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4 Best Air Purifiers for Pets (And 2 to Steer Clear Of)

Last updated November 16, 2022

This post may contain affiliate links.

Author
Author avatar Danny Ashton

Danny as been writing about air purifiers for 10+ years. He is a major fan of home technology, which makes him the perfect person to test and evaluate products for HouseFresh

Let’s kick this article off with two key statistics:

Considering those two facts, it is no surprise that demand for air purifiers for apartments and homes is rising. This prompted me to create this shortlist of the best and worst units for pet owners.

Understanding Pet Allergies

The number one solution to help with pet allergy symptoms is to reduce the number of allergens in the home. In this case, the main allergen is dander (dry skin flakes). Many people assume they are allergic to the pet’s hair or fur, but the reality is that their allergies are triggered by a protein that is present in dead skin. 

The most common allergic reaction is to cat dander, but any mammal (dogs, guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters, etc.) can shed dead skin cells that trigger an allergic reaction in people. Coming into contact with pet dander can cause a skin rash or hives, and in the most severe cases, it can trigger a person’s asthma.

Regularly vacuuming, keeping your pets off the furniture and getting rid of carpets can help you get rid of pet dander at home. Still, it’s important to highlight that these measures are ineffective against some dander, which can be as small as 2.5 microns. These tiny particles can easily make their way into your lungs, making a HEPA-based air purifier the most powerful way to remove these tiny skin flake particles from the air. 

Pet dander, at its smallest level, is a 2.5μm particle. This type of small particle can be removed using a HEPA-based filter, which is effective at removing small particles, including virus particles that measure 0.1 μm. If you are also interested in pet odor removal, you will also want an air purifier that includes an activated carbon filter, as HEPA is useless for gasses and odors. 

The Top 3 Air Purifiers For Pet Dander and Odor

We tested 40 air purifiers last year and using these data points, we can recommend what we believe are the best units for pets as of October 2022. 

Our shortlist is made up of air purifiers containing both HEPA and activated carbon filters. 

