The 8 Best Air Fresheners of 2021

Eliminate troubling smells with these favorites

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Our Top Picks
"Available in almost two dozen scents, this easy to use gel air freshener is small enough to be used in any room."
"Made to clip on to your car’s air vent, this air freshener allows you to easily adjust how much scent is released."
"This spray helps keep odors from ever leaving the toilet bowl and is free of aerosols and parabens."
"Plug in this air freshener and you can enjoy a scented fragrance in a wide variety of scents for almost two months."
"Choose to dispense a burst of fragrance every 9, 18, or 36 minutes with this automatic spraying kit."
"Made of essential oils, this linen and room spray is great for spaces, like bedrooms, that need just an occasional freshening up."
"Unscented, each small linen bag works in areas up to 90 square feet and can last for up to two years."
"This easy-to-use air purifier removes dust, lint, allergens, odors, smoke, and even tiny airborne substances from the air."

You may not realize how important it is to have fresh, clean air in your home—until there's a smell you can't shake. Stale stuffy air, combined with odors from laundry and gym wear, bathroom smells, left-over dinner aromas, and musty areas, can create an environment that your nose finds unbearable. Solutions vary, and range from sprays to gels to plug-ins and more. It's all about finding the right scent and medium for your space and the smells you're battling.

No matter why you want to give your space a boost, these are the best air fresheners.

Best Overall: Renuzit Gel Air Freshener

Renuzit Gel Air Freshener
What We Like
  • Easy to operate

  • Scent level is controllable

  • Variety of scents

  • Inexpensive

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn’t last long

It’s hard to find an air freshener more versatile than the Renuzit Gel Air Freshener. The 98 percent naturally sourced, biodegradable gel cone doesn’t require batteries, you don’t need to plug it into an outlet, and there’s nothing to spray. It’s easy to operate—just twist and lift the cap. You can control the amount of fragrance by raising or lowering the cap.

Since the gel cone is small, it will fit in almost any space, so you can use it in almost any room. They're also one of the less expensive options, so you can place one in every room and experiment with various scents.

Best of all, it comes in almost two dozen scents including After the Rain, Pure Breeze, Tranquil Falls, and Hawaiian Sunset. And if you like the scent of Snuggle Dryer sheets, the gel cone air freshener is also available in two Snuggle scents.

Best for Cars: Febreze Car Air Freshener Vent Clip

Febreze Car Air Freshener Vent Clips
What We Like
  • Easy to attach

  • Adjustable controls

  • Plenty of scents to choose from

What We Don't Like
  • Only lasts 30 days on the lowest setting

Considering everything that happens in your car—from eating and spilling food, transporting other humans and pets, and often driving with the windows up due to extreme cold or heat, it's normal for smells to develop. However, the Febreze Car Air Freshener Vent Clip makes it easy to banish those smells. As its name implies, you merely clip the air fresher to your car vent, and then you can adjust how much of the scent is released.

On the low setting, each vent clip lasts for an average of 30 days. There are over two dozen scents to choose from, including Linen & Sky, Fresh-Twist Cranberry, Sea Spray, and also two Gain Laundry Detergent scents.

Best for Bathrooms: Poo-Pourri Before-You-Go Toilet Spray

Poo-Pourri
What We like
  • Variety of sizes

  • Variety of scents

  • Natural ingredients

What We Don't Like
  • Available in very small amounts

One place you don’t want odors to linger: in the bathroom. It can often be embarrassing for both parties when one person is exiting the bathroom and another person is entering the space. Poo-Pourri Before-You-Go Toilet Spray can help you avoid such unpleasantries. By spraying the scent directly onto the water in the toilet bowl, a barrier is created to trap odors underneath the surface.

The spray is made of natural ingredients—including essential oils—and is free of aerosols and parabens. Besides the original citrus scent, it’s also available in other options, such as Lavender Peppermint, Lavender Vanilla, Tropical Hibiscus, and Vanilla Mint. You can also use Poo-Pourri in your kitchen trashcan, as well as in your laundry room or other areas with strong odors.

Best Plug-In: Glade PlugIns Air Freshener Start Kit

Glade PlugIns Air Freshener Start Kit
What We Like
  • Plenty of scent options available

  • Variety of scents

What We Don't Like
  • Must be plugged in

If you like air freshener options that you can set and forget, consider the Glade PlugIns Air Freshener Start Kit, which includes the fragrance warmer that you plug into an outlet and five refills. You can adjust the amount of scent that's released based on the size of the room and how strong you want the fragrance to be.

Some of the fragrance options you can choose from include Tropical Blossoms, Hawaiian Breeze, Apple Cinnamon, Cashmere Woods, Clean Linen, and Lavender & Aloe.

Best Automatic: Glade Automatic Spray Refill and Holder Kit

Glade Automatic Spray
What We Like
  • Beautiful design

  • Easy to refill

  • Choice of 3 settings

What We Don't Like
  • Limited settings for spraying times

Another set-and-forget option is an automatic spray air freshener. The Glade Automatic Spray Refill and Holder Kit uses two AA batteries and includes three settings so you can dispense a burst of fragrance every 9, 18, or 36 minutes—although there's an off setting as well for overnight or when you're away on a trip. In addition, there’s a Boost Button that you can press to release fragrance whenever you desire.

