To find the best car air purifiers, you’ll need to examine a list of criteria to determine what is most important. We recommend the best car air purifiers with true HEPA and activated carbon filtration for ultrafine and odor-resistance. Look for built-in ionizers to emit a minimum of 4.8 million negative ions per cm³ for good coverage. Bonus points go to a variety of mounting options (vertically, horizontally, on the dashboard, behind rear seat headrest) for optimal intake and airflow distribution, along with cigarette lighter, adapter, and USB connectivity for an indefinite charge.

After analyzing hundreds of reviews, we’ve determined that the IQAir Atem Car Air Purifier is the best car air purifier you can buy. Keep reading about this and our other top picks to learn more and choose the best air purifier for your needs.

Top 10 Best Car Air Purifiers

 #1  IQAir Atem Car Air Purifier

Award: TOP PICK

WHY WE LIKE IT: This car air purifier features a HyperHEPA Plus to cut down on 99% of airborne pollutants and cranks complete car air changes to a whopping 20 times an hour, an excellent choice for family vehicles.

Pros
  • Sleek, black spherical design
  • Dedicated smartphone app with fan speed adjustment
  • Built-in safety lock for kids and includes a car mount
Cons
  • Maybe too bulky for some driver/passenger seatbacks
  • Lower than average air circulation power

This IQAir Atem car air purifier uses a powerful 270° centrifugal fan which works to draw in air and run it through a 3-stage filtration system, capable of cutting through diesel soot and other pollutants as small as ≥ 0.003 microns. Kudos for a V-shaped car mount that sits firmly on seats and headrests to withstand all those choppy bumps.

Hands down, our favorite feature with this car air purifier is the Atem mobile app, which allows users to customize fan speed settings. Three fan speed settings offer 7 CFM, 12 CFM, and 39 CFM ratings, respectively for up to 20 air refreshes per hour. Families will also appreciate a built-in child lock to prevent unauthorized use. Even the best large room air purifier has got display LED lighting that can be turned off for complete shut-eye.

 #2  Wynd Plus Smart Car Air Purifier

Award: HONORABLE MENTION

WHY WE LIKE IT: This car air purifier delivers 9 liters of clean air per second and uses a sensor and smartphone app for real-time air quality updates, an excellent choice for people who want to gauge air quality.

Pros
  • Dedicated phone app for monitoring
  • Powerful electrostatic filter for effective filtration
  • Built-in safety lock for kids and includes a car mount
Cons
  • Battery life indicator could be more accurate
  • Flimsy stand; no height adjustment

This car air purifier uses a proprietary electrostatic filter that can capture particles as small as 0.3 microns, such as smoke, mold, smog, and diesel soot. Anti-microbial silver can obliterate bacteria and viruses, all in a unit small enough to fit in a cup holder. With a generous 100 square feet of coverage, this unit also works in travel campers, RVs, and other tighter places.

Wynd’s dedicated smartphone app also communicates with your purifier’s particular sensor to enable real-time updates, as well as auto adjustment of fan speeds based on air quality along with colorful graphs depicting performance. There are also map overlays that compare your region’s average air quality with other regions. Naturally curious folk and data hounds will definitely enjoy this one. Another unit you will definitely enjoy is the best air purifier with washable filters.

 #3  Pure Car Air Purifier

Award: BEST FOR LONG ROAD TRIPS

WHY WE LIKE IT: This car air purification machine releases up to 5.6 million negative ions and includes a USB 3.0 port, an excellent choice for people on long road trips that need a steady power source in addition to eliminating odors.

Pros
  • Whisper-quiet operation
  • High 5.6M negative ion concentration
  • Quick Charge USB 3.0 technology for fast charging
Cons
  • Slow output; 7 days of use for optimal results
  • Design may be off-putting to some people

This Pure car air purifier features a negative ion generator, which clumps and binds onto airborne contaminants to effectively neutralize them. It is paired with an anti-microbial deodorizer for additional germ-fighting power, good for odors, cigarette smoke, pollen, and dust transversing our polluted US highways.

