Best Air Purifier for Cat Allergies
Red eyes, sneezing, itching. Allergy sufferers are all too familiar with these symptoms. But what can you do if you happen to be allergic to your furry friend?
No pet owner wants to give up their animal because of allergies. But suffering through itchy eyes and a runny nose isn’t a great option, either. Well, before you panic, consider an air purifier.
Of course, you should talk to your doctor about your allergic reactions. But if you have basic pet allergies, an air purifier can go a long way in reducing your symptoms.
In this article, I will review the best air purifiers to help you decide which option is right for you.
Before we discuss the reviews, let’s look at some frequently asked questions related to cat allergies and air purifiers.
Question 1: What Causes Cat Allergies?
Contrary to popular belief, cat allergies are not caused by their hair or fur. Instead, most cat allergies are caused by dander (dead skin). The dander can get caught in a cat’s long fur, which is why some people assume a cat’s fur is causing the allergic reaction.
Allergies can also be triggered by a cat’s saliva or urine. When someone has an allergic reaction, their body’s immune system is attacking the foreign substance. When an allergen, like dander, enters an allergic person’s system, their body produces antibodies like it would to fight off bacteria or a virus. These antibodies result in the allergic reactions, like red eyes or rashes.
Question 2: Are There Hypoallergenic Cats?
Short answer: no.
OK, so you may have heard claims about hypoallergenic cats. Unfortunately, these don’t actually exist. However, there are some breeds that are known to cause less allergic reactions. These breeds include:
- Siberian Cat
- British Shorthair
- Russian Blue
- Devon Rex
- Cornish Rex
- Oriental Shorthair
Long-haired cats are sometimes believed to cause more allergic reactions. However, the allergy is caused by dander and not the cat’s fur. Since the dander can get trapped in a cat’s fur, it is important to bathe long-haired cats often. This can help reduce some allergy-symptoms attributed to long-haired cats.
So, although a Persian cat’s fur does not cause allergies, their long-hair might hold more dander. This could cause someone with allergies to experience more symptoms around a Persian cat. Make sure you bathe your Persian cat frequently to remove any trapped dander that could cause allergic reactions. For more information about allergies and Persian cats, read our post here.
Question 3: Do Air Purifiers Help with Cat Allergies?
Air purifiers can provide substantial relief for cat allergy sufferers. They significantly reduce the number of airborne allergens (including dander) in your home.
The purifiers work by forcing air through a filter, which traps dander, pollen, and other allergens. Make sure you choose a High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter for best results.
However, air purifiers only reduce airborne allergens. If an allergen lands on a surface, an air purifier will not be able to remove it. You still need to vacuum and dust in order to remove additional allergens that the air purifier could not remove.
Question 4: Can I Become Less Allergic to My Cat Overtime?
Some people can build up a tolerance to a cat allergy. After their body has been exposed to the allergen for a significant amount of time, their immune system might stop attacking the allergen.
However, your body will only develop a tolerance to your specific cat’s allergens. So, if you are around another cat or introduce a new cat to your home, you might notice your allergy symptoms worsen.
Unfortunately, allergy sufferers will not always develop a tolerance and may experience symptoms anytime they are around a cat (even their own pet).
Question 5: What are the Best Ways to Reduce Cat Allergies?
Luckily there are ways to reduce cat allergy symptoms. Some of the best ways to cut down on cat allergies are to:
- Use a HEPA air purifier- this will remove most of the airborne allergens
- Always wash your hands after touching a cat
- If possible, wash rugs and cat bedding frequently
- Change the filters on your AC and furnace units often
- Use a facemask when dusting or cleaning
- Ask a non-allergic person to dust and clean litter box
Although there is no cure for cat allergies, reducing the allergen will help minimize your symptoms.
Question 6: Are Air Purifiers Worth it?
High-quality air purifiers are expensive. But, if you want to reduce the number of allergens in your air, you are going to have to pay the price. In my opinion, a HEPA air purifier is worth the cost. By using an air purifier, you can eliminate major airborne allergens from your home.