Each canister lasts for an average of 60 days, and the dispenser has a low refill indicator to let you know when it's time to swap out canisters. Aqua Waves, Clean Linen, and Blooming Peony & Cherry are some of the many fragrances available, depending on your likes.

Best for Bedrooms: Caldrea Linen and Room Spray Air Freshener

Caldrea Linen and Room Spray Air Freshener
What We Like
  • Large bottle

  • Clean smell

What We Don't Like
  • Scent is not continuously circulated

If you're like to add a fresh scent to your bedroom, the Caldrea Linen and Room Spray Air Freshener is perfect for you. Free from artificial colors, formaldehyde, aerosol, and parabens, it’s made of essential oils and is safe enough to spray in the air or even on garments and linens without leaving stains.

This spray is perfect if you don't need a continuous air freshener, but would like something to refresh your room every once in awhile. Scent options include Pear Blossom Agave, Rosewater Driftwood, Lavender Cedar Leaf, and more.

Best Charcoal: MOSO NATURAL Air Purifying Bag

MOSO NATURAL: The Original Air Purifying Bag


What We Like
  • Variety of sizes

  • No fragrances left behind

  • Can be used for two years

What We Don't Like
  • Must remember to put in the sun monthly

The MOSO Natural Charcoal Air Purifying Bag stands out because it is available in a variety of packaging and sizes. For example, there’s a free-standing option that lets you place it anywhere without worrying about it toppling over. There’s also a smaller size that can be hung in closets, bathrooms, or tucked into drawers. The car MOSO bag can be used in cars, SUVs, and trucks.

All of the MOSO bags are made of bamboo charcoal and are free from fragrances entirely. Each bag absorbs odors and moisture, and only requires one hour in the sun each month to maintain effectiveness. The bags last for up to two years and the contents are biodegradable. Plus, there is a place on each bag to write the date the packaging was opened, so you’ll remember when to put it in the sun, and when two years have passed, so you can recycle the bag’s contents in your backyard.

Best for Smoke: Air Choice Air Purifier

Air Purifier for Home


What We Like
  • True HEPA Air Filter

  • Unique design

  • Removes odors, smoke, dust

What We Don't Like
  •  Expensive

Sometimes, especially when you’re dealing with odors like smoke, you need something stronger than a traditional air freshener. The Air Choice Air Purifier is a small appliance that has a pre-filter that removes dust, lint, and allergens, in addition to an ionizer filter that removes odors and smoke, and a True HEPA filter that removes tiny airborne substances.

This air purifier is designed to clean 215 square feet of air in ten minutes, and refresh the air six times an hour.  It’s easy to operate with just one button that turns it on and off, and controls the three fan settings. The lowest setting is quiet enough that it won’t interrupt your sleep. At just about 5.5 pounds, it’s easy to move to different rooms when needed.

Final Verdict

The best overall air purifier is the Renuzit Gel Air Freshener (view at Amazon), which is a biodegradable gel cone and doesn’t need to be sprayed or plugged into an outlet. Twisting the cap up or down controls the amount of fragrance released, and it is available in a variety of scents. If you prefer no fragrance at all, the MOSO Natural Charcoal Air Purifying Bag (view at Amazon) uses bamboo charcoal to clean your air naturally. It’s also easy to care for, is biodegradable, and each bag lasts for two years.

What to Look for in an Air Freshener

Scent

Do you want fragrant air freshener or one with no scent? When making this decision, also consider others—and depending on your environment, this could be family members, friends, or even co-workers —who may be sensitive to heavy perfumes. Some air fresheners could make allergies and asthma worse, and pets can also be sensitive to artificial fragrances.

You’ll also need to decide if you want an air freshener that would allow you to control the level of fragrance released if that’s important to you. Some air fresheners let you adjust intensity, while others are more all or nothing.

Type

If you have children and pets, a plug in may not be the best option—unless the outlets are high enough that they can’t be reached. Gels and sprays can also be dangerous if ingested, so they'll need to out of reach of kids and pets. Bamboo charcoal is harmless from a poison perspective, but could be a choking hazard, if the bags are torn open. 

Choosing a type also means choosing how easy-to-use or customizable you want your air freshener to be. Something you can plug into an outlet or set on a table is more convenient than having to spray air freshener all of the time, and might be a better pick for areas with consistent smell issues, like a laundry room or bathroom. On the other hand, if you only want to freshen the air on certain occasions, like when company is coming over, it may be easier to just spray the air before your guests arrive.

Purpose

If you have strong odors, you'll need to treat the source of the smell in addition to adding a freshener on top of it. Nothing smells worse than bad odors mixed with perfume. However, sometimes you’ll need to experiment with products to find the one that works best for your needs. If moisture is a problem, bamboo charcoal does a better job of absorbing it than sprays or oils, but if your room just needs a gentle refresh, those methods should work fine.

Why Trust The Spruce?

Terri Williams is a professional writer who has tested hundreds of products. She has product review bylines at Tom’s Guide, and both home improvement advice and product review bylines at Realtor.com, Bob Vila, Apartment Therapy, and Heavy.com.

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