Top 7 Car Air Purifiers And Why You Want To Use One

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Air purifiers aren’t just for your home or office. When you are working towards reducing the number of mold spores you are exposed to, your car comes into play as well. In fact, your car likely has a higher number of mold spores per square inch than your home. This is because you are constantly tracking the outdoors into your car AND for much of the year using recirculated air via your car’s heater and AC system.

Car air purifiers come in several different forms, from charcoal fresheners to cup-holder sized devices with HEPA filters. Let’s take a look at the top 7 car air purifiers first. Then we’ll dive into some general information to consider before making a purchase as well as how they different types of car air purifiers clean the air. If you prefer to start in the “informational” section, feel free to navigate to your preferred topic of interest using the table of contents below. Also, be sure to read this post if you have mold in your car.

#7 Air Oasis Air Angel

Air Oasis Air Angel Car Air Purifer on white background
Air Oasis Air Angel

One of the best features of the Air Angel is its powerful air-purifying capability, which allows it to remove up to 99% of air pollutants, including germs, allergens, and gas particles. The ionizer in the Air Angel creates a static charge which sticks physical particles, such as dust, allergens, and pet dander, to the nearest surface, removing them from the air. The germicidal UV light, a feature unique to this air purifier, kills any germs and viruses in the environment.

The Air Angel works incredibly well and has proven it’s worth through independent air quality tests. My greatest concern with this is the ozone output.

Features and Specifications

  • Works using a combination of ionization and ozone-release
  • Purifies the air removing up to 99% of allergens, germs, and odors
  • Compact but powerful enough to cover up to 250 sq. ft.
  • Easy to use and maintain
  • No filters to change or replace
  • Padded carrying case
  • Removable mounting bracket
  • Energy efficient
  • 110 VAC power adapter
  • 12 VDC car adaptor
  • 12 month warranty


  • Strong adhesive base allows you to stick it on any surface, at the same time ensuring that the purifier doesn’t move while you drive
  • Operates on batteries, so all you’d need to do is change the battery cell once a year
  • A user-friendly interface that lets you know when the battery needs to be changed
  • Comes with settings that allow you to control the speed of the fan and the output of negative ions depending on your needs or the size of the car/room
  • Portable
  • Has adapters for both car and home use
  • Can purify up to 250 square feet making it great to use while traveling and staying in hotels or other overnight accommodations
  • Very quiet


  • Strong ozone odor and high ozone output
  • Higher price tag

Click Here To Learn More or To Purchase

#6 Pure Car Air Purifier

PURE Car Air Purifier set on white background
PURE Car Air Purifier

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.

Without a doubt, this innovative ionizer is well worth the money.

Features and Specifications

  • Ionizer and HEPA filter
  • Compact size with a 4 inch height
  • Stainless steel body with a black finish
  • 2 USB charge ports
  • Quick charge USB cords for Android and Apple
  • Certified by CE, FCC and RoHS 
  • 12 month warranty


  • Has a HEPA filter so catches a lot for its compact size.
  • You can quickly charge other portable electronic devices right from the purifier
  • Money back guaranty
  • Low price point
  • Quiet


  • Can drain your car battery if you don’t unplug it after use
  • Releases a little ozone that may bother highly sensitive people. Otherwise the amount it releases is not concerning.
  • Some people report that it did not fit in their vehicle due to it’s shape. Rotating it a bit can help with this.
  • Won’t ship to California

Click Here To Learn More or To Purchase

#5 Queenty HEPA Car Air Purifier

QUEENTY Car Air Purifier on white background
QUEENTY HEPA Car Air Purifier

This air purifier from Queenty is a compact deice that will create clean and fresh smelling air inside any vehicle. Using a three stage filtration system, the Queenty removes 99% of the toxins in the air while boasting a clean and elegant design that will fit any vehicle interior’s look.

Features and Specifications

  • 3 stage filtration system; pre-filter, true HEPA filter & activated carbon filter
  • Removes 99.97 Percent of dust, pollen, smoke, odor and pet dander
  • Filters particles as small as 0.3 microns and larger and filters air pollution of PM 2.5.
  • Works automatically once connected with the cigarette lighter
  •  8 LED indicator lights will be continuously on when the purifier is connected.
  • Dual fans in air outlet
  • Elegant body with stainless-steel base
  • Anti-slip rubber mats for sturdy mounting on car dash
  • Powered by cigarette lighter outlet
  • Dual USB charger ports
  • Essential oils can be added to the filter to be a car oil diffuser
  • 12 month warranty


