Buying an air freshener for your car may seem like such a simple thing to do that you may well be wondering why you need to read a product review guide – well, just try telling that to this poor guy! It may seem crazy to think, but an air freshener is actually a more powerful tool than many of us give it credit for.
For one thing many of them are chock full of chemicals. The cabin of your vehicle is constructed with surprisingly delicate materials – leathers, plastics and various adhesives – so you need to know that any extra element you add is not going to do any harm. Which is why we’ve put together this guide to help you choose the right product – and avoid making a stink.
Best Rated Car Air Freshener in 2018:
1. Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag
Remember that story we mentioned up top about the guy who melted his dashboard with an air freshener? Well you certainly don’t have to worry about that with this product.
This item is an entirely natural – and so harsh chemical free – way to remove odors from your car. It is essentially a linen bag that contains natural bamboo charcoal and nothing else.
The activated charcoal essentially scrubs the air of excess moisture that can be a breeding ground for nasties like mold, mildew, bacteria – these are the things that really cause bad odors. Stop them in their tracks using products like this one and you don’t need to worry about bad odors in your car – they simply don’t exist!
After care couldn’t be easier either – just take it out your car every month and leave in the sun to dry and re-activate. After two years use (yes – two years!) instead of tossing it in the trash, you open the bag and sprinkle the charcoal on your favorite plant as tasty, nutritious plant feed.
How cool is that?
- BrandMosu Natural
- Weight12.6 oz
2. Car Air Purifier, FRiEQ Car Air Freshener and Ionic Air Purifier
This cool gadget looks like it’s just been beamed down from the USS Enterprise, right? Actually, it works on the same principal as the product above – though that is where the similarities end!
Like the charcoal based product, this too works to eliminate the causes of bad odors before they can develop. Instead of removing excess moisture however, this device releases negatively charged ions into your car cabin. These ions effectively purify the air by destroying things that could cause odors – again like bacteria and mold.
It can also target things like cigarette smoke that can hang around for a long time. Yes, it’s pretty futuristic but it is based on actual technology and science – negative ions are a real thing naturally found in the real world.
The device operates simply by plugging into the 12-volt charger in your car, and has no filters or refills required over its working life. Simply plug it in, turn it on and away it goes.
- Weight1.44 oz
3. Meguiar’s G16402 Whole Car Air Refresher
Who doesn’t love that new car smell – and who doesn’t miss it when it inevitability goes away? If that sounds like you then this product could be the one for you.
This is our first spray can on this list, but as usual the principle is the same. The spray contains compounds that target and eliminate the sources of bad odors in your car. Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean it’s going after your dog! It works on a molecular level, so again is targeting those nasty bacterial and mold spores, stopping bad smells fast.
As a spray, it has the added advantage of being able to pass through the vehicle ventilation system, helping it to get into all the nooks and crannies in there to root out even well hidden odor causes.
As a final bonus it helps to leave behind that all-important “new car smell” – even in a car that was “new” when Clinton was in the White House.
- Weight2.56 oz
4. Chemical Guys Air_101_16 New Premium Air Freshener
Usually when a product comes along with “premium” right there in the name, we’re a little skeptical. After all, if you’re putting it right up there in the product name, you’re already setting a high bar for yourself. Fortunately, when it also comes with the name Chemical Guys attached, then you can believe the hype.
This is a premium product, rest assured. It contains natural enzymes that – you guessed it – go to work taking out all the junk in the air that causes bad odors. It is also specially formulated to re-create that cool “new car” smell that you know we love!
As a premium product it does of course come with a somewhat premium price tag – however this is offset somewhat because this is actually a concentrated product. You can use it neat – in which case use it very, very sparingly – but you can also dilute it down with water.
That helps to offset the price tag somewhat, making this product both effective and economical.
- BrandChemical Guys
- Weight1.19 lbs
5. Air Spencer (000400) CS-X3 Squash Scent
This is the first of what would be considered a traditional air freshener to appear on the list. It does not contain enzymes, it does not shoot out ions to target mold spores – you simply tape it to your dash (or leave it in a door or dash cup holder) and let it do its job.
The question then is does it do it – and the answer is a resounding yes! The Squash scent air freshener has been around for years and years. In fact the first time you smell it, chances are it will transport you straight back to your childhood!
And you will smell it, this is a pretty strong product although it toes the line just the right side of being overpowering. It will definitely cover up bad smells and bring a nice aroma to your car. It lasts about a month, and refills are pretty cheap too, so it’s a decent long-term investment.
- BrandAir Spencer
- Weight45 gr
6. Ozium Smoke & Odors Eliminator Gel
This is a great little product that does exactly what it says on the label – i.e. it eliminates bad smells, especially from smoking.
It’s really easy to use too – you simply twist the lid to reveal the built in vents. Leave the vents open a little wider to get better odor control, close them up a bit to add a little extra time to the product lifespan – it’s up to you!
It’s also comes with it’s own built in (and kind of unique, it’s hard to describe) perfume that it gently releases – but it’s not overpowering, don’t worry.
What more can you say? This is a pretty cheap product that does everything that it claims it will.
- Weight5.4 oz
7. Little Trees U6P-60155 Black Ice Air Freshener
Hands up – when you started reading this article on car air fresheners, who didn’t expect to see these iconic products make it onto the list?
Truth is, when you think air freshener, the image in your mind almost certainly goes to the little tree hanging from the rear view – and with good reason. This product by this brand has been around for years, and whilst it may not have the high tech abilities of some of the products on this list, it is certainly one that has stood the test of time.
It’s hard to write about these, because everyone knows what they are, right? They hang from the rear view, they smell great – simple! One complaint has always been that the odor perhaps doesn’t last as long as with other products.
Since these come in a pack of 24 though, you can easily replace them as the perfume fades. A great, traditional product that been around almost for as long cars themselves!
- BrandLittle Trees
- Weight2.88 oz
8. Yankee Candle Gel Car Jar Ultimate Hanging Air Freshener
I know exactly what you’re thinking – surely a lit candle is going to be a hazard whilst driving, right?
All jokes aside, this is of course not a traditional Yankee Candle – it’s actually a gel product that hangs from the rear view – though you could also tack it to the dash or leave it in a cup holder if you prefer.
Whilst it is not a candle, this product does take advantage of the years of premium fragrance making of a reputable brand like Yankee. What does that mean in practical terms – it means it smells great!
Again, it also neutralizes odors pretty effectively too, allowing it to work on to fronts of odor elimination, and also creating a nice smelling atmosphere for your car.
- BrandYankee Candle
- Weight0.16 oz
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