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Best Car Air Purifiers In 2019 – (Product Reviews & Buying Guide)

Does your car have a not-so-pleasant smell, to say the least? Maybe you’ve just bought a used one from a heavy smoker, or someone who made a home out of it for their pet(s)? Or maybe you’re just growing worried about all the pollution around us these days, and are trying to cut down on the consequences as much as possible?

In any case, an air purifier for your vehicle may help solve the issue (thanks, technology!). You can also count on it to make the atmosphere in your there cleaner, healthier and safer for both you and your passengers.

But first, what is a car air purifier and what does it do? In this article, we’ll go through the ins and outs of them and ultimately help you decide which one is the best option for your vehicle.

Picture of car air ventilation system with leaf placed on the left hand side one

So, read on to learn more about choosing one of these useful devices and why exactly they’re beneficial for your car. We’ll also give you a rundown of the best car air purifiers we think will help make your shopping experience easier.

Our Top Recommendations for the Best Car Air Purifiers

Note: Clicking the above links will take you to further information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon.

What is a Car Air Purifier?

Car air purifiers stemmed from a need by asthmatics, to reduce the number of allergen attacks. Because nobody wants to breathe in germs and dirt, it’s no surprise that they have gained so much popularity. Clean oxygen only, thank you very much!

Purifers are not to be confused with car air fresheners. A freshener simply deodorizes, or masks smells floating in the air inside a car, whereas a purifier aims to filter and clean the air before it ever gets into the car in the first place.

There are different types of purifiers on the market; each one is made and works in a different way. Some use small amounts of ozone to clean the atmosphere, and others will use a true HEPA filter. Others will also use natural properties like charcoal to filter the air.

When driving, you subject yourself to all kinds of pollution. Whether it’s exhaust fumes from other vehicles or just a bad odor in general, a car air purifier will greatly reduce potentially harmful allergens.

Depending on what you’re looking to achieve, this product may not always be necessary, though. In some cases, you may just need to give your car a good clean from the inside.

Sources of Air Pollution

Air pollution is a mixture of solid particles and gasses that pollute the atmosphere.

It can build up in your car for any number of reasons, even if you don’t smoke in there or own any pets you have ride along with you (dander, anyone?). Simple things such as dust and exhaust fumes are common culprits.

This can cause a lot of issues while driving, especially if you suffer from asthma or other breathing problems – which puts both your safety, that of your passengers and everyone around you on the road at risk.

For more information on such pollution and how it can affect you, check out the Youtube video below.

Which Methods of Air Purification Do These Products Use?

We briefly mentioned above the different types available, and now we’ll go into more detail to help you make a decision as to which is the right product for your needs.

Purifiers are made in all sorts of different types and designs, and components change from product to product. Here are the most common ones you’ll come across.

Car-Air Ionizer

This type works by releasing a negative ion charge into the air, and it doesn’t use a filter. The negatively charged ions attach to the harmful particles and bring them to the surface, so they are easier to clean.

They typically emit small amounts of ozone, essentially to give your car a “shock” and eliminate most toxins and pollutants. If you’re based in California, these may not be available to you as this state has heavily regulated ozone-emitting devices.

These are usually very small and plug right into the 12-volt power socket. They don’t require much power at all either, so they’re really low maintenance.

Ionizers are especially effective if you need to get rid of smoke odors inside your car or other persistent smells from your car’s interior.

HEPA and HESA Filters

HEPA filters tend to be the most common type. They’re made up of a lot of tiny glass fibers, and once the fibers are formed, they’re made into mats and then manipulated into an accordion pattern.

They are then put into a case and are ready to filter particles through in order to clean the area. These filters are good for catching particles, but are not recommended for gas removal, as gas will pass right through the coils.

On the other hand, HESA stands for high-efficiency specific air filter, and these filters are meant to take care of strong odors and gasses that a HEPA filter can’t remove.

These filters are best for people with allergies, since they will capture most allergens.

Activated Carbon Generator

As the name suggests, these filtration systems contain activated charcoal, which is a natural way to reduce toxins. Activated charcoal is used in all types of products ranging from car air purifiers to face masks.

