What are the best air purifiers for dog smells?
Do they really even work for pet odors?
Given the cost of some purifiers, you definitely want an answers to these questions before making the investment!
I’ve owned five dogs over the last 18+ years, and trust me, some have been pretty smelly!
I’ve also owned more air purifiers than I can possibly count on one hand.
Today, you’ll benefit from my odd air purifier obsession and find out which, if any, work best for pet odors!
Do Air Purifiers Really Work for Pet Odors?
First things first, do air purifiers actually work for pet odors? Don’t get mad by my vague answer, but yes…and no.
Like I said, I’ve owned a lot of dogs AND a lot of air purifiers over the years. I get them all of the time for review on my own site (Pretty Opinionated).
I’m not telling you that as a shameless plug, but rather as a disclosure, since I’ll be mentioning some of the purifiers that I’ve received for free over the years.
While we’re talking disclosures, this post uses affiliate links. If you make a purchase, we earn a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Now that we’ve taken care of business, let me expand on my super vague answer: yes,some air purifiers work for pet odors…but with caveats.
1. It has to be the right air purifier
If odor control is what you’re after, you’ll need an air purifier with activated carbon filter or ionic technology.
I’ve had both over the years, and honestly, the old-fashioned carbon-filtered purifiers tend to work best.
Besides, the ionic air filters can release small amounts of ozone into the air, which is bad for both you and the environment.
I also had one that super-heated the air to remove allergens, but as awesome as it was at that, it didn’t really do much for odors.
So, long story short, activated carbon filters are the way to go for dealing with pet odors.
2. You still have to keep up with cleaning
A lot of people believe that you can just plug in an air purifier and voila, odors vanish!
I’m sorry to say, but that’s just not how it works. You’ll still need to clean up the messes that cause the odors in the first place.
Take dog urine odors, for example. You can’t expect to just dab up the pee and let the air purifier remove urine odor completely.
You’ll still need to get down and dirty with a carpet shampooer, or at least some Nature’s Miracle, to really get the smell out.
The purifier will help take care of the lingering odor, yes, but not without a little help from you first, and not until the odor-causing molecules make it into the air.
If you’re interested in how odors work and the science behind them, this article does a great job of explaining it (it’s geared towards kids, but I like it because it’s easy to follow).
3. You’ll need to manage your expectations!
This goes along with what I just said, but it bears rewording. Air purifiers alone can’t remove all pet odors.
You can’t expect it to instantly remove the overpowering aroma of a skunked dog as soon as he walks in the door.
It’s also unreasonable to expect it to eliminate puppy potty accident smells five seconds after Fido poops on the carpet.
To put it another way, an air purifier helps get rid of that “I have a dog in my house” odor that only our guests can smell (because we’re so used to it), but it won’t eliminate the “My dog just had an accident on the rug” smell.
What to Look for in the Best Air Purifiers for Pet Owners
Before we get into my top five air purifiers for dog smells, dander, and such, let’s really quickly go over what I looked at during my research.
1. What kind of filter does it use?
As I mentioned above, activated carbon filters work best at removing pet odors.
Overall, I looked for “True HEPA filters” that use activated carbon to capture and eliminate odors rather than ionic filters (although one does also have an optional ionic filter).
FYI, here’s a good overview of the difference between HEPA and ionic purifiers. It does a better job of explaining it than I ever could.
2. Is it a good value for the money?
Rather than just looking at the price, I looked at the overall value compared to how much it costs.
That includes how much “range” it has, how much it costs to maintain, and what sort of “extras” it includes.
By the way, if you have a hard time picturing square footage like I do, check out this guide. It really helped me!
3. Does it also remove allergens and other nasties?
An air purifier should actually purify the air, not just remove odors. I mean, that’s kind of the point, right? Otherwise, you could just buy a candle!
So, along with odor removal, we’ll look at how well they work at removing dust, dander, and other little airborne nasties.
Top 5 Best Air Purifiers for Dog Smells
Now, on to our best air purifiers for odors reviews! Check out the table below for a quick look, then read on for more details.
