Holds a Master’s degree in Engineering and is keen on her own home’s climate. Sometimes we think that Carolina owns every single product she writes about – that’s how profound and insightful her reviews always are.
For 8 years, Richard had been working as an HVAC specialist and AC unit installer since his student years. Now, he’s our main consultant on every technical aspect that may arise during our tests and research.
Last updated: June 11, 2021
In our modern world, air quality can sometimes face a bit of a struggle, which is where air purifiers come in handy. These devices are a great modern solution for making the air around you cleaner and healthier, too. If you’re interested in a way to improve the air quality in your vehicle and also get rid of cigarette and gasoline odor, we’ve put together this list to help you find the best air purifier for car there is.
After hours of researching numerous air purifiers, we’ve decided the QUEENTY HEPA Car Air Purifier is the best of the best. It’s designed to fit anywhere in your car, boasts of a three-stage filtering system, including a true HEPA filter, and operates super quietly, at only 45dB.
We spent many hours going over the specifications of various air purifiers, comparing their product features and reading every customer review to help you pick the one which will best fit you and your car’s needs. To find the ideal model, we’ve looked at each one’s filtering technology (if it’s ionic, uses filters, or both), dimensions, and warranty. We’ll break down our findings in a table with quick-to-find details as well as a more detailed review for those who are looking for the nitty-gritty, followed by a buying guide for anyone ready to purchase their own best air purifier for cars.
More features: dual fans in the air outlet; 120 CFM; anti-slip mats; compatible for 99% cars; filters particles as small as 0.3 microns and larger and filters air pollution of PM 2.5.; 45-55 dB noise level; 8 LED indicator lights; aromatherapy option
Looking for an air purifier for your car? Then closely consider our top choice, the QUEENTY HEPA Car Air Purifier. This is a compact model that is designed to keep the air inside your car fresh all day long.
The model uses a three stage filtration system to remove the contaminants in the air. These filters include the pre-filter, a True HEPA filter, and a carbon filter. The pre-filter removes larger contaminants in the air while the HEPA filter focuses on removing particles as small as 0.3 microns. The carbon filter will eliminate smells.
Despite the impressive three stage filtration, it comes in a small, elegant package that will complement the look of your car’s interior.
If you or a passenger suffers from allergies or some respiratory problems, this is an excellent device to care for your health. Using smart technology, it periodically purifies the air. Inside the package are the device, a car charger and a manual.
It is pretty easy to use since it is a plug-and-play purifier. All you need to do is plug it and sit back as it does its work.
Since it is tiny, you can place it anywhere without suffering any blocked vision. With an average filter lifespan of six months, this is an economical option that will last. It is further aided by the stainless steel body that protects it from damage.
What makes it stand out?
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
Not for highly polluted areas
autowit Fresh Mini Car Air Purifier – Best Portable Air Purifier
Type: three-stage filtering; ionic
Filters: charcoal; true HEPA; nano silver
Negative ions per cm³: 8M
Dimensions: 7.1 x 7.1 x 11.7 inches
Warranty: not specified
More features: 3 speeds; fits in a car cup holder; aroma pads allowed
The autowit Fresh Mini Car Air Purifier is a purifier made to be easily portable between a vehicle and an interior space, making this the best portable air purifier for a car. It has a three-stage filtering system which works to eliminate odors such as cigarette smoke, dust, pollen, and other unpleasant odors, like body odor and food smells. Its automatic air quality indicator detects and indicates the quality of the air surrounding it and alerts you to the status with different colored LED lights. It’s powered via a USB cable which makes it a great choice for your office, and it fits in a car cup holder so you don’t have to worry about where to put it when you bring it with on a road trip. It has a silent mode option, making it a great choice for those who want quiet air purification, especially at night, and it has essential oil/aroma pad allowance for those who want extra scent with their purification, though some users stated that essentials oils ruined or melted the plastic on the purifier.
The expected lifespan of the filter is 3-4 months, though it could be less for anyone using it in a space with a high pollution level. Users also stated that the filters were easy to change and that it has no ozone smell, which makes it a great choice for an office setting and the best car air purifier for asthma.
Why is it special?
Silent mode option
Essential oil diffuser
Easy to change filter
What are the flaws?
