In this Guide
If you have pets, but suffer from allergies, or have friends or family who are sensitive to pet allergens, you know the struggle of trying to keep your pets’ mess under control. Fur and dander seem to generate constantly from out of nowhere, no matter how much you vacuum. Plus, even the best vacuums can’t always make pervasive pet odors go away.
A well-equipped air purifier can make a big difference in making your living space more comfortable for everyone, even those who are allergic to pets. You can trap all that dust and dander, and cut down on pet odors in your home at the same time!
However, many purifiers aren’t up to the task. Pets create an endless supply of floating dust which can overwhelm many inferior models. Many general-purpose purifiers don’t have the necessary odor control features to cope with pets. It’s hard to know where to start, especially when a lot of “pet” branding materials aren’t always backed up by real science.
We’ve gone on a comprehensive search for the best air purifiers for people with pets. Whether you’re dealing with allergy symptoms, or simply trying to reduce the dust, dander, and odor in your home, we’ve found models to help! In our research, we compared professional lab test results from Consumer Reports, the Sweethome, and AHAM institute, among others.
Then, we scoured buyer reviews for feedback from people who had used these units with their pets in the real world. We looked for models which were consistent, powerful performers. We also made sure to consider purchase prices and upkeep cost, as well as long term reliability when we came up with our own rankings.
In this guide, you’ll find our own in-depth reviews of three great air purifiers for people with pets. We’ve broken down all their key features, and explained why we think these are the best options on the market right now when it comes to living with animals. After the reviews, you’ll find a handy guide to shopping for your perfect machine!
Before we start, here’s a quick look at our top recommendations:
Best on a Budget
- Rating: 4.3
- Reviews: 30
- Rating: 4.6
- Reviews: 115
- Rating: 4.2
- Reviews: 40
Best Air Purifiers for Pet Allergies & Hair – 2018 Reviews
1. Brondell O2+
Our most budget-friendly choice for people with pets is this O2+ model from Brondell. It’s a compact, effective machine with lots of pet-friendly features. We especially like the washable prefilter, which extends the life of the HEPA filters inside the machine, as well as the activated carbon filter for reducing pet odors in your home.
Plus, it’s one of the cheapest models on the market with an effective, accurate automatic mode. This is an excellent choice for dealing with pets in bedrooms and other smaller spaces up to 300 square feet.
It’s affordable. You can find this one available for around the $250 mark.
It’s compact, and lightweight. The whole thing is just 2 feet tall, and 1.5 feet wide. It’s also a very thin design with a depth of just under 8 inches. The bulk of the machine is actually only about 3 inches thin, aside from the motor and fan assembly at the bottom. This is one of the least obtrusive units on the market, which makes it ideal for smaller spaces.
It packs a lot of power for its small size. It’s rated by the AHAM institute to clean air easily in spaces as large as 250 square feet, and previous buyers reported good results in rooms and living spaces as large as 300 square feet.
It has all the key features we look for in dealing with pets. The Brondell has True HEPA filtration, which means that it’s certified to remove 99.7% of airborne particles above 0.3 microns in size. That’ll eliminate nearly all pet-related allergens, from dust to dander. It also has odor control, thanks to an activated carbon filter.
Plus, the carbon filter eliminates harmful VOC content from off-gassing and chemical fumes in your home. That’s a major health benefit for both you and your pets. There’s also a washable mesh pre-filter, which keeps hairs and larger allergens from clogging your expensive HEPA filters. Previous buyers said that family members and roommates with pet allergies saw their symptoms severely lessened or even eliminated, even with animals in the room.
The washable pre-filter is a standout feature for us. We’re impressed by how finely it filters, especially given the nature of the pre-filter design. Most of these mesh units are a basic screen like you’d find on a laundry dryer. They’re meant to trap larger dust particles, but they can’t tackle a lot of small-scale pet allergens.
This screen is different. It’s a micron-mesh filter, which actually traps particles as small as 0.28mm. That goes a long way to preserve the working lives of your internal filters, especially when you have pets. It’s easy to clean with a vacuum, or by running the filter under the tap.
It’s one of the least expensive models to feature a sensitive, efficient automatic function. In automatic mode, the Brondell uses its built-in quality sensors to judge your air quality and make adjustments accordingly. If you want to adjust manually, there are 3 fan settings to choose from.
