PS: This is a super long and detailed article, so if you just want to know which diffusers us and our readers love the most - here are our Best Essential Oil Diffusers 2016 - 2017 List:
A major problem people face while selecting an essential oil diffuser is determining how to choose a diffuser for a specific purpose, such as for babies, for pets, for large as well as small spaces.
If you’re choosing an essential oil diffuser for your baby, then you need to consider why your baby might benefit from aromatherapy, such as:
Your baby has difficulty falling asleep.
If that is the case, a diffuser like the QUOOZ Lull or its latest models - Rockano would be a good choice. Both of these diffusers are reported to have a white noise like a gentle water bubbling sound and have a runtime of over 8 hours! Besides, they don't beep when you turn it on/ off. This will keep your baby from waking up in the middle of night and help you to have a peaceful sleep.
In addition, these diffusers have multi-colored soothing lights that your baby will enjoy. According to reviews left by the customers, these two diffusers have done really good job at humidifying and keeping their baby's skin moist and soft.
Maybe you need an essential oil diffuser for your pet. It’s not too common, but sometimes our pets sometimes do need aromatherapy to calm them down.
When it comes to pets, you’ll need a noise-free diffuser so as not to startle the animal. Their hearing is far better than ours, so sudden beeps can scare them. Light, on the other hand, isn't a big issue since most pets can't see the same colors that we can. So as long as the device's lights aren't too bright, pets won't mind them.
That said, our pick in this category would be again, the Quooz Lull and Rockano because of their no-beep feature. However, if that is not an important factor to you, the URPOWER 500ml model should be a cheaper choice. They are made of durable plastic so you don't have to worry your pet running around and accidentally dropping and breaking your diffuser.
Another very common reason to buy an essential oil diffuser is for cold and flu treatment. For this purpose, you'll need a diffuser that can work both as an essential oil diffuser and as a humidifier.
The scent of this diffuser type also has to penetrate the skin cells, and should be available in the form of micro particles to be inhaled through the nose to treat the irritation in the mucous lining. If you’re trying to clear your sinuses, you need to choose a diffuser that puts out a great amount of mist, so you can inhale as much of it as possible.
So if you're after a kind of aromatherapy treatment for a mild cold, consider the TaoTronics, and this one by URPOWER as your best options.
If you take a step further, and want to have the full benefits of whatever essential oils you’re using (for example, the healing properties or the anti-anxiety effects of Lavender oil), check out nebulizing diffusers, because these don’t dilute the oils with water.
Last but not least, if you need a diffuser for a large room, you should look for those that have a long run time (at least 10 hours). It should also have the ability to produce a strong aroma with a long-lasting effect.
With that in mind, we recommend that you try the Simway 400ml diffuser, the URPOWER 500ml model (or 300ml if you prefer a smaller design). These 3 all have a coverage area of between 200- 600 sq.ft and a big tank capacity for a good continuos 6 hours of diffusing.
Table of Contents
What to look for in a diffuser
1. Diffusing ability
The most important feature of an oil diffuser is its ability to disperse essential oils into the air - quickly and beautifully. After all, that's the reason you buy it.
Ideally, you'd want the diffused scents to cover a 200-700 square foot room in 15 minutes or less. This should be more than enough to fill up an average-sized bedroom, and good to put it in an open kitchen and living room typically found in most houses.
In addition to this, the scent produced by the oil diffuser should be clean, pure, and consistent for a minimum of 5 hours. You know you don't want the scent of previous oils to stick around and meddle with the others. You also wouldn't want the scent to be barely noticeable after 30 minutes.
To be able to do all these things, you should choose a diffuser that has a large water compartment, no smaller than 120ml, and made of ceramic since this material is better at removing previously scents.
Diffusers that have airflow settings (continuous or intermittent misting) and adjustable output levels (high and low)* are also recommended. Being able to control how the oil is dispersed into the air as well as the rate they are dispersed will help prevent the aroma of the oil from becoming too overwhelming, and ensuring that the amount of oil can last overnight.
* Consider this feature carefully if you want to diffuse scents in a large area. The more vapour your device delivers, the faster the scent fills up a room and the longer it lingers.
Some models emit so much vapour that it can be overpowering! This is where timers come in handy – the best essential oil diffusers have timed intervals, meaning that the diffuser will run for a short time (like 10 minutes) and then turn off for a while (10 - 20 minutes), before turning on again. This ensures that the room doesn’t become to0 saturated. A timer can also help you use the diffuser in a worry-free manner – by choosing a diffuser with timer setting options, you can set a limit on how long it runs!
3. Noise produced
A quieter machine is better. Since diffusers are used for relaxation, you’re going to need something quiet. This is especially true when you are using the device to help you sleep! Some diffusers come equipped with relaxing noises, though this is subjective – some may find the noise annoying, whereas others may find that its repetitive nature helps them sleep. Look for a machine that comes in at 50 decibels or below, which is similar to or quieter than a flowing stream.
