Everyone that’s ever owned a new car is familiar with that “new car smell”. It’s a scent that is both unique and hard to mimic, and for most car owners, something that is unfortunately fleeting. Yes, it will be a joy to enter your car for a few months and be greeted by the great scent of newness, but that scent unfortunately fades. It’s not good enough to keep the outside of your car clean (even if you are using some great car wash soaps). Eventually, the inside of your car is going to need some help. Eventually, it will be left with unwanted scents that tend to invade your car: spilled coffee, ozone, sweat, french fries, smoke and any other thing that happens to produce scent and stick around much longer than it should. Many of us who own cars have glove compartments stocked full of cheap and mostly ineffective methods for getting rid of these smells as well. Air fresheners abound in type, quality and function, but nothing lasts forever. When it’s time to get replacement car air fresheners, consider some of the better options out there. Sure, you could just buy whatever you find in your nearest convenience store, but why bother? Get something better!
|Product Name||Style||Scent Type||Reusable||Lifecycle||Our rating|
|Little Trees Black Ice Air Fresheners||Little Tree||“Black Ice” - patented scent||No||7 weeks||4.8/5|
|Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag||Bamboo charcoal||None||Yes - up to 2 years||1 month||4.7/5|
|Air Spencer Squash||Deodorizer||Squash||Yes||4 weeks||4.5/5|
|PURGGO Car Air Freshener||Bamboo charcoal||None||No||1 year||4.5/5|
|Febreze Car Vent-Clip Air Fresheners||Vent clip-on||Linen & Sky||No||1 month||4.3/5|
|Ozium Smoke & Odors Eliminator||Deodorizing Gel||“Outdoor Essence”||No||1 month||4.3/5|
|M Goodees Car and Home Purifier and Ionizer||Ionizer||None||Yes||None given||4.0/5|
Car Air Freshener Reviews
Little Trees Black Ice Air Fresheners
If you aren’t familiar with Little Trees air fresheners, you may need to crawl from under whatever rock you have been living under. Little Trees are almost as iconic as cars themselves. Few of us who have owned a car have ever lacked one. Indeed, most new cars will come with them as well. The Little Trees Black Ice Air Freshener is just one of many air fresheners provided by the company that provides these iconic, tree-shaped trees to happy car owners everywhere.
Little Trees introduced their product in the 1950s. Since then, the company has expanded their product line to include every imaginable scent. Chocolate? Yep! Vanilla? Yep! Black Ice? You better believe it! But what exactly is “Black Ice” anyway? Thankfully, it’s not equivalent to smelling an icy road (which would be a seriously unpleasant experience). Little Trees, which are marketed and sold by the company Car-Freshener, describes the scent thus: “adventurous, masculine.” It is indeed a strong scent, and certainly not for everyone. However, Little Trees markets this scent not only as an alternative to the often overly feminine scents typical of air fresheners, but as with a scent that provides a nice alternative to those who simply don’t like fruity or plant-based scents.
The Little Trees Black Ice Air Freshener comes in as a consistent favorite for many buyers. On Amazon, prospective customers will find that the product can be bought in large quantities for a very nice price. For under $15, you’ll be able to get 24 of these long-lasting air fresheners. Put them in your car. Your house. Your boat. On your dog. Anywhere that needs a little freshening up with some better smells. Happy customers (and there are many) are in a bit of a disagreement on the scent. That’s okay. Most buyers love it. This product boasts a 4.4/5 average star rating on Amazon. If you’re ready to be happily confused by whatever the heck “Black Ice” is supposed to be, make sure to get this one for your…everything.
Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag
While the Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag works the same way as the PURGGO Car Air Freshener, there are key differences in the designs. The Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag is designed to work in multiple locations. It is not designed purely as a car air freshener. However, many buyers have chosen to make this a go-to product for that purpose. Indeed, many buyers choose to use this product over the PURGGO product due to the price. The Moso air freshener comes in at about half the price as the PURGGO product. However, it is also roughly half the size.
The Moso Natural Air Purifying bad similarly uses bamboo charcoal as the source of its activated carbon. However, Moso claims that you can use this product for 2 years before you need to replace it. They also indicate that you can refresh the activated carbon by leaving the bag outside in the sun for an hour once a month. Presumably, as the activated carbon heats up in the sun, the heat and the ultraviolet light will decay the adsorbed molecules, effectively “resetting” the bag’s ability to absorb more molecules from the air.
