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Living with four dogs and a cat in the Pacific Northwest means we live with pet odors and hair. On top of that, we have environmental allergies. We clean our home daily and use air purifiers around the house. So, I tested four brands to determine the best air purifier for homes with dogs.
Benefits of an Air Purifier
An air purifier is a device that cleans the air, removing contaminants while improving indoor air quality. Air purifiers are great for people with allergies or respiratory symptoms, and they’re said to help remove the smell of cigarette smoke and pet odors from the home. Air pollutants aren’t an issue for most people because they clear away over time. However, it can feel like the air never clears if we’re constantly exposed to smoke, pollen, pet dander, and other pollutants.
But do they work?
Are Air Purifiers Safe to Use Around Pets?
This is something that I should have looked up before I went shopping, but it never occurred to me that air purifiers would be harmful to my dogs and cat. It turns out that some air purifiers release ozone into the atmosphere, which can be harmful to pets, especially those with respiratory illnesses. With long-term exposure or daily use, pets can develop respiratory symptoms. In some cases, long-term exposure can be fatal.
What to Look for in Air Purifiers
Filter – the filters should be ozone-free and handle household pollutants effectively. Many household products release gasses into the air forming harmful toxins that we’re breathing in – a quality filter should capture these airborne pollutants before they become a hazard.
Power – Our dogs spend more time indoors during the winter and track in pollen in the summer. Air purifiers help decrease allergens and pet odor. When shopping, look for the room size an air purifier can cover effectively.
Options – I didn’t want anything overly complicated. I’m not one to read instruction manuals, and I was looking for air purifiers that I could plug in, turn on, and go.
Sound – I understand air purifiers will be noisy; I’m looking for one where the noise fades in the background or is otherwise hidden.
Air Purifiers We Purchased in the Past
I didn’t research air purifiers before bringing a few home. Although the purifiers I purchased were okay, I would have saved money had I taken the time to research the best air purifiers for homes with dogs.
RIGOGLIOSO Air Purifier for Home
The RIGOGLIOSO is a small air purifier that can sit in the corner of a room or on a table or shelf. Despite being small, this air purifier does an adequate job in a small room, like a home office or bathroom. It’s quiet, easy to use (one touch turns it on), and has an air filter.
The RIGOGLIOSO doesn’t have a timer or automatic shut-off.
The cost was $40. The replacement air filters are $13 each on Amazon.
Filtrete Air Purifier for Small/Medium Rooms
We placed the Filtrete air purifier in the corner of our living room. The Filtrete air purifier is silent (on a low level) and easy to use. It has three levels, and I primarily use it on the lowest level, which is perfectly fine for the living/dining room area. The higher levels increase the noise, but not so much that it distracts or scares the dogs. This air purifier has a timer and automatic shut-off feature.
This air purifier also emits cool air, making it pleasant in the summer.
The cost was $100. The replacement air filters are $35 for a 2-pack.
Honeywell Tower Air Purifier for Medium/Large Rooms
We placed the Honeywell Tower air purifier in the family room. This area is one big room with a kitchen. Like the others, the Honeywell Tower is silent and easy to use. And like the Filtrete, we can set it to run for 2, 4, or 8 hours and then it will shut off automatically. Out of all three air purifiers I initially purchased, this is the only one that states that the filters will capture VOCs (volatile organic compounds).
The cost was $140. This Honeywell requires two filters, which are available on Amazon:
Choosing the Right Air Purifier for Homes with Dogs
Although the air purifiers I purchased significantly reduced allergens, they weren’t a match for pet odors. We have four dogs, a cat, and a cat litterbox. We clean daily; however, Pacific Northwest weather sometimes equates to dog odors no matter how often we vacuum and mop the floors and clean their bedding.
What are VOCs?
I learned about VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, when I began researching the best air purifiers for homes with dogs. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, VOCs are “gases that are emitted into the air from products or processes.” They can work independently to cause health issues, including cancer, or partner up with other gasses to create other pollutants.
Examples of VOCs in our homes include:
- paint and other products
- cleansers and disinfectants
- aerosol sprays
- bug repellants
- air fresheners and aromatic candles
- stored fuel and automatic products
Even items stored in the garage can be harmful because as toxins become airborne, they can enter homes through open doors and vents.
About the Okaysou AirMax8L Air Purifier
I recently received an Okaysou AirMax8L air purifier to test out in exchange for my honest thoughts.
The Okaysou Air Purifier comes with a HEPA filter that removes 99.97% (wow!) of airborne pollutants, including…
- pet hair from four dogs and a cat
- odors and bad smells (no, they’re not always the same)
- smoke (I can feed raw, but I’m not the best cook)
- volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
The Okaysou AirMax8L is excellent for small and large rooms (bedroom, living room, kitchen, apartment, office, basement, etc.). There are easy-to-use settings, including a timer and automatic shutoff.
My Thoughts on the Okaysou AirMax8L Air Purifier
The Okaysou AirMax8L air purifier arrives ready to use – I took it out of the box, plugged it in, and turned it on. I decided to do a trial by fire and located the Okaysou in our cat’s room. If it can eliminate litterbox odors, then it would get five stars from me.
My first impression was disappointment:
- it was blowing out cold air; not something I wanted during the winter
- it was loud; like deafening
But it didn’t scare my cat, and when I returned a couple of hours later, I couldn’t smell the litterbox, so I continued using it. And after a few weeks, the Okaysou quickly became my favorite. I turn it on for an hour or two a couple of times daily. This is enough to eliminate pet odors without driving up the power bill.
The noise isn’t intrusive and quickly fades into the background thanks to other ambient noises in the house (dogs playing, TV playing, conversations, etc.).
If you’re looking for a quality air purifier for a home (or apartment) with dogs – I highly recommend the Okaysou AirMax8L air purifier.
The cost was $130. The replacement air filters are $26 for a 3-n-1 filter.
How Often Do Filters Need to be Replaced?
All the air purifiers I checked out came with recommendations on how often to replace the air filters. The larger machines have a light to let you know it’s time for a filter change.
The air purifiers I tested had the following recommendations:
- replace the filter in their air purifiers every three to six months
- Okaysou AirMax8L air purifier: replace the filter every six to eight months
I find it easier to purchase filters online, and with Amazon, we can set up a recurring order (every six months) to save 5% on recurring orders.
Are Air Purifiers Worth It?
After two years of living with air purifiers and a few weeks of using the Okaysou AierMax8L air purifier, I think this is a worthwhile investment. Our respiratory/allergy symptoms have decreased significantly. The house smells fresh and clean. And we don’t see dog hair floating around. Of course, we’re still sweeping, mopping (we have hardwood floors), and vacuuming regularly – but the air purifiers are a significant improvement.
Using air purifiers doesn’t impact our electricity bill much because we’re not running them 24/7. And the cost of the air filters isn’t bad because they last longer than I expected.
Disclaimer: I received the Okaysou AirMax8L air purifier for free in exchange for my honest thoughts.
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