5 Best Car Air Purifiers

On average, Americans spend more than 100 minutes per day in their cars. Whether you’re commuting to work, taking the kids to school, or transporting your furry friends in the passenger seat, you could be spending a long time exposed to harmful pollution. Another air quality factor to consider is cigarette or vape smoke. By having a good quality filtration device in your vehicle, you can remove the odor and damaging particles, leaving your car fresh and free of any toxins.

For a car air purifier to be effective, it needs to have a HEPA\H13 filter, which removes 99.97% of particles from the air. It also needs an activated carbon filter to trap unwanted gases and odors such as harmful exhaust fumes and outside smog. You may also need to buy a separate power adapter for your vehicle. However, some cars already come with a power supply or a cable that will fit your car cigarette lighter socket.

To find the best car air purifiers, we looked at consumer reports and listened to recommendations from people that not only own the products but have experience using them in their car on a day-to-day basis. We then looked for a variety of units for a wide range of budgets, dismissing any air purifiers we found to have fake reviews.

1. Winix A230 Tower H13

Winix A230 Tower H13 True HEPA 4-Stage Air Purifier, Perfect for Home office, Home classroom, Bedroom and Nursery, Charcoal Grey

So this unit doesn’t work natively in the car but can be a great performer when using a car power adaptor.

The Winix A230 Tower H13 is among the best car air purifiers for larger vehicles since it can handle a 230 sq. ft. room. With its PlasmaWave technology, it works to keep you and anyone else in your car safer from bacteria and viruses that may be floating around.

However, the PlasmaWave technology is merely the last stage in a four-stage filtration process. Before that, the air is cleaned through a pre-mesh filter that handles large particles, a True HEPA filter to capture 99.97% of allergens, and an activated carbon filter to tackle various odors. This is helpful in vehicles where all types of smells can seep in from outside.

Another bonus of the A230 Tower H13 is that it’s compact. It can fit on the floor in the car without getting in the way. Keeping an eye on air quality is simple thanks to the LED color-changing indicators. There’s an auto-mode as well so that the fan speed can automatically adjust accordingly.

  • Purifier Technology: Four-stage filtration | True HEPA | PlasmaWave Technology
  • Power Supply: Soyond 150W Car Power Inverter [This is required to use in a car as it comes with a standard power connection for the home. The benefit is that you get a lot more performance for your $$$ to spend and power inverters are not super pricey.]
  • Filter Life: 12 months
  • Noise Level: 25dB
  • Monthly Energy Consumption: $1.61

What we love:

  • Features 360° coverage for well-rounded use
  • Optional sleep mode function for quieter operation
  • Long filter life
  • Powerful fan operation

We don’t like this as much:

  • May make a lot of noise if not in sleep mode
  • LED lighting doesn’t automatically turn off
Winix A230 Tower H13 True HEPA 4-Stage Air Purifier, Perfect for Home office, Home classroom, Bedroom and Nursery, Charcoal Grey
  • Room Size 230 Sq. Ft.: AHAM Verified room size of 230 sq. ft. Suitable for small to medium size living spaces
  • Fine Mesh Pre-Filter: The first line of defense against the largest airborne particles found indoors
  • Activated Carbon Filter: Reduces VOCs and household odors from cooking, pets, and smoke. It is designed to catch airborne particles found indoors, which also helps prolong the True HEPA Filter life
  • True HEPA Filter: Captures 99.97% of airborne allergens including pollen, mold spores, dust, pet dander, microbes, and smoke (particles as small as 0.3 microns in size)
  • PlasmaWave Air Cleaning Technology: Acts as a permanent filter to safely break down odor, allergens, chemical vapors and other pollutants with no harmful ozone

2. IQAir Atem Car Portable

IQAir Atem Car Portable HEPA Air Purifier, Filters for Pollution, Odors, Gases, Car Fumes, and Asthma, Great for Travel or Daily Commute

The IQAir Atem Car Portable packs a lot of power. It is efficient enough to clean the air throughout your car almost 20 times an hour by providing 270° purification through its centrifugal fan. There are three fan speeds too.

It can not only address common allergens in the air, but this unit has a strong focus on reducing traffic pollution. This is one of the six best car air purifiers and relies on a three-stage filtration process to make the air you’re breathing during a drive healthier. It boasts a HyperHEPA Plus filter that is well-known for handling in-cabin air pollutants as well as eliminating odors.

