Plug-in air freshener

Plug-in air freshener (Photo by Ljuba3dArt on Shutterstock)

A clean, fresh scent can make a room, home, or office much more habitable for just about everyone. Odor elimination is serious business, and with so many differing opinions on the subject, we decided to consult our sources for the top five best plug-in air fresheners to take your home to the next level.

It goes much farther than simply having your home smelling nice. According to a recent study, foul odors can be a major distraction for some. What if that burnt hair you’re smelling isn’t really there? Turns out there’s a fairly good chance it’s not, according to new research. One in 15 Americans over the age of 40 suffer from “phantom odor perception,” that is, they smell scents that aren’t real. This study is the first in the U.S. to use nationally representative data to analyze the prevalence and risk factors of phantom odor perception. Researchers at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) analyzed data from 7,417 Americans over the age of 40 who participated in the 2011-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. “Problems with the sense of smell are often overlooked, despite their importance. They can have a big impact on appetite, food preferences, and the ability to smell danger signals such as fire, gas leaks, and spoiled food,” said Dr. Judith A. Cooper, acting director of the NIDCD.

Another recent study suggests that pleasant fragrances may be able to contribute to better and more restful sleep as well as more effective study time. If you’ve been on the lookout for a new way to get a leg up on your own learning goals, a group of German researchers have devised a refreshingly novel, yet also simple strategy that is showing serious promise: employing sweet-smelling fragrances to help train the brain. Researchers found that using a fragrance while learning, and then again while sleeping, increased the learning success and efficiency of a group of German students learning the English language. This isn’t the first time that scientists have concluded that smells can aid in learning, but never has an observable learning advantage been achieved quite so easily. A total of 54 sixth grade students were taught English vocabulary words, both with and without rose-scented fragrance sticks present while learning and sleeping. The students remembered their assigned English vocabulary words much more often when they had been learning and sleeping with the rose scent.

With the many benefits of freshening up your home with a delicious scent, our sources considered several factors in ranking these products. Strength of fragrances, longevity, and price were all considered when we compiled our list of the top five best plug-in air fresheners. Let us know your favorites in the comments below!

A plug-in air freshener in a bathroom
A plug-in air freshener in a bathroom (Photo by Kristi Blokhin on Shutterstock)

The List: Best Plug-In Air Fresheners, According to Experts


1. Glade

Glade plug-ins were highly rated by all our sources for a variety of different scents. The Street offers up some product details: “If you’re a fan of the smell of fresh and clean linen, this air freshener from Glade is perfect for your home. The fragrance contains notes of crisp air, fresh laundry, and even hints of the scent of lily of the valley. The plug-in air freshener requires an electrical socket to release its fragrance and features a warmer with smart light technology, which avoids wasting any fragrance when you’re away. Further, the plug-in air freshener has two working modes, allowing you to run it continuously or in 8-hour cycles to avoid any potential wastage of your precious scent. The air freshener also shuts down automatically when the fragrance is emptied out and has a light to inform when it’s time to refill.”

Glade PlugIns Air Freshener Warmer, Scented and Essential Oils for Home and Bathroom, Up to 50 Days on Low Setting, 2 Count
Glade PlugIns Air Freshener Warmer

The Spruce also adds, “This plug-in diffuser warms the essential oils within the easy-to-replace cartridges, and you can adjust how much you want released into your home. Each cartridge lasts about 50 days. This is impressive, considering that the starter kit is less than $20 and comes with five refills. The only drawback is that the device takes up an entire standard wall outlet, leaving no room to plug in anything else below or above. However, the product does rotate to fit horizontal outlets. However, we note that the product must remain upright so oil won’t fall out of it.”

In what is often considered to be a great combination of price and long-lasting freshness, Glade Plug-Ins are well-reviewed. “Glade’s plug-in might not be the most stylish way to fragrance your home – it’s chunkier than many of its competitors – but the advantage of this type of unit, which features vents on the top and a generous amount of space between the refill’s nib and the holes, is that the exterior is less likely to be stained with smudges of oil residue. These stains are particularly hard to miss when the colour range of the device extends to varying degrees of white. We also appreciated the smooth turning scent-strength dial, which allowed us to finetune our fragrance preferences. Other plug-in dials often only allow users to clunkily switch between pre-set strengths and nowhere in between, but the slick movement of Glade’s controls allowed us to adjust the perfume power by tiny increments,” writes Independent.

