The best air purifiers for pets in 2024, tested and reviewed | Popular Science

Whether you have a single furry companion or a whole pack of pets, these air purifiers will keep you breathing more easily.

This is a great overall choice for anyone who owns pets and a pair of lungs. Filter Suppliers

The best air purifiers for pets in 2024, tested and reviewed | Popular Science

This burly model cleans the air in a space up to 1,760 square feet.

This high-end model covers a large area with more features for a price.

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Without an air purifier for pets, our furry friends’ dander can get the better of us. As much as we love our animals, they are ripe with allergens, which can cause serious issues for those with sensitivities. But living with a cat or dog doesn’t have to result in misery for those with allergies. The best air purifiers for pets offer multiple levels of filtration to capture everything from dander and other pet allergens to clumps of loose fur and even odors, getting rid of that wet dog smell. 

My household comprises a dog whose favorite thing is rolling in the grass, a cat, and a husband who is allergic to all three things. As a result, air purifiers are a must in our household to combat the constant barrage of allergens. When selecting the best air purifiers for pets, we prioritized devices with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, as these offer the best results for reducing allergens. We then looked at other filtration methods (some offer multiple varieties in a single air purifier), room size coverage, and odor-reducing features. Finally, we factored in device size, noise levels, and any additional features, such as timers and connectivity options. We based our selections on hands-on experience, customer feedback, and editorial reviews. 

Having pets in your home doesn’t mean you must be miserable and simply deal with allergies, thanks to air purifiers. Purifiers for pets can provide significant relief from the effects of dander and other allergens, like what gets tracked in the house after a long walk, and even get rid of those less-than-pleasant pet odors and floating fluff. 

The Levoit Core P350 earns our top slot thanks to its balance of features, design, quality, and price. Levoit purpose-built this air purifier for pets, as is evidenced by the Pet-Lock function to keep your furry friend from accidentally changing settings on the touchscreen display. It’s also a bonus in households with kids. 

The Core P350 features a three-in-one filtration system. The Non-Woven Fabric Pre-Filter traps pet fur to reduce the amount of hair on your floors. The Efficient Activated Carbon Filter neutralizes pet odors to keep your home smelling fresh. It effectively removed the dog smell from my office, where the dog crate lives. And finally, the True HEPA filter cleans the air to remove allergens. 

All three filter types are packed in a relatively compact package with a sleek, attractive design that will fit well in just about any space. It’s powerful enough to purify a 219-square-foot room in only 12 minutes, yet can produce as little as 24 decibels. Three fan modes allow you to fine-tune noise levels and cleaning effectiveness, and a night mode turns off lights so you can sleep without distractions. 

The primary downside to the Core P350 is that it doesn’t pair with an app and doesn’t offer an air quality sensor. But at $130, it’s hard to beat all that this air purifier for pets has to offer. 

If thorough air-cleaning abilities, smart design, and broad coverage are of utmost importance, the Molekule Air Pro is your best bet. This larger air purifier for pets covers up to 1,000 square feet in rooms with ceilings up to eight feet. The modern design will look smart in your home, and the vegan leather handle makes it easier to move when cleaning a different room.

The Air Pro features a True HEPA filter to capture 99.7 percent of small particles. A carbon filter removes odors and gases. But what makes it unique is the light-activated PECO technology, which destroys organic pollutants instead of simply trapping them. In 2023, scientists at the Florida International University published a preclinical study in Nature examining how PECO filters reduce allergic reactions to cat dander. The team found that the PECO filter was more effective at destroying cat dander, thus reducing allergy responses. The air in the room where I have my Air Pro definitely smells fresher since getting this purifier up and running. 

On top of effective air purifying abilities, Molekule’s Air Pro is also extremely smart. Thanks to the built-in air quality sensor, it offers two automatic modes. One automatically adjusts the fan speed when it detects increased particles and chemical levels. When I burned some food while cooking, the fan spun up to clear out the smoke faster. The other automatic mode does the same, but silently. There are also six manual fan speeds, so you can take full control when you want. It operates at noise levels between 30-65 decibels, with the lowest level barely noticeable over normal white noise in your home. 

The Molekule app is easy to navigate and provides daily and weekly air quality assessments. With the Air Pro, you can even break these down into specific pollutants, such as carbon dioxide, VOCs, and various particle sizes. It will remind you when to change filters, and you can subscribe to receive new filters automatically. The Air Pro is expensive, to be sure. But it is ripe with features, scientifically backed, and attractively designed. The steep price tag is the only reason this didn’t earn our best overall designation.