  • 3 stage filtration
  • Very affordable
  • Rubber mats allow stability within car even at high speeds and sudden braking
  • Works up to 6 months without replacing filter
  • No Ozone
  • Option to add essential oils
  • Fun design – very stylish
  • 30 day money back guarantee


  • Device needs to be mounted on dashboard, which may become intrusive
  • The lights can be distracting at night

Click Here To Learn More or To Purchase

#4 NuvoMed Car Air Purifier

NuvoMed Car Air Purifier in black
NuvoMed Car Air Purifier

The NuvoMed is a compact, yet effective car air purifier that is suitable for all automobiles and sits neatly on almost any dashboard. Its built-in, high grade and replaceable HEPA filter efficiently removes up to 99% of air impurities like dust, pollen, smoke, bad smell, mold & pet dander.

The NuvoMed is kind of like a hidden gem. No one talks about it but it is a great little car air purifier!

Features and Specifications

  • Built-in high grade HEPA filter (Removable)
  • HEPA filter removes 99% of air impurities like dust, pollen, smoke, odors, mold and pet dander
  • Purifies with 5,600,000 negative ion concentrations and adopts multi-needlepoint ionization to achieve higher output and air purification efficiency
  • Advance active carbon filter removes cigarette smoke, bacteria, virus, toxic gases and odors
  • Smart switch on – starts once car ignition is switched on
  • 2 fan speeds
  • Works with 12-Volt DC plug for car, adapter included


  • HEPA filter, active carbon, and ionizer all in one
  • Turns on automatically
  • Rubber feet keep it in place if you do not want to mount it
  • Attaches to the dashboard with Velcro in three places so it does not slide around
  • Very quiet operation
  • Nice design
  • Low price point


  • Does release ozone which may be a problem for some people

Click Here To Learn More or To Purchase

#3 IQAir Atem HyperHEPA Car Air Purifier

IQ Air Atem car air purifier on white background
IQAIR Atem HyperHEPA Car Air Purifier

IQAir Atem uses a HyperHEPA filter to remove up to 99% of particles down to 0.003 microns. The efficient filtration system is able to clean the air inside of the car by up to 20 times per hour.

It’s an award winning car air purifier that is made in Switzerland to the highest of standards and has been thoroughly tested and certified.

The IQAir Atem is versatile, using an array of accessories to provide four air purifiers in one system.

  • Small space air purifier
  • Car air purifier
  • Desktop air purifier
  • Travel air purifier
  • Portable air purifier

The only reason this comes in at #4 is the price tag. Otherwise it is truly unmatched in terms of its power.

Features and Specifications

  • 3 stage particle and gaseous filter
  • HyperHEPA Plus filter removes up to 99% of particles down to 0.003 microns from your vehicle cabin, including PM2.5, CO2, and diesel soot as well as common traffic pollutants like SO2 and NOx
  • 270 degree centrifugal fan to draw in cabin air
  • App enabled for controlling fan speed settings
  • LEDs at air outlet flash red twice when filter must be changed
  • Includes a secure car mount ($100 value)
  • Ultra-quiet operation
  • Tested and certified
  • 5 year warranty


  • Top-notch performance
  • Advanced technology and fan power. On the Medium or High setting, this acts as an air-conditioner and will lower the “felt” room temp by at least 2 or 3 degrees.
  • Beautiful design
  • Very quiet
  • The lowest power consumption
  • Can be controlled from a smartphone application
  • Is portable and versatile
  • LEDs at air outlet flash red twice when filter must be changed


  • Very expensive
  • The plug has been known to have some issues

Click Here To Learn More or To Purchase

#2 Autowit Fresh 1 Car Air Purifier

Autowit Fresh 1 car air purifier on white background
Autowit Fresh 1 Car Air Purifier

I kind of love this little purifier. The Autowit Fresh 1 Car Air Purifier is a purifier made to be easily portable between a vehicle and an interior space. 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. 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. 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.

