The 11 Best Air Fresheners of 2023

The Pura Smart Fragrance Diffuser is our number-one pick

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Best Air Fresheners

The Spruce / Chloe Jeong

Air fresheners help mask odors while gracing your space with a pleasant scent. We researched and tested numerous options ranging by type, fragrance, and scent duration.

We should note that air fresheners may contain chemicals such as phthalates, which can adversely affect some bodily functions. We considered the presence of those and other chemicals in the air fresheners we recommend below.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall

Pura Smart Fragrance Diffuser

Pura Smart Fragrance Diffuser


What We Like
  • Smart controls

  • Holds two cartridges

  • Ambient night light

What We Don't Like
  • Alternatives can cost less

The Pura Smart Diffuser allows you to personalize your air-freshening experience from your smartphone or tablet. Just plug it into an outlet, adjust the settings, and then sit back and relax while a light, pleasant scent disperses through your space.

This user-friendly device calls on low heat diffusion to create microscopic droplets of fragrance. It holds two cartridges at once, so you can switch between scents with a quick tap, depending on your mood. It can also be paired with Nest fragrance oil cartridges.

What's more, you can schedule when you want it on and off, adjust the scent intensity, and even use it as an ambient night light. The diffuser itself and the refills are pricey, but it might be worth the investment for the high-quality, customizable design.

Price at time of publish: $70

Type: Plug-in diffuser | Amount: 1 ounce | Scent Duration: 4 hours

Best for Bathrooms

Poo-Pourri Before-You-Go Toilet Spray

Poo-Pourri Before-You-Go Toilet Spray


What We Like
  • Clever concept

  • Effective

  • Easy to use

  • No phthalates

What We Don't Like
  • Directions aren't intuitive

Poo-Pourri earned a 4.8 out of 5 score from our home tester. This bathroom freshener pre-emptively coats the toilet water with a scented-oil barrier to prevent odors from escaping. We're pleased to report that it definitely works. 

The concept is undoubtedly clever, and we appreciate the all-natural formula. That said, while the directions on the bottle are clear, one potential drawback is that you can't necessarily expect every person to read them and use it as directed.

Price at time of publish: $8

Type: Spray | Amount: 0.3–16 ounces | Scent Duration: 1 hour

Best for Smoke

Febreze Odor-Eliminating Air Freshener Spray

Odor-Eliminating Air Freshener Spray


What We Like
  • Instant results

  • Patented technology

  • Neutralizes odors

What We Don't Like
  • Strong scent

Febreze is your best bet when trying to clear the air of a smoky smell. Just spray it in a sweeping motion throughout the space you're trying to freshen up, and be amazed by the instant results.

The brand has a patent on its reliable deodorizing technology. Instead of masking smells, it neutralizes alkaline and acidic particles in the air (i.e., the stinky ones) with a chemical reaction. The scent can be a bit strong, but it dissipates within an hour or two.

We note that the ingredients list "fragrances," which could include phthalates, Please check the label for complete ingredients information.

Price at time of publish: $20

Type: Aerosol spray | Amount: 8.8 ounces | Scent Duration: 1–2 hours

Best for Cars

Febreze Car Air Freshener Vent Clip

Febreze Car Air Freshener Vent Clips


What We Like
  • Effective

  • Adjustable intensity

  • User-friendly

What We Don't Like
  • Could last longer

The Febreze Vent Clip is the best car air freshener. This handy product makes it easy to give pet, kid, and stale-food smells the boot—just attach it to your car's air vent, and let it share its clothesline or Hawaiian scent. The manufacturer claims that it lasts up to 30 days.

This air freshener attaches to a vent; we like that you can adjust the intensity using the little dial. However, we should note that each clip only lasts about a month on the lowest setting, so you'll need to switch them out relatively often.

We note that the ingredient list includes "fragrances," which could include phthalates, Please check the label for complete ingredient information.