This car air freshener has not only a highly favorable rating (4.2/5 average rating on Amazon) but a highly-coveted “best-seller” tag. The vast majority of buyers have found this product to be extremely worth the purchase. The negatives for this product are the same as what you’ll find for the PURGGO air freshener as well. Some users state that it simply does not work, while others swear by its effectiveness. Although a minor advantage, the Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag also comes in three different colors.
Air Spencer Squash
While “squash” is not usually a scent many of us are eager to add more of to your lives, the Air Spencer with the squash scent is not only fully functional, it’s inexplicably one of the most popular car air fresheners around. Why? It’s different. And difference is good! The Air Spencer works much like the Ozium device, by both freshening the air with a vapid squash scent, but also deodorizing, by absorbing those nasty scent molecules that you are so very eager to get rid of. Ekosha, the company behind the product, has a wide line of different car air freshener products. But you’ll only be able to find their Air Spencer on Amazon.
The product is easy to use. Simply open the top, insert one of the scent refills, and you’re ready to go. The scent lasts for a good long time, and smells like…squash. Which is not actually what it REALLY smells like. Most customer describe the smell as somewhere between the classic bubble gum scent and some odd fruit. Or a mixture of the two. We’re not actually quite sure what the smell really is, but it’s certainly as mysterious as the Little Tree Black Ice scent. It’s ultimately not really a factor of what it’s actually supposed to be smell like and whether or not it smells good. Thankfully, it does!
This unique product has very favorable ratings. A 4.1/5 average star rating on Amazon marks this product as a reasonably well-received air freshener. Customers comment positively on how surprised they were with the product’s ability to eliminate odors quickly and easily. The negative complaints primarily come in two flavors: either that the scent was good, but did not last long enough, or that the scent was not good at all and too sweet. Overall, you’re likely going to enjoy this product. Given, of course, that you don’t like sweet smells.
PURGGO Car Air Freshener
PURGGO takes a different approach on the car air freshener with their over-the-seat attachment. The PURGGO Car Air Freshener does not use artificial scents of any kind. It also avoids any mechanical means, such as ionizers. Instead, the PURGGO uses bamboo charcoal as a mean of absorbing scents naturally from the air.
The PURGGO Car Air Freshener loops over the back of the headrest. The bamboo charcoal is sown into an open pocket in the hemp bag. As air circulates in the car, the charcoal inside the bag will absorb odors and particulates from the air. While this method may seem strange, the idea of using charcoal as an air purifier is not a new one. The active ingredient in this air purifier is the carbon in the bamboo charcoal. The activated carbon is extremely porous. As the molecules in the air pass through the bag, they stick to the carbon molecules. Over time, these small carbon pieces will absorb more molecules from the air than they can hold on to. At that point, the bag will need to be replaced.
While there are various woody materials that can be used to create the activated carbon, PURGGO uses bamboo as the material of choice. This is because bamboo itself is already fairly porous. The charcoal made from bamboo makes it particularly effective at absorbing molecules in the air.
Although the PURGGO Car Air Freshener is more expensive than many other types of car air fresheners, it is 100% allergen free and completely biodegradable. The activated carbon in the bag will work for around 1 year before you need to replace the bag. PURGGO also sells these as in miniature form, making them good for putting into smelly shoes or areas around the house. This highly rated product has a noticeably strong favorability rating from Amazon users, pulling in a strong 4.5/5 average rating.
It is worth noting that while the majority of buyers (over 70%) rated this product a “5”, those who gave it a “1” were very consistent in their complaints. These primarily center on the idea that the PURGGO does little more than offer a “placebo” effect. PURGGO is very consistent about responding to negative reviews and offering refunds for dissatisfied customers.
Febreze Car Vent-Clip Air Fresheners
Febreze is well known for its air and fabric fresheners. Most Febreze products come in the form of bottle sprays. However, it’s only logical that Febreze would incorporate their well-known products into a car freshener. The Febreze Car Vent-Clip Air Fresheners are highly popular and fairly inexpensive. They also last quite a while, as the liquid disperses slowly as an airflow is applied through the vent. The product has an overall favorable rating on Amazon of 4.⅖. However, that rating, while good, is comprised of incredibly mixed reviews across the 1-5 star rating spectrum.
