Pet owners who suffer from red eyes and stuffy noses due to pet-related allergies may want to consider a home air purifier to limit their exposure to pet dander and other allergens.
While at-home air purifiers are highly effective at removing pollutants, the resulting consequences for human health have not been thoroughly studied. So far, research suggests benefits, including a reduction in local allergy triggers. Make sure that the system uses a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter, which is the most effective at removing airborne particles and allergens from indoor air.
We tested 38 air purifiers, with testers providing both individual ratings and objective data, using air quality monitors and decibel meters. After two days of rigorous testing in our New York lab, each purifier was sent out to volunteers for long-term testing in their homes. Follow-up data from weeks of use were incorporated into the final results.
Our overall favorite was the Dyson Purifier Cool TP07 Smart Air Purifier and Fan, which was ultra-quiet, super effective, and has features specifically designed to pull pet dander and hair out of your local atmosphere.
Here are the best air purifiers for pet owners, according to our extensive testing.
Dyson Purifier Cool TP07 Connected Tower Fan
Quickly clears fine particulate matter
Tricky to reattach filter
The Dyson Purifier Cool TP07 Smart Air Purifier and Fan is our top pick because of its quiet yet effective operation in quickly clearing fine particulate matter. Our tester said that it was already set up in the box, aside from removing protective stickers and installing the filter, and she noted the instructions were easy to follow. After measuring the decibel level of the purifier on each of its settings, our tester also said she was not able to discern the purifier on its highest setting and that it sounded similar to a fan on low.
Aside from its quiet operation, this purifier also has smart capabilities with a user-friendly app that connects to Wi-Fi to control the purifier. The app has the same capabilities as the magnetized remote that comes with the purifier and tracks the room’s air quality over time. The top of this purifier also oscillates to evenly move air and clean it while the unit is in use. Our tester did note that the panels that cover the air filters can be tricky to reattach after cleaning, but they do snap back into place after some maneuvering.
"I would recommend this to family and friends," one tester said. "I could see firsthand how the air cleanliness readings improved dramatically after just 5 to 10 minutes of operation. Incredible!"
In our various effectiveness tests, the Dyson Purifier Cool TP07 outperformed all expectations, clearing smoke quickly from the air and significantly improving local air quality.
This purifier will automatically sense changes in air quality and react to best clean the air, and then reports changes directly to the linked app and the control panel. Backwards airflow mode allows you to use the purifier alone without a cooling effect as well. This air purifier is one of the more expensive options available, but you can expect exceptional performance.
LEVOIT Core Mini Air Purifier
For a strong air purifier that’s relatively inexpensive, check out the LEVOIT Air Purifier for Bedrooms. This compact tabletop purifier is quiet enough that it won’t disturb you at night (our tester registered 58 decibels on its highest setting) yet still powerful enough to clear a room of harmful particulates in just 10 minutes. While the design lacks any smart features, our tester said that this purifier was easy to operate because it has just one button to switch between its three settings.
The compact size of this purifier also makes it a great portable option if you need to move it from room to room in your home. The power cord is rather short, though, so the purifier does need to be placed close to a power outlet. You can also add essential oil drops to the aromatherapy pad in this purifier to get rid of unwanted smells or soothe your home after a long day. Overall, our tester loved how effective this purifier was, coupled with its affordable price and simple, intuitive features.
Alen Breathesmart Classic Pet Dander/Odor
Features a color-coded air quality sensor light
Available in various finishes and colors
Filters up to 1,100 square feet in 30 minutes
Produces more noise than expected at higher speeds
While most air purifiers work on pet dander only, the Alen Breathesmart Classic claims to also filter out pet fur from the air, potentially preventing it from landing on your furniture, carpet, and clothing. This purifier is designed by NASA airflow engineers, which explains its modern and high-technology design. Outfitted with a medical-grade H13 True HEPA layer that removes 99.99 percent of airborne particles larger than 0.1 microns (most air purifiers only remove particles larger than 0.3 microns), including dander, bacteria, and aerosolized viruses, you’ll get your money’s worth.
This purifier boasts quiet operation even as it cleans the air in a room up to 1,100 square feet every 30 minutes. We also like the air quality sensor light that’s easy to read from across a room. This purifier also comes in your choice of eight finishes, so you can be sure to find one that matches your home's aesthetic.
Best for Odors
Bissell MyAir Personal Air Purifier
Sleep mode has lower fan speed for reduced noise
Night light can be turned on or off
Activated carbon filter
Filter is not washable
No HEPA filtration
This Bissell MyAir purifier clears pet dander and other small particles from the air with an activated carbon filter and also removes pet odors (along with cooking and smoke odors, too). It has three levels of fan speeds and runs fairly quietly, even on high. It can also be set to “sleep” at night for ultra-quiet operation. Aside from its effectiveness and quiet functionality, this purifier also has a night light (that can be turned on and off) if you choose to use this in a common area or a child's bedroom.