Price at time of publish: $13

Type: Air powered | Amount: 0.06 fluid ounces | Scent Duration: up to 30 days

Best Natural

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Room Refresher Spray

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Room Freshener


What We Like
  • Plant-derived ingredients

  • Cruelty-free

  • Instant results

  • No phthalates

What We Don't Like
  • Not long-lasting

If you're partial to natural formulas, this one's for you. Mrs. Meyer's Room Refresher boasts a blend of thoughtfully selected, plant-derived ingredients. Sprayed in a non-aerosol manner, it instantly freshens up your indoor air and leaves a light lavender scent in its wake.

We like that this product doesn't contain any parabens, phthalates, or artificial colors, and the non-aerosol bottle doesn't use propellants. It's also Leaping Bunny Certified as cruelty-free. We note, however, that the effects seem to vary, from long-lasting to needing re-spraying several times per day.

Price at time of publish: $16 (pack of 3)

Type: Spray | Amount: 8 ounces | Scent Duration: 30 minutes

Best Continuous

Air Wick Plug-In Scented Oil Starter Kit

Plug-In Scented Oil Starter Kit


What We Like
  • Affordable

  • User-friendly

  • Adjustable intensity

What We Don't Like
  • Strong scent

  • Ingredients list numerous chemicals

Interested in something that continuously emits fragrance into your home? Check out this plug-in option from Air Wick. The diffuser uses little essential oil cartridges, warming the scent and releasing it upwards and outwards. For maximum scent distribution, make sure you plug this in with the product facing upright.

The scent—which the manufacturer describes as "aromatic lavender essence rounded off with gentle chamomile and precious woods"—is somewhat strong, but you can choose from five intensity settings. It's super budget-friendly, too—the starter kit only runs you a few bucks, and the refill cartridges are even more affordable. To replace a cartridge, you simply insert a refill into the plug-in until you hear a click. The refills should be compatible with any similar Air Wick warmer.

When we looked to see when "fragrances" weree listed as ingredients, we were directed to the manufacturer's website, which lists many chemicals under "fragrance component."

Price at time of publish: $3.50

Type: Plug-in diffuser | Amount: 0.7 ounces | Scent Duration: 60 days

Best Spray

Caldrea Linen & Room Spray Air Freshener

Caldrea Linen and Room Spray Air Freshener


What We Like
  • Natural formula

  • Light scent

  • Natural formula

  • You can purchase various sizes

What We Don't Like
  • Scent doesn't circulate

  • Ingredients include "fragrance"

We also like Caldrea Linen & Room Spray. The natural formula is made without parabens, formaldehyde, or artificial dyes, leaning on a blend of essential oils to freshen up your rooms and fabrics with a light fragrance without leaving behind stains.

This is one of the few products we evaluated that expressly state that they can be sprayed on laundry. In fact, we note that buyers have effectively used this as a fabric softener!

It doesn't offer a continuous scent experience and doesn't circulate around your space. Still, this spray is an excellent choice for those who are looking for a once-in-a-while air freshener in the $10 range.

The ingredients list notes several natural products but also lists "fragrance," which could imply the presence of phthalates.

Price at time of publish: $12

Type: Spray | Amount: 16 ounces | Scent Duration: 2 hours

Best Gel

Renuzit Gel Air Freshener

Renuzit Gel Air Freshener


What We Like
  • Adjustable intensity

  • No plug or batteries needed

  • Biodegradable

What We Don't Like
  • Must be replaced often

Renuzit makes our favorite gel air freshener. This freestanding cone can be placed anywhere—no outlet or batteries needed. It releases fragrance with a twist of the cap, and you can adjust the intensity as needed.

The solid, biodegradable gel is made of 98 percent naturally sourced ingredients. It comes in over two dozen scents, ranging from fresh rain to calming lavender to apple-cinnamon. You have to replace the cones often, but you can get a set of 12 for around $15.

This product lists "fragrance" among its ingredients, which could indicate the presence of phthalates.