Features and Specifications

  • Air Purifier & Aroma Diffuser 2-in-1
  • Removes 99% of the airborne pollutants
  • Releases 8 million negative ions
  • True HEPA Filter with 3-stage filtration that effectively removes PM2.5, pollen, smoke, dust, floccus, formaldehyde, unpleasant odors and more
  • 4 Airflow Modes: Auto, Silent, Medium, Strong
  • Automatically detects and indicates the air quality around via different colors of the LED Indicator Light
  • Comes with a universal Micro-USB port, which allows you to power it up with a computer, a power bank, a car charger or any power source with a USB port
  • 12 month warranty


  • True HEPA Filter with 3-stage filtration
  • It has a cellular activated carbon filter
  • Strong motor
  • Well-designed aerodynamic fan
  • Numerous CNC air inlet venting holes
  • Automatically detects and indicates the air quality around via different colors of the LED Indicator Light. Green means that the air quality is good, with Yellow meaning acceptable, and Red needing to be fixed.
  • Easy to change filter
  • It can be used horizontally and vertically
  • Option to use essential oils
  • Comes with replacement aroma pad
  • Ultra-quiet in silent mode
  • Inexpensive


  • Some users stated that essentials oils ruined or melted the plastic on the purifier
  • Does output a very low level of ozone which may bother sensitive individuals
  • Filter has to be replaced every three months

Click Here To Learn More or To Purchase

My Top Pick For The Best Car Air Purifier – The Philips GoPure Compact Air Purifier

Philips GoPure car air purifier on white background
Philips GoPure

The Philips GoPure combines a HEPA filter with HESA technology to effectively eliminate 99% of bacteria, harmful gases, smoke, dust, pollen, odor, and fur from the car. The GoPure circulates the air through the HEPA filter, which absorbs the harmful particles, before releasing clean air back into the vehicle. The HESA technology keeps the odor particles trapped and is especially efficient in removing residue from tobacco smoke (nicotine), which makes it a good choice for smokers.

Since the HEPA filter traps dust particles, pet fur, and pollen, this car air purifier is an excellent choice for individuals suffering from allergies.

The Philips GoPure is truly the most powerful car air purifier on the market. If you want to do it right, this is the purifier to purchase.

Features and Specifications

  • 3-step filtration system
  • Healthy air sensor and indicators – blue for excellent, yellow for fair, and red for poor quality
  • An LED light to indicate when it’s time to change the filter
  • Automatic switch-on when you enter your vehicle and start it up, which saves you the effort of having to reach around to turn it on every time you’d like to use it
  • Comes with 2 speed settings
  • Comes with mounting accessories including an attachment belt, suction cup and anti-slide pads
  • 12v Power cable length: 4 meters
  • 12 month warranty


  • Removes up to 99% of toxins in your vehicle in a matter of just 15 minutes
  • 3-step filtration system with both HEPA and HESA filters
  • Air sensors and indicators
  • Automatic switch-on
  • Turns off after an hour so it won’t drain your car battery if you forget to turn it off
  • The GoPure is a sizeable model, it can move quite a bit of air, making it a great choice for larger vehicles
  • Has been certified by a German Independent Test House
  • Philips is a trustworthy brand name with years of experience in the air purification market


  • Won’t run for longer than an hour at a time which might be frustrating on a long drive
  • Just a tad more than “background noise”
  • Higher price point
  • Although the product comes with mounting hardware for the car’s dashboard, its 6×3” size makes it less suitable for smaller vehicles.

Click Here To Learn More or To Purchase

If you don’t see your ideal car air purifier in the list above, you can check the models out as well. They tend to all receive decent reviews overall:

A car air purifier sitting on the center console of a car

How Bad Is The Air Quality In Your Car Really?

There are more reasons to filter the air in your care than just eliminating mold spores. While there are plenty of those, there are plenty of other nasty things coming into your cabin.

You are welcome to read this eye-opening 43 page report on the air quality inside your car. My brain hurt a little after wading through it but it would enlightening. This 2016 study was also enlightening.

Here are the important takeaways:

“Research shows that vehicle interiors contain a unique cocktail of hundreds of toxic chemicals that off-gas in small, confined spaces,” says Jeff Gearhart of the Ecology Center, a Michigan-based non-profit. The extreme air temperatures inside cars on sunny days can increase the concentration of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and break other chemicals down into more toxic constituents. Some of the worst offenders include airborne bromine, chlorine, lead and other heavy metals. “Since these chemicals are not regulated, consumers have no way of knowing the dangers they face,” adds Gearhart.

Exhaust fumes also find their way into the passenger cabins of many cars. The International Center for Technology Assessment (ICTA) found that concentrations of carbon monoxide (a noxious by-product of internal combustion known to cause headaches, dizziness, nausea and fatigue as well as being a major asthma trigger) may be 10 times higher inside any given car than outdoors along the roadside. ICTA added that in light of the fact that the average American spends an hour and a half driving around each day, in-car air pollution may pose “one of the greatest modern threats to human health.”

For two months, a test car was in operation around Paris and Rouen. Air concentrations of entering pollutants were measured and compared to existing regulations. The results were extremely concerning.

