Take note pet owner, your Lab, Goldy, Yorkie, or feline (I’m not a cat person) deserve freedom at home! When your body suddenly develops a taste for pet allergies, the likely scenario is your buddy has to go. Allergens flow wherever they want whether you like it or not. Just because your pet is shedding like crazy or smell, it does not mean they should be chased out.
To save you from going to the extreme route, there is an alternate happy ending for both parties. We listed down THE BEST air purifier for pet hair, dander, odors, and allergies catered to different needs. At the end of this post, you will have a clearer answer on how to live well with your furry companion.
What causes pet allergies?
Pet allergy is an abnormal reaction to the proteins in pet dander (skin flake), urine, and saliva from your pet. Yes, it is the protein that causes the allergic reaction. NOT shed hair from your dog/ cat as many people might mistake it for. Common symptoms from pet allergies include red eyes, itchiness, wheezing, shortness of breath, and asthma. There are also people that are hyper-sensitive to pet odors. One might experience chronic sneezing, stuffy nose, or nausea when the smell picked up. A final point worth highlighting is that allergies could come and go anytime. some owners would only start developing allergies after a certain stage of life.
Who is this for?First and foremost, all the air cleaner listed here is perfect for both the owner and their furry friend. Pet owners with asthma would benefit greatly from this list as well. Newborn, children or elderly with weaker immune system would appreciate an allergen-free environment. Lastly, anyone that is allergic to pet dander, dust mites or even pet odors.
2020 Best Air Purifier for Pets
|Air Purifier||Online Price (Amazon)||Filtration||Coverage||Score|
|Alen BreatheSmart Classic Air Purifier|
|3-stage||1100 sq. ft. (102 m2)||8.4|
|GermGuardian AC5250PT Air Purifier|
|5-stage||180 sq. ft. (17 m2)||5.7|
|Austin Air Pet Machine Air Purifier|
|4-stage||1500 sq. ft. (139 m2)||8.1|
|Rabbit Air MinusA2 SPA-780A Air Purifier|
|6-stage||815 sq. ft. (76 m2)||9.1|
|Hamilton Beach TrueAir Compact Pet 04384 Air Purifier|
|3-stage||140 sq. ft. (13 m2)||5.5|
|Winix HR900 Air Purifier|
|5-stage||300 sq. ft. (28 m2)||8.4|
|Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier|
|4-stage||360 sq. ft. (33 m2)||8.5|
Alen BreatheSmart overall purifying performance is great, the all-in-one filter is even better. Other than Classic, there are few variants of BreatheSmart models currently on sale. Each air purifier would vary in specification and cater for different price group. Having said all that, it's actually the pet odor neutralizer HEPA-OdorCell that won our heart. It is a must-have upgrade as it is the best filter to remove pet hair, dander, and odors. HEPA-OdorCell filter comes with Alen's patented Molecular Conversion Powder. It is specialized in destroying pet smells at a molecular level.
Treating it as a sheer pet air purifier, Alen BreatheSmart has a rather expensive price tag. Worst still, the HEPA-OdorCell we talked about is an optional purchase add-on. The lack of a dedicated activated carbon filter would also drive the filter cost up. Skipping the downsides and noisy max speed, there are many good things about Alen BreatheSmart that we yet to touch on but its there. You can learn more about BreatheSmart in the detail reviews.
- Plenty of beautiful front cover design to choose from.
- Wide 1100 square feet purifying coverage with high 300 cfm CADR.
- 4-stage filtration with 3 optional filter set and ionizer.
- HEPA filter that is excellent in removing pet germs from saliva and dander.
- Filters can last up to 18 months on normal use.
- Unique Alen features - SmartSensor, auto mode, filter life timer, pre-set timer, and Lifetime Warranty.
- Rather expensive even though the specification is good.
- Default HEPA-Pure filter does not come with odor filtration. Filter upgrade is a must.
- No dedicated activated carbon filter so any replacement will have to be with the HEPA filter.
