There are so many wonderful things about having pets, they’re a treasured part of the family. But unfortunately, they come with fur…sometimes lots of it, and dander. Dander is the dry skin which sheds along with hair, and it can be a major trigger for allergy sufferers. This is why an air purifier needs to join your family, they can really help to keep the air safer to breathe and even nicer to smell.
We’ve figured out what makes an air purifier great for pet owners so you can look out for the most appropriate features. But you won’t need to look very hard for a suitable air purifier as we’ve found the best ones on the market.
Table of Contents
- 1 Introduction
- 2 What makes an air purifier good for pet owners specifically?
- 3 What do I need to take into consideration before buying a pet air purifier?
- 4 What are the Key Features to Look for? (And Which Features Don’t Matter So Much)?
- 5 Are air purifiers safe for me and my pets?
- 6 Best by type
- 7 Best by room size
- 8 Conclusion
What makes an air purifier good for pet owners specifically?
In short? Pets produce allergens and odors, air purifiers filter the air to capture these allergens and odors so your lungs and smell senses are fresh and safe.
It’s not just pet hair that causes asthmatics and allergy-sufferers to burst into snuffles, its actually the dander. Dander is basically dry skin which sheds from your pets, and it’s very triggering for all kinds of allergies. The thing about pet dander is that it doesn’t fall and settle on surfaces, it generally hangs around in the air for a long time, in a prime position to be sucked into your lungs and up your nose.
But what does this mean for you and your air purifier? It means that you need at least an HEPA-grade filter. Pet dander is generally from 5 to 10 microns but it can also be smaller than 3 microns. This means you can get away with an HEPA-grade filter if the “true” HEPA’s aren’t in your budgets. The dander particles will be caught and captured more than sufficiently.
Pets smell to varying degrees and they can cause your home to smell far less than fresh. For this reason, an activated carbon filter is a great addition to your air purifier. Carbon filters are made to neutralise odors and keep homes smelling fresh and pet-free.
What do I need to take into consideration before buying a pet air purifier?
Consider what your needs are:
- Do you need a general clean-up of pet hair and odors for a fresher home, but aren’t plagued by allergies?
- Do you require serious allergen prevention do save you from pet dander?
- What area size are you requiring your air purifier for?
- And of course, what’s your budget?
The last two points aren’t pet-related but they are important to consider when buying any air purifier.
If you answered “yes” to the first point but not the second, you can get away with a more affordable air purifier with an HEPA-type filter. Whereas if allergies are at all an issue, always go for the true-HEPA. Personally, I feel that if you’re going to shell out money on an air purifier it really should have true-HEPA filtration, because you know you’re getting the most out of your appliance.
What are the Key Features to Look for? (And Which Features Don’t Matter So Much)?
- True-HEPA filter: a true-HEPA filter is great as it gives you the very best chance at capturing basically all allergens as small as 0.3 microns. While most pet-related allergens aren’t that small, it makes sense to get the best of the best if your budget allows.
- HEPA-type filter for smaller budgets: because pet dander and pet hair is generally no smaller than 2 microns you can get away with an HEPA-type filter as it is fine enough to capture pet allergens.
- Activated Carbon Filter: look for this feature especially if your pets tend to contaminate your air with musty smells, it will really help to freshen your home.
- Range of fan speeds or an auto function: fan speeds are great because you can increase them when your pets are especially “shed-heavy” and decrease them during the night when you need a little more quiet. Auto modes are also a great feature as the machine will automatically adjust the fan speed as soon as it senses an increase in pet allergens.
Are air purifiers safe for me and my pets?
In short? Yes, they are.
The longer version involves a little issue called ozone. Some air purifiers have an ionizing feature which produces ozone. This is a contentious issue as some feel it’s completely unsafe and unacceptable, while others (manufacturers mostly) insist that ozone levels within the certified ranges are completely fine.
My two cents is this: if you have any reservations, just avoid UV-C lights or ionizers all together. You don’t need the stress off wondering it your purchase was safe or right. If you’re not bothered? Choose one which has the option of turning the ionizer off. That way, if you suddenly decide that you’re not comfortable with the feature you don’t have to replace your air purifier.