Model
Best Overall
Best Budget Option
Best for Large Spaces
Style
Alen BreatheSmart 75i Air Purifiers for Bedrooms, Living Room, Kitchen, Pure HEPA Air Filter, Smart Air Cleaner to Remove Pollen, Dust, Dander, Pet Air, Mold, Quiet Air Flow for Large Rooms, 1300 SqFt
Air Purifiers for Home Large Room, H13 True HEPA Filter for Large Room Cover 1500 ft², Air Cleaner 3 Speeds, Air Quality Monitor Sensor, Child Lock, Sleep Mode, CADR 420 m³/h, Remove 99.97% Pollutants
LEVOIT Air Purifiers for Home Large Room, Covers up to 3175 Sq. Ft, Smart WiFi and PM2.5 Monitor, H13 True HEPA Filter Removes 99.97% of Particles, Pet Allergies, Smoke, Dust, Auto Mode, Alexa Control
Pros
A powerful unit that has a large activated carbon for pet odors and has great efficiency. The lifetime warranty is the cherry on top and that is why the Alen 75i is our top air purifier for pets.
Hard to beat this budget option for those with pets. It has H13 HEPA, activated carbon and a price currently the best on the market.
Currently, our best performer at removing pollutants from our test room as it cleaned it in 15 minutes.
Cons
High initial price and filter costs. The ionizer function might not be good for bird owners, but it’s optional.
It is hard to find this unit on Amazon. You will need more than one for bigger spaces.
The large unit takes up a lot of space. The filter has less carbon than the IQAir model.
CADR
347 CFM / 589m³/h
226 CFM / 384 m³/h
410 CFM / 697 m³/h
Filter Technology
B7-MP-Pet/Odor
Air inlet grille, washable pre-filter and 3-stage H13 true HEPA filter
H13 True HEPA filter and integrated activated charcoal filter
Recommended Room Size
up to 1,300 ft²
322 ft²
635 ft² to 1,588 ft²
Weight
12.2 kg / 27 lbs
8.6 kg / 19 lbs
6.2 kg / 13.7 lbs
Price
$741.99
$59.99
$299.99
Best Overall
Model
Style
Alen BreatheSmart 75i Air Purifiers for Bedrooms, Living Room, Kitchen, Pure HEPA Air Filter, Smart Air Cleaner to Remove Pollen, Dust, Dander, Pet Air, Mold, Quiet Air Flow for Large Rooms, 1300 SqFt
Pros
A powerful unit that has a large activated carbon for pet odors and has great efficiency. The lifetime warranty is the cherry on top and that is why the Alen 75i is our top air purifier for pets.
Cons
High initial price and filter costs. The ionizer function might not be good for bird owners, but it’s optional.
CADR
347 CFM / 589m³/h
Filter Technology
B7-MP-Pet/Odor
Recommended Room Size
up to 1,300 ft²
Weight
12.2 kg / 27 lbs
Price
$741.99
More Details
Best Budget Option
Style
Air Purifiers for Home Large Room, H13 True HEPA Filter for Large Room Cover 1500 ft², Air Cleaner 3 Speeds, Air Quality Monitor Sensor, Child Lock, Sleep Mode, CADR 420 m³/h, Remove 99.97% Pollutants
Pros
Hard to beat this budget option for those with pets. It has H13 HEPA, activated carbon and a price currently the best on the market.
Cons
It is hard to find this unit on Amazon. You will need more than one for bigger spaces.
CADR
226 CFM / 384 m³/h
Filter Technology
Air inlet grille, washable pre-filter and 3-stage H13 true HEPA filter
Recommended Room Size
322 ft²
Weight
8.6 kg / 19 lbs
Price
$59.99
More Details
Best for Large Spaces
Style
LEVOIT Air Purifiers for Home Large Room, Covers up to 3175 Sq. Ft, Smart WiFi and PM2.5 Monitor, H13 True HEPA Filter Removes 99.97% of Particles, Pet Allergies, Smoke, Dust, Auto Mode, Alexa Control
Pros
Currently, our best performer at removing pollutants from our test room as it cleaned it in 15 minutes.
Cons
The large unit takes up a lot of space. The filter has less carbon than the IQAir model.
CADR
410 CFM / 697 m³/h
Filter Technology
H13 True HEPA filter and integrated activated charcoal filter
Recommended Room Size
635 ft² to 1,588 ft²
Weight
6.2 kg / 13.7 lbs
Price
$299.99
More Details

Read on to find out more about performance test results and features for each of the shortlisted units, including the main reasons why we think they are the best choice for pet owners. 

1. Alen Breathsmart 75i

Alen has been making air purifiers since 2005. I still have a working Alen A350 that continues to clean the air in my home and Alen still sells replacement filters for it. They are currently the only manufacturer with a Forever Guarantee, which means they will replace your unit if it breaks at any time as long as you have an active filter subscription. 

The main reason the Alen 75i is our top for pet owners is its combination of a large HEPA H13 filter with an activated carbon filter —  it has 3.6 lbs of activated carbon with its  B7-MP-Pet/Odor filter option. Performance in our test lab matched their reported CADR of 347 CFM, as it cleaned our test room of all pollutants in 24 minutes.

The only downside to this air purifier is the initial cost ($779) and replacement filter costs that are $129 every 15 months.

If you can handle the initial costs, you get an air purifier that can remove pet dander for the largest rooms and a large number of activated charcoal pellets will do a good job of reducing pet odors. 

All models include an auto-mode that automatically switches on when it detects particle pollutants and then switches to a lower mode when they are removed. The latest model even comes with an App for Android and Apple, but we have not had a chance to test it yet but will report back on its functionality and use.