4. Auto shut-off function
Ultrasonic diffusers utilize ultrasonic waves along with water to send a light mist of oil microparticles into the air without heating the oil. If there is no water in the tank to absorbs the vibrations the diffuser might break down itself or, worse, cause a fire.
Therefore, the one important feature you shouldn't overlook is the automatic shut-off setting to turn off the diffuser automatically when the tank runs out of water. That way, you don’t have to worry when leaving the unit unattended. You might also want to consider a unit that doesn't make a beep sound when shutting down so it doesn't disturb anyone sleeping in the room.
5. Ease of use, cleaning and filling
To ensure optimal performance and safety, diffusers must undergo frequent filling and cleaning. These two things should never be taken lightly.
----- Filling is all about ensuring that there's always water in the reservoir. Typically, you'll find line markers in the reservoir and a measuring cup that comes with the device. Both of these should make filling the tank with water an easy enough task.
However, the design of the diffuser might pose as a problem. Some diffusers, such as the woodgrain Urpower, have tops that can be removed so refilling the tank is hassle-free. Others may only provide a tiny opening which increases the risk of spilling water all over your device. *We'll discuss more about certain models later on in our reviews.*
----- Now, let's talk about cleaning - another task that should never be overlooked. Why?
Because essential oils are just like any other oils out there, gunking up over time. Along with that is mineral deposits that will build up in the diffuser along with mold and bacteria, if we use tap water.
Not only will your diffuser look dirty, these impurities will also make it difficult for your diffuser to work. They might also be dispersed into the air, causing an oily film or a white dust to cover the furniture and electronics in the room. Even worse, you or your loved ones might end up breathing in the impurities.
As we pointed out, it's important that you clean your diffuser frequently. This means that whatever type and model you choose to buy, it should be dishwasher-safe and extremely easy to clean with no awkward angles where deposits can build up and can't be reached. You might also want to consider a model that has a detachable cord to make things even more convenient and risk-free.
While cleaning is important, it's shouldn't be that complicated. And while diffusers require frequent cleaning, we don't mean every single day. You can probably get by doing it once every couple of days unless you change the kind of essential oil you are using. You wouldn't want the aromas of two different oils to mix unless you're sure they're going to blend well together. Because sometimes, your mixture don't end up smelling good at all.
6. Light settings
There’s more to oil diffusers than just aromatherapy. Some oil diffusers can also be used as nightlights. While people who love to sleep in total darkness wouldn’t find this a good feature, your kids might think differently. You might even consider this exciting – with some diffusers, you can change the color of the light to suit your mood.
Diffusers with LED lights often have an array of colors for you to choose from as well as brightness levels, ranging from very dim to very bright. There are also modes to choose from, from no light at all to multiple colors in rotation. If you are considering a diffuser with this feature, you may want to find one that doesn’t have LED lights that are too bright or overbearing.
You should also opt for one that gives you the option to turn off the light completely as well as choose the color of the light right off the bat; it would be terribly inconvenient to go through an entire rotation just so you can pick the one you want.
One problem that most diffusers have in common is a water leak which typically occurs along the edges of the reservoir or at the bottom. Based on the numerous customer reviews we read, this seems to be a problem that can occur with any diffuser, even with expensive ones.
The likelihood of the tank leaking water, however, can be minimized if the reservoir has a seamless, molded design. You might also encounter this problem if you happen to have bought a defective diffuser; it could have a crack in the water tank or a top that doesn’t close properly. Defects like those may cause a water leak.*
* If this were to happen to you, you’ll need to get in touch with the manufacturer’s customer service, so diffusers come from manufacturers with good and dedicated warranty and customer service i a plus*
8. Additional functions
There are a few extra things you may want to look out for, such as:
- A pleasant design is very important for aesthetes.
- A long cord is convenient for placing the diffuser atop your bookshelf. -
- Directional mist is a nice touch.
- BPA free plastic is perfect for those concerned with being eco-friendly.
- The option to turn the light off is good for those who are using the diffuser while they sleep.
Best essential oil diffusers
1. QUOOZ Lull - The best at performance, value & design
Why it is great? While customers aren't fans of its price tag, they are in love with this diffuser's ability to make a BIG difference in their spaces. "It keeps my home smelling great after cooking curry" says one customer. "The noise level is very low and is a soothing humming." Other buyers agree saying the Lull will help you "sleep better at night."
There are several other features that make the Lull stand out. First of all, it has a large capacity, 200ml, which means that it can run for 10 straight hours in its steady mode. The second mode is alternating, turning the unit on and off with a duration of 16 hours. And it automatically shuts down when the water is low so it's safe to leave it unattended.