A worthy replacement to the previous AC4850PT with roughly the same price range. GermGuardian AC5250PT slim profile is arguably the best air purifier for pet hair job. With plenty of filtration strength in its pocket, no allergens will be able to bypass the 5-stage filtration. The combined HEPA filtration is highly effective against cat and dog allergies. Begin with the permanent mesh filter plus charcoal pre-filter for cat's hair and odors. A must-have True HEPA Fresh filter to remove microscopic allergens. Pet Pure treatment AKA antimicrobial that halts microorganism growth. Closing with UV-C Light that destroys airborne germs and bacteria.
GermGuardian AC5250PT is a well-made, mid-range, tower air purifier that barely takes up any space. It does have its downside and is unsurprisingly down to average airflow performance. Mediocre purifying coverage and slow airflow delivery rate. The slightly over-bright indicator light might also be annoying for some. Still, we can't complain much as it holds exceptional value for a pet dander removal machine.
- 5-stage filtration that cost less than 130 dollars after online rebate.
- True HEPA with Pet Pure antimicrobial that inhibits the growth of microorganisms.
- UV-C light that would eliminate germs coming from cat or dog saliva.
- Captures smoke, pet hair, and dust all at one go.
- Small coverage with limited airflow output.
- Lacks air quality sensors and Auto mode.
- Uses an inferior charcoal pre-filter.
A powerful air purifier with a very low annual filter maintenance cost. Pet Machine might not age well in today's standard, it is still one of the best air purifiers for pet hair/ odor. It has one of the widest purifying coverage (1500 sq. ft.) at 2 airflow releases hourly. The strong airflow output is excellent in controlling dog/ cat odors before the stench spread through the house. Trio pre-filter (outer mesh, inner pre-filter, and medium filter) ensure no pet hair would be able to get out. Moving on, impregnated carbon/zeolite mixture carbon filter will tackle smelly odors. The final stage 60 sq.ft. True Medical Grade HEPA filter will trap all microscopic particles.
Bypassing all the cons and expensive price tag, Austin Air Pet Machine is actually a low-maintenance air purifier. The super long-life, all-in-one filter that could last up to 5 years on normal use. However, there is no Auto mode, air quality monitor/ sensor, timer or any modern features you could think of. Fan noise is louder than we preferred and it's also very bulky in size; not great if you have very limited space.
- Cover up to 1500 square feet of room size.
- Dual pre-filter capacity in trapping incoming pet hair.
- 15 lbs. carbon filter that removes all kinds of smoke and pet odors.
- 60 sq. ft. HEPA filter protected by a separate medium filter.
- Up to 5 years of filter lifespan.
- Bulky and heavy even though with casters.
- Lacks auto mode, sleep mode, air quality sensor, and even timer.
Not limited to any version, Rabbit Air MinusA2 is a regular sitter in our best list here for many valid reasons. It has an exceptional 360° circulation for comprehensive, all-angle purifying coverage. More importantly, the 6-stage filtration will handle all spectrum of airborne irritants. Starting with the pre-filter that remove first-stage particles e.g. dog/ cat hair. With most pet hair trapped, HEPA filter and Medium filter will focus on smaller allergens. Choose the optional Pet Allergy Customized Filter to get rid of animal dander and germs. Charcoal-Based Activated Carbon Filter would eliminate all foul smells from canine and feline. The final Negative Ion Generator is there to round up any leftover irritants for a new clean cycle.
Lets nitpicking on Rabbit Air MinusA2 disadvantages. The expensive starting price without adding the filter upgrade and front panel. Bulky despite being wall-mountable. CADR is not impressive while few might argue MinusA2 is not effective against foul cat or dog odor. We beg to differ on the last part.
- 6-stage pet filtration including Pre-filter, Medium and HEPA filter.
- Low filter replacement cost despite having many added filters.
- Wall-mountable with optional front panel design.
- Dedicated AC carbon filter and 4 Customizable filter options.
- Auto, Pollen, and light-sensitive sleep mode plus trio particle, odor, and light sensor.
- Very expensive to own and maintain after adding the optional filters and cover.
- Below average airflow performance.
The cheapest pet air purifier listed here (less than 60 after discount). TrueAir Compact Pet is the ideal tabletop air purifier if you have a cat that loves to hang around the work desk. Small and cheap yet with all the bundled filters squeezed in its tight body. Your table will guarantee stay-free of airborne cat hair, animal dander, and germs. The replacement carbon sheet is also very cheap at around 10 dollars. Permanent, reusable HEPA-grade filter that will trap hair, dust mite, and pet dander. On top of that, there are 2 carbon zeolite filters standing by to neutralize any cat odors stench.
