Purell hand sanitizer vs. Germ-X hand sanitizer

First Aid & Treatment

In 2019, Purell Advanced was the leading U.S. hand sanitizer brand with about 16.8% of total dollar sales, while Germ-X had 8.2%.

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Is Purell or Germ-X the better hand sanitizer?

A regular and vital part of everyday life for people worldwide, hand sanitizer has only grown in importance in the past couple of years. People depend on hand sanitizer in public and home settings to help kill germs and prevent illnesses.

Purell and Germ-X are the leading hand sanitizing brands. Purell is often considered the top brand with the highest concentration of ethyl alcohol at 70%. However, Germ-X is a powerful and effective brand that is more affordable.

Hand sanitizer basics

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people wash with soap and water whenever possible as hand washing reduces all types of germs and chemicals. However, if soap and water are not available, using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can help you avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.

The U.S. Federal and Drug Administration regulates hand sanitizers as over-the-counter rubs and washes. Hand sanitizers must meet OTC requirements to include one of these ingredients:

  • Benzalkonium chloride
  • Ethyl alcohol or Ethanol at 60%-95%
  • Isopropyl alcohol at 70%-91.3%

The CDC offers recommendations for properly using hand sanitizer, including rubbing hands for about 20 seconds until dry. It also clarifies that hand sanitizer isn’t a replacement for hand washing and you shouldn’t use it on dirty or greasy hands.

Purell hand sanitizer

Purell is a U.S. brand of hand sanitizer by Gojo Industries introduced in 1997. Purell is a trusted leading name brand. Purell consists of 70% ethyl alcohol, one of the highest concentrations on the market.

Various bottle sizes, packs, scents and designs of Purell are available, ranging from around $12 for an eight-pack of 1-ounce bottles to more than $50 for a two-pack of 2-liter bottles.

Purell hand sanitizer pros

  • Trusted name and leading brand
  • With 70% ethyl alcohol, it has one of the highest alcohol concentrations
  • Works and absorbs quickly
  • Available in a variety of sizes

Purell hand sanitizer cons

  • Has a strong alcohol scent
  • Can dry out hands

Best Purell hand sanitizer options

Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer Variety Pack

Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer Variety Pack

Purell offers tiny, portable bottles for your backpack, pocket or purse in 1 and 2-fluid ounce sizes. They include various travel sizes, all with a flip-cap and jelly wrap carriers that allow you to easily attach the bottles to purses, backpacks, keychains, diaper bags or gym bags.

Sold by Amazon

Purell Prime Defense Advanced Hand Sanitizer

Purell Prime Defense Advanced Hand Sanitizer

Suppose you need a more potent formula for personal health issues or a higher-risk environment. In that case, Purell Prime Defense provides a six-pack in Purell’s maximum strength formulation, a professional-grade hand sanitizer with 85% ethyl alcohol.

Sold by Amazon

Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer Soothing Gel

Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer Soothing Gel

If you want 8 ounces in single bottles for different rooms of your home, your car and more, Purell offers a four-pack of their advanced formula with a fresh scent. Nearly 90% of reviewers give this Purell formula a five-star rating.

Sold by Amazon

Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer 2 Liter Hand Sanitizer

Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer 2-Liter Hand Sanitizer

If you need a bulk amount for a single location like your home or office, these 2-liter bottles offer ample sanitization in tabletop pump bottles.

Sold by Amazon

Germ-X hand sanitizer

Designed by Vi-Jon Laboratories, which became 100% employee-owned in September 2020, Germ X has also been around since 1997. A go-to brand for many households, Germ-X Moisturizing Original formula contains 62% ethyl alcohol to kill germs while moisturizing with vitamin E.

Germ-X hand sanitizer pros

  • Affordable
  • Formulated with vitamin E to keep hands soft
  • Fresh, pleasing scent
  • Effective without sticky residue
  • Available in multiple sizes, including bulk packs

Germ-X hand sanitizer cons

  • It can be drying, especially for dry or sensitive skin
  • Some customer complaints about broken or partially empty bottles

Best Germ-X hand sanitizer options

Germ-X Hand Sanitizer, 8 oz

Germ-X Hand Sanitizer, 8 ounces

This 8-ounce bottle is great to have in a high-trafficked area of your home for people to pump before heading out or returning home. The price is extremely affordable, but if 8 ounces aren’t enough for your household, a four-pack is also available at a fantastic price.

Sold by Amazon

Germ-X Original Hand Sanitizer

Germ-X Original Hand Sanitizer

These 3-ounce bottles are perfect for travel, and the high number in the pack means they will last for many months and every person in your household can have their own bottle. It is also advertised as having a moisturizing formula, which is great for your skin in the long run.

Sold by Amazon

Germ-X Hand Sanitizer Moisturizing with Vitamin E

Germ-X Hand Sanitizer Moisturizing With Vitamin E

This option is ideal for those in need of large quantities and the long-term health of their hands. This two-pack includes vitamin E, which is great for skincare and UV protection. It also includes a pump for easy distribution without accidentally over pouring.

Sold by Amazon

Should you get Purell or Germ-X hand sanitizer?

Both Purell or Germ-X are leading brands and effective hand sanitizers. When comparing the same sizes, you often get more for your money with Germ-X. The bottom line is it may be a matter of personal preference as to which formula and scent you prefer and which is kindest to your hands.


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Jane VanVooren Rogers writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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