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To determine the best car diffuser, we looked at the following factors: style, portability, ease of use, and extra features. You’ll need to decide whether you want a manually powered diffuser that clips into your vents or one that must be plugged in via USB or your car’s lighter. You also want to focus on a car diffuser that is easy to use without creating distractions. And if you’re focused on functionality, then features such as lights or additional USB ports can make a car diffuser invaluable. For more interior functionality, check out our best car accessories guide.
After considering all of the above, we selected the InnoGear Car Diffuser as our Top Pick. This powered device works via USB and is designed to fit in your car’s cup holder. We liked that it has a 50-milliliter capacity, can shift between two mist modes, and can be set to one of seven LED colors or toggled between them. Keep reading to learn more about the rest of our top picks.
Read Full Review: InnoGear Essential Refresher Ultrasonic Aromatherapy
The InnoGear Car Diffuser is a great solution for anyone who loves their home diffuser, but lacks the space to properly set it up in their car. InnoGear’s diffuser offers two mist modes, intermittent and continuous, and has a 50 milliliter capacity. We like that this model fits comfortably in your cup holder and is technically shorter than most smartphones.
Related: Also see our best car battery guide.
You’ll like that there’s an auto shut-off feature that instantly powers this device off when either the water inside is spilled or has run out. This is ideal to prevent it from breaking down. You’ll also enjoy the seven light modes where you can opt for one continuous hue or cycle smoothly between them. But you can also turn the light off if you find it’s distracting. This car diffuser is powered by USB, making it a truly portable solution for keeping odors at bay. For keeping police at bay, try the best radar detector.
Read Full Review: RoyAroma Aromatherapy Essential Stainless Freshener
A common concern about higher end car diffusers is that the lights can be distracting and the fact that they typically must be placed in your cup holder. And that means you lose precious real estate in your car. If you want a simple way to keep your car smelling nice, the RoyAroma 30mm Car Diffuser Vent Clip is the perfect solution. It’s the only option in our guide that doesn’t require actively operating it once installed. There are no buttons to press, no lights to turn off, and no plugs are required either.
Related: Check out our best car garbage can.
This clip style will free up your cup holders, and you’ll like the versatility you get from the two vent clip lockets, and 12 felt discs. What makes this ideal is that you can easily swap out the discs to change the scent of your car depending on your mood. And the felt discs can be washed and reused. For added zen and comfort try the best car seat cushion too. Another option is the Lion Palace Mini USB Car Aromatherapy Diffuser, which only needs a few drops of essential oil to either continuously spray and freshen the air for 4.5 hours or in intervals over a period of 9 hours. This ultra-portable freshener is also suitable for a desk at work or living space at home.
Read Full Review: Gulaki Diffuser Essential Oils Multifunction
No one wants to sacrifice access to power just because you’re using an accessory in your car. And this is a common complaint with powered car diffusers — that they reduce the total number of available power outlets in your car. But the Gulaki Car Diffuser solves this problem by featuring a top with two USB ports and a socket for a car charger. Note that this model is powered through your car’s cigarette lighter instead of USB like other models.
Available in two colorways (black and white), we like that this also features a low profile light ring instead of the overpowering lights on other models in our guide. But this car diffuser is also packed with other standard features such as two mist modes, intelligent automatic shut-off, and a 50-milliliter capacity reservoir. Speaking of shut-off, if your battery won’t start, try the best car battery.
Read Full Review: YJY Car None Sponge Wick Aromatherapy Intermittent
If you have your heart set on a car diffuser that lights up, but are concerned that other models can be too distracting, the YJY Car Diffuser Humidifier is a happy medium that you should consider. We’re nominating it as our Best Quality because you get the portable diffuser with a streamlined light ring that is significantly less distracting than other models that feature larger lighting systems.
As is common with USB powered diffusers, you get two misting modes — continuous and intermittent — the ability to choose between seven LED colors or smoothly transition between all of them, a 50 milliliter reservoir, and an automatic shut-off feature that is triggered after three hours. You’ll also like that this model is BPA-free. Speaking of fresh scents, the best cabin air filter will help your car smell better.
Read Full Review: Vyaime Car Aromatherapy Ultrasonic Humidifier
For people who always have a front passenger with them, traditional car diffusers that need to sit in your cup holder might not be practical. For these drivers, we recommend the Vyaime Car Diffuser. Instead of occupying your cup holder, this diffuser is designed to plug into your car’s cigarette lighter port. But more importantly, it has two additional USB ports built into the plug, helping to give you and your front passenger the freedom to charge your phones as needed.
Aside from the design, you’ll get many similar features as the other USB powered diffusers in our guide. While this doesn’t include a light, you will get a 50 milliliter capacity, two mist modes (continuous and intermittent), and auto shut-off to preserve the life of this device. But you’ll also like that this offers the longest run time of all the powered diffusers with three to five hours for continuous mode and seven hours for intermittent. Your air will be much nicer and speaking of air, make sure your tires are good with the best portable air compressor.
Whether you’re buying a diffuser to mask odors or to make your daily commute a little less stressful, you want to get something that’s easy to use, effective, and won’t make it harder for you to drive. To select our recommendations, we focused on the following criteria — style, portability, ease of use, and extra features.
For style, only our Honorable Mention was a vent clip style diffuser, the remainder required access to power either via USB or your car’s cigarette lighter. If you don’t want to sacrifice your lighter or a USB port just to give your car a fresh scent, opt for the Honorable Mention. And while all the options in our guide are portable, again the Honorable Mention offers the smallest profile of them all. However, within the powered car diffuser category, our Top Pick is a smart choice because it’s the smallest within that category.
Ease of use is important since you don’t want to buy a car diffuser that’s difficult to operate or impossible to position in your car. Again, our Honorable Mention will be the easiest to use since it doesn’t require plugging anything in or pushing any buttons. However, our powered car diffuser selections all feature easy to use buttons that allow you to toggle between mist modes, power on or off, and for our Top Pick and Best Quality also let you change color modes.
For extra features, we looked at factors such as lights or additional ports. While these aren’t necessities, they’re nice to have. However, it’s important to note that lights can be distracting — especially while you’re driving. So for this reason, we included our Best Quality recommendation. Although it does have light, the light is significantly smaller than on other lighted car diffusers in our guide. And if you’re concerned about losing functionality by plugging in a device, our Best Quality and #5 recommendations are ideal because they feature additional USB ports. And in the case of the Best Quality, it gives you access to another car charger socket to replace the one being used by its adapter.