Good as a subsidiary/ tabletop purifying machine on top of your main air cleaner. The big trade-off for such a cheap air purifier is the weak filtration performance. Purifying range is also very limited as you would expect from its compact form. Filtration against animal allergens and odors is way below par. Lastly, the permanent filter requires regular vacuuming to remove the fast-filled pet hair.
- Very affordable price tag around 50 dollars.
- Cost-saving permanent HEPA grade filter that can be reused over and over again.
- Compact and versatile design.
- Small coverage with sub-par airflow delivery.
- Weak permanent HEPA filtration that is ineffective against strong odors and germs.
- Absolutely no supporting features.
A destined replacement to 9500, Winix HR900 Ultimate Pet Air Purifier has my vote of confidence. Not only there is a bumped up airflow performance, it still possesses the previous charm that most pet owner would be looking for. The 5-stage filtration that will trap any types of pet allergies in its surroundings. The dependable pre-filter and optional pet filter will stop furball/ hair moving forward. Protected True HEPA filter will then remove associated allergens as small as 0.3 microns in size. The Coated Deodorization (CD) Carbon Filter will eliminate urine and related pet odors. Last PlasmaWave Technology also in the bag to neutralize incoming odor and germs.
The one and only shortcoming with HR900 is the filter change will end up being VERY COSTLY. The high annual filter replacement cost (100+) is the only biggest beef we have with this air purifier. Other than that, it is well-equipped with dual sensors, timer, auto, and sleep mode all standing by.
- Less than 300 dollars for a specialize pet 5-stage filtration air purifier.
- 300 square feet coverage with strong airflow delivery rate.
- Double protection with Ultimate pet pre-filter and True-HEPA filter.
- AOC carbon filter that is excellent in removing pet smelly odors.
- Built-in timer, child lock, AQ indicator, Auto/ Sleep mode all come standard.
- Slightly costly filter replacement If you include the extra pet filter.
A popular and inexpensive air purifier with a twist. Winix 5500-2 filtration setup is compatible with HR900 Ultimate pet filter. You can now officially upgrade your air purifier with additional protection. With or without the pet filter add-on, 5500-2 will have no problem reducing the frequency of pet allergies from arising. The outer pre-filter is great at cleaning up airborne dust, dog and cat hair sheds. Inner True-HEPA filter with deal with smaller allergens not captured by the pre-filter. CD Carbon Filter will eradicate odor emitted from feces, saliva. PlasmaWave will end the cycle by neutralizing any germs or bacteria along the way. Combining with wide purifying coverage, decent CADR, and autonomous purifying in the bag, what more could you ask for?
A reliable air purifier for allergens and odor capturing but a pain in the a** to maintain. Winix 5500-2 is effective, has an accessible price point and all the features you would ever need. Again, high annual filter replacement cost is a common theme in Winix air purifier. There is also the minor indicator light glaring issue that might or might not be a big deal to you.
- About 150 dollars for a 4-stage PlasmaWave filtration air purifier.
- Impressive 360 square feet coverage and 200+ cfm CADR.
- True-HEPA filter will greatly reduce pet allergies caused by airborne contaminants.
- AOC carbon filter that can remove any chemical fumes that is bad for you and your pet.
- Auto, Sleep mode, AQ indicator, timer, and remote control all in.
- Filter costs can be high considering how cheap the air purifier is.
What is Pet Dander?
In simple terms, pet dander is dead skin cells that shed from animals’ fur or feathers. All warm-blooded animals produce dander including tiny gerbil, reptiles to bird species. Cat dander is the most common contributor to allergies follows closely by dog dander.
It Is hard to spot pet dander on its own through our naked eyes. These tiny skin flakes vary in size with an estimated 75% scale at 5 microns or larger and 25% are 2.5 microns or smaller.
Most people mistake pet dander as the allergy aggravator. It is actually the protein within that trigger symptom like sneezing, skin rash. Our body immune system produces antibodies as it mistakes protein as harmful allergens.An air cleaner would get rid of airborne animal dander, but vacuuming and grooming work best complimenting each other.
