I spy with my little nose a car that needs air freshening!
Have you ever entered your car and found that it smelled so nasty you just wanted to cancel your trip entirely? Maybe it is the stale stink of damp seats or carpets that weren’t given enough time to dry after the wash. Or it could be weeks of treating your car like a snack and fast food trash that came finally catching up with you.
Whatever the reason for the odors and stuffiness, it goes without saying that a car air freshener is the best solution. The problem is that there are so many different designs and options out there you might not know where to start. To make things easier for you, here’s a review of 10 of the best air fresheners for cars in 2020. We will also cover details on what to look out for in these air fresheners, in order to choose the very best deodorizer for your car.
Little Trees Hanging
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Best Natural Freshener
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Air Spencer 000400 CS-X3
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Best Spray Freshener
Chemical Guys AIR_101_16
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For Pet Owners
One Fur All Pet
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This is an iconic air freshener which even after decades of being on the market is still a favorite. It features a cardboard soaked with oil-based scents. They release fragrances into the air circulation through your car through the process of diffusion. Little Trees is probably one of the best car air freshener brands when it comes to the variety of fragrances. You have everything from fruity scents like strawberry and lemon to nature-inspired fragrances like beach breeze scents. This is great as you get to choose exactly how your car will smell.
- Affordable replacements
- It has a simple yet highly effective passive mechanism of action.
- The iconic tree design offers amazing aesthetic advantage serving as a rearview mirror or dashboard accessories.
- It doesn’t last so long and requires replacement at least once every 30 days.
This air freshener comes in the form of a bag filled with Moso Bamboo charcoal. This is a special porous compound that essentially filters the air in the vehicle. It gets rid of odors as well as pollutants in the form of particulate matter. The bag does not have any chemical fragrance components. It, therefore, gets rid of bad smells without necessarily replacing them with scents. This comes in particularly handy for users who are allergic or simply not big fans of artificial fragrances.
- It is chemical-free thus healthier than chemical-based air fresheners.
- It is eco-friendly and can be recycled for home garden use.
- It features a metal grommet for facilitating an easy setup.
- It has a 2-year lifespan thus very economical in the long run.
- It serves multiple functions including deodorization, air purification, and dehumidification.
- First time purchase will cost you more than most other air fresheners.
- It is a bit difficult to set up in a car and will have to sit awkwardly on the dashboard as the grommet is meant for hanging off hooks.
The air freshener comes in a spray can. All you need is one spray squirt in the middle of the vehicle and you are good to go for up to 2 days. The main benefit of aerosol air fresheners is the wide range of action offered making it ideal for both large and small vehicles. It is marketed as the ultimate way to get back that new car smell. It doesn’t matter whether your car is actually new or older than you are. This scent is simple, calming and classy. It uses natural enzymes that target odor sources in your vehicle. They degrade these sources ensuring that the air in your car remains fresh and clean for a long time.
- The natural enzymes are a healthier alternative to harsh deodorant chemicals.
- It can be safely used on vehicle upholstery including on the seats and carpet without the risk of staining or damage.
- There is no refill option with the replacement being the only choice.
- It does not last very long with one can going for up to 3 months.
- It is chemical based making it less safe and environmentally friendly.
This features a fragrant gel in a twist top dispenser. The top allows you to control the intensity of the fragrance released into the air in your car. It also allows you to completely stop the release if you feel there is no need to deodorize your car. The gel itself releases odor and smoke-masking particles when it comes into contact with air.
- It has a compact design makes it super easy to set it up pretty much anywhere in the car.
- Gel deodorants last very long with this particular model giving you between 6 months and a year of service
- You get full control of the intensity,
- The passive diffusion is not effective for air freshening in large vehicles as the particles from the gel do not travel very far.
This air freshener brand also uses eco-friendly bamboo charcoal filling in linen bags. It is safe for both you and the environment. This offers you the advantage of multipurpose action including the elimination of odors, regulation of humidity in your vehicle, air filtration and purification. That way you can rest assured that you are getting full value for your money. Bamboo charcoal also lasts a very long time ensuring that you have at least up to one year of service from your air freshening bag.
- It is free of chemicals therefore safe as far as health is concerned.
- The lack of chemicals also means that you do not contribute in any way to air pollution as you try to get rid of stenches in your vehicle.
- It is difficult to set up in a vehicle as it takes the form of a bag with no hanging strings.
It has an aerosol spray design and is considered one of the most powerful air fresheners on the market. With just one squirt you get to eliminate even the most stubborn of odors. It is therefore ideal for smokers who want to get rid of the overpowering and hard-to-eliminate stench of smoke. The spray-can design is also an advantage and will save you a lot in the long run. This is because unlike other car air fresheners that are always active, spray like this one allows you to spare the product by only using it when necessary.
- It is highly effective on strong odors.
- It has a mildly fragrant residue which leaves your vehicle smelling nice but not in an overpowering way.
- It is easy to use and allows you to freshen the air only when the need arises.
- Its effects are limited to deodorization.
- It is chemical based therefore not a very healthy and environmentally friendly option.
