The best air fresheners to say bye to odors in your home ⁠— 12 reviewed and rated picks

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Best air fresheners on checkerboard background with plugs, sprays, essential oil diffusers and more
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If you're taking the time to research the best air freshener to buy for your home, then it's clear you care about the scent of your space — who doesn't? Home fragrance is arguably as important as your home decor. As someone who reviews candles, reed diffusers, essential oil diffusers, and everything else that makes your home smell super good for a living, I can recommend a thing or two for your space. Because whether you live with a pet, your housemate enjoys a fish dinner twice a week (ugh), or you just love the peace of mind that comes with knowing your home smells good, then keep on scrolling.

I've collated (and tested) a bunch of fragrances ranging in scent, from fruity to fresh, that are perfect for immediately banishing odors at home. Think of everything from solid air fresheners to air purifying bags to your classic air freshener sprays. There's something for everyone, in short, whether you're trying to scent your small apartment in the city or your spacious pet-friendly home in the suburbs.

Written by
Headshot of Annie Collyer
Written by
Annie Collyer

I (Annie) have reviewed the majority of these air fresheners firsthand, and I've been using the first pick from Puressential to scent my home for years. You can sometimes find it on sale, but a little goes a long way. I'm also always looking out for new ways to make your home smell good.

I also test scented candles and reed diffusers, too.

The 10 best air fresheners

The prices in this guide were correct at the time of publishing.

What to consider when buying an air freshener

An air freshener is designed for daily use, whether to mask bathroom odors or to give your sofa a spritz after you've watched an entire season of something on Netflix. With this in mind, I've only featured solutions on this list that won't be super harmful if ingested. Here are some things to think about when choosing a new air freshener for your space:

1. Which type of air freshener do you want?
There are lots of air freshener types to choose from. Spray, aerosol, and solid are the most popular. Candles, reed diffusers, and essential oils differ slightly and aren't as powerful but can help make a home smell nice, too. 

2. How often will it need to be replaced?
Sprays and aerosols are different, as this will depend on how often you use them, but solid air fresheners and essential oil diffusers usually come with a lifespan. Keep this in mind when choosing so you're not overspending or over-replacing. 

3. Are you able to control it?
This one's a biggie! Because we've all been in a situation where someone is coming over and you or a roomie decided to microwave something pretty pungent. You'll need a plug-in you can turn on (or spray) to work instantly. So while air purifying bags, solid air fresheners, and fragrance spheres are great, they're more for background use. 

4. What does it smell like?
Don't go against the seasons. Much like you would with any other home fragrance, match it to the time of the year. Go floral in spring and warm in colder months. No one wants a cinnamon-scented entryway in the middle of July. But in December? I'd be all over that.


What is the most powerful odor eliminator?

The most powerful air freshener I've used is Puressential's, which is number one on our list. It banishes smells instantly, replacing the odor with a herbal scent from essential oils. 

Which air fresheners are most effective?

From experience with testing home fragrances, I would always say that a spray is the most effective type of home fragrance. A spray is great if you want an instant odor eliminator or an instant fragrance boost. Other air freshener types such as solids, gels, or plug-ins are great for subtly fragrancing your home all day long.

What's making my home smell bad?

Carpets are the worst culprits for spreading those nasty smells, but curtains and upholstery are close behind. The best way to tackle them (other than introducing air fresheners) is to pay them a visit while armed with an amazing vacuum cleaner. This will help out your air freshener's effectiveness, too.

Find out more in our guide to cleaning a carpet.

Types of air fresheners

There's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to air fresheners. In fact, this will hugely depend on where you want to use your new air freshener, and whether you want something that you can control — or if you'd rather have an automatic air freshener.

Here are the main types of air fresheners:

  • Spray air fresheners are great for using anywhere, especially on fabrics and upholstery. You can control how much scent they emit, and when they work. Opt for a mist for a lighter fragrance.
  • Plug-in air fresheners are automatic so you don't need even need to think about if your home smells nice. Just choose your fragrance and plug it into a socket.
  • Diffuser air fresheners also work on their own, with no need for a human to press go. These can sit atop a table or cabinet, hidden or on display. Essential oil diffusers are different and you will need to turn them on.
  • Gel air fresheners tend to be compact, and you just need to display them up high on a surface so that they emit scent.
  • Solid air fresheners might need to be hung, or they will need to be placed away from things to ooze fragrance.

How we test air fresheners

FYI: Eight out of 12 of the air fresheners in this guide have been tested by a member of the Real Homes team. We've given the picks we love a rating out of five, and the ones we haven't reviewed (without a star rating), we've included purely based on their customer reviews.

For the air fresheners we've tested, we're always sure to use them until they are at least half empty.

Annie Collyer
Head Ecommerce Editor

Hi! I'm Annie, and I'm the Head Ecommerce Editor at Real Homes. I've been part of the Real Homes team since 2018, when I joined as Deals Editor. Along with covering major sales events — from Black Friday to Amazon Prime Day — I review home must-haves so that you can buy with peace of mind. Mostly focusing on home fragrance and sleep, as well as a few vacuum cleaners, I've tested pretty much every item you can think of that you need in your home. I live on the outskirts of the city in a two-bed apartment with my husband and my pug, Doug. So I am always searching for compact alternatives and ways to save floor space. What about when I am not typing away? Well, you'll find me enjoying an iced coffee (no matter the season) and trying out the latest brunch spots the city has to offer, or booking my next holiday. Where else can you find my words? Livingetc, Homes & Gardens, Ideal Home, Gardeningetc, and Woman & Home.