To get the most out of your air purifier, make sure to use a HEPA filter that traps tiny particles (at least 0.3 microns). Pet dander is typically 0.3-100 microns.
It is also important to remember that air purifiers only trap airborne particles. They effectively eliminate pet dander in the air but they cannot reduce dander that has already landed on a surface. To eliminate the allergens an air purifier missed, you should regularly dust and vacuum.
Question 7: Do air purifiers help with odors?
HEPA air purifiers can help eliminate odors associated with pet dander. However, eliminating odors is not the primary purpose of an air purifier.
To eliminate additional pet odors, consider running your air purifier at night. When you run your air purifier, all doors and windows in your house must be shut. If you run the purifier at night, you will have the option to open your windows during the day to help eliminate pet odors.
Some air purifiers include a carbon-based filter to remove odors (in addition to allergens). If you are interested in removing pet-related odors, consider purchasing an air purifier that specifically includes an odor-reducing filter.
Question 8: How do You Use an Air Purifier?
When running an air purifier, it is important to keep your home’s doors and windows shut. That way you are only purifying the air inside your home and not introducing air from outside during the process.
You should place the purifier near ventilation or your pet’s favorite spot. Make sure there is enough open room around the purifier so it is not obstructed. Run the purifier for at least 4 hours (although you can keep it running longer).
The amount of time you run your air purifier will depend on the model you choose. However, air purifiers are designed to run for extended periods, because new particles are always being introduced into the air. Consider the energy usage and noise of your air purifier, but don’t be afraid to run your air purifier for long periods of time.
Keep in mind that the longer you run your air purifier, the more frequently you will need to change the air filters. The air filter life is usually based off 12-hour days, so if you are running your air purifier more frequently, you will also have to change your filter more often.
Deciding on the Right Air Purifier:
Before we dive into the specific air purifiers, take a moment to consider the following question.
Do you Need an Air Purifier?
Before you purchase an air purifier, you should decide if you actually need one. If you or anyone in your household has been experiencing allergy symptoms (runny nose, itchy eyes, rashes, etc.) an air purifier might help. Speak with your doctor first to determine if these are a result of anything besides your pet.
A HEPA-certified air purifier will help reduce the number of allergens in your home’s air. This can significantly relieve your cat-related allergy symptoms. You can also eliminate allergens by vacuuming, dusting, and regularly bathing your cat. However, an air purifier is an efficient way to remove most of the airborne allergens from your home.
Choosing the Best Air Purifier:
After you’ve decided you need an air purifier, you now have to pick the best one for your home. This can be a difficult decision, so make sure you consider each factor.
HEPA Certified: HEPA, or High Efficiency Particulate Air, is a type of air filter that must meet certain guidelines. These filters can trap 99.7% of airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns. Although most air purifiers meet this standard, it is still important to make sure the air purifier you purchase is HEPA certified. In order to eliminate the majority of airborne allergens, you should only use a HEPA-certified air purifier.
Budget: Make sure you consider your budget before purchasing an air purifier. The price of these systems can vary. You will need to decide what price-point is right for your home and balance that with the available features, room coverage, and filtration ability.
Size: Air purifiers are available in many different sizes. These differences affect the room size an air purifier can filter. Consider the space you want to be covered before making your purchasing decision.
Ongoing Costs: The main ongoing cost associated with air purifiers are replacement filters. Some air purifiers include washable or permanent filters. However, most units require replacement filters. These might be needed every 6 months. So consider the cost of these filters before you purchase your new air purifier.
Maintenance: Most air purifiers are relatively low maintenance. However, you will occasionally need to replace a worn-out air filter. Additionally, if the air purifier includes a washable or permanent air filter, you will need to regularly clean this filter.
Air Purifier Reviews:
I am going to explore the different air purifier options so you can decide which version is best for your home.
