a thick layer of this material in its filter.
(The top three air purifiers we recommend below meet this criteria.)
The advantage of Activated Carbon filters is that they can remove smells from all sorts of sources, which is why you’ll find them in the best air purifier for all types of odors: pets, mold, cooking, garbage, paint, chemical vapors, etc.
A HEPA Filter for Solid Odor Particles
While many of the top air purifiers today come with a HEPA filter, it’s important for you to know that this particular filter cannot remove odors molecules.
Instead, HEPA filters are designed to capture solid particles, like dust, pollen, pet dander, visible smoke, and bacteria.
Gaseous vapors pass right through the HEPA material.
However, some solid particles do emit odors, like mold spores and tobacco smoke, which is why having a high-quality HEPA filter on your air purifier is still essential.
The HEPA filter will trap solid particles inside a dense mesh and help reduce the spread of smells around your house.
An Ionizer (Optional for Smells)
An ionizer is another form of technology you’ll see advertised when looking for an air purifier for odors.
In fact, some products are labeled specifically as an “air purifier odor remover” that only contains this functionality.
You’ll also find other air purifiers that include both the Activated Carbon filter and HEPA filter in addition to an ionizer.
In those cases, the ionizer is a supplemental feature that works to boost the efficiency of the machine.
But what is an ionizer and how does it help reduce odors?
Ionizers emit negatively charged ions into the air that latch onto particles to weigh them down. This causes pollutants to fall onto the floor or stick to surrounding surfaces.
Vapor molecules that have been ionized cannot scatter throughout the air, and therefore, won’t radiate their smell.
However, those particles still technically remain in the room, so if you turn the ionizer off, the smells may come back.
Something else you should know about ionizers is that some versions do create ozone as a by-product, which also has powerful air neutralizing capabilities.
But, ozone can be harmful to your health if you’re exposed to high concentrations of it.
Fortunately, most ionizers today emit an ozone level of less than 0-0.05 ppm which is considered safe for humans by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
As you can see, an ionizer can boost the air cleaning power of your air purifier, but it’s not an essential feature; It’s completely optional.
The only true filters you need to eliminate odors with an air purifier is an Activated Carbon filter and HEPA filter that we covered above.
Best Air Purifier for Odor Elimination Reviews
Now that you know a bit more about how smells are caused and what features to look for in the best air purifier for odors, we can now move onto the list of reviews.
Below, you’ll find the top air purifiers for reducing odors around the home.
We hope you find the best air purifier for your needs on this list.
Disclosure: At Home Air Quality Guides, we believe in an education-first philosophy. We never make product recommendations until after we educate our readers on what to look for in the top-performing devices and then only suggest items that meet those specific criteria. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases made through the links below. If you buy a qualifying product, you’re not charged a penny more, but we’ll get a small commission that supports our work. We hope you enjoy this free guide and find the best product for your needs through these recommendations.
Best Air Purifiers for Odors & Smells List
If you’re looking for the best air purifier for smells that’s not only affordable but also gets rid of the widest range of odor particles, this is it.
For less than $150, you can enjoy some of the cleanest, freshest air possible indoors.
The Levoit LV-PUR131 comes with a thick Activated Carbon filter for trapping millions of gaseous particles and a True HEPA filter to capture 99.97% of other airborne contaminants that contribute to indoor smells.
It’s 100% ozone-free and doesn’t produce any harmful by-products during the air filtration process.
The LV-PUR131 is great for small to medium size rooms up to 360 sq. ft., which makes it perfect for areas like the living room, kitchen, bedroom, or small basement.
A larger LV-H133 model is also available that covers up to 538 sq. ft. for even more coverage.
If you want the best air purifier for odor elimination without breaking the bank, this machine is a great choice.
Do you like to cook?
But hate the odors that your stove, food or tobacco leave behind?
If so, you’ll get a lot of value out of this air purifier.
The Austin Air HM400 is a one-of-a-kind machine that includes more than 780 cubic inches of Activated Carbon in its filter (about 15 lbs.).
That amount of carbon is unmatched in the marketplace and is what gives this machine one of the highest ratings for removing airborne smoke, chemicals, gases, and odors.
It also includes a large True HEPA filter to eliminate other common indoor contaminants.
Therefore, your home not only smells fresh but is as clean as it can be too.
What also makes it the best air purifier for kitchen odors and tobacco smoke (or any other smelly substance) is the 360-degree air filtration system.
Air is sucked in from all four sides of the unit as opposed to just one like other products.
This makes the Austin Air HM400 more efficient for larger spaces.
This unique design and large filters allow it to clean up to 1,500 sq. ft. and is one of the most powerful air purifiers you can buy today.
If you want a dedicated cooking odor air purifier or smoking air purifier that will keep your home from smelling like a restaurant or ashtray, this product will far exceed your expectations.
Are you looking for a powerful air purifier that not only helps with odors but sterilizes the air as well?
If so, then this is the model for you.