Previous buyers were very impressed with how well their machines responded to changes in air quality. They said it jumped into action immediately when confronted with strong odors or a burst of pet activity which left dust and hair in their space.
The controls are simple and easy to use. The Brondell features a touch panel with 4 separate operating modes. There’s a quiet night-time setting, which keeps fan speeds low as you sleep. There’s the automatic mode, which works constantly to keep conditions optimized in your space. An eco mode works similarly, but takes care to minimize energy output to conserve energy.
Finally, there’s a manual “fan speed” mode which allows you to adjust the purifier yourself. The control panel also has a real-time quality indicator light which changes color to reflect current conditions in your home. There’s also an automatic light which alerts you when filters need to be changed.
It’s customizable. Brondell offer a few different filter sets for these units, so you can easily customize yours to deal with pets, pollen, smoke, or other more specific needs.
It looks much better than other inexpensive purifiers. The O2+ has a sleek, modern design which fits in with most appliances and contemporary décor. There are white and black color options. The plus-sign cutout on the machine changes color depending on air quality, which most buyers said was a delightful design touch which gave their machine lots of personality.
The magnetic, removable front panel makes it easy to change filters. Previous buyers said it took about 5 minutes to get up and running or to change the set.
It meets all the right specs and certifications. This one is Energy Star-certified to use less electricity, it’s CARB-rated to provide the cleanest air, it’s tested to be completely ozone-free, and it’s tested by the AHAM institute for coverage.
It has an excellent reputation for reliability, and Brondell provide exceptional, responsive customer service. We’re also very impressed with the warranty coverage on this model: 3 years. That’s far better than other models at this price.
The machine can be somewhat loud when it turns itself on to tackle a strong smell or influx of pollutants. Some buyers reported that when they cooked, or sprayed a fragrance product, the machine would immediately turn on at full blast. That can be a bit loud when you’re asleep or watching TV. However, most people found that the initial whoosh quieted down very quickly, and was never very annoying.
It’s a bit more expensive than some other units at this power class.
2. Rabbit Air Bio GS
This Rabbit Air unit is our top midsize choice for people with pets in spaces up to 500 feet. It’s a smart, award-winning design which features multi-layer filtration, quiet fans, and efficient energy use. It’s easy to use, easy to maintain, and has superior reliability. We think it’s an excellent choice for smaller apartments and midsize rooms!
It’s an award-winning design. Now, we don’t always give extra marks to a machine since it won an award, but the Bio GS has won some pretty prestigious design recognition since the first version came out in 2014. It won the Red Dot award, the Good Design Award, and an honorable mention from the German Design Award panel. Professional and amateur reviewers alike praised its sleek, efficient performance, environmental friendliness, and overall effectiveness as an air purifier. We think it looks great, and works just as well!
It looks fantastic. The Rabbit is one of the sleekest designs we’ve seen, and it’s easily as attractive as the Brondell. It has lots of rounded edges and a flowing design which helps it blend easily into any home. Previous buyers loved it, and said it was one of their favorite appliances to look at as well as use.
Reviewers also had lots of praise for the Rabbit Air’s build quality, and user-friendly layout. Buyers said all the parts felt solid and durable, and that the controls and filters were intuitive to use. We particularly like the child-friendly features, including a button lock and an automatic shutoff if the front cover is removed. That protects small investigators from dangerous fans.
It has a surprising coverage range for its size: up to 550 square feet, according to the manufacturer. Previous buyers reported good results in spaces up to 500 square feet, which is impressive because the Rabbit’s specs on paper aren’t quite as impressive as some other models. Overall, though, it competes with much larger, louder models!
We also like the smart fan layout, which intakes air from the bottom and sides of the machine, and exhausts clean air from the back and upper sides of the housing. It allows for wide coverage and quiet fan operation without causing any drafts in your home.
Like the Brondell, the Bio GS has several layers of filtration. It has a washable mesh prefilter, a carbon filter for odors and VOC content, and a True HEPA filter core for trapping tiny allergens,
The Bio GS lineup also has a HEPA layer that’s specifically designed to trap and neutralize natural allergens like pollen, mold spores, or-most importantly-pet allergens like dander, skin, and hair. At the end of the chain, there’s an optional ionizer feature to add negative ions to your air and further neutralize allergens.
