Just as an air purifier can bring a lot of health benefits to you and your family right in your home, so does the best car air purifier when inside your car. Your vehicle, as sophisticated and modern as it may be, can still be filled with many unseen microorganisms, dust, and other particles that may expose you or any of your passengers to potential health threats. Unfortunately, the air filters we use at home are quite different from the ones used in cars. It is, thus best to keep your expectations in check so you’ll have a better grasp of how to effectively choose the best auto air purifier for your vehicle. Here’s a rundown of what we believe to be the best cabin air filter units in the market.
Best Rated Car Air Purifier in 2018:
AUTOWIT Fresh Multi-Purpose Air Purifier
It may be a relative newcomer in the market, but it sure knows how to make an entrance. Featuring two of the most popular cabin air purification systems in the modern world, this contraption from AUTOWIT is not only effective in getting rid of almost every conceivable unseen thing or particle inside your car’s cabin. It also gives you the added advantage of filling your cabin with the kind of scent that will make travel time more relaxing, pleasant, and truly memorable.
Featuring 3 different kinds of filters that are stacked one on top of the other to make sure no particle ever escapes, be it a bacteria, virus, or a simple allergen, this is definitely the best car air purifier you can get for your car. On hindsight, it’s actually not just perfect for the car but also for your room and your office, too. There’s no second-guessing the level of air quality in your space as all you need to look at is the color of the LED light on the AUTOWIT.
Its exceptional build quality, reliable and efficient motor that is so whisper-quiet that your passengers can easily doze off, and its refillability with your choice of the best aromatherapy pad all make the AUTOWIT a really witty device to have in one’s car. This car air purifier ionizer works to make your spaces free from contaminants.
Car air filter and ionizer combination
Triple filtration system: high quality charcoal, HEPA, and nano silver
Releases 8 million anions/cc/sec
Can be refilled with essential oil aroma pads
Powerful motor at 8000 RPM
Stable and steady air flow through CNC air vents
Color-changing LED light indicators for air quality
Auto-detection of air quality
- Weight1.21 lbs
Nova 2.0 Powerful Ionic Car Air Purifier
It may be small, but this car air purifier from Nova packs a wonderful punch to get rid of microbes, dust, allergens, and even molecules that bring a musky odor inside your car. It quickly goes to work to remove these air contaminants, leaving you only with the best natural-smelling car interior in the neighborhood.
It’s a car ionizer by design, releasing more than 5 million negatively charged ions into the air every second to neutralize whatever particles are present inside your cabin. At the very least you will no longer have to inhale these particles down your lungs and suffer the consequences later on. On the positive side, since it works to discharge anions into the air, there are no filters to worry about cleaning or replacing.
And since it is pluggable into your car’s cigarette lighter socket, Nova deemed it necessary to integrate 2 USB ports into its design so you can still charge your mobile devices or even power up one or two of your USB-powered gadgets. The 30-day money-back guarantee seems tempting, too. At least you can say you tried.
Releases 5.6 million anions/cc/sec
Built-in dual 2.1 amp USB ports
Lightweight, compact design
30-day money-back guarantee
12-month US company warranty
- Weight4.8 oz
Looking like a miniature microphone that comes with a neat-looking delicate crystal decoration at the top and bottom of its barrel design, this compact and lightweight car purifier use negatively-charged ions to interact with positively-charged particles in the air. This is to neutralize them, making them denser so that they don’t freely float in the air. This is one great way to prevent the entry of these microscopic particles through your nose and your lungs.
The FRiEQ is great for removing bad odors, smoke, pollen, dust, and other particles without having to rely on a filtration system. This saves you from having to constantly purchase replacement filters or even cleaning or maintaining the setup for optimal functioning. And since it operates on the ionizer mechanism, it’s perfect for neutralizing bacterial, viral, and even fungal species that are susceptible to ionization.
It does look good, too in your car. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with USB ports to give you versatility in the use of your 12-volt car cigarette lighter socket. Nevertheless, for its friendly price and lovable styling, it’s no wonder this auto air purifier has the respect of many car owners.