All of this is put together in a sleek, circular style that won’t look completely out of place inside your vehicle. You can even sync it to the Atem mobile app. This lets you customize the three fan speeds. Also, you can activate the built-in child-lock function through the app to keep any kids from playing around with it.

  • Purifier Technology: HyperHEPA Plus
  • Power Supply: DC Auxiliary Power Cable
  • Filter Life: 12 months
  • Noise Level: three default fan speeds
  • Monthly Energy Consumption: $0.10

What we love:

  • Comes with a secure mount to fit on various areas
  • Runs quietly on all fan speeds
  • Visual instructions for a simple set up process
  • Easily connects to the car’s power source

We don’t like this as much:

  • Replacement filters aren’t always easy to get
  • The quick-start button could be more sensitive
IQAir Atem Car Portable HEPA Air Purifier, Filters for Pollution, Odors, Gases, Car Fumes, and Asthma, Great for Travel or Daily Commute
  • HyperHEPA Plus filter removes up to 99% of particles down to 0.003 microns from your vehicle cabin, including PM2.5, CO2, and diesel soot as well as common traffic pollutants like SO2 and Nox
  • Efficient filtration system cleans the air in your car up to 20 times per hour
  • Powerful, efficient, and ultra-quiet multi-phase fan motor allows quiet, constant operation without losing filtration efficacy
  • 270-degree centrifugal fan draws in cabin air through 3-stage particle and gaseous filter for maximum removal of harmful air pollutants
  • Direct purchases from the manufacturer will require a signature to acknowledge receipt upon delivery. CARB EO # G-18-064. EPA Establishment # 97566-CHE-1

3. LEVOIT Core 300

LEVOIT Air Purifier for Home Allergies and Pets Hair Smokers in Bedroom, H13 True HEPA Filter, 24db Filtration System Cleaner Odor Eliminators, Remove 99.97% Dust Smoke Mold Pollen, Core 300, Black

The Core 300 from LEVOIT boasts a variety of features that allow it to stand out among the other car air purifiers in this list. It is built with an advanced brushless motor that gives it more durability so that it may last longer. To better purify the air all around the car, this unit has a 360° side air intake to give you more ways to effectively place it in different areas.

It makes good use of its three-stage filtration setup, especially with its activated carbon filter that works at reducing various compounds. This is a useful feature if you live in an area with high pollution. This filtration system also captures harsh odors and traps dust floating in the air.

Another fun feature of this unit is that it works well in low light. It has a night light that’s warm so that it isn’t harsh on the eyes, which is helpful for those nighttime drives or if you need to find it. Also, the LED display can be turned off while it’s still operating if you wish.

  • Purifier Technology: three-stage filtration | pre-filter | H13 True
  • Power Supply: DC Auxiliary Power Cable [This is required to use in a car as it comes with a standard power connection for the home. The benefit is that you get a lot more performance for your $$$ to spend and power inverters are not super pricey.]
  • Filter Life: six to eight months
  • Noise Level: 24dB to 50dB
  • Monthly Energy Consumption: $1.30

What we love:

  • Has a large intake so it can filter more particles
  • Features a lightweight design that’s simple to move
  • Easy to turn off all the lights
  • Built-in timer function

We don’t like this as much:

  • May not completely get rid of all odors
  • Filter might need cleaning/replacing often

If you are interested, we recently did a hands on review of the Levoit core 300 in a home setting.

Sale
LEVOIT Air Purifier for Home Allergies and Pets Hair Smokers in Bedroom, H13 True HEPA Filter, 24db Filtration System Cleaner Odor Eliminators, Remove 99.97% Dust Smoke Mold Pollen, Core 300, Black
  • Perfect for Different Individuals' Needs: Customized 3 Replacement 3-stage Filters based on different environment. Consider one air purifier when you find dust, pollen, pet dander, mold spores, and dust mite, smoke particles, (VOCs), runny nose, allergy-like symptoms, such as sneezing,burning sensations in the nose, dry, itchy skin rashes
  • Ozone Free: Designed in California. The UVC Light and Anion that other Brands adopt to purify air could produce a kind of air pollutant-Ozone, which is especially harmful for the children and Asthma sufferers. Levoit air purifiers never use these for 100% Ozone free
  • Improved Filtration: With larger expansion area and longer length than others, the H13 Ture HEPA filter works with ultra-fine Pre-filter and activated carbon filter, traps 99.97% allergens like dust, pet hair, and other large particles while extending the life of the HEPA filter and reduce unwanted odors from pets, smoke, cooking fumes
  • Large Coverage: Use the Core 300 to fill your environment with crisp, clean air. Its Vortexair Technology creates a stronger air flow, filters air 5x per hour at high speed in medium to large rooms up to 219 sq. feet. AC 120V/60HZ for USA and Canada
  • Undisturbed Operation: Display light can be turned off to enjoy a perfect night of sleep without the effect of light. A timer for 2/4/6/8 hours and filter life time indicator for your convenience