Aside from that, you also get adjustable light settings so you can set the lights according to what mood you're in:
You want to sleep? No problem, it can turn off the lights entirely. You want it bright? The breathing mode that let the light gradually brighten then gradually fade to accompany your breathing is perfect for meditation. How cool is that? And it's so quiet, you'll barely notice it's in the room (except for the fact that the room smells so delicious).
The design of the Lull is also quite cool to look at, very sleek and modern. It comes in several colors so it will go well with almost any kind of décor. One last thing we loved about the Lull is the length of the cord – 3 feet – which means you won’t have a problem placing it a bit farther away from the plug.
Unfortunately, there are some things about the Lull that we didn’t like. First, the top doesn’t screw or latch onto the base, which means it can easily be toppled over by kids, animals, and clumsy adults.
Secondly, the cord, though long, is awkwardly placed at the bottom of the base. It's hard to unplug the Lull without spilling water. The same goes for when you put the cord back in after refilling the tank. Since the top doesn't screw on and you have to hold onto the base to plug back the cord, spilling water seems inevitable.
So should you buy it? Absolutely. We think the benefits outweigh the disadvantages, making the price totally worth it.
2. QUOOZ Rockano - The newest diffuser by QUOOZ
Why it is great? Buyers say the best part about Rockano is its unique design and cite it as "a truly piece of art" among several diffusers they've had. One customer says, "There's no need to use 2 diffusers in my big, open living room when I use this one." She adds, "Fill in around a cup of water, set in the lowest setting and it will last for around 10 hours."
The Rockano is very similar to the Lull in many ways:
It’s an ultrasonic diffuser that has a large capacity tank (200ml), allowing it to run for a maximum of 10 hours. It has LED lights with the same adjustable settings – steady on, off, and breathing mode as the Lull.
It also automatically shuts down (and makes no beep sound) when the water is low. The crystal rock design of the Rockano, though a bit different from the sleek lines of the Lull, is still modern enough to fit in most household decors. And once the lights are on? It looks super cool.
So, what’s the difference? There are two actually.
The first is that the Rockano has high and regular mist modes. The high mist mode allows you to cover a larger area or to appease people who love a strong mist. On this mode, the water will last for 5 hours. The regular mist mode is just that – regular or a moderate amount of mist. The unit will run for 10 straight hours before shutting down.
Another key difference is that the Rockano is has separate buttons for the light settings and the mist settings. The Rockano actually has 4 buttons – power, regular mist, high mist, and lights. This makes it incredibly convenient for users to switch between mists even when the lights are out.
Still, there is one thing about this diffuser we think you might not like, which is its electrical connection: the AC plug is under the diffuser (like the Lull) and if you tip it the water may spill all over.
So, which one would you choose? It depends on your design preferences really. Both have awesome features for the price so either one will be totally worth it.
3. URPOWER 500ml - Great for large room or open area
Why it is great? Customers absolutely love this diffuser because it "has large capacity that lasts all day" so that they don't have to "refill the water tank all the time." Aside from that, one buyer says, "The lights which aren't too bright to be overbearing are something her kids love and eager to go to bed every night."
This URPOWER model is actually an improved version of an old model they used to sell. So what does this upgraded version have to offer?
The upgraded version is an ultrasonic oil diffuser that has a 500ml capacity, enabling it to produce a regular mist for up to 13 hours, perfect for a long night run. If you're looking to diffuse a large area, the URPOWER 500ml diffuser may be just what you need.
It has 4 working modes (1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hours, and ON) and high and low mist levels. The LED lights are also the same with one slight difference. In this model, you can pick a color as soon as it pops up through the color cycle by simply pressing the lights button. Most models, like the Urpower Wood Grain + Frosted Glass, will require you to manually go through the color queue to find the color you want.
With a large tank and the high mist setting, you can use it as a humidifier, a fact that some users will definitely appreciate. And like a lot of other diffusers in the market today, this one also automatically shuts down when the water has run out so no worries on leaving it unattended.
Some unique features of the URPOWER 500ml diffuser is that you can face the lid with the mist opening any way you want since the lid doesn't latch to the base. Another great feature is the clearly marked water lines on the tank. So no need for a measuring cup or to guess which line marks the max level for the water.
One last thing to love about this beast of a diffuser is that it puts out a strong mist even at the low setting. It will quickly fill up a large area with your favourite scent and ensure it remains the entire time the unit is running.
What's about its cons? Well, we think it's big and not pretty for something to leave out when not in use. And if you have small hands, you may find it hard to screw on the top. You can just leave the lid on it, but for those who have cats and small children, well... !!!
If you're looking for a big diffuser that can serve as a humidifier and night light for a large room, then the 500ml diffuser from URPOWER should be your top choice.
