5 Best Air Purifiers for a Home with Pet Allergies

If you suffer from red-eyes or just feel itchy when around animals then you may have what scientists call allergic rhinitis.

This is an allergic reaction to proteins found in airborne pet dander that float around homes with animals.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Millions of pet owners in the U.S. suffer from these allergies, and there is a solution that doesn’t involve giving away your beloved family pet.

Air purifiers use a series of special filters (HEPA and activated charcoal) that decrease airborne levels of pet allergen by 90% [1] by removing these small particles from the airstream leaving you with a clear chest, a decent night’s sleep, and a way for your to share your home with a pet allergy-free.

In our search for the best air purifiers for pets, we first found out the basics:

1. Which filters are most effective for pet dander? We decided only recommending units that used pure or H13 HEPA and activated charcoal for those looking for air purifiers for pet odors. 

2. Consumer reports analysis – What has been the experience of pet owners with different models of air purifiers?

We based our final recommendations based on analysis using reported CADR data, long term consumer reports with analysis of actual reviews from consumers making sure to avoid those that are just rated highly due to manipulated reviews.

What are the best air purifiers for pet owners?

  1. GermGuardian AXC5900WCA
  2. Blueair 211+
  3. RabbitAir MinusA2
  4. Winix HR900
  5. Eureka NEA120

Next, we will dig into the detailed review of our recommended units that we think are best for dealing with pet allergies:

1.GermGuardian AC5900WCA – Best Overall

GermGuardian Air Purifier 4 in 1,High CADR True HEPA Filter, Large Rooms to338 sq ft, UV Light Sanitizer Eliminates Germs, Filters Allergies, Pollen, Smoke, Dust, Pet Dander,Mold, Odors,QuietAC5900W

Described as a mid-size portable console, the GemGuardian is ideal for rooms up to 338 sq.ft. With 3 speed high-performance settings to choose from, it can be customized to meet the needs of people who suffer both small and large allergic reactions. 

Using carbon and UV technology to kill germs and absorb odors like smoke and cooking smells. The AC5900WCA boasts that its HEPA filter captures dust and allergens as small as.3 microns (which to us non-scientists is pet dander). It’s suggested to change the filters every 6 to 8 months and the UV C bulb every 10 to 12 months depending on usage. 

With features that include a timer that can be set for up to 8 hours, it can also be set to a low speed for running through the night. It’s not the quietest at high speeds but its CADR figures are great for a purifier of this size. 

What we love: 

  • Replacement filters are easy to come by

We don’t like this as much:

  • It’s quite noisy on high speeds
Sale
GermGuardian Air Purifier 4 in 1,High CADR True HEPA Filter, Large Rooms to338 sq ft, UV Light Sanitizer Eliminates Germs, Filters Allergies, Pollen, Smoke, Dust, Pet Dander,Mold, Odors,QuietAC5900W
  • 3 in 1 air purifier for home: True HEPA air filter reduces up to 99.97% of harmful germs, dust, pollen, pet dander, mold spores, and other allergens as small as .3 microns from the air
  • Kills germs: UV-C light helps kill airborne viruses such as influenza, staph, rhinovirus, and works with Titanium Dioxide to reduce volatile organic compounds
  • Traps allergens: Pre filter traps dust, pet hair, and other large particles while extending the life of the HEPA filter
  • Reduces odors: Activated charcoal filter helps to reduce unwanted odors from pets, smoke, cooking fumes, and more
  • Quiet operation: The lowest setting can be used as gentle white noise at night for a quiet, restful sleep

2. Blueair Blue Pure 211+ [Great Alternative to our top pick]

This black and white portable unit by Blueair is very comfortable in larger households. It filters the air at a rate of 5x per hour in a 540 sq.ft. room without being intrusive using 3 speeds to remove dust, pollen, and smoke from the air.

The Blue Pure 211+ uses a 3 part carbon/HEPA filter to clean the air. The pre filter catches larger particles extending the life of the primary filter. Part 2 uses a layer of activated carbon to catch odors from pets, cooking and smoking while the main filter takes care of the smaller particles like pollen, dust and most importantly, pet dander.

A great feature of this unit is that the pre filter is washable so you don’t have to replace it like the main HEPA filter. The CADR on the 211+ is the best out of this list but it does compromise on noise and can be relatively loud on all 3 speeds.

UPDATE: This unit is regularly out of stock so only third-party sellers are selling the units at inflated prices. The RRP is $299.99 so beware of paying anymore.

What we love:

  • Modern design

We don’t like this as much:

  • It doesn’t have a UV C light

3. RabbitAir MinusA2 [Premium pick but $$$]

RabbitAir MinusA2 Ultra Quiet HEPA Air Purifier - Stylish, Efficient and Energy Star (SPA-780A, Black, Toxin Absorber)

The most expensive in our list, the super stylish MinusA2 by RabbitAir doesn’t disappoint. The unit can either be placed on the floor or mounted on the wall out the way of children and pets. It has 5 different speeds including a turbo mode for when those allergies are really kicking in. 