This air freshener is in a lot of ways similar to our top pick. It comes in the form of a bag with the Bamboo charcoal filling. This offers safe and efficient air filtering and deodorization. It features a very useful string and bag design allowing you to easily hang it on the back of either of the 2 front seats. From this position, the air freshener is exposed to a lot more air around the vehicle for more effective purification. It has a 1-year average lifespan which though not as high as Moso’s is still pretty impressive.
- Easy to set up.
- Safe and eco-friendly.
- Has a long lifespan thus more cost-effective.
- It lacks a scent as it only freshens up the air and acts as a deodorizer.
This has a clip-on design for easy attachment on air circulation vents in the car. When the regulator is opened, the cartilage releases the air freshening compound which flows with air currents around the space inside the car. This is a simple yet highly effective setup. One of the best things about this household brand is the wide variety of scents offered. You have a lot to choose from including mild fragrances like linen to statement scents like the floral Happy Spring scent.
- The clip-on makes setting up very easy and convenient.
- The dispenser has a regulator allowing you to control the intensity of the scent being produced.
- You have a wide variety of scents to choose from.
- It might be unsuitable for users allergic to strong fragrances.
- It has a short lifespan of not more than 6 months depending on the frequency and intensity of use. This means more frequent replacements.
This is an ion-releasing plug-in dispenser air freshener. Setting up, in this case, is a breeze as all you have to do is insert it into the vehicle’s corresponding electric plug-in port. This powers up the unit allowing it to generate the required air-purifying ions in a fast and efficient manner. The ions produced are all negative ions. They eliminate odors both organic and inorganic. They also help remove pollutants like smoke, dust, and pollen from the air. It is especially beneficial for smokers and other vehicle owners whose vehicles are regularly exposed to air pollutants. Finally, they have been shown to have health benefits, particularly to the respiratory system.
- It is very quiet.
- It is effective for purification of highly polluted air in the vehicle.
- The unit allows you to control the intensity in terms of the quantity of negative ions produced.
- There is no need for refills or replacements making it a one-time investment.
- There are not scents for you to choose from if you are a fan of fragrances.
- It can take its toll on your battery capacity when left to run too long.
This is another very popular oil-based air freshener. The oily base offers the advantage of the slow and even release of the deodorizing scent. It also ensures sustained intensity. That way you don’t have to worry about being overpowered with fragrance at first then having to struggle to smell the effects later on. The wafers come in a plastic seal. This is meant to promote the fragrance concentration when the wafers are not in use. If you feel that your vehicle smells ok, you can return them to their plastic casings to avoid wastage.
- It is easy to set up on the rear-view mirror.
- They provide sustained and uniform release of the fragrance.
- They only mask the odor and do nothing to eliminate the source of the bad smell including pollutants.
Factors to consider when choosing a car deodorizer
Now that you know what this year’s best options are, how do you choose? How do you narrow it down to the very best option for your specific needs? Here are a few factors to consider that should help in making this decision a walk in the park.
The scent variety
What would you want your car to smell like? This is a very important question to ask yourself when choosing the right air freshener. Everyone has their own preferences and you need to figure out yours. The last thing you want is having a car whose scent you cannot stand. An air freshener brand with variety in terms of scent is definitely the best option as it allows you to find what works best for you.
How long it lasts
Longevity is another very important factor to consider. I mean no one wants to keep buying car air fresheners because they keep running out. Different designs and brands have different durations of activities. Hanging deodorizers, in particular, tend to last the least amount of time with an average lifetime of about a month. Others like sprays, vent clips and gels last longer. This is mainly because they give you the option to regulate when and how much of the scent is to be released.
The air freshener dispenser design
There are many designs out there. These include oil wicks, soaked handing cardboards, gel cans, aerosol sprays, plug-ins and many others. The design is important to consider for many reasons. One is the fact that it affects how long the effects will last as has already been described above. The design also affects the range of effectiveness as well as the cost. These will be discussed in detail below.
The size of your car
Air fresheners have a limit in terms of how far their effects reach. Hanging cardboards and gel dispensers have a very narrow range. This makes them ideal for smaller cars. Aerosols, plug-ins and vent clips, on the other hand, spread the scent further making them a great option for larger vehicles.
Allergies and other health factors
You also need to consider the ingredients used in the deodorizer for health reasons. In this case, avoid air fresheners with ingredients that you might be allergic to. Chemical-free options are also a better choice than chemical-based air fresheners when it comes to health benefits. The only downside is that you have to sacrifice on things like scent variety and affordability with this option.
Refills vs. replacements
Some car air fresheners are designed in such a way that you can get refills for the same dispenser. This is the case with designs like plug-ins, vent clips, and gels. In the long run, they are a lot more affordable and sustainable than those that require total replacement.
The overall cost
This refers to the cost not only of buying the air freshener for the first time but also keeping it running. How much are you willing to spend? If money is not an issue then go for the very best out there. Options like Moso Natural and Purggo are significantly more expensive but definitely worth it. However, if you are shopping on a budget then more affordable options like Little Trees will give you great value as well.
With all this information, it should be very easy for you to make the right choice of air freshener to have in your car. The 10 top picks we have reviewed all have something to offer to you and your vehicle. Therefore, whether you go for the hanging Little Stick air fresheners or clip-on Febreze you can rest assured that you will not be disappointed. The most important thing is taking the factors discussed into consideration in order to identify not only what you want but also what you need. So, make your choice and give your car the air makeover it so desperately needs.