4. TaoTronics 300ml - Delivers an impressive amount of mist
Why it is great? Customers call this their all-time favorite because it has two very distinct types of misting. One "shoots straight up into the air" and one "flows down over the unit like a haunted house movie". Aside from thay, lots confirm that this diffuser is great for large, open room with high ceilings, but do not recommend it for "tiny bedrooms and bathrooms."
We've got a whole lot of love going on with the TaoTronics model. And before we list all the features that make this an absolutely worthwhile purchase, let's just take a moment to talk about how cool this product looks. The cover is really made of thick frosted glass. The wood grain bottom is actually plastic but it looks very real. The overall design of the model is simply awesome and would complement anyone's home.
Ok, now that's out of the way, let's talk about the features. This model is an ultrasonic diffuser that has a larger capacity than most in the market - a full 300 ml. With a full tank, it can run steadily for 10 - 12 hours, perfect for a full night's sleep! It has 4 working modes: 1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hours, and ON (uninterrupted misting).
Aside from the working modes, the unit also allows you to choose between low and high mist. At low mist, you get the full 10 hours while the high mist level will give you 6 hours. And should the water run out, this model has the automatic shut off feature.
Now to the important part, is it able to cover a full-sized room with scents? Yes, it can! Whether it’s on low or high mist, the scent is still noticeable whenever you enter the room so full points there!
Another feature you might like about this model is that it also comes with LED lights: 7 different colors that can be bright or dim. You can opt to have a rainbow light show or choose a single color to suit your mood. There’s only one slight problem with the light – even when turned on, the on/off button has a light that can disturb your sleep if you’re sensitive to light at night.
What I really don't like about this diffuser are 2 things:
- One, you will have to push the light button few times before getting to the color you want.
- Two, the power cord is under the unit.
There’s little to dislike about the TaoTronics. And for it’s price? Definitely one of the best value diffuser you’ll ever find.
In case you don't like the TaoTronics' design, check this URPOWER 300ml model. It has a lot of similar features to the TaoTronics and are loved by more than 1000 users.
5. Radha Beauty - Best cheap you can find
Why it is great? "It really got the oil in the air and opened my sinuses," one buyer declares. Others rave that it's compact and super quiet that "no one is able to hear it in the background." Others just "bought a bunch of Radha diffusers to give their family members and friends"
This diffuser from Radha Beauty is actually a popular choice and it's easy to see why: cheap and comes with standard features you usually find in a fairly good diffuser, 120ml water tank and 2 working modes - constant misting and intermittent misting (30 seconds on, 30 seconds off).
While it doesn’t have a large tank like other models we’ve reviewed, it produces a very strong mist and is quickly able to fill an average-sized room with scent. If you want something small, easily transportable from home to office and back, that can keep your room or cubicle smelling heavenly, this is just the diffuser you’ve been looking for.
One of the best things about this Radha Beauty model is the fact that its 7 different color LED lights has a separate button that allows you to choose the color and brightness. Besides, it has clearly defined lines of water levels on the tank and comes with a measuring cup but to ensure that you never go over the maximum water level.
Another feature that most people like about this is that the lid locks into place. If you’ve read through other reviews, you’ll know that most of the popular models have tops that do not lock into place. You simply put them on top of the base to cover the tank once you’re done refilling. This is a bit worrisome if you have kids or pets around who might bump into the device and cause the water to spill out.
What I really don't like about Radha diffuser:
- It makes loud beep when pushing the button.
- It may be small for some people.
- The water tank is made of plastic, which may keep the scents from the previous oils and change the new scent.
6. Arospa - Waterless, wireless & small enough for your car
Why it is great? Buyers say this diffuser "has a good size that I can put it on my desk at work, by my bed and in my car" and lasts "a decent amount of time." Other customers say it "diffuses well for small and inclosed spaces."
If you like how the scent of your favorite oil helps keep you calm, then you should consider surrounding yourself with it while driving through a sea of angry/frustrated drivers. Fortunately, there are several oil diffusers that have been designed specifically for car or travel use. And we found the best one there is - the Arospa Electric Car/Indoor Essential Oil Diffuser.
So, what makes this so ideal for car use?
For one, this is an ultrasonic diffuser which we've already established is our favorite kind. There's no wick or filter for you to fiddle with. Just plain water, a couple of drops of your favorite oil, and you're good to go.
Two, this diffuser is actually shaped like a tall cup, fitting perfectly in your car's cup holder. In fact, it looks just like a travel mug so it fits perfectly with the decor as well!
Three, this is a powerful diffuser that can quickly cover your car with the beautiful scent of your favorite oil. It can actually be used to cover an average-sized room; it's that powerful.