The small, portable unit works best in rooms up to 100 square feet and moves the air five times every hour. Set it right next to your dog’s crate or cat’s litter box to stop the odors as close to the source as possible. While the activated carbon filter is powerful at removing particulates and odors, we wish that this purifier also had a HEPA filter for the most advanced air cleaning possible. Despite this minor design flaw, we still think this is a great purifier option for eliminating odors.
Best for Allergies
Lasko Pure Platinum Slim Profile Air Purifier with HEPA-Type Filtration and Auto Clean
UV light filtration
Includes a year's supply of filters
LED lights only dim to 50 percent
With the air quality sensor, auto-clean function, and three-stage filtration in this Lasko purifier, all you have to do is set it up and let it run. The HEPA filter removes pet dander, dust, and other common allergens from the air around you, while the air quality sensor will automatically turn on the purifier when it senses the air quality change. A child lock mode is also available on this purifier so that small hands don't accidentally change your preferred settings.
The installed carbon filter removes odors from the air, and the UV light eliminates mold, bacteria, and viruses. The slim design on this purifier is great for smaller spaces and can easily be stored out of the way in your home. This purifier would be great in a home office or small bedroom as it works best in rooms up to 160 square feet. Keep in mind that the indicator lights on this purifier don't turn off, so you may not want to place it in a bedroom or an area where bright lights would be disruptive.
Best for Small Rooms
RabbitAir MinusA2 Ultra Quiet HEPA Air Purifier
Silent and sleep modes
The Rabbit Air MinusA2 Ultra Quiet HEPA Air Purifier with Wi-Fi not only filters pet hairs but also filters VOCs quickly and effectively for up to 815 square feet. Our tester said she enjoyed the modern design of the purifier and that it was easy to operate without being overly technical. This purifier can also be attached to a wall so that it doesn’t take up space on a table.
Our tester also noted that she could barely hear this purifier when it was operating in silent mode, and she enjoyed the sleep mode, which allows the lights on the purifier to be turned off. Our tester did note that while the VOC filtration system was effective, the indicator light was confusing to understand between the cleaning stages. This purifier is also one of the most expensive models we tested, but our tester noted that its quick purifying process and attractive design made it worth the higher price tag.
Best for Large Rooms
Coway Airmega 400 Smart Air Purifier
Can filter spaces up to 1,560 square feet
Dual air intake design
If your HVAC wasn’t installed with an air filter or you live in a larger apartment, it’s worth investing in a powerful air purifier like this Coway Airmega that’s designed to filter up to 1,560 square feet. This Energy Star rated air filter uses a True HEPA filter along with an activated carbon filter to reduce pet dander and other particles up to 0.3 microns while also diminishing household odors. The dual air intake design also ensures that this purifier is cleaning and filtering your home's air as fast as possible. Our testers noted that the app compatible with this purifier was difficult to set up and more rudimentary compared to other purifiers we tested in The Lab.
It comes with a washable and permanent pre-filter, which reduces the number of replacement filters you have to purchase. A brightly colored LED ring changes color based on the air quality, so you can always glance at the unit to check on your air quality. Our tester also noted that she enjoyed the smart mode on this purifier, which saves energy by only turning on the purifier when the sensor detects a change in air quality. While this purifier did perform well in our tests, our testers recommend waiting for it to go on sale before investing in it because it is one of the more expensive options. Despite its price, this purifier is still a great option for pet owners looking to maximize their air-purifying capabilities.
Toppin Comfy Air C2 Air Purifier
Digital operating screen
The TOPPIN Air Purifiers for Pets is a great air purifier for any pet owner looking for a portable option. Our tester noted that the digital touch screen was easy to operate through the three purifying settings. The display light can also be switched off to be less of a disturbance during the night, but our tester did note that this purifier was particularly louder than other models. When the purifier was at its highest setting, our tester registered 86.1 decibels, which is equivalent to a truck driving by your home.
This purifier can also be set to a timer so that it turns off when you no longer need it. While it doesn’t have an app to connect to or any smart features, our tester said that she would definitely buy this purifier because of its affordability and its effectiveness.
Our top pick is the Dyson Purifier Cool TP07 Smart Air Purifier and Fan because of its powerful filtration technology and cooling effects. While it is a larger unit, its footprint is relatively small, making it a great floor air purifier that won't take up too much space in your home. For anyone looking for a purifier under $100, check out the LEVOIT Core Mini Air Purifier, which can filter up to 178 square feet and has a three-layer filter system.
Other Options We Tested
Hamilton Beach TrueAir Air Purifier: This air purifier was previously our best budget pick based on home testing and research, but after testing in The Lab, we determined there were better-functioning options available at this price range. While we were impressed with the whisper and quiet settings available on this air purifier, which registered a 48.1-decibel reading, its filtration capabilities were not strong on the lowest setting, which still registered 275.7 PM 2.5 after five minutes in the zipped greenhouse.
Pure Enrichment PureZone: We included this purifier as our previous best portable pick but found better options after additional testing in our Lab. While this air purifier is lightweight and has a handle for easy transport, it did not perform well in our greenhouse PM 2.5 test. After running on its lowest setting for five minutes, the purifier measured 829.2 PM 2.5, compared to the 999.9 level prior to turning on the purifier.