5. Philips GPC20GPX1 GoPure Compact 200

Philips Automotive Lighting GPC20GPX1 GoPure Compact 200 Car Air Purifier, 1 Pack

The GoPure Compact 200 is a strong automotive clean air system and has a three-stage filtering process to thoroughly clean the air in the car. It successfully makes use of both a HEPA filter and a HESA filter. The HEPA focuses on removing bacteria and harmful gasses, while the HESA filter works on removing foul odors so your vehicle can maintain that new car smell.

The HESA does an even better job at kicking out tobacco smoke too, which is helpful if only some occupants in the car smoke while others don’t. There’s an air-particle sensor integrated into the unit so that it tracks the quality of the air in real-time. It tells you whether the air in the car is excellent, fair, or poor.

Also, you can set the automatic switch-on so that it cuts on when the car starts. Adjusting the power through three fan speeds is simple too. Although you can easily place this compact unit anywhere, you’ll always be aware when the filter needs to be replaced thanks to the built-in LED filter light.

  • Purifier Technology: HESA and HEPA technology
  • Power Supply: DC Auxiliary Power Cable
  • Filter Life: 350 hours
  • Noise Level: 40dB to 50dB
  • Monthly Energy Consumption: $0.09

What we love:

  • Features a sturdy, reliable build
  • Easily plugs into the cigarette lighter for power
  • Replacing and resetting the unit is simple and fast
  • Automatic shut-off function

We don’t like this as much:

  • Could circulate the air better
  • Filter replacements can get costly
Philips Automotive Lighting GPC20GPX1 GoPure Compact 200 Car Air Purifier, 1 Pack
  • automotive clean air system with healthy air indicator, for fresh and clean air in your car
  • high air purification power thanks to a three-stage filtering process that eliminates up to 99% of harmful gases, smoke, bacteria, odors, dust, pollen, pet hair, and other particles from the vehicle
  • the hesa unique technology offers 3x better tobacco smoke residue (nicotine) removal than ionizers. noise level - 40 (low) - 50 (high)db. filter lifetime - 350 hr
  • an integrated air-particles sensor indicates current air-quality: excellent (blue), fair (yellow), and poor (red).
  • easy operation with automatic switch on/off, filter replacement indicator, 2 speeds

3. Westinghouse 1804 Portable Air Purifier

Westinghouse 1804 Portable Air Purifier with True HEPA Filter and NCCO Technology – Removes Viruses, VOCs, Allergens, Dust, Smoke, Odors - Ideal for Car, Airplane, Workshops, Hotels, Beige

The Westinghouse 1804 Portable Air Purifier is a wonderful purifier to take with you on-the-go, making it ideal for use in the car while traveling no matter how long you’ll be driving. It stands or lies flat so you can set it up in your car as you see fit. On a single charge, it should last around eight hours.

As for how it functions, it has two fan speeds and a silent mode. There is also a three-stage filtration process. It uses both NCCO technology and a True HEPA filter to kill or remove some 99.99% of harmful particles in the air. This goes beyond allergens and focuses on eliminating viruses, bacteria, germs, odors, and smoke.

The NCCO technology has a unique process with its generated active oxygen. Once the air enters the reactor, bacteria and viruses are trapped and are either killed or made inactive. Eventually, the harmful air transforms into harmless water molecules and carbon dioxide.