 2. Air Wick Plug-In Scented Oil

Air Wick is a trusted and popular brand for air fresheners. This Old elaborates with the details, “With 10 bottles of plug-in air freshener, you can make your living room, kitchen, bedroom, or bathroom smell fresh for up to 600 days. The bottles are infused with essential oils, with the main scent being lavender and the undertones being chamomile and wood.”

Air Wick plug in Scented Oil Starter Kit, 2 Warmers + 6 Refills, Lavender & Chamomile, Eco friendly, Essential Oils, Air FreshenerColor:1 Count (Pack of 1)
Air Wick plug in Scented Oil Starter Kit

This product has drawn additional praise for the two-week life of each oil pod. “Don’t want to worry about stocking up on aromatherapy essentials for 60 days? Then grab Air Wick’s Scented Oil Air Freshener Warmer…This nifty device is one of the best plug-ins for its automatic spray feature that delicately spurts a stream of scented oil vapor. Its scent intensity can be controlled by turning its easy-to-use dial and, as an added bonus, this device also comes with a refill of its clean linen scent,” details Allure.

According to The Charlotte Observer, “The Air Wick Plug-in Air Freshener is made with 100% essential oils, boosting the aroma considerably. To add to that, this freshener can last up to 60 days on low setting while continuously giving off a pleasant scent, so your house will always smell inviting. And, optimizing airflow for 360-degree fragrance dispersal ensures that perfume reaches each nook and corner of your room for a consistent aroma experience. Not to forget, with setting levels ranging from low to high, you can also customize the quantity of mist emitted by the air freshener. It gently diffuses and combines fragrance across your house, workplace, or any other location. Unlike conventional air fresheners, this one is battery-powered and portable, allowing you to install it wherever you’d like in your house. Even more, the packaging contains 50% less plastic than most blister packs and is comparatively easy to use.”

 3. Febreze

Febreze was first released in 1996 and since then, they have cemented their position as a trusted air freshener brand. Oh So Spotless writes, “Febreze carefully formulates its products without phthalates, formaldehyde, or flammable propellants. This product doesn’t just mask odors. It eliminates them with its OdorClear Technology. Febreze uses cyclodextrin to trap odors and lock them away. Then the fragrance oils leave behind a light, fresh scent. This is an excellent product for any room. It will keep the air fresh for up to 50 days on the lowest setting. Plus, it’s safe for homes with pets and children! With this product, you can choose between low, medium, or high settings. The low setting is great for small spaces like bathrooms. For open living spaces, we recommend the high setting.”

Febreze Plug In Air Freshener Fade Defy Plugs, Scented Oil Warmer, (Pack of 4)
Febreze Plug In Air Freshener Fade Defy Plugs, Scented Oil Warmer, (Pack of 4)

Among the many perceived benefits are the following as detailed by Good Housekeeping: “Febreze’s Fade Defy Plug uses two compatible alternating scents: Just as your nose begins to get used to one and you stop smelling it (or go nose blind to it), the other kicks in. This way, you’re always detecting a whiff of scent so it reminds you that it’s working. And switching between the two oils keeps the wicks from clogging, too, which is another reason some plug-ins stop working before the oil is used up. Even more innovative, this air freshener digitally monitors and controls the oil warmer for a more even and consistent release of the scent. No longer will you get a strong burst only to have it fade quickly away.”

A common note for the Febreeze Plug-In is that it is strongly scented. Bob has this to say, “This heated oil set from Febreze packs a serious punch—and some pleasant scents. It includes the plug-in warmer as well as one to two refill cartridges, each of which features two rotating, complementary scents that feature notes of lily and pear. Use the highest setting for large open spaces and the lowest setting for smaller rooms. Each cartridge operates for 1,200 hours (approximately 50 days) at the lowest setting. The warmer is also compatible with all other versions of Febreze plug-in cartridges for more tropical, musky, or floral scents. The warmer is compatible with both horizontal and vertical outlets and can be placed upside down if necessary.”

