You love your cuddly furry friends, but you don’t necessarily love the way they make your house smell. But you’re in luck! Some of the best air purifiers are designed specifically to tackle this issue by removing airborne pet dander, hair, and dust using new technology such as an activated carbon filter.
There are over 85 million families in the United States who have pets. And an estimated 10% of the population (about 35 million) is allergic to animals. Is it any wonder that some of your good friends don’t come over to visit very often?
Luckily, you can make your home more inviting by investing in a high-quality air purifier. The best air purifiers for pets can help to prevent allergy symptoms resulting from your furry friends.
The Air Purifiers for Pets We RAVE About
Today’s air purifiers are superior to the technology used only 30 years ago, and nothing is more crucial for dealing with pet dander — whether from fur, hair, or wings — than the HEPA filter. The high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter was developed in the 1940s to protect scientists and soldiers working on the Manhattan Project which eventually produced the atomic bomb. It turns out that these filters are great for dealing with a bunch of fine particulates, like pet dander.
With so many air purifiers on the market, how do you know which one is right for you? No worries, we’re here to help!
We conducted hours of online research and listened to industry insiders and pet lovers across the country. Plus, we used them ourselves — two cats and a dog right here! Then we put together a list of the best air purifiers for pets just for you.
Humans have been domesticating animals for thousands of years. According to most scientists and anthropologists, the dog was domesticated first. When? No one really knows for sure, but the hypothetical dates range from 28,000 to 11,000 BCE.
More than likely, the process included some level of “self-domestication” of some enterprising wolves who learned that living near — and eventually with — humans meant a more secure food source.
After that initial period, humans began to breed dogs for hunting and other purposes. Cats were domesticated later, after the invention of agriculture, somewhere around 7000 BCE. The story goes that with grain stores came mice. So cats did what the earlier wolves had done and decided that a steady source of food could be had by hanging around humans.
Obviously, there are other animals, including birds, lizards, and hamsters — among many, many others — that humans have domesticated or at least tried to turn into pets. But the dog and cat started it all.
Benefits of Pet Ownership
There are numerous benefits that come with owning pets. Studies show that having a furry friend is good for your health in ways that go well beyond what you might think. For example, pet owners experience reduced stress and an uptick in social interactions compared to non-pet owners.
These studies have encouraged the usage of therapy animals, which are usually dogs or horses who have been trained to assist people in either physical or psychological rehabilitation.
The unconditional love from your pet is also likely to keep your blood pressure low, and many studies also suggest that having an animal companion can also lower cholesterol and reduce the likelihood of having a stroke. And, exposure to pets at a young age has also been shown to positively affect your immune system and allergies.
Overall, pets bring joy to our lives, help improve our mood, and offer opportunities to socialize and express and receive love. Honestly, what could be better!
What is Dander?
Contrary to popular belief, pet dander is not directly linked to the fur or hair of an animal. Rather, dander is basically microscopic bits of skin that are shed by various animals. Dogs, cats, birds, rodents, and other animals all produce dander.
Because of its size and weight, dander is easily spread through the air. When it comes into contact with the skin or respiratory system of people who suffer from allergies, they can cause a number of symptoms like itchy or watery eyes, a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing and coughing, skin rashes, and even shortness of breath.
Some animals also produce certain proteins in their saliva which can also trigger an allergic reaction. These proteins are often found on shed skin particles, making them all the more potent for allergy sufferers.
The resulting allergic reaction is your body attempting to defend itself against the proteins or dander that your immune system regards as a threat.
How Do You Get Rid of Animal Dander?
Obviously, since you are reading about the best air purifiers for pets, one method for dealing with pet dander is to invest in a really good air purifier. But there are other, equally effective methods that you can also combine with a good air purifier.
First, you should groom your animal. Brushing your pet frequently is a good place to start, and preferably outside, as it will remove a lot of the dead skin. But be careful and don’t bathe your pet too frequently, as it can actually dry out your animal’s skin. Know what that means?
In addition, there are a number of anti-allergen sprays and wipes that are very effective for reducing the amount of dander your animal produces.
Other helpful strategies include vacuuming thoroughly and often with a quality vacuum cleaner that uses a HEPA filter, and limiting the spaces where you allow your pet to wander.
For instance, if you are worried about pet allergies, you might want to consider keeping your furry friend out of your bedroom or away from your bed. And if you have a cat, it is recommended that you wear a mask when cleaning the cat box.
