The Covid-19 pandemic has made many of us a lot more wary of viruses and bacteria – not just the novel coronavirus.
Cleaning surfaces with water and soap, or sprays, such as Purell and other disinfectants, are effective ways to kill germs, but there are different, more high tech ways to sterilize surfaces.
Sales of portable UV light sterilizers have skyrocketed in recent months, with hundreds of thousands of people across the world looking to these relatively new devices to keep their homes and cars germ-free and safe.
Should you buy one? Read our dedicated guide for an explanation on how they work, whether or not they’re effective, and more useful info.
First though, here are our top picks.
59S X5 UV Light Sanitizer Wand
EKSIZ UV Light Sanitizer
Portable UV Light Sanitizer Box
The 59S X5 portable UV light sanitizer eliminates up to 99.9 percent of germs and can be used to easily and thoroughly disinfect countless surfaces. It is ozone and chemical-free. It also has built-in sensors to automatically shut down if it is turned over while it is active.
It comes with a one year warranty and is very compact and lightweight, making it great for also cleaning surfaces outside of your home, such as your car or office space.
An affordable yet highly effective portable UV light sanitizer from EKSIZ. It has a 99.9 percent clean rate and is certified by the FCC.
Great for traveling and use on the go.
It is easy to use and allows you to clean surfaces in a matter of seconds without risking any damage to surfaces and without leaving any harmful or toxic residue.
It has a lifespan of over 10,000 hours and has a smart auto timing off feature to prevent it from being accidentally activated by a child.
This portable UV light sanitizer box is from Lambor Studios. Unlike the rest of our top picks, this product isn’t a wand, so you can’t use it to clean household surfaces.
You simply place a device or item, such as your phone or a pair of glasses, inside the box and let it work its magic.
It has a 99.9 percent clean rate which can be achieved in under 20 minutes.
It also has wireless charging functionality for any QI-enabled device, and it has an auto-off feature, so you aren’t at risk of being exposed to harmful UV light rays when you open the box.
- Kills up to 99.9 percent of germs
- Simple and easy to use “press and scan” activation
- 100 percent ozone and chemical-free
- Has built-in sensors as an extra safety precaution
- Comes with a free, one year manufacturer’s warranty
- Has a 4.5-star rating on Amazon
- 99.9 percent clean rate
Certified by FCC, CE, RoSH
- Can thoroughly disinfect surfaces in 10 seconds
- Has a lifespan of 10,000+ hours
- Smart auto timing off safety feature
- Has a 5-star rating on Amazon from over 1,600 verified reviews
- Kills 99 percent of germs within 20 minutes
- Great for thoroughly disinfecting phones, jewelry and much more
- Can be used to charge any Qi-enabled device wirelessly
- Has an auto-off feature to prevent you from being exposed to dangerous UV light rays
- Has a 4.5-star rating on Amazon
What is UV Light?
Ultraviolet light is a type of electromagnetic radiation. UV-C light (the radiation emitted from such sterilizer wands) is essentially UV light and has a wavelength of 200 to 280 nanometers.
What is a Portable UV Light Sterilizer?
A portable UV light sterilizer is a small device that emits UV light (of a specific wavelength) to kill germs and disinfectant surfaces. They can be great for disinfecting toilets, phones, laptops, parts of your home and car, plus much more.
The ultraviolet light – specifically, UV-C light – these devices emit is the same kind of UV light that causes sunburn and can also lead to skin cancer. So it’s imperative to follow the instructions the manufacturer provides so you can safely use your UV light sterilizer.
Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) is one of the most effective ways to kill germs, according to numerous scientific studies, so it’s not surprising that the popularity of devices that use such technology has spiked in recent months.
How Do You Use a UV Light Sterilizer?
Different UV light sterilizing devices are used in different ways, so you should make sure you read the instruction manual before trying out the device.
As a general rule, you need to leave the room as soon as turning a UV lamp on – and research suggests that germs need to be exposed to UV-C light for about 30 minutes to be extinguished.