SPECS & FEATURES

Purifier technology:B7-MP-Pet/Odor
CADR (CFM / m³/h):347 CFM / 589m³/h
Recommended room size:1,300 sq. ft.
Filter life:15 months (Recommended 24hr/day operation)
Noise level (low — high):25 dB — 49 dB
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):27H x 18.5W x 11.5D inches / 68.58H x 46.99W x  29.21D cm
Weight (in pounds / in kg):12.2 kg / 27 lbs
Energy consumption:$ 97.76 per year
Time to clean our test room:24 minutes

What We Really Like:

👍 Large carbon filter with 3.6 lbs that will be perfect for any type of pet odor

👍 Powerful medical grade HEPA H13 filter which is exactly what you need to remove pet dander particles

👍 Auto-mode that allows for usage only when it detect particle pollutants

👍 Lifetime guarantee is totally unique in the air purifier market

What We Think Could Be Better:

👎 High price for both unit and filter replacement

👎 Ionizer might put off pet owners who own birds but Alen guarantees 0 PPM when disengaged and less than 0.001 PPM with optional ionizer engaged

2. Taotronics AP-003

Owning a pet is not cheap with food, medical bills and treats and a recent study estimated that, on average, a pet cost between $2,000 — $4,000 a year. So it makes sense that pet owners will look to save when it comes to keeping their air clean of pet dander and odors. 

Previously, there were no real options for air purifiers that cost less than $100; most were useless or even harmful. The good news is that as of this year, there is a budget unit that uses H13 HEPA and activated carbon and, in our performance tests, performed as well as air purifiers costing upwards of $200.

The Taotronics AP-003 is the perfect option for pet owners who don’t want to spend too much, with a cost of $79.99 and well-priced filters. It even includes an onboard screen that shows pollutant levels to the nearest ug/m3. It even includes activated carbon pellets that can deal with all sorts of pet odors.

The only downside is that it’s hard to find on Amazon and has no app support.

SPECS & FEATURES

Purifier technology:H13 HEPA with activated carbon pellets
CADR (CFM / m³/h):384 m³/h/226 CFM
Recommended room size:Up to 322 sq. ft/30 m²
Filter life:3-6 months
Noise level (low — high):≤32dB — 52dB
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):21.8 x 14.1 x 7.9in / 554 x 358 x 200mm
Weight (in pounds / in kg):18 lbs / 8.16 kg
Energy consumption:$61.26 per year
Time to clean our test room29 minutes

What We Really Like:

👍 Best price for a HEPA cleaning power on the market as of 2022

👍 Great to have auto-mode and accurate sensor reading on a budget unit

👍 Size is good enough for a bedroom or small living room and is cheap enough that two units make sense for larger space

👍 Energy costs are well under what we normally see for this level of cleaning power so has a very efficient fan

What We Think Could Be Better:

👎 Hard to find on Amazon because Taotronics has been banned for review manipulation

👎 Other units have more activated carbon so will be better for gasses and odors

3. Levoit Core 600S

This air purifier was the fastest to remove particulate pollutants from our home test lab, managing to remove everything in 15 minutes. If you have a large space and don’t want to invest in multiple units, the Levoit Core 600S is great value for money based on the air it can clean and its initial price of $299.99.

Like all Levoit air purifiers, its filter combines an H13 HEPA with activated carbon, but these extensive filters are not cheap at $59.99 for genuine filters made by Levoit. It has full App support and auto-mode, so one of the smarter air purifiers we have tested, so something to consider if you are used to smart home features.

The big downside of this unit is that it’s huge with a height of nearly 24 inches and would likely be overkill for smaller rooms for pet owners, but there are smaller options like the Core 400S that has less cleaning power, but its smaller size makes it easier to live with. 

If you have large rooms and want the best single-unit performance, then the Levoit Core 600S is the air purifier for you and your pets.

SPECS & FEATURES

Purifier technology:H13 True HEPA filter and activated charcoal.
CADR (CFM / m³/h):410 / 697 m³/h
Recommended room size:up to 3,175 sq. ft.
Filter life:6 months
Noise level (low — high):26 — 55 dB
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):12.3L x 12.3W x 23.6H inches / 31.3 x 31.3 x 60 cm
Weight (in pounds / in kg):13.7 lbs / 6.2 kg
Energy consumption:$102.11 per year
Time to clean our test room15 minutes

What We Really Like:

👍 Fastest air purifier at removing particles from all the 40 tests we performed this year

👍 Simple to use, especially if you have used Levoit air purifiers before

👍 App support allows for control when you are not in the room. You can check the current level of pollutants via its onboard sensor

👍 One unit that can clean the air in large rooms of up to 3,175 sq. ft.

