The 5 Best Air Purifiers for Pets of 2022, According to Our Tests

The Rabbit Air MinusA2 Ultra Quiet Air Purifier was all-around the most effective at filtering particles from the air, including pet hair.

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The Coway Airmega

Real Simple / Henry Wortock

We love our furry friends, but they can have a significant impact on the air quality in our homes. Whether it be excessive fur or unpleasant odors, the allergens from our pets are exceptionally stubborn—and that’s why air purifiers are often a worthwhile purchase for pet owners. 

According to Kenneth Mendez, CEO and president of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, pet allergens “can cling to walls, furniture, clothing, or other surfaces” for a long time. Mendez says that regular activities—like petting your cat, grooming your dog, and even dusting or vacuuming your home—can cause fur and other allergens to stir around in the air. 

Fortunately, there are many air purifiers on the market that are specifically designed with pet owners in mind. To find the best air purifiers for pets, we put 38 units through a series of tests in our Lab, assessing them based on their design, noise levels, features, effectiveness, and value. Once our Lab tests were complete, we sent the air purifiers home with our testers, who provided feedback on their experience using them in their daily lives. 

Our top pick, the Rabbit Air MinusA2 Ultra Quiet Air Purifier, removed more particulate matter than any other model when tested, thanks to its six-stage filtration system. We also like that it’s extremely quiet and has a slim design that can be mounted to the wall to maximize floor space. 

Keep scrolling for more of the best air purifiers for pets, according to our testing.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall Air Purifier for Pets: Rabbit Air MinusA2 Ultra Quiet HEPA Air Purifier SPA-780A

4.7
Air Purifier

RabbitAir

Who it’s for: People who want a sleek air purifier that effectively traps pet hair and absorbs odors. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want a portable air purifier for small spaces.

Whether you’re looking to tackle pet hair, dander, or odor, the Rabbit Air MinusA2 Ultra Quiet Air Purifier will get you the cleanest air possible in the shortest amount of time. In our testing, it cleared the air of more smoke and pet hair than any other unit we tested, thanks to its six-stage filtration system. It comes with a pre-filter for trapping large debris and hair, a medium filter for mid-size particles, a HEPA filter for small particles (including pet dander), a customized filter of your choosing (take your pick between Germ Defense, Pet Allergy, Odor Remove, or Toxin Absorber), an activated charcoal filter for absorbing odors, and a negative ion generator, which releases tiny molecules that latch onto airborne particles and either trap them in the filters or land them on the floor to be vacuumed. Plus, the entire replacement filter kit (which costs $95) only needs to be purchased once a year. 

This model is extremely quiet, and our testers found that it only increased the noise level in the room by a few decibels on its quiet setting. It also comes with an auto-mode that adjusts the speed depending on the quality of the air in the room. In terms of design, this is a sleek, mid-sized unit that can be mounted to the wall to maximize floor space. Testers also noted that it has a user-friendly display that automatically dims when the lighting in the room darkens and increases when the daylight returns. 

The MinusA2 comes in both non-WiFi and WiFi-enabled versions, the latter of which connects to an app so you can control it from anywhere—and both come with a remote. This unit is designed to purify the air in rooms up to 815 square feet, making it a great option for most spaces. It’s also the only model on our list that is certified Asthma & Allergy Friendly

Price at time of publish: $600

Product Details: 

  • Dimensions: 21.4 x 7 x 20 inches
  • Weight: 19.4 pounds
  • Room Size: 815 square feet
  • CADR: 200 CFM for pollen, 193 CFM for dust, 180 CFM for smoke
  • Certifications: Energy Star, Asthma & Allergy Friendly
Rabbit Air MinusA2 Ultra Quiet Air Purifier

Real Simple / Henry Wortock

Best Budget Air Purifier for Pets: Toppin Comfy Air C2 Air Purifier

4.8
TOPPIN TPAP001

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want an affordable air purifier that’s easy to move from room to room.

Who it isn’t for: People who want an air purifier with smart capabilities. 

The Toppin Comfy Air C2 gave an impressive performance in our testing, especially considering that it costs just a fraction of our best overall pick. It was able to clean the air in the testing chamber in just five minutes at its highest setting and in 10 minutes at its lowest setting (there are three total fan speeds—low, medium, and high). This air purifier also comes with three levels of filtration: a nylon pre-filter for large debris and hair, a true HEPA filter, and an activated carbon filter for absorbing odors. Plus, it comes with a filter change indicator light so you know exactly when it’s time to replace the filters. 