The MinusA2 makes the most out of its BioGS HEPA technology by using a 6 stage filtration system. There’s a pre filter for large particles, medium filter for smaller particles such as molds spores, a HEPA filter for those tiny pet dander particles, an activated carbon filter for odors, a negative ion generator which electrically charge air molecules to attract and trap them and finally, one extra filter specifically designed for pet allergies.

There are many features packed into this unit including light sensors which tell it to go into sleep mode at night, air quality and pollen indicators to tell you what the air is like at all times. This thing also uses the air quality indicator to automatically change its fan speed depending on how the air is that day. It even comes with Brushless Direct Current (BLDC) motors which are well known for being hush hush.

What we love:

  • Comes with WiFi capabilities and an app to monitor and control air quality

We don’t like this as much:

  • CADR not as high as other models for price
RabbitAir MinusA2 Ultra Quiet HEPA Air Purifier - Stylish, Efficient and Energy Star (SPA-780A, Black, Toxin Absorber)
  • Advanced HEPA filtration with six stages of purification and deodorization
  • 5 Year Warranty
  • Toxin Absorber customized filter: Traps and reduces volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other chemicals.
  • The MinusA2 is designed to either stand alone or to be mounted on the wall.
  • Room coverage up to 815 sq. ft.

4. Winix HR900 – [Also great for Pet Odors]

Winix HR900, Ultimate Pet 5 Stage True HEPA Filtration Air Purifier, 300 Sq. Ft, White

Winix class the HR900 as ‘the ultimate pet air purifier’ stating that it was specifically designed for pet owners. They have focused their attention to capturing pet hair, dander and odors produced by our four legged friends by using smart sensors and enhanced technologies.

The HR900 uses a 5 stage purification system to back their case. Including a washable pre-filter, AOC (Advanced Odor Control) carbon layer, HEPA and their own PlasmaWave which creates hydroxyls to neutralize bacteria and viruses. They boast that their ‘Ultimate Pet Pre-Filter’ works in tune with the HEPA capturing 99.97% of airborne allergens. 

On the front of the unit there’s a smart sensor that measures particles and odor suspended in the air. It then adjusts the fan speed in real time to get the best out of the filters. It also features an LED on the front that changes color to indicate the quality of the air. With a 300 sq.ft. coverage it is no noisier than others of this size but it does feature an ultra quiet sleep mode which switches on automatically at night.

What we love:

  • The filter is easy and quick to change

We don’t like this as much:

  • There is no remote
Winix HR900, Ultimate Pet 5 Stage True HEPA Filtration Air Purifier, 300 Sq. Ft, White
  • The next generation of the wildly popular Winix 9500 Ultimate Pet Air Purifier
  • True HEPA filtration captures 99. 97percent of airborne pollutants, pet dander and allergens as small as 0. 3 microns
  • Washable Advanced Odor Control (AOCTM) Carbon Filter captures pet odors as well as smoke, kitchen and other household odors. Also extends the life of the True HEPA filter.
  • Ultimate pet pre-filter is the first line of defense against pet hair, dander, and large household particles
  • Washable pre-filter extends the life of your filter by capturing pet hair and larger airborne particles

5. Eureka NEA120 [Under $100 Option]

Eureka Instant Clear 26' Air Purifier NEA-C1, Activated Carbon Filter x 4, Replacement for InstantClear NEA120, black

For the budget option, we have the NEA120 from Eureka. At under $100 this unit is definitely not one to look past. The space age looking purifier stands at 26 inches weighs 12.6 pounds and works best at rooms up to 222 sq.ft. Using carbon, HEPA and UV technology and has 3 different speeds to choose from.

The NEA120 uses a three-layered filtration system with an activated carbon filter, HEPA main filter and a long life UV LED which all work to a high standard without the bells and whistles. Its CADR  figures are the weakest out of this list but still hold strong for a budget purifier and the HEPA filter will still capture 99.97% of pet dander. 

This unit will let you know when the filter needs changing which is typically every 12 months. It may not be the most serene out of the bunch but it does have a quieter sleep mode. If you’re looking for a purifier without breaking the bank, this is the perfect option.