But doesn't that make it overwhelming if you're stuck in a small space? Actually, it won't. Because unlike several other car diffusers out there, the Arospa model has several modes. It has low and high mist settings as well as an intermittent mode (20 seconds on and off).
Four, you don't have to worry about shutting off the diffuser because it can automatically turn off when the car is turned off. It will also shut down when the water level is low.
Five, the controls are located in the upper half of the diffuser so you can easily change the settings even while the device is in the cup holder. The hole where you attach the cord to is also located on the side, not at the bottom, so that's easily accessible too.
Six, the unit will diffuse oil for 2 hours straight at a high mist setting before the water runs out. Using it at a low mist level and intermittently means you can actually use it for 3 1/2 hours before you need to refill the tank. That's a pretty long ride.
But, we heard that the customer service of Arospa was not so good. Some buyers got a defective one, they called the brand and received nothing but silence. So keep that in mind.
While the price seems a bit hefty for a car oil diffuser, it's definitely worth it for all those features we mentioned earlier. But the Arospa diffuser is actually worth a lot more since it can easily be used indoors as well; it comes with a standard home plug in adapter. Definitely a lot of bang for your buck!
7. Aennon - Bring it anywhere you want!
Why it is great? "No matter what I "did" in the bathroom, it remain completely fresh and odor-free with this diffuser," one buyer declares. Other customers rave that it "lasts a long time" and "the oil definitely does not get wasted."
If you're looking for a nebulizing diffuser, you might want to consider picking the Aennon Aroma Diffuser. It’s a crowd favorite for several reasons. Let's talk about what we like about this model first.
One, it can go wireless. Yes, it has a battery that can be charged so you don't need to keep it plugged in all the time. Just think of all the places you can lug it around with you! You'll never have to breathe in unappealing scents anywhere. And it's not some hinky battery that lasts for a couple of hours a day. Even when it's running non-stop, the battery will last for three full days! If you limit your use to several hours a day, you can avoid recharginng the battery for a week or so.
And since it's USB powered, you've got a lot more options in charging it; you're not limited to a proprietary power adapter. The diffuser has a battery indicator which flashes red when the battery is low. The light stays red when it's charging and turns green when it's fully charged.
Two, it has several working modes. You can opt to run it for 30/60/90 seconds before it shuts off for 120 seconds before it starts spraying the oil again. It also has timers which allows you to run the diffuser for 1, 2, 4, hours or just ON.
Three, it has an automatic shut off feature that turns the unit off when the oil runs out. As an added bonus, the diffuser turns off when it is tilted!
Four, it does disperse scent very well. It's not as great as an ultrasonic diffuser but it covers a fairly large area well enough. And it doesn't waste oil too since a bottle will last you about a month.
So, is it a perfect product then? Well, not really. It makes an annoying hissing sound whenever it runs. Granted, nebulizing diffusers are noiser than ultrasonic ones. So if you want to sleep surrounded by your favorite scent, this may not be the diffuser for you.
Lastly, it only works with certain bottle sizes. While the diffuser does come with an empty bottle for you to use, if that breaks, you might have to buy one that fits.
Is it worth it then? The price seems steep especially for an oil diffuser. Ultrasonic ones are a great deal cheaper. But if you prefer a portable nebulizing one, then the Aennon model is a good choice to make.
8. Aromis Orbis Nox Merus - An elegant device that offers full benefits of essential oils
Why it is great? Customers say this nebulizer is "dead-easy to clean" and "not at all obnoxiously noisy." Other users say its customer service is the best: 'letting me keep the one I have until I get the replacement."
Like many nebulizing diffusers, this one is pretty expensive. But before you pass it over because of the price, let's see if there's anything worth paying for.
If you want the pure, undiluted smell of your favorite essential home to fill up a room within few minutes, then this diffuser definitely delivers. If you use A grade oils, it will give you the maximum therapeutic benefits.
The aroma it produces is pure and strong and if you've used other diffusers before, you'll instantly notice the difference in quality. So in terms of diffusing ability, we'd say the Aromis diffuser makes the grade.
As for working modes, it has a 10 minutes on, 10 minutes off mode that will allow you to enjoy the beautiful scents without overwhelming you. It also has an automatic shut off feature that activates after an hour (3 cycles of the 10 mins on and 10 mins off). Perfect if you don't want to worry about forgetting to turn it off.
What about ease of use and cleaning? The Aromis diffuser makes the grade here as well. To use it, you only have to add several drops (15 to 20) of oil into the diffuser then run it. Cleaning is also simple enough. Just give it a quick swish of alcohol, let it dry out, then you're done.
The design and material is nothing to scoff at either. This is no faux wood like what you see in a lot of other diffusers. This is made of real wood and glass, top quality material. With how much it costs, it definitely should be made of high quality.