Inside you’ll find an Advanced Activated Carbon filter to eliminate all types of odor molecules inside your house.
It also includes a True HEPA filter to remove 99.97% of solid airborne contaminants down to 0.3 microns in size that also contribute to smells.
The best part, however, is the patented Plasmawave technology that safely breaks apart bacteria, viruses, chemical vapors, and other pollutants at a molecular level.
It’s 100% safe for humans, produces zero ozone or other byproducts, and can make the air around you healthier to breathe.
As for total room coverage, it handles up to 300 sq. ft., which is a perfect size for most people’s needs.
For anyone who wants a cleaner smelling home, that’s also free of harmful contaminants, you can’t get much better than this air purifier right here.
Perhaps, you’re looking for a small, compact air purifier for personal use.
Or maybe you just need something travel size that you can take with you.
Either way, this ionizer air purifier might be the perfect device for your needs.
The ionBox a mighty little air purifier odor remover that doesn’t emit any ozone, yet covers up to 500 sq. ft. of space.
You can also plug it into a wall outlet or power it through a USB port, which makes it great for when you’re on the go.
What’s even better about this tiny machine is that it works non-stop to freshen the air and never needs any filter replacements.
For the price and power, the ionBox is hard to beat in a low-cost machine.
Our final recommendation for an air purifier for odor removal is this cherry wood cabinet device by Ivation.
It’s unique in the fact that it combines an ionizer and ozone generator in one device.
But, don’t’ let that scare you.
As we mentioned earlier in this guide, ozone is a powerful air neutralizer but it can be harmful to your health when you’re exposed to high concentrations of it.
However, if you set this device up to run on the ozone setting while you’re not at home, it can eliminate practically any household odor.
Then, when you return, you can turn off the ozone feature so it’s safe for you to be indoor—the ozone particles will dissipate.
As for the ionizer function, it can be used at any time without any health worries.
And, you can control the level of ionization with small knob to meet your exact needs.
In total, this air purifier odor for removal can cover up to 3,500 sq. ft. when you run it on full blast.
That’s a massive amount of space and is great for anyone who has a very large area to eliminate odors, like a basement, open floor plan, or full size apartment.
Common Questions About Air Purifiers
Where Should I Place My Air Purifier?
The best place for your air purifier is a spot where the air can circulate freely in and out of the unit.
Placing the air purifier close to the center of the room is the best placement, and away from walls, furniture or other objects that may alter the air flow.
Will an Air Purifier Help with Musty Smell?
Yes, an air purifier will help with a musty smell as long as it has an Activated Carbon filter.
This filter can trap the odor particles that are emitted by mold, which is the top cause for a musty smell.
Just be sure to check the Activated Carbon filter each month to see if it needs a replacement.
If there are a lot of odor particles in the air, they can clog up this filter fast.
Can I Put Essential Oils in an Air Purifier?
No, you can’t put essential oils in an air purifier. Air purifiers don’t hold water.
These devices only contain physical filters that must remain dry to work effectively. If you want to use essential oils, buy a diffuser instead.
Do Air Purifiers Work for Odors?
Yes, air purifiers work for odors as long as they have the right types of filters.
The best air purifier for this purpose is one that includes an Activated Carbon filter and HEPA filter. An ionizer function can also help but it’s optional.
Activated Carbon is the only material that can truly trap and remove smells from the air around you.
This substance collects gaseous odors and chemical vapors so they don’t return back into the room.
So, regardless if you’re looking for an air purifier for pet smells, a cooking odor air purifier, a paint smell remover, or a machine to get rid of musty smells in a basement, an Activated Carbon filter is the best filter to handle those gaseous pollutants.
Can HEPA Filters Remove Odors?
Yes and no. A HEPA filter cannot remove gaseous odor molecules but it can remove solid particles that cause odors. This includes substances like mold, bacteria, smoke, and pet hair.
By doubling up on an Activated Carbon filter and HEPA filter in your new air purifier you’ll have amazing protection against odors in any are of your home.
That’s why most of the top air purifiers available today contain both of those filters.
Can an Ionizer Remove Odors?
Yes, an ionizer can remove odors, but it’s not the most effective machine to do it. A filter-based air purifier is better for odor removal.
However, if you want to save a bit of money on your air purifier purchase, the second best air purifier for odor elimination is one that uses an ionizer.
Ionizers are a special type of technology that neutralizes odors without using a physical filter material.
They’re just not as efficient as an air purifier with an Activated Carbon filter and HEPA filter since ionizers don’t actually remove the odor particles from the room.
Ionizers are still a good cheap option for removing smells if you can’t afford a higher-priced filter-based air purifier.
Enjoy Your New Air Purifier for Smells
We hope you found this guide on how to choose the best air purifier for odors useful.
No matter which best air purifier for smells you choose on this page, you can rest assured that the odors inside your home will be greatly reduced or go away entirely.
By using a high-quality air purifier with the right types of filters, you can have a space that smells as fresh as possible.