1. Honeywell 50250-S True HEPA Air Purifier Review
If you’re looking for the best Honeywell air purifier for pet owners, this is my top pick!
I’m not sure how long we’ve had ours, but it feels like forever, and it’s still going strong.
Features and Pros
- Works for very large rooms (up to about 390 sq ft), making it perfect for an open floor plan in your main living space.
- Uses a True HEPA filter to capture more than 99% of all microscopic allergens from the air and a carbon filter to reduce odors.
- Three cleaning levels (so you can use the lowest for smaller rooms and make the filter last longer).
- 360-degree “air intake” really helps increase its efficiency.
- The carbon filter takes just seconds to replace (seriously, it’s a total cake walk compared to some purifiers I’ve had).
- It’s not terribly loud. Not whisper quiet, but more like white noise than annoying noise. Think fan on high speed.
- HEPA filter needs to be replaced every few years, and those are a bit expensive.
- The unit itself is fairly expensive.
- Not the most attractive unit, and it’s pretty bulky.
Like I said, I’ve had mine for so long that I don’t even remember when I got it, and it works terrific.
A few customers did complain about their breaking down and Honeywell’s warranty doesn’t cover shipping, so if it does break, you’re almost better off buying a new purifier entirely.
That said, I do highly recommend it because mine has never had an issue in all of these years.
- LARGE ROOM AIR PURIFIER: This HEPA purifier captures up to 99.97% of microscopic allergens 0.3 microns & larger from the air that passes through the filters. Effective for large & extra large rooms
- SPECIAL FEATURES: This purifier features 3 air cleaning levels, SurroundSeal Technology to minimize air leaks, & a filter indicator to remind you when to clean the HEPA filter & change the pre-filter
- ODOR REDUCING PREFILTER: An activated carbon pre-filter captures larger particles before they reach the HEPA filter & helps reduce odors. A 360-degree air intake & discharge maximizes efficiency
- BREATHE CLEAN AIR: Honeywell Filters are capable of removing allergy-provoking dust, pet dander, pollen, smoke & mold spores from indoor air. Breathe only the cleanest air in your home or office
- HEALTHIER AIR: Our True HEPA Filters can help create a cleaner & healthier breathing experience, capturing microscopic particles & allergens that can be detrimental to the quality of air you intake
2. LEVOIT Air Purifier Review
Touted as one of the best air purifier for pet allergies and asthma, the LEVOIT is as attractive as it is useful.
Features and Pros
- Uses a 3-stage filter system that includes a pre-filter, a True HEPA filter, and a high-efficiency activated carbon filter.
- Captures 99.7% of contaminants in the air.
- It’s very quiet! One would say it’s almost whisper-quiet.
- Compact size makes it great for bedrooms.
- Depending on how much you use it, you should only need to replace the filter twice a year.
- Includes a nightlight (but you can turn if off if you don’t want to use it).
- Only works well for a very small room (up to 129 sq ft), so it’s not ideal for a living room.
- Some customers complain that it rattles quite loudly when it’s near the end of its life.
Overall, customers seem to love this air purifier. It’s not one that I’ve had, but I would definitely consider it.
If you live in California, you’ll love that it’s rated for the state’s super strict standards, too.
- Designed in California. The UVC Light and Anion that other Brands adopt to purify air could produce a kind of air pollutant-Ozone, which is especially harmful for the children and Asthma sufferers. Levoit air purifiers never use these for 100% Ozone free
- Advanced 3-Stage Filtration System: The Pre-Filter, True HEPA Filter, and High-Efficiency Activated Carbon Filter capture allergens, pet hair, dander, smoke, mold, odor and large dust particles, in addition to removing 99.97% of airborne contaminants as small as 0.3 microns. The 3-in-1 filtration system effectively improves indoor air quality so you can enjoy fresh air at home
- Ultra-Silent Operation: Filters the air with the lowest noise level as quiet as 25dB for a restful and soothing indoor environment, helping you sleep deeply
- High-Efficiency Air Purifier: Circulates room air over 4 times per hour to achieve rapid purification. Unique size and contemporary design make the Levoit air purifier suitable for small or medium-sized rooms, like offices and dorms
- Night Light: Choose between two brightness settings at night to help you see in the evening or turn the light off entirely to create your ideal sleep environment for an undisturbed slumber
- Great Deal: Levoit's replacement filters are more affordable than those of many other brands, guaranteeing your savings far into the future. IMPORTANT: Only use Official Levoit replacement parts to maintain product performance
- Smart Filter Change Reminder: Built-in Replacement Indicator reminds you when you need to replace your filter. It is recommended to replace your filter every 6-8 months depending on the use and air quality
- Quality Assurance: Comes with 2-Year Warranty and California-based customer service team plus lifetime support from LEVOIT. CARB Certified -Compliance with California's stringent standards for indoor cleaning device, FCC certified, and ETL listed
3. GermGuardian AC4825 Review
Another one of the best air purifier for pets, the GermGuardian promises to start improving your air quality from the moment it’s plugged in.