Essential oils may ruin housing
Philips GPC20GPX1 – Best High-End Air Purifier
Type: three-stage filtering
Filters: pre-filter; HEPA and HESA
Dimensions: 6.9 x 6.9 x 2.9 inches
Warranty: not specified
More features: air quality indicator; 2 speeds
This Philips air purifier uses a three-stage filtering system to effectively and completely clean the air in your car or other small space. This filtering process eliminates up to 99% of bacteria, dust, odors, smoke, and dangerous gases. It also works well for allergens such as pollen and dander. This unit comes with a pre-filter, a HEPA filter, and a HESA filter. The HESA filter is designed to offer 3 times better tobacco smoke residue elimination than ionizing purifiers and because of this it’s the best air purifier for cigarette smoke removal for your car. The air particle sensor tells you with a lighting system the status of your air: red for poor, yellow for fair, and blue for excellent. It has two speeds and easy to use automatic on/off switch, which means this purifier will automatically shut off after a time period, so it won’t accidentally drain your car battery if you leave it running, though for some users, like truck drivers who have constantly running vehicles, the auto-off could sometimes be frustrating. Because this is designed for use in a vehicle it comes with mounting accessories, including suction cup, attachment belt, and anti-slide pad. Philips is a trustworthy brand name with years of experience in the air purification market, and users state that though this unit isn’t silent, it is very quiet. But like all HEPA filters, it can’t be cleaned, only replaced once it reaches the end of its lifespan, which can vary depending on how much use your purifier sees.
Airthereal Day Dawning ADH80 – Best for Heavy Pollution
Type: seven-stage filtering
Filters: pre-filter; true HEPA; activated carbon
Dimensions: 7.1 x 7.1 x 11.7 inches
Warranty: 2-year limited
More features: air quality indicator; 12v DC car adapter is included
The Airthereal Day Dawning ADH80 offers an exceptional seven stage filtering system, making it the best high-end car air purifier for heavy pollution. Its true HEPA filter eliminates the tiniest particles, though like all HEPA filters it can’t be cleaned, only replaced. The built-in air quality monitor lets this purifier automatically monitor the air quality of your car or home and increase or decrease the motor and fan speed to keep the air clean and fresh while not wasting or using excess power. This unit is designed for silent operation, which makes it a great choice for a child’s room, or for someone who is looking for an air purifier option that they can use in their bedroom at night, though probably not for someone who is looking for white noise to help them sleep.
It also comes with a 12-volt adaptor, making it portable between your office and your car, though it does weigh close to five pounds and is a larger unit so some people may have trouble finding a place for it to rest in their vehicle. Its filter change alert will let you know when it’s time to change the filter, which is about every 6-8 months depending on use. Finally, this unit comes with a child lock, so young children can’t press the buttons and accidentally change the settings.
The Pure Car Air Purifier is designed to be a powerful odor eliminator, from everything from mold, to dander, body odor, food smells, pet smells, and smoke. It generates safe levels of ozone that also eliminates viruses and kills harmful bacteria and eliminates all allergen causing materials in the air. This purifier is built to plug into your vehicle’s cigarette outlet or an adapter, but is also comes with a quick charge option, meaning it has two USB ports for different charging options for your android and apple devices. This turns any car into a place to charge your phone so you don’t have to worry about giving up the charging capabilities of the outlet.
It’s also important to note, though, that if you leave this purifier plugged into your car, it can drain the battery, so it’s important to remember to unplug it when not in use, even when the car is not running. Users also stated that it makes a sight whirring sound when its plugged in, but that the sound is minimal, and some people stated that it didn’t quite fit in their cigarette holder—it was too short to make the required contact needed to power the device, though others said rotating it often helps solve that issue. Finally, some users found the LED light too bright, though others enjoyed it.
What are its best features?
Additional USB charging ports
Money back guarantee
What could be improved?