The scent of this product is described as “linen and sky”. Many users find the scent extremely pleasing and not too overpowering as many scents tend to be. However, a noticeable number of reviewers complained about the smell, some claiming that the scent was wholly undesirable. Others have noted that the clips can get broken, or do not work effectively on all car air vents. Consider the thickness of your car’s vents before purchasing these clip-ons.
Febreze sells these clip-ons in packs of 1, 4 or 8. Each clip-on should last approximately 1 month. However, heavy usage of your air conditioning system will significantly deplete the liquid scent, resulting in a lifecycle that is far less than advertised. Depending on how frequently you use your car’s air conditioning system, you may find that these air fresheners deplete far faster than you might prefer. Indeed, beyond complaints about the scent, this is the primary concern among buyers, even those who rated the product a 4 or a 5. Thankfully, Febreze does sell these air fresheners in packs and for a comparatively low price.
Ozium Smoke & Odors Eliminator
This product is yet another different way to produce good, clean air in your car and eliminate the bad smells. The Little Trees in your car will emit strong scents that eventually go away. The air ionizer from M Goodees will negate the bed scents with an oxidation method. The Ozium Smoke & Odors eliminator is a bit of a combination of both. That, my friends, is a good thing. Indeed, this gel-based product can be placed anywhere in your car, although you’ll likely want to place it somewhere it can get lots of bad smell (no kidding!) and put off lots of good ones. Requiring nothing but patience to to work, The Ozium Smoke & Odors Eliminator works in two, helpful ways to get rid of the bad smells and give you nothing but good scents and even better positive feelings.
So how does it work, exactly? The gel inside the container absorbs scent molecules. These scent molecules stick to the gel, slowly merging with each small gel ball inside the container. As the gel absorbs the scent molecules from the outside, they emit fragrant scents themselves into the air. You can even control the amount of fragrance you want emitted, giving you much more control over the level of scent, and adding longevity to the product. Not that you’ll need to worry about longevity. These small containers will give you well over a month’s worth of good odor control and scent production before you even need to replace it with, well, likely another Ozium Smoke & Odors Eliminator.
Customers really love this product. It’s easy to use, works well, and offers the benefit of both odor absorption, and scent production, something that few other products will do. If simply masking the bad scents is not good enough for you, and you still want your car to smell like something good, you’re likely going to want to pick up this product. The negative complaints that do exist primarily complain about the product not being strong enough to mask smoke odors or to work in bigger rooms. However, if you’re buying this for your car (as you should be), you will likely not have to deal with that particular issue. And don’t worry: the gel won’t melt in a hot car. With an average rating on Amazon of 4.3/5 stars, this product will likely give you exactly the odor protection and scent production you’re looking for.
M Goodees Car and Home Purifier and Ionizer
If you’re looking for something a little different, with a more modern look and feel to it, then this is just the thing. M Goodees Car and Home Purifier and Ionizer is like your Star Trek solution to solving poor air quality issues. Interestingly enough, the technology behind it is not quite as space-age as a teleporter might be. However, this ionizer might just teleport your senses to a whole new level. You’ve heard of ozone, right? Of course you have. Chemically speaking, ozone is an inorganic compound composed of three oxygen molecules. The compound not only protects the planet from harmful ultraviolet radiation, it also has a strong disinfectant and deodorizing quality to it. M Goodees has capitalized on this feature, and created a tiny little device that will create ozone in your car to help you deodorize the air. Pretty neat, right? That’s just the beginning!
The product works by negotiation. Sometimes, being positive is a bad thing. In this case, positive are exactly what M Goodees wants to get rid of for you. The tiny device, which plugs directly into one of your car’s cigarette lighter ports, draws the energy that it needs to create ozone out of regular, boring (but important) oxygen. The device slowly seeps out the ozone, which will interact with anything in the air and neutralize it. That includes any particles in the air that are producing negative smells. In a sense, the ozone that it creates will negate the scents of other particles in the air, making your car much more fresh and clean smelling (or, in a sense, making your car smell either slightly like ozone, or like nothing at all). Ozone produces a smell fairly similar to chlorine. You’ll know it’s working when you can start to smell what is equivalent to a disinfectant.
The device is handy to have, particularly for those who really despise have pungent, oppressive scents emitted from different air fresheners. The M Goodess device will provide you with fresh air, without the fake smells that comes from chemical-based air fresheners. Just a word to the wise: ozone can be dangerous if in high quantities, so it’s best to avoid placing your face directly on the device for long periods of time. Not that you were going to do that, of course. This device comes with relatively mixed reviews, but sits nicely at a 3.5/5 average star rating on Amazon. Most customers like it, some believe it does absolutely nothing for them. At under $15, it’s not a hard choice to make: try it out!
