Best car air fresheners: top scents, sprays and diffusers

Best car air fresheners: top scents, sprays and diffusers

They will make your car smell like a garden. The noses of onlookers will also smell the beautiful scent again.

The nose knows. Our sense of smell is so acute that some believe it plays a major role in your choice of romantic partner. Mothers revel in the smell of their babies, and food must smell tantalizing or they won’t take the first bite. Whether it’s clothes, homes, pets, breath or armpits, the world is awash with products designed to improve odor. Why can’t cars stay away from these odor improvers?

Of course they can’t. People have been trying to make cars smell more like cars ever since the first tacky Christmas tree shaped car air freshener hung from the rearview mirror. Today, some automakers even offer in-car aromatherapy systems.

We’ll help you categorize these options. If you’re looking to add a new scent to your cabin, we have a line of in-car air fresheners for you. We’ve used a “crowdsourcing” approach in hopes of finding the right car fragrance for your car.

How we chose these car scents
It’s complicated. We picked these car scents and air fresheners based on several factors, including their average review scores on Amazon, the number of positive Amazon reviews, and recommendations from trusted car decorating sites. To round out the assortment, we also picked out several car air fresheners. We even researched automotive brands of cologne and perfume. With this wide variety of car fragrances, we can say this with certainty: there is no such thing as a hanging Christmas tree!


Drift offers a variety of car scents, including amber and coffee. These car scents come in the form of credit card sized thin wooden boards that are infused with the chosen fragrance. The wood panel is secured to a well-made metal visor clip. If you don’t like wood fragrances, metal and stone fragrances are also available.
It’s hard to say what’s so special about this unassuming spray can car air freshener, but reviewers rave about it. It’s made with aromatic citrus oils and aerosol-free propellants, and it’s so effective that 412 customers on Amazon have ordered a six-pack and given it five-star reviews. That’s the best review we could find in the car air freshener space.
These four simple bags take an unusual approach to odor removal. Each woven bag contains 200 grams of purifying activated carbon. The manufacturer claims that they act as an air freshener, sucking air pollutants out of the cabin and neutralizing odors without adding fragrances. They can be used for up to two years and can be recharged in sunlight.

This spray-on scent bomb is a disposable air freshening product. It is designed to be activated in a closed car and after 15 minutes of activating the air conditioning system, all contents are expelled into the cabin (you must leave the cabin after activation). Be careful to start it lower in the car – the included video suggests starting it in the cup holder on the front console – to avoid spraying the headliner.

This miniature car diffuser takes a different approach to making your ride a nose-friendly space. It is a compact magnetized stainless steel box with an adsorption pad that holds a few drops of your choice of essential oil (oils are supplied by you). The diffuser is mounted on the vent and when the air conditioner blows air through the vent, the diffuser emits the scent. There’s one guarantee in choosing your favorite scent: at least you’ll like it.

New England’s famous Yankee Candles will bring a safe, flame-free scent to your car. The hanging car scent jar mimics the shape of the company’s glass candle holders. If you miss the kiosks at the mall, try a bracelet with refills.

If you already use Febreze in your home and have a scent you know and love, these small car scent boxes are perfect.Febreze car air fresheners have some of the same scents as home sprays. The scent cartridges clip onto the vents and as air passes through, the fresh scent circulates throughout the cabin. You can adjust the amount of scent released with a simple controller.

The “shoshinsha” logo began as a Japanese term of endearment for novice drivers and has grown to symbolize the JDM community. This iconic shape is perfect for modified cars and will keep your car smelling fresh as new.

Watch out, this air freshener may inspire you to build a rocket. Its scent is described as “high vegan leather, low rocket fuel.” Bonus points if you drive a Tesla.

This is the closest thing we have to the car air fresheners that used to hang on the Christmas tree. That’s right, these adorable car-scented bears hang from your rearview mirror. They’re infused with essential oils in scents like Lavender, Citrus, and Coastal Tide. We hope that means these scents are free of nasty chemicals and subtle without being harsh.

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