Large spaces require more robust air purifiers for pets. The GermGuardian can purify rooms up to 1,760 square feet, fitting the bill. In rooms that size, it can circulate the air one time per hour. Or, for faster cleaning, it can cycle the air 4.8 times per hour in 365-square-foot spaces. It features three levels of cleaning, including a True HEPA filter, a carbon pre-filter to remove odors and trap pet hair, and a UV-C light to reduce airborne germs. 

The GermGuardian is roughly the size of a dehumidifier, though slightly more narrow. It will require some space, but since it’s made for large rooms, that shouldn’t be too much of an issue for most. It’s relatively affordable for the large coverage as well, which is nice to see. A night mode turns off the device’s lights. And an eight-hour auto-off timer keeps it from running unnecessarily. 

Our main complaint with the GermGuardian is the fan speed settings. There is not much difference in noise between two levels, and both are quite loud. The third setting is barely noticeable, so we primarily keep it at this setting. Having more even differences between the three levels for more control would be nice. There are no sensor or automatic controls, so you must manually change fan speeds. But, overall, it seemed to cut back on our allergies when running and effectively removed odors as well, which is appreciated. 

The Molekule Air Mini+ is essentially a smaller version of the Air Pro mentioned above. It features the same proprietary PECO-HEPA Tri-Power to purify air from various allergens and pollutants effectively. Like the Air Pro, the Air Mini+ is DA-cleared as a 510(k) Class II medical device to destroy viruses, bacteria, and mold. 

The Air Mini features a particle sensor to detect and track PM2.5 levels over time, which you can view in the app. The automatic mode spins up the fan as needed, adapting to the current conditions in your room. Or you can manually adjust with five different speed settings, resulting in noise levels from 39 to 62 decibels. 

This compact air purifier for pets can purify up to 250 square feet. We’ve had ours in our bedroom and have noticed much-improved allergies while trying to sleep. The vegan leather handle makes it easy to move if you need to bring it from room to room with you. Although the PECO filter is light-activated, it is very dim and doesn’t cause much of a glow in a dark room at night. There are controls on the top of the device that are easy to use, or you can change settings via the Molekule app as well. Overall, it’s a sleek, effective little air purifier.

The Winix A231 offers quality air purification even for those on a tight budget. And despite the friendly price, it still has plenty of features, making it our best value pick. Most notable for an air purifier for pets at this price is the built-in sensor and automatic mode. Plus, the air quality indicator will alert you to changes in air quality with different light colors on the top of the device.  

This Winix air filter features three levels of purification. The True HEPA filter captures 99.97 percent of airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns in size. The carbon filter reduces odor-causing VOCs to keep your room smelling fresh. A washable fine mesh pre-filter traps larger airborne particles, including pet hair. We love to see a washable design since it saves you money and reduces the environmental impact. 

Unique to this air purifier is the Winnix PlasmaWave Air Cleaning Technology, which can be turned on or off. Winix says this acts as a permanent filter to break down odor, allergens, chemical vapors, and other pollutants. Unfortunately, users have reported that it is loud even on the lowest fan speed, though the sleep mode does provide quiet operation. But for the price, you’ll be hard-pressed to find as many features or quality in other options.

Air purifiers for pets can vary from extremely simple devices with just a few settings to tech-heavy options with all sorts of fancy features. No matter what variety you are looking for, there are some key things to look out for to ensure you get a quality purifier that will actually clean your air. 

The most important aspect of any air purifier is the thing doing the purifying—the filters. High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are the best available, so prioritize air purifiers with this type of filter for best results. That’s because HEPA filters can remove 99.97 percent of dust, pollen, mold, bacteria, or any other airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns, according to the EPA. 

However, you’ll want to pay close attention to HEPA filter mentions on air purifier listings. There are True HEPA filters, which are highly effective. But there are also HEPA-like filters, which are not certified to meet the standards mentioned by the EPA. 

Many air purifiers rely on multiple types of filters, so there are other filter types to pay attention to—some feature activated carbon filters, which work to reduce odors. For households with pets, this may be an extremely important feature. If you have extra furry friends that make it impossible to keep up with vacuuming, look for devices with a pre-filter, which will catch loose hair to prevent it from blocking up the HEPA filter. Some air filters also feature a UV light to kill airborne bacteria. 