What We Think Could Be Better:

👎 Very large, unsuitable for smaller rooms where space is an issue

👎 Filters are costly and need replacing every six months but there are generic filters available that cost fewer

4. Smart Health S

If you read my review of the Smart Health S, you will see that it was our top budget choice until we got a chance to review the Taotronics AP-033 at the end of 2022. 

I love the simplicity of the Smart Health S and it’s one of the better-looking air purifiers we got a chance to test. It uses H12 HEPA, which allows it to push more air without needing the energy-intensive fans that some manufacturers use. It has one wheel to control the speed and is a pure HEPA and activated charcoal, so there is no use of ionizers here and so is CARB, UL and CSA certified.

The other stand-out feature of the Smart Health S is the price of filters, the HEPA is $29.99, and the optional Carbon filter is $22.99. For pet owners, I would recommend getting the optional carbon filter, as it will then be able to deal with pet odors and dander.

The only downside to the Smart Health S is that it has zero smart features, no auto-mode or app support. The Smart Health S is a good size for a bedroom and is currently the unit we use to keep our bedroom free of particles and hazardous gasses like VOCs and formaldehyde. 

SPECS & FEATURES

Purifier technology:H12 HEPA and optional activated charcoal filter
CADR (CFM / m³/h):185 CFM / 315 m³/h
Recommended room size:430 sq. ft. 
Filter life:6 months
Noise level (low – high):23dB — 52dB
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):13H x 13W x 14.3D inches / 33.02H x 33.02W x 36.32D cm
Weight (in pounds / in kg):10.1 lbs / 4.58 kg
Energy consumption:$92.55 per year
Time to clean our test room:29 minutes

What We Really Like:

👍 Design looks great and is small enough for bedroom without taking over the space

👍 Option to not have a carbon filter to reduce total cost but we do recommend for pet owners due to pet odors

👍 Simplicity to use, one wheel to change speed and turn off/on

👍 Low sound even at the highest fan speed

What We Think Could Be Better:

👎 Lack of smart features and no-onboard particle sensor

👎 Minor build quality issues around the screws used

The 2 Air Pet Purifiers We Don’t Recommend in 2022

Based on our testing, there were a number of air purifiers that we recommend you avoid if you are a pet owner looking to clean the air in your home. Some units are too underpowered to deal with the continuous pet dander in the air. Others fail to perform well. Even with our test incense, they would fail to provide meaningful use for the number of pollutants caused by a pet in the home.

1. AROEVE MK01

Yes, the AROEVE MK01 is $59.99, but it was far too small to provide any meaningful level of clean air, especially for a situation involving pet dander. This is a major seller on Amazon as it looks like customers love it due to its 4.5-star review, but we think something funny happened when we tested it in our test lab. It failed to remove all pollutants even when we left it for four hours and could only make the air breathable after two hours and 43 minutes.

Animals are continuously shedding skin (dander), so you will need an air purifier that can remove these quickly before you breathe them in. This air purifier was very slow at removing even basic pollutants from incense sticks. It has no activated carbon filters, meaning that if you are looking for an air purifier that will help with pet dander and odors associated with pets, this isn’t the one. 

Why We Suggest You Avoid This Unit:
👎 Underpowered and small, which means the fan has to work very hard, creating a lot of noise and drawing a lot of power
👎 Only uses a HEPA filter, so it does nothing for odors or VOCs. It also has no option to add an activated carbon filter

2. Levoit Core Mini

We love Levoit air purifiers and the Core 300 was our recommended budget unit last year. The Core 600S is still the top-performing unit in our home lab test, but the Core Mini is not a good choice for a home with pets.

While it’s fine for a tiny space like an RV or a car, it’s way too small for even the smallest room in a house and would likely leave dander still in the air, which could cause allergic symptoms in those people who are susceptible.

When we tested the Levoit Core Mini in our test lab, it managed to clean all the pollutants in one hour and 53 minutes. Considering that our test room is 702 cubic ft (a small office), this unit would be underpowered in even the smallest bedroom in a house with pets.  

