Living in a busy city can be stressful enough without the additional concern of clean and healthy air within your home. Finding an air purifier to help reduce pollution from smog or other toxic pollutants is important step for those that live in high traffic areas or busy cities.
Air pollution in the city can make its way into your home and leave you breathing in chemicals and pollution particles like tire and brake dust, exhaust fumes, gas, and even bacteria and viruses. This unsafe air can lead to upper respiratory problems such as asthma, bronchitis, and allergy symptoms like sneezing and itchy eyes.
We have compiled a list of the best air purifiers for reducing traffic and smog pollution within your home. Of these, the Coway AP-1512HH was the best all-around air purifier. It has a 4-stage filtration system, does not emit ozone, has 3 fan speeds and can be used overnight without interruption.
Best Air Purifier for Traffic Pollution and Smog Comparison
Most Features: Silver Onyx Air Purifier for Traffic Pollution and Smog
The Silver Onyx Air Purifier is light and easy to use, with a bright display and intuitive functions. It is equipped with a HEPA filter and has a 5-stage filtration system that helps to catch super fine particles, neutralize odors and eliminate pollution and exhaust fumes.
The Silver Onyx uses a HEPA H13 filter which filtrates 99.97% of allergens as small as .3 microns. This air purifier also has an ionizer and UV sanitation, to help remove bacteria and viruses. Our research has turned up mixed results on the use of UV lights in air purifiers, as some say the air flows too fast for them to be effective, while other tests show that it can contribute to cleaner air.
Pros of the Silver Onyx Air Purifier
- HEPA H13 Filter
- Activated Carbon Filter
- UV sanitation
- PM2.5 sensor
- Easy to work display
- 5 speed fans
- UVC Light
- Sleep Mode
- Used for Large Rooms
Cons of the Silver Onyx Air Purifier
- Says unrealistic air quality numbers.
- Does not remove allergens
- Works for smaller rooms than 500 square foot even though it says a large room purifier.
According to Amazon.com, this air purifier has a 4.4 out of 5-star rating with 433 reviews. Some of the customers felt that the purifier worked well, got rid of dust and allergies and helped with the smell of people that had animals.
We liked the design and easy-to-use interface of the Silver Onyx. It did a great job at filtering out the smell of cooking, though we found mixed results in the air quality numbers. As a test we let a piece of toast go too long, with the air purifier sitting next to it, and while it did help clean up the smell of burnt toast, the numbers on the air quality did not change. While this is by no means a deal breaker, as we don’t think this has anything to do with the quality of its air purifying capabilities, it is something to consider if knowing those numbers is important to you.
Our Top Pick: Conway AP-1512HH Air Purifier for Traffic Pollution and Smog
While the Coway AP-1512HH looks like an oversized iPod shuffle, it definitely cleans the air better than one!
Perfect for cleaning rooms up to 361 square feet, this purifier is designed with a 4-stage filtration system. First, the air goes through the washable pre-filter where large particles like pet hair and dust accumulate (the particles you see dancing around in a sun beam). It then moves to the deodorization filter which takes care of any smells and smoke, like car exhaust and city smells, before heading into the True HEPA filter. There, the air is scrubbed of 99.97% of particles that are .3 microns in size and larger. This includes pollen, VOCs, allergens, and other pollutants. Lastly, the Vital Ion system emits negative ions into the air which help capture particles that would otherwise be too small to filter out.
The Coway AP-1512HH has an Air Quality Indicator that lets you know what the air quality is within your home and automatically changes the fan speed based on its findings. This means that when you set it to Auto-mode, you can rest assure that it is working as efficiently as possible while not running up your electric bill unnecessarily.
Like all the models on our list, there is a replacement filter indicator which alerts you when its time to change out the filter. These internal filters need to be replaced every 6 months, and the washable pre-filter cleaned when needed.
The fan has 3 speeds, with the lowest speed being very quiet and great for overnight use. It is recommended to start with the highest fan speed to quickly remove pollutants from the air, then use the lower speeds as maintenance levels. The air flow is strong and blows upwards, therefore circulating the air without acting as a fan and making you chilly!
Pros of the Conway AP-1512HH
- Four stage filtration system with TRUE HEPA filter, pre-filter, deodorization filter and Vital ion filter which helps to remove smoke odors
- Captures particles as small as .3 microns
- Has a pollution sensor
- 3 fan speeds
- Eco mode to save energy
- Timer with automatic turn off
- Quiet operation
- 1-year parts and motor warranty and 3-year electric part warranty
- Won the “Best Air Purifier” in 2018
Cons of the Conway AP-1512HH
- Can not turn off all the lights at night
- High fan speed is loud, but it is cleaning a lot of air very quickly
According to Walmart.com, this product has a 4.4 out of 5-star customer review with 1,511 people reviewing this product. Some of the customers say that the Conway AP is the best air purifier they have ever bought, that the filters are not expensive and that their overall health has improved since purchasing this product.
We tested this one out using full auto-mode, right out of the box. It ran on high for about an hour before settling on medium for the rest of the day. It quickly filtered the air and the odors from our house were brought to barely noticeable levels. We burn wood in our fireplace most nights during the winter and the Conway AP-1512 really took the smokey smell out of the air.
Great for Small Rooms: PureZone 3-in-1 Air Purifier for Traffic Pollution and Smog
We thought that this one looked like a modern trashcan, which is fitting since it is taking all the garbage out of the air.