We love this car air purifier for smoker’s unique construction, which has two built-in USB port outlets – one 2.1 amps and one 3.0 amps for normal and quick charges. Quick Charge USB 3.0
can charge up to four times faster than traditional charging. All in all, this Pure car air purifier’s 3-in-1 functionality of USB charging, ionizer, and deodorizer makes it a very intriguing unit. And the best ionic air purifier uses a 4-stage filtration, starting with a carbon filter for large particles, a true HEPA filter for ultrafine particles as small as 0.3 microns with antimicrobial treatment, and PlasmaTRUE technology.

 #4  Philips GoPure Compact 200 Car Air Purifier

Award: BEST EASY MAINTENANCE

WHY WE LIKE IT: This car air purifier comes with a three-stage filtration system and an excellent 350-hour filter lifetime, a great choice for people who want little maintenance.

Pros
  • 99% bacteria removal rate
  • Automatic on/off switch
  • Includes particles sensor for real-time monitoring
Cons
  • Suction cups could use more suction
  • Not the quietest unit

This Philips car air purifier is solid across the board. It filters the air inside your car with a three-stage filter process using HESA technology. This promises a 99% bacteria removal rate, effective against pollen, dust, smoke, odors, and other volatile organic compounds.

We love this unit’s color-coded lighting system with three color indicators for air quality – red for poor, yellow for acceptable, and blue for great. It also doubles as a filter replacement warning, blinking when it’s time to change. three-speed settings also allow users to control output. Bonus points for an included 12v power cable, suction cup, and anti-slide pads for a tight and sturdy fit. Even more features come in the best plug-in air purifier, namely, the digital display panel, which comes with a pre-set timer (up to 8 hours), five fan speeds, and a filter change indicator.

 #5  NWK Portable Cordless Ozone Car Air Purifier

Award: BEST DEODORIZER

WHY WE LIKE IT: This car air purifier uses activated oxygen technology and an easy button operation, a great choice for people with a stand-alone deodorizer for a complete clean while out of the vehicle.

Pros
  • Activated oxygen for foul smells
  • Helpful blue light to indicate it is on
  • Compact profile (3.19 x 3.19 x 9.06 inches )
Cons
  • Takes 90 minutes to take effect
  • Not the best battery life

This cordless and rechargeable car air purifier is very easy to use. It uses a single button to turn on and off with automatic shut down and no timers. A full deodorizing process takes roughly 90 minutes for a complete air change. Kudos for no maintenance (no filters to replace) and an included USB charger.

Our only knock on this unit is that it is highly recommended all occupants of the vehicle are out before activating the deodorizer. For that, it doesn’t offer as much convenience as the other car air purifiers on our list. If you are looking for a no-frills car air purifier without filters, preset timers, or auto shut down, this is an excellent choice. But if you’re looking for a unit with smart features, and a dedicated smartphone app for monitoring and scheduling with real-time air quality updates, then check out the best smart air purifier.

 #6  Figo Thinkga Car Air Purifier

Award: BEST CHARGING CAPABILITIES

WHY WE LIKE IT: This car air purifier releases 5X106 PCS/cm3 anion to neutralize up to 99.97% of airborne contaminants and includes dual USB charging, a great choice for people who charge devices in the car regularly.

Pros
  • Freshens in just minutes
  • Two USB ports for easy charging
  • Two speed settings (low and high)
Cons
  • Does not include a true HEPA filter
  • Proprietary connector needed for ionizer

This car air purifier works by releasing anions into the atmosphere, which binds and clumps with airborne contaminants to neutralize them, purify the air, and improve the air quality. Production rate clocks in at 5X106 PCS/cm3 anion. It’s highly effective against mold, allergies, dust, and smoke.

In terms of ease of use, this best car air purifier for viruses is a gem, with a working noise lower than 30 dB, good enough to not disturb children when sleeping. Rounding it out are dual USB charging and two-speed adjustment for output control. Consider this one of the better ionic air purifiers good for eliminating bad odors without being an ozone generator. Compare this with one of the best ionic air purifiers on the market today.

