The best smartphone sanitizer
Your smartphone touches its fair share of surfaces -- and then lands on your face. Since it's easy to transfer dirt and grime to skin, consider a smartphone sanitizer to keep your phone sparkling.
Smartphone sanitizers can be as simple as disinfectant wipes or as high-tech as UV sanitizer devices. They target microorganisms, dust, and debris to prevent breakouts and the spread of germs. In addition to sanitizing devices, depending on their size, they can also be used to clean watches, toothbrushes, or pacifiers.
For peace of mind every time you pick up your smartphone, read our buying guide to help you choose a sanitizer for your phone. Our top pick, PhoneSoap 3 UV Cell Phone Sanitizer and Charger, can also be used to sanitize toothbrushes and mouth guards.
Considerations when choosing smartphone sanitizers
Wipes vs. electronic
Wipes intended for sanitizing smartphones are specially designed to be safe for use with electronics. This means their formula won't penetrate the device and damage internal components. They're typically infused with alcohol-based formulas, though there are some alcohol-free wipes available.
Electronic smartphone sanitizers utilize UV-C light to kill bacteria. These are considered as low-maintenance as sanitization can get, as there's no wiping or scrubbing involved. Simply place devices inside bases or below wands and wait for the sanitation process to complete within minutes.
Types of UV smartphone sanitizers
Encased UV sanitizers: Encased UV sanitizers completely enclose your smartphone. Edges are completely sealed to keep the device in a controlled environment so it can be fully sanitized. Since they are pretty low-maintenance, they're often preferred to other types of smartphone sanitizers.
UV wand sanitizers: Think of these as sanitizing lightsabers -- you wave them over devices to sanitize them. Unfortunately with these, you need to spend about five minutes using the UV wand, which can become uncomfortable and time-consuming.
Smartphone sanitizer cases either require an outlet or have a rechargeable battery. Wands are typically battery-powered, though there are some with rechargeable bases.
Sanitizer cases can be compact enough to carry in your purse or large enough to clean several items at once. Most smartphones fit in compact cases, but you need a larger one to accommodate extra large smartphones, tablets, or e-readers.
Smartphone sanitizers take anywhere from five to 12 minutes to be effective. If you're pressed for time, it's best to use quick and easy sanitizer wipes instead.
Auto shutoff is a feature mostly present in wand sanitizers. This safety feature turns off the sanitizer if placed in the upright position, preventing direct UV exposure toward you or someone else.
If you're in a perpetual time crunch, consider a smartphone sanitizer that does double-duty as a power bank. These are popular for those who travel and need to conserve battery and optimize charge time as much as possible.
Disinfecting wipes are an inexpensive choice for sanitizing your smartphone and are below $20. Closer to the $40 mark are UV sanitizers available as cases or wands. For $40 and up, you can find UV sanitizers that accommodate larger devices and everyday items.
Q. What's the best smartphone sanitizer for commuters?
A. Commuters should invest in a case sanitizer for in the office, but on the go is a different story. It's best to keep a pack of disinfectant wipes in your bag or pocket to wipe down your phone and devices while you're on the train or bus.
Q. Are there smartphone sanitizers that accommodate two or more devices at once?
A. There are some cases with space to hold more than one smartphone. However, if they're placed too close together, the UV light may not reach all areas. It's better to invest in separate smartphone sanitizers for each phone.
Smartphone sanitizers we recommend
Our take: Sanitize all your smart devices while charging them. Reputable brand.
What we like: Lab-tested to remove 99.99% of germs. Can also be used on smaller baby items like pacifiers or utensils.
What we dislike: Device is on the larger side, though it's expected as it accommodates larger devices.
Best bang for your buck: iCloth's Small Screen and Lens Cleaner Wipes
Our take: Wipe away germs as well as fingerprints and other surface gunk.
What we like: Cost-effective, low-moisture design won't damage devices. Individually packaged and ideal for travel.
What we dislike: Can leave small residue behind. Pricey for individually packaged wipes.
Our take: Six-minute cleaning cycle, and you can add aromatherapy to the process.
What we like: Smaller footprint than other models. Popular choice for travelers. Budget-friendly option. Available in two colors.
What we dislike: Could have better documentation regarding the efficacy of its cleaning process.
Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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