Testers note that this air purifier is simple and intuitive to use, with basic features like a timer with two-, four-, and eight-hour settings, and an LED display that can be turned off at night. We would like to see it come with an auto-mode or an air quality indicator that measures the air in the room and adjusts the fan speed accordingly. But given its more affordable price, the Comfy Air C2 is a great no-frills air purifier for pet owners—and its lightweight and compact build means it can easily go wherever you need cleaner air, whether it be the bedroom, office, or kitchen.

Price at time of publish: $100

Product Details: 

  • Dimensions: 7.6 x 7.6 x 14.8 inches
  • Weight: 4.5 pounds
  • Room Size: 215 square feet
  • CADR: 100 CFM
  • Certifications: N/A
Air Purifier for Pets: Toppin Comfy Air C2

Real Simple / Dera Burreson

Best Air Purifier for Pet Odors: Alen BreatheSmart 75i True HEPA Air Purifier

4.2
 Alen BreatheSmart 75i Air Purifiers for Bedrooms,

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want an automated air purifier that removes odor, smoke, and fumes.

Who it isn’t for: People who live in small spaces and would prefer a compact model. 

If you want an air purifier you can set and forget, look no further than the Alen BreatheSmart 75i. This unit measures the quality of your air in real-time and displays it using LED color rings. There’s even a mode where the machine will automatically adjust its speed depending on the conditions of the room. Our tester found that this air purifier immediately senses any fumes (including those from cleaning and hair products) and gets right to work filtering the air on a higher setting. It proved very effective at removing cooking smells and other unwanted odors from the air, too. You can also manually adjust the settings to one of five speeds using the large touchscreen display, as well as turn on or off the ionizer (a feature that helps trap particles on the filter). 

You can choose between one of three filter options for this air purifier: Pure, Fresh, or Pet. They’re all true HEPA filters, but we’d suggest the Fresh filter for filtering odors, fumes, or smoke, as it’s treated with 3.6 pounds of activated carbon. It’s worth noting that the replacement filters are on the more expensive side, ranging from $99 to $139 each, depending on which type you choose. However, they last for 15 months, even when used for the recommended 24 hours per day, and Alen offers a filter replacement subscription at a discounted price. The display also features a light so you always know the status of your filter, as well as a timer should you want to run the air purifier less than 24 hours a day. It’s also WiFi-enabled and can connect to an app, so you can control it from anywhere. 

This is a very quiet air purifier that’s almost undetectable on its lowest setting (about the same volume as a fan on its highest). Its 1,300-square-foot coverage makes it ideal for large spaces like a living room or open kitchen—but keep in mind that this is a large floor unit that’s not easily hidden or moved from place to place. However, you can choose from a variety of different colors to help blend it into your space, including a woodgrain option and a brushed stainless steel finish. We also like that it comes with a “Forever Guarantee” for people who enroll in a filter subscription—if anything goes wrong with your air purifier, Alen will either help you fix the problem or ship you a replacement at no cost. 

Price at time of publish: $769

Product Details: 

  • Dimensions: 18.5 x 11.5 x 27 inches
  • Weight: 27 pounds
  • Room Size: 1,300 square feet 
  • CADR: 347 CFM
  • Certifications: Energy Star
Alen BreatheSmart 75i True HEPA Air Purifier

Real Simple / Dera Burreson

Best Air Purifier for Pet Hair: Coway Airmega 400S Smart Air Purifier

4.7
Coway Airmega 400S Smart Air Purifier

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want a smart air purifier with many advanced features and a washable pre-filter for trapping pet hair.

Who it isn’t for: People whose primary concern is filtering VOCs or anyone with limited floor space. 

Ideal for extra-furry friends who tend to shed a lot, the Coway Airmega 400S has a washable pre-filter that traps pet hair and other large debris to prevent it from clogging the interior filters. In our testing, it cleared the air of both smoke and pet hair very quickly on its high and low settings, with visible pet hair trapped in the pre-filter after just 10 minutes of runtime. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the most effective at filtering the gasses emitted from mothballs, so if your primary concern is getting rid of fumes from cleaning products or similar, you might be better off with another model. 