It has a lot of the other features we love on the Brondell as well: it runs automatically, with an onboard sensor measuring both particulate matter and odors. It’s Energy Star-rated, and CARB certified. The control panel also provides automatic filter replacement reminders.
Previous buyers reported very good results, especially in homes with pets. We found that many buyers with severe allergic reactions said the Rabbit made an immediate, tangible difference in their air quality, lessening their symptoms and improving their health dramatically.
The filters last a very long time. The manufacturer says that when used 12 hours per day, they can last as long as three years, provided you clean the prefilter frequently, and maintain a vacuuming routine.
Most previous buyers found that their filters lasted at least 1 or 2 years, if not 3. Your results will vary depending on your cleaning habits and the types/number of pets you have.
It comes with a remote control.
The ionization feature is optional. Those who want negative ions in their air can get them, while folks who want to completely eliminate ozone from their air can get that as well.
We like having the option here, since opinion is so mixed on ionization features. According to our research, medical studies have conclusively proven that substantial quantities of ozone constitute a lung irritant, which is the last thing you want in a machine that’s supposed to be cleaning your air.
Ozone is nearly always produced by ionizer features. That’s why we’re generally leery of ionizers on purifiers. However, in this case, the feature is optional. We also found that even when the feature is turned on, the amount of ozone produced is well, well under the threshold set by the California regulatory board’s recommendations. So, if you want a guarantee of safety, you can have that, and if you want ionized air with the least possible ozone production, you can have that too!
It’s backed by excellent warranty coverage and very well-rated customer service. The Rabbit comes with a 5-year warranty, and the company are very prompt in responding to customer questions, even taking the time to respond to online reviews with helpful tips or resources. They even cover return shipping, if your model runs into any troubles. We didn’t actually find any reliability complaints for this model at all, which is pretty impressive!
We think the 550 square feet coverage rating is a bit dubious. Rabbit is not an American company, so it doesn’t list AHAM certifications for its CADR (clean air delivery rate). We also had to do quite a bit of digging to find the CADR rating, which is a bit low at 189. We generally consider ratings around 300 to be very good, and 200 to be our minimum benchmark. However, despite that low spec, both buyers and professional reviewers gave the Rabbit very high marks up to 500 square feet, so we’re going to make an exception for this model.
It’s a bit expensive. The Rabbit costs quite a bit compared to some other models which cover the same space. For the price, a few buyers were a bit disappointed by its performance. Some weren’t impressed with the sensitivity levels of the automatic air quality sensor, saying it wasn’t as responsive as they expected it to be. A couple reviewers also said their units weren’t as good at removing odors as they had hoped. However, the vast majority were satisfied.
It’s a bit bigger than the Brondell. The Rabbit is about the same height and width as the Brondell, but it’s deeper, at 9.8”.
3. Blueair 650 E
The Blueair 650E is our current favorite purifier on the market when it comes to living with pets. Like our other recommendations, it’s a fully automatic system with a washable pre-filter and internal filtration for both airborne allergens and odors.
It has convenient, reliable operation, and a very impressive air coverage capacity for its size. Quite simply, it’s one of the most capable and convenient purifiers we’ve ever seen. We recommend it to people who have larger spaces to cover, multiple pets, or to those with severe allergies to conquer!
It’s fully automatic, and it does a better job than the Brondell or Rabbit. While all our pet recommendations have automatic filtration settings, the Blueair’s onboard computer and sensor array is the most powerful and the most precise of the three. It’s more responsive, more reliable, and more efficient. Previous buyers said it sometimes reacted to even a dog walking by and shaking! This is a machine you can set and forget, without having to make any tweaks or workarounds.
It’s more powerful than our other recommendations. This one is rated for spaces up to 698 square feet. It’s ideal for large rooms like basements, living rooms, or open workspaces/shops. We also recommend it to people who are trying to purify their entire living space, provided you live in an apartment, condo, or smaller home.
Its ratings are backed up by lab testing. The Rabbit gets impressive reviews, but it doesn’t list testing credentials from AHAM. The Blueair does, and it’s easy to see why the company wants to brag. This one is tested to cycle through air up to 5 times per hour, with an outstanding CADR rating of 450: that’s 50% more than most units we consider “very good”!