How Long Does Pet Dander Stay In a House?
Pet dander will stay in a house for around 4–6 months or 20 to 30 weeks even if the pet has already left. Cat dander is the most known type to be adhesive on household objects including our hair, bag, and clothes. As a result, many pet owners unknowingly became the allergen official transporter. When on the move, the allergens will spread to common places e.g. shopping malls, offices, classrooms, etc.
Can You Develop Dog Allergies Later in Life (Or Cat)?
Yes, you can develop allergies later in life regardless of how old you are. This happens when our immune system overreacts to a substance as a harmful allergen. The body will respond with a chemical compound Histamine that triggers allergy symptoms. Almost anything can trigger an allergic reaction from food, mold, to pollen. For pet allergies, animal dander (dead skin) is the most common culprit. Follow by dog/ cat saliva, bacteria in pet hair to the less common insect bites and bird dropping.
Pet Allergy Symptoms To Look Out For
Sneeze nonstop when your cat is rubbing against your legs? Watery eyes at the sight of shed hair? Having a family history of allergies particularly on pet dander? The whole house smells like animal pee and air feels stale? If you have developed dog or cat allergies out of a sudden, do look out for the following symptoms.
- Constant sneezing, Runny nose, Nasal congestion, Rubbing of the nose (children)
- Postnasal drip Cough, Itchy throat, wheezing
- Swollen eyes, Red eyes, watery eyes, Blue circle under eyes
- Rashness, Hives, Itchy skin, Eczema
- Facial pressure, Trouble sleeping or awake from pain
- Difficulty breathing, Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness, Sudden chest pain
Do Air Purifiers Work For Pet Allergies?
Yes they do but it’s only limited to airborne type allergens. Air purifier is the perfect companion when you perform routine household vacuuming. It will also promote better health by distributing clean air to you and your furry friend.
There are many different types of air purifiers in the market. Assuming you are not comparing the different sizes and categories, HEPA equipped air purifier is your best bet. Also, ignore those ozone generators that market themselves as a pet-oriented air purifier. On improper use, it will do you more harm than good.
For those that do not have the privilege of owning an air cleaner (yet), the following steps would work as well.
How To Get Rid of Pet Allergies
While there is no quick fix in getting rid of pet allergies another than letting your pet go, the best way is to avoid getting the allergens indoor. Still, sometimes we will visit places that have cats, dogs or have visitors that own pets to our home. They are the transporters that will bring contaminants and germs in unknowingly. So to keep us protected from the external pet allergens, here are some pro tips to safeguard yourself.
- Restrict the places your cat or dog can go ESPECIALLY in your bedroom. This is because you would spend one-third of your time sleeping. Best to avoid keeping pet indoor or having one at all (OUCH).
- Never hang around places where pet roams. Pet dander is very light and can become airborne when disturbed.
- Boost your body's immune system with a clean and healthy lifestyle. First, eat lots of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats. Our favorite pick include berries, kale, cauliflower, garlic, leafy greens, raw honey, and yogurt. Next, sleep between seven to eight hours a day. It will restore your immune system, control your blood pressure, and reduce stress. Finally, exercise at least 3 times a week and limit the numbers of alcohol consumption. Keep your heart pumping.
- Make sure your furry pal is healthy too. Feed him with only grain-free food to keep the fur thick and glowing. A healthier skin equals to less irritation and fewer shed hairs. That would also mean less pet dander would spread around the house.
- Allergies will come and go at any stage of life. If you are suddenly allergic to your own pet, don't worry as the allergy severity might lessen or even disappear over time. No one knows when exactly this will happen, but there is always hope.
- Can't stand the coughing, sneezing, itchiness from allergy irritation, ask your doctor to prescribe some pills. Antihistamines will subdue the production of histamine chemicals. Decongestants improve breathing by reducing swollen tissues in the nasal passageways. Corticosteroids are used in a nasal spray to lessen inflammation and redness. Leukotriene modifiers will help prevent an asthma attack. Alternatively, probiotics can be taken for a healthy digestive system and alleviating allergies.
- Practice good hygiene and never kiss a dog as their saliva contains bacteria that can cause gum disease. Avoid rubbing your eyes when your pet is around. Do not touch, hug, pet them even thought how cute and fluffy they are. If there is contact, always wash your hands with antibacterial soap and water. Use a lint roller or change your cloth when necessary.