  • Purifier Technology: NCCO Technology | True HEPA filter
  • Power Supply: Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery 
  • Filter Life: three to four months
  • Noise Level: 34dB
  • Monthly Energy Consumption: $0.04

What we love:

  • Works well at filtering out smoke
  • Simple to recharge
  • Features a built-in carrying handle
  • Undisturbed operation

We don’t like this as much:

  • It shouldn’t be left in a hot car
  • The battery could be of higher quality
Westinghouse 1804 Portable Air Purifier with True HEPA Filter and NCCO Technology – Removes Viruses, VOCs, Allergens, Dust, Smoke, Odors - Ideal for Car, Airplane, Workshops, Hotels, Beige
  • MEDICAL-GRADE PATENTED NCCO TECHNOLOGY: The patented NCCO Reactor breaks down all gaseous pollutants (VOCs, odors, smoke) and contaminants with Active Oxygen and converts them to harmless compounds, carbon-di-oxide, and water molecules; trapped pollutants (viruses, bacteria, allergens) in the HEPA filter will be rendered inert
  • KILLS AND ELIMINATES: While other purifiers only “trap” and “store” harmful pollutants, the Westinghouse Air Purifier kills and eliminates viruses, germs, allergens, and eliminates VOC’s, smoke, and odors with Active Oxygen
  • GREAT FOR TRAVEL: The portable air purifier is your personal-size purifier on the go. Use it in your car, on an airplane or train, and in a hotel, making it ideal while traveling
  • 3-STAGE PURIFICATION SYSTEM: The 1701 air purifier uses the 3-stage technology to clean the air; as air moves through an Oxygen Generator, True HEPA filter, and the patented NCCO Reactor, clean and sanitized air is released
  • POWERFUL PORTABLE PURIFIER: Weighing only 2 pounds, this personal portable air purifier comes with a woven and leather strap; It can clean the air of 99% of air pollutants in any space for up to 8 hours on a single charge

Additional Products

Both the Winix A230 Tower H13 and the LEVOIT Core 300 don’t come with power adapters, so they are not necessarily built for car travel. So, they will have to have a car power inverter if you want to use them. These products allow you to plug the unit directly into them, and in turn, the other side of the inverter can plug into the cigarette lighter in the car.

We recommend getting the soyond 150W car power adapter or the BENSN DC 12V 2A car charger. Both of these products are high in quality and can readily adapt to certain units like the ones mentioned above.

Remember to check out the power source for the air purifier as that will help you determine which car power inverter is the right choice.

FAQs About Air Purifiers for Cars

Do You Need a Car Air Purifier?

If you want, you can always run a test on the air quality in your car to find out if you need an air purifier. Of course, you can simply be aware of the overall air quality in your area. If you know there is a good deal of pollution, then it may be best to invest in an air purifier.

Another good reason for getting an air purifier is to handle tobacco smoke. This helps if you’re a smoker or you ride with smokers and non-smokers alike. Even getting rid of the odor of fast food can make air purifiers worth it in the long run.

With all that said, purifiers are simply a worthwhile investment. They do well at clearing out the air, especially during allergy season. If you’re a parent, it may give you peace of mind knowing that the air your child breathes during car rides is just as healthy as in a home that has an air purifier.

Are Car Air Purifiers Safe?

Generally, car air purifiers are just as safe as ones used in the home. A good rule of thumb is to thoroughly read about any purifier you’re interested in. You want to choose one that is high in quality, and this is true whether you’re using the purifier in your car or house.

Many car air purifiers are portable and plug into the car’s cigarette lighter. If a product is well made, then this process should be safe enough so that it won’t cause any damage or completely drain your car’s battery life. If you need an adapter, then the adapter should be just as well designed for safety.

Which Air Purifier Is Best for You?

There are many ways pollutants and allergens can invade our vehicles. The outside air may not be clean whether from normal city pollution or something more drastic like wildfires. Or perhaps you want to ensure no bacteria or viruses are getting into your car. Maybe you simply want to fight off allergy season or improve asthma-related symptoms.

No matter the reason, a quality air purifier for the car can be a wonderful choice to helping you and any riders breathe better. These units should generally be compact so that you can set them up anywhere you need to. Most of them even come with mounting hardware so you can strap it to the back of the seat to completely keep them out of the way.

What makes these types of air purifiers more useful is their general portability. Many of these can work just as well as personal air purifiers so you can take them with you if you need to. Always check if it is meant to be portable, however, as some require an AC power adapter to work, so you’ll need a car power inverter purchased separately.

We hope that by checking out our choices for the six best car air purifiers that you find the one best suited for your vehicle and needs. Feel free to read about any of our top picks to learn more about them.

For those of you who may be in a rush, check out some of our top three picks for budget, mid-size, and larger vehicle options below.

Last update on 2021-04-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API