It combines the best of both mechanical and electrostatic filtration. In addition to three-layer HEPA Silent filters inside, the Blueair has an electrostatic filtration system which helps it filter more thoroughly without producing any ozone. It works by ionizing air particles while they’re in the machine, which makes them stick to the filter fibers more reliably. It filters more effectively, and still produces completely safe air for you to breathe. It’s tested to be ozone-free by the CA regulatory board.
These dual systems mean that the Blueair can filter even more precisely than the True HEPA systems in our other recommendations. The HEPA Silent system using both systems can filter out 99.7% of particles as small as 0.1 microns! That’s 1/3 the size of the smallest particles the Brondell or Rabbit can trap. 0.2 microns might not seem super significant, but when you’re dealing with microscopic pet allergens, trust us–it makes a big difference!
You can also customize the filter sets depending on your own needs. If you have a particularly furry dog who sheds a lot, get one with a specific allergen filter for dander. If you have lots of cats and a smelly box, try a filter set with more odor control. We think the factory filters do a great job on both particulate matter and odors, but it’s always nice to be able to customize.
In front of the internal filters, there’s a metal pre-filter mesh which you can vacuum easily to preserve the working life of the internal filters. Buyers said it was easy to clean, even without removing the cover.
Like the Rabbit, it won’t create drafts. The Blueair’s air system works in 6 different directions, drawing in air from the front and sides, and expelling air from the top, sides, and back to make sure you don’t have any annoying breezes in your home. It’s one of the most impressive machines we’ve seen in that regard so far. It’s hard to believe the machine is moving as much air as it is, until you get super close to the vents.
It’s also very quiet. This one operates between 32-66 db, and if you leave it running on automatic, it’ll very rarely use the fastest fan speeds. Reviewers said it was one of the quietest purifiers they’d ever used. It won’t cause your pets any distress when it turns itself on.
It looks great. This is a modern, sleek design which fits in pretty much any space. Plus, the galvanized steel construction makes this one of the most durable, reliable models on the market. You won’t have to worry about wagging tails or doggy playtimes causing damage to plastic paneling. This is one of the best-made units we’ve seen to date.
It has a remote control. You can store it on the machine when you’re not using it, since there’s a magnet built in.
It’s mounted on wheels. Unlike our other recommendations, the Blueair is easy to move around your space, since the casters simply roll along. That’s ideal for homes with animals, where you need to move the unit frequently to vacuum.
It’s Energy-Star and CARB certified. In fact, it actually exceeds both testing standards! This machine won’t cost more to run than leaving a single lightbulb on. That’s some pretty impressive energy performance. It’s a smart long-term buy for people with pet allergies, or serious dust issues, since you’ll probably be running your Blueair constantly.
It’s recommended by Consumer Reports, and it’s won numerous design awards in Sweden and beyond. It’s easy to see why: it’s an incredibly effective filtration system, with a convenient user interface, automatic function, environmentally conscious design and construction, and
Provided you enroll in the manufacturer’s filter replacement subscription program, your 650E will be covered by a lifetime warranty! That’s a best-in-the-market policy, and based on our research, the filters end up costing a lot less through the company itself, so it’s a win-win. They last about 6 months.
It’s expensive. The Blueair can cost as much as $900, and filters aren’t exactly cheap. However, previous buyers who subscribed through the company’s replacement program said they actually found it was a lot cheaper to maintain than other high-end purifiers.
The control panel is located low down on the side of the machine. It’s a bit inconvenient for most people to view without bending down or sitting on the floor. We’re not sure why Blueair have placed it there–it seems like a clear design oversight.
The display light doesn’t turn off. It can be a bit bright for sleeping spaces. However, the company will ship night-cap covers for free.
While Blueair quality control is much better than average, it’s not quite perfect. Some previous buyers received units with off-balance fans which made a racket. However, they said the company was prompt in sending out replacements.
It’s the bulkiest of our recommendations. The Blueair is the same height and width as our other recommendations, but it’s twice as deep. You probably wouldn’t want to use this in a small space like a bedroom.
Which is the Best Air Filter for Allergies?
The Brondell is our top choice for people looking to purify single rooms in a compact footprint. It’s an exceptionally convenient, compact air purifier which we’d recommend for any space under 300 square feet or so. It ticks all our boxes for a good pet-focused unit, with automatic operation, odor control features and a washable pre-filter for keeping your filters from getting clogged prematurely. However, it’s simply not powerful enough for large spaces, and it’s a fair bit louder than our other recommendations.
