Having an essential oil diffuser in your home or office is a great way to experience the benefits of aromatherapy. Naturally, you need to know about the different kinds of diffusers available out there. Buying the wrong type may not work for your room size and may simply be a waste of money.
There are different kinds of essential oil diffusers, and each has benefits. Deciding which is the best for you depends on your specific needs. The primary types are heat or flame-based, nebulizers, evaporative, and ultrasonic diffusers.
There are a few things to consider when choosing a diffuser, the size of the diffuser, the noise level, and how often you plan to use it. Here’s a look at some of the most popular types of diffusers and what you need to know about them.
Types of Essential Oil Diffusers And Their Uses
If you’re like me, you love the smell of essential oils. There’s something about their scent that just makes me feel so relaxed and calm. I’m also a big fan of diffusers. If you’re not familiar with them, essential oil diffusers are devices that disperse essential oils into the air.
There are many types of essential oil diffusers, but four styles are most often used. These are nebulizing, heat-based diffusers, ultrasonic diffusers, and evaporative diffusers.
1. Nebulizing diffusers
Nebulizing diffusers pressurize air and draw oil out through a nozzle. The pressure breaks down the oils into smaller particles and disperses them into the air in small bursts. This makes them perfect for people who want to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of essential oils in small spaces, such as bedrooms, bathrooms, and small offices.
Benefits and Uses
- Nebulizing diffusers do not use water.
- They are better at dispensing oils faster than ultrasonic diffusers. They also lead to a greater concentration of oil molecules in the air.
- They can be a great choice for people who want aromatherapy for respiratory issues like asthma, colds, etc. and are ideal for nighttime use
- Could lead to a lot of oil wastage. If the nebulizing diffuser does not have settings or you do not make proper adjustments, you could finish an entire bottle of oil quickly.
2. Flame or heat-based diffusers
As the name indicates, you need to light a wick under the oil reservoir. The heat breaks down the oil molecules, causes evaporation, and disperses the molecules into the air.
In its most basic form, a heat diffuser consists of a tray or reservoir where you add the oil with a heat source near or under it.
These days, you get different types of heat diffusers like candle diffusers, lamp rings, or electric heat flame diffusers.
Benefits and Uses
- Heat diffusers are great for diffusing thicker oils like sandalwood oils.
- They are perfect for use during yoga and meditation. The flickering flame of the candlelight combined with the de-stressing properties of aromatherapy oils helps create a beautiful meditative and relaxing atmosphere.
- Diffusers with candles often come in beautiful cut-out patterns that create lovely patterns of light and shadows on your walls or furniture. These can greatly enhance your decor with their elegance.
- A major concern about the use of flame-based diffusers is their safety. You have to keep a watch when the oil-water combination dries out. If the flame continues burning, it can burn the container.
- Not safe for use around kids and pets. You must not use them at night during sleep.
- The heat causes chemical changes in the delicate and volatile oils. This altered chemistry could also reduce the oil’s aromatherapeutic benefits.
3. Ultrasonic diffusers
Ultrasonic diffusers use water. They agitate water and oil at million vibrations per second to convert them into a fine mist. (The mist is so fine that even if you hold your hand in front of it, it won’t get wet!)
Nebulizing diffusers send out the microparticles of oil and water into the air, quickly spreading them throughout the room.
Benefits and Uses
- Effective, safe, and easy to use.
- Humidify the air – great for use in cold, dry winter months. Ideal for people who wake up with a dry nose or throat in winter.
- Modern ultrasonic diffusers come with a waterless auto-shutoff feature that makes them safe.
- They are great for diffusing continuously for several hours – some work up to 16 hours too.
- Some come with romantic mood lights as well.
- They can cover large areas – up to 500 sq. ft.
- Expensive than other types of oil diffusers
- They can sometimes be noisy
- The use of water means there is a potential for leaks.
4. Evaporative Diffusers
Evaporative diffusers use air currents – either from a fan or the atmosphere – to diffuse the volatile essential oils.
In its simplest form, it consists of a fan blowing air over a pad where you add the essential oil. In another form, it could be a personalized diffuser in the form of a bracelet or a necklace dipped in essential oils that uses the air currents from the atmosphere to diffuse the fragrance to the user.
Benefits and Uses
- Evaporative diffusers are a lot cheaper than other diffuser types – depending on their design.
- Personal evaporative diffusers can come in many forms like necklaces, pendants, bracelets, etc. You can even have them in the form of pens, mesh bags filled with absorbent beads, etc.
