While our furry family members are important and pet owners would never want to give them up, they do present some challenges with regard to indoor air quality. Pet fur and dander can aggravate breathing problems, especially for people who have allergies or are prone to asthma, Fortunately, there are ways to alleviate the symptoms brought on by having animals in the house and one of the main things you can do is use an air purifier for pets.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s actually the microscopic bits of skin that pets shed – called dander – that are more likely to cause an allergy than the actual fur, says the American Lung Association (ALA). Allergies can also be caused by pet saliva or urine. Pet allergies are actually a big problem with Medicinenet citing that up to 20 percent of the North American population is affected by pets.
The ALA says that 27 percent of US households have cats and 32 percent have dogs, but that “roughly twice as many people report allergies to cats when compared to dogs.” Cat lovers might want to make note that research has shown that male cats produce less allergen than female cats, although they don’t know why. The ALA notes that because dander is the main allergy trigger, short-haired or hairless animals are just as allergenic as all the rest. “There is no such thing as a non-allergenic dog or cat.” Research has also found dog and cat allergens in homes where pets are not even present. And, lest you think it’s just cats and dogs at fault, people can develop allergies to almost any kind of animal from horses and birds to rabbits, hamsters and other rodents.
Keeping Your Environment Clean
While using an air purifier for pets in the house is one step you can take to improve indoor air quality, there are other things you should do as well. Physically removing dander and fur on a regular basis is key, and this means sweeping and vacuuming frequently. Dander easily sticks to carpets, upholstery, bedding and clothing so wood floors are generally a better option if you have pets. Regardless, you will want to have a vacuum cleaner that includes a True HEPA filter to minimize the volume of allergens that are re-released into the air from the vacuuming process.
Controlling where pets go is another way to keep the environment cleaner. Keeping them out of the bedroom and off of upholstered furniture can lessen the amount of fur and dander that is in the environment. Lastly, allergy experts recommend bathing you pet, however, if you have cats, we say good luck with that!
What features should an air purifier for pets have?
For the best results, any air purifier you select should have a True HEPA filter. These filters are certified that remove 99.97% of allergens down to 0.3 microns. This will filter out the most common allergens especially pet dander, no matter the specific animal(s) that you have.
If you don’t have allergies and just have a pet hair problem, some sources suggest that you can get away with using a “HEPA type” filter that removes particles from two to four microns in size. While this can save you money in the short-term, it might not in the long term if you develop allergies and need a purifier to address them. People can develop allergies at any age, even having had pets in the home for years without issue. WebMD says that adult-onset allergies are quite common. “’You’re fine, you’re fine, you’re fine … until you’re not.’ Nobody knows why.”
What about pet odors?
If pet odors are a concern, a True HEPA filter alone won’t help with that aspect of indoor air. For removing the smells associated with pets a purifier must include an Activated Carbon filter, which will absorb them. Some purifiers offer these as part of a multi-step filtration system, which also frequently includes a pre-filter, which pulls out the largest particles before they reach the HEPA filter. This makes the HEP filter more efficient and longer-lasting.
Choosing the Best Air Purifier for Pets
Where will you place the purifier? Assuming that the model has a true HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter if you want to control odors, you need to consider the room where you want to use the purifier. It’s important to choose one that is designed for the specific size of the room – large or small. Many models have a certified CADR — clean air delivery rate — for general or specific indoor air pollutants, says Healthline. The CADR indicates how many particles and square feet the purifier can handle. According to Good Housekeeping, you want a general CADR of at least 300, and anything above 350 is excellent.
Look for certification. Specifically, you want the AHAM (Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers) Verified mark. This voluntary certification covers the safety and performance of many small home appliances, such as air purifiers. The AHAM certification usually means the product provides a CADR rating and size guidelines.
Prices vary widely on purifiers, so consider your budget, especially if you will want to have multiple units in your home. The cost to run them is typically not major, however depending on the model, replacement filters – which are absolutely necessary – can be costly.
If you have a large room or an open-concept space, the Alen BreatheSmart Classic Large Room Air Purifier is a good choice because it can handle spaces up to 1100 square feet. The multi-step filtration system cleans the air every 30 minutes, removing the pet dander, odors and other allergens like pollen and dust. The True HEPA-Odorcell filter has a proprietary odor-reducing technology that captures and eliminates strong household odors at the molecular level. The BreatheSmart’s True HEPA filter captures 99. 97% of particles up to .3 microns in size. The system features four “unique HEPA type filters” from which you can choose. The HEPA PURE is the base filter and is included on most of the other filter choices. The HEPA SILVER is for those who are highly sensitive to dust, mold, mildew, bacteria, or light odors while the HEPA FRESH PLUS is designers for removing fumes from VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) such household cleaning products, smoke or cooking odors? The HEPA ODORCELL is specifically for strong odors from pets, a baby’s nursery, or other perpetually smelly spaces. It features a prefilter for the largest particles, the HEPA PURE filter which traps dust, pollen and other allergens, and finally the last layer that contains Alen’s Molecular Conversion Powder, which traps and destroys odors.
