Gaseous polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are carcinogenic and mutagenic pollutants and also able to promote the growth of secondary particulate matters which have attracted great attention in recent years. Control of PAHs emissions in exhaust gases using different techniques has been hot topics in the atmospheric environment field. Adsorption is one of the most effective ones and is well accepted by industries in gaseous pollutant removal in which the adsorbent characteristics play critical roles. In this paper the latest advances in the field of PAHs adsorption are critically reviewed with special emphasis on adsorption-desorption characteristics and related applications. Studies on adsorption equilibrium kinetics and desorption properties of PAHs as special low-volatile gases on conventional activated carbons and novel mesoporous adsorbents are summarized and compared showing the advantages of mesoporous adsorbents over traditional adsorbents in terms of the fast adsorption and facile desorption. The significant factors on the optimal balance between adsorption and desorption as well as the corresponding adsorbent materials are discussed in detail. This work can be a reference for further studies on adsorptive purifications of PAHs and other low-volatile gases.