Yes, air purifiers are absolutely safe for you and your pets, especially if they don’t have any ionizing features, or an “off” button on the ionizer.
Best by type
Best air purifiers for pet allergies
Rabbit Air MinusA2 Pet Allergy Air Purifier
First off, this is a pretty expensive air purifier (around the $550 mark, give or take). But it’s worth it for thorough, effective pet allergen control. It has been designed with pet allergies in mind, and has 6 filtration steps to do the job. Suitable for rooms up to 350 square feet for allergy sufferers, it’s great for medium-large rooms and living spaces. It has an angular design with fresh white and sleek black colours. It does have an ionizer, but you can turn it off if it’s an issue.
Check out our in-depth review here
- Pre-filter for catching largest particles (dust, pet hair etc.)
- Medium filter for catching allergens such as pet dander
- BioGS HEPA filter for catching 99.97% of tiny particles (0.3 microns)
- Optional customized filter especially for pet allergens
- Activated carbon filter for reducing pet smells
- Sleek, attractive and neat design suitable for all homes
- Can be wall mounted (very slim design so it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb)
- Nice and quiet
- Automatically adjusts to the quietest modes when the light fades (i.e. bedtime)
This model has two washable filters including a washable carbon filter for odors. The other washable filter is a pre-filter which is great for catching larger particles such as pet hair. The true-HEPA filter then catches all of the teeny tiny allergens such as the smallest dander. It has great auto abilities too, which means it ramps up the speed whenever there is an increase in pet smells and dander particles. It’s not the nicest looking machine (that’s subjective, I know), but it’s pretty well-priced if you get it on sale ($200 give or take).
Check out our in-depth review here
- True-HEPA filter (it’s a great one, catching 99.99% of particles as small as 0.3 microns)
- Washable pre-filter for larger allergens like pet hair
- Washable carbon filter for taking care of pet smells
- Auto mode for constant assessment of the air (automatically changes the fan speed according to the condition of the air)
- LED light to remind you to change the filters
- PlasmaWave technology for neutralising germs and smells, (it it CAN be turned off if it’s not appealing to you)
- Remote control
- Great for spaces of around 283 square feet
Best air purifiers for odors
For an air purifier to be effective against odors it needs an activated carbon filter. ACF’s are designed and added especially for the purpose of neutralising odors when the air is filtered through the machine. Some models (as you’ll see in this list) also feature an antimicrobial filter or treatment which is designed to kill living nasties such as bacteria, viruses and mold.
This is good news for reducing odors too, as sometimes it’s the bacteria and mold which is causing some or most of the odors. Either way, it’s a handy and healthy feature to have. An auto-detect feature is also really handy because it means that when the air suddenly becomes overrun with odor, the machine will sense it and kick the fan speed to high to circulate the air faster and get those odors into the carbon filter ASAP.
Hathaspace Smart HEPA Air Purifier
A lesser-known model with a black and white aesthetic and some fantastic features for pet-ridden homes. With an activated carbon filter and three other filters, odors and their origins are captured impressively. It is also equipped with an air-quality sensor which detects when odors are present, and increases the fan speed accordingly. It does have a UV light and an ionizer but they can both be switched off.
- Activated carbon filter for neutralising odors
- True-HEPA filter for catching tiny pet-related allergens and keeping the air safe
- Nano-Cold Catalyst Filter for catching particles (i.e. pet hair) as well as household chemicals
- Antibacterial filter for killing living things such as mold and bacteria
- Auto mode for sensing odors and increasing the fan speed to rid the air of them
- Air quality indicator uses coloured lights to let you know the state of the air at all times
- From September 2018 all models will have a “lights off” feature whenever the sleep mode is turned on
- Great for spaces of 300 square feet
GermGuardian 3-in-1 Air Purifier with Pet Pure True HEPA Filter
GermGuardian is such a solid brand when it comes to air purifiers, and this one is no exception. With “Pet Pure” in the name we know it’s been designed with us in mind. The “Pet Pure” feature is an antimicrobial treatment which has been added to the HEPA filter. It catches and kills bacteria which is responsible for bad smells. There are some fantastic reviews stating that this model has successfully eliminated allergy symptoms caused by household pets. It has a nice aesthetic with a tall, slim construction it will fit nicely into any room.