  • Concerning nitrogen dioxide, the WHO value of 200 ?g/m3 (hourly average) is generally exceeded for every hour spent in the vehicle
  • In daily traffic, the nitrogen dioxide levels are 10 times higher inside than outside cars.
  • Behind heavy trucks and diesel cars, these levels are 65 times higher than the WHO value.
  • Concerning fine particles, their maximum concentration is reached on motorways and in tunnels.
  • The average levels of benzene remain high despite the diminution of emitter fuels.

So as you can see, mold spores aren’t the only issue lurking inside your vehicle. The more time you spend in your vehicle, the greater your risk is for developing health issues from poor in-vehicle air quality.

Types of Car Air Purifiers

In the car air purifier world, three most common types are ion generators, ozone generators, and HEPA filters.

Ion Generators

Ion generators are responsible for producing negative ions. Once these are released, they will stick to various particles that can be found in the air. These include dust, pollen, and mold spores. The particles become heavier and are unable to stay airborne. They will then fall to the ground where it is less likely that you will inhale them.

For an ion generator to be truly effective, it is going to need to generate a high number of ions. So, when looking for this type of air purifier, look for greater ion output.

The main problem with ion generators is that you still have to deal with the particles that fell to the ground. This means that you need to regularly HEPA vacuum your car’s interior. In addition, there is a risk of the particles getting sucked into your car’s AC system. Next time you turn on your heater or AC, those spores will come flying out at you.

Another concern is that ion generators can produce small amounts of ozone. Ozone can be an issue for some people. Read on…

Ozone Generators

With ozone generators, ozone is release which can effectively destroy the molecular structure of pollutants and odors. There are no filters capturing mold spores and other particles.

Although ozone is something that is found naturally in the environment, the concentrated amount of ozone released by an ozone generator is much higher. Because of the higher concentrations, it can produce some adverse effects, particularly for those with breathing issues. Also, the ozone smell can make some people feel sick. So, a good ozone generator is going to need to be able to carefully monitor the output to avoid it from being too high.

You can read more about ozone in this article.

HEPA Filters

HEPA filters consist of various fibers entwined together. The air in the car is forced through the filter, capturing small and large particles. The air that comes out of the other side is cleansed and fresh.

This type of filter is incredibly effective. This is because it physically removes the dirt and debris from inside the car’s environment on a consistent basis. This is what makes this type of filtration the best at reducing the number of mold spores in your car.

At the same time, the filters in a HEPA air purifier need to be replaced quite often, depending on the level of dirt, dust and fur in your car.

Wait – Aren’t There Charcoal Air Purifiers? What About Carbon Filters?

Two commonly interchanged words when it comes to carbon filtration is that of activated carbon and activated charcoal. When discussing carbon air filtration, you will tend to hear both of these specific characterizations stated, which can lead to many questions on whether they both mean the same thing or if they each have their own meaning when used in filters to clean your car’s air.

An activated carbon air filter is a highly porous substance that attracts and holds organic chemical within the filter media. The media is created by burning the carbon material without oxygen which makes the carbon “char”. The char is than treated chemically to develop porous holes inside the carbon that allow the filter media to capture more pollutants in the material overtime.

The activated charcoal is the same thing as activated carbon. If someone says activated charcoal or activated carbon, they are speaking of the same filtration process.

With that out of the way…

There are two kinds of active charcoal / active carbon products used in car air purification. There are activated charcoal bags and activated carbon filters.

The activated charcoal bags simply absorb odors. They can’t pull particles in and filter out impurities. Don’t waste your money on these if you really want to filter out mold spores and other toxins in your car. If you would like to use these in conjunction with another car air purifier, this brand is my top pick.

An activated carbon filter is placed inside a car air purifier unit (often in conjunction with a HEPA filter).  

All activated carbon filters remove a significantly higher amount of air pollutants than regular carbon filters, however there are some distinctions. Some filters contain more activated carbon than others, and this can affect the capacity for impurity removal. The more activated carbon in a filter, the more contaminants it will catch and the faster it will adsorb.

Additionally, high levels of activated carbon increase a filter’s lifetime. It will require fewer replacements and keep emitting fresh air longer. Another factor that influences filtering rate is the size of activated carbon particles.

Here’s the problem with activated carbon. The carbon technology has been compared to that of a sponge, given carbon’s incredible ability to absorb pollutants into the carbon media filter. It really can pull a lot in. However, the carbon filter will also work by weight like a sponge and will begin to release the chemicals and/or pollutants back into the air when the filter media is full. If you aren’t meticulous about replacing the carbon, you can actually make the air quality in your car worse!