The Airmega 400S is a highly automated model, featuring real-time air quality monitoring, as well as several set-and-forget modes. First, there’s the Smart Mode that automatically adapts the fan speed based on the air quality. Next, the Eco Mode turns off the fan when the room remains purified for 10 minutes or more in Smart Mode. Finally, the Sleep Mode detects when the room has darkened and the air has been clean for three minutes and reduces the noise and power consumption to be less disruptive. 

In addition to the washable pre-filter designed for pet hair, this air purifier comes with a true HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter for smoke and odors—and there’s a filter life indicator for both. The 400S connects to WiFi and works with smart devices, so you can control it from the comfort of your couch using either the app or voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa. But if internet connectivity isn’t important to you, you might consider opting for the slightly less expensive Airmega 400, which is not WiFi-enabled. Keep in mind this is another large floor unit that’s not the most discrete, though it filters the air two times per hour in a 1,560-square-foot space and four times per hour in a 780-square-foot space.

Price at time of publish: $649

Product Details: 

  • Dimensions: 14.8 x 14.8 x 22.8 inches
  • Weight: 24.7 pounds
  • Room Size: 1,560 square feet 
  • CADR: 400 CFM for pollen, 328 CFM for dust, and 328 CFM for smoke
  • Certifications: Energy Star
Coway Airmega 400S

Real Simple / Henry Wortock

Best Large-Room Air Purifier for Pets: Bissell air400 Professional Air Purifier TP07

4.8
bissell air purifier

Bissell

Who it’s for: People who want an air purifier for large rooms up to 500 square feet with a real-time air quality indicator.

Who it isn’t for: People who aren’t willing to clean the particle sensor every two weeks. 

In our Lab testing, the Bissell air400 had no issue clearing the air in just five minutes, and its built-in air quality indicator consistently matched our air quality reading. One tester, who suffers from seasonal allergies and has a Great Pyrenees that sheds, says they now wake up with fewer allergy symptoms after using this air purifier every day for a month. They also found it to be efficient at removing cooking odors and fumes from the air, too: “I have two more air purifiers in the house and I actually ran them next to each other while I was cooking (my kitchen lacks a range vent so I always run them when cooking),” says our tester. “They all registered the same amount of particulates and the Bissell was much more efficient/quicker at cleaning the room (versus a smaller one I had in the nearby dining room). It also doesn't clog quickly with dog hair as some of the other designs do.” 

This air purifier for pets comes with three layers of filtration: a pre-filter for trapping hair and dust, a HEPA filter, and an activated carbon filter for smoke and odors. The manufacturer says the filters should be replaced about every six months, which is a bit more frequent than many of the other air purifiers we tested—but the indicator light will remind you to replace them. 

Although noise is nearly undetectable on the quiet mode, our testers found that the blue light doesn't turn off and only dims on the night mode, which can be disruptive to sleep. You also need to clean the particle sensor every two weeks, which requires the use of a screwdriver. According to the brand, this pick can filter the air nearly five times per hour in spaces up to 486 square feet (or three times per hour in 783 square feet, and once per hour in 1,286 square feet), making it ideal for large bedrooms, living rooms, dining rooms, basements, and more. 

Price at time of publish: $360

Product Details: 

  • Dimensions: 18.9 x 12.2 x 27.2 inches
  • Weight: 22.8 pounds
  • Room Size: 485 square feet 
  • CADR: 353 CFM for pollen, 319 CFM for dust, and 313 CFM for smoke
  • Certifications: Energy Star
Bissell air400 Air Purifier

Real Simple / Henry Wortock

Final Verdict

Our best overall choice is the Rabbit Air MinusA2 Ultra Quiet Air Purifier because it was the most effective at cleaning the air in our tests. It comes with six filters, including a pre-filter for trapping pet hair, a HEPA filter for small particles, and an activated carbon filter for absorbing odors. Plus, it has an extremely quiet operation and a sleek design that can be mounted to the wall to free up floor space.

For a more budget-friendly option, the Toppin Comfy Air C2 is very effective at removing pet hair and allergens in small spaces up to about 200 square feet. Its compact, portable design makes it easy to take from room to room, too.

