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The Top 5 Best Air Purifiers for Dog Hair & Dander of 2022

My dog follows me everywhere I go. He wanders over the carpets, sits on the sofa, and sleeps on our bed. Truth be told, I wouldn’t have it any other way. But for a while there, my fur baby was dropping a seemingly never-ending amount of fur around the home.

What’s worse, it was starting to upset my allergies. And after a while, I noticed my home was starting to smell like a dog – even though I was vacuuming multiple times a week!

So, long story short, I spent months researching air purifiers to find out which ones are best for filtering their dander (which is the main thing that causes pet allergies), hair, and odors.

And on this page, I’ll share my top five picks with you, along with a detailed buyer’s guide at the end to help you choose the right air purifier for your home.

Before we proceed: I am not a medical doctor, allergist, or veterinarian. This post is intended to share general information about products we like and should NOT be considered medical advice for you or your pet. If you are concerned about allergies for any reason, it’s best to speak to a medical professional.

The 5 Best Air Purifiers for Dog Owners of 2022

Let me start by saying that there’s no one air purifier that has been specifically designed just for people with dogs. And if there is, I am yet to find it.

However, as a dog owner, what I have found is that some air purifiers do work better than others when it comes to addressing things like dog hair, dander, and unpleasant odors.

So it does make a difference as to which air purifier you select if you want to manage these problems effectively. And that’s what I’ve based my top picks on.

I’ve searched high and low to find what I believe are the best air purifiers for dealing with things like dog fur, dog allergies, and the odors they bring into the home. While also taking into account other aspects such as the air purifier’s technology, noise levels, and energy efficiency.

Here’s a quick look at my top five picks for 2022:

Top 5 Picks

Best Overall

Levoit Core 300 Air Purifier

The Levoit Core 300 is my top pick overall. It uses a three-stage filter that includes a pre-filter, activated carbon, and a HEPA 13 filter, which is the ideal setup for eliminating things like dog odors and dander. It’s also quiet, efficient, and affordable – see full review.

Best for Pet Hair and Dander

HR900 Ultimate Pet Air Purifier

The Winix HR900 is a larger and more heavy-duty air purifier than the Core 300. It comes with a comprehensive six-stage filtration system and covers rooms up to 300 sq. ft. This makes it ideal for removing dog hair and dander from larger areas of your home – see full review.

Best for Dog Odors

LV-H126 Personal HEPA Air Purifier

If your main reason for buying an air filter is to eliminate unpleasant doggy odors in the home, then the LV-H126 is a great choice. It contains a carbon pre-filter, HEPA filter, and an activated carbon filter which is the ideal filter setup for neutralizing odors – see full review.

Best for Tech and Low Noise

Coway Airmega 300 Smart Air Purifier

The Airmega 300 is my personal favorite. It’s a very high-quality air purifier that covers a large area, it’s super quiet, energy efficient, and loaded with cool tech. It’s also backed by a great company and comes with a five-year warranty. The only reason it’s not my top pick is that its the priciest option on the list – see full review.

Best for Energy Efficiency

InvisiClean Sensa Air Purifier (IC-5120)

The IC-5120 is a well-rounded air purifier, and its standout feature is how energy efficient it is, while the main drawback is that it only comes with a one-year warranty. But if you’re looking for something that doesn’t cost much to run, this is worth a look – see full review.

Now that you know what my top picks are, let’s look at each air purifier in more detail, so you know what makes each one unique and why I chose it.

Then, after the following in-depth reviews, I’ll show you what to consider before (and after) buying in the buyer’s guide section. So with that said, let’s get started!

1. Levoit Core 300 – Best Overall Air Purifier for Dogs

Levoit is California-based company, and it’s one of the most trusted brands within the home air purifying space. They’ve sold millions of air purifiers across the globe and while no company or product is perfect, they’ve established a good reputation in that time.

So it was a no-brainer for me to look into their air purifiers. And since the Core 300 is one of their newer and more popular models, I was curious to know if it lived up to the hype.

And what I found was that there are more powerful air purifiers, and those that excel in certain areas like tech features and quiet operation. But this, in my opinion, is the best all-around air purifier for controlling dog hair, dander, and odors without spending too much.

The Core 300 ticks all the boxes – at an affordable price point:

  • The filtration system is excellent (there are three phases of filtration), and you can customize the filters for your needs (they have a filter specifically for pets).
  • It runs super quiet, so it’s great for the bedroom as it doesn’t keep you awake at night.
  • It’s energy-efficient, so it doesn’t cost much to run.

Now let’s unpack each of these in more detail.

First, the Levoit Core 300 uses a three-stage air filtration process that involves a pre-filter, True HEPA 13 filter, and an activated carbon filter, which is a great combination.

The pre-filter is good because it picks up a lot of the larger stuff like dog hair that floats around the home, and this allows the core HEPA filter to do its job better while helping to extend the life of the air purifier itself. Because it puts less strain on the HEPA filter, and you can clean the pre-filter every 2-4 weeks to keep it running optimally.

The True HEPA 13 filter is the main filter, this is what filters things like pet dander, dust, pollen, and other allergens, at a rate of 99.97% for particles that are 0.3 microns in diameter.

I explain more about HEPA filters in the buyer’s guide section, but basically, a True HEPA 13 air filter is a very high-grade HEPA air filter that works well at filtering things like dander, which is one of the leading causes of pet allergies.

The activated carbon filter is the third phase of filtration, and it’s a great addition to the Core 300. Because activated carbon is what helps eliminate things like smoke and bad odors. So if you’re concerned about unpleasant dog odors, this can make a big difference.

