Within any home with a pet, an effective air purifier can significantly reduce the levels of pet-related dander and hair—along with other aggravating allergens and pollutants—bringing relief to those experiencing symptoms of allergies, which typcially impact the sinuses and irritate the eyes.
“HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters are certified to remove particles that are as small as 0.3 microns, and should remove small particulate matter when properly used and maintained,” Melanie Carver, Chief Mission Officer of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America shared with The Spruce Pets. Particulate matter includes pet dander, mold, bacteria, chemicals from cleaning products, dust, and other items commonly found in a household.
To identify the best air purifiers for pet parents, we've tested 47 different air purifiers under a variety of conditions, collecting detailed data in both our New York City and Des Moines testing labs along with sending top-performing models to volunteer testers for long-term trials in real homes.
Our overall favorite air purifier is the Winix 5500-2 4-Stage True HEPA Air Purifier. It's ultra-quiet, highly effective, and the layered filtration system has a straightforward replacement process. We also found a few others that we like and might be a better fit for your space, budget, and needs.
Winix 5500-2 4-Stage True HEPA Air Purifier
Four layers of filtration—including a true HEPA filter and pre-filter—effectively capture pet hair and dander
Easy to setup and to swap out replacement filters
Three colors on sensors indicate changes in air contamination
Can be controlled with a remote
Built-in sensors automatically adjust for changes in light and air quality to conserve energy
Illuminated notifications can be distracting at night for some
The device is comparatively larger than other air purifiers
With four layers of filtration—a pre-filter, a washable carbon filter, a HEPA filter, and a permanent filter—built-in sensors detecting changes in air quality, and low decibel ratings for sound even at the highest power level, the Winix 5500-2 4-Stage True HEPA Air Purifier is our top choice among all the air purifiers we’ve tested. The energy-efficient air purifier has a solid CADR (clean air delivery rate) score for dust (243), pollen (246), and smoke (232), and has the top-performing pre-filter for capturing pet hair out of all the units we tested.
“Having a true HEPA filter and a good CADR has been shown to be a lot more effective with reducing allergens," Allergy and Immunology medical expert, Niha Qamar, MD, told The Spruce Pets.
The sound emitted by the Winix 5500-2 is relatively low so it’s unlikely to interrupt conversations or sleep. Plus, it automatically goes into sleep mode in dark settings—conserving energy and dimming the LED screen— switching back to auto mode in the presence of light.
It's also easy to set up and comes with a remote for convenient operation from across the room, but does not connect to Wifi for voice command and there's no mobile app connection for monitoring. When the three layers of replaceable filters require maintenance, a light on the unit’s display lights up, and the process of swapping out and rinsing the carbon filter is straightforward. There are also three light-up color indicators pointing out changes in air quality in real time.
The Winix 5500-2 is suitable for larger spaces, up to 360 square feet, but the device itself is rather big (15 x 8.2 x 23.6 inches) so it might overwhelm a smaller space or a bedroom–which is one of the priority spaces for air purification in a home, according to Dr. Qamar. "I always recommend placement in a bedroom because that is where you spend most of your time and where a lot of dust mites could linger, especially in your bedding."
For a bedroom, you might want to consider our other top choices, such as the Levoit Core 300s Smart Ture HEPA Air Purifier, our current Best For Odors pick, which received the highest score overall, or our Best for Quiet selection, the Rabbit Air MinusA2 Ultra Quiet HEPA Air Purifier with a streamlined design that's wall mountable.
Price at time of publish: $250
Coverage Area: 360 square feet | Dimensions: 15 x 8.2 x 23.6 inches | Filter Type: HEPA | CADR Rating: 243 (dust), 246 (pollen), 232 (smoke) | Smart Capabilities: Yes
Veva 800 Elite Pro Series Air Purifier
Two layers for filtration, carbon filter, and HEPA filter
All three settings produce minimal noise
No lights on device so it won’t disrupt light-sensitive sleepers
Air purification of visible particles (such as pet hair) is not as effective as other devices
No notifications indicating air filter status or need for maintenance
The VEVA 8000 Air Purifier is a no-frills device that’s priced affordably and offers reliable air cleansing results. Two internal filters—a carbon filter and a HEPA filter—are relatively low maintenance with replacement suggested every two to three months and every six to twelve months respectively.
