Cats bring joy into our lives and never cease to surprise us, but they can also fill the air with dander, dust, and pollen. Pet parents who suffer from cat-related allergies can benefit from buying an air purifier. Purifiers remove allergens and keep your home smelling fresh, but some models are more effective than others. Smaller, less-powerful units are suitable for small rooms, but they’re not capable of improving the air quality of an entire home. Larger units clean a more expansive space, but they require a significant investment. Searching through hundreds of products can be agonizing, but we’ve compiled helpful reviews and a buyer’s guide to help you choose the best air purifier for cat dander.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites for 2023
|Best Overall||Germ Guardian Air Purifier||
|Best Value||LEVOIT Pet Care HEPA Air Purifier||
|Premium Choice||Rabbit Air Allergy Odor Purifier||
|Best for Kittens||Bissell Air400 Air Purifier||
|Lasko HEPA Air Purifier||
The 10 Best Air Purifiers for Cat Allergies
1. Germ Guardian AC5350BCA Elite Air Purifier – Best Overall
Our best overall air purifier is the Germ Guardian AC5350BCA Elite Air Purifier & HEPA Filter. We’re impressed with the device’s additional features and reasonable price. It’s designed to clean rooms with up to 167 square feet of floor space, and the machine cleans and recirculates the air every 4 hours. Germ Guardian uses a HEPA filter to remove dust, pollen, dander, and allergens as tiny as 0.3 microns, and it has an activated carbon filter that eliminates odors. You can also turn on the UV-C light to kill mold spores, germs, bacteria, and viruses. Unlike most models in its price range, the fan has five settings. When you want to reduce the noise of the machine, you can select quiet mode.
The manufacturer claims its machine eliminates 99.7% of dust and allergens, and it’s especially beneficial to pet owners with allergies. The only complaint we have about the Germ Guardian concerns the replacement bulbs. You can order replacement filters from Chewy, but you must go to the Germ Guardian site to order UV-C bulbs.
2. LEVOIT Core Pet Care True HEPA Air Purifier – Best Value
The LEVOIT Core Pet Care True HEPA Air Purifier is our winner for the best air purifier for the money. It is much smaller and compact than the other models we reviewed, but it’s able to recirculate the air in spaces as large as 219 square feet. It has a pre-filter to catch larger particles, a carbon filter to remove odors, and a HEPA filter to remove allergens. LEVOIT had cat owners in mind when it designed this machine. You can engage the pet lock to keep your curious feline from turning the device off when you sleep. The machine is designed to run 24 hours a day, but you can set a timer to conserve energy when you’re away from home.
If you have a small room for the litter box, this machine can reduce the odors from urine, feces, and dusty litter. The LEVOIT purifier is a practical unit for smaller rooms, but some customers looking to buy another purifier were disappointed that the price was higher than earlier in the year.
3. Rabbit Air Allergy Pet Odor Air Purifier – Premium Choice
When you need a powerful purifier that cleans a larger room, you can depend on the Rabbit Air MinusA2 Allergy SPA-780A Pet Odor Air Purifier. Including the pre-filter, the Rabbit has five different filters to catch dust, pollen, and other allergens as small as 0.3 microns. It features five speed settings and includes a handy wall mount to conserve space. Unlike other premium models, the Rabbit has a low setting that’s practically silent. If you have multiple pets, a larger machine like this one is more effective in improving air quality than the smaller units.
Although we like the performance of the Rabbit, some shoppers may be surprised by the sticker price. It’s not close to the most expensive machine, but it’s significantly more costly than a standard HEPA air purifier. However, it can clean a room that’s four times as large as our top pick.
4. Bissell Air400 Air Purifier – Best for Kittens
Although most felines learn to use the litter box at an early age, some kittens struggle to embrace the concept. If your kitten makes a mess when you’re out of the room, the Bissell Air400 Air Purifier will compensate for the foul odor by increasing the fan speed automatically. The Air400 monitors the room’s air quality and makes adjustments based on the level of pollutants in the air. It recycles the air five times an hour, and it removes odors, dust, smoke, and allergens. It improves the air quality of any room up to 432 square feet and includes a night mode feature that engages a night light at bedtime.