The other main reason I like the Core 300 is that it’s a very quiet machine. So it’s unlikely to keep you awake at night or annoy you if you want peace and quiet during the day. Even at the highest fan speed setting, it’s rated at 50dB (decibels). And if you use sleep mode, it runs at about 24dB, which is whisper quiet.

Lastly, the Core 300 is quite an energy-efficient air purifier. It is Energy Star Verified and rated at 45W, which works out to a very low running cost in most parts of the world. I explain how to estimate your monthly running costs in the buying guide to help you compare.

Levoit Core 300 Summary

Brand:Levoit 
Product Name:Core 300 True HEPA Air Purifier
Air Filter:Pre-filter, True HEPA 13, and activated carbon filter
Recommended Room Size:Up to 219 sq. ft.
Est. Filter Replacement:Every 6-8 months
Adjustable Fan Speed:3 speed settings
Quiet/Sleep Mode:Yes (24dB)
Rated Power:45W
Product Dimensions:8.7 x 8.7 x 16.25 inches
Warranty Period:1 year
User Manual:View PDF

As with any product, there are some things I didn’t like about the Core 300. And probably the main drawback is that it only comes with a one-year warranty.

Also, some reviewers have complained that there’s a plastic smell coming from the machine and that it doesn’t do a very good job of filtering out odors. On the first point, that is pretty normal for a new product, so with time that should dissipate. And on the second point, filtering out smells is something this air purifier does, but it’s not its main feature, either. So if odors are your primary concern, there are better options to consider, which I’ll elaborate on shortly.

In any case, when you consider that the Core 300 can handle virtually all of your air filtering needs, it’s quiet, the running costs are low, and that it’s affordable, this is a great all-around machine, especially considering how affordable it is.

Pros

  • Trusted brand with lots of good reviews across multiple air purifiers
  • Best overall features and value for money
  • Three-stage filtration, including a pre-filter, HEPA 13, and carbon which helps with dog hair, dander, allergens, odors, and more
  • You can customize which filters you use according to your needs, including one that is specifically designed for pets
  • Energy efficient with a rated power of only 45W, meaning lower energy costs
  • Low noise operation, using sleep mode only outputs 24dB, which is whisper quiet

Cons

  • The warranty period is only one year which is less than most others I’ve reviewed
  • Some reviewers complain that it doesn’t filter odors very well, and some even say that it emits a plastic smell, although this was not a very common complaint

2. HR900 Ultimate Pet Air Purifier – Best for Pet Hair and Dander

When it comes to air purifiers for pet owners, it’s hard to beat the Winix HR900. This is my top choice for filtering dog hair, dander, and odors from an average-sized room.

Especially if you don’t want to spend a huge chunk of money, and especially if things like noise levels and energy efficiency aren’t a major priority. This is just a good, sturdy air purifier that will well and truly get the job done.

The main highlight of the HR900 is the five-stage air filter which is ideal for anyone with pets. And in my opinion, it’s ahead of the competition. Because, unlike some air purifiers I’ve come across, the five-stage filtration process isn’t just a gimmick. Each filter in the process has a job and is aimed at providing optimal air filtration while helping extend the life of the machine.

Stage one and two of the filtration process consists of the pre-filters. The first filter (called the pet filter) is the coarsest, and the second is a finer mesh filter. Both of these are designed to catch larger particles, such as your dog’s loose hair, and help extend the life of the machine.

Stage three is the activated carbon filter which is designed to help remove pet odors from the air. And the fourth stage of filtration is the True HEPA filter which filters out 99.97% of air particles that are at least 0.3 microns in diameter. So this is the filter that removes dander from the air, which is one of the main causes of pet allergies.

The fifth and final stage of filtration is what Winix calls its PlasmaWave Air Cleaning Technology, which is kind of similar to ionizer-type filters. How does it work? Well, I’m no scientist, but according to Winix, PlasmaWave creates hydroxyls to kill germs and bacteria in the air.

Just how effective this feature is, I honestly can’t say. However, one thing I learned through my research is that some ionizer-type filters can produce ozone. So I wanted to know if the PlasmaWave feature was safe before adding the HR900 as one of my top picks.

And what I found was that, according to the Winix website, the HR900 does not produce harmful ozone. I also found that it’s listed as a CARB-Certified Air Cleaning Device by the California Air Resources Board, which, as far as I’m concerned, means it’s safe.

Not to mention, using the PlasmaWave feature is optional.

You can switch it on and off as you please. And, when it comes to things like dander and dog odors, the other four filters are the most important anyway. So even if you never use the PlasmaWave feature, I would still wholeheartedly recommend it to dog owners.

In any case, the other thing I like about the HR900 is that it has sensors that let you know if the air quality is good, fair, or poor at any given time. And when it’s switched to “auto” mode, the air purifier automatically adjusts the fan speed to increase or decrease filtration.

Winix HR900 Summary

Brand:Winix
Product Name:HR900 Ultimate Pet Air Purifier
Air Filter:Five-stage filtration including two pre-filters, True HEPA and activated carbon filters, and a final PlasmaWave filter
Recommended Room Size:Up to 300 sq. ft.
Est. Filter Replacement:The HEPA and carbon filters last up to 12 months
Adjustable Fan Speed:4 speed settings
Quiet/Sleep Mode:Yes
Product Dimensions:16.30 x 9.60 x 23.60 inches
Warranty Period:2 years
User Manual:View PDF

What don’t I like about it?

First, this is not the cheapest option, so it’s probably not ideal if you’re on a really tight budget. That said, it’s also not the most expensive option either, and I still think it represents awesome value for money, especially when you consider the features and quality.

