The 9 Best Phone Sanitizers of 2021

Keep germs off your smartphone

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

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 Amazon
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.
The Luma Pro costs a pretty penny, but it also has great design, impressive capacity, and the best features.
Lightweight and USB charged, the Casetify is easy to take on the go.
The large capacity UV-Clean Portable Storage Bag fits into your backpack or purse, and can kill bacteria in just one minute.
This portable sanitizer can work on just about any surface and is an ideal option for travelers.
Simply roll it over your cell phone or tablet's touch screen…to instantly clean all those oily fingerprints, smudges, germs and smears.

The best phone sanitizers should help keep your device clean and also kill germs and bacteria. Just like anything that gets touched frequently, phones be a repository for germs. According to some studies, the average phone can have more germs than a toilet seat. In order to keep yourself from getting sick, a phone sanitizer can help. These devices work by incorporating UV-C lights to sterilize surfaces, killing up to 99.9 percent of bacteria and viruses.

Phone sanitizers come in different form factors. Many have an internal compartment where you place the device to sanitize. You can also get larger models that can handle tablets, baby bottles, and even dishes. There are also compact and portable versions that are no bigger than sunglasses cases, and keychains and rollers that are easy to tote around.

If you're looking for ways to keep your phone protected, not just clean, take a look at our roundups of the best Android phone cases and the best iPhone cases.

Best Overall: PhoneSoap v3

What We Like
  • Kills most bacteria

  • Can charge phone wile cleaning

  • Compact, durable design

  • Also fits earbuds, watches, and other devices

  • Provides peace of mind

What We Don't Like
  • You can't see the results

  • Doesn't clean smudges, dirt, etc.

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.

Percent Effectiveness: 99.99% | Size: 6.8 L x 3.74 W x .78 H | Charging/Power Type: Power cable | Sanitizing Time: 5 minutes

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

PhoneSoap 3

 Lifewire / Andrew Hayward

Best for Large Devices: PhoneSoap HomeSoap

What We Like
  • Kills most bacteria

  • Can charge devices while cleaning

  • Holds larger and/or multiple devices

  • Useful for other household items

What We Don't Like
  • No visible proof of sanitization

  • Won't clean off smudges, dirt

  • Large, awkward, angular shape

  • Feels like overkill on price and size

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.

Percent Effectiveness: 99.99% | Size: 13.2 L x 3.7 W x 9.2 H | Charging/Power Type: Power cable | Sanitizing Time: 10 minutes

"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

PhoneSoap XL

Lifewire / Andrew Hayward 

Best Thorough: HoMedics UV-Clean Superior Strength Phone Sanitizer

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.

Percent Effectiveness: 99.99% | Size: 9.38 L x 1.25 W x 4.75 H | Charging/Power Type: Power cable | Sanitizing Time: 1 minute

Best with Essential Oil Diffuser: KeySmart CleanTray

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.

Percent Effectiveness: 99.99% | Size: 8.30 L x 4.50 W x 1.60 H | Charging/Power Type: USB-A | Sanitizing Time: 5 minutes

Best Splurge: Violux Luma Pro

Violux Luma Pro
What We Like
  • Sleek design with self-contained UV-C

  • Lab-tested and verified

  • Comes with companion app

  • Helpful light and sound indicators

What We Don't Like
  • Large form factor

  • No child lock on the door

The Violux Luma Pro is a smart UV-C sanitizer that’s lab-tested and verified to kill up to 99.9 percent of germs and bacteria lingering on surfaces. Small and larger items fit into the boxy device, weighing 25.5 pounds and measuring 12.5x14.25x13.125 inches internally and 16x15.625x17.5 inches externally. In addition to interior stainless steel grates that protect the bulbs and objects placed inside and a sturdy stainless steel and plastic build, the Luma Pro has a glass door constructed with UV-C resistant glass to protect users.

The Luma Pro uses four UV lamps emitting 32 watts and 254nm wavelengths and an optical quartz floor to provide 360-degree disinfection. This sanitizer offers ultra-fast 1-minute and 2-minute cleaning cycles, controlled by one sole button placed on the inside edge of the device. The Luma Pro works with the companion Violux app to set up the device, monitor the lamps, and schedule cleaning reminders. Our tester found the auditory and visual clues (ringing and blinking red and white LEDs) responsive and helpful when making a cycle length choice and knowing a cycle was in progress or complete. She also found the app easy to use for scheduling cleaning reminders and all notifications prompt.

Percent Effectiveness: 99.9 percent  |  Size: 16x15.625x17.5 inches  | Charging Type: AC power  | Sanitizing Time: 1 to 2 minutes

"Based on that testing and the roomy build, the manufacturer recommends use on everything from tablets and smartphones to pacifiers."Yoona Wagener, Product Tester

Violux Luma Pro

Lifewire / Yoona Wagener

Best Portable: Casetify UV Sanitizer Lite

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.

