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The best air purifiers for pet hair capture dander, pick up airborne cat and dog hair, don’t produce harmful emissions, and work efficiently to keep the air fresh day and night.
That’s why we chose the Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier with True HEPA as the best air purifier on the market.
For just over $200, this pet-specific purifier efficiently cleans medium-sized rooms, captures allergens, and has smart features for an effortless purification experience.
If you’re new to the world of air purification, scroll down below the reviews to read our buyer’s guide. You’ll learn how to decode air purifier lingo, which features matter, and how to identify the purifier that’s right for you.
Why Should You Trust Us?
This guide is the result of hours researching air purification technology, identifying key quality indicators, and evaluating over a dozen different air purifiers on performance, usability, customer satisfaction, and price.
Top Picks Explained:
At A Glance: Our Top Picks For Best Air Purifiers For Pet Hair, Dander, Allergies And Odor
Want a quick look at the products reviewed in this article? In the comparison table below, we’ve highlighted some of the most important features of each product. You’ll find more detailed information about each product later in the article.
- Energy Star-certified for energy efficiency
- Generates pink noise, won’t disturb sleep
- Available in a wide range of shades
Top 6 Best Air Purifiers For Pet Hair
#1 Overall Best: Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier
Best for: Allergies and people sensitive to pet dander, pet hair, and odors
Exclusively designed for pet-inclusive homes, the Winix 5500-2 air purifier combines all the basics features we recommend in an air filter in a package that’s relatively economical.
It has a true HEPA filter to capture allergens, captures hair in the pre-filter, and has a carbon filter to neutralize odors. In addition to the basics, the Winix has a couple of active purification features.
The Winix Ultimate Pet air purifier features CleanCel, an anti-bacterial coating that neutralizes bacteria. It uses PlasmaWave technology, which is an electric oxidizing system using plasma ionizers.
The PlasmaWave technology breaks down airborne pollutants on a molecular level. Like all ionizers, it produces a trace amount of ozone, but a company representative explains that these ozone byproducts amounted to less than 10 ppb, which is not considered a hazardous amount. If you’re not comfortable with the ionizer, you can always disable the PlasmaWave technology some or all of the time.
Furthermore, this is a smart air purifier. If you want to automize its function, you can switch it to AutoMode. This mode uses Smart Sensors to detect air quality and automatically switch between four speed settings.
To keep you in the loop, information from the smart sensors is sent directly to the display screen. The screen shares valuable information including real-time air purity updates and LED alerts letting you know that it’s time to replace the filter. The lights dim in accordance with the ambient light in the room.
It’s recommended for a 283 square foot room. According to AHAM testing, the unit’s clean air delivery rate is 194 cubic feet per minute for pollen, 182 for dust, and 183 for tobacco smoke.
- True HEPA filter effectively captures airborne allergens
- Destroys airborne bacteria and neutralizes odors
- Smart sensors detect air purity and automatically adjust filtration speed
- Moderate noise level and relatively economical price
- Produces a small amount of ozone
- Requires expensive replacement filters
#2 Runner Up: Blueair Blue Pure 211+ Air Purifier
Best for: Non-allergic people who want to reduce pet hair and odors
As our runner-up, the Blueair Blue Pure 211+ Air Purifier is priced just a little bit higher than our top pick and it doesn’t have the benefit of a true HEPA filter. This makes it a great choice for non-allergy sufferers whose primary concern is mitigating pet hair and odors.
The purifier features a three-level filtration system. The first stage of filtration is a washable pre-filter that stretches around the outside of the unit. Though available in multiple colors so you can customize the unit’s appearance to your preferences, if larger particles like pet fur stick to it, you’re going to know.
Next comes the HEPAsilent filter which uses electrostatic filtration to remove 99.97% of airborne particles. Finally, a carbon filter helps neutralize odors. It’s recommended that you replace these filters once every six months.
The Blue Pure 211+ is Energy Star rated for best-in-class energy efficiency. It uses 60 watts on the highest of three fan speeds. Regardless of which speed you choose, the purifier is relatively quiet. Multiple reviewers comment on the purifier’s low noise output, though we found it to be just a little bit noisier than our top pick.