Another potential drawback is that the filter maintenance is higher than many of the simpler machines I’ve reviewed because it has more filters, which means more maintenance and more filters to replace than an air purifier with fewer filters.

On the plus side, however, some filters are washable, and Winix says you only need to replace the HEPA and carbon filters every 12 months or so, which is good.

Lastly, the HR900 is not as quiet and energy efficient as some air purifiers on this list. So if you’re looking for the quietest and most energy-efficient air purifier, there are better alternatives.

Overall though, if you’re looking for a great air purifier for pet hair and dander, this is definitely worth checking out. It works extremely well and I think it represents great value for money.

Pros

  • A comprehensive five-stage air filtration system that is designed specifically to help remove pet hair, dander, and odors from the air in your home
  • Air quality sensors and automatic fan speed adjustment based on the quality of the air in the room
  • Comfortably able to filter the air in medium-large rooms

Cons

  • There are more affordable options out there if you’re on a tight budget
  • More filters mean more maintenance and a higher cost in replacing filters
  • It is quite a large, bulky air purifier. There are more compact, energy-efficient, and overall quieter alternatives

3. LV-H126 Personal HEPA Air Purifier – Best for Doggy Odors

It’s not often I include two products from the same company in my top five picks. But I was willing to make an exception in this case because this is such a great little air purifier for anyone wanting to eliminate doggy odors in the home.

And the main reason is that it includes TWO carbon filters and a HEPA filter.

  • The first filter is a carbon pre-filter which is designed to filter out larger particles (like dog fur). And since it’s made with carbon, it is naturally good at eliminating unpleasant odors.
  • The second filter is a HEPA filter, which every air purifier I mention on this page has. These are ideal for removing finer particles from the air. This means this air purifier is also suitable for filtering out dander, pollen, and dust, for example.
  • The third filter is a finer, more comprehensive activated carbon filter that also comes equipped with a membrane net and mesh scaffold for added efficiency.

Together, this combination of a carbon pre-filter, HEPA filter, and activated carbon filter makes this a simple, yet effective, air purifier for dog odors.

Unlike HEPA filters, carbon filters attract and adsorb (yes, adsorb with a “d”) organic compounds. Basically, the odor-producing particles are sucked into the air purifier and stick to the surface of the carbon filter, thereby removing them from the air.

It’s also designed to filter other particles, like smoke for example. And this, according to Levoit, was one of the main reasons they launched this air purifier in the first place.

Even if you don’t choose this air purifier, it can be worth having some activated carbon around the home because it can help eliminate odors without even being part of an air purifier.

As I explain further in the article, you can actually purchase inexpensive carbon/charcoal bags and place these in areas of your home that produce bad odors.

And this can work surprisingly well.

Either way, including carbon as part of an air purifier can make it even more effective. And in this case, there are actually two carbon filters, whereas most air purifiers only come with one carbon filter. So when it comes to eliminating odors, there’s a lot to like about the LV-H126.

Levoit LV-H126 Summary

Brand:Levoit
Product Name:LV-H126 Personal HEPA Air Purifier
Air Filter:Carbon pre-filter, HEPA filter and high efficiency activated carbon filter
Recommended Room Size:Up to 161 sq. ft.
Est. Filter Replacement:Carbon filters every 2-3 months, HEPA filter every 6-8 months
Adjustable Fan Speed:3 speed settings
Quiet/Sleep Mode:No (32-52dB)
Product Dimensions:9.65 x 6.8 x 7.9 inches
Warranty Period:2 years
Rated Power:35W
User Manual:View PDF

On the flip side, it doesn’t cover a very large area.

If you place it in a larger room, it may not work as effectively as a larger air purifier. It only cleans rooms up to 161 square feet, or around 15 m2, which is on the lower end in terms of coverage. So if you need to filter your entire home, you are going to need more than one.

The other drawback is that the filtration system isn’t the best for people with dog and pet allergies. It does have a HEPA filter, so it does filter things like pollen, dust, and pet dander. But it’s mostly designed for eliminating odors from things like smoke and pets.

Pros

  • Dual carbon filter which is ideal for filtering out nasty smells and dog odors
  • Very affordable
  • Compact and stylish design
  • Quiet and energy efficient

Cons

  • There are better options for people with pet allergies, this is more for odors
  • Doesn’t cover a very large area so you may need more than one of these for optimal results

4. Coway Airmega 300 – Best for Tech Features and Low Noise

If it weren’t for the affordability factor, the Airmega 300 would easily be my top overall pick. I’m a big fan (no pun intended) of this air purifier!

And not just because of the cool design. This is the most powerful, technologically advanced, and quiet air purifier I’ve found compared with those covering a similar room size. 

It can filter up to a whopping 1,256 square feet while operating at a whisper quiet level of only 22-52dB which is pretty impressive in the world of portable air purifiers.

There are five fan modes in total (Smart, Sleep, Low, Medium, and High) and how quiet it operates depends on the fan mode you select. At the lowest “sleep” setting, you may barely notice it’s switched on, and even on “High,” it’s still very quiet.

The Airmega 300 has a built-in pollution sensor, too, which determines in real-time if the air quality in the room is “good, moderate, unhealthy, or very unhealthy” and displays this information on the user interface at the top.

That way, you can see what the air quality is like in the room it’s operating in at any given time, and there’s even a “smart” mode, which automatically adjusts the fan speed according to the air quality in the room.

So for example, if it detects what it determines is “very unhealthy” air quality, the fan is automatically dialed up to maximum. And once it deems the air quality as “good” it slows the fan speed to the lowest setting.