- Steam clean floor carpet and upholstery as is a magnet for pet dander and germs. If possible, switch every household item with allergen-free materials. Examples hypoallergenic pillows, and bedsheets.
- Bathe your dog at least twice a month to curb down the spread of germs and dander. Not only it will keep the pet odors away, bathing will remove skin flakes from being airborne. You can use allergenic-free conditioners to keep their hair strong and shining. Try not to use a hairdryer as it will make the hair dry and more prone to shed.
- When you are down with very bad pet allergies, don't be afraid to seek help. Ask your family member, partner or friend to take over some of the house chores while you take a good rest. Even if they refuse, you can always hire temporary helpers or maid online.
- Get a HEPA air purifier and turn it on 24x7 to reduce the numbers of airborne hair, odors, and allergens. The lesser the airborne particles, the fewer pet allergies you will be experiencing. Works well if your room is centrally heated or air-conditioned.
- No air purifier? Try opening windows and doors to improve room ventilation.
- Getting an allergy shot (immunotherapy) helps increase the tolerance level towards allergies. It is used as a treatment option to improve our body's natural defenses. By injecting very small doses of allergen into the body over a period of time, the person will be less sensitive to the allergens.
- Go for hypoallergenic cats (Sphynx, Bengal, Balinese) or dogs (Maltese Terrier, Shih Tzu). They shed less or has fewer germs in their saliva. Do note there is no 100% hypoallergenic-free pet regardless of how "hairless" they are.
- Brush your cats or dogs daily and thoroughly to reduce the number of shed hair from being airborne. Wear a mask or have a non-allergic family member to perform the grooming.
- Replace your furniture with pet allergy-proof pillowcase, bedding, sofa cover or carpet. Carpet is notoriously known to trap pet dander.
- Perform housekeeping regularly to get rid of allergens that stuck on the floor. Use HEPA vacuum cleaner for vacuuming with air cleaner to capture pet hair that is stirred back up in the air.
- Change the cat litter box frequently and place it in an open area. The smell and bacteria will go away faster.
8 Signs That You Need An Air Purifier For Pet Allergies
If you experience any of the known pet allergy symptoms only when your pet is around, it's a clear sign that you "have" it. Time to get some airborne protection.
- You have more than 1 pets - One is fun. Two is trouble. Three is a nightmare! Imagine staring at clouds of pet hair flying up and down.
- Your house stinks - Not just odors coming from your pet. Other unpleasant smells also chipped in from cat litter box, urine, and saliva.
- You have the signs - Can’t stop sneezing or have itchiness all over the body. Checked. Watery/ red eyes, nasal congestion or shortness of breath. Checked. Symptoms go away when you are in a pet-free area. Checked.
- You are breathless - Not because of someone, is "THE" respiratory disorder. From Asthma, COPD to pulmonary edema, to hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and respiratory tract damage.
- You snore loudly - When your cat or dog is sleeping close to you. This can happen out of the blue even if you have been sharing the bed with your furry friend for quite sometimes.
- You feel choked - No not by a Jedi master, is the air feels stale and stuffy. In other words, your home might be a victim of bad indoor air quality.
- You have unexpected visitor - Dust mites can be seen (or feel) in your bed. Yes, the same bed you share with your domestic pets. Remember, dust mites feed on dead skin aka pet dander.
- You are in the weak category - Either you or your loved one that has an inferior immune system. Newborn baby/ children, elderly above 60, pregnant women, sick persons all qualifies.
What To Look for When Buying An Air Purifier for Pet
There are just so many health benefits an air purifier can bring to the table. Even though not all are related to pet allergies, you should consider them when choosing the right one. To get the most out of the many available options, focus on the following features below:
- Price and maintenance - First, look at the price of the air cleaner. Second, cross-check the annual filter replacement cost via our website. If you are comfortable with the pricing and cost of ownership, is time to move to the next features.
- Size and weight - Air cleaners come in different size and weight. If you live in a small apartment or room, there is no need to pick a full-size console machine. It's overpowering and will eat up your pet activity space. Also, picking a heavier model will prevent it from tipping over when your cat brushes against it.