Activated charcoal is like a magnet for toxins and other chemicals in the atmosphere, like benzene and formaldehyde. It works to pull all of those unwelcome visitors away from the source to leave the area much cleaner.

Activated carbon generators are best for removing harmful gasses and their odors from the air in your vehicle. These are particularly effective because they capture small particles that other filtration systems might miss.

Air Freshener

While these aren’t technically air purifiers, they’re still a good option to consider if you want a particular scent in your ride. Perhaps you forgot food in your car for some time, and were left with a delightful smell?

In these cases you don’t really need something to purify the air, you just need something to get it to smell fresh.

Utilize them after you’ve used a car air purifier to get rid of any unwanted pollutants, since air fresheners only work to mask the odor and are not an effective solution on their own.

What Should I Look For In A Car Air Purifier?

How Loud Is It?

If it’s noisy when in use, this can be a major distraction to you on the road.

If you’re trying to listen to your favorite radio station, you’re probably going to be pretty annoyed if you can’t hear it all that well. Even worse, if you’re one to be easily distracted, this might put your safety (and that of others with/around you at the time) at risk.

So, you’ll want to be sure to choose one that isn’t going to make loud, disruptive noises while you’re driving.

Purifiers, in general, shouldn’t make more than a dull noise. The more quiet it is, the better. If for some reason yours is extra noisy, this could mean the fan is overheating, and this can be dangerous. In that case, it’s advisable to remove it and call the company and ask for a refund or replacement.

How Will It Fit in My Car?

While some car air purifiers plug into your vehicle’s power outlet, others will require placement in other areas. This could be behind a headrest or in your cup holder.

There are also ones that come in bags; these can easily be placed underneath your seat or in another discreet location. Keep in mind the size and design of your car interior and how a certain product will fit.

Every product is different, so the installation will vary, depending on which one you buy. If you choose to go with an ionizer, don’t worry about facing difficulties when it’s time to install it – it’s super easy. All you do with these is connect them to your power outlet and they will get right to work.

Other air purifiers may require a little more work. If they need to be fastened to the back of your headrest, be sure to look out for products that come with everything you need for installation. This will make your life a million times easier than trying to jury-rig it into place.

Also try to look for one that’s lightweight, heavy car air purifiers can be annoying to deal with for one too many reasons.

Does It Require a Lot of Maintenance?

Just like any other device, car air purifiers will require at least some amount of maintenance and upkeep. In order to keep it running effectively, it is important to clean the filter out regularly.

When making a purchase, keep in mind how easy or difficult it is to maintain the purifier. If it’s easy, you should be able to clean it regularly. If it seems more difficult or downright impossible, you may just have to keep purchasing replacement filters!

A product which has some sort of signal or notification, one that alerts you when it’s ready to be changed or replaced, is a major plus.

If your purifier has a HEPA filter — as many purifiers do — there is a proper way to clean the filter so that you don’t have to keep replacing it unnecessarily.

Check out this YouTube video below to learn how to properly clean your air purifier and filter. Cleaning it out once a month will go a long way in helping it last a long time.

Cost

Try to keep it budget friendly whenever possible, because – and I’m sure you agree with me on this – we all already spend enough on our cars already!

The Best Car Air Purifiers – a Detailed Look at Our Top Recommendations

Nobody wants to breathe dirty air — especially not someone with allergies or breathing issues.

Whether you suffer from asthma or any other breathing-related problems, and you just want to breathe easier while driving, a car air purifier should definitely be high on your list of items to consider purchasing.

We’ve combed through all of the options on the market and narrowed it down to this list of what we believe is the best of the best, as well as a mini review section for each.

So, check out our favorites below.

California Home Goods Bamboo Charcoal Air Purifying Bag

Bamboo Charcoal Air Purifying Bag (4 Pack), 200g Natural Air Purifying Bags, Activated Charcoal Odor Eliminators, Car Air Purifier, Closet Freshener, Home Air Purifier, Odor Eliminating Charcoal Bags

If the thought of an ionizer and its production of ozone makes you uncomfortable, this more natural option may be a better choice for you. These purifying bags by California Home Goods are filled with activated charcoal.