#1. LEVOIT LV-PUR 131 Air Purifier
LEVOIT emphasizes the importance of fresh, healthy air inside your home. In addition to eliminating allergens, their air purifiers also reduce odors and harmful pollutants. Their HEPA-certified filtration system eliminates 99.97% of dust, allergens, and pollutants in your home. This system can filter particles as small as 0.3 microns.
The LEVOIT LV-PUR 131 Air Purifier comes with a 3-step filtration system:
- Fine Preliminary Filter- removes bacteria, pet dander, and mold.
- HEPA Filter- (on the other side of the preliminary filter) removes dust, pollen, and larger particles
- Activated Carbon Filter- works to eliminate lingering odors (caused by pets, cooking, and cigarette smoke)
This air purifier also includes an automatic air quality indicator. A sensor will automatically adjust the purifier’s speed based on air quality. An LED display will show the air’s quality. This model also includes a sleep mode, so the purifier can run at night with a reduced noise.
Additionally, this model includes a timer, so you can program the purifier to run for 1-12 hours.
This model is built to cover a large room of 322 sq.ft (30 m²). It can refresh your air in as little as 10 minutes.
The LEVOIT includes a 2-year warranty and lifetime support. You need to replace these filters every 6 months but, depending on the air quality, you might have to replace these sooner. You can purchase new filters here.
This is one of the quietest air purifiers and it is somewhat aesthetically pleasing. With the 3-in-1 system, this will help eliminate odors and pollutants, in addition to allergens.
- 3-in-1 system eliminates odors, pollutants, and allergens
- Covers a large room
- Has a timer
- Automatically adjusts to the air quality
- Must replace filters every 6-months (or sooner)
#2. Winix WAC9500 Ultimate Pet Air Purifier
Winex offers this air purifier that is specifically designed to trap pet hair and dander. It captures 99.97% of the airborne pollutants, pet dander, and allergens as small as 0.3 microns.
This system comes with a 5-stage filtration system:
- Washable Pre-Filter- this removes larger pollutants, like pet hair. It is washable and is used to extend the life of your air purifier.
- AOC Carbon Filtration- carbon filtration is used to remove odors, especially those from pets, cooking, and cigarette smoke.
- Clean Cel Protected- this is technically an anti-bacterial treatment and not actually a filter (although Winex bills this as a 5-stage filtration process).
- True HEPA Filtration- this traps and eliminates 99.97% of the pollutants, pet dander, and allergens in the air.
- PlasmaWave Technology- this attacks pollutants at a molecular level, which reduces viruses, bacteria, and odors in the air, without emitting harmful ozone.
This model is equipped with SmartSensors that monitor the air and adjust the fan speed to match the air quality. The Winex also notifies you when a filter needs to be replaced. It is recommended to change the all-in-one filter every year. Unfortunately, the replacement filter Winix 114190 Replacement Filter B is expensive and difficult to find online.
In addition to the automatic controls, this air purifier can be controlled manually. You can adjust the settings on the system’s control panel or with a remote control.
The system automatically dims any display lights according to the room’s lighting. This feature is useful if you are using the air purifier in a bedroom while you are sleeping. Also, the fans on this system are relatively quiet, so you can run the air purifier at night.
This purifier can cover roughly 284 sq.ft.
- This 5-in-1 filtration system is HEPA certified
- The filter removes pet allergens, as well as odors and pollutants
- SmartSensors adjust the fan speed to match the air quality
- The system can be controlled manually or automatically
- This is a quiet system
- The lights automatically dim in a dark space
- The filters only need to be replaced once a year
- This is an expensive system
- The replacement filters are expensive and difficult to find
- This covers a smaller space than other air purifiers
#3. Hamilton Beach 04384 Air Purifier
Hamilton Beach developed a compact air purifier that is designed to eliminate pet odors and allergens. This system removes 99% of particles (as small as 3 microns) with its HEPA filtration system.
The Hamilton Beach air purifier comes with a 3-part filtration system:
- Pre-filter- this is designed to trap large particles and pet hair.