Why We Suggest You Avoid This Unit:
👎 Too underpowered to be used in the home with pets
👎 Filter costs start to add up as they are $24.99, which is very high for such a low-performing air purifier

Common Questions About Air Purifiers for Pets

🤔 Do air purifiers really work for pets?

Yes, mainstream science is unequivocal that HEPA air purifiers are a great way to remove pet dander. On top of this, activated charcoal filters work well for pet odors. Don’t take my word, though; we include references to 10 academic studies that show the benefits of HEPA and activated charcoal in our article Are Air Purifiers a Waste of Money? 

While pet dander can be as small as 2.5 microns, HEPA-based air purifiers are effective at removing much smaller particles like those from viruses.

🤔 How do I remove pet dander from the air?

Pet dander size can range from 2.5 microns to 100 microns, which is very small, but air purifiers using HEPA filters can easily remove these particles from the air. The pet dander will be pulled into the filter and stuck to the fibers. This means you will need to change the filters over time to ensure air cleaning effectiveness, but it will remove any pet dander in the air.

I wrote a separate article sharing other measures you can take to help reduce pet dander that works wonders in addition to a trusted air purifier.

🤔 Do air purifiers pick up pet hair?

Most pet hair is heavy and will fall to the ground but any smaller particles of pet hair will stay around in the air. Air purifiers can pick up these smaller particles, catching them in the pre-filter as they are much larger than the particles designed to be picked up by a HEPA filter. Keeping that in mind, the best way to reduce the amount of pet hair in your home is to continuously use a vacuum cleaner to remove it from your carpet, floor and furniture. 

Read my article on pet hair to find out what other things you can do to help remove pet hair from every surface of your house.

🤔 Do air purifiers work for pet odor?

If you want to remove odors from the air, you will need an air purist that uses activated carbon, as HEPA only works on particles in the air, not gasses or odors. Activated carbon has a long history going back decades in removing harmful gasses and can remove all types of gasses like VOCs, formaldehyde including odors from pets. 

If you have a smelly dog at home, make sure to read my guide on how to get rid of dog smells and I also reccomend the best pet odor air purifier.


How We Picked Our Top Pet Air Purifiers

We don’t recommend units without being 100% confident in our real-life performance testing process. That’s why we test all the models we recommend in the same room (sized 705 cubic ft) performing the same job (removing incense smoke). 

This allows us to compare units side by side and create “best” lists like this one. The most important features we considered when making this selection were: 

  1. HEPA Filters — HEPA technology is amazing as it can pull the smallest particles from the air and remove them. It can remove particles as small as viruses, so it has no problem at all with removing pet dander which is the leading cause of pet allergies.
  2. Activated Charcoal— HEPA alone will do nothing for pet smells and odors, so all the units we recommended use a combination of charcoal and high-grade HEPA filter. The Alen 75i has the most carbon but comes at a steep initial cost and has high filter replacement costs.
  3. Value for money — Don’t fall for the marketing; air cleaning is a simple process and it makes sense to test both for performance and compare it with initial costs and long-term costs to see which units are best. The current best for cleaning power for $ spent is the Taotronics AP-003 which provides such value that you might find it best to buy multiple units for bigger rooms that still cost less than larger purifiers.

The Rules We Followed When Testing These Air Purifiers

1. We tested all our air purifiers using a Purple Air Indoor sensor to have real-time data on pollutant levels for particles sized PM1ug/m3, PM2.5ug/m3 and PM10ug/m3.

2. We purchased all these units with our own money. We want to be free to say if a product sucks, and accepting free units doesn’t align with our neutrality goal.

3. We compared the actual real-life performance between units because we test all our units in the same room performing the same task. 

4. We used the air purifiers in our homes, allowing us to evaluate long-term user experience and keep an eye on long-term costs.

5. We have tested the latest air purifier models on the market. As of October 2022, we have tested 40 air purifiers in our home lab.

SOURCES

We calculated monthly energy consumption costs using our air purifier electricity usage calculator, which allows us to calculate daily and yearly costs associated with running an air purifier for 24hs a day. 

You can customize the result by air purifier wattage and by state. In the case of the calculations we shared on this page, we used California as our base state for energy prices.

Last update on 2022-12-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API