This air purifier for pets also has handy features like an air quality sensor light, Advanced WhisperMax technology for quiet operation and a nighttime pink noise along with four fan speed settings and a timer.
- Reviewers love how effective this unit is at improving indoor air quality.
- Buyers say this cleans the air very quickly.
- The purifier can be returned within 30 days under Amazon’s return policy and comes with a limited lifetime manufacturer’s warranty.
- There is some discrepancy as to whether the Alen BreatheSmart includes a True HEPA filter or not. The description says yes, while a company response to a customer questions says the are “HEPA type.”
- Poor technical support and customer service were cited in a number of reviews.
With 93 percent of reviews giving it four and five stars, the LEVOIT Air Purifier for home allergies and pets it’s not surprising that it is Amazon’s Choice for “air purifier.” It features Vortexair Technology that creates stronger airflow and has a CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) of 230, which means it can handle a room of up to 215 square feet. The True HEPA filter works in conjunction with an ultra-fine pre-filter and activated carbon filter, which takes care of common allergens as well as dust and smoke. In addition, separate filters are available for specific concerns, such as pet allergies and strong odors, which are remedied by the Pet Allergy Filter and its high-efficiency activated carbon filter. Other special filters available include the Toxin Absorber Filter and the Mold Bacteria Filter.
This purifier is AHAM Certified, Energy Star verified, California Air Resources Board (CARB) compliant for indoor cleaning devices, FCC certified, ETL listed, and CA PROP 65 certified. The LEVOIT Air Purifier is also ozone-free because it does not use a UV/ion light, which has shown been shown to produce harmful ozone and secondary pollution. Other convenient features of this LEVOIT are its nearly voiceless at sleep mode, a display light that can be turned off, a timer for 2/4/6/8 hours as well as a filter life indicator.
- Reviewers have high praise for the small but super effective air purifier.
- Pet owners said air quality was much better and the unit took care of strong odors very well.
- The LEVOIT comes with a one-year warranty and an additional year is available by registering on the company’s website.
- A strong odor of plastic was reported by some buyers.
- Other reviewers noted that the unit was not filtering the air properly
Another popular unit is the Winix 5300-2 Air Purifier with True HEPA filter, PlasmaWave and odor-reducing carbon filter. It has more than 90 percent four- and five-star reviews on Amazon. This purifier features three-stage air cleaning and a True-HEPA filter that captures 99.97% of airborne pollutants and allergens including pet dander and fur. PlasmaWave technology is like a permanent filter that safely breaks down odors and indoor air pollutants with no harmful ozone, says Winix. Cleaning the air at 236 cubic feet per minute, it is CADR rated for 360 square feet and is ideal for medium and larger rooms. An advanced odor control carbon filter reduces VOCs and household odors and also helps eliminate pet odors. This purifier has all the major certifications, including being AHAM Verifide, UL listed, California Air Resources Board (CARB) certified and Energy Star certified.
Four fan speeds can be set manually or automatically through the smart sensors that constantly monitor the air in the room and adjust the fan speed. An LED indicator shows the air quality at good/blue, fair/amber and poor/red. Sleep mode automatically detects the level of ambient light in the room and adjusts the fan speed as well as dims the indicator lights for a result night’s sleep.
- Happy buyers say this purifier is worth the money and does a fabulous job of cleaning the air quickly, leading them to buy multiple units for the home.
- The Plasmawave technology, which is type of ionization, can be switched off by those who would prefer not to use it.
- While the unit us returnable within 30 days under Amazon’s policy, some reviewers found the manufacturer’s customer service to be unresponsive.
- This purifier does not have a remote control.
Tech savvy buyers will like the functionality included in the LEVOIT Smart WiFi Air Purifier for Home Large Room with True HEPA Filter. This highly rated purifier has nearly 90 percent four- and five-star reviews for its features. The air cleaning system includes a true HEPA filter plus a second stage carbon filter. Overall, the purifier filters the air 4. 5 times per hour for in a 360 square foot room size, which means it works for large rooms like bedrooms, family rooms and kitchens.
On the technology side, the LEVOIT Smart WiFi Air Purifier comes with a smartphone app so that you can control it from anywhere, including to set a schedule or timer, monitor the air quality, and change the mode. It’s also compatible with voice assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant and IFTTT. With this purifier’s app, it’s possible to set a custom schedule and the smart algorithm system can calculate the amount of life left in the filter, meaning you can save money by changing it only when it truly needs to be changed.
