Is your dog or cat giving you the sniffles? If that’s the case, then the best air purifier for pets will help take care of the hair, dander and odor.
According to the American Pet Products Association about 44% of U.S. homes own dogs. And, another 35% own cats. In total, that’s over 163 million dogs and cats owned by American families.
That said, there’s also a lot of people who are allergies to our cute furry friends. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America says that many as 30% of people are allergic to dogs or cats. Cats, being twice as likely as dogs to cause allergy symptoms.
If you happen to be allergic to your pet, but don’t want to see them go, there are a few things you can do, starting with the right air cleaner for pet dander.
Our Top Choices: Quick View of Pet Air Purifiers for Your Home
- Alen BreatheSmart Customizable Air Purifier – Our Top Pick
- Winix WAC9500 Ultimate Pet – Runner Up
- Honeywell True HEPA Allergen Remover, HPA300
- GermGuardian AC4825 – Affortable Choice
- GermGuardian AC5250PT
What Are Pet Allergies?
Allergies occur when our immune system overreacts to substances that are harmless to most people.
These substances are called allergens. And, they are present in pollen, dust mites, mold, food, medicines and pets.
Pet allergies happen when you come close to or in contact with certain animals. For many people, these include dogs and cats. You may also be surprised to know that it can occur in places where there’s no animal around.
As a response to these allergens your body produces symptoms like sneezing, difficulty breathing, itchiness and sniffling.
What Causes Them?
The common misconception is that breathing in dog or cat hair causes the sneezing and itchiness. But, in reality, it is the animal’s dander, saliva, skin flakes and urine that causes the allergies.
However, it’s worth noting that your pet’s fur can also collect other allergens. These include pollen and mold. As such, keeping the home tidy and clean from pet hair is important as well.
With pet birds, their feathers and droppings are likewise sources of allergens, not to mention germs and bacteria. The same is true for mice, rabbits and hamster droppings.
Dander are tiny skin particles that animals shed. These allergens are lightweight and stay in the air for long periods of time. This is why you’ll often experience allergic reactions long after the pet has left the room. Similarly, entering an area where the animal was in can trigger such reactions, even if they’re not there anymore.
Pet dander also sticks to clothing, fabric and furniture. They likewise collect under tables or in corners. As such, any place pets have been in can cause allergic reactions, even after they’ve left the vicinity.
Cat allergies can come about from the animal’s presence or by touching them. As with other furry creatures, it isn’t cat hair that causes your allergic reactions. Instead, it’s the proteins in their dander and saliva. Once shed or secreted, these microscopic particles circulate in the air.
It is why having cats present in a room or home is enough to trigger allergies. Once you inhale these substances through your nose and into your lungs, you’ll start experiencing symptoms within a few minutes.
Breathing in these allergens can cause respiratory symptoms like coughing and sneezing. Touching the cat on the other hand, can result in skin irritation and itchiness. The latter is also true if your cat licks you.
Dog allergies aren’t as prevalent as cat allergies. But, because dogs scratch themselves a lot more than cats do, they shed more dander. It is this dander that makes you sneeze and itch.
It’s also worth noting that there are no hypoallergenic dogs. Because it’s the dander and dried saliva that causes your allergies, the length of your dog’s fur, or how much they shed isn’t aren’t factors.
Symptoms of Pet Allergies
Pet allergies occur soon after exposure to the animal. You don’t need to touch them to experience these symptoms. Being in close proximity is enough.
Additionally, these allergies can also be triggered if you enter a room the animal has been in, even if they’re not present anymore. The reason is that their dander is still in the air. And, it sticks to the walls and furniture.
Here are some signs that you may have pet allergies.
- Runny nose
- Itchy or watery eyes
- Wheezing or difficulty breathing
- Skin rashes or itching
How Do Air Purifiers Help & Prevent Allergies/Allergens At Home
As mentioned above, pet allergies result from skin cells, saliva and urine, which dry on their fur and shed off as dander. Once airborne, these allergens can easily circulate throughout your home, especially if you use central heating and air conditioning. For this reason they can stay around for months after your pet is gone.
As far as size goes, pet dander ranges from about 0.3 to 100 microns. This makes them invisible to the human eye. And due to their small size, not all air purifiers are capable of catching them.
Filters for Pet Allergies
For this reason we recommend getting an air purifier with multi-layer filtration. This allows you to get the best coverage. By using different types of filters in conjunction, it is able to efficiently capture all the allergens in the air.
- HEPA Filter. This is the most important feature to consider for pet allergens. HEPA air purifiers are designed to trap particles as small as 0.3 microns in size 99.9% of the time. As such, they trap the smallest of pet dander as well as other air contaminants like dust mites, mold spores and pollen.
- Activate Carbon Filter. In addition, we suggest buying a model that comes with activated carbon filters. This feature gets rid of any odors your pets may leave behind.
- Washable Pre-Filters. This acts as the front filtration layer. It functions to catch larger particles like pet hair, dust and pollen. Having a pre-filter cuts down the amount of work the HEPA filter has to do. Plus, because it’s washable, it saves you money in the long run.
Air Cleaners Don’t Get All the Allergens
Air purifiers filter dander and allergens in the air. But, they won’t be able to completely rid your home of them. Dander that has fallen on the ground or clung onto walls, fabrics, upholstery, carpeting or sheets are beyond what these devices can handle.