Most customers were impressed by the Bissell, but it seems to have a recurring issue with the filter sensor. Several pet owners complained the counter stopped working after a short time. Depending on the number of furballs in the house, the filters should be changed at least every two months. However, the filters are more expensive than some of the competitors, and you may want to check the latest prices before purchasing the machine.
5. Lasko Pure Platinum HEPA Air Purifier with Remote Control
The Lasko Pure Platinum HEPA Air Purifier with Remote Control and Auto Clean is a sleek machine capable of cleaning a 200-square foot room. It has a narrower design than many of its competitors, and it’s ideal for medium-sized rooms and cramped spaces. It has a three-stage filter for removing smoke, odors, allergens, and larger particles, and it uses an interior UV light to kill bacteria, mold spores, and viruses. Some of the additional features include a sleep mode, 7-hour timer, one-year supply of replacement filter, and a child lock that can prevent your cat from changing the settings.
Few companies include filters with their purifiers, and it’s nice that Lasko provides them, but the filters are not cheap. After a year of free filters, you may be surprised by how much replacements cost. The only other issue with the unit is the low-quality remote. It does not have a long range, and you must be in front of the machine to use it.
6. Crane True HEPA Tower Air Purifier
Some air purifiers are bulky and unattractive, but the Crane True HEPA Tower Air Purifier has a low-profile design that doesn’t stand out. It removes allergens, dust, and odors from living rooms, offices, bedrooms, and any space up to 300 square feet. It features a UV light, sleep timer, three speed settings, and a 1-year warranty. Most purifiers of its size are rated for smaller rooms, but the Crane has a powerful motor.
Unfortunately, the high setting is too noisy, and several customers complained that they could not tolerate the machine’s sound unless it was on the lowest setting. Another drawback is the vague instructions make changing the filter a challenge.
7. Coway Airmega 400 Smart Air Purifier
Unlike models of similar size, the Coway Airmega 400 Smart Air Purifier cleans a whopping 1565 square feet of space. Its effective HEPA filter removes 99.99% of particles as small as 0.1 microns. It features five fan speeds, a filter change indicator, a sleep timer, and an innovative air quality monitor that displays the condition of the room’s air with an LED light. Coway’s limited warranty covers the motor for 1 year and the electronics for 5 years.
Although it can clean a massive room, several customers had issues with its longevity. It is not as durable as some of the models in the same price range, but you may be able to get a problem fixed for free if it occurs during the warranty period.
8. BISSELL MYair Air Purifier & Carbon Filter for Small Home
With the Bissell Myair Air Purifier with High Efficiency and Carbon Filter for Small Room and Home, you can improve the air quality of small rooms no larger than 85 square feet. It removes allergens, dust, odors, and particles as small as 0.3 microns. It has three fan speeds, but the quiet mode is recommended when you’re trying to sleep or relax. Every cleaner is louder on the highest setting, but the Bissell is exceptionally loud. It’s much cheaper than other models we reviewed, but it does not have a true HEPA filter. It’s suitable for a small space, but you can spend a few more dollars for a more powerful unit that uses HEPA filters. Although it does not affect every customer, the Bissell sometimes emits an unpleasant plastic smell.
9. Alen BreatheSmart Classic Large Room Air Purifier
The Alen BreatheSmart Classic Large Room Air Purifier is rated to clean rooms as large as 1100 square feet. It uses a medical-grade HEPA filter to trap 99.99% of bacteria and airborne viruses and includes its patented OdorCell filter that reduces odors. It recirculates the air every 30 minutes and features an air quality sensor that changes color when the quality deteriorates. If you have a giant room that needs air quality improvement, the BreatheSmart’s powerful fan can freshen a room quickly. However, the costly machine does not seem to work for very long. Although it has high ratings, several customers complained the purifier lasted less than a year.