May not fit in all vehicle outlets
LED light may seem to bright for some
FRiEQ Car Air Purifier – Budget Pick
Negative ions per cm³: 8M
Dimensions: 3.8 x 1.3 x 1.3 inches
Warranty: not specified
More features: blue LED light; plugs into the 12v cigarette outlet
The FRiEQ Car Air Purifier is our Budget Pick because it’s a great choice for almost any car, no matter the age or size. This purifier works by plugging directly into the cigarette outlet of the vehicle: no need to waste cupholder space or mess around with USB chargers. It’s a compact design with LED lights meant to enhance the appearance and interior of your car, though some users felt the LED light was too bright, especially for driving while at night. Others felt it was very pretty, however. It generates a safe level of ozone which works to eliminate unpleasant scents and odors as well as killing present, harmful bacteria.
The FRiEQ Car Air Purifier is incredibly easy to use. There are no control panels or buttons. You just have to plug it in to your cigarette outlet, or an adapter, when you want it to purifier your space and unplug it from the outlet when you want it to stop. Though remember to unplug it when you turn off your car or it could accidentally drain your car battery. But because it doesn’t have cleanable or replaceable filters, the lifespan of this unit is only about 12 months, and after that the entire purifier would need to be replaced. It has a very low price point, though, so this may be a good option for even the most money conscious consumer.
Why is it special?
Plugs into cigarette outlet
Pretty LED light
What are the flaws?
Whole unit would needs to be replaced after a while
Choosing the right model of whatever you’re looking for is always a tedious task. That’s why we’ve designed the guide below to help you be more aware of all the advantages car air purifiers have to offer.
Why does your car need an air purifier?
Because cars and vehicles tend to be a small, enclosed space, environmental hazards can easily creep in. Everything from cigarette smoke, to allergens such as dander and pollen, can inhabit the air you’re breathing while in your car. Not to mention scents like human body odor, pets, or even food smells.
Small particles that float in your air are inhaled and pulled deep into your lungs every time you breathe. Some of these particles can actually be harmful to you, causing everything from allergies to asthma, or even cancer in some extreme cases. Picking an air purifier for your car can be an easy and simple solution to removing odors from your vehicle as well as improving the air quality you’re breathing while in the car, making for a healthier, and cleaner, drive.
Features to consider while choosing a car air purifier
There are many different features to consider when shopping for an air purifier for your car. Some of them will be filter purifiers, and some of them will be ionizers. Some will fit in your cigarette outlet and some will need to be plugged in. Finally, others will be more portable, while some models will do best by staying in one place. It’s important to look at the variety of features such as the type of purifier, the type of filers used (if any,) the dimensions, warranty, and any extra features offered by the different air purifiers and figure out which is the best one for the needs of you and your car or space.
Ionization vs. filtration vs. both
Car air purifiers tend to come in three different varieties: those that purify the air through ionization, those that purify the air through a filtering system, and those that use a combination of both filters and ionization. There are pros and cons to all models, and none are better than the others, it just depends on what you’re looking for.
Ionization uses negatively charged ions which then attach to molecules, making them too heavy to inhale, so you can’t smell them any longer, though sometimes ionization can cause a bit of an ozone scent that may or may not be off putting to you.
Filters tend to use a system of multiple different types of filters, such as charcoal and HEPA to capture molecules and debris to purify the air. And car air purifiers that use a combination of both use filters and ionizers to purify the air. If you’re looking for a combination purifier, check out our second choice, the autowit Fresh Mini Car Air Purifier, which also fits nicely in a car’s cupholder.
Which filters it uses
Most air purifiers that use a filter tend to use a system of filtration, meaning there’s more than one filter inside the air purifier. Many of them have a pre-filter stage, which collects larger dust and debris, then a charcoal filter, which removes toxins, and then often a HEPA filter. HEPA stands for “high efficiency particle air” which basically means it’s a filter meant to trap very small particles from the air. HEPA-like filters can do a very good job of purifying air, but true HEPA filters can capture particles as small as 0.3 microns and scent molecules, helping contribute to a healthier environment.
True HEPA filters can’t be cleaned, however, which means once they’ve reached the end of their lifecycle, they’ll need to be replaced. If you’re looking for an air purifier with a true HEPA filter, check out our choice for the best high-end air purifier, the Philips GPC20GPX1.