Releases 4.8 million anions/cc/sec
Compact, lightweight, elegant design
Decorative blue LED lighting
Uses 12v power from cars
- Weight1.44 oz
Vyaime Car Diffuser Humidifier Aromatherapy Diffuser
First and foremost, this is not really an air filter or a car ionizer. It’s more of an aromatherapy diffuser that can accept up to 50 mL or about 1.7 ounces of your favorite aromatherapy essential oil formulation. Technically, it masks any bad odor emanating from inside your car’s cabin so that you don’t have to suffer needlessly about such smells.
It really doesn’t look all that useless since it works like any other humidifier at home. The very fine mist it spews through its sponge filter is sure to interact with susceptible particles in the air. This effectively makes these particles denser, preventing them from staying afloat. At any rate, you’ll be satisfied with the fresh aroma of your essential oil while having peace of mind in the quality of the air that you breathe.
The Vyaime comes with a flexible neck, allowing you to make angular adjustments to facilitate recovery of space in your center console. There is a dual USB port built into the plug of the device so you won’t have to worry about not getting full access to your car’s cigarette lighter socket. The large button on top makes it super-easy to activate the humidifier diffuser, too.
Built-in dual USB port in cigarette light adaptor design
1-hour auto-shutoff, ultrasonic design
Comes with sponge filter
One-touch button control
Flexible, rotatable neck
100% satisfaction guarantee
- ModelCar plastic humidifier 2nd_Purple
- Weight7 oz
AUTOWIT iMU Air Purifier with True HEPA
This car air purifier ionizer from AUTOWIT comes with a very nifty design that can be used in a variety of settings and propped in a variety of ways. It’s perfect for use inside cars as it is in one’s home or office. Its portability makes the iMU an exceptional tool to bring in one’s travels so he can easily keep the air around him purified round-the-clock.
Featuring a unique 3-system filtration that includes HEPA, cold catalyst, and cellular-activated carbon, no particle will ever escape its filtration efficiency. This is in addition to its 8 million anions/cc/sec discharge rate, neutralizing susceptible molecules within a given volume of space and allowing you to enjoy the freshness of the clean and germ-free air.
Powering the iMU is relatively simple. As long as you have a USB port, it’s all ready to go. As such you don’t really need your cigarette lighter adaptor for it to work. Of course, you’ll need a USB adaptor plugged into your socket to power it up. The same is true for home and office use. That said, even a handy power bank should keep the iMU running.
Air filter-car ionizer combo technology
3-layer filtration mechanism: cold catalyst, cellular-activated carbon, HEPA
Releases 8 million anions/cc/sec
Energy-saving, premium quality design
Multi-angle, multipurpose, portable design
- Weight13.1 oz
Kisair Air Purifier Portable Cleaner with Dual True HEPA Filter
This car air purifier from Kisair comes with triple layers of active filtration including the now-standard HEPA filter in the middle before neutralizing nasty odor molecules through its activated carbon filter. It’s the kind of air cleaner car system that looks as elegant as it is functional.
It also comes with an ionizer functionality, fully capable of releasing up to 8 million negatively-charged ions into the air per second to help get rid of bacteria, fungi, and viruses that may be drifting within its effective range. Together with its triple filtration system, the Kisair is going to make sure your space, whether it’s inside your car or in your office, is going to be free of any contaminants floating in the air.
Car owners also love its ease of operation, cramming three functionalities in a single button that one doesn’t necessarily have to wonder which ones to press. Its relatively flat, disc-shape design also means the Kisair can go where no other car air purifier ionizer systems dare go. This gives it amazing versatility and portability.
Air filter with ionizer functionality
3-layer filtration system: preliminary, true HEPA, and activated carbon
Releases 8 million anions/cc/sec
3-mode, 2-speed settings
360-degree air outlet
Portable, compact, minimalist design
NWK Portable Cordless Ozone Generator Car Air Freshener
If you’re looking for a really portable ozone generator instead of a car ionizer or car air filter, then you’ve made the right decision if you’re going to pick the NWK. Its slim and ultra-modern tower design complete with blue LED light ring and a large control button on top makes the NWK an admirable product, to begin with.