What About The Air Filters That Are Already In Cars? Do Those Remove Mold Spores and Other Particles?

There are two types of air filters that vehicles less than 15 years old come equipped with. These are the engine air filter and the cabin air filter.

Engine air filters

Engine air filters use a filtration media that is typically paper or cloth based to trap particles and debris and prevent them from entering your engine’s intake system. These filter the air that goes into your engine for the purposes of combustion. They don’t have anything to do with the air quality inside your passenger compartment.

Cabin air filters

Cabin air filters are an important part of maintaining a mold free, allergen, and odor-free passenger compartment. These filter the air that comes into your car when you have the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system set to draw in fresh air. They may also filter air that is recirculated.

There are two kinds of cabin air filters that may help reduce the particles in your car:

  • HEPA cabin air filters – These filters use a very fine mesh that’s capable of trapping large particles, like pet danger, and extremely small particles, like mold spores and those found in tobacco smoke.
  • Cabin air filters with activated carbon-impregnated filtration media – Filters with activated carbon are especially good at eliminating odors but not catching extremely small particles.

Some vehicles, especially older vehicles, don’t have cabin air filters. And some older vehicles that do have cabin air filters have them placed in a location where they are unable to filter air as it recirculates inside the cabin.

If your vehicle has a cabin air filter, and it is capable of filtering recirculated air, regularly installing a fresh HEPA filter is an effective way to improve the air quality inside your car. But it still won’t remove mold spores to the level a standalone HEPA car air purifier will.

How To Choose The Best Car Air Purifier For Your Vehicle

Aside from effectively removing mold spores, other particles, and odors, the best car air purifier for you should take into consideration your specific vehicle and any constraints it might have.

Purifying Capacity

Some air purifiers are best suited for smaller cars, while others are effective at purifying the air in larger spaces. If you are looking for something that will clean the air in larger cars, you need to make sure you choose a car air purifier that is specifically designed for a larger vehicle. The will eliminate most of the “cupholder” air purifiers. On the other hand, if you just need something for a smaller car, or don’t spend too much time driving, one of the smaller products is a good option for you.

Placement of the Car Air Purifier

When choosing a car air purifier, think about placement. Due to the sizes and connectors that come with most car air purifiers, you will notice that many can be placed in different areas of the car. For example, most connect straight into the 12V cigarette lighter/adapter and can be placed just about anywhere including the floor or passenger seat. Others are designed to fit into cup holders and some are mounted with suction cups on the dashboard in the car. There are even car air purifiers that hang from the head rest. So think about where you would like to ideally place the air purifier and choose model that is compact enough for your needs.

Ease of Use

You want to choose a car air purifier that can be switched on with a single button or automatically turns on and off. You should avoid any that require long-winded setups or require multiple cables for powering up the device. The more it takes to turn it on, the less likely you are to do so.

Maintenance and Long-Term Costs

To ensure the car air purifier operates to the best of its abilities, you will need to maintain it. This can involve removing debris such as dust, pollen and other particles with a car vacuum cleaner. You may even be able to clean it using plain water but this will be stated by the manufacturer. Make sure you select a car air purifier that you are willing and able to maintain so it lasts a long time.

If you are using a HEPA filter in the air purifier, you will need to change it regularly. The interval in which you do so will depend on the climate in which you live. A dry, dusty, desert climate will likely mean more filter changes per year than somewhere else. The amount of air pollution will also factor in.

Notifications and Alerts

A product which has some sort of signal or notification, one that alerts you when the filter is ready to be changed or replaced or some sort of maintenance is due, is a major plus. For me, it is a necessity. One less thing to keep track of.

In addition, there are some air purifiers that monitor the air quality and have a visual component so you can see just how clean (or dirty) the air inside your car is. This particular feature is more of a matter of preference versus an absolute necessity.

Noise Level

You want to take into consideration how loud the car air purifier is. If you are easily distracted or sensitive to noise, really read the reviews before selecting your purifier.

Purifiers, in general, shouldn’t make more than a dull noise. The quieter it is, the better obviously. If for some reason yours is extra noisy, this could mean the fan is overheating, and this can be dangerous. You will want to contact the manufacture and let them know.


When it comes to air quality, you get what you pay for. I have never met a “Cheap” car air purifier that did the job you want it to do. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars but keep in mind that you aren’t going to come across a $10 air purifier that’s worth purchasing. Plan on budgeting anywhere from $30-$150 for a quality car air purifier.

Car air vent blowing out air that has been purified with a car air purifier

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