The Pure Zone 3-in-1 Air Purifier covers a room that is around 200 square feet, making it great for small rooms and studio apartments. It is easy-to-use and has a 3-speed fan setting and a timer that can be set for up to 8 hours.
This air purifier has a UV-C light that helps to rid the home of bacteria and viruses and includes a Pure Zone that traps more than 99.97% of the allergens in the room. Like mentioned in the review for the Silver Onyx, our research has turned up mixed results on the use of UV lights in air purifiers. Some say the air flows too fast for them to be effective, while other tests show that it can contribute to cleaner air.
This purifier was designed with allergy sufferers in mind and to help prevent flu and cold sickness, remove smoke, pollen, pet dander, exhaust fumes, and other air allergens. The Pure Zone has a three-filter system including a pre-filter which is activated charcoal, a TRUE HEPA filter, and a photocatalyst filter with the UV-C Light.
Filter replacement is easy, just take the panel off the back and slide out the filter. It has a portable design so it is lightweight and easy to carry around your home. The drawback is that there is no remote control, but the buttons are easily accessible from the top of the unit.
Pros of the Pure Zone 3-in-1
- Includes TRUE HEPA filter, activated charcoal filter, and photocatalyst filter.
- Removes viruses, fungus, germs, bacteria, dust, allergens.
- Easy to use.
- Timer up to 8 hours.
- 5-year warranty
Cons of the Pure Zone 3-in-1
- Has a chemical/burning smell
- Expensive filters
- No known difference in air quality
According to Amazon.com, this product has a 4.7 out of 5-stars review with 2,437 customer reviews. Some of these say that the purifier helped to remove forest fire smoke, helped to eliminate germs in the office place and that it looks good and works even better!
Buying Guide for the Best Air Purifier for Traffic Pollution, Smog and City Pollution
When purchasing the best air purifier for pollution such as smog, exhaust fumes, and traffic pollution, it is important to pick air purifiers that have the following things:
- TRUE HEPA Filters
- Activated Carbon Filters
TRUE HEPA Filters
Purchasing an air purifier that has TRUE HEPA filters means that you are purchasing an air purifier that is going to really remove particles and allergens that cause allergic reactions and upper respiratory problems.
With a TRUE HEPA filter, it is guaranteed that the air purifier will remove at least 99.97% of all of the pollutants with a .3-micron size. The smaller the micron is, the smaller the particles that will be removed from the air.
A TRUE HEPA filter can help to remove things such as PM2.5 which is pollution from brake dust and from car emissions.
Activated Carbon Filters
Activated Carbon filters are effective in removing other compounds that the TRUE HEPA filter cannot such as VOCs which are chemicals such as benzene, nitrous oxide, sulfur dioxide, and carbon monoxide. This works attaching to the regular filter, so it removes the pollutants that pass through the TRUE HEPA filter.
A PECO air purifier is only found with a Molekule Air Purifier which means that it has a 2-part filtration system where the first one stops the particles and the second one removes the chemicals that are found in traffic and city pollution.
Things to Avoid
It is also important to make sure that you purchase an air purifier that does not have the following:
- Ozone Generator
An ozone generator is useful for killing some particles, but the problem is that it releases a chemical that can be dangerous for people to breathe. Even though the ozone generator can remove particles, it is suggested to never purchase an air purifier with this addition.
Ionizers are another air purifier no-no. These purifiers help to remove some particles, but they do not help to remove smaller particles or gases. It has been proven by the EPA that ionizers can be harmful to the lungs and can make breathing worse instead of improving it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Air Purifiers Work for Traffic Pollution?
Air purifiers can work to help get rid of things such as traffic pollution, smog, gases, emission gases, mold, viruses, bacteria and more. Since people get sicknesses from these types of pollutants, they can develop problems such as COPD, cancer, asthma and more, having the perfect air purifier is a must. Make sure to purchase an air purifier that has a TRUE HEPA filter, an activated carbon filter, and PECO technology if at all possible.
Do Air Purifiers Use A Lot of Electricity?
HEPA air purifiers use around 50-200 watts of electricity which is the same as using a light bulb. The amount of help that an air purifier can provide you is much more than the amount of increase that you will see on your electric bill.
What is the Best Purifier for Air Pollution?
The top five best air purifiers for air pollution are:
- Silver Onyx
- Coway AP
- PureZone 3-in-1
Do Air Purifiers remove Gases?
Some air purifiers remove gases, but it has to have more than just a TRUE HEPA filter. In order to remove smoke and other emission gases, it is important for the air purifier to be equipped with PECO technology and activated carbon filters as well as the TRUE HEPA filter.
If you live in high traffic areas or busy cities, air pollution can be a serious problem for your home. Traffic pollution can reach many feet away from the road and so living close to these situations can cause you and your family to be inhaling dangerous chemicals and pollutants.
Purchasing an air purifier can be a great choice for your home needs in high traffic, smog and busy cities. By choosing the right air purifier, you can save time and money for doctor visits and improve your overall health.
Frank is the chief editor and director at Specialty Air, where he oversees testing, research, and editing for all air quality-related articles. Frank is an expert in the air quality space with extensive experience testing, researching, and reviewing air purifiers, air conditioners, air filters, air fresheners, fans, and more. He also has over 4 years of experience with issues surrounding mold remediation, radon mitigation, moisture management, air duct systems, HVAC, and insulation.