This model is rated for large rooms and can clean spaces between 400 and 600 sq. ft. It’s AHAM rated at 540 square feet and, with a CADR of 350 cubic feet per minute, cleans the air about five times per hour.
Despite being one of the quietest air purifiers on the market, some customers are disturbed by the Blue Pure 211+’s operating light, which doesn’t turn off and may be too bright at night. Some users also dislike the limited options for customization, though you may appreciate this purifier’s simplicity.
- Chic, modern design with multiple color options for pre-filter
- Simple one-button operation with three speed settings
- Energy Star-certified for energy efficiency
- HEPASilent filter technology and odor-neutralizing carbon
- Blue operating light never fully turns off
- Doesn’t have a true HEPA filter
- Some reviewers state it creates a bad smell
#3 Best For Odor Control: EnviroKlenz Air Purifier
Best for: People concerned about household odors from pets, smoke, and food
Odor is always a concern for pet parents, but if you’re also concerned about odors from smoke, food, and more, the EnviroKlenz Air Purifier could be a good choice.
What makes this purifier unique (and particularly good for odor control) is that it doesn’t use an activated carbon filter but a proprietary filter that contains odor-eliminating minerals. Utilizing proprietary earth mineral technology, this filter removes odor while also neutralizing VOCs, pathogens, and other potentially harmful substances in the air.
Compared to similar models, the EnviroKlenz did a better job of removing VOCs including ammonia (a major contributor to the smell of cat urine) and formaldehyde (a key component in cigarette smoke).
In addition to its odor-neutralizing properties, the EnviroKlenz does a great job of purifying the air.
Not only does this model utilize a true HEPA filter, but it’s much thicker than many of the models we’ve seen. This enables the purifier to capture more airborne particles and it also helps the filter last longer which contributes to overall economic value.
With four speed settings, the EnviroKlenz offers a CADR of around 300 cubic feet per minute which puts it on par with other air purifiers we’ve reviewed.
A few other things worth mentioning include the design and operation of this unit. It has a simple box-like design and the only means of operating the unit are a pair of knobs located on the back. The noise level was similar to other models, but it definitely did a good job neutralizing odors.
- Proprietary earth mineral technology neutralizes odors with no off-gassing
- Extra-thick true HEPA filter captures airborne particles
- Simple operation with four fan settings
- Strong odor removal properties for odor from pets, food, and smoke
- Design is a little clunky with limited control options
- Fairly expensive, pay $100 more for the UV model
#4 Best For Litter Box Odor: Purrified Air Pet Odor Filter
Best for: Multi-cat households where litter box odor is a concern
If litter box odor is your primary concern, you may not be ready to invest $500 or more in a whole-home air purifier. As an economical alternative, we recommend the Purrified Air Litter Box Air Purifier.
The Purrified Air Litter Box Air Purifier looks similar to a Styrofoam takeout box, both in size and shape, and features a combination of odor-destroying technologies. Contained inside a 2.2-pound bag, you’ll find a proprietary mix of carbon, zeolite, catechin, and negative ion ceramic balls that last 4 to 7 months.
This litter box air purifier can easily be placed on top of a covered litter box or mounted on the wall using the included wall bracket.
Based on both our hands-on testing and the customer reviews we’ve read, this litter box air purifier really works. We found that, even at a low speed, the fan effectively drew in air, neutralized odors, and emitted fresher-smelling air. Our test cats seemed comfortable with the fan in the litter box area.
The Purrified Air cat litter box filter comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and a lifetime fan warranty. If the fan ever breaks, Purrified Air promises to replace it for free.
- Specifically designed for litter box use
- Does an outstanding job of neutralizing litter box odor
- Save up to 20% by purchasing multiple units at once
- Combines several odor-destroying technologies
- Only consumes 3.6 watts at full speed
- Outstanding customer service
- Limited control, always-on design
#5 Best For Allergies: IQAir Health Pro Plus Air Purifier
Best for: Severe cat allergies and those willing to pay for a medical-grade air purifier
Careful thought went into the design of this air purifier, and it shows in both the product’s performance and its nearly $900 price tag. The IQAir HealthPro Plus is an advanced purifier designed to produce medical-quality air.