- True-HEPA filter treated with anti-microbial Pet Pure treatment for killing bacteria
- You can buy additional carbon filters for dealing with pet odors (comes in a 4-pack from Amazon)
- Great for rooms up to 193 square feet (pretty decent sized rooms)
- UV-C light for killing germs, but it can be switched off if it’s not your thing
- 5 fan speeds (speed 1 for quietness, speed 5 for allergen-thick air)
- Limited 5-year warranty
- Really good price if you can get it on sale (which is pretty much all the time)
What are the best affordable air purifiers for pets?
There are so many great air purifiers on the market which happen to be deliciously affordable for their high quality. This list features some of the best and most loved brands, Hamilton Beach and PureZone. I also note that the Levoit and the Honeywell further below in the “small spaces” section are extremely affordable as well, so take a peek at them.
Hamilton Beach 04384 True Compact Pet Air Purifier
This super-affordable air purifier has HEPA-grade filtration, (not “true” HEPA), but that’s nothing to worry about as it is still very effective for capturing pet dander and other allergens. Because of it’s zeolite carbon filters it would also be at home in the “odor” category as it’s pretty powerful against pet smells. It is cheap to run as you don’t need to replace the HEPA filter, it can be vacuumed. The size is nice and compact, and it can be settled horizontally or vertically so you can pop it onto a shelf or in the corner on the floor.
- Great for areas up to 160 square feet
- 3 fan speeds
- HEPA-grade filter for catching allergens like pet dander
- HEPA-grade filter is permanent and can be vacuum cleaned (no extra costs for replacing filter)
- Comes with 2 replacement zeolite carbon filters for clearing up pet smells
- Pre-filter for catching larger particles like pet hair
- Can be used horizontally or vertically to suit all kinds of rooms and spaces
- Very compact size
- Great price (WELL below $100)
PureZone 3-in-1 True-HEPA Air Purifier
This is a very highly-rated air purifier with true-HEPA filtration and an optional UV-C light for killing germs. Now, it’s at the higher end of the affordable spectrum at under $150 but for the quality you get, the price is great. It’s nice and quiet which makes it a good choice for bedrooms. It’s a good all-rounder for pet-related allergies and odors without breaking the bank.
- True-HEPA filtration
- UV-C light for killing bacteria and germs, but it can be switched off if you’re not into UV-C lights
- Nice and quiet on the lowest fan speed, great for bedrooms
- Activated carbon filter for neutralising pet odors
- Pre-filter for catching larger particles such as pet hair
- 3 fan speeds
- Timer with options of 2, 4 and 8 hours
- Filter reset light to remind you when to switch out the filters
Best by room size
It’s important to choose an air purifier which can handle the size of the room you are intending to purify. Every air purifier has a recommended room size, which means that it can effectively clean all of the air in a space that size. For example, if you purchased an air purifier with a recommended room area of 160 square feet and you put it in a room of 350 square feet the air would not be sufficiently cleaned.
What are the best air purifiers for pets for larger rooms?
These models are great for big living rooms, really large bedrooms and open-plan homes. They could even work for large, open plan work spaces and offices.
Alen BreatheSmart Classic Fur Family Smart Bundle Air Purifier
I’m not going to lie, this is a really expensive model. But it’s worth it if healthy air and pet-related allergen control is crucial for your home life. Alen are a top-notch brand and this bundle has been put together especially for dealing with pets and their floaty irritants. The air purifier itself has a huge recommended room area of 1100 square feet which is perfect for huge apartments or big living spaces. It also has a SmartSensor which lets you know the quality of the air, and an auto feature which will change the fan speed for you depending on how many allergens are present.
