Best Car Diffusers and Essential Oils: Keep Your Car Smelling Fresh

Here are some car aromatherapy diffusers that are great for freshening up your car's interior

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Your car has a lot going on inside of it. The interior can start to retain the smells from wet clothes, mud, or even pet hair. Luckily, there are plenty of options when it comes to scent diffusers that can eliminate these unwanted odors. These are the top choices for refreshing your vehicle.

  • Best Overall
    InnoGear USB Car Essential Oil Diffuser
    Summary
    Summary
    Innogear makes the best car diffuser available with this colorfully designed USB plug-in aromatherapy device.
    Pros
    Pros
    This ultrasonic car diffuser has seven different LED lighting options and can last up to six hours. It easily fits in your vehicle's cup holder.
    Cons
    Cons
    The Innogear diffuser does not come with essential oils, is larger than other options, and can spill if you're not careful.
  • Best Value
    RoyAroma Vent Aromatherapy Diffuser
    Summary
    Summary
    This set of stylish travel diffusers uses essential oils to refresh your car's interior.
    Pros
    Pros
    RoyAroma vent clips are small, do not need to be plugged in, and last up to a week. They are much less expensive than other options. 
    Cons
    Cons
    This diffuser set does not come with essential oils and requires the heat or AC to run for the best results.
  • Honorable Mention
    Vyaime Car Diffuser Essential Oil USB Diffuser
    Summary
    Summary
    Vyaime makes a uniquely designed essential oil diffuser and humidifier for your car's powerpoint plug.
    Pros
    Pros
    This car diffuser aromatherapy device is small, refillable, and easy to use. It allows you to charge your devices with two USB ports while it is plugged in.
    Cons
    Cons
    This travel fragrance diffuser only lasts two hours and is more expensive than other longer-lasting options.

Benefits of Car Diffusers

  • Eliminating odor. The best part of having a diffuser for your car is eliminating unwanted smells in the interior. You won't have to worry about any embarrassing scents if you have passengers, and your car will feel fresher every time you get in it. 
  • Aromatherapy. Many travel diffusers use essential oils to enhance the smell of your vehicle. Some of these oils have added benefits like stress relief. Imagine starting your day with a mood-improving therapeutic drive to work. 
  • Humidifier. Automatic diffusers have the added bonus of also working as humidifiers. This will improve the air quality of your vehicle's cabin and also save you from dry weather. 
  • Efficiency. The biggest drawback to old school air fresheners is how long they last. Before you know it, you won't even notice they're doing anything. Diffusers eliminate this problem as they continually provide a refreshing and long lasting scent. 

Types of Car Diffuser

Vent Clips

A common type of car diffuser is one that you clip onto the air vents in your car. These typically use essential oils that slowly dissipate as you use the heat or air conditioning in your vehicle. There are different types, such as clips that use pads that soak in the oils or devices that have a refillable reservoir. Typically these last longer than other diffusers but can be less effective. 

Plug-In

The increasingly popular plug-in diffusers are another option. These devices can plug into either the power point (cigarette lighter) or USB ports in your vehicle. Some diffusers will use a combination of water and oils, while others may just use the oils, but both types send mist into the air at varying speeds. These typically have added benefits like doubling as a humidifier or having LED lights.

Rechargeable

Rechargeable diffusers are very similar in design to the plug-in models. The obvious difference is that they do not require to be plugged in at all times. These come with their own drawbacks, like battery life. However, a benefit to these models is versatility in where you can keep them in your vehicle. 

Top Brands

Greenair

This once-small Ohio based company specializes in designing convenient diffusers for many different uses. Now, with more than a decade of experience, Greenair has gained popularity and produces unique products like the Carbreeze

HOUSWEETY

HOUSWEETY is a jewelry and clothing company based in Hong Kong. After five years of OEM experience, it started to branch out into different consumer markets. The company produces a popular Vent Clip Diffuser that comes in a plethora of styles and colors. 

InnoGear

InnoGear is a market-leading manufacturer of diffusers and LED lighting. The company's Cup Holder Aromatherapy Diffuser and Ultrasonic Portable Diffuser are great options for simple diffusers. It also owns a company called Onepure, which produces the essential oil refills for their products.

ZAQ

In 2011, ZAQ was founded to create diffusers with all natural ingredients. While the market was focused on chemical-based scents, ZAQ was investing in the best essential oil diffuser air fresheners for cars. The end result is great products like the Litemist Car Diffuser.

Car Diffuser Pricing

  • Under $20: Car diffusers come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. The least expensive types are typically rearview mirror hangers and vent clips. Since these products don't need to be plugged in, they are a cheaper and easier option compared to USB diffusers.
  • Over $20: The higher priced car fragrance diffusers are usually USB models. These products require electricity to generate mist. Some are rechargeable, while others run continuously off of your vehicle's USB or power point plugs.

Key Features

Essential Oils

Every car diffuser uses essential oils. This is what produces the scent and other aromatherapy benefits. Without it, your diffuser isn't going to do much good. Products that come with essential oils save you the time and hassle of buying them separately. Plus, buying them as one big kit will most likely be a cheaper option.

Diffuser Modes

If you're using an electric diffuser, you’ll want one that has different modes or speeds. Everybody is different, so you may wish to adjust the amount of essential oil that is emitted from your diffuser. Also, diffusers that run continuously are going to run out of oil much faster. Having an intermittent speed can save you oil and money.