What we love:

  • Very easy to operate

We don’t like this as much:

  • The filters aren’t as common as the rest
Eureka Instant Clear 26' Air Purifier NEA-C1, Activated Carbon Filter x 4, Replacement for InstantClear NEA120, black
  • [Air Purifier for Particles and Smoke]True HEPA filter captures 99. 7% of dust and airborne allergens as small as 0. 3 microns such as household dust, model, pet dander, and pollen. Charcoal filters would remove the odors from pets, smoking and cooking due to bad air circulations in the winter.
  • [Air Purifier for Mold and Germs]Built-in long lasting UV LED (5 times more life cycles than traditional bulbs) with TiO2 could effectively reduce the bacteria, viruses and mod spores . Eureka air cleaner complies with the Federal Ozone Emissions Limit. CARB CERTIFIED.
  • [AHMA Verified & Energy Star]Certified This 26" Eureka Air Purifier with 3 fan speed settings is best used for whole-room airflow up to 222 sq. ft. With high CADR values (Smoke 143, Dust 145, Pollen 228) and long distance air circulation technology, the air purifier can establish a great airflow at high efficiency even at low speed setting.
  • [Ultra-Quiet Sleep Mode]Only 32dB at low setting is "whisper" quiet, you can barely hear it unless you're hyper-sensitive to noise. The UV LED in the Air Purifier brings Zero Light Pollution, offers a comfortable sleeping environment
  • [Easy Filter Replacement] The blue indicator light would flash when the filter replacement is required. True HEPA filter (NEA-F1) needs to be replaced every 12 months, and the activated carbon filter (NEA-C1, 4 pack) requires replacement every 3 months. 1 Year limited manufacturer .

Frequently Asked Questions


Do air purifiers help with pet hair?

People with pet allergies are rarely allergic to pet hair. It’s the dander, saliva, or urine particles that contain allergy-producing proteins that can get trapped in pet hair that causes a reaction. [5] These air purifiers use HEPA filters which remove those tiny particles from the air minimizing the risks of allergies. 

Are air purifiers safe for dogs?

All the purifiers in our list are safe for dogs, they don’t emit any toxins into the air, they just remove them. You will need to replace the filters as regularly as the manufacturer advises so the unit can work to its maximum efficiency. Some other brands of air purifiers can be harmful to your pets. These are ones that use Ozone technology. According to the EPA, [6] these units can give off a toxic gas that is not only harmful to your pets, but to you as well. Avoid at all costs 

Do air purifiers help with pet allergies?

In short, yes! Air purifiers can remove up to 99.97% of contaminants (including pet dander) that cause allergic reactions. A study of ‘Clinical effects of air cleaners in homes of asthmatic children sensitized to pet allergens’ showed a significant improvement in airway hyperresponsiveness in young asthmatic patients when an air purifier was introduced into their household. [2]

Numerous studies from institutions like the AAFA (Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America) show that using an air purifier with a HEPA filter in a multi-faceted approach will reduce pet dander from the air. You will still need to take other precautions like vacuuming regularly and bathing your pets to make sure you’re catching the dander that isn’t yet airborne. 

How do air purifiers work when dealing with pet dander?

Air purifiers work by forcing air through filters capturing the pet dander in a continuous circulation. [3] The main type of filter we found gets the best results for pets is a HEPA (High-efficiency particulate arrestance) filter which tends to use two different mechanisms. The outer filter captures larger particles and the inner for smaller particles. [4] This is the most effective as pets produce some of the smallest dander [5] in a typical household.

What features and considerations are important when buying an air purifier for pets?

The most important feature in air purifiers is the technology they use to clean the air. Some products using ‘Ozone’ tech that can be dangerous to pets. The filter they use will dictate if they can remove the right particles from the air. In each of our picks, we have made sure to choose units that use HEPA, Carbon filters, or both. You should also consider its CADR to make sure you’re getting the right size purifier for the right size room.

Which Air Purifier is best for you and your pets? 

We’ve covered a variety of units considering room size, budget, and different features, but which one will suit your needs? 

If you’re not looking to break the bank, we suggest the Eureka NEA120. It may not have all the features as the more expensive purifiers, it does its job best in smaller rooms. If you have a few dollars to spend or a large dwelling, you want to go for RabbitAir MinusA2. This futuristic wall-mountable bad boy works in rooms up to 815 sq.ft. For those with long hair pets, we suggest the Winix HR900. With its 5 part filter engineered specifically for pet hair, this is our favorite of the bunch.

No longer will you fear coming home to your pets, knowing your eyes will soon be stinging. Sleepless nights with a scratchy throat and chesty cough will be a thing of the past. With the right air purifier, you can love your animals without suffering from your allergies.

Sources

  1. P. Eggleston. 2005. Improving indoor environments: Reducing allergen exposures. jacionline.org
  2. S van der Heide. W M van Aalderen. H F Kauffman. A E Dubois. J G de Monchy. 1999. Clinical effects of air cleaners in homes of asthmatic children sensitized to pet allergens. pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  3. C. Woodford. 2020. HEPA filters. explainthatstuff.com
  4. ACAAI. 2018. Pet Allergy Management and Treatment. acaai.org
  5. EPA. 2020. Ozone Generators that are Sold as Air Cleaners. epa.gov

Last update on 2020-10-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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