- Covers 1100 square feet
- SmartSensor for monitoring the quality of the air
- Auto feature which adjusts the fan speed according to the air quality
- Comes 2 HEPA-Odorcell filters which are designed especially for pet dander and odors
- Comes with a lifetime warranty
- WhisperMax technology for a super quiet operation
- Energy Star Certified
AeraMax 300/DX95 Large Room Air Purifier
This model from AeraMax is made for rooms from 300 to 600 square feet, which is more than enough for large rooms and living spaces. The true-HEPA filter has been spiked with antimicrobial treatment for killing germs and odor-creating bacteria. There is also an activated carbon filter for neutralising those strong pet smells. The AeraSmart sensor tracks the quality of the air and adjusts the fan speed to combat any increase in allergens. It does have an ioniser but it can be switched off if you’re not into it.
- Great for rooms up to 600 square feet
- AeraSmart sensor monitors air quality and adjusts fan speed accordingly
- True-HEPA filter with antimicrobial treatment for killing germs
- Activated carbon filter for neutralizing pet smells
- Pretty reasonable price for such a great machine
What are the best air purifiers for pets for small spaces and apartments?
For a small space or apartment you need an air purifier which is physically not too big or bulky as you don’t want to waste any precious space with an appliance. These models are neat, compact and effective for reducing pet-related allergens and odors.
This is one of the best, most-loved air purifiers for smaller spaces (up to 85 square feet). It has a cylindrical style with fresh white and blue colour palette. Small enough to be inconspicuous in a small room or apartment, but effective enough to make a huge change to the air. It’s a great option for homes with pets because it has true-HEPA filtration and a carbon filter for pet odors. You can adjust the fan speed from low, medium and high, and you can dim the lights so they don’t disrupt your sleep at night.
- True-HEPA filter fore getting the tiniest of allergens
- Activated carbon filter for neutralising pet smells
- Pre-filter for catching the bigger allergens like pet hair
- Attractive, compact design great for smaller spaces
- 3 fan speeds
- 2-year warranty
- Optional nightlight, (you can turn off the lights too)
- Great price (under $100)
- Great for rooms of around 85 square feet
Honeywell Kaz HPA060 Compact Tower Allergen Remover
This is a cute little air purifier for wee rooms of up to 75 square feet. Despite being a cutie it’s actually really effective and does an awesome job at clearing pet smells and allergens. It has those two features we love: true-HEPA filter for allergens and an activated carbon filter for odors. It has three cleaning modes including an ideal one for pet-inhabited homes, the “allergen” mode. You can use this mode during times when your pets are shedding heavily.
- True-HEPA filter
- Activated carbon filter for allergens
- Small and compact to fit neatly into small spaces
- 3 cleaning modes: germ, general and allergen
Veva 8000 Elite Pro Series AIr Purifier
This one has a much higher recommended room area than the first two (it’s for rooms up to 325 square feet), but I’ve popped it in here as it’s a good option for rooms on the bigger side of small (or medium, if you will). It’s also been chosen for it’s versatility, it can be set up either as a vertical tower on the floor, or horizontally on a desk or shelf if you remove the base stand. It has true-HEPA filtration for pet allergens and an activated carbon filter for pet odors.
- 3 fan speeds including “turbo” for times when pet allergens are increased
- True-HEPA filter for catching all pet allergens
- Pre-filter for catching larger particles first
- Activated carbon filter for neutralising pet odors
- Small, light and compact
- Versatile design for horizontal or vertical set-ups
We’ve reached the end, and now you’re all clued-up on the best air purifiers for your budget, needs and furry friend issues. Hopefully you’ve come across something in our list which matches up to your needs and will get you on the way to a less snuffle-inducing, dander-heavy home.
When it comes to pets and filters (whether from air purifiers or vacuum cleaners for that matter) it’s best to check them more often than you may think, just to make sure they’re not rendered useless by a heavy deposit of fuzz.
It’s a good idea to give the review section of each item a scan before you narrow down your choice. Happy and sad customers can be counted on to relay their experience with a product, and their findings may be crucial to your decision. But since we have chosen the best on the market, you’re bound to find a winner.