In addition to on and off, there are three power settings, all of which emit minimal noise, and did not interfere with conversations during our testing. It also operates with minimal power wattage usage which can help save you money in the long run. It’s also suitable for use in a bedroom setting at night because it doesn’t have a light-up LED display which can interfere with the sleep cycle for some, but it also won’t indicate when the filters need to be changed.
The straightforward design is recommended for spaces up to 325 square feet, but we noticed a diminish in air quality within a room the farther we got from the Vevo device. It’s also not as effective as other air purifiers on our list for collecting pet hair, so if you live with a pet that sheds we recommend using a vacuum for pet hair. You can check out The Spruce Pet’s tested and reviewed selections in this story, The 10 Best Vacuums for Pet Hair.
Price at time of publish: $75
Coverage Area: 325 square feet | Dimensions: 9 x 8 x 23 inches | Filter Type: HEPA | CADR Rating: 120 | Smart Capabilities: No
Best for Small Spaces
Blueair Blue Pure 411i Max Air Purifier
Mobile app for monitoring and controlling four fan speeds, auto mode, night mode, and child lock setting
Wifi and voice command enabled
Washable pre-filter and internal HEPA filter
Five colors indicate changes in air quality from excellent to very polluted
Replacing the internal HEPA filter can be tricky
With the Blueair Blue Pure 411i Max, reliable air filtration is enhanced through the on-demand convenience of a mobile app controlling power settings and monitoring air quality in real-time. After the introduction of common household pollutants in our testing space, the Blue Pure 411i Max noticeably cleared and improved the air quality. It’s also one of the quietest air purifiers we tested, even at its most powerful setting.
The smart Wi-Fi-enabled device allows for voice commands and has an optional child lock to keep settings intact. There are four fan speedings, two power modes—night mode which turns off display lights, and auto mode which adjusts as sensors detect pollutants in the air, and three brightness settings for display lights—off, dim, and bright. With all of these features, this Blueair air purifying system is highly amendable for use in a bedroom with sensitive sleepers and in a living room where it won’t overpower conversations or audio from entertainment devices.
There are five color air quality indicators that let you know when your air quality improves, diminishes, or could benefit from filter maintenance. The external facing pre-filter is capable of capturing pet hair, can be rinsed with water for regular maintenance, and is available in five muted colors. There is also an optional subscription service through Blueair that will send new replacement filters every three, six, or nine months, depending on your needs and use.
Price at time of publish: $170
Coverage Area: 219-526 square feet| Dimensions: 18.9 X 10.6 X 10.6 inches | Filter Type: HEPA | CADR Rating: 141 (dust), 141 (pollen), 141 (smoke) | Smart Capabilities: Yes
Rabbit Air MinusA2 Ultra Quiet HEPA Air Purifier SPA-780A
Modern design allows for standalone or wall mounted placement
Silent and sleep modes
Filtration of volatile organic compounds
Significantly more expensive than other air purifiers
The Rabbit Air MinusA2 Ultra Quiet HEPA Air Purifier with Wi-Fi has a five-layered filtration system including an activated carbon filter, a specialized HEPA filter, and a custom pet allergy filter. Throughout our testing, this purifier effectively and quietly improved air quality by clearing pollutants out of the air, from pet hair and dander to volatile organic compounds, like carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.
The purifier has a sleek modern design that takes up minimal space and can easily be mounted to a wall. When operating in silent mode the device is virtually undetectable, and for complete uninterrupted air filtration, sleep mode turns off the light-up display for an extended duration of time.
The app and on-device display indicate changes in air quality and help you monitor the status of the filtration to maximize the performance of the MinusA2 Ultra Quiet. And while it's the most expensive air purifier on our list, it also comes with a generous five-year warranty from Rabbit Air.
