Over the past year, we have come to realize the importance of washing our hands. However, we cannot do the same with our technological devices.
This is where UV or ultraviolet disinfectants come in. All you have to do is put your smartphone in one of these devices and it will be bathed in ultraviolet light. This light is able to eliminate bacteria that have remained on the surface of your mobile.
You can also use these UV disinfectants to clean other devices such as headphones or anything you take with you on a daily basis, such as a watch, keys or a pen.
But does it really work? UV-C light is an effective means of destroying microbial life and is commonly used in laboratories and industrial settings, so we can make sure this type of technology works.
However, the devices available in the market are not that powerful. Much will depend on the intensity of the light, its ability to reach all surfaces of the objects you are cleaning, and how long they are exposed.
Most devices claim to be able to remove over 99% of bacteria and viruses, but we doubt that is possible outside of a lab.
UV disinfectants should be used as a protective layer in the routine used to keep items clean. But as such, they are quite pleasant to have around. That’s why we’ve rounded up and tested some of the best disinfectants on the market.
Moshi Deep Purple UV Disinfectant
This high quality UV disinfectant for phones has an amazing design. Not only is it the prettiest sanitizer we’ve tried, but its ingenious origami-style construction makes it foldable flat for easy portability. Put it in your bag and you can clean your gadgets wherever you are, at home or in the office.
It’s big enough to fit your phone and everyday items like your wallet, watch, and headphones.
It’s not battery powered, but its USB-C connector allows charging from a portable battery on the go, as well as (obviously) plugging it into a power outlet.
But looking at this good comes at a price. Although Deep Purple is one of the more expensive UV disinfectants we’ve tested, it doesn’t have other features or functionality.
QDOS UV disinfectant
QDOS Sanitizer is a small white box large enough to hold most of the things you take with you. It fits a phone and earphones, a watch and pens, a pair of glasses or your keys and a thin wallet.
It has a quick cleaning cycle (3 minutes) and an intensive cycle (10 minutes).
It’s light enough to carry around with you and has a USB-C port for connecting to the mains, as well as a USB-A port for charging other tech.
The QDOS also works as a Qi wireless charger. Place your phone on top of the box and use the 5, 7.5, or 10W fast charge to charge your phone to 100% in three hours.
The QDOS isn’t the cheapest UV disinfectant on the market, but it’s lightweight, sturdy, and the extra features are worth it on your desktop.
Belkin UV Sterilizer + Wireless Charger
At under $ 40, Belkin’s offer is the cheapest on this list. It is similar in design to the QDOS disinfectant – a white box the size of a sheet of paper that doubles as a wireless charger for Qi-powered phones and headsets.
However, it is not as deep as the QDOS product, so forget to clean your glasses.
Belkin Sanitizer has two cleaning cycles, a 3 minute which promises to remove 97% of bacteria from your device and a 10 minute which prom ises 99.99%. It is only recommended for use with non-porous items, so it will work with your phone but not your wallet.
We had a problem with the device. It can be opened mid-cycle and the light escapes for a while before the automatic shutdown is triggered. Belkin says it’s only a fraction of a second and it’s not harmful to the eyes, but it’s not very comforting.
If you buy a phone sanitizer to feel a little more secure, it may just replace one concern with another.
Kikkerland UVC for smartphones
The advantage of Kikkerland disinfectant is that it is extremely portable, as you can choose to take the cover (which houses the UV-C LEDs) and leave the bulky box at home.
However, this is also what makes the product doubtful since, without the perfect fit of the rest of the device, light escapes under the cover during use. When you lift the lid, the light turns off, but it doesn’t instantly.
Even so, if you take the box with you, you will find that it is spacious enough to sanitize larger items, like your purse or glasses.
Like many box-type UV disinfectants we’ve tested, it has a 3 and 10 minute disinfection cycle. It connects via a micro-USB cable, but there’s no wireless charging or spare ports.
What to consider before buying UV disinfectant
UV disinfectants work by breaking down the DNA of microbial life with UV-C light. This means that UV-C light is equally dangerous for human and animal skin and eyes: intense UV-C light can cause burns and lead to skin cancer.
You should look for a product that effectively protects your light. The most effective UV-C disinfectants work inside a sealed box.
What can be cleaned with a UV-C lamp?
If you are considering investing in a disinfectant, the first thing to know is what you want to clean with it. Most disinfectants work best on items with flat, non-porous surfaces and few crevices. That is why they are a useful solution for cleaning technological devices.
Most of the smaller UV disinfectants are designed to fit a phone. This means that you can also clean smaller items, such as headphones and your watch.
But check the dimensions of the device you want to buy as not all disinfectants are deep enough to fit your glasses.
Only two disinfectants we looked at (the Coral UV 2 and the FlexiSpot MonitorStand Workstation) could clean a tablet.
Bars or boxes?
Most UV-C disinfectants look like chopsticks or boxes. We didn’t recommend any UV-C rods and here’s why.
For starters, they are unlikely to be effective. Surfaces need prolonged exposure to UV-C light to destroy microbial life. Most UV-C sanitizers have a quick cycle that lasts no more than three minutes, which means a quick swipe with a wand won’t do much. And holding a wand on the phone for 3 minutes is a pretty bad use of your time.
There is also a security issue. If a wand was strong enough to be effective, it would be dangerous to your eyes and any skin that passes over it.
To save space on your desk, smaller phone sanitizers can have other features, like additional ports for charging other gadgets and a wireless charging option.
This option should work with all Qi-powered phones and headsets and should provide a full charge in three hours.
If you are looking for a larger disinfectant, it may have other cleaning functions, such as drying and filtering the air.
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