Best Car Air Fresheners
Keep your vehicle’s interior smelling sweet with one of the best car air fresheners.
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Does your car smell? If you’re looking to eliminate odor from your vehicle, take a look at our picks for the best car air freshener. Invest in one of these products to not only take care of that nasty aroma but also keep your car smelling fresh and new. That new car scent is only a click or two away.
No matter how careful you might be about keeping funky smells and terrible odors out of your car, every vehicle kind of develops its own unique fragrance over time. Sometimes stepping from the fresh outdoors and into your vehicle is enough to convince you that it’s time to invest in a decent car air freshener. Whether your interior has lost its new car scent, smells a bit stale, or is hanging onto lingering odors, there’s an air freshener that can eliminate the old and infuse a far more pleasant aroma. We’ve rounded up some of the best car air fresheners you can choose from right here.
Arotags Wooden Car Air Freshener
- Designed to last for a year
- No dangerous chemicals
- The scent might be a little too sweet for some users
- Might not last as long as advertised
- Might not work as well in colder temperatures
Meguiar’s Whole Car Air Re-Fresher Mist
- Removes bad odors in one step
- Works quickly
- Affordable price
- Meant for only one use
- Might need more than one to fully remove bad smells
Febreze Freshener Clips
- Fastens securely to nearly any air vent
- Multiple clips in one pack
- No spills
- Won’t necessarily remove the bad smell; masks odors
- Other products might last longer
In order to determine which car air fresheners are worth your time and investment, we set out to compare the many types of products available, all of which promise to refresh and cleanse your interior air. We considered details and features like the application method, type of air freshener, strength of fragrance, and whether or not a product could effectively eliminate odors. In order to assess how well each product tackled existing odors and kept cars smelling nice, we turned to users’ real-life experiences in the form of reviews. The car air fresheners that made our top picks were those that were easiest to use, the most effective, and didn’t add frustration or mess.
Why Trust Us
Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.Learn more
Best Car Air Freshener Reviews & Recommendations
Best OverallCheck Latest Price
- Product Type: Wooden oil diffuser
- Lifespan: 12 months
- Size: 1.6 ounces
- Long-lasting, reusable design
- Equals 50 disposable air fresheners
- Free of harmful chemicals
- Fragrance isn’t overwhelming
- Fragrance may be too sweet
- May not last a full year
- Scent can weaken in cold weather
Best ValueCheck Latest Price
- Product Type: Mist
- Lifespan: About one month
- Size: 2 ounces
- Easy-to-use mist application
- Dissolves odors at the molecular level
- Comes in an array of scents
- Lasts for up to a month
- May take multiple cans if you have strong odors
Easiest to UseCheck Latest Price
- Product Type: Vent clips
- Lifespan: 150 days
- Size: Five vent clips
- Circulate fresh fragrance through your vents
- Small and unobtrusive
- Fit onto all car air vents
- Doesn’t remove odors
- Might not last very long
Best HangingCheck Latest Price
- Product Type: Hanging scented cardboard
- Lifespan: About a month
- Size: 7.3 inches tall
- Six air fresheners for one price
- Lasts for weeks at a time
- Pleasant, woodsy fragrance
- Releases scent with no effort
- Scent can be potent if opened all at once
Best for SmokersCheck Latest Price
- Product Type: Gel
- Lifespan: About a month
- Size: 4.5 ounces
- Effective enough to tackle cigarette odor
- Twist cap allows you to adjust the fragrance for your preferences
- Fits anywhere inside your car
- Small size may be less effective than larger options
- Some users may not like the scent
Best CharcoalCheck Latest Price
- Product Type: Charcoal bag
- Lifespan: Two Years
- Size: 200 grams (each bag)
- Easy to use
- Pack of five for car and home
- Hooks included
- Long lifespan
- Requires regular recharging
- Doesn’t emit a scent
Best ConcentratedCheck Latest Price
- Product Type: Liquid
- Lifespan: Weeks
- Size: 16 ounces
- Strong, concentrated formula you can dilute to your liking
- Can tackle mild moldy odors
- Lasts five times longer than a traditional car air freshener
- Fragrance can be unpleasant for some
- May mask some odors instead of eliminating
Best NaturalCheck Latest Price
- Product Type: Hanging charcoal
- Lifespan: 12 months
- Size: 13.58 x 5.31 x 1.57 inches
- Long-lasting odor elimination
- Low maintenance
- All natural with no chemicals
- Has to be reactivated in sunlight regularly
- Won’t work on cigarette odors or smoke
- Might not be as effective in cold weather
Best Dual ScentCheck Latest Price
- Product Type: Vent clip
- Lifespan: Weeks
- Size: Six sticks per pack
- Two pleasant fragrances in one
- Combats and eliminates odors while it works
- Sticks right onto all car vents
- Fragrance is light, not overpowering
- Only lasts a few weeks
Best No-MaintenanceCheck Latest Price
- Product Type: Solid gel
- Lifespan: 60 days
- Size: 1.5 ounces
- Lasts for two months
- Comes in recyclable packaging
- Small enough to be stored anywhere
- Solid and spill-proof
- Doesn’t eliminate odors
- Fragrance can be too overwhelming for some
Our Verdict on Car Air Fresheners
The Arotags Wooden Car Air Freshener ranked highest as our pick for the best car air freshener overall. Affordable and long-lasting, this wooden option is a no-brainer for your nose. Choose Meguiar’s Whole Car Air Re-Fresher Mist if you’re looking for a value pick. Although it’s a one-time use freshener, it’s a powerful solution for bad odors.