It’s made with a patented HyperHEPA® filter, which is up to 100 times more effective than a standard HEPA filter. It captures 99.5% of particles down to 0.003 microns in size—particles ten times smaller than a virus.
In addition to the HyperHEPA filter, this air purifier includes a 5lb activated carbon filter, which absorbs and neutralizes odors. To ensure that no ultrafine particles escape the purifier, it also has a 3D UltraSeal™, which is intended to prevent the seepage common among air purifiers.
The IQAir HealthPro Plus is fast and efficient with a CADR of 300 cubic feet per minute. It’s rated for rooms up to 1,125 square feet. In addition to six fan settings, the digital interface allows you to key in exactly how many cubic feet you want the purifier to clean each minute.
The company’s patented HyperHEPA filters typically last for about a year of constant use. An LED filter replacement light on the display screen indicates all four stages of the filter’s life and lets you know when it’s time to replace it. The digital display also tells you how many hours are left in each filter, including the pre-filter and carbon filter.
- HyperHEPA filter captures 99.5% of even the tiniest particles
- Digital interface enables flexible customization
- Odor-neutralizing activated carbon and activated alumina
- Great for people with severe allergies and other medical issues
- Very expensive
- Carbon filter may release odor when first used
#6 Most User-Friendly: Alen BreatheSmart Classic Air Purifier
Best for: Allergy sufferers and those who want simple, straightforward operation
Customization is great, but some people really don’t need all the extra features some of the air purifiers on our list have to offer. For straightforward simplicity and a user-friendly design, our final pick is the Alen BreatheSmart Classic Air Purifier.
This air purifier has several thoughtful features that set it apart from the rest.
For one, it’s smart. The Alen Breathesmart automatically analyzes air quality and self-adjusts for efficient cleaning. As the laser Smart Sensor monitors the presence of airborne particles, an air quality indicator light displays air quality in real time.
Second, instead of a disruptive operating noise, the Alen BreatheSmart generates pink noise and is quiet enough to run while sleeping. Overall, this air purifier is very quiet. In fact, it ran quieter than any of the other models on our list at the highest setting.
Perhaps most exciting for decor lovers is its sleek appearance and infinite color variety. In addition to coming in eleven colors, the Alen BreatheSmart is available with a white primer finish, allowing you to paint it a shade you love.
Finally, this air purifier delivers powerful air purification.
The HEPA OdorCell filter is a true HEPA filter capable of filtering out allergens and other small particles. It contains 1.5 lbs. of Alen’s proprietary odor eliminating compound, which neutralizes litter box smells and other odors. It’s rated for rooms up to 1,100 square feet.
Plus, it’s Energy Star-certified, using the same amount of electricity as a 105-watt light bulb. For added value, it’s covered by a lifetime warranty.
- True HEPA OdorCell filter removes small airborne particles
- Four speed settings as well as Auto Mode
- Available in a wide range of colors including paintable white
- Incredibly quiet, even at its highest setting
- Expensive, not right for every budget
- Produces a small amount of ozone
Who Needs An Air Purifier?
There are two types of people who need an air purifier. Some people simply hate having to deal with cat hair floating around and sticking to every surface in the house. For others, however, it’s an issue of sensitivity. Cat hair and dander are an issue for allergy sufferers.
The good news is an air purifier could be the ideal solution for both categories.
While air purifiers are really designed to remove airborne pathogens and other particles from the air, even a basic air purifier does a pretty good job of capturing cat hair. That being said, you may want to spring for a premium model if you suffer from serious allergies.
Speaking of allergies, remember that an air purifier isn’t a cure – you may still need to take medications for pet allergies and block off a cat-free zone in your home but an air purifier can make a difference.
