After transporting your pets and storing workout gear, your car might start to lose its freshness. Car air purifiers mitigate pollutants, irritants, and allergens by eliminating the particles that cause odors to stick around. These devices also improve air quality to help those with respiratory diseases such as asthma breathe better. Unlike air fresheners, air purifiers do not merely cover up odors and actively work for months at a time.

Our review team has rated our top picks for the best car air purifiers on the market to help keep your vehicle clean. We’ve tested each purifier for its ease of use, portability, and more to inform you of its benefits.

5 Best Car Air Purifiers

Best Car Air Purifiers

  1. Editor’s Pick: IQAir Atem
  2. Best Portability: Pure Enrichment PureZone
  3. Best Plug-In: Twinkle Birds Car Air Purifier And Ionizer
  4. Best Smart Compatibility: Wynd Essential
  5. Best Charcoal BagsB: Basic Concepts Bamboo Charcoal Bags

#1 Editor’s Pick: IQAir Atem

IQAir Atem

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With its sleek design and simple interface, the IQAir Atem is our review team’s top choice for the best car air purifier. Its centrifugal fan is surrounded by a combined particle and gas filtration system that absorbs more harmful airborne impurities than any of the filters in our roundup.

The Atem purifier has a Global Innovations Award from the International Homes and Housewares Show, one of the leading displays of advancements in home technologies. Not only does this purifier extract bad odors, but also eliminates contaminants such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, benzene, formaldehyde, soot, pollen, and bacteria from the air.

Key Features

  • HyperHEPA Plus filter
  • 270-degree fan design
  • Syncs with Atem Mobile App
  • Made in Germany with Swiss engineering

What’s In The Box?

  • IQAir Atem purifier
  • Atem car mount
  • USB charging cable

Our Experience

IQAir Atem

Setting the Atem in our testing vehicle took very little effort thanks to the detailed instructions provided by IQAir. Although IQAir claims the Atem is portable, it was much larger than the other purifiers that we tested and more difficult to transport.

The Atem produced very little noise even when operating at maximum power. After leaving the Atem in our testing vehicle, there was a noticeably positive difference in the way our car smelled.

Overall Rating4.9 out of 5
Setup5
Portability4.5
Noise5
Cleanliness5

What Customers Are Saying

From about 130 reviews on Amazon, the IQAir Atem has an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. Close to 75 percent of reviewers leave a 5-star rating.

Many top reviews commend how easy the Atem is to install and how well it works to keep vehicles clean in high pollution areas such as Los Angeles. Some suggest hanging it from a second- or third-row headset to conserve space. One complaint by a few customers regards IQAir’s customer service, claiming they are unresponsive.

#2 Best Portability: Pure Enrichment PureZone

Pure Enrichment PureZone

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Thanks to its innovative handle, the Pure Enrichment PureZone is one of the best air purifiers for on-the-go use. Its activated carbon pre-filter works alongside its True HEPA filter for two-stage air purification to keep the air clean.

This purifier has adjustable low, medium, and high fan speed settings. Users don’t have to worry about the PureZone’s longevity since its rechargeable lithium-ion battery offers up to 12.0 hours of active filtration.

Key Features

  • Weighs less than 1.0 lbs.
  • Coverage area of 54.0 sq. ft.
  • Removable handle

What’s In The Box?

  • Pure Enrichment PureZone purifier
  • USB charging cable

Our Experience

Pure Enrichment PureZone

The only setup required by our team members for the PureZone was to attach its removable handle and find a spot in our testing vehicle to place it. Luckily, this purifier is small enough to fit comfortably in a cup holder. Its adjustable handle and compact build allow the PureZone to slip into a backpack or purse unnoticed.

When running at low or medium power, the PureZone produced almost no noise. However, it started to hum when run at full power. Although we noticed a difference in our vehicle’s air quality, this personal air purifier took longer than the others in our review to achieve this.

Overall Rating4.8 out of 5
Setup5
Portability5
Noise4.5
Cleanliness4.5

What Customers Are Saying

Customer reviews for the PureZone on Amazon are generally positive. It has an average rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars from close to 6,700 reviews. While some customers commend how well the PureZone cleans small to medium-sized rooms, others criticize it for being too loud.

#3 Best Plug-In: Twinkle Birds Car Air Purifier And Ionizer

Twinkle Birds Car Air Purifier And Ionizer

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Instead of using a filter, the Twinkle Birds Car Air Purifier And Ionizer eliminates dust, pollen, and other contaminants from the air. It achieves this by releasing negative ions that ground or remove harmful microns. This allows users to plug in their device and forget that it’s even there.

Unlike most car air purifiers, this ionizer doesn’t require any filter replacements. Aside from creating clean air, the Twinkle Birds ionizer is equipped with dual USB ports to charge other electronics such as smartphones.

Key Features

  • Plugs into 12.0-volt adapter
  • Mutated chrome ion outlet
  • Needlepoint ionization

What’s In The Box?

  • Twinkle Birds purifier

Our Experience

Twinkle Birds Car Air Purifier And Ionizer

Because of its plug-and-play build, installing this device takes very little effort. However, this air ionizer can only be activated in vehicles.

Even when operating at full power, our review team found that the Twinkle Birds device emitted almost no sound. It took longer than expected to clean our testing vehicle but was able to steadily maintain this cleanliness.

Overall Rating4.5 out of 5
Setup5
Portability4
Noise5
Cleanliness4

What Customers Are Saying

Reviews for the Twinkle Birds Ionizer are generally positive, as it has an average rating of 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Slightly over half of reviewers leave 5-star ratings.