We like these purifying bags because they’re reusable and will work just about anywhere. They can be used for up to two years and also come with a product lifetime guarantee, so if you aren’t satisfied, you’ll get your money back from the manufacturer.

These are especially useful if you’re a pet owner and you drive regularly with them. The bamboo charcoal will work as an eliminator against the worst of odors, so if your best paw friend has an accident or his smelly fur permeates the enclosed atmosphere, you won’t need to worry.

The bags are made from non-toxic material, so they are also safe for families with small children to use.

The company recommends laying these bags in the sun once a month to clear out the cavities of the charcoal. If you do this, they should last you quite a long time, and – if everything goes well – they can be reused for up to two years.

Features and Specifications

  • Product lifetime guarantee.
  • Non-toxic and eco-friendly.
  • Four bags of charcoal.
  • Specially formulated, carbon-activated bamboo charcoal.
  • Two years of use per bag.

What We Like

  • A natural approach to air purification.
  • Product lifetime warranty.
  • One bag will last for a long time.

What We Don’t Like

  • May give off a slight campfire smell at times.

Summary

For anybody trying to live a more naturalistic lifestyle, these bags are a great way to purify and clean the air in your car without feeling guilty. They are completely non-toxic, to the extent that the company even recommends dumping the bags in your garden after two years of use.

The contents are reusable, just leave them out in the sun to dry once a month, and they will work virtually anywhere. They can easily fit in small spaces such as gym bags and discreet spots in your vehicle, which is great for convenience. An excellent option if you’re looking for a mini car air purifier!

For more information about the California Home Goods bamboo charcoal bags, click this link.

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Philips GoPure Compact Air Purifier

PHILIPS GPC20GPX1 GoPure Compact 200 Car Air Purifier

If you’re looking for a product that works quickly and efficiently, this compact device from Philips is worth a look. It will remove up to 99% of toxins in your vehicle in a matter of just 15 minutes – quite impressive if you ask me!

The GoPure purifier has a unique three-layer filtration system, featuring both HESA and HEPA filters. Its pre-filter catches the big stuff — hair for example — and then the HEPA filter catches dust, pollen, and other bacteria.

After the air passes through the HEPA filter, the HESA filter steps in and reduces unpleasant odors, due to pollutants such as an exhaust and cigarette smoke.

It also comes with an automatic switch-on when you enter your vehicle and start it up, which saves you the effort of having to reach around to turn it on every time you’d like to use it.

Along with an LED light to indicate when it’s time to change the filter, it also comes equipped with air quality sensors — blue for excellent, yellow for fair, and red for poor quality.

It is recommended to change the filter every 8-12 months, depending on how frequently (or infrequently) you drive.

Features and Specifications

  • Healthy air indicator.
  • Sensor to change the filter.
  • 3-step filtration system.
  • Automatic switch-on.
  • Comes with 2 speed settings.
  • Comes with mounting accessories.
  • 12v Power cable length: 4 meters.

What We Like

  • HEPA and HESA filters.
  • Indicators for air quality and filtering change.
  • Turns on automatically when you start your vehicle.
  • 3-step filtration system ensures healthy air quality.

What We Don’t Like

  • Noise level might not be everyone’s definition of silent.

Summary

If you’re looking for something that will ensure good air quality in your vehicle, this is a great option for you.

This is especially a good option to consider if you have pets that ride along with you, or if you (or other passengers) tend to smoke in your vehicle.

The 3-step filtration system is also pretty hard to beat, as it gets down to the nitty-gritty and eliminates the odors and other pollutants from your vehicle.

Interested in the GoPure Compact Air Purifier? Click here for more details.

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Pure 3-in-1 Car Air Purifier

Car Air Purifier 3in1 Premium Stainless Steel HEPA Filter Ionizer w/Dual USB Quick Charge 3.0 USB-Eliminate Allergens Odor Smell, Smoke, Pets, Pollen Mold Bacteria w/Anti-Microbial Deodorizer

Mold and other bacterial build-up can often cause a very unpleasant experience for the senses, not to mention all the negative repercussions on your health as well.

