Keep a sanitizing option with you on the go.
In the past year, we’ve all learned to be more conscientious about cleanliness and keeping our personal items sanitized. One of the germiest things we carry around with us is our smartphone. It’s a literal magnet for all the things we touch throughout the day. And, while wiping it down with sanitizing cloths can be helpful, perhaps the easiest way to keep our phones (and other items as well) sanitized is by using a personal UV-C Sanitizer. There are several different styles of this device in the market today, but I’ve only seen one that is designed specifically to be used in the car — the Utilimedic In-Car Phone Sanitizer.
The UTILIMEDIC In-Car Phone Sanitizer is specifically designed for in-car use. It’s a UV-C sanitizing case with a 10W wireless charger built into the lid. The UV-C sanitizer features eight UV-C LED lights that produce 5mW per LED and provide 170 degrees of light coverage for your phone. Within five minutes, 99.9% of bacteria and viruses will be cleaned off the surface of your phone with complete 360-degree sanitizing power. The inside of the compartment has bumpers that a phone can rest inside. This prevents the phone from sliding from side to side while the car is in motion – but it can still move back and forth. The case comes with a silicone pad for it to rest inside so that while the car is in motion, it’s remaining in a designated location. The bottom of the silicone pad is designed to stick to smooth surfaces. A 3M adhesive pad does come with the kit in case you have a location for the sanitizer where it needs a bit more help adhering to the surface. In addition to the wireless charger on the top of the sanitizer, users also have the option of running a cable into the main compartment of the sanitizer to charge your phone with a wired connection while it’s being cleaned. The sanitizer comes with a USB-C to USB-A cable and a 12V car plug. The dimensions are 9.3” x 2.3” x 5.7” and it weighs 1.3 lbs. Even though the sanitizer is designed to hold a phone, if an item can fit inside, the device can clean it.
The sanitizer comes in a well-branded box with an image of the product on the front. There are quite a few details about the product on the back of the box, too. While the design is a little busy, if I saw the box on a shelf in a store, I would be able to learn a lot about the product before buying it. The sanitizer comes with an owner’s manual that outlines the basic operation of the device. Even though this sanitizer is designed for in-car use, it can be used in the home as well. One of the things I noticed right off the bat was that its form and function are not very different from other sanitizers I’ve used. The biggest differentiator between the ‘standard’ phone sanitizers and this one is the fact that this one comes with a kit that helps keep the device stationary while it’s in the car. We’ve taken other sanitizers with us on road trips before and they work in the car just like this one does, but since they aren’t specifically designed for motion, phones and other devices that are being sanitized will slide around inside the body of the device.
Another thing I noticed was that the In-Car Sanitizer does not have an on-board power bank. Therefore, it has to be plugged into a power source (wall outlet or car outlet) in order to operate. While a wired connection ensures the strongest charge, I don’t like having a lot of wires strewn around the inside of my car. They are distracting to me and I would love to see a rechargeable version of this device at some point in the future. I do like that while one device is charging another one can be inside the case being cleansed. I also like that there is an option to have a phone connected to a wired connection while it’s being cleaned. The cable passthrough is lined with silicone, which closes around the cable so that no UV-C light escapes from inside. Another safety measure that Utilimedic designed into the device was a magnetic switch on the inside of the lid that prevents the unit from turning on when the lid is open. This is important because even though UV-C light is great for cleaning products, it’s harmful to humans.
I don’t have a lab to be able to test the efficiency of the sanitizer, and normally one of our writers Jon who is a full-time doctor can run this type of test for us but with COVID he didn’t have the extra time. So without doing a lab test all I can say is that its operation is very similar to other UV-C sanitizers I’ve used and a colleague has been able to test those devices cleaning efficiency in a lab. So, I can say from past experiences that these types of devices get the job done. I did place my phone inside to clean it and when I pressed the power button, it turned red indicating that the sanitizer was operating. The process did only take about 5 minutes.
I was able to test the wireless charging efficiency of the product and found that it has a charging rate of 0.43% per minute, which seems to be a standard charging rate for the iPhone 12 Pro on a wireless charger. The charging starts automatically when you place the phone on the charging pad and the power button illuminates with a blue color to let the user know it’s in operation. When I tested the charging efficiency of the wireless charging pad, I did so without a case on my phone. That said, I did put a standard size case on my phone to see if it would charge, which it did successfully.
I think the Utilimedic In-Car Phone Sanitizer is a great option for keeping your devices clean while on the go. While there are other sanitizers like this available, it makes sense to invest in this model for your car since it comes with a kit specifically designed for car use. It’s also designed to withstand temperatures from -4º F to 158º F so it can be left in the car unless the temperatures are in an extreme range. While I do wish that the device had an internal power bank so that it could be 100% wireless, I am glad that the kit comes with its own car charger. These sanitizers are definitely worth the investment and do a great job keeping items germ-free.