Which car air fresheners do you prefer? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
What to Consider When Buying a Car Air Freshener
It can be difficult to determine which car air fresheners are worth investing in. We’ve got your guide to picking out a quality air freshener that actually works, keeping your car odor-free and smelling pleasant.
Types of Car Air Fresheners
One of the most common types of air fresheners, they typically hang on a string from the rearview mirror, releasing your favorite scent as they dangle. They’re not necessarily as long lasting as other types of car air fresheners, although some offer the ability to renew the scent via essential oils. These types of car air fresheners are also one of the cheapest to buy.
Natural (bamboo charcoal)
There’s an old wives’ tale that says you can put a bowl full of coffee beans in an odorous vehicle to soak up the stench. Whether or not that’s true, there are other natural ways to remove odors. The most common is to use bamboo charcoal to capture the smell. These premium air fresheners come in a burlap or mesh sack and often last longer than other types of car air fresheners.
As the name suggests, this type of car air freshener uses absorbent gel to remove bad smells. The gel comes packaged in a resealable container and works much like putting a box of baking soda in your fridge. Gel car air fresheners are meant to be placed beneath a seat or within a cup holder so they are unnoticeable. Many containers will have an adjustable setting to allow for prolonged use.
There are a variety of products meant to deodorize household rooms, and the car air freshening spray is just an extension of this same idea. Car air freshening sprays typically come in a multitude of scents and allow you to spray as little or as much as you want. These sprays work best on cloth interiors and typically absorb well into carpets.
An innovative way of dispersing scent, car air fresheners that clip onto your vehicle’s air vents provide odor relief within seconds. Cars that are particularly stinky will benefit from these types of air fresheners as they typically come in packs of multiple products. Place one vent clip in each air vent across your dashboard, and even in the second-row vents, for a blanketed approach. After they’ve stopped releasing a scent, you can simply unclip them and throw them away.
Car Air Freshener Pricing
Most car fresheners found at an auto parts store will be anywhere from $1 to $5, depending on the brand. Typically, these products will be scented cardboard that slowly releases scent over time. These air fresheners won’t last the longest but are inexpensive. If you’re looking for car vent clips or even a couple of hanging car air fresheners, budget $11 to $20 for a pack of anywhere from two to five products.
You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.
Q: How long will my car air freshener last?
A: Depending on what type of air freshener you purchase, the product will last anywhere from a few weeks to about two years. Check the packaging for the products you’re considering. Oftentimes, manufacturers will list how long the product will last. If you invest in something like car air freshener gel or a similar product that releases a scent, the lifetime of that product can depend on the climate, how often you drive, and other factors.
Q: How often should I change my car air freshener?
A: The best rule of thumb for air fresheners is to change them when you no longer notice their scent. For example, if you remove a vent clip from your vehicle and sniff it, does it still give off the intended scent? If so, it’s still working.
Q: Will installing a car air freshener irritate my allergies?
A: Car air fresheners can irritate your allergies, so be cautious when making a purchase. If you know you’re allergic to most floral scents, for example, stay away from them. There are various alternative non-artificial-scented products on the market (such as the negative ion-producing air fresheners).
Q: How do car air fresheners differ from enzymes?
A: Car air fresheners work to reduce and/or remove bad odors from your vehicle. Enzymes, on the other hand, are used in order to remove mold or other hazardous contaminants that are the cause of such bad smells. Many vehicles that have been flooded benefit from an enzyme treatment. Car air fresheners should be used to maintain a good scent that’s already been established.
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