 #7  AirTheReal ADH80 Car Air Purifier

Award: BEST FOR NIGHT USE

WHY WE LIKE IT: This car air purifier comes with a 7-in-1 HEPA filter and an LED nightlight, making it an excellent choice for a small bedroom as well.

Pros
  • Cylindrical design for improved intake
  • Includes LED nightlight and sleep mode; great for nightstands
  • Real-time air quality monitoring and 8-hour timer
Cons
  • Odd snapping sounds on occasion
  • Best practice to keep it within 15 inches of electronics
  • May be too large for smaller cars

This best car air purifier with HEPA filter is a pretty nifty contraption, featuring a cylindrical 360-degree air intake that accepts air and runs it through a 7-stage filtration process. A pre-filter, true HEPA filter, and activated carbon fiber work exceptionally well to neutralize all types of airborne contaminants as small as 0.,3 microns. We appreciate its generously sized filter area for greater air intake.

In terms of digital features, this car air purifier is a well-rounded machine, with a filter change indicator for replacement filter every 6 to 8 months along with a quiet sleep mode that emits 22 decibels, good enough for a blissful night’s sleep. An Auto Mode even reads air quality in real-time and adjusts fan speeds accordingly. An LCD screen that shows real-time air quality reports can also be found in the best personal air purifier.

 #8  Autowit Car Air Purifier

Award: BEST FOR DRY LOCATIONS

WHY WE LIKE IT: This car air purifier offers 3-stage filtration and a built-in humidifier, an excellent choice for people with regular exposure to dry air.

Pros
  • Quality indicator for real-time updates
  • Very portable (8.5 x 3.1 x 3.1 inches)
  • Auto Shut Off function when water runs out
Cons
  • Not the quietest unit
  • Could be easier to disassemble to remove the filter

This compact air purifier and humidifier is a solid workhorse, offering 3-stage filtration with a nanosilver, true HEPA, and activated carbon filter to neutralize airborne contaminants. It is good for rooms up to 86 square feet, a good choice for a camper or RV.

Kudos for a very efficient design, with only a single button for controls and four fan speed settings, auto, silent, medium, and strong modes. A separate drop button activates the humidifier, which slowly dispels water for a refreshingly cool, working cycle after an initial 15-minute ramp up. You will also love that the best air purifier and humidifier comes with a powerful 3-stage filtration system and uses H13 grade True HEPA filters to capture particles as small as 0.003 microns!

 #9  Frieq Car Air Purifier

Award: BEST ON A BUDGET

WHY WE LIKE IT: This car air purifier disperses 4.8 million negative ions per cm³ and connects directly to your vehicle’s cigarette port, a nice inexpensive choice for value-conscious consumers.

Pros
  • Plugs into cigarette lighter /adapter
  • Releases 4.8 million negative ions per cm³ for effective filtration
  • Only 3.8 x 1.3 x 1.3 inches
Cons
  • No real-time air quality monitoring

This car air purifier works to neutralize bacteria and viruses by releasing millions of negative ions into the air along with ozone to cut through airborne particles and odors. 4.8 million negative ions per cm³ is released, very helpful with harmful gasses. Plus it is super easy to use, only needing to be plugged into a cigarette lighter or adapter.

Only 3.8 x 1.3 x 1.3 inches, this car air purifier takes up very little space in your vehicle. Plus it is super easy to use, only needing to be plugged into a cigarette lighter or adapter. And for cigarette smokers, the best air purifier for cigarette smoke does wonders. But all in all, you should consider this car air purifier a winner for space savers.

 #10  Homdox Car Air Purifier

Award: BEST FOR ANIMAL LOVERS

WHY WE LIKE IT: This car air purifier features triple-level filtration to capture 99.97% of allergens and offers a whisper-quiet operation, a perfect choice for pet rooms as well.

