Smoked Out? Here's My #1 Favorite Off Grid Air Purifier

Published by: Nick Meissner

Off Grid Air Purifier

Much of the West is covered in smoke at the moment. It has been a rugged fire season.

As terrible as the fires are, their effects filter throughout huge areas of the nation, leaving polluted air for millions of people to breathe.  And unlike city pollution, heading out of town won't save you from this stuff.

We live in a remote area, and at one time the smoke was so bad that it would burn your nose within less than a minute of being outside! And for weeks we have hardly been able to let the kids play outside. Every now and then the air quality improves for a day or two and then it gets bad again.

Time To Take Action

Our oldest child was sneezing and coughing more and more, alerting us that this air quality issue is not a figment of our imaginations. And with the specter of more fires in the future, we finally decided to clean up the air in our home.

After much research, I zeroed in on an air purifier that does a good job, is reasonably priced, and is SUPER efficient for running off the grid.

My Favorite Off Grid Air Purifier

My criteria for an air purifier were as follows:

  • Has a true HEPA air filter
  • Has a good CADR (clean air delivery rate) rating for smoke (200 or better)
  • Is extremely energy efficient
  • Is reasonably priced

The energy efficiency part is important to us since we live off the grid and are conscious of our power usage. When an appliance is running 24/7, I take a very close look at finding the most efficient model that I can. The power usage is far more important for a 24/7 appliance than it is for something you only run for a few minutes per day.

The model I finally settled on is the Winix 5300-2. It has a true HEPA air filter and a carbon filter for absorbing smells, as well as a cleanable prefilter.

In addition, the Winix 5300-2 boasts a CADR of 232 for smoke, which is impressive considering its size, cost, and power usage.

The power usage of the Winix is what really sold me. Our air purifier uses 5-8 watts on the first 3 settings and around 45 watts on the 4th "turbo" setting. We generally run it on the 3rd setting when the smoke is bad, as it filters a lot of air and only uses 8 watts. If I want to clean up a room very quickly, I'll turn it on turbo for a few minutes and it is amazing how much air is moving at that point!

The Winix is extremely quiet unless you have it in turbo mode. I was very impressed with the low noise level. You can have it right next to you on setting 3 and it doesn't even disturb a quiet conversation.

Finally, at the current price of $120-130 (as of this writing), I feel it is a great deal for what you are getting.

Here's the link for the Winix 5300-2 air purifier on Amazon (a great price and you are helping our blog at no cost to you):

Winix 5300-2

I ended up getting some really nice extra features that I hadn't bargained on...

Air Quality Sensor

The Winix has an air quality sensor that samples the air in your home. After about 5 minutes of running, it will settle down and display either a blue, orange, or red light. Blue is good, orange is for moderate quality, and red indicates bad air. This is a VERY helpful feature and really helps to know if you need to clean up a particular room. My son's room is in the back of the house, away from the main area where we generally run the purifier all day. We find that on smoky days, the air in his room usually needs to be cleaned up at bedtime. But we wouldn't know without the sensor on the purifier. Within 15 minutes or so, the air in his room is all cleaned up.

Auto Fan Mode

If you turn the air purifier to auto mode, it will use the built-in sensor to adjust the fan based on the current quality of the air in your home. Poor air quality will trigger it to run faster, and better air quality will slow it down (saving you power). This is an extremely nice feature that we will use in the future, but for now, when the smoke is so bad, we leave it on 3rd speed all the time.

Night mode

You can even turn the unit onto night mode where it will turn all the lights off and slow down to a very slow and quiet speed that seems even lower than the 1st-speed setting.

Change Filter Alert

Finally, the Winix will let you know when the filter needs to be changed. They say the HEPA filter should be changed annually and the charcoal filter should be changed every 3 months. Since it came with the HEPA filter and 3 charcoal filters, we should be good for at least 9 months. And my understanding is that you don't have to use the charcoal filter if you don't want to, but it can help a lot with removing odors.


I'm really happy with our purchase and we have noticed a big difference with sneezing and coughing in our home--even while dealing with the worst smoke we have seen in years. I think it was worth every penny and then some!

Another Option

If you can't find the Winix 5300-2, you might look at the slightly more expensive Winix 5500-2. It is almost exactly the same purifier except it has a remote control and the odor remover filter is washable. I think it's another great option.

Any Comments or Questions About Air Purifiers?
Comment Below...

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  1. Jerry

    Would it take out cigarette odor from smoker apt? I scrubbed ceiling, floors, painted walls cleaned carpet. Probably need to remove carpet??

    • Edwina

      I don't know if that one will, but the one I have will: Friedrich AP260 5-stage air purifier (Energy Star) will. I've had it for three years in an area of frequent forest fires, as well. It has helped me--and my cats--tremendously.

  2. Connie

    Just ordered this as we just have to do something to improve our air quality since we are pretty much housebound until the air clears. Thanks so much for the research and recommendation--this is something we wouldn't have thought of until we got your email. We look forward to breathing in some clean air soon!--Connie

  3. Krystle

    Thanks, I've been meaning to look into an air filter for all our smoke from forest fires. Off-grid as well... I ordered this one.

  4. Wes Lombard

    Hi Nick! When did U post this article on this air purifier? Blessings to U & family! How are your folks doing?--Wes (NNY state)

    • Nick Meissner

      Hi Wes,

      Just posted this a few weeks ago. Hope it helps. Take care,


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