Photocatalytic reactors for the degradation of gaseous organic pollutants often suffer from major limitations such as small reaction area, sub-optimal irradiation conditions and thus limited reaction rate. In this work, an alternative solution is presented that involves a glass tube coated on the inside with (silver-modified) TiO2and spiraled around a UVA lamp. First, the spiral reactor is coated from the inside with TiO2using an experimentally verified procedure that is optimized toward UV light transmission. This procedure is kept as simple as possible and involves a single casting step of a 1 wt% suspension of TiO2in ethanol through the spiral. This results in a coated tube that absorbs nearly all incident UV light under the experimental conditions used. The optimized coated spiral reactor is then benchmarked to a conventional annular photoreactor of the same outer dimensions and total catalyst loading over a broad range of experimental conditions. Although residence time distribution experiments indicate slightly longer dwelling of molecules in the spiral reactor, no significant difference in by-passing of gas between the spiral reactor and the annular reactor can be claimed. Acetaldehyde degradation efficiency of 100% is obtained with the spiral reactor for a residence time as low as 60 s, whereas the annular reactor could not achieve full degradation even at 1000 s residence time. In a final case study, addition of long-term stable silver nanoparticles, protected by an ultra-thin polymer shell applied via the layer-by-layer (LbL) method, to the spiral reactor coating is shown to double the degradation efficiency and provides an interesting strategy to cope with higher pollutant concentrations without changing the overall dimensions. © 2017 Elsevier B.V.