Where you choose to place your air purifier also plays a major role in how well it works. So the best recommended location is in the largest living room in your house which sees the most pet traffic. Doing so will not only improve the air quality in your living room, but also around your whole house! The downside if you have multiple large living rooms and multiple pets, you might want to buy more than one air purifier.
It may sound like a lot of work, but the companionship and love received from your beloved pet makes it all worth it. And your allergies will thank you!
We used an intensive research methodology to develop our rankings list, including careful meta-data analysis from trusted review sites, and perusal of reviews from doctors, veterinarians, and pet lovers across the world. And we also tried out the products ourselves!
Then we developed a list of key criteria we found to be crucial when considering which air purifier is best for dealing with pet dander and odor.
Our criteria include the following:
- Noise: All air purifiers make noise, but some are much quieter than others.
- Filtration method: Alongside the use of HEPA filters, a number of other filtration methods are included, making some air purifiers more effective than others.
- Area coverage: Most air purifiers have an optimal range of coverage, so making sure that your machine meets your needs is important.
- Price: Air purifiers can cost a mint. Some are worth it, while others are not.
- Effectiveness: You certainly don’t want an air purifier that doesn’t actually remove pet dander from the air.
- Warranty and reputation: Since air purifiers can represent a significant investment, make sure that the warranty meets your needs and that you can trust the company that manufactures the product.
As you begin thinking about how to keep pet dander at a minimum, check out our list of the best air purifiers for pets!
Best Air Purifiers for Pets
Honeywell True HEPA HPA300 Air Purifier
Our top-rated air purifier for pets is the Honeywell True HEPA HPA300 Air Purifier. Honeywell is a well-known and respected name in the industry, and the HPA300 is their top of the line model. Durably constructed, this air purifier has two stages, though it uses four filters.
The first stage is the typical activated carbon filter stage, which removes larger particulates as well as odors and gases from the air. Then comes the three HEPA filters. As you may know, HEPA filters have become an industry standard, since they are generally capable of removing up to 99.97% of fine particulates from the air, including pet dander.
With the HPA300’s three filters, you can feel confident that this air purifier is indeed removing unwanted pollutants from your living space.
The machine draws in air from the front and circulates it out of the top, so you can place it against a wall with no problems. There are also four speeds, and when it is on the highest speed, it can circulate the air in a 460 square foot room about five times. And with the Honeywell name, you know it is going to be high quality!
- Five-year limited warranty
- Good filtration
- Good room coverage
- Highest speed is loud
- Front door hard to close
Hamilton Beach TrueAir Allergen-Reducing 04384 Air Purifier
We chose the Hamilton Beach TrueAir Allergen-Reducing 04384 Air Purifier second because it is by far one of the cheapest air purifiers to own.
This small and compact air purifier features a three-stage filtration process, including carbon zeolite filters that can deal with odors and gases in the home. There is also a pre-filter that handles larger bits of dust, as well as a permanent HEPA filter, which can be vacuumed every three to five months or so.
There are three speeds, including a whisper speed to use when you are sleeping.
This is a compact air purifier and can only cover about 140 square feet. It is perfect to place near your pet’s favorite bed or perhaps the cat box. With only minimal cost for upkeep, and listed at under $60, this option is great if you are on a budget!
- Great price
- Very compact
- Very easy to use
- Not very powerful
- Can’t handle some odors
- Permanent filter deteriorates
Winix WAC9500 Ultimate Pet True HEPA Air Cleaner
You will appreciate the number of features our next air purifier offers. The Winix WAC9500 Ultimate Pet True HEPA Air Cleaner is quite effective at dealing with pet hair, dander, and most odors.
Featuring a four-stage filtration process, this device has a pre-filter to capture pet hair, and a HEPA filter to capture the large majority of small particulates. The ionizing PlasmaWave technology is optional. Since most ionizers emit small traces of ozone, it is recommended that you use this feature sparingly.
The unit is Energy Star rated, and includes both an auto mode and a sleep mode. Though listed at around $200, numerous consumers have been especially pleased with its ability to handle tough odors, making it worth your consideration for dealing with bad pet odors.
- Energy efficient
- Handles most odors
- Good filtration
- Sensors sometimes unreliable
- A little pricey
- Somewhat big and clunky
GermGuardian AC4825 3-in-1 Air Purifier
The GermGuardian AC4825 3-in-1 Air Purifier is fourth on our list. As the name indicates, this device employs a three-step filtration process to effectively remove allergens, mold, smoke, and pet dander from the air.
The GermGuardian’s first step is an activated charcoal layer that captures animal hair and various odors, can be cleaned, and best of all, is inexpensive to replace.
