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!
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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.
Up to about 390 sq ft
Up to 129 sq ft
Up to 167 sq ft
Up to 350 sq ft
Up to 600 sq feet
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.