Cars are a breeding ground for all kinds of gross pollutants, and this is where this 3-in-1 car air purifier can help you.

This product easily plugs right into the power socket in your vehicle, and it will work to eliminate odors caused by smoke, mold, and many other factors.

While it is considered to be an ionizer, it still comes equipped with a HEPA filter to catch the stuff that the ionizer may miss.

Keep in mind that this one does emit some ozone, however. If this concerns you at all, maybe it’s best to check out another option.

This purifier is also great if you want something that won’t take up a ton of space in your car. It also has a sleek design for anyone who likes a certain aesthetic.

The Pure 3-in-1 car air purifier also comes equipped with USB charge ports and cables with quick charge capabilities, and they are compatible with all Android and Apple products for everyone’s convenience.

Features and Specifications

  • Ionizer and HEPA filter.
  • 2 USB charge ports.
  • Quick charge USB cords for Android and Apple.
  • Minimal sound output.

What We Like

  • Comes with USB ports and cables.
  • Great design.
  • Doesn’t make a lot of noise.

What We Don’t Like

  • Releases some ozone.

Summary

If multi-functionality is your fancy, this is a great unit for you.

Not only will it clean the air in your car while still allowing you to charge your phone, but you’ll get something that looks awesome while doing it too. Because it’s so compact, you might even forget that it’s there!

While it does release some ozone to help clean out the air, the amount emitted isn’t enough to cause any harm to your body. This may be off-putting for some, but if you don’t mind this, then check out the link below to see if the Pure 3-in-1 car air purifier is the right product for you.

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

FRiEQ Car Ionizer Air Purifier

FRIEQ Car Air Purifier, Car Air Freshener and Ionic Air Purifier | Remove Dust, Pollen, Smoke and Bad Odors - Available for Your Auto or RV

If you’re specifically looking for an ionizer, this product by FRiEQ is a good option to consider. Like other ionizers, this one emits a safe amount of ozone to clear your car of contaminants, kill viruses and harmful bacteria.

This is a great choice to consider since not only can you use it in your car, but it can also be used as a home air purifier (or at the office) as well. In order to do that, however, you will need an adapter that it can plug into. If you own an RV, this will work well in there too. Keep in mind that these should not be plugged into an adapter with more than 12v of power.

Its attractive design is great for those of you who don’t want an eyesore in their vehicle.

It should give you around a solid 12 months of use, depending on how often you’re in the car.

Features and Specifications

  • Ionizer.
  • Emits a safe amount of ozone.
  • Compact and attractive design.
  • Dispels smoke quickly.
  • Neutralizes contaminants.
  • Works in the car as well as home or RV.

What We Like

  • Comes in a sleek design.
  • Will dispel smoke quickly.
  • More than one function, can also be used in the home with an adapter.

What We Don’t Like

  • Can’t be used in 24-volt powered outlets.
  • Not refillable or reusable.

Summary

This particular air purifier is great for car smokers because it dispels smoke quickly to eliminate the smell of cigarettes from your vehicle.

This means riding alongside you won’t be as annoying because of the smoke – which you’re better off quitting, by the way! Tobacco is bad for your health, but that’s another story for another day.

The only downsides to this purifier we could think of are that you will have to replace it every 12 months or so when it stops working, and the fact that it’s not suitable for 24v power outlets.

To learn more about the FRiEQ car air purifier ionizer, click this link.

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Thinkga Ionizer and Purifier

Thinkga Car Ionizer Air Purifier, Negative Ion Generator with Dual USB Port, Air Cleaner for Automobile and Small Room. Eliminator: Smoke, Dust, Mold, Allergens, Germs, Pollen, Pet Odors etc

If you’re looking for a bigger ionizer, this is a good one to consider. It sits comfortably in the cup holder of your vehicle and works to rid your car of unpleasant toxins and odors. It traps mold and dust, as well as other allergens such as pollen.

It comes in a cool black color and has an adapter that will plug right into your vehicle’s power outlet.