When shopping for an air purifier, consider the ultimate problem you want to solve. Are you specifically trying to reduce allergies or simply want to improve the air quality in your home? Think about the size of your home as well and what kind of filtration system will deliver the results you want.
If you have no idea what we’re talking about, don’t worry – we’ll get into the details below.
What Kinds Of Air Purifiers Are On The Market?
There are two fundamental types of air purifiers: active purifiers and passive purifiers. Let’s learn more about each type and how they handle cat hair.
Type One: Passive Purifiers
Passive purifiers have a system of filters that catch particles and prevent them from spreading through the air. Depending on the type of filters built into a passive purifier, it may be able to capture extremely small particles like pet dander and smoke.
Less efficient purifiers will capture cat hair but allow some finer particles to pass through. We’ll talk more about different types of filters later.
Type Two: Active Purifiers
Active purifiers don’t just filter the air, they sanitize it. They destroy airborne bacteria, viruses, germs, and spores. If you’re worried about airborne particles making you sick, this is the type of air purifier you want, but remember that it won’t do much for cat hair.
There are several types of active purifiers. Let’s learn more about each.
Ionizers release positive ions, negative ions, and sometimes both. There are two main types of ionizers. One type is called an electrostatic precipitator. This type of air purifier disperses ions, which attach to airborne particles before returning to an oppositely charged collecting plate in the purifier.
The second type is an ion generator, which releases ions into the air but doesn’t have a collecting plate. Instead of returning to a collecting plate, the molecularly altered particles linger on surfaces in your home.
When considering an ionizer, be aware that both types release ozone. Exposure to too much ozone can cause chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath, and throat irritation. Avoid ionizers that produce more than 50 ppb (parts per billion) ozone. For context, if a city was that ozone-polluted, sensitive residents would be advised to consider limiting their time outside.
Now you know that ozone can be a byproduct of ionizing air purifiers, but that’s not always the case—some purifiers intentionally produce ozone.
Despite being a pollutant, ozone is an excellent air cleaner. In fact, it’s partially responsible for that fresh smell in the air during and after a thunderstorm. Lightning strikes produce ozone and that distinctive clean smell.
Ozone generators eliminate odors and destroy airborne particles, including viruses, bacteria, and mold. Because they shock the air and eliminate hard-to-remove odors, ozone generators are popular among professional cleaners.
The problem with ozone generators is that the amount necessary to sanitize the air can also cause breathing problems. If an ozone generator is safe to run all day and night in your home, it’s not producing enough ozone to have a significant deodorizing or air cleaning effect.
UV lamps can destroy microbial particles including mold spores, bacteria, and viruses. However, most purifiers let particles zip past the UV light, not giving them sufficient exposure time to sufficiently destroy them. It takes time for a UV light to eliminate particles. Only choose UV sanitizers that expose particles to UV rays for a long enough time to destroy them.
So, Which Is Better For Cat Hair? Do You Need A Passive Purifier Or An Active Air Purifier?
All the snazzy features found in active purifiers do nothing for large particles like cat hair and dander. Whether you’re allergic or not, you need a passive purifier to get that benefit.
If you require any additional purification, you can find a passive purifier with some active purification features, but they shouldn’t be machine’s central feature.
We’ve Gone Over The Two Main Types On The Market, But There’s One More Type Of Air Purifier To Consider
Most air purifiers cost between $50 and $1,000, with price usually commensurate with quality. If you want a simple passive purifier without dropping a fat stack of cash, consider making your own.
A homemade air purifier is easy to construct using a box fan and the kind of HEPA filters typically sold for air conditioners. This is a good option for pet owners who want to experiment with air filtration before investing in a sophisticated purification system.
Watch This Video To Learn How To Make A Simple Air Purifier At Home
What To Look For In The Best Air Purifier For Cat Hair?
Now that you understand the basics about air purifiers, let’s get into the nitty gritty – here’s what you should think about when shopping for an air purifier for cat hair:
Choose An Air Purifier With An Effective Filtration System
The filtration system is the heart of the machine. Speed control, UV purification, stylish design, and other bells and whistles are insignificant compared to the purifier’s filters.