Features and Pros]
- Like the other purifiers on this list, the HEPA filter captures 99.7& of dust and allergens.
- The charcoal filter (which is the same thing as a carbon filter, FYI) helps cut down on all odors, including dog smells.
- The optional UV-C light also helps reduce things like bacteria and viruses (hence the name GermGuardian)
- It’s Energy Star Certified, so it won’t cost you a fortune to run.
- You only need to replace one filter (about twice a year), and they’re not terribly expensive.
- Only covers up to 167 square feet, which is about the size of a large master bedroom or a small living room.
- According to several reviewers, the circuit board burned up, making it a fire hazard! (see below in recommendations for more on this).
While the part about the burned-out circuit board is concerning, those complaints only make up a very small percent of reviews.
I have to assume that they either got a defective unit (it happens) or didn’t replace the filters regularly.
Overall, it’s a highly rated system and fairly beloved by users. I would recommend it for a master bedroom or small living room.
- 3-IN-1 AIR PURIFIER FOR HOME - True HEPA air filter reduces up to 99.97% of harmful germs, dust, pollen, pet dander, mold spores, and other allergens as small as .3 microns from the air
- KILLS GERMS - UV-C light helps kill airborne viruses such as influenza, staph, rhinovirus, and works with Titanium Dioxide to reduce volatile organic compounds
- TRAPS ALLERGENS - Pre-filter traps dust, pet hair, and other large particles while extending the life of the HEPA filter
- REDUCES ODORS - Activated charcoal filter helps to reduce unwanted odors from pets, smoke, cooking fumes, and more
- QUIET OPERATION - The lowest setting can be used as gentle white noise at night for a quiet, restful sleep
- SETTINGS - Choose between 3 speed settings and an optional UV-C light
- ROOM SIZE - 22-inch purifier filters air 4x per hour at max speed in medium to large rooms up to 167 sq. feet. CADR RATING: Dust (118) Pollen (125) and Smoke (108)
- GENUINE REPLACEMENTS - Only use Genuine GermGuardian replacement parts to maintain performance
- REPLACEMENTS - Replace the filter every 6-8 months and the UV-C bulb every 10-12 months. Filters: GermGuardian filter B (model FLT4825) or a 4 pack of GermGuardian carbon filters (model FLT22CB4). UV-C Bulb: Model LB4000
- AHAM VERIFIED & ENERGY STAR CERTIFIED - This air purifier was rated for its ability to filter tobacco smoke, dust, and pollen from rooms and be Energy Star Certified and CARB compliant
4. Hathaspace Smart True HEPA Air Purifier Review
If you need an air purifier for a large room and want something a little more modern-looking than the Honeywell, the Hathaspace is a good option.
Features and Pros
- Uses a 6-in-1 air filter system to destroy 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns.
- The optional UV-C light kills bacteria and viruses.
- Promises that allergy sufferers will feel a difference in 60 days or they’ll give you your money back.
- One of the few air purifiers that claims to control pet hair.
- Includes a “sleep mode” that makes it super quiet (about 18 decibels).
- A fully automatic mode adjusts itself as needed depending on your air quality. It’ll even display a diagnostic of your air and rate it (red, yellow and green).
- Works in rooms up to 350 sq. ft. (the size of a large living room or “great room”).
