The 9 Best Phone Sanitizers of 2020

Keep germs off your smartphone

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The Rundown
Best Overall:
PhoneSoap v3 at Amazon
"Has even been featured on Shark Tank, ABC's popular TV series, and tested by Discovery Channel."
Best for Large Devices:
PhoneSoap HomeSoap at Phonesoap.com
"With four UV-C lamps (two each at the top and bottom), it can sanitize any device in about fifteen minutes."
"The UV-Clean phone sanitizer from Homedics is one of the few UV phone sanitizers that aren't currently on backorder."
Best with Essential Oil Diffuser:
KeySmart CleanTray at Walmart
"Doubles as an essential oil diffuser/humidifier, filling the room with lovely scents while it destroys all the germs and bacteria on your devices."
"Kills up to 99.9% of harmful bacteria, including salmonella, e-coli, h1n1, and swine flu, all through the environmentally-friendly power of UV-C rays."
"Lightweight and USB charged, the Casetify is easy to take on the go."
"Simply roll it over your cell phone or tablet's touch screen…to instantly clean all those oily fingerprints, smudges, germs and smears."
"The Coral UV is a 3 in 1 sterilizer that can cleanse multiple types of devices including phones, baby bottles, electronics, keys, and more."
"The large capacity UV-Clean Portable Storage Bag fits into your backpack or purse, and can kill bacteria in just one minute."

A good phone sanitizer is more vital than ever, especially with COVID-19 cases spiking both globally and in the U.S. Phones, mice, keyboards, and other devices we touch frequently can harbor entire ecosystems of bacteria and viruses. According to some studies, your smartphone can play host to ten times more bacteria than a toilet seat.

Unless your phone is waterproof, there's also not a good way to clean your phone since scrubbing it with soap and water might damage it. Fortunately, there's a good alternative: phone sanitizers that clean with UV light. They come in many forms, coming in small cases, bags, large cases, and even keychain attachments allowing you to blast your devices with UV-C lights. According to reputable manufacturers like Phonesoap, these phone sanitizers are capable of killing 99.9 percent of bacteria and viruses. Larger phone sanitizers can be used for things like keys, wallets, glasses, and even baby bottles.

If you're keen on protecting your phone from drops and bumps in additions to viruses, be sure to take a look at our list of the best phone cases for Android and iPhone.

Best Overall: PhoneSoap v3

What We Like
  • Destroys 99.9% of germs

  • Incredibly easy to use

  • Charges your phone while it cleans

What We Don't Like
  • Slightly more expensive than some alternatives

Simple, effective and easy to use, PhoneSoap 3 is undoubtedly the best phone sanitizer out there. It has even been featured on Shark Tank, ABC's popular TV series, and tested by Discovery Channel, so you don't just have to take our word for it.

PhoneSoap 3 uses Ultraviolet (UV) rays to kill 99.99 percent of all the bacteria and other germs on smartphones. Its patented design features two medical-grade UV-C lights (one at the base and the other on the lid), with the phone being placed on a transparent quartz plate between the two light bulbs.

The entire interior of PhoneSoap 3 is coated with reflective paint, which ensures full sanitization of the phone (or any other item placed on the plate) in just ten minutes. The sanitizer comes with two USB (one Type-A and one Type-C) ports, which let you conveniently charge your cell phone while it's being sanitized. PhoneSoap 3's acoustic outlets amplify sounds from the cell phone, allowing you to easily hear alarms and notification alerts even when the device is in the sanitizer. 

Compatible with almost all cell phones, PhoneSoap 3 is available in multiple colors such as black, orchid, and silver. Our tester Andrew loved how spacious and effective this sanitizer was.

"The PhoneSoap 3 is an easy-to-use, bacteria-slaying machine that might save you from illness." — Andrew Hayward, product tester

Best for Large Devices: PhoneSoap HomeSoap

What We Like
  • Works for larger devices like tablets

  • Two large UV-C lamps for thorough cleaning

  • Charges and cleans simultaneously

What We Don't Like
  • Fairly large

The days of compact cell phones are largely behind us. Since they are the primary media consumption devices for the majority of users, most smartphones these days come with big screens. Many people also use tablets with their smartphones, which is why a phone sanitizer needs to be big enough to sterilize these sizeable devices. Enter HomeSoap.

As its name suggests, HomeSoap is meant for sanitizing all the electronic devices and other random detritus you might have kicking around the house, from utensils to books and beyond. It can easily house big tablets, including Apple’s iPad Pro. HomeSoap uses Ultraviolet (UV) rays to safely eliminate 99.99 percent of disease-causing bacteria on smartphones. With two big UV-C lamps, it can sanitize any device in about fifteen minutes.

