The 8 Best UV Light Sanitizers
This wiki has been updated 12 times since it was first published in October of 2018. If used correctly, ultraviolet sanitization is effective enough to kill 99.9 percent of germs and harmful pathogens, making it a smart, chemical-free way to disinfect items. In addition to destroying bacteria on surfaces, it can also be used to help purify drinking water and air. For safety reasons, never allow UV-C light to come in direct contact with your skin or eyes. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
May 06, 2021:
First of all, we want to be very clear: UV-C light is not safe for the skin and can significantly increase your risk of cancer. As such, we've removed all the UV-C wands, because a handheld device is extremely difficult to use safely.
That was the only change we made to the Wiki this time, as all of our remaining selections are still available and highly recommended. Keep in mind, of course, that they can serve wildly different purposes. Models like the GermGuardian AC5300B and Pure Enrichment PureZone use UV-C alongside other high-quality air filtration techniques, while the OdorStop OS72 and Pure UV TIO2 are meant for installation inside your ventilation or HVAC system. Also be aware that for ultraviolet sanitizing to work properly, you have to start with relatively well-filtered air or water, because physical contaminants decrease the effectiveness of UV-C.
March 09, 2020:
Identifying the best UV light sanitizers required more than simply finding well-made products that lasted through plenty of use and other buyers were happy with. Since we realize that people will be using them to reduce their exposure to potentially harmful pathogens, we felt it was especially important to do extensive research into how they work, as well as what kinds are safest and most effective. While much research still needs to be done by the scientific community at large about these devices, we do feel we are now well equipped to recommend some useful products.
One thing we learned is that models designed to kill airborne pathogens have limited effectiveness if the air is not purified first through the use of a HEPA or similar filter. The reason for this is that the various other contaminants in the air, such as dust, pollen, and the like, are larger than the bacteria and microorganisms we are hoping to kill with a UV bulb, which means they will partially shield the pathogen from the germicidal light, resulting in very low efficacy. With that in mind, we had to remove the Lamptop 36W, GermGuardian GG1000, and O-Best Lamp, however we retained the Pure Enrichment PureZone and GermGuardian AC5300B, as both feature HEPA filters that the air will pass through before being exposed to the UV-C light. We also included the OdorStop OS72 and Pure UV TIO2, which are whole-house units intended to be placed in your air duct, in the case of the former, or above or below your evaporator, in the case of the latter. However, we recommend both of these whole-house units be used in conjunction with an AC filter that boasts a high filtration level for them to truly be effective.
Another thing we discovered is that the amount of time an item or surface is exposed to the UV light greatly affects how efficient it is. With that in mind, we included many container models that you put small items inside of, like the UV Pod S1, InvisiClean IC-240, HoMedics UV-Clean, and Munchkin Portable 59S, since these remove the potential user error of moving the light too quickly over an item. Of course, we do understand that some people may need to disinfect a larger item or surface that cannot be put inside one of these smaller units, so we also included the BrightinWD Wand. We would like to point out though that you must keep the UV light shining directly on a surface for a minimum of 10 seconds, 20 seconds is even better, and from within a couple of inches of distance.
We find the CrazyCap Self-Cleaning Bottle to be one of the more innovative options on this list, as it can be used to purify water, as well as small items when the cap is removed and used like a handheld wand. After consulting studies that showed it was capable of killing 99.9-percent of E. coli bacteria in water after a two-minute cycle, and 99.6 percent of Staphylococcus aureus on a iPad surface when held at a distance of one inch for four minutes, we felt quite confident recommending it.
October 31, 2018:
When identifying the best sanitizers for our list, we had two goals in mind; to only include effective, high-quality models, and to offer the widest variety of types. Because of this, you can find UV santizers here that are capable of cleaning all of the air passing through your AC ducts, those that solely clean the the air in individual rooms, handheld models used to disinfect surfaces, and container-like devices that accommodate smartphones, toothbrushes, and other small items.
CureUV GermAwayUV Xtreme Boasting 55 watts and a 23.4-inch width, the CureUV GermAwayUV Xtreme can help you sterilize large surface areas where others models would be inefficient. Though a bit heavy, at seven pounds, it features a big handle that allows you to grip it with two hands if needed. Its bulb offers a 10,000-hour service life and has a shatterproof coating. cureuv.com
Edlund KSUV-18 If you want to take things to a step further than a simple washing to ensure your kitchen knives are sterile, the Edlund KSUV-18 can help. It features mirrored walls and clear holders to reduce the chances of shadows hindering the sanitizing process, and can accommodate up to 12 blades, including larger cleavers and chef knives, as well as a sharpening steel. edlundco.com