Deep Breaths

A Coway air purifier in a Coway review
Romper / Coway

This Air Purifier Handles Wildfire Smoke, Pet Dander, Literally Everything

Orange, smoky skies or not, we run ours all the time.

Originally Published: 
Had To Share
We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

Nothing says “the apocalypse is upon us” quite like smoke-filled skies. Here in the Pacific Northwest, where I live, we've spent the last few years adjusting to the addition of a new season — wildfire season — defined primarily by hazy skies and a muted but pervasive sense of doom. It comes (if we're lucky) squeezed in between the waning of summer and the non-stop rain of late autumn. When smoke filled Portland’s skies for eight straight days in 2020, it was particularly hard to feel like our home — our last remaining safe place in a locked down world — was filled with unbreathable air. I was most worried about our toddler, and frantically tried to order air purifiers to no avail. We made do that year with a pretty functional DIY air filter (if you're up a creek, I do recommend it!). But, as soon as we could, we stocked up on actual HEPA air purifiers. We bought the Coway Airmega AP-1512HH right away, and loved it so much we asked for two more for Christmas from family. We now have three — one for our bedroom and one for each kid’s room. If we live in a world where smoky skies are the new summer norm (and we do) knowing that you've got the best air purifier on hand is a huge comfort. And yes, the Coway Airmega AP-1512HH air purifier really is the best.


  • Price: $229.99
  • Colors: It comes in black (which we have) or white.
  • Who it’s for: Almost everyone needs at least one air purifier now to keep the air in your home clean on days when the air quality where you live is not healthy. Particularly if someone in your home has allergies or asthma, you may want to run an air purifier all the time.
  • When to use: Anytime, but particularly on days when the air quality is poor.
  • Pro-tip: If you’re running an air purifier in a child’s room at night, cover the indicator light with a few layers of black duct tape to block the light. It’s surprisingly bright, especially if your kid is used to total darkness.

How it works

Using the Coway Airmega is super, super easy. You plug it in and press the power button. A little fan starts moving and cleaning the air in your home. A light will go on that indicates your air quality, and that might freak you out a bit if it’s red or purple (which indicate that the air is not great.) Your soul will ease as the fan runs and, little by little, that light turns a reassuring shade of blue.

A top view of the Coway Airmega.Coway

How exactly does it clean the air in your home, though? It doesn’t take much research to learn that “high efficiency particulate air” or HEPA filters are what you want filtering the air you breathe during a wildfire smoke event, which is what the Coway Airmega uses. But that HEPA filter is only one piece of what Coway calls their “four-stage filtration system,” which features not just one but — you guessed it — four air filters. They include:

  • A deodorizing carbon filter, which removes smells from the air and should be changed about every six months.
  • A pre-filter, which captures “dust, pet hair, and other large particles.” This should be cleaned relatively often, and it’s super easy to wash and dry.
  • A bipolar ionizer, which “generates an electro-chemical reaction to further reduce ultra-fine particles in the air, like viruses and bacteria.” Between you, me, and my air purifier, I really don’t know what that means, but it sounds fantastic and like it can’t hurt.
  • A HEPA filter, which you’ll replace about once a year, depending on how often you run your Coway. Compatible filters are also available on Amazon.

When to use an air purifier

You can run your air purifier 24/7 if you want to be absolutely terrified by what every day things like cooking (let’s just not even talk about stir-frying, OK?) do to your indoor air quality. You also may want to run one constantly if a child (or anyone) in your home has asthma or allergies. But you definitely need to run an air purifier if your city or town is experiencing an air quality alert. Thankfully, the state of Oregon has an app that tracks air quality and makes it pretty easy to monitor the air in our area, but if your state or city doesn’t have something like that, the IQ Air app is also solid.


How effective is it?

The Coway Airmega has held onto its spot at the top of list after list of the best air purifiers since I tapped into the world of air purifiers in 2020. I am not a scientist. But I am a person who struggled through a week in 2020 without an actual air purifier (though again, the DIY version helped a lot). My husband and I both had headaches and felt generally disgusting by day two of smoky skies and abysmal air without an air purifier in our home. So, I can say with certainty that our trusty Coway is very effective at cleaning wildfire smoke from the air. The more recent smoky days in Portland haven’t hit us quite as hard, physically, as that miserable first round, and I’m sure it’s because we run our Coways constantly when smoke settles in.

Pros & cons


  • This air purifier is easy to use.
  • The little light indicates in a really obvious way how your indoor air quality is.
  • It runs relatively quietly on the lower settings, so it’s not annoying to leave it on all night, or even just 24/7.
  • Cleaner air!


  • You may not have $200+ dollars to drop on an air purifier right now.
  • You cannot child-lock the buttons that control fan speed and mode settings, which is really annoying.

The final verdict

I’m not sure if it’s the end times, but it sure feels like it is when the air in your city and in your home is not safe to breathe. Nothing will crush your spirit like not even being able to take your kids outside for a walk without stressing out about it. With a good-quality air purifier on hand, though, at least you can cling to some semblance of control, which is nice. If you have a baby on the way, a newborn or very little kids especially, an air purifier is a must-have, because those little growing lungs need — and deserve — clean air to breathe.


The climate is changing! Until our kids grow up and save us all from this mess, you are going to need one of these.

Had To Share highlights the products and finds that Romper editors and contributors love so much, we just had to share in the group chat.

This article was originally published on