Its press-and-go feature works well with its 1-hour runtime to make sure that all bacteria, particles, and nasty odors inside your car are effectively rid of. It automatically shuts itself off so you don’t get into your car that’s filled with ozone. As such, the manufacturer actually recommends ventilating your car first before getting inside so you don’t necessarily have to inhale ozone as well.
Ozone generators are well-regarded for their odor-neutralization effects. Unfortunately, they don’t really filter the air or electrically charge air particles that may be laden with germs. On the positive note, you’ll feel a lot more refreshed just having a car interior that really smells nice and clean.
Fully automated ‘press-and-go’ control design
Auto shutdown feature
Pluggable in car 12V port or wall outlet
With fully-rechargeable batteries
30-day money-back guarantee
- Weight1.06 lbs
Thinkga Car Ionizer Air Purifier
Looking more like a Bluetooth speaker standing upright, this gadget from Thinkga is actually a combination of air purifier and air ionizer that provides exceptional cleaning of the air inside your car. It’s a very neat-looking device that can also make for a wonderful décor on one’s table or desktop.
While it doesn’t release 8 million anions, its 5-million capability is more than adequate to neutralize whatever microorganism is lingering in your cabin. The dual USB port integrated into its design makes for a nifty charging and power unit. However, it is perhaps its unobtrusive, unpretentious design that makes the Thinkga a worthy device to have whether it’s in one’s car or in the office.
Releases 5 million anions/cc/sec
Dual USB port
Modern, minimalist design
Car, home, and office multipurpose design
- Weight1.29 lbs
Light & Smart Car Air Ionizer and Purifier
Sharing similarities with the FRiEQ, this air cleaner car system from Light & Smart features an ionizing mechanism that electrically charges ions in the air, rendering them harmless so you’ll have a cabin that is relatively free of any particles. It doesn’t have a built-in filtration system or a mechanism that allows you to put your favorite aromatherapy essential oil, however. Nevertheless, it’s still a great buy especially if you just want something to be used primarily in your car.
The Light & Smart is not really an ozone generator. The ozone it produces is a natural byproduct of the chemical reactions occurring with the introduction of negatively-charged particles in the air. Not to worry, though as it is completely safe since the ozone it produces is negligible to have an impact on human health. It does, however, provide exceptional odor neutralization so you do get the best of both worlds.
Car ionizer technology
Releases up to 4.8 million anions/cc/sec
Pluggable into car 12V port
Stylish, compact, lightweight design
- BrandLight & Smart
- Weight2.4 oz
iDOBBi Car Air Purifier Portable Air Freshener Ionizer
This car ionizer has many similarities with the FRiEQ and Light & Smart devices. From the microphone-like design to the crystal ornament on top, and the negatively-charged ion capacities of 4.8 million per cc per second, the iDOBBi portable car purifier makes it look like these three products are actually made by the same company, but are distributed or marketed by different firms. We can only surmise.
Nevertheless, the iDOBBi should still be a great alternative to other car ionizer systems in the market as it is easy to use and maintain and comes with an adorable design, too.
Releases up to 4.8 million anions/cc/sec
Multipurpose AC/DC design
Sleek and stylish design
Pluggable into 12v port
- Weight0.8 oz
Car Air Purifier Buying Guide & FAQ
What to Look for in an Air Purifier for Your Car
Picking the most appropriate air purifier for your vehicle entails looking for certain features that can help you achieve optimum levels of air purification. However, this is a lot easier said than done so you’d better get yourself ready as we’re going to share with you some of the things you have to look for in a car air purifier.
- Method of Air Purification
Currently, there are three methods employed by car air purifier manufacturers in making sure that cabin air is cleansed of contaminants. These are filters, ionizers, and ozone generators. Your choice among these three methods will help you zero-in on what is best for your car.