Our Testing Process 

We acquired 38 of the best-rated air purifiers on the market—including models designed specifically for pets—and put them through a series of rigorous tests in our Lab. To begin, testers timed how long it took to assemble each air purifier and noted how clear the instructions were. Our testers also evaluated the design of each air purifier, including its quality, aesthetics, features, and footprint. To measure noise level, we used a decibel reader and recorded how loud each air purifier was on its highest and lowest settings. For air purifiers with special features, like WiFi compatibility or air quality indicators, we tested these functions and assessed how useful they were. 

But the most important test for each air purifier was, of course, its ability to clean the air. To evaluate the effectiveness of each model, we set up indoor greenhouses, or "air quality testing chambers," and recorded the baseline particulate matter (PM) and volatile organic compound (VOC) levels prior to running the air purifier. We tested each air purifier's ability to filter particles from the air by emitting incense smoke and real dog hair into the chamber and zipping it closed. Once the incense smoke was extinguished, we measured the PM in the chamber. Then we plugged the air purifier in, setting it to its lowest mode of operation, and recorded the PM reading again after five minutes, and again after 10 minutes. Afterward, we aired out the chamber and removed any visible pet hair. For any air purifiers that claim to filter pet hair, we inspected the filter to see how much pet hair was trapped. We then repeated the above test on the unit’s highest mode. Our best overall pick, the Rabbit Air MinusA2 Ultra Quiet Air Purifier, removed more PM than any other air purifier we tested. 

To test each air purifier’s ability to filter VOCs and odors, we placed 4 ounces of mothballs in the testing chamber and allowed them to permeate the area for at least 15 minutes. Prior to running the air purifier, we measured the initial level of VOCs in the air. We then ran the air purifier on its lowest mode in the chamber for 10 minutes, recording the VOC level every five minutes. We repeated this testing process on the air purifier's highest mode of operation, too.

Finally, testers received the price of the air purifier and were asked to score its value based on its price and performance in our testing. After completing our Lab tests, we sent the air purifiers home with testers and asked for their feedback after one month of use, and again after three months of use. We plan to follow up with testers once more after they’ve been able to use the air purifier for six months.

Best Air Purifiers for Pets

Real Simple / Henry Wortock

How to Shop for Air Purifiers for Pets Like a Pro

Filter Type

Different filter types are designed to trap different types of pollutants. Most air purifiers for pets feature a combination of two or more filters to trap pet hair, allergens, and odors. Some are washable, while others need to be replaced on an annual or semi-annual basis, so it’s important to factor in the cost of replacement filters when considering which air purifier you buy. Here’s a quick primer on the various filters you might find when shopping for an air purifier for pets: 

HEPA Filters: HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air, and is the most efficient at filtering particles in the air, including pet dander. These mechanical filters work by forcing the air through a very fine mesh filter that removes even the tiniest particles from the air. "An air purifier with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter is recommended for pet owners, as they remove 99.97 percent of allergens and pollutants as small as 0.3 microns from the air," says Mendez. In general, HEPA filters should be replaced rather than cleaned, usually around every six to 12 months, but always refer to the manufacturer's guidelines for specific time frames. 

Activated Carbon Filters: If you’re dealing with pet odors, look for activated carbon (or charcoal) filters. They can absorb many contaminants in the air that HEPA filters cannot, including VOCs. Activated carbon filters are often used in combination with HEPA filters to trap both allergens and odors. In general, you'll want to replace activated carbon filters every three to six months.

Pre-filters: Many air purifiers come with pre-filters to trap large debris and dirt. They’re great if your pet sheds a lot, as they can trap hair and prevent it from clogging the HEPA filter. To remain effective, pre-filters need to be cleaned regularly (and allowed to fully dry) before use—even a small amount of water left in the filter can lead to mold growth.

Best Air Purifiers for Pets

Real Simple / Henry Wortock

Strength

Before purchasing an air purifier, consider the size of the room you want to place it in. An air purifier that is too powerful for your space will use excess electricity, while a too-small air purifier won't be effective at cleaning the air. Manufacturers will usually list the maximum square footage an air purifier can clean. (You can calculate the square footage of your space by multiplying the room's length by its width.) 

The strength of an air purifier is measured in clean air delivery rates (CADR), which refers to the amount of purified air that an air purifier produces at its maximum setting (measured in cubic feet per minute, or CFM). CADR measures an air purifier's effectiveness for three different pollutants—pollen, dust, and smoke—although not all manufacturers break it out by category. 