- Carbon Zeolite Filters- two replaceable filters that are used to remove odors
- HEPA Filter- this is a permanent filter that captures small particles (like dust mites, mold, pollen, and dander)
This system can operate on three speeds and can be used horizontally or vertically. It is quiet and compact.
Hamilton Beach offers this affordable alternative to their competitor’s expensive models. Additionally, both the pre-filter and HEPA filter are permanent, so you won’t need to purchase these replacement filters. To clean, simply vacuum these filters. However, you will need to replace the carbon zeolite filters. These are inexpensive but need to be replaced every 90 days.
This air purifier is compact and it only covers 140 sq ft. But this is a useful size for small bedrooms or offices.
- This is an inexpensive option
- It includes a HEPA certified filter
- The pre-filter and HEPA filter are permanent
- The system can be used horizontally or vertically
- The Carbon Zeolite filters need to be replaced every 90 days
- This is a smaller unit and only covers 140 sq ft.
#4: GermGuardian AC4300BPTCA 3-in-1 Air Purifier
The GermGuardian air purifier includes a HEPA filter that traps 99.7% of airborne allergens. Additionally, this system is equipped with PetPure technology. PetPure is an antimicrobial agent that is added to the filter’s surface. It helps reduce the growth of mold, mildew, and odor-causing bacteria on the system.
This system includes a 3-in-1 HEPA filtration system:
- Pre-filter and Carbon Layer: the pre-filter traps large particles (including pet hair) while the carbon layer eliminates pet odors. This layer includes the PetPure antimicrobial agent to reduce fungi and bacterial growth.
- HEPA Filter: this layer traps airborne pollutants, allergens, and small particles.
- UV-C Light: this traps airborne gems and triggers Titanium Dioxide to eliminate these molecules.
The unit is 22 in tall and operates at three different speeds. You could use this air purifier in a medium-sized room. It can cover 130 sq ft. Also, the fans are quiet so you don’t need to worry about loud noises.
The HEPA filter should be replaced every 6-9 months. This filter is moderately priced and easy to purchase online. The carbon filter should be replaced about every 6 months. Once the filter turns dark grey or black, you will know it’s time to replace the carbon filter.
This is a certified energy efficient product. It has been given a 100+ CADR rating. This rating is used to determine the efficiency of an air purifier. Air purifiers that are more efficient at trapping odor and allergen particles are rated higher.
It is a minimal and generally aesthetically pleasing air purifier. Its simple design blends into almost any room.
This is one of the more expensive air purifier options, especially because both filters need to be replaced twice a year.
- This air purifier includes a HEPA-certified filter
- UV-C Light is used to kill harmful bacteria and germs
- This system can eliminate both pet odors and allergens
- This system received a 100+ CADR rating
- The unit only cover 130 sq ft.
- Both the HEPA and carbon filters should be replaced twice a year
- This is one of the more expensive air purifiers available
#5: Rabbit Air BioGS 2.0 Ultra Quiet HEPA Air Purifier
The Rabbit Air system includes a 99.7% HEPA filtration system that can trap particles as small as 0.3 microns. I will let you know up front, this is one of the most expensive air purifiers on the market. But this is a high-tech system that many allergy-sufferers swear by.
The Rabbit Air BioGS 2.0 includes a 4 part purification system:
- Pre-filter: this is a permanent and washable filter that works to remove large hair and dust particles.
- BioGS HEPA Filter: the HEPA filter traps 99.7% of airborne allergens (including pet dander).
- Charcoal-Based Activated Carbon Filter: the carbon filter removes common household odors, including pet, cooking, and tobacco odors.
- Negative Ion Generator: this step emits negative ions into the air, which help freshen the air inside your home.
Rabbit Air created a smart, efficient, and effective air purifier. This system runs on 5 different speeds. Overall this is a quiet system and the lowest speed is almost silent.
The system has a 5-year warranty and 24/7 customer support.
The system is ENERGY STAR certified. When the system isn’t running, the display lights are turned off to save energy. Also, a filter light will alert you when the filters should be changed.