Price at time of publish: $620
Coverage Area: 700 square feet | Dimensions: 20 x 21.4 x 7 inches | Filter Type: HEPA | CADR Rating: 166 (smoke), 173 (dust), 171 (pollen) | Smart Capabilities: Yes
Best for Odors
Levoit Core 300S Smart True HEPA Air Purifier
Removes irritants and odors from the air with three power levels
Built-in sensors monitor air quality and four color indicators keep you informed of pollutant levels from very good to bad
Wifi connected for app and voice commands
One of the quietest air purifiers we tested, even at its highest setting
Not the most effective at capturing pet hair in our testing
The Levoit Core 300s Smart Ture HEPA Air Purifier quickly extinguished the palpable aroma of incense from our testing space in under 30 minutes, and even at its lowest—and quietest—setting its air purifying ability was measurable.
Inside the compact air purifier, there are three layers that work together to filter out particles as large as pet hair from the air. A pre-filter where lint and fibers are trapped, a HEPA filter collecting dust, pollen, and dander, and an activated carbon filter which is essential for the removal of odors, like smoke and fumes, that can enter your home.
The Core 300s Smart Ture HEPA Air Purifier is WiFi enabled and easy to set up. It can be controlled and monitored from an app or through the LED display on the top of the device where settings can be programmed and locked. It is also responsive to voice commands.
It has three air intake settings and at the highest, the decibel rating peaked at 58, which is comparable to quiet household dishwasher, so it’s unlikely to disrupt you while sleeping or watching television. For use in a room with a light sleeper, it has a sleep mode that will turn off all display lights and keep the air purification system running as quietly as possible.
Price at time of publish: $150
Coverage Area: 219 square feet | Dimensions: 8.7 x 8.7 x 14.2 inches | Filter Type: HEPA | CADR Rating: 141 | Smart Capabilities: Yes
Best for Allergies
Bionaire True HEPA 360 UV Air Purifier
Design allows for air intake and filtration on all sides of the device
UV light kills bacteria and germs
Ionizer feature attracts and traps pet hair and pet dander
Features two nighttime settings that adjust illumination to align with personal preferences
Noticably improves air quality in under half an hour
Highest setting (out of three) is loud, producing too much noise to maintain a conversation
The Bionaire True HEPA 360 UV Air Purifier effectively captures airborne allergens and noticeably improved air quality in under 30 minutes in our testing. The cylindrical shape allows for full 360 degrees of air intake and filtration in a room and a built-in top handle enables portability within a home.
This air-purifying device from Bionaire features six stages of filtration consisting of two pre-filters (one fabric and one mesh), a true HEPA filter, a carbon filter, a UV light, and an Ionizer. The UV light—which kills bacteria—and the ionizer—which releases a static charge to attract particles including pet hair and dander—can be activated in unison with the air intake filters for expedited air cleansing when a contaminate is present, such as a pet or smoke.
There are three air filtration power settings, and while the highest level produces significantly more noise and makes it difficult to maintain a conversation, the other two settings are sustainable for everyday use—even while sleeping. For use in a bedroom, the purifier has a night-light setting for visibility in low light and a night mode setting that turns off all display lights. There is also an eight-hour timer setting to maintain the filtration process for an extended duration of time.
To maintain functionality, the UV light, and layered filters should be replaced annually (on average), but the process is straightforward and the total cost for replacements is under $100.
Price at time of publish: $180
Coverage Area: 175-848 square feet | Dimensions: 10 x 10 x 15 inches | Filter Type: HEPA | CADR Rating: 113 | Smart Capabilities: No
Dyson Purifier Cool Purifying Fan TP07
Quiet even at highest setting
Oscillates for even air flow
Quickly clears fine particulate matter
Elongated design with a small footprint for use as a floor fan
Tricky to reattach filter
In our various effectiveness tests, this air purifier from Dyson was exceptionally efficient with clearing air pollutants–including smoke–and significantly improved the air quality in our testing space.
