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Which sanitizer wand is best?

Ridding your home and personal property of germs and bacteria is a constant battle that becomes especially important during cold and flu season. While regular hand washing and the use of liquid hand sanitizers go a long way toward avoiding sickness, using a sanitizer wand also allows you to kill microbes on items that cannot be cleaned with soap and water.

The Ontel Safe and Healthy UV-C Sanitizing Light provides you with the power you need to sanitize your smart devices, toys, pet items, keyboard and more. 

What to know before you buy a sanitizer wand

Ultraviolet radiation

Ultraviolet (UV) rays are a specific type of radiation emitted by the sun and lamps designed to do so, such as those found in tanning beds. Anyone who has spent a day at the beach will be familiar with the burn risks associated with long exposure to ultraviolet radiation in the form of UV-A and UV-B rays. UV-C is the most powerful type of ultraviolet radiation emitted by the sun, but it never reaches us because it is naturally blocked by the ozone layer of our atmosphere. Because of this, organisms on earth do not generally possess a means to protect themselves against it.

How sanitizer wands work

Sanitizer wands emit UV-C radiation to damage and destroy organic material. This radiation is used to kill viruses and bacteria on surfaces that are otherwise difficult to clean, such as phones, tablets, wallets or purses. UV-C radiation is so efficient at killing germs that it is used by hospitals to disinfect surgical tools and equipment. Many manufacturers of sanitizer wands advertise that up to 99.99% of exposed microbes can be eliminated by using the device as directed.

UV-C safety

The UV-C radiation emitted by sanitizer wands is so effective because it is inherently harmful to living things. Because of this, it’s important to not point the device’s emitter directly at your eyes or use it to sanitize your hands or any other part of your body. Do not use the device on pets or animals. As long as they are used as directed, sanitizer wands are both safe and effective.

How to use a sanitizer wand

Using a sanitizer wand is simple. While specific instructions may vary by manufacturer, all you need to do is slowly wave the wand’s UV-C light over the surface you wish to disinfect for as long as the device’s manual recommends. Sanitizer wands use colored LEDs to indicate that they are on and to allow you to see what they are pointing at. However, the UV-C rays that they emit are actually invisible to the human eye. 

What to look for in a quality sanitizer wand


Select a sanitizer wand that fits comfortably in your hand and is easy to maneuver and wave over the surfaces and items you wish to sterilize. Wands that are especially thick may be challenging for those with smaller hands to use properly.


Your sanitizer wand should be lightweight and easily carried or moved. A device that is too heavy for comfort may provide you with an excuse not to use it as frequently as you should, allowing germs and bacteria to survive and multiply.

Battery life

Most sanitizer wands feature a rechargeable battery that is powered via USB. The longer the advertised battery life is for your wand, the less likely you are to find yourself in a situation where you are unable to use it due to it having run out of power. Be sure to charge your wand whenever you aren’t using it to make sure it’s ready for you.


Those who travel know the importance of cleanliness when it comes to preventing illness. Airplanes, vehicles, hotels and other public places can harbor large populations of potentially harmful germs that can cause colds and infections. If you plan to use your wand while traveling, choose a model that is compact enough to easily fit in your bag, purse or luggage. Keep it accessible for easy use as needed.

How much you can expect to spend on a sanitizer wand

Sanitizer wands can cost as little as $40 or as much as $200. The $60-$100 range is where most users will find models that are high enough quality to suit their needs. Because of the high cost of UV-C emitters, devices that cost less than $20 likely do not produce the rays needed to kill germs and are not effective.

Sanitizer wand FAQ

Does UV-C radiation kill COVID-19?

A. UV-C radiation is used extensively to kill viruses related to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus currently to blame for the COVID-19 pandemic. However, according to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, not enough research has yet been done to definitively determine the proper exposure time and wavelength necessary to kill the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus itself. If you wish to use a sanitizer wand to help prevent the spread and infection of COVID-19, it is important to do so while continuing to observe hand washing and mask-wearing recommendations.

Is it safe to use a sanitizer wand on food?

A. While food being exposed to UV-C radiation is safe, using a sanitizer wand on food will likely not be very effective. UV-C rays take time to kill microbes and work best on smooth, even surfaces. Because food is usually porous and irregular, using a UV-C wand to kill germs on food items is not recommended.

Do UV rays cause cancer?

A. Research has shown that exposure to ultraviolet rays is a cause of skin cancer. However, most cancer is directly related to UV-B radiation because this particular wavelength is able to penetrate deeply into your skin and tissue. UV-A and UV-C rays are not able to make it past the outer layer of your skin, meaning that they can result in burns due to exposure but do not carry the same serious health risks as UV-B radiation.

How long does it take to sanitize using UV-C?

A. Sanitizing with UV-C is not instantaneous. While hospitals and laboratories use high-powered UV-C lamps to make quick work of microbes, the emitters built into wands and household sanitization devices are not nearly as powerful. Additionally, the surface that you wish to treat plays into how long it will take to get the most out of your wand. Because longer exposure will result in greater germ-killing effectiveness, most experts agree that a minimum of 30 seconds of direct UV-C light is required.

What’s the best sanitizer wand to buy?

Top sanitizer wand

Best Ontel Safe and Healthy UV-C Sanitizing Light

Ontel Safe and Healthy UV-C Sanitizing Light

What you need to know: This wand features a bright UV-C emitter that can kill 99% of germs on any surface.

What you’ll love: The wand folds down, making it perfect for traveling. 

What you should consider: It uses two AA batteries, and it doesn’t last as long as others.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Top sanitizer wand for the money

Best VANELC UV Light Sanitizer Wand

VANELC UV Light Sanitizer Wand

What you need to know: Small and portable, this wand features an automatic shut-off feature. 

What you’ll love: This wand can be used for up to five hours before it needs a charge via USB. It features a safety mechanism that prevents children from using the light as well as any accidental illumination.

What you should consider: Some users felt that this device did not emit enough UV-C radiation to kill germs in the short amount of time it advertises.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Worth checking out

Verilux CleanWave Portable Sanitizing Travel Wand

Verilux CleanWave Portable Sanitizing Travel Wand

What you need to know: This small device features a wrist strap for easier handling.

What you’ll love: Compact and light, this sanitizer wand is easy to carry and slip into luggage. For safety, it requires you to hold the power button for a few seconds before its UV-C emitters are activated.

What you should consider: It requires disposable batteries that are sold separately. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Derek Walborn writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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