So, is there anything wrong with it? Well, just one thing really. The vibrations are very noticeable, especially if you're using the high setting. It will disturb you while you sleep, especially if you're a light sleeper.
Now, the question is are we willing to pay the price? For its diffusing ability, ease of use, ease of cleaning, and top quality material, we’d say “hell yeah!”
9. Herba Terra Organics - Take diffusing essential oils to the next level (updated later)
Different types of diffusers
Since there are several different types of diffusers categorized based on the mechanism they use to diffuse oil, we saw a lot of questions of which types works the best. Unfortunately, there is no absolute answer for that. While we may have a favorite that we deem the best of the lot, the best diffuser can only be determined by the person buying it.
It all depends on your preferences – what you like, what you expect, and how you’re going to use it.
There are 4 main types of diffusers that are typically sold in stores today: ultrasonic diffusers, nebulizing diffusers, evaporative diffusers, and nebulizing diffusers. Each one has a unique way of dispersing oil particles into the air, with differing results and effects. And, of course, each type has its own benefits and disadvantages.
1. Heating diffusers
Heating diffusers were popular in the past, and are still occasionally used in smaller places. Heat diffusers evaporate essential oils very quickly, and they use heat to accomplish diffusion.
In this type, the essential oil is placed either on a pad or in a compartment where the heat is transferred to it in order to break its molecules. The aroma is then spread around where required.
Good heat diffusers will use very low levels of heat – if the product is too hot, the smells it produces will be too strong.
You may not feel relaxed if you are worrying about turning the unit off when it’s empty and we would not recommend this type either if you need pure molecules for fast and quick results.
Another main drawback of this type is that when the oil gets heated, it may not remain in its original form, and its composition may change due to disintegration caused by the high temperature.
2. Evaporative/ fan diffusers
Like the name suggests, this type of diffuser makes use of the process of evaporation to disperse oil particles into the air. The mechanism is pretty basic:
You drop some oil onto the surface of a pad or filter. Then a fan blows air through the filter or pad which enables the oil to evaporate much faster than usual. The air along with the vaporized oil is then dispersed into the room by the fan.
Sounds good? But this method is actually not very effective. Upon testing, we found that the aroma did not last for a long period of time, we had to put more drops to carry on the diffusion process.
Another disadvantage to using this type of diffuser is the amount of noise it generates. It’s typically louder than an ultrasonic diffuser because of the fan.
While it may not be that annoying to most, more like a white noise and far less noticeable than the hum of your air conditioner, it can still be considered annoying to some, particularly light sleepers. In addition, the oil isn’t vaporized quickly enough as it is with ultrasonic diffusers so it isn’t as quick to cover a room with scent.
But the main reason why evaporative or fan diffusers haven’t made it on our favorite picks is its ineffectiveness in diffusing essential oils. Not only is it unable to consistently disperse the scent of an essential oil, it is also unable to spread the complete scent.
What does this mean?
Essential oils are made up of several components, some more volatile than others. The lighter, more volatile components evaporate much faster than their heavier, less volatile counterparts. This means that you only get parts of the oil at certain times during the diffusion – the lighter components during the beginning of the session and the heavier components towards the end.
Aside from being unable to diffuse the complete oil at once (and therefore diminishes its therapeutic benefits), this is also why the scent of the oil disappears fast. And so it becomes inevitable that you will have to drop more oil on to the pad or filter in order to prolong the scent of the oil in the air.
Despite the disadvantages though, there is something to be said about evaporative diffusers – these are the ones that require the least cleaning as well as being the easiest to clean. This is because the filter or pad traps any mineral dust that deposits inside the diffuser over time.
We were thrilled to try a nebulizer, because we thought it would give the best results.
In this diffuser, the oil molecules are broken into small particles (without using water) and can give a strong scent of pure essential oils. They work in a similar way to a perfume atomizer. It’s the best type of diffusion for therapeutic use due to the fact that it does not dilute the essential oils.
Such fumes are best to be used for a quick result and can give an instant relief to your problems.
They also require the most oil out of any diffuser, making them far and away the most expensive types of diffusers to buy and maintain. After using it few times we learned we had to pour into a lot of EO into the nebulizer because it wasn’t diluted with water. We actually ran out of our 15 ml essential oil bottle during 6 hours of testing.
Another thing that bothered us was the noise produced – unacceptable when you need to relax or sleep at night. They work powerfully, so of course they are noisier.
These are better for short term instant relief, but not good to be used for longer sessions.
After using all of the above mentioned methods, we felt helpless about finding a diffuser that would serve calmly, without posing any hassle to pour more oil and still give a consistent and balanced touch of soft fragrance around me.
Until we found this diffuser type and it quickly become our best essential oil diffuser type for most people. They are nearly silent and extremely effective at getting the aroma of the essential oil throughout the space.