The Dyson Purifier Cool TP07 Smart Air Purifier and Fan was previously our Best Overall choice because of its powerful filtration capabilities, cooling effects, and quiet operational experience. But with a price that’s nearly double our latest Best Overall, the Winix 5500-2 4-Stage True HEPA Air Purifier, we decided to find a new spot for this one on our list.
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. It also emits minimal noise with low decibel readings even at the highest power level so it’s suitable for use in a bedroom and is unlikely to interrupt your favorite tv show. 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. 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. Backward airflow mode allows you to use the purifier alone without a cooling effect as well.
Price at time of publish: $570
Coverage Area: Not available | Dimensions: 4.72 x 8 x 41 inches | Filter Type: HEPA | CADR Rating: Not available | Smart Capabilities: Yes
Our top pick is the Winix 5500-2 4-Stage True HEPA Air Purifier which has a powerful filtration system able to collect pet hair and pet dander. It also emits low sound levels and features built-in sensors that automatically adjust to optimize air quality, dim the display lights, and conserve energy. For anyone looking for a purifier under $100, check out the VEVA 8000 Air Purifier which can filter up to 325 square feet, has a true HEPA filter, and three air speeds.
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 47 air purifiers across our labs in Des Moines and New York City 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 artificial 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 (volatile organic compounds) 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. We then narrowed down our top performers and sent each one to a tester for use in a real home with real pets for continued evaluation over the course of several months with periodic check-ins on ease of use and filtration maintenance needs.
What to Look for in an Air Purifier
The air purifier space has scientifically proven features to consider and technology-based enhancements that you may or may not find useful (app control, voice commands, remote control) along with extraneous attributes added by manufacturers in an effort to differentiate their products.
HEPA: The U.S. Department of Energy set the definition and standards for HEPA filtration, which stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, HEPA certification is given to filters capable of removing at least 99.97 percent of dust, pollen, mold, bacteria, and any airborne particles with a size of 0.3 microns.
CADR: Stands for Clean Air Delivery Rate and is a score calculating how quickly an air purifier is able to remove contaminants, such as dust, pollen, and smoke, from the air in a room. The CADR of your air cleaner should be equal to at least two-thirds of the room's area. For example, if your room is 100 square feet (10 feet x 10 feet) a minimum CADR of 67 is needed.
Some manufacturers provide three categories for their CADR, such as our Best Overall choice, the Winix 5500-2 4-Stage True HEPA Air Purifier with a CADR of 243 (dust), 246 (pollen), and 232 (smoke). Others offer an average score, like VEVA 8000 Air Purifier with a CADR of 120, while some air purifier manufacturers do not provide CADR ratings for their models.
Activated Carbon Filter: These filters use activated carbon (also called activated charcoal) to filter out odors, such as the smell of smoke, and gases, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released from household products, from the air in a space. They cannot remove fine particles like mold, dust, or pollen from the air so should be used in conjunction with a HEPA filter.
Pre-Filter: Often the first filtration layer capturing larger airborne particles including pet hair and dust. It should be noted that an air purifier is not designed to be as powerful as a vacuum for the removal of pet hair from a space.
UV Light: Select air purifiers, like the Bionaire True HEPA 360 UV Air Purifier (our Best for Allergies selection) have an internal chamber with a UV light to kill airborne bacteria.
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.
Cooling Features And Design
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?
Yes, but not completely. 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, like a vacuum for pet hair. Check out the top tested and reviewed vacuums for pet hair by The Spruce Pets.
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 roundup was revamped by Anna Mejorada, a writer for The Spruce Pets who shares her home with a happy pomeranian named Gidget. Before researching and writing about pet products for a living, Mejorada embarked on a self-mandated, ongoing quest to find the optimal items for her dog. She is now delightfully devoted to helping humans discover and select the most favorable products for their pets.
A previous version was updated by Emma Phelps, a writer for The Spruce with several years of experience researching products and writing roundups. And the original story was 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.