As with any air filter, manufacturers build pet air purifiers for specific room sizes. This will be listed in square footage. A small purifier meant for a 350-square-foot room won’t work well in a vast, open space. On the other hand, a large air purifier meant for over 1,000 square feet will be overkill for a tiny bedroom. Be sure to consider where you will put the filter and roughly how many square feet it is before selecting.

Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) refers to the volume of filtered air an air purifier delivers. The CADR is broken into separate scores for tobacco smoke, pollen, and dust. The CADR of your air purifier should be equivalent to at least two-thirds of the room’s area, according to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM). For example, for a 120-square-foot room, it “would be best to have an air cleaner with a smoke CADR of at least 80.” 

Using an air purifier with a CADR number larger than two-thirds of the room’s square footage simply means that it will clean the air more often and faster, which isn’t bad. Unfortunately, not all manufacturers will list CADR numbers. But it is worth checking to see if they are provided.  

To keep your filter working, you’ll need to replace filters occasionally. Some are reusable, though they will still require proper cleaning. If you are on a budget, be sure to factor in the cost of replacement filters on top of the initial cost of the air purifier for pets. Some companies, such as Molekule, offer subscription services to send you new filters when it’s time automatically. If you tend to forget such things, you may want to opt for a device with a subscription service to keep your air clean. 

Air filters use a fan to pull air through a filter, inevitably producing noise. Some are louder than others, though. Manufacturers will occasionally list decibel levels; if noise is a concern for your household, check to see if the decibel level is provided on the models you are considering. 

Luckily, many devices provide multiple fan levels. That means you can turn it up when you want a boost of cleaning and then lower the fan noise when you are trying to watch TV. You can even find models with specific sleep modes to keep the volume down when it’s time for bed.

Beyond the necessities, you may find additional features on air purifiers for pets that could be of interest. Some offer timers so that you aren’t constantly running the unit. Others feature air quality sensors to keep you aware of the air quality in a given room. Others provide app connectivity with reminders to change filters, remote control features, and more. 

Yes, air purifiers are effective at removing pet-related allergens. A 2022 study found that “air filtration was effective in removing mites, cat and dog allergens and also particulate matter from ambient indoor air, offering a fast and simple solution to mitigate allergen exposome.

Certain air purifiers remove pet smells, but not all. Pet odors are the result of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The molecules in VOCs are too small for HEPA filters, so an air purifier with only that variety of filtration will not remove the odors. However, an air purifier with a carbon filter will trap odors to remove them from the air. If pet odors are a significant concern, a purifier with a carbon filter will be crucial. Keep in mind, though, that carbon filters need to be changed fairly frequently to maintain effectiveness. That cost can add up quickly. For an alternative to carbon filters, you may want to consider Molekule’s proprietary PECO technology. Intertek, a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL), independently tested the PECO technology and found it to be effective against airborne chemicals.

There are a few things to consider when choosing a location for your air purifier. First, placing the purifier close to the pollutant source will make it more effective. For example, putting the air filter by a litter box, dog crate, or wherever your pet spends time will clean up the air before it has time to travel around your house. Second, you may want to place your air purifier where you spend most of your time so that you actually benefit from the clean air. If you suffer from bad allergies at night, a small air purifier for your nightstand may offer the most impact. Finally, air purifiers need airflow to do their job. Placing it against a wall can limit that and may even damage the device. Be sure to provide a little breathing room for the air purifier to function properly.

Each air filter will have different maintenance requirements. Some rely on reusable filters that need to be vacuumed or washed out. Others use disposable filters that need to be replaced every few months. The best air purifiers for pets will offer a light or app notification that alerts you when it’s time to change the filter, but consult your product manual to keep the device working as it should.

As much as we love the animals in our lives, they put out an awful lot of allergens. Even those without serious allergies may suffer from minor reactions to all that dander and associated pollutants. The best air purifier for pets will keep the air clean even with a small zoo in your house, making it more comfortable and safer for everyone involved. 

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.

Abby Ferguson is the Associate Editor for Gear and Reviews at PopPhoto, joining the team in 2022. She has been involved with the photography industry in various capacities since her undergraduate training at the University of Kentucky, with work ranging from client photography to program development and management of the photo department at Evolve, a vacation rental company. Education within the photography sphere has always been a big focus for Abby. She strives to help new and experienced photographers alike better understand the technology and techniques necessary to succeed within the medium. Contact the author here.

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The best air purifiers for pets in 2024, tested and reviewed | Popular Science

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