Certifications

If you’re looking to save money on utilities, look for an Energy Star-certified air purifier. This certification ensures the air purifier meets specific energy-efficiency requirements set by the Environmental Protection Agency. And if you have allergies, the Asthma & Allergy Friendly Certification Program (run by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America and Allergy Standards Limited) independently tests air purifiers to ensure that they meet certain standards for reducing allergens in the air. (Our best overall pick, the Rabbit Air MinusA2 Ultra Quiet Air Purifier, is the only product on our list with the Asthma and Allergy Friendly Certification.)

Noise

Considering air purifiers are meant to run 24 hours a day, noise is an important factor when choosing which model to buy. We used a decibel meter to record the decibel levels of each air purifier at the lowest and highest settings, and we found that most devices are somewhere between 20 and 60 decibels—and many have quiet modes, too.

Best Air Purifiers for Pets

Real Simple / Henry Wortock

More Air Purifiers for Pets to Consider 

Winix HR900 Ultimate Pet True HEPA Air Purifier: This air purifier was effective at removing contaminants from the air in our testing, and it comes with a pre-filter for trapping hair, a HEPA filter for small particles, and a carbon filter for odors. It’s relatively inexpensive compared to many of the others on our list, but given the size of the unit, we expected it to have a coverage area larger than 300 square feet.

Levoit Core P350 Pet Care True HEPA Air Purifier: Levoit’s pet-specific air purifier wasn’t quite up to par with its original line, but it still has its merits. It does a good job at filtering particles, and it’s a less expensive alternative to many of the units on our list. However, it wasn’t as effective at filtering pet hair, so we would still suggest the Toppin Comfy Air C2 if you’re looking for a small air purifier.  

Questions You Might Ask 

Do air purifiers work for pet hair and odors? 

Air purifiers designed for pet owners often have a pre-filter that captures large debris, such as pet hair, as well as an active carbon filter that absorbs odors and gasses, including pet odors. HEPA filters can also remove pet hair, but having a pre-filter helps prevent the HEPA filter from getting clogged over time. 

Where is the best place to put an air purifier?

Station your air purifier as close to the problem area as possible—whether it be a dog’s crate or a cat’s litter box. Avoid placing it in a tight space or up against the wall, which can block the air intake and reduce performance. And be sure to clear any obstacles in your air purifier’s path, as these can inhibit the flow of clean air back into the room. 

How often do most air purifier filters need to be replaced?

Clean filters are vital to the performance of your air purifier. “HEPA filters can capture your pet’s dander and fur, but it is important to change the filter regularly, so as not to release the particles back into your home,” says Mendez. “Pet owners should be conscious that they need an air filter with a filter changing compatibility, as the fur and dander can clog the filter.” 

Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions, but you should typically rinse or wipe down washable filters every month, or gently vacuum any filters that are not washable. You’ll need to replace disposable filters as often as the manufacturer recommends, which can often be around every six to 12 months based on use. (Many models even have a helpful indicator light that reminds you when it's time to change the filter.) One of our recommendations, the Alen BreatheSmart 75i True HEPA Air Purifier, uses filters that last up to 15 months—the longest on our list.

Take Our Word for It 

This article was written by Melanie Fincher, associate commerce editor for Real Simple with three years of experience writing product reviews and lifestyle content. To compile this list, we tested 38 air purifiers in our Lab and evaluated them on design, noise level, features, effectiveness, and value. After reviewing these air purifiers in our Lab, testers took them home and used them over the course of several months, providing feedback based on their real-life experiences. Melanie was also one of the long-term testers for this piece, and she now relies on the Alen BreatheSmart 75i Air Purifier to remove cat hair and allergens from the air in her apartment. For expert tips, she spoke with Kenneth Mendez, CEO and president of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. 

What Is Real Simple Selects? 

Next to each product on this list, you may have noticed a Real Simple Selects seal of approval. Any product appearing alongside that seal has been vetted by our team—put through tests and graded on its performance to earn a spot on our list. Although we buy most of the products we test, sometimes we do get samples from companies if purchasing a product ourselves isn't an option. If that's the case, we test the product just like we test anything we buy, but we also disclose that we received it for free to be as transparent with you as possible.

Love our recommendations? Check out more products that have earned the Real Simple Selects, from humidifiers to cordless vacuums.

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