The device features a blue indicator light that lets you know when the sterilization is done. A universal 2.4A USB port at the back of the sanitizer lets you charge any device while the sanitization process is underway. HomeSoap is backed by a one-year warranty and comes in two colors, white and black. Andrew's review praises the versatility of the XL's big chamber, making it ideal for cleaning anything from phones and tablets to jewelry or silverware.

"The four lights within douse your devices with germ-killing ultraviolet blasts, impairing bacteria’s DNA and rendering them dead and useless." — Andrew Hayward, product tester

Best Thorough: HoMedics UV-Clean Phone Sanitizer

What We Like
  • Kills up to 99.9% of bacteria and viruses

  • Pop up design for maximum UV coverage

  • Fits virtually any smartphone

What We Don't Like
  • Phone has to be flipped over

The UV-Clean phone sanitizer from Homedics is effective, compact, and very fast (and compatible with virtually any smartphone currently being sold), with a pop-up design that allows cleansing UV light to reach every square centimeter of any device (as well as keys, credit cards, jewelry, and more) that you pop inside. It's hands-down your best option for keeping your phone free of unwanted germs and other harmful bacteria, yet it's significantly cheaper than most full size, UV phone sanitizers of this kind.

This sleek, zip-up case uses 2 UV-C germicidal LEDs to eradicate germs in just under a minute, and with its awesome battery life, you can use this case up to 70 times on a single charge. The UV-Clean is large enough to fit just about any phone size, regardless of the model, but compact and light enough to take with you anywhere.

Best with Essential Oil Diffuser: KeySmart CleanTray

What We Like
  • Incredibly easy to use

  • Includes an essential oil diffuser

  • Large enough to suit nearly all phones

What We Don't Like
  • No device charging capability

If you're looking for a gift for some of the trickier people to buy for on your list, and don't want to spend a fortune, this UV sanitizer from KeySmart is a fantastic choice. While disinfecting your phone may seem a bit on the practical side for an ideal gift, this little beauty doubles as an essential oil diffuser/humidifier, filling the room with lovely scents while it destroys all the germs and bacteria on your devices.

Suitable for everything from your phone to jewelry, silverware, or earbuds, the sanitizer is the perfect gift for someone who seemingly has it all, and comes in a handsome gift box. Its size means you can easily fit your phone and a number of other small items into the sanitizer all at the same time, and it's great for keys, glasses, toys, toothbrushes, and more.

Best Handheld: VamsLuna Portable UV Sanitizing Wand

What We Like
  • Effective against 99.9% of harmful bacteria

  • Super portable

  • Versatile and easy to use

What We Don't Like
  • Requires four AAA batteries

While a lot of UV sanitizers require you to deposit your phone inside of them for some time, this handy wand lets you just quickly wave it across the surface of a device and, presto, no more ugly germs. It kills up to 99.9% of harmful bacteria, including salmonella, e-coli, h1n1, and swine flu, all through the environmentally-friendly power of UV-C rays.

This little wand is ideal for traveling and will fit easily into a purse, carry on, or even your pocket. Even if you've got a full-sized UV sanitizing bank at home, you may want to consider grabbing this as an add on for travel or the office. It takes four AAA batteries (not included), and is a breeze to use, fully sanitizing even larger devices in a minute or less.

Best Portable: Casetify UV Sanitizer Lite

What We Like
  • Lightweight and compact...

  • ...but still large enough to fit all smartphones

  • USB powered

  • 360-degree UV light

What We Don't Like
  • Light on extras

For an effective sanitizer that's a breeze to take with you on the go, it's hard to beat Casetify's UV Sanitizer Lite. It's lightweight and very portable, but still large enough that it's compatible with all smartphones (and can easily accommodate keys, accessories, and lots of other commonly handled items). It's also USB charged, so you can plug it in just about anywhere to top it off.

Smaller size doesn't mean less disinfectant power for the Casetify: it still knocks out 99.9 percent of the germs infesting your phone. It works in a full 360-degree arc as well, so there's no need to take your phone out and flip it to make sure the entire device is bathed in cleansing UV light. Plus, for the style-conscious, it's now available in three attractive colors: white, black, or light pink.

Best Non-Powered: SKT Productions iRoller

What We Like
  • Doesn't require power

  • Liquid-free design

  • Reusable and doesn't require frequent cleaning

What We Don't Like
  • Requires re-rolling to thoroughly clean a screen

UV-light based phone sanitizers are great, but it's still a hassle to replace their batteries or find a wall socket to plug them in. But that doesn't mean there aren't any alternatives. Say hello to iROLLER, a phone sanitizer that requires no power at all.