Auto Shut-off

Electric travel diffusers will eventually run out of essential oil. Having a device with an auto shut-off will save you the hassle of checking it yourself. Needing to turn off or unplug a device while driving can be dangerous, and depending on where you have it located, you may not even notice when it is empty. A diffuser that keeps running once it is empty will not only waste energy but also can be a fire hazard.

Other Considerations

  • Travel Time: How long your road trips tend to be is a big factor in what type of diffuser you want. If you're just looking to improve your regular commute to work, most of them will last long enough. Longer road trips, however, might be better suited for vent clips. 
  • Interior Space: Some diffusers require a certain amount of space. If you often fill both cup holders, or your car has really shallow cup holders, then diffusers that need to sit in a cup holder might not be the right choice for you. 
  • Ports and Outlets: While plug-in diffusers have some great benefits, they aren't going to do you much good if you do not have the proper ports to plug them in. Some devices require USB ports, some need power points, and also be aware of how long the cords are. 

Best Car Diffuser Reviews & Recommendations 2019

Best Car Diffuser Overall: InnoGear USB Car Essential Oil Diffuser

InnoGear USB Car Essential Oil Diffuser
Amazon

This unique and stylish car fragrance diffuser is the best plugin option available. The most noticeable feature with the InnoGear diffuser is the LED lighting. There are seven different color options made to relieve tiredness of the driver (you can also use it without the lights on if desired).

This BPA-free product holds water in its reservoir and only requires a few drops of essential oil to keep your car smelling fresh for hours. There are two modes: intermittent, which will last about six hours and continuous, which will last approximately three hours. It also has an auto-off feature for when the water runs out. Even though it's designed to fit in your cup holder, this travel-size essential oil diffuser can be used anywhere you have a USB plug.

Despite being the best portable diffuser, this product isn't perfect for every driver. The InnoGear essential oil diffuser does not come with any essential oils, so you'll have to buy them separately. This device is larger than other options, and if you do not have deep enough cup holders, then you risk having the diffuser tip and spill.

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Best Car Diffuser Value: RoyAroma Vent Aromatherapy Diffuser

RoyAroma Vent Aromatherapy Diffuser
Amazon

Drivers who are looking for an inexpensive yet effective product should check out these scented oil diffuser car air fresheners. The RoyAroma vent clip diffusers are discrete and incredibly long-lasting. The inner pad requires a few drops of essential oil, and they can leave your car smelling fresh for about a week. 

This set comes with two uniquely designed stainless steel lockets to use in your vehicle and 12 felt pads that work as a holder for essential oils. The product is completely hypoallergenic and can be used with any scented liquids. An added bonus of these car essential oil diffusers is that they don't use water, so there's no clean up required. 

While this car diffuser kit is a great deal, it may not be ideal for everyone. These diffusers aren't as efficient if you don't have your heat or AC running in the car. Essential oils are not included with the vent clips. The essential oils can also dissipate quickly, which will cause you to add more on a regular basis. 

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Best Car Diffuser Honorable Mention: Vyaime Car Diffuser Essential Oil USB Diffuser

Vyaime Car Diffuser Essential Oil USB Diffuser
Amazon

If you're looking for a car humidifier diffuser, Vyaime makes a truly unique option. This little diffuser plugs into your vehicle's power point and is small enough to stay out of sight. It has two available mist speeds: one that runs continuously and the "humidifier" option that runs intermittently. 

One great feature of this oil diffuser plugin is the two USB ports. While it runs on the cigarette lighter, the back of the plug gives you the ability to use two chargers. The top of this device has a button to switch between the two modes easily. The refillable aroma diffuser container is clear so you can see when it runs out, and the wicks are very easy to clean between uses.  

This creatively designed product is not the best car oil diffuser for everybody. Because of its small size, the essential oils only last about two hours. This makes it less than ideal for longer commutes. Also, it is just as expensive as other diffusers that last much longer. 

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Tips

  • Different essential oils and diffusers with ambient lighting are great for late night drives. Certain scents can help keep you alert and different color lights are helpful to prevent falling asleep at the wheel.
  • If you have an older vehicle with shallow cup holders, be aware of plug-in diffusers that sit in the cup holder. It is possible for these to tip and spill. 
  • Be careful about leaving a car diffuser plugged in when your car is off. If it doesn't have an auto shut-off, you could potentially drain your battery. 
  • Some essential oils can help alleviate motion sickness. Peppermint and ginger scents are great to help drivers or passengers who get car sick.
  • You can get essential oils that help make you feel cooler on hot summer days. While you're waiting for the AC to power up, try eucalyptus, mint, or grapefruit scented oils.

FAQs

Q: What are essential oils?

A: Pure essential oils are non-synthetic oils made from plants, roots, and herbs. They are used in a plethora of capacities from medicine to air fresheners. 

Q: How long do diffusers last?

A: This depends on what type of diffuser you are using. Plug-in diffusers run out of oil quicker, especially if you use a continuous mist setting. Vent clip diffusers last longer but require you to have the air on in your vehicle. 

Q: Do all diffusers use water?

A: No. There are several different ways that a diffuser can use essential oils. Water is the most common method, these devices will have a reservoir filled with water and only require a few drops of oil. Other devices, though, can use felt pads to hold oils or just pure essential oils with no dilution. 

Final Thoughts

The InnoGear USB Car Essential Oil Diffuser is the best choice for drivers who are looking for a USB car diffuser. 

If you’re shopping for a less expensive alternative, the RoyAroma Vent Aromatherapy Diffuser pack gives you the most for your money. 

Let us know what’s your favorite diffuser in the comments below!