Customers say this ionizer is ideal for removing the smell of cigarette smoke from vehicles. Many customers also like how this device doubles as a car charger. A few negative comments target the Twinkle Bird Ionizer’s effectiveness, stating it takes at least a few days to notice its results.

#4 Best Smart Compatibility: Wynd Essential

Wynd Essential

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The Wynd Essential car air purifier can purify up to 8.0 liters of air per second. Its medical-grade filter traps harmful airborne particles and can be used for up to six months between replacements.

One of this gadget’s most useful functions is its integration with the Wynd app. Through the app, users can monitor a variety of features, going as far as to measure the amount of air pollution in a given area and control the airflow of their purifier.

Key Features

  • Syncs with Wynd Mobile App
  • Weighs less than 1.0 lb.
  • Up to 8 hours of battery life

What’s In The Box?

  • Wynd Essential purifier
  • USB charging cable

Our Experience

Wynd Essential

Setting the Wynd Essential purifier, itself, takes little time, but the app took a few minutes to sync with it. This purifier was able to fit in all of the center cup holders in our vehicle, but couldn’t fit in the door cup holders due to its flared top.

Even at low power, we could hear the noise from the fan in the Wynd Essential spinning. It was especially loud in the initial few minutes it was warming up. Despite this, our car was smelling cleaner after only 15 minutes after running this purifier.

Overall Rating4.4 out of 5
Setup4.5
Portability4.5
Noise4
Cleanliness4.5

What Customers Are Saying

The Wynd Essential air purifier currently has no reviews on Amazon. Google reviews average out to 3.7 stars, with complaints centering around the device’s ability to purify the air. These reviews do conclude in many cases that this device is best suited in small, enclosed spaces such as car interiors.

#5 Best Charcoal Bags: Basic Concepts Bamboo Charcoal Bags

Basic Concepts Bamboo Charcoal Bags

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The Basic Concepts Bamboo Charcoal Bags are suited not only for cars, but can also eliminate odors in kitchens, bathrooms, pet areas, and even shoes. Each bag is fragrance-free and made with reinforced stitching to ensure long-lasting durability.

These charcoal bags are made with a metal O-ring so they can be hung from nearly anywhere. If left out in the sun for a couple of hours, the Basic Concepts bags are “recharged,” giving them a lifespan of up to two years.

Key Features

  • Filled with charcoal chunks
  • Pet-safe
  • Natural filtration

What’s In The Box?

  • Basic Concepts charcoal bags (4)

Our Experience

Basic Concepts Bamboo Charcoal Bags

We placed this bag out in the center console of our testing vehicle, but we think it’s best to store it underneath a seat or hidden in a door for the easiest storage. Considering their compact, lightweight construction, these bags can be easily transported.

These bags crunched a bit when squeezed but otherwise made no noticeable sound. After sitting in our testing vehicle, we noticed a difference in the smell but not nearly as much as our other purifiers.

Overall Rating4.4 out of 5
Setup4.5
Portability5
Noise5
Cleanliness3

What Customers Are Saying

The Basic Concepts charcoal bags have an average Amazon rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars from about 13,100 customers. Almost 60 percent of customers leave a 5-star rating.

Many reviewers say this bag works well not only in their cars but in closets and other rooms that have odors. Customers also like the bag’s gray color and cloth-like texture. There are a few customers who claim these bags struggle to cover pet odors.

Car Air Purifier Buyers Guide

Before making a purchase, learn more about the different types of air purifiers and how they can improve your vehicle’s air quality.

Types Of Air Purifiers

In-cabin air filters are one of the best ways to prevent irritants and pollutants from building up in your car. Unlike most filters, these are built directly into a vehicle to pick up dirty air as it passes through the HVAC system. Although reliable, the downside to these filters is that they must be replaced every few months.

Ionic air purifiers target odors and other pollutants at a molecular level. These purifiers emit positively or negatively charged ions that trap and break down unwanted particles that spoil the air. While these are ideal for eliminating foul smells, they take longer than other types of filters to show results.

Charcoal air filters are environmentally friendly, as they’re made with naturally sourced materials. Charcoal filters absorb irritants and odor-causing chemicals directly. Once full, these bags can be placed in direct sunlight to be refreshed and used again. The typical charcoal filter lasts about two years and leaves behind no fragrance.

Car Air Purifier Key Features

Size and portability: Car air purifiers are compactly designed to fit in your vehicle without taking up more space than they need to. Most purifiers can fit in cup holders or on dashboards, while others can be hung from the rearview mirror. Some purifiers are made to fit around the back of headrests.

Power source: Most car air purifiers are battery-powered to conserve energy. Some are even rechargeable, using the outlets in your car as a charging source. Others can install into the cigarette lighter of your vehicle to run.

HEPA-rated filter: High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are certified to grab more pollutants from the air than non-certified ones. Make sure your device is using one of these filters to have the most effective air cleaner possible.

Our Review Standards

The car air purifiers in this article went through two rounds of reviews. We started by searching Amazon and Advance Auto Parts for top products, looking at factors like Prime shipping eligibility, customer ratings, Amazon superlatives, and prices.

The five car air purifiers that best met these standards were ordered by our team for testing. A team member tested each product on a car, taking note of how well each air purifier fit in our testing vehicle, how long it took to achieve noticeably cleaner air, the amount of noise it produced, and its portability. Each air purifier was given a rating out of 5 stars based on this criteria.

Car Air Purifier Testing Process

Our review team assembled and activated each car air purifier according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Each car air purifier was left in our testing vehicle, a 2014 Honda Civic SE sedan, for an eight-hour period. After each purifier was given its chance to sit in our testing vehicle, we determined how well it cleaned the air.

Frequently Asked Questions

*Data accurate at time of publication.