Primarily meant for cleaning touchscreens, iROLLER, as its name suggests, is shaped like a small roller. Simply roll it over your cell phone or tablet's touchscreen a few times to instantly clean all those oily fingerprints, smudges, germs, and smears from the display. Having a patented liquid-free design, Mini iROLLER is compact enough to be kept in your pocket and carried around anywhere. This one of a kind sanitizer is reusable and doesn't need to be washed after each use.

Best for Multiple Devices: Coral UV 3 in 1 UV Sterilizer and Dryer

What We Like
  • Large capacity

  • Works with a variety of objects

  • Lots of settings and options

What We Don't Like
  • Fairly costly

The Coral UV is a 3-in-1 sterilizer and dryer. It works not just with phones and electronics, but a wide variety of objects including keys, baby bottles, toys, glasses, kitchenware, and just about anything else that can fit. With its large capacity, it can fit up to 6 baby bottles at a time and boasts two UV-C lights to do double the disinfecting duty of standard UV sterilizers. According to Coral UV, the sterilizer has undergone lab testing to confirm its ability to eliminate e.ecoil, salmonella, staph, and other bacteria.

Using the Coral UV is simple. It has a Sterilize+Dry setting where it sterilizes items for 10 minutes, followed by an automatic and customizable drying cycle for wet or washed items like kitchenware. Sterilize Only is a good setting for electronics, phones, and sensitive devices since it just uses the UV-C lights. You can also use Dry Only for drying items, but not sterilizing them, as long as they're not electronics. Finally, you can place objects in 24-hour storage which runs a 50-minute Sterilize+Dry cycle, then a 2 minute UV sterilization cycle every 2 hours for a maximum of 24 hours. This is a nice option for something that needs thorough cleaning like face masks and hospital equipment.

Best for Fast Cleaning: HoMedics UV-Clean Portable Sanitizer Bag

What We Like
  • Portable and stylish design

  • Very fast sanitizing

  • Works with many items

What We Don't Like
  • Interior capacity could be a bit bigger

The HoMedics UV-Clean Portable Storage Bag is a bit different from the phone sanitizer higher up on this list. This model from HomMedics is designed to fit into your everyday carry so you can sterilize a variety of items on the go. It comes in black, red, and gray, adding a bit of style to your carry and has a fabric texture so it won't look out of place next to your sunglasses cases.

Despite the modest size, it can kill 99.9 percent of bacteria and viruses using four UV-C LED lights on the interior. The sanitization process takes just one minute, making it one of the fast phone sanitizers on the market. It can handle a variety of items, including phones, keys, jewelry, glasses, remote controls, smartwatches, earbuds, and just about anything else that can fit into the interior. The battery is rechargeable.

Final Verdict

The best phone sanitizer on the market is the PhoneSoap v3 (view at Amazon). It comes from a reputable brand with confirmed testing to prove it eliminates 99.9 percent of bacteria. It also has dual UV-C lights and charging options to juice up your phone while you sanitize. For larger devices, we like the PhoneSoap HomeSoap (view on PhoneSoap). It's a more costly option, but it comes with a bigger interior space and dual UV-C lamps, and allows for thorough cleaning and simultaneous charging.

About Our Trusted Experts

Rajat Sharma is a technology journalist with over six years (and counting) of experience in covering/reviewing the latest and greatest gadgets out there, including everything from TVs to smartphones. Having been a contributor for Lifewire for almost two years now, he has worked with The Times Group and Zee Media Enterprises Limited, two of the biggest media houses in India.

Andrew Hayward is a Chicago-based writer and tech journalist with more than 14 years of experience covering the industry. His areas of expertise include smartphones, wearable gadgets, smart home devices, video games, and esports.

What to Look for in a Phone Sanitizer

Compatibility - Most phone sanitizers on the market have broad compatibility, but it’s essential to check that the one you want works with your phone before making a purchase. Some designs that enclose the phone entirely won’t be able to accommodate larger models. Other options are built specifically for larger devices, even tablets.

Portability - Do you plan to take your phone sanitizer on the go? After all, germs are everywhere! In that case, you’re better off with a handheld sanitizer that’s battery-powered—most work like wands that you brush over your device. There are also sanitizers that don’t even require power. These won’t defend against germs as effectively but will clean off greasy fingerprints in a snap.

Charging capability - Why just sanitize when you can charge and sanitize at the same time? If you’ve got some extra cash to spare, level up for charging capabilities. Some feature USB ports that enable charging while sanitizing, and some even have Qi wireless charging for added convenience.