The Rabbit Air is the best midrange choice for people who need to cover a bit more ground than the Brondell can handle, but don’t have the room or budget to spring for the Blueair. It provides a significant boost in coverage, and it runs much more quietly than the Brondell at the same time. It has all the same great features, and extended warranty coverage. We especially like the smooth, curved design for more modern spaces. With all that said, we’re not sure it’s quite as powerful as rated, and it’s a bit expensive for what you get. We recommend it to people who have spaces 500 square feet or under, with single pets and only mild allergy symptoms.
The Blueair is our top overall quality recommendation, and we recommend it to anyone who can afford it. It’s the only one of our recommendations that can easily cover large spaces from 500-700 square feet, and it purifies more finely and more regularly than other of the others.
We especially recommend it to people with severe allergies, or multiple pets. Between its solid build quality, superb filtration ratings, and very low upkeep cost, it’s hard to find any reasons why you shouldn’t buy the Blueair. However, it’s a bit big for people who are cramped for space, and it’s probably overkill for the average bedroom.
How to Choose the Best Pet Air Purifier
Decide on your budget:
Air purifiers can cost anywhere from $150-$1,000+, depending on the size, power, and filtration features of the model. We usually recommend that even the most budget-minded buyers spend at least $200 on a new air purifier. Under $200, we’ve found that most models are too small, delicate, and underpowered to make a difference in your air quality-especially if you have pets to consider.
If you’re going to be purifying a single small room, such as a bedroom, or a compact apartment space under 300 square feet, plan to spend between $200 and $300.
For a medium to large size room, or apartment as large as 500 square feet, plan to spend between $300 and $500.
If you need to purify a very large, open space, like a living room, large apartment, or entire small house, plan to spend between $500 and $1000.
The more you pay for an air purifier within these price classes, the more you’ll get in terms of coverage and efficiency. More expensive models can cover more ground, and they will cycle through the air in your space more times in an hour (as many as 5). You’ll see higher CADR (clean air delivery ratings), as well as more sophisticated filtration, and more fine-toothed HEPA filters. Premium air purifiers have convenient features like automatic operating modes, remote controls, and ultra-quiet fan systems. You can also expect them to have better reliability and longer warranty coverage. Most importantly, the more expensive options have customizable filter sets, so you can cater your machine specifically to your pet situation.
We recommend spending as much as you are able, since more expensive and reliable models are a better long-term purchase. When you’re shopping for a home with pets, durability is not something you should have to question!
One extra consideration to make is whether or not you’ll need to purchase additional warranty coverage for your unit. Extra coverage isn’t something we always recommend, but air purifiers can have pretty mixed reliability.
We think add-on plans a smart financial decision for any unit under $500. These models have the iffiest reliability, and they generally come with quite short factory warranties.
An add-on plan can double or even triple your coverage, and it’ll allow you to deal with a third party, as opposed to the manufacturer. That makes it a lot easier to have your concerns addressed without being hassled or having to sit on hold. If you’re buying a unit that costs more than $500, you shouldn’t have to buy additional coverage. More expensive machines are much more reliable overall, and they come with extended warranties out of the box.
Know the dimensions of your space:
Before you start shopping, crunch the numbers on the living space(s) you want to purify. Know how many square feet you need to cover, and then round up by about 10% to give yourself a nice margin of error for your machine.
You’ll be able to compare your total square footage with the space ratings on a given machine, to see which one is best for your needs. We always recommend being generous with size ratings for air purifiers because they’re tested at their highest fan speeds. As anyone who’s used one of these machines before knows, those high fan settings aren’t always pleasant to listen to.
Make sure your air purifier is rated to handle your space easily, and never be afraid of overpowering your space. Your filters will last longer, and your unit will run more quietly while covering the same amount of ground. When you’re calculating square footage, keep in mind that manufacturers rate their machines to handle square footage with a standard 8-foot ceiling height. If you have higher ceilings, vaults, or an open floor plan, you’ll want to round up proportionally.
Think about the severity of your problem:
As we’ve said, it’s always a good idea to round up your square footage requirements to be sure that your air purifier can easily handle your space. When you’ve got pets, that can be even more important.
