In the age of coronavirus, everyone is being more careful about sanitation and personal hygiene. We’re wearing masks in public, and we’re washing our hands more than ever. But the fact is that sanitation is always a problem. Forget about dangerous, deadly diseases for a second and think how miserable the common cold is. Is it worth spending a few bucks to avoid the common cold? Absolutely! Not only that, but food poisoning is a perennial concern. Every time you slice some chicken breasts, you’re potentially getting E Coli on your kitchen counter. Prep some other food on that surface, and you can end up with a nasty case of diarrhea. So even when the corona crisis is over, using a UV sterilizing wand is a wise course of action.
Unfortunately, with everything going on in the world right now, UV light wands are hard to find. Many are just plain sold out. One UV wand that’s currently available is the Heygienic UV Sterilizing Wand. It’s portable, it’s handheld, and it’s easy to use. It’s also surprisingly effective. Here, we’ll take a closer look, and let you know what we’ve learned. If you’re not a fan, no worries. We’ve reviewed several quality UV wands that are all viable alternatives. Let’s get started!
Why Use a UV Light Wand?
So, why would you use a UV light wand instead of soap and water? Simply put, it doesn’t get your stuff wet. You can use it on electronics such as your keyboard without needing to mess around with alcohol. You can also sanitize soft surfaces like pillows without running them through the wash.
A UV light wand works by bombarding viruses and bacteria with harmful radiation. The same way UV light can damage human cells, it also destroys microorganisms. This is because germs, just like us, have DNA and RNA inside of them. UV light breaks down these complex molecules, killing germs from the inside out. Best of all, it doesn’t leave any harmful chemical residue like some disinfectants will.
That said, not all kinds of UV light are the same. The longer the wavelength, the less effective it is at killing germs. To get the best performance, you’re going to want a wavelength that’s 280 nanometers (nm) or shorter. There’s actually a specific name for this type of light: UVC. If you’re shopping for a wand and the wavelength is longer than 280nm, it’s not going to be effective. Similarly, wavelengths shorter than 100nm aren’t actually ultraviolet. They’re extreme ultraviolet. Those ultra-short wave lengths are extraordinarily effective. However, they’re also dangerous to use. To buy an extreme ultraviolet sterilizer, you need special training and licensing.
Depending on what type of germ you’re trying to kill, you might need a different exposure time. The tougher the germ, the longer you’re going to need to shine light on a surface to kill it. In most cases, manufacturers base their recommended exposure time on E Coli. This makes sense, since E Coli is generally the bacteria that most people are concerned about. That said, other germs can be tougher or easier to kill. If you want to be extra careful, you can always extend the exposure time. In the worst case scenario, you’re just wasting batteries. In the best case scenario, you’re killing more germs.
UV Light Wand Pros and Cons
Before we get into our review, it’s important to talk about the pros and cons of using a UV light wand. To begin with, you don’t have to worry about toxic chemicals. Moreover, you don’t have to worry about the fumes from those chemicals. If you have a chemical sensitivity or asthma, this can quite literally be a life-saver. Moreover, UV light kills literally every type of microbe. If you’re dealing with drug-resistant bacteria or a super nasty virus, it doesn’t matter. UV light will kill them all.
There’s another benefit to a UV light wand, although it’s not directly related to killing germs. A UV light wand will illuminate most bodily fluids when the lights are out. Now, most people probably won’t care about this benefit. But germophobes will appreciate it, particularly for hotel rooms. If you spend a few minutes examining the room, you’ll quickly find out what areas you need to sanitize. Just sanitize anything that glows, and you can rest easy.
On the other hand, UV sterilization has some downsides that are worth considering. First off, it needs to shine directly on the germs in order to kill them. So, for example, if you’re sterilizing a pillow, you’ll only kill the germs on the surface. Any germs inside the pillow are going to survive. Moreover, UV light doesn’t just kill microorganisms. It also does serious damage to any cells that are exposed to it, including your skin. From a little bit of exposure, you can end up with a sunburn. From even more exposure, you can even get cancer. Needless to say, you shouldn’t use your UV sanitizer on yourself, your pets, or your houseplants. Just use an appropriate soap or shampoo.
One reason people often use a UV sanitizer is to disinfect their smartphones. In this case, you might want to consider a specialized smartphone sanitizer. Not only can you use it for your smartphone, but you can also sanitize other small electronics like key fobs.
The Heygienic UV Sterilizing Wand is a handheld wand that’s relatively compact. It measures 9 inches long and 1.3 inches thick, but can collapse to 4.9 inches long. This makes it easy to pack away for travel or transport. It has a white ABS plastic finish that’s easy to wipe off and keep clean. The hinge in the center is reinforced with aluminum, which makes it nice and sturdy. The bulb itself rests inside a glossy black housing that’s secured with screws. It’s blue when the light is off, so it’s attractive to look at. Needless to say, you should never look at the bulb while the light is in operation.
The on/off switch is located on the side, right by your thumb. It requires you to hold it down for 3 seconds for operation. This is a safety feature, to ensure you don’t turn the light on by mistake. Inside the handle, there’s also a battery compartment if you want to use the sanitizer without a wire. The entire unit is covered by a 30-day money back guarantee. If you don’t like it for any reason, you can just send it back for a full refund.
Ease of Use
As we mentioned, the Heygienic UV Sterilizing Wand operates with the push of a button. It doesn’t get simpler than that. Just hold the button down, and start sterilizing your surfaces or devices. Keep in mind that UV light doesn’t kill germs instantaneously. You’ll need to shine the light on a surface for at least 10 seconds to actually disinfect it. The distance from the surface also matters. Ideally, you should be holding the light about four to six inches from whatever you’re disinfecting.
One feature we appreciated about this sterilizing wand is that it has a built-in automatic safety switch. When the lamp is facing upward, it will automatically turn off. This helps you avoid eye injury if you accidentally drop the Heygienic wand. When this happens, simply turn the wand back over so it’s facing downward. It will start working again without any issues.
So, how well does the Heygienic UV Sterilizing Wand actually work? As with any type of sterilization tool, we’re relying on manufacturer ratings. That said, Heygienic has released an independent lab test attesting to their wand’s effectiveness. In all, it kills 99.9 percent of microorganisms when used as per the manufacturer’s instructions. It’s also approved by the CE and the FCC. In addition, it’s certified by the RoHS, so it’s approved for use in the EU as well as North America. Keep in mind that nobody has been able to test the Heygienic sanitizer on COVID-19 yet. Based on all the science, it should work. But at the time of this writing, it hasn’t actually been lab-tested for this purpose.
The UVC bulb draws a current of two watts. This makes it bright enough for small-scale use. That said, you won’t be able to use it on larger areas such as entire rooms. For that purpose, you’re going to want a larger UV bulb with a ballast. The wavelength of the light is 253.7nm, right in the sweet spot for sanitization.
Battery and Performance
The Heygienic UV Sterilizing Wand runs on USB power by default. On the one hand, this is convenient, since you don’t have to worry about battery life. On the other hand, it means you’ll be tethered to a 5-volt USB port in order to use the device. Alternatively, you can insert four AAA batteries in the base. This way, you can take advantage of wireless use.
The bulb is rated for 10,000 hours of use. This is sufficient for just about any realistic purpose. You’re looking at over a year’s worth of continuous use. Basically, you’ll be able to use the Heygienic sanitizer for a decade or more without needing to replace it.
So, is the Heygienic UV Sterilizing Wand worth your hard-earned cash? Or does it belong in the dustbin of failed electronic devices? In fact, it stacks up quite well to the competition. To begin with, the design is slim, portable, and attractive. It’s easy to carry in your pocket, and you can slip it into a backpack or carry-on bag. It’s also very effective. With an independent lab test and multiple government certifications, you can be confident that germs are dropping dead. The lack of an internal rechargeable battery was a minor disappointment. That said, if you want wireless use, you can always just throw in some AAA batteries. Moreover, the built-in automatic safety is an excellent feature to prevent you from inadvertently getting injured. All in all, you’re looking at a solid choice.