Best air freshener 2021: Leave your home smelling better than ever with our favourite fragrances
Our roundup of the best air fresheners to get your house smelling lovely and clean
When your home is getting a little too lived in and simply opening a window won’t do, it may be time to look for something stronger – and this is where air fresheners come in. The right air freshener can set the mood, whether you want a productive day in your home office or a romantic evening in. So, if you’re looking to freshen things up without worrying about the fire hazards of a traditional candle, then air fresheners are an excellent solution. You can buy diffusers and sprays in a range of designs and scents to suit any household’s needs.
If you’re struggling to pick, we’ve tested a number of options to find the best air freshener for any situation. Whether you’re dealing with a persistent pong or just need a spritz to spruce things up, check out our buying guide for our tips on which air freshener is best for your home.
Best air freshener: At a glance
- Best budget spray air freshener: Dettol All-in-One Disinfectant Spray | Buy now
- Best budget diffuser: AirWick Air Freshener Essential Oils Starter Kit | Buy now
- Best plug-in air freshener: Febreze Ambi Pur 3volution | Buy now
- Best solid air freshener: Glade Solid Air Freshener | Buy now
How to choose the best air freshener for you
What should I be looking for in an air freshener?
This will depend on how strong your freshener needs to be and where it’s going to be in your house. There are several different types you can buy, depending on what your situation calls for.
Spray air freshener is usually the cheapest option and is best if you are looking for a quick fix. It is particularly effective if you have soft furnishings that aren’t machine washable, like a lot of chairs, sofas, curtains etc. that smells may cling onto, as well as bathrooms and rooms without an electricity supply. Be warned as these are aerosols, these won’t last as long as fresheners that are continuously on and are not suitable if you have respiratory problems like asthma.
Plug-in air fresheners are better if you’re looking for something more powerful and long term. They are more expensive than sprays and solid fresheners, but they provide a much more consistent scent rather than getting weaker over time. Also as they are refillable, you can change scents depending on your mood.
Solid air fresheners are usually ideal if you need a long-lasting scent in rooms without mains supplies. Most are very affordable and are more friendly to both the environment and asthma sufferers, although their scent is more subtle and takes longer to bed in than plug-ins and sprays. They are often used best in bathrooms.
While essential oil diffusers work in a very similar way to plug-ins, they instead use essential oils which are naturally derived from plants. They are often used for aromatherapy as well as just neutralising bad smells, and are designed to be more aesthetically pleasing than more functional air fresheners. However, they are often significantly more expensive than plug-ins so if you just want your home to smell clean, this might be considered a little excessive for your needs.
How much should I spend on my air freshener?
Yet again, this depends on the type, but if you’re looking for a budget solution, sprays and solid fresheners tend to be the cheapest, which can range anywhere from 50p to £5. However, when you spend less, the effects won’t last as long or be nearly as powerful as more long-term fresheners like plug-ins and diffusers.
Essential oil diffusers can be anywhere from £10 to almost £250, depending on the company – if you want smells from luxury brands like The White Company, Diptyque and more, you’ll have to splash out. On the other hand, you can get good and effective plug-ins usually for under £10, although bear in mind you will have to keep buying refills in the long term.
The best air fresheners to buy
1. Dettol All-in-One Disinfectant Spray: Best budget spray air freshener
Price: £2.30 | Buy now from Amazon
Sometimes your furniture is in need of a quick fix and in those cases, Dettol All-in-One is a great solution. This spray can be used on almost all surfaces as well as freshening up those fabrics you can’t put in the wash like curtains and sofas. Its anti-bacterial properties mean it’s also disinfecting surfaces for an extra layer of clean as well as masking bad smells.
It lasts a lot longer than other sprays; we tested the lemon version and you could still smell it almost an hour after use, although if you’re looking for a long-term freshness that lasts for days, you might need something more powerful and slow releasing. However, for rooms that don’t have the capacity for plug-ins, this works well and its low price makes it worth keeping around for last-minute spritz ups e just before guests arrive.
Key specs – type: spray; Volume: 400ml; Power required: none
2. AirWick Air Freshener Essential Oils Starter Kit: The best budget diffuser
Price: £10 | Buy now from Amazon
If you’re looking for a more natural alternative to traditional plug-in air fresheners, this AirWick essential oil diffuser is a good place to start. It’s pretty low-maintenance as the refills can last up to 45 days (on the lowest setting) and it doesn’t have a pesky water tank that you have to clean.
The diffuser itself is very affordable at £10, which is excellent if you’re not sure about committing to permanently switching. However, it does only use specifically AirWick refills, which can get a bit pricey to keep replacing in the long term.
Overall, this is an ideal entry-level diffuser if you’re looking to create a relaxing atmosphere with little effort.
Key specs – type: diffuser; Volume: 400ml; Power required: 3 x AAA batteries
3. Febreze Ambi Pur 3volution: Best plug-in air freshener
Price: £3 (for the diffuser) | Buy now from Amazon
Unlike other plug-ins that emit only one scent, the Febreze Ambi Pur 3volution design allows it to rotate between three every 45 minutes. The idea being that with sporadic changes, it won’t lose its impact as your nose gets used to the smell.
When tested, we used the jasmine refill, which was pleasant and lasted pretty much all day, and the scents were similar enough not to ever be too jarring. You can also buy specially designed pet odour refills which work perfectly if your pets are ponging up the place too.
The scent doesn’t fade away at all while it’s on, so if you don’t like strong smells this might be a little too intense for you. However, if you need something powerful that lasts for a long time, this is an excellent purchase.
Key specs – type: plug-in; Volume: 400ml; Power required: Mains socket
4. Glade Solid Air Freshener: Best solid air freshener
Price: £8 for 8 | Buy now from Amazon
If you’re looking for value for money, you won’t get much better than the Glade Solid Air Freshener. Despite costing just £1 per freshener, it is a surprisingly powerful and eco-friendly solution, with the added bonus that many customers found it useful for keeping away insects.
We tested the lavender version, which offered a pleasant odour that was strong, without proving overwhelming. However, it can take a couple of days for the freshener to fully get rid of unpleasant odours. It does come in a multipack of eight though, so there’s plenty to place around the house and it is easy to quickly replace when the smell wears off. This is a good set to invest in if you want a nice but not too intense aroma all around the house.
Key specs – type: solid; Volume: 400ml; Power required: 3 x AAA batteries