Make sure you buy an air purifier with a power rating that’s appropriate for the severity of your allergy symptoms, the strength of the pet odor in your home, or the amount of pets you have (and the size of the mess they produce). Think about how much your pets shed, how severe your (or your family members’) allergic reactions are, and how strong or pungent the odors are in your home.
If you’re living in an apartment with pets, but have your own room, you can probably get away with a unit that’s rated for 250-300 square feet. That’s already quite a bit larger than the average bedroom, and a unit with that power rating will help you easily mitigate your symptoms within your personal space.
If you own a pet, and keep it in your living space with you, you’ll want to be more generous. Make sure you follow our general benchmark of rounding up your square footage by 10%. Place your purifier as centrally as possible to lower allergen levels and odor in your whole space.
If you have multiple pets, you may want to overpower your space by as much as 25%. Doing so will account for the large amount of hair, dust, and dander that multiple pets can produce. Choosing a model that’s sufficiently overpowered will also allow the air purifier to run quietly. That can be important when you’re trying to keep multiple animals calm. Low fan levels keep animals relaxed, which in turn cuts down on the amount of shedding they do.
Look for odor reduction features:
Most people who have pets buy air purifiers to reduce allergy symptoms, or to reduce allergens which could affect friends, neighbors, and guests. However, air purifiers can also do wonders for homes with strong pet odors. If your furry friends are creating noticeable or overwhelming smells, you should make sure to buy an air purifier that features odor-reduction technology onboard.
The best solution is a carbon-activated HEPA filter, or a separate carbon-activated pre-filter, as well as the initial mesh screen. Carbon is a very effective natural odor absorber, and using activated carbon in your filters can minimize smells from litter boxes, sweaty summer pooches, and spraying felines. Look for models with carbon filters standard, or models which have customizable filters which you can adjust to conquer pet odors.
Look for cleanable pre-filters:
HEPA filters are excellent at removing fine particles from your air. However, they do wear out, since they collect all those small particles on a fibrous filter. To preserve the life of the expensive HEPA filters, most good air purifiers feature an initial pre-filter.
These can be either permanent or replaceable. We prefer cleanable, permanent pre-filters for homes with pets. These usually look a lot like the mesh lint filters you’d see on a dryer, and they do a similar job.
They’ll catch all the larger dust, pollen, or fur particles before they have a chance to get inside the machine and clog the HEPA filter.
These are easy to vacuum clean, and they make a huge difference in extending your HEPA and carbon filters’ working lives. That’s especially important when you have pets who create a constant whirlwind of hair and dander. You can simply vacuum the larger hair and dust as part of your cleaning routine, rather than having to purchase filter replacements so often.
Make sure you use a True HEPA filter:
All good air purifiers feature HEPA-grade filters. These are certified by independent testers to remove fine particles of dust, hair, dander, pollen, soot, and other irritants. The finer the filter, the better a job it will do of removing even the smallest allergens.
When you’re dealing with pets, make sure your air purifier is certified as True HEPA or better. True HEPA filters are guaranteed to remove 99.7% of particles above 0.3 microns. That’s extra important for dealing with pets, since skin flakes and dander from scratching or shedding can re-circulate through less refined filters.
If you have more severe symptoms, you might try a filter which is HEPA-certified to remove anything above 0.1 microns. These will do the best job of mitigating symptoms, but they’re probably overkill for the average pet owner who doesn’t have strong allergies.
Be realistic, and stay on top of your cleaning:
An air purifier can do wonders in terms of reducing airborne dust and pet allergens in your home. However, it can’t clean up after your pets singlehandedly. Staying on top of your cleaning with a thorough, regular vacuuming routine is just as important as using a good air purifier.
Vacuum regularly to stay on top of fur and dust, and be sure to clean off the grille or pre-filter on your purifier as you go. Use a vacuum with sealed air system and a HEPA-grade filter bag to reduce allergens as thoroughly as possible.
Avoid bagless models, and don’t trust non-HEPA filters, since they’re rarely tested by independent labs. By sucking up all the dust, fur and dirt on your floors, you’ll help your purifier out, and experience cleaner air and fewer allergy symptoms.
Still deciding which one is right for you? Check out Amazon’s best-selling air purifiers or see https://pureairreviews.com/.