What is the Best Car Air Freshener?

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What is the Best Car Air Freshener?

Stale cigarette smoke, greasy fast food, sweaty gym socks... your car can get really stinky, thanks to all the odiferous things you leave sitting in it for days. When your car sits in the driveway, all those odors just marinate in the closed air environment and get even worse. You need a good car air freshener. Which is the best one for you?

Hanging Paperboard Car Air Fresheners

Remember the old-school pine tree air fresheners that hung from your dad’s rear view mirror? Those are still around, and they’re both inexpensive and effective—at least for short-term use.



  • These car air fresheners are very inexpensive.
  • Hanging paperboard air fresheners can be purchased from vending machines.
  • They are convenient


  • Scent can be overpowering.
  • The fresheners must be hung from the mirror or a knob; it can stain and discolor surfaces inside your car.
  • Hanging paperboard air fresheners are temporary—lasting 1-2 weeks at most.

Aerosol Can Air Fresheners

When you need a quick blast of scent to mask a bad odor, aerosol air fresheners might be your best bet.



  • Fast-acting spray immediately permeates your car, infusing the atmosphere with scent.
  • Use it only when needed.
  • Some aerosol can air fresheners will actually remove odor particles.
  • Can be used on car seats.


  • Scent is temporary; lasting less than 1 hour in most cases.
  • Spray may build up on interior surfaces.
  • Aerosol spray cans are larger and bulkier than most car air fresheners.

Sticky Gel Car Air Fresheners

These handy little fresheners stick just about anywhere.



  • Stick the gummy little freshener to any surface in your car.
  • Ideal for placement in out-of-the way areas, such as underneath the dashboard.
  • Easy to put in place; sticks well to clean surfaces.


  • Not a large variety of scents available.
  • Don’t deliver a large amount of scent, since they don’t use your car’s air vents.

Oil Wick Car Air Fresheners

A little dispenser filled with scented oil clips to your car’s air vents. A wick draws the oil up through the dispenser and into the plastic cap at the top, which has vents to allow the scent to be disbursed.



  • The dispenser’s louvers can be opened or closed, allowing you to control the amount of scent.
  • Oil wick car air fresheners are available in dual or trio scents, allowing you to combine scents.
  • Long-lasting scent will keep your car smelling fresh for months.


  • These fresheners are more expensive than paperboard or gels.
  • Must be mounted to your car’s air vents.

Oil Diffuser Car Air Fresheners

This new technology uses scented oil and your car’s ventilation system to spread scent throughout the cabin.



  • Many shapes and sizes are available.
  • Numerous scents exist; plus some fresheners are available in duo or trio scents.
  • Fragrance lasts for months.
  • You can mix scents for a truly unique air freshener.


  • Must be installed on your car’s air vents.
  • Initial cost is the highest of all car air freshener products.

What is the Best Car Air Freshener




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