That’s a pretty cool feature! And not just because it helps filter the air clean as quickly as possible when needed, but because it uses less power when the air is clean, and it dials down.

With respect to the air filter itself, the Airmega 300 uses a three-stage filtration system.

Stage one is the washable pre-filter that collects larger particles such as hair and visible dust. Stage two is the True HEPA filter which filters out the finer particles. And stage three is the activated carbon filter which is good for removing unpleasant odors.

Also worth mentioning is that the 300S (next model up) comes with added features, such as WiFi connectivity and an app that allows you to connect your device to it. This allows you to do things like check the air quality, manage the settings and schedule its operation. You can even connect the 300S to Amazon Alexa and Google Home via voice command.

Coway Airmega 300 Summary

Brand:Coway
Product Name:Airmega 300 Smart Air Purifier
Air Filter:Pre-filter, True HEPA and activated carbon filter
Recommended Room Size:Up to 1,256 sq. ft.
Est. Filter Replacement:About every 12 months
Adjustable Fan Speed:5 fan modes
Quiet/Sleep Mode:Yes (22-52dB)
WiFi:No
Product Dimensions:13.58 x 20.94 x 13.58 inches
Warranty Period:5 years
Rated Power:57W
User Manual:View PDF

What’s the downside?

The main downside is the cost. This is a very high-quality air purifier that covers a large area, is super quiet, energy efficient, and loaded with cool tech. Not to mention, it’s created by Coway, which is (literally) an award-winning company that has been around since the late 1980s.

So the Airmega 300 is aimed at people who are wanting the best of the best, and as such, it’s not the cheapest option on the market. Not by a long shot.

And this is why it’s not at the top of my list. I realize that not everyone will be able to afford an air purifier like this, so my top pick is basically a smaller, more affordable alternative.

Pros

  • Very high-quality air purifier that comes with a comprehensive air filtration system
  • It’s one of the quietest air purifiers on the market, especially for its size and room size it is able to filter
  • Comes with some impressive technology, including an air quality sensor, auto fan speed setting, and (with the 300S) you can connect it to your device via WiFi and the app for added functionality
  • Simple and modern design and comes in a variety of colors
  • Comes with a five-year warranty

Cons

  • This is the most expensive air purifier on the list, so it’s not the best option if you’re on a budget

5. InvisiClean Sensa Air Purifier – Best for Energy Efficiency

Most air purifiers aren’t terribly expensive to run. Depending on where you are in the world, most cost less than $5 p/m to run. And it’s not difficult to estimate the cost of running an air purifier either, as I will explain in the buyer’s guide section.

That said, there are good reasons to seek out an energy-efficient air purifier. For example, maybe you live in an area where electricity is more expensive, you might need multiple air purifiers for your home, or maybe you just want to minimize your impact on the environment.

Whatever the case, InvisiClean’s Sensa IC-5120 air purifier is a good option to consider. It’s not the absolute lowest energy-consuming air purifier on the market, but it is energy efficient when you consider its overall capabilities.

According to InvisiClean, its power usage is only 3 watts when operating at the lowest fan speed. This means that generally speaking, even if you had it running 24/7, it would cost you less than $1 per month to run.

However, there are six fan speed settings in total, and it’s more realistic to assume that you’ll be running the IC-5120 at a speed setting of between 3-5 most of the time unless you’re using it in a very tiny space. And the maximum power rating is 55 watts.

Still, this is an energy-efficient machine overall. And you can use the auto function too, which may help it run more efficiently as it automatically adjusts the fan speed according to its built-in air quality sensor that determines what it sees as “good, moderate, or bad” air quality.

On the filtration front, it uses a two-stage activated carbon pre-filter and True HEPA filter setup, which is simple but effective.

Levoit Core 300 Summary

Brand:InvisiClean
Product Name:Sensa Air Purifier – IC-5120
Air Filter:Activated carbon pre-filter and True HEPA filter
Recommended Room Size:Up to 319 sq. ft.
Est. Filter Replacement:About every 6 months
Adjustable Fan Speed:6-speed settings
Quiet/Sleep Mode:Yes (31-60dB)
Product Dimensions:12.34 x 6.25 x 17.75 inches
Warranty Period:1 year
Rated Power:55W
User Manual:View PDF

To me, the main drawback to the IC-5120 is that it doesn’t have the most comprehensive filtration system. It consists of a simple carbon pre-filter and HEPA filter.

And the InvisiClean brand is not as well-known as some of the others I’ve listed here. Which, considering they only provide a one-year warranty, might make some apprehensive.

Either way, this is definitely one of the most energy-efficient air purifiers I’ve come across. And considering the room coverage, that it can filter out both allergens and bad odors, and the built-in air quality sensor, I think it’s well worth a look. Especially for the price.

Pros

  • Operates between 3-55W depending on the fan speed setting, which makes it more cost-effective to run
  • Covers a fairly large area for the price and amount of power it consumes
  • Comes with a built-in air quality sensor and automatic fan speed function

Cons

  • Only comes with a one-year warranty
  • InvisiClean is not a very well-known brand
  • Will get the job done, but it’s not the most comprehensive air filter setup

Buyer’s Guide – Selecting the Right Air Purifier For Your Needs

It’s one thing to choose a great air purifier, it’s another to choose one that’s right for you, which is why I decided to put together this buyer’s guide.

In this section, I’ll show you what the most important factors are to consider before you buy to help you choose the right air purifier for your needs.

