Best air fresheners: solid, aerosol, automatic and more

There's only one rule in my home, and that is that it always has to smell nice

Neom air freshener in black on coffee table sitting on Real Homes magazine with dried flowers behind
(Image credit: Future/Annie Collyer)

Let me introduce myself first by saying that I am obsessed with my home smelling nice. Don't believe me? I've tested so many home fragrances, and I'm so picky about the ones that I love. For me, scent tells a story. And there's nothing like the smell of the fish you cooked for lunch to greet your dinner guests, eh?

Now, I'm not the kind of person that just throws whatever air freshener is on sale into my grocery basket. (And I'm definitely not judging those who do — you do you, hun.) This is only because I am forever trying to be more sustainable at home. I'm always after eco-friendly cleaning products and plastic-free alternatives to swap in for my current go-tos.

The air fresheners I've handpicked — and tested — below, aren't full of chemicals or nasties, and I've only featured one aerosol. Yes, there are more ways to scent your home than a spray solution. Think of everything from solid air fresheners to air purifying bags — and even a portable essential oil diffuser. It's all here.

Whether you're trying to scent your small apartment in the city or your spacious pet-friendly home in the suburbs, you'll find something that smells good when you scroll.

The best air fresheners — 8 buys I really love

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.

Real Homes review process — How we test air fresheners

Yes, we like to test almost everything we feature at Real Homes. With the help of our writers, editors, and freelancers, we work to test everything in our buying guides. In instances where we haven't had hands-on experience, we'll only feature it if it has rave reviews.

All of the above air fresheners that have a star rating have been reviewed by our head ecommerce editor, Annie.

Annie Collyer illustration
Annie Collyer

Hi! I'm Annie and I've been an editor at Real Homes since 2018, reviewing everything from portable grills to air fresheners and everything in between. I've tested five out of eight of these air fresheners, and it's safe to say that I really do love them all. Though obviously, I can't use them all at once. 

I currently have the Neom Wellbeing Pod in my bathroom and guests love it. I also always repurchase the Puressentiel Purifying Air Spray, but I'm super careful using it around my pug. Otherwise, if I run out of air freshener I'll grab one from Mrs. Meyer's while at my local grocery store.

I've also tested the majority of the buys in our scented candles and reed diffusers guides, too.

3 things to think about 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 you've got someone coming over and you or a roomie decided to microwave something that's pretty pungent. You'll need something 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 has to Puressential's, which is number one on our list. It really does banish smells instantly, replacing the odor with a herbal scent from essential oils. 

Up next: All of the clever hacks we swear by to get rid of common household smells

Annie Collyer
Head Ecommerce Editor

Hi! I'm Annie, and I'm the Head Ecommerce Editor at Real Homes. Along with my team, I'm here to review all of the products you might be considering buying for your home. As someone who lives in a flat with a small amount of storage space to work with, and with two indoor pets to clean up after, I am forever searching for stylish yet functional appliances that won't blemish my decor if I can't fit them in a cupboard. I love decorating my living room for each season, while my other hobbies include drinking a decent cup of coffee, going on park walks with my dog and enjoying an Instagrammable brunch with my husband.