For this reason, it is just as important to have a HEPA vacuum cleaner. Together, you’ll be able to ensure that the air and all your home’s surfaces are clear of pet allergens
Best Air Purifier for Pets Reviews
This is because it comes with high performance 5 stage air filtering ability. With the Winix WAC9500 you get the following air cleaning layers.
- A Pre-filter. This filter is washable. And, it is designed to pick up the bigger particles including pet hair and dust.
- HEPA filter. This layer captures everything else the pre-filter doesn’t. It catches up to 99.97% of all particles up to 0.3 microns in size.
- CleanCel anti-bacterial treatment. This ensures that bacteria, germ and other microorganisms are killed. This keeps the air cleaner.
- Carbon filter with advanced odor control. For pet owners, this ensures that no lingering smells or odors stay in the air. It also works well for smoke.
- PlasmaWave system. This extra addition gets rid of bacteria, odors and harmful gases. It also breaks down harmful chemicals in the air to keep your family safe. Some examples include neutralizing toxic smells from paint drying.
The WAC9500 is ideal for spaces of up to 283 square feet. Of course, you can use it for smaller areas which will give you a more thorough cleaning. The unit comes with the following CADR specifications.
- For tobacco and cigarette smoke: 183
- For dust: 182
- For pollen: 194
This is among our top picks because it gives you excellent air cleaning ability plus is very quiet. It practically stays silent at 26 dB.
Then, there are the other features. This includes the timer and its smart sensors. The latter run on automatic mode. They monitor the room’s air quality and when needed automatically adjust the fan’s settings up to clean the air faster.
Finally, you get a remote control that lets you change settings without going to the device. You control everything from the remote including speed, timer, power and turning off different features like the PlasmaWave.
The unit is fairly compact. It takes up a small area of space, 5.5 inches wide and 9 inches deep. It stands 21.5 inches tall.
The GermGuardian AC4825 is ideal for areas up to 155 square feet. It comes with a CADR of over 100.
We like that it is lightweight and operates very quietly at the lowest setting. In all you get 3 settings to choose from. This lets you turn it up or run it on medium for all-day use.
The unit works very well thanks to its 3 stage filtration system.
- Pre-filter and charcoal filter. This is the first layer of air protection. It catches the bigger particles like pet hair, lint and dust. In addition, the activated carbon filter rids your home of unwanted odors from pets as well as smoke.
- Behind that is the HEPA filtration. This layer is essential for thorough cleaning. It cleaner 99.97% of the air from contaminants. And, picks up the smallest of particles, up to 0.3 microns in size. The HEPA filter is what captures pet dander as well as pollens and other allergens.
- The last layer is the UV-C light. This is a frequency of ultraviolet light that’s been show to kill bacteria and viruses. Let’s face it, our pets run outside and roll in the dirt. They bring home a lot of germs in their fur. This helps kill the unseen microorganisms.
For larger rooms, this GermGuardian pet air cleaner is a better choice. The unit is slightly bigger than the AC4825 at 27.25 inches tall. It takes up a space of 6.1 inches by 9.5 inches. And, weights 10.5 pounds.
In addition to covering larger areas. It also comes with GermGuardian’s Pet Pure treatment. This makes it ideal if you or your kids are sensitive to pet dander and allergies.
The unit comes with a CADR of over 125. It is designed for spaces around 195 square feet.
This pet air purifier is similar to the smaller AC4825 above. It comes with the pre-filter & carbon layer, HEPA filtration and UV-C light.
It does work at a larger scale. This makes it ideal for cleaning bigger rooms. In addition, you get a few extra features. Among the ones we like most are the 5 speeds. The AC4825 has 3 fan speeds.
The extra speeds let you get a more thorough cleaning. This includes high-speed allergen control and the ultra-low setting for the lowest noise possible.
We like that the unit runs quiet. Even when set at high, it produces noise levels of only 62 db. This makes it quieter than many white noise machines.
Other extra features we like are the 8 hour timer and filter change reminder. The former lets you set the unit before bed and or early in the day and know it will automatically shut-off after a given time.
Of course, for pet owners, the most important add-on is the Pet Pure treatment system. This adds to the air cleaning capability of the 3 stage filtration.
GermGuardian’s Pet Pure technology is made with anti-microbial properties. It is added to the filter to keep germs, bacteria and mold from growing in the filter. Since you change the filter once in 6 to 8 months, making sure it doesn’t harbor these microorganisms helps in giving you cleaner breathing air at home.
The unit can bet positioned standing or lying down. It fits on a small table or dresser. This is thanks to its small footprint, 8.5 inches long by 6 inches wide. It stands 13.5 inches tall.
This Hamilton Beach TrueAir Air Pet is ideal for small rooms including bedrooms and nurseries. It covers a space of 160 square feet.
We like this for homes with pets because it comes with a high performance HEPA filter. This makes it effective in capturing the smallest of particles including dander. In addition it also gets rid of dust, mold spores and pollen from your homes.
This pet air cleaner comes with 3 fan settings. We like that it operates quietly.
- You’ll want to put it on low setting for sleeping. This makes it very quiet.
- The medium setting is ideal for use during the day.
- The high setting is for when you need to clean the room’s air as quickly as possible.