- Happy buyers say this Levoit cleans the air very well and that its smaller size does not mean it is not powerful.
- Customer service was noted as being helpful and courteous.
- Some customers noted issues with durability.
- Using the App and connecting to the system did not work for some reviewers.
With 82 percent of reviews at five stars, the pet-specific Winix HR900, Ultimate Pet 5 Stage True HEPA Filtration Air Purifier is Amazon’s Choice for “pet air purifier.” The unit is actually an updated version of the company’s previous wildly popular air purifier for pets. It features a True HEPA filter that is combined with a washable advanced odor control carbon filter that works to combat odors and prolong the life of the HEPA filter. The unit also has Plasma wave technology that is essentially an ionizer, which safely destroys allergens, vapors, and other pollutants. It’s AHAM Verified for rooms up to 300 square feet.
Other handy features include four fan speeds and a nighttime sleep mode. The purifier also has a timer that can be set for one, four or eight hours. It also has a smart sensor that detects the air quality and lets you know if it’s good, fair or poor. Many people who have pets also have children and this purifier also has a helpful child lock to keep curious fingers from messing with the settings.
- The manufacturer offers a two-year warranty with this newer version of the purifier.
- Pleased reviewers say this unit is quiet, efficient and effective at cleaning the air of dander and fur, even for multiple pets.
- Some buyers cite a high cost for replacing filters annually
- A few unhappy reviewers said their units did not work properly.
Another popular and highly rated aid purifier for pets is the RENPHO Air Purifier with a True HEPA Filter. This one uses a five-stage system to filter the air and includes a washable pre-filter, a charcoal filter, an activated carbon filter and last but certainly not least, the True HEPA Filter. In concert, these filters clear the air of all the common pet and other indoor air allergens but also the odors that often come along with pets. The RENPHO has a CADR rate of 135 CFM, which means it can filter the air three times per hour in a room as large as 301 square feet. Each of the filters has a separate indicator for when it needs to be replaced, saving you money by not having to replace them all at once.
Another great feature of this air purifier is the Smart Air Quality Monitor. When it is on automatic mode, the unit can detect the air quality in the room and continually adjust the fan speed based on that quality measurement. If it’s being used in a bedroom, the Whisper-Quiet Operation Sleep Mode keeps the noise level at 35 decibels and the timer can be used to shut it off while you sleep for energy savings. Finally, it has a child lock mode to protect against curious kids or pets.
- Buyers say they definitely notice a difference in air quality when using this purifier.
- This purifier has the option of turning off the display lights while it’s running.
- Reviewers who rated it poorly often noted that the unit started to make noise.
- A few buyers noted that they wished it that it came with a remote control.
If you have pets — and whether or not you have problems with allergies — a good air purifier will help you and everyone in the household breathe easier. Just make sure that your chosen brand and model includes a true HEPA filter, which is the element you need to remove pet dander and other common microscopic allergens from indoor air.
Purifier for Pets FAQ
What is a HEPA Filter?
HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air and it uses a fine glass mesh to trap harmful particles. True HEPA filters remove at least 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 micron in diameter in a lab setting and this is what you want from one of the best air purifiers for allergies. This covers most common indoor air allergens such as dust, dander, pollen and mold, says WebMD. Beware of the terms “HEPA-like” or “HEPA-type,” when describing a filter because these do not have any specific standards backing up their effectiveness.
What certifications s should a purifier have?
Specifically, you want the AHAM (Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers) Verified mark. This voluntary certification covers the safety and performance of many small home appliances, such as air purifiers. The AHAM certification usually means the product provides a CADR rating and size guidelines.
What is a CADR rating?
CADR, is the acronym that stands for Clean Air Delivery Rate. This is how the function of home air purifiers is measured. The CADR rating identifies the volume of air that is cleaned and is expressed in cubic feet per minute (CFM). The rating is used to measure effectiveness with three different kinds of air pollutant particles: smoke, pollen and dust, each of which gets its own score.
What does CARB Compliant mean?
CARB stands for the California Air Resource Board, which aims to achieve and maintain healthy air quality. protect the public from exposure to toxic air contaminants and provide innovative approaches for complying with air pollution rules and regulations. In 2008, CARB enacted regulations on indoor air-cleaning devices to limit ozone emissions. The means that to be sold in or shipped to California, an air purifier has to comply with CARB regulations.
What other technologies do air purifiers use?
Various air purifiers offer other technologies, such as a UV light, which inactivates microbes but does not remove them from the air. Ionizers are another option, and these create negative ions that help draw particles from the and into the filter. The caution with ionizers is that many of them create ozone, which creates harmful effects of its own. Vice magazine notes that “Most purifiers will mention in their product description if they don’t make ozone, but not if they do.”