- Airflow performance - The stronger the airflow, the more airborne particles will be pulled in by the air purifier. Not a great deal for those that stay in a small room.
- Room size - Calculate the room size where your plan to place the air purifier. Take into account the spot where your pet spends the most time in. Make sure the purifying coverage is sufficient with at least 2 air charges of airflow.
- Pre-filter - A good pre-filter can trap a large amount of pet hair filled with germs and bacteria. Pick those that are permanent/ washable so you could regularly vacuum the hair out and reuse it again.
- HEPA filter - Allergies are in microscopic size that will easily pass through the pre-filter. Look for True HEPA filter that has a 99.97% efficiency rate against microbes like bacteria and viruses.
- Carbon filter - The filter you need to get rid of pet smell. Instead of thin carbon sheet, look for activated carbon filter that can trap stronger odors at one go.
- Other specialized filtration - The more the merrier. UV-light is effective in killing off germs and bacteria. Ionizer makes stubborn particles a lot easier to capture. Antimicrobial prevents trapped microorganisms on the filter from further growth.
- Auto mode/ Sleep mode - Autonomously manage airflow speed according to its surrounding air quality. Very useful when you are away or during night time.
- Power consumption and noise level - Basic rule of thumb applied here. The higher the airflow, the more energy consumption it would require. Same goes with noise level, the lower the noise level, the weaker the airflow output. Thus, if you don't need that much power, consider a more energy-efficient unit.
- Branding reputation - Allergies never stop but an air purifier will break down at certain point. Check and compare the warranty period and what does the warranty cover. Also, how does the company exercise its warranty? With replacement parts or 1-to-1 exchange? A reputable brand will have responsive customer service and spread out service center.
How To Use Your Pet Air Purifier Properly?
I'm sure 99% of you did not go through the air purifier's manual. Probably missed few interesting quirks but no biggie. We are here to cover the most generic yet important tips you should do after unboxing your air purifier.
- Choose the perfect spot - Most common mistake for owner that banish the air purifier to a corner. Air purifier needs "breathing" space to perform full cycle purification. Reserve at least 2 feet of clearance between walls so there is no airflow disruption. We recommend placing the air purifier right at the spot where your pet "chills". This would ensure hair and pet dander are capture straight before it scattered across the room.
- Don't block, please - An air purifier is not a dryer, never place an object like cloths on top of the air outlet. Some models have air inlet located at the back or front while others are on both sides. Make sure there is no obstruction within the pathways. When contaminants cannot flow in and clean air cannot dissipate, air quality will remain unchanged.
- Turn it on and leave it - Pets shed daily, rain or shine. When the air purifier is turned off, the contaminants will start building up making it harder to remove. As a result, allergens and bacteria will spread quickly without you realizing it. It is essential to keep the air purifier on without turning it off so nothing gets away. Don't worry too much about the electricity bill. Modern air purifiers are energy-efficient that consume energy less than a light bulb. Further supporting that is features like Auto or Sleep mode that manage energy usage.
- Replace worn out filters - Very important step as ignoring it will defeat the purpose of having an air purifier. The HEPA filter and carbon filter has a usage lifetime. Whether is 6 months or 1 year, you need to change the filter when it's time. There is also a washable pre-filter that requires cleaning regularly so it would not be clogged from particles. Most air purifier has a filter change indicator that will lit when the filter is worn out. Check with the manufacturer or our website on the filter's lifespan.
- Keep windows and doors shut - Like air-con, continuous operation will ensure only cool air will cycle inside the room. The same scenario with an air purifier, the longer it purifies, the lesser allergens will be in a room. It will also prevent outdoor pollutants from flowing in and clean air from escaping. You will be enjoying the purified air while at the same time, reduce the air purifier workload.
Pro Tip For Removing Pet Hair From Air
The easiest way of removing pet hair in the air is to set the air purifier at max speed and place it near your cat or dog. The strong airflow will quickly pull in surrounding air into the filter before anyone has a chance to breathing in. It can be very loud thus it is not possible to run it in the bedroom at night. So limit your pet activity space especially during night time. Also, pet hair is not microscopic, you don't need a top-end air purifier or the best HEPA filter to get rid of pet hair.