Last updated: August 29, 2021

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For most people, a smell is just as powerful an evocation of time and place as a photograph. The smell of pine trees can take you back to the mountains and the skiing trip of a lifetime. The smell of maple syrup can take us back to Saturday morning breakfasts with the family. Air fresheners are powerful ways to not only improve the smell around our home, office, or in our car, but also create a sense of peace, belonging and tranquillity.

Many people use perfume or cologne to create a lasting impression. In your home, you can place good-smelling air fresheners and scents in different places to help create characters and create distinct feelings in different rooms. The below guide will introduce you to the world of air fresheners and give you more information so you know what’s on the market and how to get something great.

Key Facts

  • There is a tremendous variety of air fresheners on the market. You need to know how to evaluate each different kind so that you get something that will go great in the desired space.
  • When you buy your air freshener you need to be aware of the price and how different add-ons and accessories can drive the price up.
  • It feels nice to enter a home and smell something familiar, it can help create a sense of home and familiarity that makes coming home amazing. It’s a good idea to get a different scent for each room.
  • If you get an air freshener that comes with accessories to make sure you aren’t getting anything you’re not going to use.

The best air fresheners

The below list contains five of the best and most popular air fresheners currently on the market. It will introduce you to what’s out there and lay out the important features of all of them. After going through this list you should be able to find something great that suits your needs.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about air fresheners

You hopefully now have a much better idea of what there is on the market and which are the best for you. There are products that do more than just provide pleasant scents to a room. You might be considering getting one or more of them. In the below section we will help you narrow down your choices so you get the perfect one.

Woman spraying air freshener at home

An air freshener is meant to make any room or space smell and feel good.(Source: belchonock: 105946564/

What is an air freshener?

By now you likely already know what air fresheners are and what they do, but we’re going to go over it once more. Air fresheners are made to disperse and diffuse nice smells anywhere you put them. There are air fresheners that are made especially for cars, bags, gym lockers and more.

On the market, you will find disposable models and those that are made to be resued. They all contain different combinations of substances they use to create their unique scents. You might be interested in an air freshener to add character to a room or to hide terrible smells in other. Whatever the reason, they are a necessary part of most modern homes.

Where should you place the air freshener?

The best practice is to put your air freshener as close to the centre of your room as possible. This allows the scent to disperse more evenly as opposed to concentrating in one area. Depending on how intense the scent is and the strength of the diffuser, you might leave your air freshener on or plugged in all day, or turn it off while you’re not at home. Always consider the preferences of other people in your home, as some people find certain smells offputting.

If you are adding an air freshener to the living room, make sure it is not too close to the couch. If it’s going in or near the kitchen, ensure it is not too close to eating areas as strong smells can make eating less enjoyable. If you are placing it in a bedroom, make sure it is a reasonable distance from the bed. It is also a good idea to turn your air freshener off before going to bed.

What kind of air fresheners are there?

There are basically two types of air freshener based on the essences used. There are natural ones and chemical ones. You need to know the main features of each to get the best one for you. The below list contains those details for easy reference:

  • Natural air fresheners. These air fresheners use a mix of different alcohols combined with natural essences to create their scents. They are softer than synthetic chemicals, but the effect tends to last longer.
  • Chemical air fresheners. Chemical air fresheners typically use petroleum products like formaldehyde, dichlorobenzene and aerosols. You need to be careful with these as they can be harmful, especially to small children and pets.

Spa concept with Floating Flowers, essential oil, salt and Air Freshener

Some air fresheners are disposable while others can be refilled and reused.(Source: primagefactory: 53232771/

How do different air fresheners function?

You can also distinguish between different air fresheners based on how they disperse their scents. It is important to take this into consideration, as not all air fresheners have the same effect. You also need to keep in mind that constantly having air fresheners around, depending on the model and style, can get expensive. The below table will provide more information so you know which make the most sense for you:

Type of air freshener Main characteristics
Spray These give you a pleasant smell right away. Some versions contain water while others do not. If you are spraying your air freshener be sure it doesn’t get on any pets, other people, or food.
Burners Essence burners manage to give the house an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity that other devices do not offer. There are different options in terms of design and aromas.
Candles When you start browsing candles you will immediately see that there is so much to choose from, and some scents are quite subtle. Candles are usually inexpensive.
Electrical This type of air freshener is usually placed in an electrical outlet and has an air freshener and replacement liquid capsule. There are many different varieties and they tend to diffuse the smells very well and evenly in a room while cutting down on energy costs.
Battery They work just like electric air fresheners, but use batteries instead. They usually have an aerosol inside that is sprayed.
Stick Scents This is one of the easiest and oldest ways to perfume or scent a room. They typically consist of a small container filled with scented oil or liquid into which small bamboo sticks are placed to absorb and disperse the scent. The container can be refilled once it runs out.