How We Tested the Air Purifiers
We tested 38 air purifiers in The Lab in Des Moines, Iowa, putting them to the task of tackling pet dander and odors. First, we studied their setup, considering any additional parts that had to be added to the purifier, and we timed the process of getting the purifier out of the box and running.
Then we considered the design of each air purifier, looking at features like oscillation, type of filters included, timed settings, smart capabilities, and color options. Next, our testers measured the noise level of the air purifiers on their highest and lowest settings using a decibel meter. Our testers also evaluated all of the features available on the air purifiers and took time to evaluate their ease of operation and accessibility, especially if an app was available.
To test effectiveness, we set up zippable indoor greenhouses and burned incense, and released pet hair to simulate a polluted air environment, then measured the PM 2.5 (particulate matter) in the air prior to turning on the air purifier and after having the air purifier on for five and 10 minutes. This test was run initially with each air purifier at its lowest setting and then again with the air purifier at its highest setting.
Some air purifiers we tested had VOC filtration capabilities, so we conducted a similar test using the greenhouses and releasing moth balls in the chambers for 15 minutes before measuring the level of VOC gasses in the chamber and turning on the air purifier. Between tests, we also made sure to air out the tents using fans for five minutes before moving on to different purifiers. With all of these previous evaluations and tests in mind, we then asked our testers to look at the price of the air purifier and assess its overall value.
Some of the air purifiers on this list are ones that we were not able to test in The Lab but did conduct extensive research before selecting them for this roundup. We looked at similar measurable qualities like decibel rating and rate of filtration to include the best options in this roundup.
What to Look for in an Air Purifier
Some air purifiers are more powerful than others, and just how much power you’ll need will depend on the size of the room, how many pets you have, and what, if any, allergies your family members experience. Most air purifier product descriptions include a recommended cubic footage, indicating whether it's appropriate for large or small rooms.
"Filters are also marked with a CADR (clean air delivery rate), which describes the cubic feet per minute of airflow through the device," Dr. Payel Gupta, President of the New York Allergy and Asthma Society, told The Spruce Pets. "Be sure to match the filter’s CADR with the size of the room where you plan to use the filter."
Be sure to check the coverage area to be sure it meets your needs.
Besides cleaning the air, some air purifiers come with additional features, including odor and temperature control. Most also have multiple fan settings, so you can crank it when you're out of the room, or use a quieter setting at night. You may also want to consider the look of the air filter if it’s going to be in a visible spot. Some come in a variety of colors, so you can choose one to complement your decor.
While some love the white-noise hum of typical air purifiers, others are annoyed by it. Fortunately, there are machines that are ultra-quiet and others that allow you to adjust the volume. On some models, you can preset runs to operate at different volumes during different times of the day.
How do air purifiers work?
Most air purifiers work in one of three ways, and some utilize all three modes of cleaning the air:
- High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter: These are pleated mechanical filters that work by forcing air through a very fine mesh to remove pet dander, dust, pollen, mold, bacteria, and other airborne particles. HEPA filters are the gold standard.
- Activated carbon filters: These work to remove odor from the air by absorbing it.
- UV filters: These use lights to inactivate germs and bacteria. They’re often used in conjunction with HEPA filters.
Do air purifiers reduce pet dander?
When it comes to removing pet dander, an air purifier with a HEPA filter is your best choice. It filters the air and can remove tiny particles as small as 0.3 microns. For reference, pet dander is usually between 5 to 10 microns, so HEPA filters are good at clearing it from the air.
Do air purifiers remove dog or cat hair?
If you have pet hair floating around your room, HEPA filters can remove them. Unfortunately, as most pet owners know, that hair is more likely to get lodged on your clothing, bedding, carpet, or sofa. That’s why you may still want to invest in pet hair removers.
Where is the best place to keep your air purifier?
The closer air purifiers are to the source of the pollutant, the more effective they are. In the case of your pooch, keep it close to their bed, crate, or wherever else they spend the most time. Have a cat? Place it near their litter box to help clear the air of unwanted odors.
How do you maintain an air purifier?
Always follow the instructions in the owner’s manual for your specific air purifier. Some have permanent or reusable filters that can be vacuumed or washed with soap and water. Others have replaceable air purifiers that should be swapped out every few months. Your air purifier may have a special light to tell you when it’s time to replace the filter; otherwise, keep an eye on it after three months of use.
Why Trust The Spruce Pets?
This piece was originally written by Anne Fritz, who has been researching pet products for The Spruce Pets for more than two years. Before writing this article, she gathered information from customer reviews and third-party articles. To make this list, she also considered the strength, sound, and features of each air purifier. She is the proud owner of two rescue dogs.
Additional research and updates were added to this piece by Emma Phelps, who is an updates writer for The Spruce with several years of experience researching products and writing roundups. Emma converted all of our Lab results into refreshed product descriptions for this roundup.