And although this is an expensive model, the HEPA and charcoal filters can last for 3 years. And the pre-filter is washable so it never needs to be replaced.
This unit includes a built-in childproof setting. If the front panel is open, the air purifier system will stop.
This unit can cover a 550 sq ft. room twice in an hour.
- This unit includes a HEPA-certified filter
- The HEPA filter and charcoal filter only need to be replaced every 3 years
- The air purifier can cover a 550 sq ft. room
- It is ENERGY STAR certified
- Overall, this is a quiet system
- This is one of the most expensive units on the market
Air Purifiers Round-Up
OK, that’s a lot to remember. Let’s look at this quick refresher before you decide which air purifier is right for you:
LEVOIT LV-PUR131 Air Purifier
- Covers a medium room (roughly 320 sq ft.)
- Includes a timer
- Filters need to be replaced every 6 months
Winix WAC9500 Ultimate Pet Air Purifier
- Covers a medium room (roughly 284 sq ft.)
- Includes a SmartSensor system
- Filters need to be replaced every 12 months
Hamilton Beach 04384 Air Purifier
- Covers a small room (roughly 140 sq ft.)
- Some filters are permanent but the replaceable filters need to be changed every 90 days
GermGuardian AC4300BPTCA 3-in-1 Air Purifier
- HEPA- certified
- Covers a small room (roughly 130 sq ft.)
- Includes UV-C light to kill harmful bacteria
- 2 filters that both need to be changed every 6 months
Rabbit Air BioGS 2.0 Ultra Quiet HEPA Air Purifier
- Covers a large room (roughly 550 sq ft.)
- Very quiet system
- Some filters are permanent but the replaceable filters only need to be changed every 3 years
An air purifier is a great purchase for anyone who suffers from cat allergies. You should consult your doctor when you notice new allergy symptoms. But an air purifier can go a long way in reducing airborne allergens in your house.
This is a good purchase because this system can work at all times to remove the allergens floating in your air. Many allergy sufferers notice almost immediate results when they begin using an air purifier. In order to see these results, it is necessary for you to choose the right air purifier for your home.
It is important to remember that most cat allergens are caused by dander (dead skin) and not cat fur. So simply vacuuming or cleaning up cat fur is not enough to combat allergies. But, a HEPA certified air purifier can remove up to 99.7% of the airborne allergens floating around your house. However, keep in mind that an air purifier cannot remove any particles that have already landed on a surface. So it is important to regularly dust and vacuum (in addition to running your air purifier) to remove as many allergens as possible.
In my opinion, an air purifier is worth the investment for any cat owner who suffers from allergies. No cat owner wants to give up their pet. So instead, it is worth purchasing an air purifier to deal with the annoying allergy symptoms. These units will have a significant up-front cost (and some recurring costs) but it is worth the investment to avoid future allergy attacks.
Most of these air purifier options are effective, quiet, and aesthetically pleasing. Since each option includes a HEPA-certified filter, they will work to remove the small allergy-inducing particles in your air. And most of the products include an additional filter to remove any pet-related odors from your home.
I think the Rabbit Air BioGs 2.0 is the best air purifier that I reviewed. This system is extremely effective, has a quiet fan, and covers a large area. Additionally, the filters only need to be replaced every 3 years. I also think this filter looks nice and would blend into any room. It is an ENERGY STAR certified unit and has a charcoal filter to help remove unwanted odors from your air. Unfortunately, this is a very expensive unit.
Ultimately, the choice is yours. You have to decide what air purifier will work best in your home. Make sure you consider your budget (including the cost of replacement filters) before making a purchase. Also, factor in the room coverage to determine which filter you should choose.
It can be very difficult to deal with cat allergies. We love our pets, but it can be annoying to have a runny nose, itchy eyes, and rashes when you are around your cat. I think an air purifier is an important product for any cat owner who suffers from allergies. I hope this review helps as you decide which unit is right for your home.
Have you used an air purifier in your home before? I would love to hear your experience. Please feel free to leave your story in the comments below!