Air quality in different homes varies so much that it’s difficult to determine if your BreahteSmart will last as long as another pet owner. We suggest buying two mid-range machines that are not burdened with quality issues if you’re hesitant to commit to a signal machine. One aspect of the product description we found interesting was the manufacturer’s use of the term “pink noise” for the quiet mode setting.
10. Germ Guardian GG1100W Pluggable Small Air Purifier
The Germ Guardian GG1100W Pluggable Small Air Purifier kills airborne viruses and germs and reduces odors in small spaces. The Germ Guardian is an excellent travel device, but it’s not powerful enough to purify a small kitchen or bedroom. It’s ideal for cramped spaces near the litter box or tiny bathrooms. If you stay in a motel, the device will come in handy when you’re unhappy with the overly fragrant or unpleasant motel aroma. However, pet owners with severe allergies should purchase a purifier with a HEPA filter for long-time use. The Germ Guardian does not have filters, but its UV-C bulb has to be replaced every 10 to 12 months.
Buyer’s Guide: Picking the Best Air Purifier for Cat Allergies
As you’ve seen, you have several choices for air purification in your home. Before purchasing a purifier, you can examine the factors that can influence your decision.
Before ordering a device that’s insufficient for the room’s size, measure the space with a tape measure or cellphone app. Most product descriptions and manufacturer notes list the machine’s coverage with square feet rather than dimensions. To determine the room’s square footage, multiply the length by the width. Although the square footage can give you an idea of the machine’s coverage, it does not take the height of the ceiling into account. The purifiers are rated for standard ceiling heights, but if you have high ceilings, the unit will take longer to recirculate the air.
Number of Pets
The purifier filters in a one-cat home will last much longer than those in a four-cat home. Filter replacements can be expensive for some models, and with multiple pets, you’ll have to clean the pre-filters and outside casing more frequently. The exterior vents on purifiers can become clogged with cat hair if they are not cleaned periodically. Wiping them down once a week should be enough to keep the air flowing freely.
The price of some of the premium units is shocking, but most of the higher-end models offer superior filters and air quality control. Allergy sufferers who are extremely sensitive to cat dander should consider using a high-powered purifier with a medical-grade HEPA filter.
Whether the price of an air purifier is reasonable or outrageous, the actual cost is not displayed. Just like the ink cartridges for your printer, the filters can be more expensive than you imagined. When you’re shopping for purifiers, check the manufacturer’s estimate of how often to replace the filters. Next, find out how much replacements cost and where you can order them. Unfortunately, some online merchants only sell the machines, and you have to contact the manufacturer for the filters. We’re unsure why finding and purchasing filters for an expensive device can be so challenging, but it’s not an uncommon experience among online consumers.
Except for our 10th pick, every machine we reviewed features a low speed with a more tolerable noise level. Some devices are so loud on high that you have to leave the room. We suggest using the lowest setting when you’re in the room or trying to sleep and keeping it on medium or high when you’re away to keep the air clean.
Air quality monitoring, automatic fan adjustments, and other premium perks are helpful, but you’ll pay a significant price for high-tech features. If you have minimal allergies, a clean air monitor is probably not worth the additional cost. However, it can be invaluable to something with respiratory issues or severe cat-related allergies. Some of the extra features that are beneficial to everyone include sleep timers, multiple speeds, extra filters, and filter indicator lights.
Using an air purifier can improve the air quality and minimize respiratory distress caused by cat hair and dander. Our top pick of air purifiers is the Germ Guardian Elite. It has some of the same features, such as five speeds and a HEPA filter, of more expensive models, and the cost for replacement filters is affordable. Our 2nd favorite product from our reviews is the LEVOIT Core Pet Care True HEPA Air Purifier. It’s reasonably priced and can effectively clean a room that’s 219 square feet. Before purchasing a product from our reviews, check the filter’s price and availability.
- Related read: How To Get Rid of Cat Dander (9 Proven Methods)
Featured Image Credit: Anna Hoychuk, Shutterstock