How to Choose an Air Purifier for Pet Hair

Medically Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM on July 23, 2023
3 min read

If you have furry pets, you know that shedding leads to pet hair on everything. Even people without allergies can sneeze and feel itchy because of pet hair. With proper maintenance of your pet’s shedding and the addition of an air purifier, you can lessen the impact of pet hair in your home.

Air purifiers come in all shapes, sizes, brands, and have varying purposes. Some purifiers are designed to eliminate germs, dander, and dust from the air. Elimination of pet hair requires a specialized appliance. 

Ozone-generating air cleaners. These purifiers use chemical reactions to clean pollutants from the air but are not effective for pet hair.

Electronic air cleaners. These portable devices work by producing chemical reactions to charged particles in the air. This causes the particles to float down and stick to surfaces, purifying the air but not removing the particles from your home.

Filtering air cleaners. Air passes through a filter in the machine, capturing fur, dust, and dander for removal. 

Not all air purifiers are created equal. You need an air purifier specifically designed to capture pet hair.

Know your expectations. It is important to remember that air purifiers can lessen the effects of allergens and pet hair, but it won’t completely solve the problem. You may also need to take preventative measures in reducing the amount of shedding in your home.

If you have additional concerns, like mold or bacteria, consider an air purifier that will handle more than just pet hair. For example, some air purifiers come with UV lights that destroy mold and viruses in your air.

Think about pet breeds. If you have larger dog breeds, their hair may be too much for an air purifier to remove from the air. Having several pets also creates more pet hair. This could leave a purifier clogged and overloaded if you don’t choose the right one for your needs.

Remember regular maintenance. Air purifiers that contain filters used to trap debris are recommended for pet hair. The more pet hair your home has, the more maintenance is required. 

Before making a final purchase, make sure your air purifier is easy to disassemble and clean. Also, check for the cost of replacement air filters so you know what your long-term cost is.

Know the industry lingo. Air purifiers can have sleek designs that catch your attention. That doesn’t mean they work well. Check for models that are certified by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM). 

You should also check the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR), a metric that gauges how effective the machine is at filtering out various toxins and dust. Using the CADR metric, a rating of 240 is considered high while 60 is low.

Consider your options. Many air purifiers are stand-alone systems that you plug into a wall. If you have central heating and cooling, there may be options that are compatible with your existing unit.

Average costs of air purifiers. You can anticipate spending at least $200 on a portable unit and up to $700 for more extensive models. Air filters cost between $20-$200, although some units come with washable filters.

Regular grooming.  Shedding is a normal process for your pets, although some breeds of cats and dogs don’t shed their fur. Shedding may be worse in the spring when your pet no longer needs its thicker winter coat. 

To lessen the need for an air purifier to remove pet hair from the air, invest in regular grooming for your pet. This includes bathing and brushing. You can buy supplies at your local pet store or take your pet to a groomer for professional care. 

Keeping your pet’s skin and fur healthy means less shedding. Plus, grooming helps remove fur as it sheds so you can dispose of it instead of it. This keeps it from ending up in the air and on your furniture.

Health checkup. While shedding is normal, excessive shedding may be a sign that something is wrong with your pet. Your cat or dog may scratch and chew their fur, causing more to fall out than normal. This is a sign of parasites or infection. Thyroid problems also lead to excessive shedding. 

By visiting your vet’s office regularly, you can tackle health problems that lead to shedding and improve your pet’s overall health. Your vet can suggest ways to improve your pet’s skin and fur at home between visits.