I’ll also discuss things like how to set up your air purifier for optimal filtration, connect it to WiFi, and clean the air filter, to help you get the full benefit of your purchase.

Here’s a quick overview of what’s in this section (click to skip):

Why It’s Worth Getting Air Purifier as a Dog Owner

Dogs make great companions and can really enrich your life, but they can also cause problems for allergy sufferers and introduce unpleasant odors into the home. And these are probably the main two reasons why purchasing a good quality air purifier makes sense.

With respect to dog allergies, a good quality air purifier can help by removing things like dander (dead skin flakes) from the air. This is important because dog-related allergies aren’t typically caused by the dog hair itself, they are often caused by dander.

And dander is particularly troublesome because the particles are so fine that they can easily become airborne and stay airborne for hours at a time. Often without you realizing it.

Dander isn’t the only allergen to blame, though. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, your dog’s sweat, saliva, and urine can also trigger an allergic reaction.

And all of these allergens can, and often do, attach themselves to your dog’s hair, which in turn can float around the home, spreading the allergens further.

Aside from allergies, dogs can also introduce unpleasant odors into the home. And most good quality air purifiers are designed to help remove these odors for you.

So the right air purifier can make a big difference, whether you’re concerned about dog allergies or doggy odors. But it’s important to choose the right one for the job. So in the next section, we’ll look at the different types of filters to help you decide what’s right for you.

Selecting the Right Air Purifier For Your Needs

There are a range of factors that go into choosing the right air purifier for your needs. However, perhaps the most important factor to consider is the air filter itself, since there are different kinds, and some are better than others.

For example, some air filters are better at removing pet dander from the air, which is the leading cause of pet allergies, while others are better at filtering out doggy odors.

So it’s important to consider the main reason you’re buying and select the right air filter based on this. It’s also important to consider the size of the area you are wanting to filter within your home, as this can help determine how powerful of an air purifier you need.

Also, if you plan on putting your air purifier in your bedroom, or you just really want a quiet home, the noise factor is worth considering. As some air purifiers are noisier than others.

And last but not least, considering the energy rating of your product is important if you want to save money on your energy bill while doing your part for our environment.

Let’s look at each of these factors in more detail.

Different Types of Air Filters

Not all air filters are created equal. And, by design, some are better at filtering out things like pet hair and dander than others.

Generally speaking, however, HEPA filters are the “go-to” for those with pet allergies, while air filters that make use of activated carbon tend to work better for those concerned about dog odors. So, as a dog owner, these are likely going to be your main considerations.

That said, it’s still worth going over the main different types of air filters to give you an idea of what is available and what makes each type of air filter unique. Especially since some air purifier systems come fitted with a variety of air filters.

  • High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA): These are one of the most common and best types of air purifiers available. HEPA filters are typically made of fiberglass and filter out at least 99.97 percent of particles from the air that are at least 0.3 microns in diameter. They are the most efficient at filtering out things like dust, pollen, pet dander, and other fine particles, so they’re ideal for people who suffer from dog allergies.
  • Activated Carbon: Carbon (or charcoal) can help eliminate doggy odors and improve the quality of the air within your home or vehicle. It doesn’t filter larger particles, such as dust or pet dander, but works well to reduce unpleasant odors and is often included with other types of air filtration systems for this reason. The way it works is through a process known as adsorption, which this article does a great job of explaining.
  • UV Light: This type of filter uses short-wave ultraviolet light to help eliminate microorganisms such as mold, bacteria, and germs. Unlike the previous two filters, they don’t filter particles like dust and dander, nor do they remove unpleasant odors. So this type of filter isn’t particularly useful to pet owners, it’s more about killing germs.
  • Ionic Filters: There are a couple of main types of ionic air purifiers. The first is an electrostatic filter, which charges particles in the air and attracts them to the filter medium, kind of like a magnet. The other is an ionizer which, instead of attracting dust, creates ions that attach themselves to particles in the air. And when the dust settles (no pun intended), you simply clean the dust off the surface it landed on. It’s a neat idea, but these aren’t as popular or effective as HEPA filters, and there are some concerns about ozone production.

Aside from these four types of air purifiers, the differences mostly come down to the filter medium used in a given machine and whether or not the filters are washable or throw-aways.

Pleated air filter
Pleated air filter

For example, many air purifier filters are made with fiberglass, while others are made with polyester or cotton. And some filters are pleated, meaning there are folds in the filter medium, which increases its surface area and, as a result, filters more particles in less space.

And of course, some filters are designed to be replaced, like HEPA filters, while others are able to be cleaned and used for a longer period of time.

Exactly when you should replace your filter depends on the type of filter, how often it is used, and the manufacturer’s guidelines. But generally speaking, most HEPA and carbon filters should be replaced every 6-12 months.

The more you use it, the more frequently you’ll need to replace it.

Which type of air filter is best?

Which type of air filter is best really depends on what you are wanting to filter out of the air. And, as a dog owner, your main concern is likely allergies or bad odors, or both.

If your main concern is removing allergens such as pet dander, dust, pollen, hair, and fur from the air, a HEPA air purifier is probably going to be your best option.

Whereas air purifiers that incorporate activated carbon filters are better suited to dog owners whose main priority is keeping the home smelling fresh. Many air purifiers have both.

Consider the Air Purifiers MERV Rating 

Another factor to consider when deciding which air purifier is best is to look at the air purifier’s MERV rating. 

MERV, which stands for “minimum efficiency reporting value,” is a widely used industry standard for comparing the performance of different air filters. Specifically, their ability to filter particles that are between 10 to 0.3 microns in size.