 4. Yankee Candle

Yankee Candle has a well-deserved reputation for offering a great variety of fragrances. Allure writes that Yankee Candle Plug-Ins offer scents that might be a great choice at bedtime, “We’re rather excited about the latest innovation from Yankee Candle – a plug-in diffuser that doesn’t require any water. Simply lift off the lid and slot in the refill to enjoy 30 nights of sleep-inducing fragrance. The starter kit comes with a cartridge that offers a blissful blend of lavender (a scent which Yankee does incredibly well), eucalyptus and vanilla, and a timer so you can opt for two, four or eight hours of scent. We loved the fact that this gizmo offered the best of both worlds – despite its large, long-lasting size, it’s surprisingly unobtrusive. We also loved the gadget’s sculptural design and wood-effect base.”

In a call-out to a specific fragrance Allure also mentions that, “Notorious for its variety of scents, Yankee Candle has plenty of signature holiday favorites — but Red Apple Wreath remains the golden standard. This blend of sweet apples, cinnamon, walnuts, and maple envelopes your home and tricks your brain into thinking that a made-from-scratch pie is baking in the oven. Now, excuse us while we DoorDash a pie.”

According to Independent the overall design of the product has improved over time. “Recently given a major makeover, the home fragrance brand’s plug-ins now have much sleeker exteriors – a textured piece of plastic now covers not just the entire refill but the controls too, which are tucked away at the back of the gadget. In the original scentplugs, the control dial would occasionally become clogged with a build-up of fragrance oil. However, for this device, the sliding control is less likely to stick because it’s positioned slightly further away from the absorbent nib, which soaks up and releases the fragrance. While residue oil marks are inevitable, the design means they are hidden from sight, since the front covers both the hole through which fragrance escapes and the dial, now placed on the rear of the unit.”

 5. Renuzit Snuggle

Adorned with Snuggle Bear, their recognizable mascot, Renuzit is well-regarded by our sources. Mom Junction has this to say, “Great to use in any room in your house, this is one of the best plugin air fresheners featuring the aroma of white floral notes with fresh laundry. The air freshener is infused with pure essential oils that promise a soothing scent.”

Renuzit Snuggle Scented Oil Refill Air Freshener & Plugin Warmer, Linen Escape Starter Kit
Renuzit Snuggle Scented Oil Refill Air Freshener & Plugin Warmer

This product is also deemed appropriate for restful sleep. Oh So Spotless writes that, “The Renuzit Snuggle scented oil air freshener is our top pick for tackling bedroom odor. It has a cozy, snuggly scent which is perfect for relaxing and sleeping. It smells like fresh, clean laundry with top notes of white florals. With five fragrance settings, you can choose how strong the scent is. It’s also made with essential oils, so you get health benefits and avoid harsh chemicals. Just be careful around pets — do your research first! What’s cool about this is that it’s a universal warmer. So you can use Air Wicks and Glade warmers with the Renuzit refills. But no need because this purchase comes with a warmer. There are three other options if you’re not a fan of the linen escape scent. This includes lavender, tropical, and a super fresh original scent.”

In the end, air fresheners need to serve their designed purpose, which is to make a work or living space more comfortable and to eliminate distracting foul odors. Bob states that, “Freshening up the scent of your home can improve your space and make it really inviting. Not only can you increase pleasure and enjoyment through home fragrance scents wafting through your home spaces, but you may also feel better and healthier, as essential oils have been known to alleviate stress and anxiety. There are many home fragrance options to suit nearly every need, taste, and lifestyle, and they are dispensed in a wide variety of ways, including diffusers, sprays, gels, plug-ins, pillow mists, scented candles, reed diffusers, and incense. To help you with your choices, this guide includes a list of gems that could very well be your next best home fragrance.”

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.

Lea la versión en español en Los Mejores Ambientadores Eléctricos: Los 5 Mejores Difusores de Fragancias según los Expertos.

About Alan Corona

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1 Comment

  1. Stephanie says:

    i actually use any brand with the Febreeze warmer. i just take the plastic tops off the scent jar, pour the scent or scents in, wet the wick and put it back on and it is ready to go. I am using the Hawaiian scent from Glade right now. I also made my own scents too using essential oils and water. ( There are endless “recipes” like Bubble Gum, Fruit Loops, New Car and so on).