image of the UV sterilizer surrounded by items to sterilize: phone, keys, cash, a card, and a pen

These days, it’s on everyone’s mind: how do I keep myself and my loved ones germ-free? For most things around the house, you can just wipe with soap or a disinfectant. But how do you sanitize something delicate, like your phone, without damaging it with cleaning liquids? And are you really supposed to disinfect things like your keys every single day? No one has that kind of time!

Luckily, UV sanitizing devices are available to quickly and safely disinfect your most often used items and delicate hand-held electronics. Some of them, like this portable UV sanitizer box, come with extra features like fast wireless charging for that little extra bit of convenience. I got to spend the week with this little germ-killing helper to find out just how it works.

What is UV and how does it sanitize things?

There’s a lot of cool science behind this question, so I’m going to keep it simple. Ultraviolet (or UV) light is a special type of light that can kill germs. Basically, it uses radiation to damage the DNA in microorganisms, like bacteria and viruses. While the bacteria or virus cells will remain on your items, even if they end up in your body, they will no longer be able to reproduce. That means they can’t make you sick or spread to another person.

If you’re thinking that if UV is harmful to microorganisms, then it might be harmful to people, you’re not entirely wrong. UV light in large doses can harm you. In fact, the UV in sunlight is why we get sunburns. But the very brief exposure you might get from a UV sterilizing device would only reach the top layer of your skin, which is already made up of mostly dead cells, so the risk is extremely minimal. Still, it’s a good idea to avoid prolonged exposure to UV light on your skin or eyes.

But don’t forget: while UV can kill germs, it can’t actually remove any dirt or grime, so you should still give your items a proper cleaning now and again to keep them in good condition. UV just means you won’t have to do that every day to stay germ-free.

Now that the science is out of the way, let’s look at the portable UV sanitizer box to see how it works.

image of the UV sterilizer, USB-C cable, and instruction card

Setting up the portable UV sanitizer box

When you open the box, you’ll find a USB-C cable, a small instruction card, and of course, the UV sanitizer and wireless charger itself. The first thing you’ll want to do is plug it in. Like most things these days, it doesn’t come with a USB wall charger, so you’ll need to have your own on hand, or add it to your USB charging hub if you have one. Once plugged in, a small, red LED should come on to show you that the power is flowing, and you’re already good to go for sanitizing or wireless charging.

image of the underside of the UV sterilizer box with box sides collapsed

Portable UV sanitizing power for anywhere you need it

Now, this little guy is called a portable UV sanitizer for good reason. Instead of being a bulky box shape, this device has the ability to expand for sterilizing, and then collapse for easy storage and portability. To expand the sanitizing space, simply lift up the clear, plastic flaps by the long ends first, and then the short ends to form a box shape.

I should warn you that it can be a bit tricky to open these up on the first few tries. The plastic flaps that form the sides of the box also feel a bit delicate, and have to fit together in a particular way. I recommend expanding the box sides carefully and gently, at least until you get the hang of it. These plastic sides are made of an anti-UV material to keep UV rays from leaving the box, so you don’t want them to break.

Another nice thing about this device is that it’s super light. It’s actually a bit lighter than my phone itself. While it’s a bit too big to fit into most pockets, you can easily slip it into just about any backpack or purse without adding any extra weight. So if you want to be able to sanitize items at home, your workplace, or anywhere else you have a few spare minutes, you can easily do that with this device.

However, this sanitizer is not able to hold a charge, which means you’ll need to be able to plug it into an outlet to use it. While it is portable enough to easily move between rooms, to your workplace, your car, or easily carry on your person, if you want something to quickly sanitize your items on public transit or out in nature, this might not be the right product for you.

That said, between its ability to collapse and super lightweight design, you’ll be able to bring this portable UV sanitizer just about anywhere.

image of the underside of the UV sterilizer box with the box sides expanded

How to sanitize items using the portable UV sanitizer box

Once the sides of the box are unfolded and it’s connected to a power source, all you need now is a flat surface, since the box remains open on one side. Simply place your phone or other potentially germ-covered item on the flat surface, then place the box over top of it, then turn it on by clicking the button on top. That’s it!

The box features 2 cleanliness options: you can run for 3 minutes for a quick clean, or you can run it for 10 for a more thorough cleaning. The 3-minute clean will start with a click of the button, but for the 10-minute clean, you just need to hold the button down for a few extra seconds before releasing it. A purple UV light will come on to show you it’s working, and will automatically turn itself off once it’s done.

Since the UV light only shines from one side, you’ll likely need to adjust your items to make sure their whole surface is sanitized. For example, if you’re sanitizing your phone, once the initial 3 minutes are up, it’s a good idea to flip the phone over and run for another 3 minutes to make sure both sides are germ-free.

image of the UV sterilizer sanitizing a set of keys with UV light

While a UV sanitizer is a quick and easy way to keep things clean, it can’t work effectively on everything. This particular UV sanitizer box is about 6.5” long, 3.75” wide, and 1.75” tall, so for anything bigger than that, you’d have to find another cleaning solution. But for smaller, frequently touched items like your keys, money, pens, or small toys, it doesn’t get much more convenient than this.

Also, while the plastic sides of the box are made of anti-UV material, the UV could still affect the surface you’re using it on. My white acrylic countertop was the perfect place to absorb UV rays, but if you’re worried, you can simply slide a piece of paper or cardboard underneath to keep your surface protected.

image of a phone charging on the wireless charging pad surface

Wireless charging with the UV sanitizer box

Using the portable UV sanitizer box as a charger is as simple and easy as using any other kind of charging pad. With the box plugged in, simply place your Qi-compatible device face-up on the charging surface, and within a few seconds, you should notice it begin to charge. 

Like with all wireless charging pads, your phone will have to be Qi-enabled in order for this to work. Most newer phone models from major brands have this feature, but if you’re not sure, check that your device is compatible with Qi charging to determine if this particular UV sanitizer is right for you. The device’s battery also has to line up correctly within a specific area on the charging pad, so just make sure your charging icon or indicator has actually appeared before you walk away.

The sanitizer box is also enabled with fast-charging, so you’ll be able to top up your battery in no time. For my phone, I found that the speed was comparable to what I normally get out of my old fast-charging cable.

image of the UV sterilizer box placed over a phone and shining UV light on it

You might be wondering if the UV sanitizer box can charge a phone and sanitize an item at the same time. The answer is YES! Just expand the box sides, get your keys or cash sanitizing down below, and place your phone on top to get the most out of your sanitizing and charging time.

image of the UV sterilizer box plugged in for use

Get germ-free fast with this portable UV sanitizer and wireless charger

Overall, this handy little UV sanitizer is easy to set up and use, albeit, with a few small caveats. Getting the sanitizing box expanded is a bit tricky the first couple times, but it becomes easier with a bit of practice. The need for a power source also hinders its portability and convenience a bit.

But if you’re trying to protect yourself, your loved ones, or your workplace from the spread of germs this year, this little sanitizing buddy is a fast and portable way to keep those germs from spreading through commonly touched items. And if you also have a Qi-compatible device, it brings the added usefulness of wireless charging, making it an economical choice over buying them separately.

But don’t forget: germs can spread in a lot of ways, so a UV sanitizer might not be enough. Keep on washing your hands regularly, wearing a mask in public, and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces to stay germ-free, and visit BestBuy.ca to explore even more UV sanitizing options. Stay safe and healthy out there!

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