24 of the best air fresheners — including a $7 spray that smells like Baccarat Rouge 540

Our edit of the best air fresheners will get your home smelling expensive

A trio of the best air fresheners from Kai Home, Diptyque, and Hearth & Hand at Target
(Image credit: Future / Kai Home / Diptyque / Target)
Best air fresheners: Quick menu

Searching for the best air fresheners for your space? Between your furry friends running amuck, pan-searing weekly salmon dinners, and accumulating garbage in your trash can, a little extra feast for the nose is definitely welcome. 

As someone who reviews candles, reed diffusers, and everything else that makes your home smell pleasant, I am happy to recommend a thing or two. My edit of aromas is perfect for those who appreciate a large selection of scents — fruity, fresh, etc. — and diverse offerings, such as non-toxic air purifying bags or air freshener sprays.

Home fragrances are a great addition to your spring cleaning, so why not use this as an excuse to stock up? We've tested these products in our homes, to assess their throw, longevity, and odor-busting powers.

The best air fresheners to tackle bad odors

Why you can trust Real Homes Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

The 22 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.

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 use 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. Nowadays, some products are smart and can work with app configuration.
  • 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: The majority of 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, meaning several weeks of testing.


Is now a good time to buy an air freshener?

We regularly display discounts on this page, using a price tracker like CamelCamelCamel to evaluate whether you're getting a genuinely good deal or whether the screen price has been more competitive in the past.

What is the most powerful odor eliminator?

The most powerful air freshener I've used is Puressential's. 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?

Where to shop for air fresheners

Thinking about stocking up? We've rounded up a few places where you can add fragrant, non-toxic, and long-lasting air fresheners to your cart.

As well as the obvious retailer and direct-to-consumer brands, did you know that you can also buy air fresheners from hotel brands like Marriott? Their Attune home mini diffuser scent is currently 20% off and has the exact same top notes of apple and grapefruit mixed with jasmine, rose, and cedar you'll be familiar with if you've stayed the night.

Looking for other ways to keep your home smelling fresh (and perhaps fruity or woodsy)? Fortunately, our edits of the best candles and the best reed diffusers, as well as our guide on where to buy essential oils, will take care of any stench your abode might be unpleasantly experiencing. 

Just an FYI, if you're looking to get rid of pet odor in a small space, check the ingredients first. You might be wondering if diffusers are bad for dogs (spoiler alert: it depends on what you put in it).

Also, if you're thinking about foregoing fragrance and using plants to purify the air over the holiday season, just know that some Christmas plants are toxic to pets. And, even outside of the season, it's worth knowing that some plants are toxic for cats.

Christina Chrysostomou
Former acting head ecommerce editor

Hi, I'm the former acting head ecommerce editor at Real Homes. Prior to working for the Future plc family, I've worked on a number of consumer events including the Ideal Home Show, Grand Designs Live, and Good Homes Magazine. With a first class degree from Keele University, and a plethora of experience in digital marketing, editorial, and social media, I have an eye for what should be in your shopping basket and have gone through the internal customer advisor accreditation process.

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