It’s also a great option if you’re looking for an effective product that won’t make too much noise. It gives off lower than 30 decibels of sound, making it virtually silent most of the time. It does have two working speeds, but this should not affect the amount of noise it gives off.

It can also be used in your home and other places as well, so you’re not just limited to using it in your car.

Being auto-operational, it will start once you turn on your car, which saves you time in case you’re in a hurry.

It works to refresh the air every five minutes, which makes it perfect for anyone who suffers from stuffiness, allergies or other breathing-related issues.

Features and Specifications

  • Low noise level.
  • Comes with two USB ports for mobile device charging.
  • Has two speed levels.
  • Unique size and design.
  • Auto operation.
  • Portable and compact.

What We Like

  • Great for travel.
  • Low noise level.
  • Has two USB ports for mobile device charging.
  • Aesthetically pleasing.

What We Don’t Like

  • Takes up space in one cup holder.
  • Although the noise level is low, it may be annoying for some users.

Summary

The Thinkga ionizer is great for anybody who travels a lot, whether that’s for work or leisure.

It can easily be transported from car to hotel room, and it’s also great for travel with friends because it comes with two USB ports, which works out well to avoid the battle of who gets to charge their phone first. No one wants to let the 3 year old inside of them out!

If you’re looking for a high-quality auto air purifier that is both portable and attractive, the Thinkga ionizer could be a great option for you. Check it out here.

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Nova 2.0 Ionic Air Purifier

Nova 2.0 Powerful Ionic Car Air Purifier - with Dual USB Chargers to Quickly Eliminate Allergens & All Funky Odors from Smoke, Pollen, Pets, Mold & Bacteria w/ Anti-Microbial Deodorizer Air Freshener

This product is a redesigned and improved version of the original Nova Ionic air purifier.

If you’re looking for something that doesn’t need to be replaced as frequently as other models out there and will still eliminate odors with effectiveness after months of use, this might be an excellent option for you to consider.

The Nova 2.0 will work to eliminate smoke, musty smells, mold, and other bacteria, as well as sports stench and more.

It will effectively work to remove the stench of dirt and sweat, which can make any car smell like a soiled locker room (yikes!). So, unless you enjoy smelling a men’s locker room every time you step into your car, consider choosing this Nova 2,0.

The purifier also comes equipped with two fast-charge USB ports. It does come with a charge cord too, but since it only comes with one, a second person will have to supply their own. The charger and USB ports are compatible with both Apple and Android mobile devices.

The company recommends that this model is most effective when used over a period of time, and not expecting stellar results overnight. So, keep in mind that you may not see a 100 percent change with the first use, and you might have to be more patient than you’d like.

Features and Specifications

  • Two fast-charge ports and a charge cord.
  • Most effective when used over a period of time.
  • Slight ozone smell.
  • Blue indicator light.
  • Powerful deodorizer.

What We Like

  • Comes with two fast-charge ports.
  • Compact and sleek design.

What We Don’t Like

  • Doesn’t give immediate results.
  • Will make some sound.

Summary

Needless to say, if you’re an athlete or you chauffer an athlete, then this could be the perfect car air purifier for you. No one said your car has to smell like dirty old gym socks!

This product will come as a major relief if this is something you struggle with.

Because it also comes with two charge ports, you won’t need to worry about any petty arguments over who gets to charge their phone first.

If you like the sound of the Nova 2.0, more details are available here.

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Eco Breeze Purifier and Ionizer

Eco Breeze Car Air Purifier and Ionizer, Air cleaner, Ionic air purifier, Car Air Freshener and Order Eliminator removers cigarettes Smoke, smell and bad odors - Blue

For those of you looking for a safe option that won’t annoy other passengers in your car, this may be the right one for you.

The Eco Breeze car air purifier is an ionizer that plugs directly into your cigarette lighter socket, and it can also be hung up if preferred.

This purifier will eliminate up to 99 percent of airborne bacteria and can be used as a car air freshener as well, which comes in very handy as a 2-in-1  product combination if you need a dual car air purifier and a car air freshener in your vehicle at the same time.