As for other UV sterilizers, such as wands, you simply need to press down the activation button and hold the wand over a surface for a matter of seconds.
There are also UV sterilizer boxes, in which you place a device you’d like to disinfect and leave it for the specified period of time (usually around 20-30 minutes.)
How Much Do UV Light Sterilizers Cost?
UV light sterilizers cost anywhere from $30 to over $200 depending on the exact type you’re looking to buy. It is possible to purchase an unbranded one for even less than $30. Still, we strongly advise against purchasing such products, as they may be defective or not manufactured and tested to the required safety standards.
Do Portable UV Light Sterilizers Kill 100% of Germs?
UV light wands kill germs, such as harmful bacteria and viruses, by destroying the bonds between their DNA, causing them to disintegrate and die.
As with other disinfecting tools and mechanisms, portable UV light sterilizers don’t kill 100 percent of germs; they kill around 99.9 percent of bacteria and viruses on a surface after the germs are exposed to the UV-C light rays for a certain period of time.
Despite not killing 100% of germs, they are still highly effective and have long been used by hospitals to disinfect surfaces thoroughly.
Are UV Light Sterilizers Safe?
UV light wands are safe to use as long as you carefully read and follow the instructions the manufacturer has provided.
If you are exposed to UV-C light rays, you are putting your health at risk, so we urge everyone – boomers and other users – to be very careful when using a UV light sterilizer.
Most UV light sterilizers have auto-off features to prevent the user from being exposed to the harmful radiation, but it’s still important to be as careful as possible.
How Can I Find a Trusted Manufacturer or Seller?
All of the products listed in our Top Picks section towards the top of this guide are sold and manufactured by trusted, established brands, so you should certainly give our Top Picks some consideration.
When evaluating whether or not a manufacturer or seller is trustworthy, you should check how long they’ve been in business. If they popped up during the Covid-19 pandemic (and were therefore seemingly launched to quickly profit from the increased demand of such devices), it’s probably best to exercise caution and steer clear of them.
Look for certified by FCC or CE. This shows the item has been cleared for sale in the U.S. and EU.
Another red flag is retailers aggressively promoting their product on their listing or landing page and making use of things such as countdown timers or trying to emphasize scarcity in other ways.
A UV light sterilizer can be effective to thoroughly disinfect your house and devices which harbor thousands of different types of germs – regardless of whether or not we’re amid a pandemic.
They should always be operated with the utmost care, and you should always read the manufacturer’s instructions manual before trying to use it.
Due to recent health issues including Covid-19, numerous companies have cropped up trying to profit from the pandemic by selling low-quality in-demand products, such as UV light wands and face masks, at huge margins. It is therefore strongly advised to stay away from new, unestablished brands of such products. Instead, stick to established manufacturers whose products have been tested and reviewed by a third party.
Quick Summary – UV Light Sterilizer
- Portable UV light sterilizers are a great way to rid surfaces of harmful germs.
- They can be used to sterilize your home, personal devices such as your phone or laptop, and your car.
- Sales of UV light sterilizers have surged due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with the entire world now more wary about being exposed to and spreading harmful germs, not just the novel coronavirus.
- These devices emit UV-C light – a type of ultraviolet light – to destroy the bonds which hold germs’ DNA together. This process takes a matter of seconds to up to 30 minutes, according to research.
- They kill around 99.9 percent of germs and have been used by hospitals for a long time to disinfect surfaces that sick patients frequently encounter.
- The UV-C light that’s emitted from these devices is harmful to humans if you are directly exposed to it, so you should exercise caution when operating such devices and follow instructions carefully.
- UV sterilizer wands cost anywhere from $30 to $200
- Be wary of cheap, low-quality models which may be defective or dangerous to use under any circumstances.
- Be careful when shopping around and trying to find a portable UV light sterilizer to buy, as the internet is now littered with businesses attempting to quickly profit off of the pandemic by selling low-quality products at huge markups.
- Stick to established, trusted manufacturers and retailers and ideally only buy a model that has been tested and reviewed by a third party.