HGTV Editors Sniff Out the Coziest Car Scents for Fall

We put autumn's most popular air fresheners to the ultimate smell test so you don't have to.

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September 19, 2019

Photo By: Crystal Martin

Photo By: Sarah Busby

Photo By: Crystal Martin

Photo By: Crystal Martin

Photo By: Crystal Martin

Photo By: Crystal Martin

Photo By: Crystal Martin

Photo By: Crystal Martin

Photo By: Crystal Martin

Photo By: Crystal Martin

Photo By: Crystal Martin

Photo By: Crystal Martin

Photo By: Crystal Martin

Hit the Road

Did you know that the average driver spends over an hour a day in the car? That's almost 400 hours a year! So why not make it as cozy as possible this fall? While you probably won't be lighting a pumpkin-scented candle in your cup holder or piling up gourds on the dash, you can easily add a touch of fall flavor to your home-on-wheels with an autumn-scented air freshener. To help you pick from the veritable pumpkin patch of products, we sniff-tested this season's most popular scents, saving you the time, money and headache of doing it yourself.

The Sniff Score

To ensure bias-free results, we put each air freshener to a blind sniff test, judging solely on smell. Our 22 testers gave each scent a sniff, then a rating from one to five (five being the highest). We then averaged the votes to come up with an individual sniff score. Read on to check out our fall favorites, and stock up before the season's over.

Yankee Candle Smart Scent Vent Clip: Spiced Pumpkin

Yankee Candle is known for its saturated scents, and with its strong notes of spicy clove and a light pumpkin aftertaste, this one's no exception. The vent clip design also features a potency dial that allows you to release only as much scent as you want and a clear window that tells you when it's time to replace. Sniff Score: 2.7

Buy It: Yankee Candle, $6

Bath & Body Works Fall Scentportables

Each of the fall-themed scents in this Bath & Body Works 4-pack are distinctly and excitingly different — great for someone who likes to switch it up. "Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin" is spicy and astringent, "Leaves" smells like a crisp autumn day, "Pumpkin Cupcake" (the sniff test favorite) is confection-shop sweet and "Flannel" smells just like fresh laundry. Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin: Sniff Score 3.0, Leaves: Sniff Score 3.3, Pumpkin Cupcake: Sniff Score 3.8, Flannel: Sniff Score 2.6

Buy It: Amazon, $25.95 (Set of 4)

Sunny Bunny Garden Scent Sachet: Season of Thanks

Think of the last antique store you walked into. Now, remember the way it smelled. That's what this cute little sachet from Amazon Handmade smells like — maple syrup with a hint of perfumed potpourri. Sniff Score: 2.6

Buy It: Amazon, $5.99

Willowbrook Fresh Scents Sachet: Spiced Pumpkin

This spicy sachet from Willowbrook is a perfectly balanced mix of biting clove and mellow pumpkin. It's also thin and portable — perfect for sliding under the seat or tucking into the car door. Sniff Score: 2.9

Buy It: Bealls, $5.99

Glade Paper Car Candle: Apple Cinnamon

Imagine biting into a super-sweet Macintosh apple lightly dusted with cinnamon sugar — that's what this Glade varietal smells like. Sniff Score: 2.0

Buy It: Amazon, $8.93 (Set of 6)

Krazy Kactus Car Scents: Pumpkin Pecan Waffle

Dripping in syrupy sweetness with a coffee aftertaste, this cute pumpkin-shaped air freshener smells like a pancake house. Sniff Score: 2.1

Buy It: Etsy, $8

Little Trees Car Air Freshener: Cinnamon Apple

It's cinnamon. It's apple. It's surprisingly nice-smelling for an air freshener that costs just over a dollar. We gave this one a solid mid-grade rating. Sniff Score: 2.4

Buy It: Amazon, $7.40 (Set of 6)

Yankee Candle Paper Car Jar: Autumn Wreath

My personal favorite, this paper car jar smells like spiced apples on a fresh autumn morning. Sniff Score: 2.4

Buy It: Yankee Candle, $3

Glow Happy Scent Bags: Country Charm

The overwhelming comment on this scent was that it smells like grandma's potpourri, but in a good way — homey and warm with just a dash of musk. Sniff Score: 2.3

Buy It: Etsy, $8

Krazy Kactus Car Scents: Fall Festival

Another scent in the Krazy Kactus fall line (isn't this pumpkin-shaped air freshener just so cute?), Fall Festival smells like cedar infused with a touch of sweet vanilla. Sniff Score: 2.6

Buy It: Etsy, $8

Yankee Candle Ultimate Car Jar: Apple Pumpkin

A more concentrated version of Yankee Candle's popular car jars, this mini variety hangs easily from a rearview mirror. No surprise here, but this scent smells exactly as it sounds — sweet apples blended with muted pumpkin and just a hint of nutmeg. Sniff Score: 3.1

Buy It: Yankee Candle, $6