Number of negative ions per cm³
Negative ions are typically measured per cubic centimeter. Healthy, outdoor environments tend to have high negative ions, anywhere from 2,000 to 4,000 negative ions per cm3, and lower levels of ozone and pollutants. So, most ionic purifiers aim to add negative ions to your space and lower pollutant levels. The negative ions are attracted to each other, and they cluster around and attach to microscopic particles in the air. This makes those particles heavier, which means they sink, and will no longer be inhaled by people. This is good because very small particles tend to be pulled furthest into the lungs when breathed in. Negative ions can be beneficial to your health when they occur at proper levels and they’re really good at removing pollutants and contaminates from the air, including unpleasant scents and smells such as cigarette smoke and body odors. If you’re interested in an ionic air purifier look to the autowit Fresh Mini Car Air Purifier, which is our choice for the Best Portable Air Purifier.
The dimensions of your car air purifier and one of the most important considerations when trying to decide which model to purchase.
If your air purifier is too big for your car or space, or to be easily portable, you’ll be irritated by its cumbersomeness or unable to even use it as often as you’d like. And if it’s too small, it may not have the required power to effectively purifier the air of the space you’re asking of it.
If you’re looking for a small air purifier, perhaps for a smaller car, check out our Budget Pick the FRiEQ Car Air Purifier, which one is also one of the best ionic air purifiers as well, and if you’re looking for a larger air purifier that could maybe tackle a bedroom or an office space besides a car look to our choice for Best for Heavy Pollution the Airthereal Day Dawning ADH80.
We all hope that there’s never any need to use a warranty for any of our purchases, but the truth is nothing lasts forever. Some air purifiers have longer life spans than others, and of course sometimes accidents happen. If you’re interested in an air purifier that comes with a good warranty, then look no further than the Airthereal Day Dawning ADH80 which comes with a 2-year limited warranty.
Extra features on your air purifier can take your machine from something that is useful, to something that may even be enjoyable. Many of the air purifiers on this list come with LED lights to help illuminate your car, or with simple one-touch buttons in order to make it easy to use. The Pure Car Air Purifier comes with two extra USB ports, so you don’t lose the charging space in your car when the air purifier is plugged into the cigarette lighter, the Airthereal Day Dawning ADH80 has an optional child lock to keep young children from changing the settings, and the autowit Fresh Mini Car Air Purifier is an essential oil diffuser as well as an air purifier, so it can remove noxious odors and release pleasant ones all in one machine.
Air purifiers run the gamut of whisper quiet to slightly loud, depending on the size of their motor and fans. Some ionizing air purifiers don’t use a fan at all, which makes them almost undetectable, but some of the larger ones use larger fans in order to move more air through their filters. If sound level is important to you, look for one with a silent mode setting or consider an ionic air purifier.
Cigarette smoke is one of the largest complaints about car interiors and one of the main reasons why people purchase car air purifiers for their vehicles. Both filter air purifiers and ionic air purifiers will work to eliminate cigarette smoke scents in your car, but if you have a larger problem it may be worth it to consider an air purifier that is a combination unit, with both ionization and HEPA filters in place.
Unlike filter air purifiers, where the filters can be replaced once they become too clogged or dirty, ionic air purifiers are built to be replaced once they reach the end of their lifespan. This can be an important consideration for those who want to limit their refuse output or who don’t want to have to purchase a new air purifier every so often. The good news is that ionic air purifiers are designed to last at least 12 months. Some may go much longer than that, depending on the level of air contamination in your space and how often you use it.
Our best car air purifier is our Editor’s Choice, the QUEENTY HEPA Car Air Purifier. It’s an air purifier, which offers a three-stage filtering system that includes a true HEPA filter. Since it is tiny, you can place it anywhere without suffering any blocked vision. Its LED lights are pleasant to look at and there is even an option for the aroma therapy.
Another great portable air purifier is the autowit Fresh Mini Car Air Purifier. This is also a combination air purifier, with a three-stage filtration system and negative ionization, making it a great choice for those consumers looking for the best of both worlds. It has a silent mode option and is also an essential oil diffuser, combing two appliances into one.
And for those looking for an air purifier that won’t accidentally drain your car batteries if you leave it plugged in, the Philips GPC20GPX1 has an automatic on/off switch, which means it automatically shuts itself off after an hour of use, preventing you from getting trapped somewhere with a dead car battery. It also comes with mounting attachments, so you can place it out of the way in your vehicle.