When this ionizer does its job effectively, it can actually help alleviate car sickness too.

The Eco Breeze eliminates cigarette smoke smell. This is great for anybody who suffers from asthma or has other breathing conditions.

Its unique color and sleek design are also ideal for anybody looking for a stylish option for their vehicle, one that stands out from the rest of the options out there.

Another great thing about this purifier is that it also works to dispel harmful chemicals such as benzene and formaldehyde from the air in your car. Eliminating these toxic pollutants will help ensure you’re breathing the cleanest air possible.

Features and Specifications

  • Fashionable and unique design.
  • Ozone generator.
  • CE (European Standards) certification.
  • FCC certification.
  • RoHS certification.
  • Increases concentration for longer driving.

What We Like

  • Can be plugged in or hung up.
  • Has several certifications to back it up and prove its worth.
  • Fashionable and sleek design.

What We Don’t Like

  • Uses ozone.

Summary

All in all, this is a great product for anybody who either smokes themselves or carries passengers that smoke.

Because this air purifier works well to dispel smoke and eliminate the odor, your drive will be a much more pleasant experience for everyone involved.

Find out more about the Eco Breeze here.

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Evtech Portable Car Air Purifier

EVTECH Portable Car Air Purifier, Car Ionic Air Freshener Removes Cigarette Smoke, Bacteria, Odor Smell with 2.1A Dual USB Ports Car Charger for iPhone, Samsung and Android Devices (Black)

If versatility is your jam, this is definitely one car air purifier to consider. It’s designed to have 360-degree spin-ability and can be bent at a 90-degree angle, so easily fits power outlets in awkward places.

It also comes with a dual USB port for charging your mobile devices.

This car air purifier will also increase the productivity of anion by 50 percent. This helps immensely in promoting a cleaner environment in your vehicle.

You’ll see a red light glowing to notify you that it’s turned on, and when the purifier is in use, press the on/off button and the light will glow blue so you know it’s working.

Features and Specifications

  • Comes with two USB ports.
  • Uses a wind turbine fan.
  • Rotatable and bendable for versatility.
  • Two indicator lights.

What We Like

  • Versatile: can be rotated and angled to fit your car.
  • Has two indicator lights.
  • Effectively removes harmful toxins in the air.

What We Don’t Like

  • Needs to be manually switched on every time.

Summary

This product is great because you can make it fit into your car exactly the way you want it to fit. You won’t have to worry about it getting in the way when you need to grab something because you can angle it in a way that’s most comfortable for you.

The only notable downside to this one that we could think of is that it doesn’t have an auto-start option. Because of this, you will need to remember to turn it on every time you get in your vehicle, which – as you can imagine – is bound to be problematic when you’re running late.

To get more information about this Evtech product, click this link.

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Conclusion

Nobody likes a smelly car, that’s for sure. Even if you’ve become nose blind to your car’s bad aromas, your passengers probably haven’t.

Air fresheners can only do so much as all they do is mask the problem temporarily, and not solve it from its root cause. So, investing in a quality car air purifier is a must.

Our favorite is the Bamboo charcoal air purifying bags by California Home Goods. Because they are eco-friendly and non-toxic, they make ideal car air purifiers for anybody who truly wants to breath naturally cleaned air. Plus, the charcoal formula eliminates pet odors, which is a major plus for all you dog-lovers out there riding around with your furry buddies!

What are your thoughts on car air purifiers? Are you concerned about those which emit ozone? If you have any questions or comments, let us know and we’ll do our best to help!

 

Product image credits: © Amazon.com

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Kyle Palmer

From childhood go karting and motocross, to collecting and obsessing over scalextric, matchbox and radio controlled cars, I've always had an obsession with cars. Learning through manuals, books, trial and error, and more knowledgeable family members, I've also enjoyed tinkering with the mechanics and electronics of any vehicles I've owned. Now, over 3 decades later, I've started this site as a place for me to share my knowledge, to teach others how to care for and maintain their vehicles themselves, at home, so they can get the most of their vehicles and save a pretty penny compared to always seeking out professional help.

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