Car Air Freshener Buyer’s Guide
That new car smell can’t last forever–unless, of course, you get an air freshener with that scent! Car air fresheners come in almost every shape, size and form factor these days. Some are better than others, but each has certain benefits that you might find valuable.
The little tree car air fresheners are some of the oldest styles of air freshener. The form and function of these air fresheners are pretty simple. A cardboard cut-out shape, which sometimes comes in other shapes beyond just a tree, is covered in scents or perfumes of various kinds. As it’s exposed to air, the freshener excretes the scent. Eventually, all free molecules are used up. Little trees tend to be effective for 1-2 months or more, depending on the brand. It’s important to note that “Little Trees” is a trademark brand. There are other companies that make these types of air fresheners with other shapes. Any that are shaped like the iconic evergreen tree are likely from the Little Trees brand. These are often very inexpensive, typically valued at under $1.00 each. They are usually sold in packs of 3 or more.
Deodorizers work by absorbing the molecules in the air that produce scent. Deodorizers contain one of many various types of compounds that when naturally combined with the scent-producing molecules in the air, undergo a small chemical reaction that changes them into a salt compound. This is how, how example, baking soda deodorizes the air in your fridge. The process works somewhat similar to charcoal air fresheners, except that there is a chemical reaction with a deodorizer that leaves the material changed. Most deodorizers work in two ways, first by removing the molecules from the air, and by releasing a scent upon when that chemical change occurs. You’ll know your deodorizer is spent when it’s no longer removing bad smells, or when you can no longer smell the scent it was designed to produce.
Sprays are a common and effective car air freshener method. These work by expelling an aerosol material into the air. This material can either be a perfume scent or a scent mixed with molecules designed to absorb scent from the air as they fall to the ground. Febreze is perhaps the most well-known label for this kind of air freshener, although their fresheners are not typically designed specifically for cars. However, any spray that works as an air freshener can conceivably be used in a car.
That said, many sprays are designed for cars, with scents that are more commonly found (and culturally accepted) in cars over households. The price of sprays typically range between $5-$10 dollars and offer a good amount of use per spray. They also offer the flexibility to allow your car to smell nice when you want. As some users may be assaulted by the constant scents produced by other air fresheners, this may be a valuable choice for some.
Ionic Air Purifiers
The only type of car air purifier that needs electricity to operate, ionic air purifiers are backed by interesting science to make them operate. These purifiers use electrical charges to ionize the air. The negatively charged ions attract the positively charged molecules in the air. Once these positively charged molecules hit the generated negative ions, they become grounded. The effect is similar to static electricity. The molecules are drawn toward the electrode in the ionizer. The effect is the generation of small amounts of ozone, (O3) which can be poisonous in large amounts.
These devices hook into the car’s 12V receptacle. They typically cost $20-$30, although some higher end models may cost more. These devices do not produce any perfumes or scents, although those who can recognize the smell of ozone may notice the smell of the ozone byproduct. This smell generally indicates that the device is working, although these devices often have a limited range.
Air Vent Clip-On
Air vent clip-ons are simple, yet effective. Filled with a liquid perfume, these car air fresheners clip onto the folds of a car’s air vent. As the air passes over and through the clip-on, it draws molecules from the liquid up and out of the device. Eventually, these molecules will be fully depleted. The amount of time these last depends on how frequently they are exposed to move air from the air vents. Warm air also causes them to get used up much faster. Prices for this type of car air freshener can vary from as low as $3.00 to more than $10 for a single freshener. The rated lifecycle of the clip-on and the brand will directly impact the price.
Charcoal Air Purifiers
Although not an entirely new concept, charcoal air purifiers use fairly simple science to operate. These car air fresheners typically carry no scents. Instead, they utilize a porous bag filled with charcoal of some kind, ground down into fine flakes. The charcoal can be made of any woody plant material, with coconut and bamboo a popular source.
These air fresheners work through activated carbon. Charcoal is composed primarily of carbon, a common element, that is extremely porous. As air moves through the bag, molecules in the air get stuck into the microscopic crevices of the carbon. This has an air purifying effect. These are highly favored for being environmentally friendly and reusable under certain conditions. Prices range from $10 to $20 dollars, with many of these fresheners coming in cute and fun shapes and sizes.