Price at time of publish: $14 (pack of 3)

Type: Freestanding gel mister | Amount: 7 ounces | Scent Duration: 5–7 days

Best Plug-In

Glade PlugIns Scented Oil Air Freshener Starter Kit

Glade PlugIns Air Freshener Start Kit


What We Like
  • Reasonably priced

  • Adjustable intensity

  • Long-lasting

What We Don't Like
  • Takes up entire wall outlet

Glade PlugIns is a great set-it-and-forget-it option. This plug-in diffuser warms the essential oils within the easy-to-replace cartridges, and you can adjust how much you want released into your home.

Each cartridge lasts about 50 days. This is impressive, considering that the starter kit is less than $20 and comes with five refills. The only drawback is that the device takes up an entire standard wall outlet, leaving no room to plug in anything else below or above. However, the product does rotate to fit horizontal outlets. However, we note that the product must remain upright so oil won't fall out of it.

The ingredients list "fragrance oil," which could indicate the presence of phthalates.

Price at time of publish: $19

Type: Plug-in diffuser | Amount: 3.4 ounces | Scent Duration: 50 days

Best Automatic

Glade Automatic Spray Refill and Holder Kit

Glade Automatic Spray


What We Like
  • Reasonably priced

  • Freestanding design

  • User-friendly

What We Don't Like
  • Limited timer settings

  • Doesn't

We're also big fans of Glade Automatic Spray. This freestanding air freshener uses two AA batteries and can be placed virtually anywhere in your home. You can set it to dispense a burst of fragrance once every nine, 18, or 36 minutes. (A few more timer settings would be nice, but we appreciate the adjustability.) You can also press a button to spray the scent whenever you please.

Considering that each refill lasts 60 days, when set for 36 minutes, this is a pretty decent deal for under $15. The refills also are a snap to change, with an easy-open latch.

We do have a problem with the way the manufacturer says they "believe in . . . ingredients that are authentic" and then decline to mention them, saying only "air freshener." We strongly recommend reading the product label for full disclosure.

Price at time of publish: $12

Type: Automatic spray | Amount: 6.2 ounces | Scent Duration: 60 days

Best Diffuser

Air Wick Essential Mist Oil Diffuser Starter Kit

Essential Mist Oil Diffuser


What We Like
  • Portable and cordless

  • Freestanding design

  • Adjustable intensity

What We Don't Like
  • Batteries die quickly

The Air Wick Essential Mist is another freestanding unit we like. This essential oil diffuser is portable and cordless—no outlet required—and each refill cartridge lasts up to 45 days. Since it's cordless, you can take it anywhere you might feel a need to spruce up the air, such as a hotel room.

It runs for 8 hours, then switches to standby mode for 16 hours. The scent lasts the entire time it's powered down, but you can adjust the intensity if needed. You can set it to deliver mists over different intervals as well: Low (4-second mist, 17-minute pause), Medium (5-second mist, 12-minute pause), and High (6-second mist, 10-minute pause).

Refills change easily by inserting them into the bottom of the unit, and you can purchase refills in any of five fragrances. This product uses three AA batteries, which die pretty quickly, so make sure you have plenty on hand.

The manufacturer lists the ingredients, which include "fragrance," indicating the possible presence of phthalates.

Price at time of publish: $11

Type: Oil diffuser | Amount: 0.7 ounces | Scent Duration: 45 days

Final Verdict

The best air freshener for homes is the Pura Smart Fragrance Diffuser. This plug-in device syncs with your smartphone or tablet, allowing you to switch between scents and adjust the settings from anywhere. For something more affordable, consider Glade PlugIns Scented Oil Air Freshener. If you're interested in a manual spray, go with Caldrea Linen & Room Spray.

What Look for in an Air Freshener


There are various types of air fresheners, including sprays, gels, diffusers, and automatic misters that plug into the wall, like the Glade Automatic Spray Kit. If you have small children or pets, a plug-in might not be the best option unless your outlets are high enough that they're out of reach. Gels and sprays can also be dangerous if ingested, so make sure they're stored accordingly.