According to the epa.gov website, the higher the MERV rating, the better the filter is at trapping specific types of particles. And on their website, they show a MERV rating of between 1-16.

So, put simply, the higher the MERV rating, the more able the filter will be to remove smaller particles, such as pet dander, from the air. Which is key for allergy sufferers.

What’s the ideal MERV rating?

According to Wikipedia, a MERV rating of between 5-8 will remove cat and dog dander from the air. Whereas this article on grainger.com, along with other popular air filtration sites I’ve researched, suggests that the ideal MERV rating for filtering out pet dander starts at a MERV of 13. So if you’re concerned about pet dander, look for products with a higher MERV.

What About HEPA filters?

HEPA filters are in a league of their own, they are designed to remove at least 99.97% of particles that measure 0.3 microns from the air. And considering one micron (micrometer) is equal to 0.001 of a millimeter (mm), this is quite impressive, to say the least.

To help put this into perspective, dog hair is typically between 75 to 200 microns in diameter, depending on how fine or coarse it is. So even if your dog has really (really) fine hair, a HEPA filter is going to get the job done, and then some.

However, as I mentioned earlier, dog hair itself isn’t what causes allergies, it’s mostly their dander. Along with other allergens such as saliva, urine, and sweat.

Your dog’s hair is, in essence, a vehicle to help spread these allergens around the home. That said, as long as you have a good quality air filter with a relatively high MERV rating, ideally a HEPA filter, these allergens won’t stand a chance.

What are True HEPA and H13 HEPA?

Many popular air purifiers claim that they are better because they are H13 True HEPA, and this is becoming increasingly common among products on Amazon.

What’s the difference between regular HEPA, True HEPA, and H13?

Well, the simple answer is that a HEPA filter is a HEPA filter, there are no different kinds. HEPA filters are judged based on whether or not they filter 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns in diameter or not. So it’s either HEPA, or it’s not.

However, there are different grades of HEPA, as this article on medifyair.com explains:

“True HEPA generally ranges from H10-H12. This is the ‘grade’ of HEPA or the level of efficiency. The higher the grade, the better the filter. HEPA H13-H14 are within the highest tier of HEPA and are considered medical grade quality.”

So True HEPA and H13 HEPA filters are essentially a higher grade of HEPA air filter.

Does that mean they are better? 

It means they’re able to filter more particles out of the air.

However, there is a tradeoff when it comes to airflow. Because the higher grade the HEPA, the more densely packed the fibers are within the filter, which can restrict airflow. And if you restrict airflow, you limit how much air the unit is able to filter.

So, whether H13 HEPA air purifiers are better than True HEPA filters, especially within a home setting where your main concern is likely pet dander and dog odors, is debatable. Because it’s not just about how fine the filter is, it’s about how much air it’s able to filter.

Determine the Size of the Room You’ll Be Using Your Air Purifier In

One of the most important things to consider when selecting the right air purifier is how suitable it’s going to be for the size of the room you are going to use it in.

On one hand, if you choose an air purifier that’s too small, it won’t be powerful enough to clean the air properly. And on the other hand, if you select one that’s too powerful for the room, you could end up with a higher utility bill than is necessary due to excessive power usage.

So it’s important to choose the right size air purifier for your needs.

Here’s how:

  • Determine the square feet of the space/s you plan on using your air purifier
  • Determine the recommended room size the air purifier can operate in
  • Decide how many air purifiers you will need based on this and other factors

To determine the square feet of the room, all you need to do is measure the length and width of the room and multiply these two figures together, which will give you the square footage of the room. Or square meterage if you’re measuring in meters.

Next, you need to figure out the recommended room size the air purifier can operate in effectively. And most popular air purifiers will tell you how many square feet (abbreviated sq. ft.) the unit can handle. I’ve also included this in the table of each review above to make it easier for you. In any case, once you’ve determined both the sq. ft. of the room you want to filter, all you need to do is select a unit that covers an area of the same (or slightly larger) area.

Tip: A more advanced method is to measure the volume of a room by multiplying the square footage by the ceiling height. Then, determine the CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) of the air purifier to decide if it’s adequate for your needs. The CADR is a measure of how many cubic feet of dust, pollen, or smoke per minute an air purifier can remove. And basically, the higher the CADR, the more air the unit can filter in and the larger room it can handle. See this guide on the epa.gov website to learn more.

How do you know how many air filters to get?

How many air filters you need will depend on the air purifier itself, the size and number of rooms you need to filter, and your budget, among other factors.

One approach is to use one air purifier and move it from room to room as needed. This approach could be adequate depending on your circumstances and may save you some money, but it’s not going to be as effective as having one unit dedicated to each room. Simply because you are constantly interrupting the filtering process in a given area of the home.

Buying one air purifier for every room, on the other hand, could end up costing you a small fortune. So this approach is not practical for most people.

If you want to filter a larger area than just one room, another approach is to measure the square footage of the entire floor area of your home and get one large air purifier or several smaller ones. Then, simply position the unit/s as evenly as possible over the floor area to get the best results possible.

Whatever you decide to do, the important thing is to select an air purifier that is adequate for the area you wish to use it in so that it gets the job done. And at the same time, one that isn’t too powerful for the room, so that you aren’t surprised with a large energy bill.

Air Purifier Energy Efficiency

One of the great things about portable home air purifiers is that most of them use very little power and are surprisingly affordable to run, even if you have them working 24/7.

That said, it still pays to consider how energy efficient your air purifier is because some do use more electricity than others. Not to mention, if you’re living off-grid, you might be in a situation where you need to conserve as much electricity as possible.