Pros
  • Sleek, puck-shaped design
  • Activated carbon filter for effective odor reduction
  • Whisper quiet operation (< = 55dB)
Cons
  • Can be too bulky for some dashboards
  • Slight learning curve replacing batteries
  • No USB charging or smartphone compatibility

This puck-shaped device offers a neat design, with triple filtration good in eliminating all types of airborne contaminants including pollen, mold spores, pet dander, dust, and allergies. Given its shape, it appears seamless on darker colored dashboards.

An integrated air quality sensor with three color-coded signals makes it easy to tell (e.g green for good, yellow for average, and red for bad). Kudos for a whisper-quiet operation, running on 55dB at its highest setting. For a simple no-frills car air purifier without the bells and whistles of USB charging or smartphone compatibility, this is an excellent choice. And for your kids, the best air purifier for babies will work just fine.

How We Decided

In determining the best car air purifiers to buy, we explored efficiency, versatility, and mounting options.

In terms of efficiency, top car air purifiers run in the 180+_ square foot range, which also makes them good for small bedrooms and living areas. Our preference is for built-in ionizers to emit a minimum of 4.8 million negative ions per cm³, layered in with true HEPA filters for ultrafine particles and activated carbon for reduction. This combo does an exceptional job of combating pollen, mold spores, dust, and allergies, as well as cut through highway exhaust.

Versatility and mounting options are very important. Look for the best car air purifiers with slim profiles that can be mounted on dashboards or to your rear seatback. Airflow should also be optimized with a cylindrical 360-degree air intake for even distribution. Kudos for any car air purifiers with real-time air quality monitoring using dedicated smartphone apps or on-device LEDs, which give users excellent insight into the quality of the air they breathe.

Best Car Air Purifiers Buyer’s Guide

The Most Important Features to Consider

  1. Efficiency
    Our preference is for car air purifiers to carry triple-level filtration to capture 99.97% of allergens and a favorable square footage rating that exceeds the total vehicle space for best results. A 3-stage filtration system should incorporate at least a HEPA filter and activated charcoal filter with an optional ionizer to work extra in binding and ground contaminants for easy removal.
  2. Versatility
    Go for car air purifiers that are cigarette lighter or adapter compatible, working with USBs. This will enable it to run indefinitely in your vehicle without worrying about recharging times. Additionally, focus on digital extras such as real-time air quality monitoring using color-coded LEDs or Bluetooth/WiFi app compatibility. This gives users a true sense of air quality on the fly.
  3. Mounting Options
    We love car air purifiers that can be mounted horizontally, vertically, on dashboards, and behind seat headrests. Just as important is its airflow setup, with a nod to the cylindrical 360-degree air intake for more even distribution of intake and airflow to reach the entire vehicle interior.

Best Car Air Purifiers FAQs

Which is the best car air purifier?

In our opinion, the best car air purifier offers triple-level filtration to capture 99.97% of allergens, along with several mounting options that make it equally look good on a dashboard or back seat top. The ionizer-based car air purifier should deliver a minimum of 4.8 million negative ions per cm³. Don't forget a cigarette lighter or adapter compatible units that can be charged and run indefinitely in a vehicle instead of waiting for a dreaded recharge.

Are air purifiers really worth it?

Yes, we feel air purifiers are definitely worth it. Ion technology and ionizers do an exceptional job of neutralizing and grounding airborne pollutants, making the air much easier to breathe.

Are air purifiers a waste of money?

The only air purifiers we feel are a waste of money are ones that do not include strong ionizer output and 3-stage filtration. Thin mesh designs are a no-no. Not all air purifiers are created equal.

Do you need a car air purifier?

Although in-car air systems do a decent job of preventing airborne contaminants from reaching your interior, a car air purifier is a must when frequently opening or closing windows. Large spiraling urban areas with high traffic congestion and exhaust gases can cut into overall health over the long run, so a functional car air purifier does not hurt in keeping the air you breathe fresh and contaminant-free.

Ray Prince

Diehard UFC/MMA fan and all-around techie who loves to write.

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