4. Ultrasonic diffusers
Ultrasonic diffusers produce a fine mist much like nebulizing diffusers. However, they utilize an entirely different mechanism to do so:
Inside an electronic diffuser is a small disk that lies just under the water surface. Electronic frequencies are used to make this disk vibrate at a very fast rate. These ultrasonic vibrations (hence the name of the diffuser) cause the essential oil and the water to transform into vapor and disperse into the air in the form of a fine mist.
The breakdown of the essential oil into microparticles makes it easier for us to breathe in its therapeutic properties, benefiting our body, mind, and even our spirit. However, despite the fine mist that is produced by the diffuser, only a small part of it is actually the oil. Because of this, it’s important that you only use demineralized or distilled water in your diffuser to avoid inhaling minerals from the vaporized water. Breathing in minerals can cause lung disorders.
Normally, vaporization occurs through the application of heat, either evaporation or boiling. With ultrasonic diffusers, liquid is transformed into vapor through an adiabatic process. This simply means that no heat is transferred during vaporization.
Thanks to that, the mist is cool rather than warm or hot. You don’t need to worry about the safety of your children or your home because of the heat generated by your diffuser. You also don’t have to worry about the mist affecting the temperature of the room.
Overall, we recommend ultrasonic diffusers because:
- The ultrasonic diffusers are quiet, and as such they can be used when you want to relax or sleep at night.
- The use a very small amount of EO drops in the water and give you a balanced aroma when you need.
- They are compact, easy to handle, and easy to maintain.
- They will give a light mist when necessary and function both as a humidifier and a diffuser.
- They can function without any issues for hours.
1. What is a diffuser & how do essential oil diffuser work?
Please check the section above.
2. What is the difference between a humidifier and a diffuser?
A diffuser is a machine that diffuses a mixture of essential oil and water in the form of droplets called mist. These are micro-sized and do not increase the humidity level of the area being treated.
In a humidifier, the diffuser creates a humid atmosphere through water vapors and also diffusing essential oils along with the water vapors. Vapors produced are not very tiny in size and you can feel a humid or moist atmosphere.
If you need a mild steam or humid atmosphere, you should buy a humidifier . On the other hand, if you only need an aromatherapy diffuser, you can either buy an ultrasonic diffuser or a combination of both.
Using a diffuser will only help humidify your home slightly (since they use just a little bite of water, comparing to the 1 - 1.5l water needed to humidify a house), so if you want to properly humidify your surroundings, you’ll have to buy a real humidifier.
3. Why do you need an essential oil diffuser?
For those who are not even aware of the benefits of an essential oil diffuser, or are not familiar with the ways a diffuser can help you achieve your therapeutic and wellness goals, it's hard to decide and buy.
Aromatherapy and essential oils have become the most preferred alternative medicine for health and wellness issues, including stress, headaches, body aches, nausea, breathing issues, skin issues, and nervous problems.
Using various oils can help you alleviate symptoms instantly and have no side effects. You just have to pick the right essential oil for your needs.
After choosing the right essential oil, you need the best diffuser to help you achieve the best results. An aromatherapy diffuser is an essential part of the session.
You’ll need a consistent and balanced supply of essential oil ingredients around you to soothe your nerves and take care of the problems you are facing.
Essential oils can be used to get rid of smells from pets (homes with dogs can always benefit from an EO diffuser, particularly if the dog is an outdoorsy type!), and EO diffusers are popular among smokers – they get rid of the scent and help the lungs!
EO diffusers are great for the sinuses, and although they cannot replace a real humidifier, they can create slightly more humid conditions for those with dry homes.
4. How to diffuse for the best result?
In order to get the best results , you should choose a way that gives you the original essential oil ingredients without altering its nature and composition. Though there are a number of methods that can be used to just diffuse the oil into the air, like using a spray, candle, reed diffusers, and tissue paper, none of them would give you a perfect effect as it is being given by a nebulizer (best, but expensive) and ultrasonic diffuser (not as good as nebulizing diffuser, but more affordable.)
For best results for aromatherapy, you should buy an ultrasonic diffuser that will help you diffuse the essential oil of your choice, and offers the required characteristics without making the atmosphere overly humid. It will give you a perfect blend of essential oil and water vapors in the form of tiny droplets to provide you a soothing effect when you need.
Here are a few tips for you, so you can get the best aromatherapy experience possible.
1. USE DISTILLED WATER – Tap water is, of course, usable in essential oil diffusers, but purified water is still the best. There are minerals that can build up in tap water that may alter the scent of your oils!
2. USE QUALITY ESSENTIAL OILS – Although essential oils are expensive, it’s important to buy 100% pure, authentic oils. Buying ones with synthetic components or diluted oils won’t work nearly as well as the real deal, not to mention they do more harm than good.