- Filters are among the most expensive compared to other purifiers on this list.
- Some users say that the air diagnostic thing doesn’t actually do anything (that basically, it just changes all willy nilly).
While I don’t love that the filters cost so much, I still feel confident recommending this one for larger rooms.
It’s a bit more modern-looking than the Honeywell and doesn’t take up nearly as much floor space.
- DESTROY AIR POLLUTANTS - Eliminates home air pollutants like dust mites, mold spores, bacteria, allergens, odors, pet dander, viruses, smoke, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Our 6-in-1 air filter system destroys particles you can't see, with a true HEPA filter that captures 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns and a UV-C light that can be turned on to kill even smaller viruses or bacteria.
- RELIEVE ALLERGIES & ASTHMA SYMPTOMS - The Hathaspace air purifier is a great solution for common allergy and asthma symptoms like runny nose, congestion, shortness of breath, and sneezing. Feel the difference right away.
- CONTROL PET HAIR, ODORS, & SMOKE - If your home is suffering from uncontrollable pet dander (dogs or cats), unpleasant odors, or smoke (smokers or kitchen cooking), our air purifier has you covered. Both an air cleaner and odor eliminator, our air filters capture it all. Features an ionizer that can be separately turned on to target even the most stubborn odors.
- SMART AIR QUALITY SENSOR - Your home air quality is always changing. Our air purifier features a fully automatic mode, using an advanced air quality sensor system to monitor air quality and adjust the fan speed in real-time. The interface will continuously diagnose your air and display the air quality level (green, yellow, red).
- PURIFY LARGE ROOMS - Recommended for small to large size living rooms. In an average 350 sq. ft. room, our air purifier will completely exchange and replace the air 2 times per hour. The ideal large room home air purifier for allergies and pets.
5. Blue Pure 211+ Air Purifier Review
I have an older purifier from Blueair that I love (this one if you’re curious), but it’s kind of bulky and not the best odor reducer, so I’m recommending the Blue Pure instead.
Features and Pros
- 3-part filtration captures 99% of airborne pollutants, including pet dander.
- A fabric pre-filter on the outside is washable and they give you two different colors to start with.
- It’s super attractive, so it won’t look out of place in your home.
- Rated for rooms between 400-600 sq feet, the greatest range of all the purifiers on this list.
- Energy star rated, and all filters are recyclable.
- It’s fairly pricey (the most expensive on this list).
- Replacement filters are also pretty pricey compared to the others.
- It’s a bit noisy, especially on the highest setting.
I’ve had very good experiences with Blueair, and my unit is still going strong after a few years. If it ever dies, I’ll replace it with this one, though!
I love the fact that you can customize the pre-filter to match your decor, and that it’s washable.
I don’t love that replacement filters are so expensive, but it’s still my top pick for very large rooms.
- ADVANCED SWEDISH DESIGN. Swedish filter technology captures 99% of airborne pollutants like viruses, pollen, dust, pet dander, mold, bacteria and more
- ELIMINATES ODORS. Activated carbon filter reduces gases, VOCs, and annoying odors from pets, smoking, cooking, wildfires and more
- COLORFUL. Includes machine washable fabric pre-filters in Diva Blue and Dark Shadow. Leave the mesh filter housing exposed for a Scandinavian look
- QUIET. No louder than a whisper on the lowest speed (31 dB) and equivalent to the noise level of rainfall on the highest setting (56 dB)
- LOW ENERGY CONSUMPTION. Rated by ENERGY STAR for low energy consumption (30-60 W)
- INDEPENDENTLY TESTED. Performance certified by AHAM to filter room air 5x an hour in medium to large bedrooms, living rooms and spaces up to 540 sq ft
Obviously, I like all of these air purifiers for dog smells, otherwise I wouldn’t have included them on the list!
However, if I had to pick just one, I think I’d go with the Honeywell because mine is still working after what has to be at least 8 years, probably longer.
My second choice is the Blue Pure, again mostly because I have another Blueair purifier that hasn’t failed me yet.
How about you? Do you have a favorite air purifier for dog smells? Share below!
Last update on 2019-07-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API