The second step is a HEPA filter which can capture up to 99.97% of fine particulates in your living space. The HEPA filter can be expensive to replace, but you can vacuum it from time to time. However, a red light will indicate when your filter is no longer effective and needs to be replaced.
The final step is a UV-C lamp which neutralizes airborne viruses and bacteria, giving you an added layer of protection. The device can cover a room of about 155 square feet, so if you need to cover a larger space, consider a different model or buy two GermGuardians. At under $100 per unit, that might be an option!
- High quality filtration
- Really good with odors
- Annoying UV light
- Expensive filter replacements
- Plastic smell at first use
Alen BreatheSmart Fur Family Smart Bundle
The Alen BreatheSmart FLEX Fur Family Smart Bundle is next and as the name suggests, it is a flexible air purifier. You can choose the color – there are up to 14 different options – as well as the kind of HEPA filter it uses.
That’s right, you can tackle the specific pollutants and odors in your home depending on the filter you choose. The Fur Family Bundle is made for pet owners, is relatively attractive, and quite effective for medium-sized rooms up to about 700 square feet.
The BreatheSmart FLEX also features a WhisperMax technology which means it is still relatively quiet even at the highest speed. It’s a great air purifier designed specifically for pet owners!
- Aesthetically attractive
- Highly efficient
- Good room coverage
- No UV-C lamp
- Not the best customer service
Rabbit Air MinusA2 SPA-780A Air Purifier
If you don’t have serious budget limitations, you may want to consider looking at the Rabbit Air MinusA2 SPA-780A Air Purifier. This purifier features a six-stage filtration process that is outstanding for removing almost any contaminants in your home.
One of the most unique elements is the customizable filter. Aside from a pre-filter, HEPA filter, and ionizer, the Rabbit Air MinusA2 allows you to pick a filter that is specifically designed for dealing with a variety of allergens, such as pet dander. The customizable filter option allows you to target specific problems in your air quality.
There is no doubt that this unit is large, but it is able to purify up to 800 square feet, making it one of the most effective consumer purifiers on the market. It can also be mounted on the wall, is energy efficient, and comes with a five-year limited warranty. We also love the tasteful LED lights.
- Highly effective filtration
- Excellent area coverage
- Easy to use
- Very expensive
- A big machine
- Expensive replacement filters
Levoit LV-H132 Air Purifier
Our next air purifier is a sleek and compact device that is available in multiple colors. The Levoit LV-H132 uses three different filtering techniques, and you may be happy to know that there is no ionizer. Rather, this device has a nano-silver pre-filter stage, which is great for getting rid of airborne bacteria.
The second stage is the true HEPA filter, which captures the vast majority of fine particulates, and the final stage is an activated carbon filter to capture gases and other odors. The Levoit LV-H132 has three different speeds and is generally very quiet.
Perhaps best of all is the fact that this device is very inexpensive and budget friendly, coming in at under $90. Its coverage is definitely limited, as the device is only effective for 86 square feet. Other than that, the Levoit LV-H132 is a good device at a great price.
- Good construction and filtration
- Great price
- Filter doesn’t last long
- Limited coverage
- Unreliable filter indicator
PureZone 3-in-1 Air Purifier by Pure Enrichment
The PureZone 3-in-1 Air Purifier is a super quiet and inexpensive air purifier that can handle smaller spaces with ease. This air purifier features four stages of filtration: The pre-filter is followed by an activated carbon filter and a HEPA filter, ensuring that gases, odors, and fine particulates are removed. The final stage is the UV-C light which neutralizes bacteria and viruses.
One of the best aspects of this device is how quiet it is. With three speed options, even at the highest level it is still exceptionally silent. The filtration can handle about 110 square feet, so if you need more coverage, you may want to choose a different machine.
Coming in around $100, the PureZone 3-in-1 is a good option if you are on a budget. Plus, with a five-year limited warranty, you can be sure that if the machine breaks down, getting a replacement won’t be a big hassle.
- Super quiet
- Very easy to use
- No auto setting
- No UV light dimmer
- Limited room coverage
Ninth on our list is the Coway AP-1512HH Mighty Air Purifier. This is a good option for animal hair, dander, and odors because of its four-stage filtration process. The first stage is an easily cleaned micro-mesh pre-filter that captures animal hair and larger particles of dust. The second stage is an activated carbon filter insert to effectively eliminate most odors.
The third stage is a true HEPA filter, which is great for capturing fine particulates, especially pet dander. The final stage is an ionizer which negatively charges dust particles, making them heavier so that they fall to the ground where they can be vacuumed or swept up.
The machine also features five speeds, or three speeds plus an auto and an eco setting. Plus, a handy light tells you when to change the filters.
- Good room coverage
- Compact design
- Effective filtration system
- Traces of ozone from ionizer
- Somewhat pricey
- Replacement filters hard to find
Holmes HAP242-NUC Desktop Air Purifier
Last but not least on our list is the Holmes HAP242-NUC Desktop Air Purifier. This inexpensive unit is capable of cleaning around 110 square feet, making it ideal for offices and dorm rooms. And, costing under $30, it is a real deal!
The device has three speeds and the intake is run by a fan motor, which can get a bit loud on the highest level. There are two filter stages with a third optional ionizer. An activated carbon filter captures unwanted odors, while the HEPA filter catches 99.97% of fine particulates like pollen, mold, allergens, and pet dander. There is also an optional ionizer. However, ionizers produce trace amounts of ozone, so use it sparingly.
The Holmes HAP242-NUC can either be laid on its side, or it can stand upright on the floor. So if you are in the market for a no-frills, but effective air purifier, this may just be the model for you!
- Outstanding price
- Inexpensive upkeep
- Very easy to use
- Motor can get loud
- Ionizer can produce ozone
- Not a ton of features
- Best Air Purifiers
- Best Air Purifiers for Smoke
- Best Air Purifiers for Dust
- Best Air Purifiers for Allergies
- Best Air Purifiers for Mold
Do air purifiers get rid of pet odors?
Anyone who has a pet in the home knows that just because we love them doesn’t mean they don’t stink a little. There are many different causes of pet odors, including bad breath, skin infections, bad grooming, and the most obvious – excrement or urine.
The good news is that most air purifiers can indeed help with even the most intense pet odors to provide better air quality.
Most air purifiers are designed to remove fine particles from the air you breathe. However, air purifiers are now equipped with a key technology for dealing with odors of all kinds: activated carbon filters.
An activated carbon filter is made up of small bits of porous carbon, making them better able to capture gas molecules.
During World War I, charcoal – a form of active carbon – was used in gas masks to help protect soldiers against deadly gases.
Basically, when a gas molecule comes into contact with activated carbon, it bonds with and becomes trapped under the carbon’s surface. A filter’s lifespan comes to an end once the carbon runs out of surface area.
Pet odors are precisely the kinds of gases that activated carbon filters are good at capturing and removing from your home, giving you and your animals a fresh, clean environment.
Do air purifiers help with pet hair?
If you own a cat or dog, you know that pet hair can be a constant presence that makes your house feel dirty. Thankfully, there are a number of strategies to deal with pet hair.
Grooming your pet often is actually a very effective way to control pet hair, because you can remove loose hair in a controlled manner.
Using good a vacuum cleaner, preferably one with a HEPA filter, is also a must. And, for some surfaces like fabric couches or chairs, a lint roller is also very useful.
But another really effective tool to use in your quest to keep pet hair under control is a good air purifier.
Almost every air purifier on the market today uses high-efficiency particulate air, or HEPA, filters. These filters are highly efficient, and can remove up to 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 microns or larger. Pet hair is much larger than 0.3 microns, so these filters are almost overqualified for controlling pet hair.
Because they can collect such small particles, HEPA filters are also great for dealing with pet dander, which is actually the dead skin that often flakes off when animal hair falls. So, if you want to control pet hair, having a quality air purifier in your arsenal is definitely a good idea!
What is the best air purifier for pets?
Keeping a clean environment with good air quality in the home is one of the biggest ongoing challenges for pet owners. But no self-respecting pet lover will let the mess that comes with having a pet deter them. No! They look for solutions, and having a really good air purifier – or several really good air purifiers – is a must to keep pet hair, dander, and odors at a minimum. But with so many options on the market, how do you choose which one is right for you?
Our rankings are here to help!
As pet owners, we had a number of questions already, but our extensive research revealed several more to consider when buying an air purifier for pets:
- Can the purifier really handle bad odors and bad air quality?
- How effective is it at filtering out dander?
- Does it use a pre-filter that can capture pet hair?
- How much does it cost, and how much do replacement filters cost?
- How much noise does it make?
- What size room can it handle?
These and other questions led us to hone in on the key qualities that make for an ideal air purifier for pets.
Ultimately, we chose the Honeywell True HEPA HPA300 Air Purifier as the best air purifier for pets.
So, if you are considering a new air purifier to help keep your home clean for your family and your furry friend, be sure to check out our list to help you make an informed decision!