What kind of smells suit each part of the house?

It is important to keep in mind that certain scents and smells are better suited to different rooms and situations, but these preferences vary by person. With that in mind, there are no set and stone rules when it comes to which scents have to go where. There are, however, some general guidelines that experts suggest when choosing scents for the different areas of your home. Below we have provided some of those recommendations:

  • Living room: Your living room should be a place that evokes feelings of warmth and a sense of home. You can get this with wood scents and vanilla. Lavender and mint are also well-liked for this room.
  • Kitchen: You want your kitchen to radiate appetizing scents, while not being overpowering. Citrus like orange and lemon are always nice, so are things like cinnamon and chocolate. Mint and lavender also combine well in the kitchen.
  • Bathrooms: A bathroom should smell clean and fresh. Pine, marine, thyme, jasmine and citrus are all preferable for bathrooms.
  • Bedrooms: The bedroom should evoke feelings of peace and rest and entice you to sleep. Wood, lavender and jasmine all accomplish this. In a child’s bedroom, citrus smells tend to be a nicer touch.
  • Study or office: In a study or a home office it is good to go with scents which promote energy and concentration. Smells like tangerine, orange and lemon are all good for this. They are also ideal for a student’s room or a classroom.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of air fresheners?

It should now be abundantly clear that having at least one air freshener around the home is a necessity. They help keep your home smelling clean, fresh, and welcoming. You now have some expert recommendations to go off when choosing scents for each room. While any scent can dramatically improve the smell and feel of a room, nothing will ever be 100 per cent perfect. With that in mind, it is worth going over the pros and cons of air fresheners:

  • They improve the smell of a house
  • They tend to be affordable
  • They help provide your home with character
  • Some people are allergic to air fresheners or find them too much
  • Some models can be costly
  • You should consider the accessories required (bamboo sticks) or additional costs (electricity or batteries)

Shopping Criteria

You may already have an air freshener, or perhaps multiple in mind. You might even know which specific smells you are going to put where. Prior to making a decision, however, there are some important shopping criteria you should have in mind to ensure you get the right one(s). The below should be factored into every purchase.


It is wise to get an air freshener that allows you to swap different scents in and out. You might be thrilled with a scent at first but come to find it too much, or inappropriate for a room or situation. If this happens, it’s nice to know you can change it up easily.

Chelsea StoneReader’s Digest
“The smell of the vitamin C-packed fruits has been shown to boost energy and alertness, and studies have revealed that lemon scents, in particular, can reduce stress and leave a positive impression on others”.

Spare parts

You should always factor in how easy or difficult it will be to find replacement parts for your air freshener. For instance, if you get one in another country and bring it home only to find out a replacement and spare parts aren’t available in your country, you’ve just wasted your money. Make sure you do your research first.


You must always factor in what you can afford to spend and how much it is going to cost you to use the air freshener on a regular basis. If you get one that is costly to buy replacements for or suggests expensive ingredients, costs will add up over time.

Capacity of the freshener

You also need to consider if the product you are interested in will be able to effectively disperse scents around a given room. Weak and overpowering smells will make things worse. This is an especially important aspect if you are getting scent sticks, incense or candles, as many have very subtle smells.


You also need to consider how your air freshener is going to look in the room(s) you are putting it in. It will essentially become part of the decor so it shouldn’t clash too much with the aesthetic. This is especially true if it is going to be front and centre in a room, or if you are placing in a main thoroughfare in your house that everyone is going to have to walk by. You should also ensure that it is not too big for any space it’s going in.


As we previously mentioned, many people suffer from allergies or have particularly sensitive senses of smell. Small kids and pets are especially vulnerable to any strong chemicals and scents. Make sure any product you are getting is not going to impact the quality of life of anyone around you. Additionally, if you have visitors you know might not appreciate or like the scents, you might consider removing them from the room while they’re there.


Air fresheners make your home more welcoming and add character, especially when you have visitors. It can add comfort and make it easier to relax. They are great for getting rid of or disguising bad smells and odours from pets, food etc. They are a great way to augment the atmosphere and ambience of any room.

There are so many different models of air freshener on the market and they all do something slightly different. They look different, emit their scents differently, and have different lifespans. You need to factor all of this into your purchase decision if you want to get the best product possible. Lastly, don’t forget about the aforementioned precautions to take around especially sensitive people or animals.

If you enjoyed this guide to air fresheners and found it useful, share it with friends and family on social media. Additionally, you can drop us a comment below and let us know what you thought.

(Source of featured image: belchonock: 100164680/

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