How do you find out how energy efficient an air purifier is?

Some air purifiers have energy star ratings and will detail this information for you on the packaging or on the product itself. But not always.

So here’s a breakdown of the formula for calculating energy usage, using an example of a 55-watt air purifier that covers a 300-square-foot room, which is a fairly standard machine:

  • First, determine the wattage of the air purifier (in this case, 55W)
  • Then, multiply the wattage by the daily usage hours (55W x 24 hours = 1320)
  • Divide the result by 1000 to get the kWh (for example, 1320/1000 = 1.32 kWh)
  • Multiply the kWh by the kWh cost of electricity in your area (1.32 kWh x $0.15 per kWh = $0.20 cents per day)

So, using the above example, it would cost you about 20 cents per day, $1.40 per week, or $6 per month, to run a fairly typical air purifier non-stop, 24/7.

And you may choose to only run yours for 8-12 hours per day, which is common, and as such, that would reduce the cost to approximately $2 to $3 per month.

Also worth mentioning is that I used the example of 15 cents per kWh which, as of writing, is on the high end in the U.S. You can check the latest electricity cost data on the eia.gov website here to get a more accurate idea of how much your air purifier is likely to cost you.

Consider the Noise Factor

The last thing I want to discuss is the noise factor.

This is an easy aspect to overlook, but if you plan on having the air purifier in your bedroom, home office, or any area of your home that you want to be kept quiet, this may be worth considering. Because a noisy air purifier can become quite irritating over time.

Not to mention, dogs have more sensitive hearing than us humans, so a noisy air purifier could potentially spook him or make it hard for him (and you) to sleep.

So, how noisy are air purifiers?

How noisy an air purifier mostly depends on the fan and fan speed settings you select. Generally speaking, the larger and more powerful the fan and faster you have it running, the noisier the air purifier is going to be.

The easiest way to determine how noisy a given air purifier will be is to check the decibel rating before you buy. The lower the decibel rating, the quieter the air purifier.

There are some other things you can do to reduce how much noise the air purifier makes, too. Even if you’ve already bought one. For example, most modern air purifiers come with a speed setting that allows you to reduce the speed of the fan. And some even come with a “quiet mode” setting that is designed to work as quietly as possible.

Not to mention, you could adjust where and when you use the air purifier, as this can have a significant impact on how irritating a noisy air purifier will be.

For example, using the air purifier in rooms with carpet is more suitable for noise, as carpet tends to absorb more noise than hard floor surfaces. And you could switch it off between certain hours of the day or night, according to your own preference.

I’ve also included the dB rating in the summary of each review section above to help you compare each of my top picks, and the Coway Airmega 300 is the quietest air purifier on the list.

Getting the Most Out of Your Air Purifier

Once you’ve purchased the right air purifier for your needs, there are some practical ways in which you can get the most out of it to achieve optimal results over the long term.

In this section, we’ll look at what I believe are the two most important things to consider after you buy. Which are positioning the unit correctly and maintaining the air filter.

Positioning Your Air Purifier for Optimal Results

When it comes to positioning your air purifier for optimal results, there are a few things to consider, and probably the most important is to maximize the airflow going into the unit.

You want to position the air purifier in such a way as to maximize the amount of “dirty” air it sucks in because that is going to result in more clean, filtered air being released into your home. And there are some very practical ways you can do this.

The first is to avoid placing the air purifier in the corner of the room or tight up against the wall, as it is less likely to filter the air within the whole room if you do this. And while it may not be practical to place the air purifier right in the center of the room, try to centralize it as best as possible.

The second thing to consider is placing the air purifier a few feet off the ground. It does depend on the individual product as to how appropriate this will be, but most air purifiers are fairly light and small in size, so it’s often not difficult to place them on a table, for example, which can help centralize its vertical position and allow it to operate more efficiently.

Air purifier in white workplace room with filter for cleaner removing fine dust.

Third, try to think of where the air purifier is likely to have the most impact. For example, if you’re concerned about dog allergies or doggy odors, consider placing the unit near your dog’s bed or in other areas where she spends a lot of time while indoors, or simply in the areas of your home where you notice unpleasant odors or where your allergies tend to flare up.

As a final tip, be sure to read the manufacturer’s guidelines when it comes to the placement of the air purifier. Because there are often important safety precautions to consider and guidelines on how to get the most out of your product.

For example, many reputable manufacturers suggest placing the air purifier one foot or more away from walls and furniture to allow adequate airflow.

Whereas other manufacturers do not recommend using the air purifier in a bathroom or any area with a high level of humidity. Because humid air can make air purifiers work unnecessarily hard, which, as a result, could shorten its overall lifecycle.

Cleaning and Replacing the Air Filter

Selecting a good air purifier and setting it up correctly is one thing. Reaping the benefits of optimal air filtration for many years to come is another.

And when it comes to getting optimal results for as long as possible, by far the most important element that is within your control is cleaning and/or replacing your air filter when needed.

How do you clean your air filter?

The best way to know how to clean the air filter on your machine is to read the manufactures instructions. Because while there are similarities between air purifiers, each system is unique, and manufacturers often have their own guidelines for you to follow.

That being said, most air purifiers have filters that fit into the following categories:

  • Replaceable air filters
  • Permanent/washable air filters

Most air purifiers come with replaceable air filters, and the manufacturer normally specifies when you need to replace the air filter, which is normally based on a set period of time. 

For example, some manufacturers recommend replacing the air filter on your air purifier after 2,500 hours of use, which is roughly 3-6 months depending on how often you use it. And some even alert you when it’s time to replace the filter based on running time.