Allergy Sufferers Need HEPA Filters
Approximately 25% of cat dander particles are 2.5 microns or smaller, so allergy sufferers need a filter that can capture the tiniest particles.
According to U.S. standards, true HEPA filters capture 99.97% of particles at a size of .3 microns and above. They’re the gold standard in medical facilities, cleanrooms, and have even been used to arrest radioactive contaminants.
Don’t be fooled by sellers who describe their filters as “HEPA style filters, “HEPA-like filters”, or “HEPA-type” filters. HEPA is not a brand or style. It’s an effectiveness grade. A filter either meets that grade or it doesn’t.
Make Sure The Air Purifier Has A Pre-filter
Before air particles reach the main filter, they must pass through the pre-filter. A pre-filter helps the main filter last longer. It captures big particles like cat hair before they can reach the less porous, more expensive primary filter.
Look For A Carbon Filter For Extra Odor Elimination
Most air purifiers incorporate carbon filters to help eliminate odor. These filters use activated carbon, which naturally absorbs odor vapors. This type of filter is useful for people who are sensitive to the smells around the litter box.
Consider How It Fits Your Budget (Both Upfront And Month To Month)
Your air purifier is a long-term investment with recurring costs including energy usage and replacement filters. To ensure that you’re getting an energy-efficient appliance, look for purifiers that have been Energy Star-certified.
Consider that different purifiers will require different types of filters, some of which may cost over $100. Minimize your replacement costs by choosing one with reusable and washable filters.
Think About The Noise Factor
If your air purifier is too loud, it might keep you awake at night or even make it difficult to have a conversation in the same room. Scan customer reviews for mentions of the purifier’s noise level and seek units with multiple speed settings. Faster settings circulate more air in a shorter amount of time, and the noise increases along with efficiency. Multiple speed settings allow you to take control of the noise level.
Choose A Fast, Efficient Air Purifier
Speed and efficiency are important, particularly if you suffer from cat allergies. An efficient air purifier can clean an entire room at least six times every hour.
Most air purifiers are rated for specific room sizes and some sellers state the product’s CADR (clean air delivery rate). This value gives you an idea of how well the purifier will clean the rooms in your house. The CADR is the number of cubic feet the air purifier cleans every minute. This number varies based on which speed setting you use and which pollutants are present.
Units certified by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) will release specific CADR numbers for dust, tobacco smoke, and pollen. Unfortunately for us, the testing process doesn’t involve cat hair or dander, but the standard AHAM testing is enough to help us evaluate the purifier’s efficiency and how it compares to others.
Additional Tips For Keeping Cat Hair And Dander Under Control
Choosing a great air purifier can cut back on time spent cleaning up cat hair and is a valuable part of an allergy sufferer’s toolkit, but it isn’t a complete solution. Whether you have an air purifier or not, it’s a good idea to implement the following cat hair control strategies.
Choose The Right Vacuum And Clean The Floors Regularly
The best vacuums for cat hair have HEPA filtration systems, tangle-free rollers, and powerful suction to keep your floors clean. If you haven’t already, choose a vacuum and start a regular cleaning routine. Remember—even the best air purifier can’t capture hair that’s already stuck in your carpet. It takes a great vacuum cleaner to do that.
Brush Your Cat Regularly
Before your cat’s hair has a chance to go flying off into the air, collect it with a brush. Brushing your cat has multiple benefits, including improved circulation, a shinier coat, fewer hairballs, and a cleaner home.
If You Have Allergies, Recruit Someone To Bathe Your Cat
Regular bathing is one of the best ways to remove dander from your cat’s skin and coat. To avoid drying out your cat’s skin, limit baths to once every four to six weeks.
If you have allergies or cringe at the sight of cat hair floating in a sunbeam, the best air purifier can help you breathe easy. There’s a purifier for almost every budget, sense of style, and combination of health requirements.
Regardless of which air purifier you choose, remember to look for one with an effective, fast filtration system, enough purification power to clean the rooms in your house, quiet operation, and no harmful emissions.