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 arguably more convenient than having to spray from a pump bottle every few hours. It might be a better pick for areas with consistent smell issues, such as the bathroom. On the other hand, if you only want to freshen the air on certain occasions, such as when company is coming over, it might be easier just to spray the air before guests arrive.


Do you want a fragrant air freshener or one with a more subtle scent? When making this decision, consider family members, friends, pets, or co-workers who might be sensitive to heavy perfumes.

You also need to decide whether you want to control the level of fragrance released, as with the Renuzit Gel Air Freshener, if that's important to you. Some air fresheners let you adjust the intensity, while others are all or nothing.

Please also note that "fragrance" is often listed as an ingredient. This omnibus description may include phthalates, which have been found to increase the risk of allergies. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency advises consumers to avoid products with those ingredients.


If you have strong odors, you need to treat the source of the smell in addition to adding a freshener. Nothing smells worse than bad odors mixed with perfume. However, sometimes you 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 refreshing, those methods should work fine.

Scent Duration

Consider the scent duration, as well. Manual options you spray into the air usually last two to four hours. On the other hand, automatic air fresheners, such as the Air Wick Plug-In Kit, continuously release fragrance into the air until the cartridges run out, which can be anywhere from five to 60 days.

Coverage Area

Some air fresheners are better for deodorizing and refreshing small spaces, but others have a strong enough fragrance to easily cover a larger space, as with Febreze Air Freshener Spray and Glade PlugIns Scented Oil Air Freshener.

  • How do air fresheners work?

    Air fresheners contain odor-eliminating ingredients that are distributed into your space to help neutralize bad smells. These ingredients capture odor molecules and oxidize them, effectively killing the bad odor. Popular aerosols offer pressurized sprays that evaporate into the air, reacting with the free-moving molecules that cause foul smells. The result is a cleaner, fresher scent. When shopping for an air freshener, keep an eye out for one that actually eliminates the odor, rather than masking it, as those can make smells worse.

  • How long do air fresheners last?

    Different types of air fresheners have different lifespans. While aerosol sprays only last one to three days on average, a gel-based air freshener can typically last up to four weeks without fading. You can make your air freshener last longer by adding a drop or two of essential oil to amp up the scent.

  • Are air fresheners safe for kids and pets?

    In addition to containing phthalates and other chemicals, some air fresheners can harm pets when inhaled if they have a concentration of VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Essential oils, artificial fragrances, and other chemicals found in air fresheners can be toxic to animals and humans if ingested.

    For these reasons, it's important to never spray air fresheners on or near your pet or child. As with all cleaning products, store them securely and out of reach.

  • What is the difference between an air freshener and an odor eliminator?

    An air freshener simply refreshes your indoor air with a pleasant scent, while an odor eliminator actually gets rid of unpleasant smells. Air fresheners can help mask odors, but for irritants such as bathroom smells, smoke, or stale food, opt for something that neutralizes or absorbs them. Some of the best air fresheners do both, simultaneously emitting a fragrance and deodorizing.

  • What type of air freshener lasts the longest?

    The longest-lasting air freshener usually is something that continuously sprays the air, such as a plug-in diffuser or a freestanding battery-powered device. With that type of product, the cartridges can last anywhere from 30 to 60 days, whereas room sprays last a few hours at most.

Why Trust The Spruce

Theresa Holland is a freelance commerce writer and product tester who specializes in home improvement, decor, and lifestyle. For this story, she compiled insights from our home testers and then researched today's best air fresheners. She then narrowed the list down to the most effective, user-friendly options for every preference and use. Holland has been contributing to The Spruce since 2019, covering home scents, cleaning products, and organizational solutions.

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Air fresheners – What you need to know. New Jersey Department of Health.

  2. Green cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting: A curriculum for early care and education. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

  3. What are volatile organic compounds (VOCs)? 2022. Web.U.S. Evironmental Protection Agency

  4. Steinemann A. Fragranced consumer products: exposures and effects from emissions. Air Qual Atmos Health. 2016;9(8):861-866. doi:10.1007/s11869-016-0442-z

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