Car air filters draw in cabin air so that they will be able to separate microscopic particles before the air is sent back into the circulation. The particles are usually directed towards a mechanism on the device that filters them according to their size. If the size of the particle is bigger than the holes in the filter, then this particle is not recirculated or is not sent back to the air inside the car’s cabin. These often come with HEPA filters as well as carbon filters which help trap microscopic particles including bacteria and viruses and odor molecules, respectively.
On the other hand, ionizers don’t draw in circulating air to exert their purifying effects. Instead, the device lets out a steady stream of negatively-charged particles called anions into the air. These anions interact with the surfaces of anything and everything that has positively-charged ions so that they are effectively neutralized. All particles will have both negative and positive electrical charges in their surfaces. Anions interact with the positive ions to create a denser molecule. This effectively neutralizes the activity of such molecule.
Ozone generators are especially regarded for their ability to neutralize strong odors. In many ways, ionizers can also produce ozone because of their ability to dislodge ions from molecules. The good news with ionizers is that the ozone that they produce is not sufficient to cause harm to the human body, but should be enough to affect its odor-neutralizing activity. Ozone generators, on the other hand, produce three molecules of oxygen or ozone to help neutralize even the most offensive odor in your car. In large industrial establishments, large-scale ozone generators are also used to combat the stench of many byproducts. Unfortunately, as we’ve already implied, ozone can have negative consequences on the human body if exposed to it chronically.
- Multiple Layers of Air Purification
Many of the car air purifier systems today come with a combination of different methods of air purification. For instance, most come with a combination of the air filter and car ionizer. As we have said, one of the byproducts of ionizers is ozone so they can also be considered as ozone generators. However, they do not really produce ozone as their primary function. It’s just a normal outcome of ionizing the atmosphere. Your best chance of cleaning the air inside your car is to get a system with multiple layers of purification.
- Ease of operation
Most systems require plugging into a car’s 12-volt cigarette lighter socket while others will require a USB adaptor plugged into the socket itself. Some will come with a single-button operation while others will feature several buttons to tinker with. Choose one that is a lot easier and more convenient to operate. Ozone generators require that there is no human or pet inside the car once it is operating. So you might want to take this into consideration.
- Ease of maintenance
Air filter units require some degree of maintenance which can include cleaning and replacing the filter with a recommended replacement unit. Dedicated car ionizers, on the other hand, don’t really require any maintenance as long as you keep it clean.
Benefits of Using Car Air Purifier
There are many reasons why you should consider using an air purifier in your car. Here are some of them.
- Provides safer and cleaner air for everyone in the car
The principal function of air purifiers is, as the name implies, the purification of air. While it is really impossible to get rid of all airborne pollutants, at the very least, these devices can help provide for safer and cleaner for everyone inside the car. This means that it’s not only you and your family that can benefit, even your pets can benefit, too.
- Keeps the car interior smelling fresh and clean
Smoke, volatile oils from food, and fumes, as well as other sources of the nasty smell inside the car, can really make riding an unpleasant one. Having air purifiers working to neutralize these odor molecules and removing them from circulation can provide for a car interior that not only looks nice but also smells clean and fresh as well.
- Eliminates allergens and disease-causing germs
Being able to remove as much allergen as possible from the air can have significant implications among individuals (and pets) who have allergies. The same is true for individuals who may have respiratory problems such as pneumonia and bronchitis as the removal of airborne pathogens can help prevent the exacerbation of the symptoms of these disorders.
Car Air Purifier Maintenance
Manufacturers of car air purifiers have their own way of maintaining the optimal operating performance of their products. As such it is always best to refer to the product manual.
Generally, however, car air filter systems typically require some degree of maintenance. The filters have to be inspected from time to time since it can get clogged up with dust, dirt, and debris like any other filter. Most filters can be easily cleaned with plain water. If the filter is non-washable, it can be cleaned using a vacuum cleaner. Some systems require replacement after 3 to 6 months. You should, thus check your product about the specific time frame for replacement.