3. KEEP THE UNIT CLEAN – Clean your diffuser once a week, at the very least. If you’re using tap water, you might want to clean it with soap and water. Otherwise, rubbing alcohol will do the trick! If you want to keep your product extra clean, try running it for 15 minutes with a solution of purified water and white vinegar!
4. RESTING TIME – Let your machine rest for an hour after use – if you use it nonstop, it won’t run at optimal performance! All diffusers deserve a bit of cool down time.
5. DON'T OVERFILL – Don’t fill past the maximum level, or you risk getting a weaker mist (because there isn't enough space between the water and the top of the lid.) If the water level is too close to the top, your mist will be diluted, and not as therapeutic!
5. How to make your favourite scent last longer?
It’s a fact that many essential oil blends won’t last longer than five or six hours in a typical ultrasonic diffuser, even when it is spraying mist intermittently. Why does this happen? Well, it’s because of the nature of essential oils themselves.
Essential oils are basically volatile substances, which means they evaporate fairly quickly. That’s why we can smell them so easily in the first place and barely notice them after several hours. The very mechanism of ultrasonic diffusers is to increase the volatility of the essential oil in order to disperse them into the air as a fine mist. So, the oil is never really going to last for a long period of time.
Now, when on intermittent mode, the oil will last longer (around an hour or two more) since you’re not vaporizing it constantly. So look for ultrasonic diffusers that have this ability when you want to prolong the “life” of your oil blends.
If you think doubling up on the drops of oil you use in the diffuser will save you the effort of replenishing it after four or five hours, then think again.
The amount of oil to vaporize doesn’t slow down the process, it only causes more microparticles of oil to be dispersed into the room. This means that the aroma will definitely be stronger but not necessarily that much longer.
Maybe it will extend the scent of the oil in the room by an hour or so but that’s just because the scent was so strong to begin with and it takes time for it to dissipate. But you aren’t exactly saving up on oil by doing this.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t any long-lasting scents out there. While any essential oil will evaporate quickly, some do so at a slower rate. These are the less volatile oils. Essential oils categorized as “middle” or “mid” and “base” notes are slower to vaporize so they last much longer, particularly the “base” or heavy oils such as sandalwood, vanilla, and jasmine.
To find out which is which, check this fragrance blending chart for essential oils. It’s important to note, however, that base note oils are heavier and thicker which could affect how easily you can clean your unit.
Floral (sweet & relaxing)
Work well with:
Woodsy (deep & warm)
Work well with every oil
Earthy (deep & warm)
Work well with:
Spicy (deep & warm)
Work well with:
Citrusy (fresh & revitalizing)
Work well with:
Herby (fresh & revitalizing)
Work well with:
Camphor (fresh & revitalizing)
Work well with:
Minty (fresh & revitalizing)
Work well with:
6. Tips for choosing essential oils
Usually we choose essential oils for their therapeutic benefits as well as their scents. However, there is more to choosing an oil than just for those two characteristics alone. While essential oils produce a beautiful aroma, it nevertheless is still an oil and therefore oily and likely to leave some gunky residue in your diffuser. And this can make cleaning your diffuser a bit difficult sometimes.
So when choosing an essential oil to use, you may want to pick those that were produced from flowers and leaves of plants. Some examples include lavender, eucalyptus, and peppermint.
You should also avoid oils that naturally have a high viscosity such as sandalwood and patchouli or those that are distilled from resins or roots such as frankincense and vetiver as they are heavier and much harder to diffuse as well as more difficult to clean.
You might also want to shy away from non-natural “fragrance oils” as these also have a high viscosity (thick) and are more readily absorbed by the plastic material of your diffuser. A watery fragrance oil though is fine.
What about essential oils that are diluted with carrier oils? Well, you might want to stay away from some of those too. Some carrier oils such as jojoba and sweet almond are hard to clean when they break down. Not to mention, jojoba goes rancid rather quickly.
Some essential oils have been made more water soluble by dissolving them in alcohol. Using these would definitely make it easier for you to clean your diffuser. However, the addition of alcohol into the mixture makes it much more volatile so it definitely will vaporize much quicker than you'd like. Definitely, it won’t last as long as undiluted essential oils.
7. Oil diffuser accessories
In my opinion, a diffuser alone is enough. However, manufacturers do have some items to get the diffusing process to be easier, such as:
Oil transfer pipettes
An essential oil sample with six different aromas
Essential oil rack
8. Make your own diffuser - DIY version
So far sounds good, you think? But if you want your house smell good but don't want to spend any single penny buying a diffuser? Then this section's probably just right for you.
Few years ago, when I was on the budget and struggled a lot questioning to buy or not to buy a diffuser, these two videos had been my inspiration for months. Check them out: