As a pet owner, do you find yourself relating to any of these common situations?
- Are you (or someone in your household) allergic to cats or dogs and desperately seeking relief from pet dander?
- Is pet hair shedding all over your floors and furniture and you wish it would stop?
- Do you have problems with pet odors and smells, and want an easy way to get rid of them?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you’ve definitely landed on the right page.
In this article, we’ll not only share with you what the best method is for getting rid of pet dander, hair, and odors, but we’ll also show you what the best air purifier for pets is and why it works so well.
As proud owners of our own pets, we know exactly how much you love your animals. After reading this short guide, you’ll have everything you need to create a cleaner, fresher living environment that both you and the furry members of your family can enjoy!
Use these links below to jump to a specific section of the page:
- The Real Truth Behind Pet Dander and Pet Hair
- Look for this to Help with Pet Allergies
- Look for this to Get Rid of Pet Hair
- List of the 10 Best Air Purifiers for Pets (Products and Reviews)
- Additional Benefits for Using an Air Purifier
Air Purifiers for Pets Buying Guide
The Real Truth Behind Pet Dander and Pet Hair (and Why it Matters)
Before we jump into what the top air purifiers are for pets, you’ll benefit greatly by first discovering what the differences are between pet dander and hair, and how each one impacts your health.
This little bit of knowledge will pay off in the long run because it will help you choose the best air purifier for your specific needs (and save money) as a pet owner.
For starters, consider these facts:
- According to the 2015-16 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, 79.7 million U.S. households (or 65%) own a pet. That’s up from 56% in 1988 when the last survey was conducted.
- The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology concluded that approximately 50 million people in the U.S. have nasal allergies. This includes 30% of adults and 40% of children.
- WebMD states that 1 in 5 people in the U.S. have either allergy or asthma related symptoms.
As you can see, the number of pet owners and those who suffer from allergies or asthma is increasing at a steady rate.
With statistics like these, it’s no wonder why so many of us are dealing with a runny nose, congestion, sneezing, difficulty breathing, and itchy, watery eyes on a daily basis because of our pets.
But, do you know what actually causes these pet allergy symptoms?
If you’re like most people, you probably think that issues related to cat and dog allergies flare up from breathing in pet hair or getting it in your eyes. Unfortunately, that’s just not true.
What really causes pet allergies is the microscopic dander that your pets shed, not their hair.
Pet dander consists of tiny flecks of skin that peel off with your pet’s hair, fur or feathers and it comes from all types of pets too, not just cats and dogs. Animals such as ferrets, hamsters, guinea pigs and even birds produce dander that causes allergic reactions in humans.
And while we’re on this topic, we’ll also debunk another myth for you…
Contrary to what most people think, dander actually gets worse as your pet gets older and sheds a whole lot more, not less. That’s why people with animal allergies notice an increase in their symptoms as their pets’ age.
Pet hair, on the other hand, is exactly what the name implies – hair or fur. There are no known allergies associated with coming into contact with animal hair.
The only issue with pet fur is that it tends to collect in clumps on the floor and makes a mess on your furniture.
Fortunately, both of these issues can be fixed with an inexpensive air purifier.
Using an air purifier in the home is one of the best things you can do as a pet owner. Air purifiers are the only household devices that can pull dander, hair and odors out of the air, essentially cleaning it and making it as fresh as possible.
Now that you know the difference between how pet dander and hair impact your health, you’ll be ahead of the curve when it comes time to compare the best air purifiers for pets for your own home.
With that said, here are the essential features to look for to get the best deal and right product for your needs.
Look for this Feature to Get Help with Pet Allergies
If you or someone in your household is allergic to any type of pet, including dogs, cats, birds, etc., you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the best air purifier for pet dander.
The top product for removing dander will have a “True HEPA filter”.
The reason you want an air purifier with a True HEPA filter is that it’s the only one certified to remove 99.97% of allergens as small as .3 microns. This includes all types of pet dander, from every kind of animal. Some people wonder if there’s a single best air purifier for cat allergies or dog allergies alone, but the truth is that this filter covers them all.
Air purifiers with this feature work by sucking dander particles out of the air and trapping them in the True HEPA filter. Once these allergens are collected, they can’t be re-released back into the air for you to breathe, touch or get in your eyes.
The more you run an air purifier like this in your home, the less animal dander there will be to irritate your allergies. Running it 24/7 offers the most relief.
Take a look below for our top recommended air purifier with this feature.
Choose this Type to Get Rid of Pet Hair
If you don’t have pet allergies and just want to get rid of dog hair or cat hair that’s filling up your home, then you can save yourself a lot of money by going with a cheaper option.
Since you don’t need an air purifier to get rid of microscopic dander, you don’t have to pay a higher price for a device that has an advanced True HEPA filter.
The best air purifier for pet hair only will have a “HEPA-type filter”.
While there’s a subtle difference in the name, a HEPA-type filter is only capable of trapping particles in the range of 2-4 microns in size. However, this is plenty good enough to capture pet hair and fur.
If you want an excellent air purifier for dog and cat hair that doesn’t cost too much, this really is your best choice.
Take a look below for our top recommended air purifier for pet hair.
What About Pet Odors?
There’s only one thing you need to keep in mind when you want to get rid of pet odors using an air purifier. And that is to make sure it comes with an “Activated Carbon filter”.
Activated Carbon filters are the only type of air filters that can absorb smells produced by pets. HEPA filters of any kind just don’t have that capability.
So, be on the lookout for this feature when comparing pet air purifiers.
Each product mentioned below includes this special deodorizing filter.
The 10 Best Air Purifiers for Pets
You’ve reached the point in our guide where you’ll discover what the top air purifier for pets is for dander, hair, and odors. There are literally hundreds of air purifiers on the market today, but these are the absolute best ones you’ll find for pets.
After this list, we’ll review each product individually.
- Winix HR900 Ultimate Air Cleaner
- Hamilton Beach TrueAir Compact Air Purifier
- GermGuardian AC4825 3-in-1 Air Purifier
- IQAir HealthPro Plus Air Purifier
- AIRMEGA 400S Air Purifier
- Coway MightyAir Air Purifier
- Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier
- Hathaspace Air Purifier
- Levoit LV-PUR131 Air Purifier
- Levoit Vista 200 Air Purifier
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.
The Best Air Purifier for Pet Dander
Hands down, this is the best air purifier for anyone who suffers from pet allergies. It has been fine-tuned to work specifically for pet owners and is very affordable.
Like the name implies, this product offers several powerful features that make it a great investment for any home and is superb at trapping pet dander.
A 5-stage air cleaning system includes these notable features:
- Two Pre-filters
- True HEPA Filter
- Activated Carbon Filter
- PlasmaWave Technology
The True HEPA filter traps the tiniest flecks of dander in order to reduce allergies and the Activated Carbon filter is what works solely to remove pet smells from your home. The PlasmaWave technology feature is another great bonus because it helps to kill airborne germs, bacteria, and viruses that could infect your pets – no other pet air cleaner on the market includes this special technology.
Another reason this product is considered the best air purifier for pets is that it’s outfitted with 3 smart sensors to continually monitor the air for animal dander and odors. Once detected, it kicks the device into overdrive in order to quickly eliminate these contaminants from your home.
This ultimate air cleaner also provides the convenience of a remote control, which lets you operate it from anywhere in the room. And, with an Energy Star certification, this device costs pennies to operate.
All in all, you won’t find a better air purifier for pets anywhere.
The Best Air Purifier for Pet Hair
If pet dander is not your concern, but pet hair is, then this device is perfect for you.
While inexpensive, it still outshines a lot of other competing products because of its amazing ability to collect dog hair, cat hair, and other pet fur.
This air purifier features a permanent HEPA-type filter, which is ideal for pet hair, and it can easily be cleaned with a vacuum. This means you never have to pay for a replacement. Just clean up the hair and pop it back in.
Another nice perk is that it includes a set of Activated Carbon filters that focus on eliminating pet odors. For a fresher smelling home, this is an essential component.
Another advantage to this air cleaner is that it’s very compact. This design allows it to stand horizontal or vertical, and be placed anywhere like the top of a table, on the floor, next to a couch, etc. Its small size also makes it easy for you to transport it to other rooms for maximum effect.
If pet hair and odors are your main concern, you’ll definitely want to give this air purifier a try.
Another Great Air Purifier for Pets
While our first two recommendations are made specifically for pet owner concerns, you may find that you want a more versatile air purifier that can help with other contaminants too.
If that’s the case, then this product is worth considering because it’s not much more expensive than the Hamilton Beach product.
The reason this air cleaner is a top choice for the home is due to these three features:
- True HEPA filter for pet allergies
- Activated Carbon filter for pet smells
- UV-C light technology for destroying germs
We didn’t cover the topic of UV-C lighting in our introduction, but all you need to know is that it’s a special technology that kills mold, fungi, bacteria, and viruses such as influenza (flu), staph and rhinovirus (common cold).
If you want a sterile environment that’s free of germs, while also keeping pet dander and odor under control, this air purifier is a great pick.
More Air Purifier Choices
In our opinion, the three air purifiers reviewed above are your top choices when it comes to getting an overall fair value of price, features, and room size coverage.
But, those models are not the only air purifiers you can buy that help get rid of pet dander and hair.
The air purifiers recommended below will also work for cats, dogs, and other pets that shed dander and hair or leaves behind odors.
The only difference is that these models are not marketed as dedicated pet air purifiers. These machines are made for more general air quality issues but they do also have the capabilities to help with pet-related issues.
For Large to Extra Large Areas
This air purifier is designed for very large rooms and covers up to 1,125 square feet.
If you have an open floor plan and want a device that can purify multiple connected rooms, this is going to be your top choice.
It does come at a high cost though, about $800 or more.
But for the money, you’re getting one of the most advanced air purifiers ever made for airborne allergens and odors. If you have severe pet allergies, this was machine was made for you.
It contains a HyperHEPA filter that traps particles down to 0.003 microns, which is 100X smaller than a True HEPA filter, and a V5-Cell Odor and Gas filter that can eliminate the most smelly cat and dog odors.
If you have multiple pets indoors and/or need something extremely powerful, this air purifier will far exceed your needs.
This is another large room air purifier for dogs, cats, and other household pets.
It handles up to 1,560 square feet, which is more than enough coverage for the average homeowner.
What’s nice about this air purifier is that it features a dual filtration system to draw in more air at a faster rate. This creates cleaner, fresher air that’s less polluted with pet dander, hair, and odors.
The best part, however, is that this machine offers Wi-Fi capabilities. You can control every aspect of this air purifier from a mobile app that’s tied to your smartphone or tablet. This feature gives you real-time air quality notifications, filter lifetime monitoring, and a scheduler. It can also be linked to and controlled by Amazon Alexa.
If you’re looking for the most modern air purifier to help with the general air quality in your home and pet-related issues, this model is worth considering.
Here’s another larger room air purifier but this one only covers up to 528 square feet.
That size makes it good for common areas of the home like a living room, finished basement, or large bedroom.
Like the other products reviewed on this page, this air purifier also has high-quality True HEPA and Activated Carbon filters. The difference here, however, is that this product also includes an Ionizer function called “Vital Ion”.
Vital Ion helps to boost the air cleaning power of this machine by sending out charged particles into the air to neutralize allergens and odors. It’s a nice feature to use, but it’s not a must-have function to combat pet odors and dander—a True HEPA filter and Activated Carbon filter combination can do just fine.
The thing that does make this air purifier stand out is the “Eco Mode”. In Eco Mode, this machine will turn itself off when it doesn’t detect any contaminants in the air. That saves you money on energy costs since the air purifier doesn’t operate when it doesn’t have too.
For anyone on a serious budget, this is a great air purifier to use for large rooms in the home.
For Medium Size Rooms
Our top air purifier pick above for pet owners is the Winix HR900 because it’s been specially designed to tackle specific pet air quality issues.
However, Winix also offers several other general types of air purifiers that can work well for animal hair, dander, and odors—with this 5500-2 model being one of them.
While it’s not as advanced as the HR900 model, it does still have the essential features you need to combat pet-related problems indoors, such as a True HEPA filter and Activated Carbon filter.
The two things it lacks when compared to the HR900 are:
- Pet pre-filter
- The inability to wash the Activated Carbon filter
But still, this machine is excellent for medium-sized rooms up to 360 square feet, like living rooms, bedrooms, apartments, etc. And technically, it does give you a bit more coverage than the HR900 which only handles up to 300 square feet.
If you’re looking to save a little bit of money or buy more than one air purifier for your home, this is a great option for the price.
This is an up and coming brand of air purifiers that’s received a lot of positive reviews.
With this air purifier, you can eliminate all sorts of indoor pollutants in addition to cat and dog dander, hair, and odors, such as dust, allergens, mold spores, smoke, and some forms of bacteria.
It includes the same two filters necessary for reducing pet-related particles (True HEPA and Activated Carbon) as well as two additional air cleaning filters (Nano Cold Catalyst and Antibacterial) and an Ionizer.
The Nano Cold Catalyst filter removes larger particles like dust and allergens, and toxic household chemicals like formaldehyde, ammonia, and benzene.
The Antibacterial filter contains nano-materials that eliminate and destroy bacteria, viruses, and fungi that pass through the system. This helps remove invisible particles that can threaten you and your pet’s health.
The Ionizer releases negative ions into the air to neutralize dander and odors so they’re easier to capture by the other internal filters.
For the money, this air purifier has a ton of air cleaning features that make it go above and beyond a standard pet air purifying machine.
If you want total air purification coverage for a medium-sized room up to 350 square feet, you’ll be happy with this machine.
Levoit makes one of the best air purifiers for home use. And this model is perfect for anyone who needs a device for a small living area, bedroom, or other medium-sized room of the home.
It covers up to 360 square feet (similar to the last two reviews) and has all of the right filters for creating clean, fresh air indoors: Pre-filter, True HEPA filter, and Activated Carbon filter.
This is a simple device that just plain works.
There’s no fancy set up or lengthy manuals to read. You just unbox it, plug it in, and turn it on. Then, let the automatic mode go to work purifying your home 24 hours a day.
If you want an inexpensive air purifier that can also work for pets, this is a popular model that we often recommend. Check it out to see what it can do for you.
For Small Rooms and Personal Use
Our last air purifier for cats and dogs and other pets is this compact model right here.
If you live in a small apartment or just want a tiny device for a smaller room in your home, this is a great model to try.
It features all of the same high-quality filters as our previous review (Pre-Filter, True HEPA Filter, and Activated Carbon Filter) to work seamlessly together to eliminate airborne bacteria, dust, mold spores, allergens, odors, pet dander, smoke, and chemical gases that may be inside your residence.
This air purifier has a small footprint like our number three pick above (Hamilton Beach TrueAir Compact Air Purifier) and can easily be put on a desk or table. It measures 8 inches around and 13 inches tall—about the same size as a sheet of paper.
If you want one of the cheapest air purifiers for pets, that also helps with other air quality issues in your home, this is an affordable buy.
Additional Benefits for Using a Pet Air Purifier
Less Need for Cleaning
Another positive side effect of using an air purifier for dog hair and cat dander is that you’ll find you don’t have to clean your home as often.
The products we recommend above are excellent at removing animal fur and allergens, but they’re also great at collecting dust and dirt particles as well.
The more your air purifier is allowed to run, the more dust, debris, dander, and hair will be sucked into the machine.
The more your air purifier collects those things, the less you have to clean. Homes that have an air purifier don’t look as dusty or dirty because the particles that create those messes exist less.
Air Purifiers for Pets Create a Fresher Home Environment
As we all know, pets can produce a variety of odors.
This is especially true for animals like cats, which are allowed to roam freely outside but live predominantly indoors. Dogs are also notorious for bringing in smells from outdoor environments after taking them for a walk or to use the potty.
Indoor only pets like birds, hamsters, gerbils, potbelly pigs, ferrets, and cats also tend to have smelly cages and litter pans. Regular and thorough cleaning of these items is obviously the best way to keep odors under control, but often we don’t recognize it until an unpleasant smell has taken over the house.
One of the added benefits of using the air purifiers listed above is that your home will smell fresher.
As we mentioned in the product descriptions, each device includes an Activated Carbon filter that acts to neutralize pet odors, not just cover them up like aerosol sprays and scented candles do.
These Activated Carbon filters are made up of millions of microscopic pores that look and operate like a sponge. As air passes through the air purifier, the molecules that are known for producing unpleasant aromas come along for the ride and get trapped inside the filter’s pores.
The more air that can pass through this filter, the cleaner your home will smell.
One of the biggest reasons your home smells like your animals is that the odor particles that have been tracked inside or come from the cage or litter pan have fallen onto the floor or your furniture. As traffic moves around indoors, these odor molecules get kicked back up into the air again and cause the scent to radiate.
Sometimes the odor issue has gone on for so long in certain areas of the home that they are highly dense with these particles and an eminent aroma continues to exist. In order to get rid of these lingering smells, a deep cleaning may be necessary, and then the air purifier can keep work to keep those rooms smelling fresh.
More Air Purifier for Pets Terminology
PlamsaWave – This is a special air purifying technology that is patented by Winix air purifiers. It is a safe form of ionization that doesn’t produce harmful ozone which is great news for you and your pets. The way PlasmaWave works is by using electrical pulses to create positive and negative ions inside the unit. After room air passes through the filters, the air is put into a plasma state. Once water vapor comes into contact with this plasma air, it forms hydroxyl radicals that then attack airborne pollutants like viruses, bacteria, and gaseous chemicals. After the hydroxyl radicals do their job, the reform back into harmless water vapor.
Smart Sensors – Pet air purifiers that use smart sensors automatically monitor the air for certain types contaminants like pet dander, odor, and hair, If a high level of particulates is sensed, the air purifier will adjust itself in order to quickly eliminate the pollutants from the room. Once the particles are gone, the air purifier will go back to the mode it previously was in. This is a great feature to have, especially if you have an indoor/outdoor cat or dog that could be bringing in outside contaminants.
UV-C Light – This light is a sub-band of ultraviolet radiation that’s capable of destroying microorganisms but is completely safe for humans and pets to be around. It’s in the same part of the electromagnetic spectrum that includes light, radio waves, and x-rays. Pet air purifiers that use this feature contain the UV-C light inside the unit and only expose air to it after it has passed through the filters. You can’t see the UV-C light or touch it, but it’s constantly working to sterilize the air inside the room from harmful bacteria, viruses, and germs.
Anti-bacterial Coating – Some air purifiers for pets include a special coating on their internal filters that prevent the growth of bacteria, mold, and fungi. As air passes through the filters, those types of particles are trapped inside and could start to multiply on the filter. An anti-bacterial coating stops this process from occurring and helps to extend the life of the filter.
Tips on Using Your Pet Air Purifier
Buying an air purifier is a great first step to reducing pet dander, pet hair, and odors, as well as getting relief for your cat and dog allergies. To make sure you get the most value out of your purchase, there are a few simple tips you can follow after unboxing your new air purifier for pets.
Consider the Placement
You may be tempted to stick your air purifier in a corner of the room to keep it out the way but doing so will cause it to be less efficient. In fact, most air purifiers require at least 18-24 inches of clearance on all sides so they can maximize their air cleaning power.
When you’re using an air purifier to get rid of pet hair, dander, and odors, it’s best to place it closer to the center of the room or at the very least where your cats or dogs like to hang out. That way the machine can filter the most number of particles from the air before they have a chance to scatter to other areas of the room or your home.
Don’t Obstruct the Outward Air Flow
Similar to our last point, you never want to block or obstruct the outward path of clean air flow. Doing so can cause the fresh air to constantly recycle on itself and never have a chance to dissipate out into the room where you need it. To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, never put your air purifier under a table if the clean air flow comes out of the top of the unit. If the air comes out of the front or sides of the air purifier, then don’t block those pathways respectably.
Don’t Turn the Pet Air Purifier Off
You may think to use an air purifier like a cooling fan by turning on and off as you need it. However, that is the worst thing you can do with a pet air purifier. For a machine like to this operate at peak performance it needs to run 24 hours, 7 days per week. When you turn the device on for the first time, it will work hard to remove all of the airborne contaminants that have built up inside the room. Once they’re gone, it can go into a maintenance mode to keep the air always fresh. If you turn the machine off for any length of time, you’re basically allowing contaminants to build back up again which defeats the purpose of having an air purifier to begin with. If you’re concerned about the cost of running your air purifier on a continuous basis, don’t be. Most products are very energy efficient and don’t cost more than a house fan to operate.
Keep Windows and Doors Closed as Much as You Can
Another tip for getting the most out of air purifiers for pets is to enclose the machine inside a tightly closed room if you can. By closing doors and keeping windows shut, you’re able to give the air purifier a chance to exchange the air inside the room over and over again until it becomes contaminant-free. The more time the machine has to operate in this manner, the fresher the air becomes. If you leave a door or window open, you’re inviting your purified air to escape and let outside pollutants to flow in. This makes the device less effective at removing the things you care about: pet dander, pet hair, and pet odors.
Change the Filters Regularly
An air purifier is only as good as the filters it has inside it. If the air filters are clogged and dirty, it can’t operate effectively. Therefore, make sure you check and change your filters on a regular schedule. Some air purifiers for pets have a filter change light that indicates to you when it’s time to perform this service. Others require a manual check. Either way, the manufacturer will outline a schedule to follow which can be found in your user’s manual.
Enjoy Your Air Purifier for Pets
As you now know, an air purifier is one of the best investments you can make as a pet owner. Not only does it help reduce pet allergies, dander, hair, and odors, but it also creates an overall better home environment.
Hopefully, this information has helped you understand more clearly why an air purifier is a great investment if you own pets, as well as guide you on making the right decision on which product to choose. The best air purifier for pets listed above are your top options as an animal owner and should serve you well for a lifetime of use.