Sources of Air Pollution in a Car
There are many sources of air pollution inside any car. Drivers and passengers who simply cannot quit smoking are just two of the main instigators of in-car air pollution. Pet parents who love to take their cats and dogs with them during travels are guilty, too, of worsening the air quality inside the car as pets can leave behind dander, pet odor, and other substances. Driving with an open window can allow dust, dirt, debris, pollen, and even fumes from other vehicles to enter the cabin of the car. Eating your favorite food inside the car will also tend to emit odors that are characteristically yummy, but are nonetheless reactive to the other charged particles already inside the cabin. Technically, your car’s interior can be considered a microcosm of what is actually happening to the world – pollution.
Q: How do car air purifiers work?
A: Car air purifiers work in different ways, depending on the type of mechanism that is embedded into the design of the device. Some work by sending out streams of negatively-charged particles into the air to help neutralize any vulnerable particle. Some also draw in air in an effort to filter out the different particles that are present in the air. The just-cleaned air is then recirculated into the cabin. There are also devices that produce ozone which can neutralize really bad odors. Carbon filters can also do the same job, albeit they have to draw air.
Q: How can I install the air purifier in my car?
A: Installing an air purifier in a car is as easy as plugging the device into your car’s cigarette light socket. Some products only come with a USB-Micro-USB interface so you may want to get a USB adaptor that can be plugged into the cigarette light socket of your car. It should be noted that modern cars do have their own cabin air filter system which is typically located somewhere under the dashboard. This is different from the air purifier systems we featured in this article.
Q: What is the difference between air filters, air ionizers, and ozone generators?
A: Air filters draw in air that is circulating inside the cabin. The air is pushed through several layers of filters including HEPA and carbon filters. HEPA filters are great for removing bacteria, some viruses, parasites, and fungi from the air. Carbon filters work by trapping odor molecules. The end-result is air that is free of these contaminants. Air is then recirculated back into the cabin.
Air ionizers create a steady stream of anions or negatively-charged particles that interact with the positively-charged ions on the surfaces of molecules or particles floating in the air. This effectively neutralizes these contaminants. Unlike air filters, air ionizers don’t need to draw in cabin air to clean it. The continuous wave of anions effectively eliminates susceptible particles in the cabin air.
Ozone generators produce ozone, a molecule composed of 3 oxygen atoms. Its principal purpose is in the elimination of really bad odors. As such, if the main issue inside your car’s cabin is a really strong stench, then ozone generators are an excellent choice.
Q: Do car air purifiers really work?
A: Results are mixed when it comes to the effectiveness of car air purifiers, this is especially true for car ionizer systems. While it is true that the ozone that these devices generate is almost negligible, the mere fact that ionizers produce ozone should already raise a red flag. There really is no guaranteeing that any of these devices will give you 100% germs, contaminants, and pollutant- free air inside your car. Do they work? Yes, they do work. But just like what we said in the beginning, don’t put your hopes too high since there are many sources of air pollution that these devices may not be able to handle 100% efficiently.
Our Top Pick
Among the car air purifiers we’ve featured in this list, we’re proud to choose the AUTOWIT Fresh Multi-Purpose Air Purifier with True HEPA as the best car air purifier in the market. It’s new, yet it is showing many of the fine qualities of renowned auto air purifier systems. It combines air filter, car ionizer, and car freshener functionalities into a sleek, elegant, and ultra-modern design. The triple filtration system effectively addresses particles that are already rendered harmless by its ionizer functionality, making sure you have a much cleaner, fresher air circulating in the car cabin. The addition of an aromatherapy pad slot helps provide for a more soothing effect than just simply removing these nasty odor molecules. It may be priced higher than most, but given its design and multiple methods of air purification, the AUTOWIT easily runs away with the plum.
Car air purifiers come with different methods of purification, style, and ease of operation. Your choice of car air purifier ultimately boils down to whether you want a simple system of filtering particles or one that also involves deactivation of these particles so they no longer bring harm to you or your passengers.