It is sometimes possible to clean a replaceable filter in between replacements (by lightly tapping it, brushing it, or vacuuming it, for example). But keep in mind that you should be careful not to damage the filter in the process.

When it comes to permanent/washable air filters, these do not need to be replaced. And the manufacturer normally outlines a specific process on how and when to clean the washable filter in order to keep the air filter in optimal working condition.

Here’s a helpful video I found on Youtube if you want to know more:

Regardless of what type of air filter you have, there are a few important things to keep in mind whenever you are cleaning or replacing an air filter.

The first is to put safety first. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions and unplug the air purifier from the power source before cleaning or replacing the air filter.

Second, keep in mind that dust, pollen, dog dander, and all sorts of other particles are likely to be trapped in the filter. Especially if you’ve been using the air purifier for any length of time. So it pays to exercise caution when you’re replacing the air filter, especially if you suffer from allergies. A good idea might be to wear a mask and change the filter outdoors.

Third, if you have a washable air filter and you’ve washed it, you should always ensure that the air filter is properly dry before placing it back into the air purifier. This is not only important for safety reasons but also to help avoid potential damage to the machine.

Other Ways to Manage Dog Hair, Dander & Odors

Aside from using an air purifier, there are some other really great ways to reduce the amount of dander and other dog allergens that float around the home. As well as simple ways you can reduce unpleasant dog odors and keep your home smelling fresh.

Managing Loose Dog Hair and Dander

As I explained at the outset, the main cause of dog allergies is often dander, which is dead skin flakes. Or, more specifically, the protein within the dander. Which is also present in things like your dog’s saliva, sweat, and urine. All of which can become airborne.

However, since all of these allergens can (and often do) attach themselves to your dog’s hair, and that hair naturally falls out over time, your dog’s hair becomes a great means of spreading these allergens around the home.

Why am I explaining all of this?

Because reducing excessive shedding is one of the most effective ways to reduce the likelihood of getting a reaction from your dog’s dander. And thankfully, it’s not difficult to do in most cases. For the most part, reducing shedding comes down to the following:

  • Ensuring your dog is enjoying a healthy, balanced diet. Ideally, one that contains the appropriate amount of things like Omega 3 and Omega 6. And this is something your local veterinarian should be able to help you with. An optimal diet can help your dog thrive and, at the same time, promotes healthy skin and hair, which can reduce excessive shedding.
  • Brushing your dog regularly with a good quality brush and, depending on your dog’s coat, a de-shedding brush can make a big difference. Not only does this remove the old hair from the source before it falls out, but it also helps spread his natural skin oils, which can promote healthier, stronger hair follicles. See this article about the different types of dog brushes to learn more.
  • Bathing is another way to get shedding under control. However, it’s important to avoid over-bathing and using low-quality dog shampoos or those that are designed for humans. Because these things can irritate your dog’s skin, which can actually increase the shedding and dander that is present in the air.
  • You can also use supplements to further reduce shedding, although this should never replace a balanced diet, and you should always consult your vet before altering your dog’s diet.

There’s no way to completely stop shedding or eliminate dander completely. All dogs shed to some extent, it’s a completely natural process.

But there are some very practical ways to get this under control.

And when you combine a good quality air filter with some of the tips we’ve mentioned here, you could see a noticeable improvement in the overall air quality of your home.

See my full dog shedding guide and FAQ to learn more.

Managing Unpleasant Doggy Odors

Aside from ridding your home of dog allergens, many people with dogs consider purchasing an air purifier because they want a cleaner-smelling home.

And if that’s you, I get it.

I love my dog, but I also love a clean and fresh-smelling home. And most of the air purifiers we’ve mentioned in this article will help you with that.

However, some are better than others in this respect. And the air purifiers that shine are often those that contain some form of carbon or activated carbon within the filtration system. Because carbon is great at removing unpleasant odors from the air.

But what else can you do?

Well, the good news is that you don’t need to buy an air purifier to get the benefits of carbon/charcoal. Some companies sell this in bags that you can simply place around the home.

For example, you can get bamboo charcoal air purifying bags on Amazon for a lot less than the cost of an air purifier. And when it comes to removing odors, they work well.

Unlike a typical air filter, they don’t really “filter” the air, and they don’t remove things like dander, pollen, dust, hair, or other larger particles from the air either. What activated carbon (or activated charcoal) does is attract and hold the odor.

And while you do need to replace them from time to time, some activated charcoal bags can be “recharged” by allowing them to sit in direct sunlight for a couple of hours. So not only can they be really effective and low cost, but you can really get some mileage out of them.

Other ways of reducing unwanted dog odors include things like cleaning your dog’s bedding, the carpets and furniture in your home, and virtually anywhere your dog wanders inside. And of course, you can bathe your dog as needed with a good quality dog shampoo.

Depending on what sort of flooring you have, it might be worth investing in a good-quality dog hair vacuum. As this can help you remove more dog hair from carpets and upholstery and help you do so with less effort and in less time.

Conclusion

Keeping the air clean in your home can not only be a great way to improve your overall quality of life but can also help reduce the occurrence of dog allergies and unpleasant odors.

As I mentioned at the outset, there are no air filters designed specifically for people with dogs, but some are more suitable than others in this respect. For example, those with HEPA filters and some form of activated carbon are typically the most effective for dander and odors.

So, hopefully, with our top air purifier picks and the buyer’s guide on this page, and with the other resources I’ve linked to, you now have everything you need to make a more informed choice about which air purifier is best for you!

The Top 5 Best Air Purifiers for Dog Hair & Dander of 2022

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