Percent Effectiveness: 99.99% | Size: 7.9 L x 5.1 W x 1.8 H | Charging/Power Type: USB-C | Sanitizing Time: 6 minutes

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.

Percent Effectiveness: 99.99% | Size: 6.8 L x 3.74 W x .78 H | Charging/Power Type: Micro-USB to USB-A | Sanitizing Time: 1 minute

Best Handheld: UV Care Pocket Sterilizer

What We Like
  • Compact and portable

  • Uses UV-C sterilization

  • Safety switch enables when pointed upward

  • Affordable

  • Comes in several colors

What We Don't Like
  • Not rechargeable

  • UV exposure risk

  • Results aren't visible

The UV Care Pocket Sterilizer is a portable UV-C sanitizer for personal devices such as smartphones, keyboards, and purses. This foldable UV sterilizer measures under 5 inches folded and 9 inches unfolded and weighs a light 2.3 ounces. Our product tester found this product very easy to fit into jacket pockets and small bag compartments—and barely noticed it was there. This sanitizer lacks a built-in battery but operates on four AAA batteries for ultimate portability. You can also use it with the provided micro-USB to USB power cable in a pinch or if you’re using this mainly in one place. 

As with all portable wand-style UV-C sanitizers, the results and risks are invisible. When it’s time to use this pocket sanitizer, the process is uncomplicated but requires some caution. The sole button requires a 3-second push to turn on the device, and the LED indicator lets you know when it’s on or off. UV Care recommends careful use of this product 0.25 inches away from the intended surface for at least 10 seconds. While it’s imperative to avoid contact with your skin or eyes, the manufacturer also took care to outfit this wand with a safety switch that engages if the lamp turns upward. Our tester found this feature reliable and general operation as easy as claimed, but she also noted that this device doesn’t come with any detailed lab data or safety certification.

Percent Effectiveness: 99.99% | Size: 4.92 L x 1.38 W x 0.98 inches H | Charging/Power Type: USB-C | Sanitizing Time: 2 seconds-3 minutes

"While the safety switch turns off the UV lamp if the sanitizer faces upward, this device still comes with a UV exposure risk that’s greater than enclosed machines."Yoona Wagener, Product Tester

UV Care Pocket Sterilizer

Lifewire / Yoona Wagener

Best Non-Powered: SKT Productions iRoller

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.

Percent Effectiveness: Non-sanitizing | Size: 3.5 L x 1 W x 1 H | Charging/Power Type: Uncharged | Sanitizing Time: ~1 minute

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

Alan Bradley previously served as the senior tech editor for Dotdash and is an experienced culture and tech writer/editor.

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, and he reviewed several of the phone sanitizers on this list.

Yoona Wagener has been testing products for Lifewire since 2019, specializing in smart home, lifestyle, and accessories. She tested many of the phone sanitizers on this roundup.

FAQs

Why get a phone sanitizer?
Your phone, like any other tangible surface, plays host to a myriad of bacteria. Some studies have shown that your phone can be home to over 25,000 bacteria per square inch, roughly triple the amount you'd find on a doorknob. When you consider how often you touch your phone, the benefits of regularly disinfecting it becomes clear.

"Before you clean your phone and its case, it is advisable to wash your hands first. You don’t want to transfer bacteria from your hands to your phone as you clean it." — Lou Dulley, Owner of Lou’s Little Cleaning Co

How effective is a phone sanitizer?
Phone sanitizers use ultraviolet radiation to destabilize nucleic material, killing the vast majority of surface bacteria and severely limiting their ability to spread. While UV radiation can be harmful if it comes into direct contact with your skin or eyes, these risks are largely avoidable when using a phone sanitizer or UV wand correctly, and furthermore, are typically safer than most cleaning aerosols or astringents like bleach or isopropyl alcohol.

While ultraviolet radiation has been a proven method to reduce the spread of bacteria and disinfect air, water, and nonporous surfaces, the FDA currently does not have conclusive evidence to the effectiveness of UV light against COVID-19.  

Can you use a phone sanitizer with other stuff?
This depends on what you're trying to disinfect. UV light can have trouble getting into nooks, crannies or other porous surfaces, so stick with things that have smooth surfaces for maximum effectiveness. And while UV light can degrade certain materials over time like paper, this would require constant exposure over long periods of time.

PhoneSoap 3

 Lifewire / Andrew Hayward

What to Look For in a Phone Sanitizer

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.

Violux Luma Pro

Lifewire / Yoona Wagener

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.

"It’s safe to sanitize a phone when it’s charging if you are using traditional disinfectants or Probiotics. If you use UV sanitizing devices when the phone is placed inside them, not all units have the option to charge them whilst sanitizing. Some do either via cable or wirelessly." — lad Amir, Director of Synbio Shield UK

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.

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