- Ideal for diffusing over a small space such as your office desk, car, or cabinets or closets.
- Do not need heavy-duty cleaning.
- Limited applications.
- Covers only a small area.
Also Read: Best Essential Oil Diffusers to Buy in 2022
Best Essential Oil Diffusers
MiniDiva waterless oil diffuser can diffuse any type of oil irrespective of its viscosity. This helps you diffuse even the heavier oils like coconut oil, sandalwood oil, and vetiver oil.
The waterless application means there are no messy leaks to deal with. MiniDiva nebulizing oil diffuser also has button control – so you can switch it off when you’re not home. The diffuser can work for 8 hours straight before it shuts off automatically. Also, it has long battery life.
Here are some other features of the MiniDiva Nebulizing diffuser:
- Noiseless operation of less than 38 dB
- USB charging
- Uses atomization technology that preserves the health benefits of oils and does not alter their chemistry
- Essential oil quantity – 10-15ml
- Small and compact – measures 5.1 L x 1.65 W x 5.98 H inches
- Rechargeable and portable.
- Has 3 convenient working modes
- Button for on/off
- Can easily cover an area of 700 sq. ft.
- Three different settings – choose the strength of the aroma as you like.
- Silent operation
- Sleek and compact design
- Rechargeable and its battery lasts for a long time.
- Expensive than most diffusers.
- The diffuser uses a lot of oil-you will be quickly going through several bottles of oils which can be very expensive. One 15 ml bottle approximately lasts for 7 days only on a low to medium setting. On a higher setting, the bottle will run out even faster.
- The design makes it difficult to screw the bottles in.
- Keep the nebulizer in the charger when not in use. It loses charge when left off and you cannot use it until it is charged.
How it compares
MiniDiva nebulizing diffuser does have some design flaws. However, if you look past those and the fact that it runs through bottles of oils quickly, you will surely love them. It is rechargeable and portable. The fact that it has several aroma strength options is excellent too. It also covers a larger area as promised. Price-wise, it is on the higher side than the diffusers discussed below.
Beauty in simplicity! The Elegant Blue Porcelain Tear Drop Tea Light Oil Warmer is elegant, looks great, and it efficiently diffuses the scent of your chosen aromatherapy oil to set the mood quickly.
The warmer utilizes a tea light that gently warms the oil placed in a drop-shaped ceramic basin. Since the heat source is small and placed far away, it does not alter your oil’s chemistry yet gently diffuses the scent in the air.
- 4 x 4 x 7.5 inches – compact and elegant
- Made of 50% metal and 50% porcelain
- Holds about 5 to 8 ounces of oil/water-oil mixture
- Available in 3 attractive colors
- Easy to use
- Excellent craftsmanship – elegant
- Easy to clean – simply wash with warm water or rubbing alcohol and wipe dry
- Great for gifting
- The stand holding the teardrop basin is lightweight and tends to tilt over.
- The basin collects soot on the sides due to the flame
- Does not include the tea lights.
- Use it with loose granular incense or tart warmers/wax melts instead of oil.
The price of this heat diffuser is unbeatable. Also, it lasts for years, and unlike other types of diffusers, you won’t face issues like noise or water leaks. The downside is that you need to clean the soot accumulated on it.
How it compares
This great ultrasonic diffuser from The Pure Daily Care Store has received worldwide recognition and is reviewed by celebrities on TV shows and magazines.
Its heat-free technology makes it one of the safest oil diffusers in the market. It even comes with 1-year tech support plus a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can buy it worry-free.
Pure Daily Care Ultrasonic diffuser comes with the following impressive features:
- 7 ambient light settings plus the ability to switch off the light. You can also cycle the lights or select a single light in your favorite color.
- 10 x 400 ml bottles of therapeutic grade essential oils included with the diffuser
- 4 timer settings
- Auto-shutoff when the water level goes below a certain level
- Includes an instruction manual.
- Low noise
- Easy to use and clean
- Long-lasting operation – runs for 16 hours or more in the intermittent mode.
- Excellent customer care – seller is very responsive.
- Great for gifting
- You might need two of these diffusers for a larger room.
- Give it a thorough cleaning from time to time. Dry it completely before each use.
How it compares
For the price, this ultrasonic diffuser from Pure Daily Care is unbeatable. You even get ten essential oils with it. It has received rave reviews on many TV shows and magazines. Pure Daily Care diffuser is especially beneficial for people with respiratory issues.
Its cyclic lights are romantic and great for setting the mood. On the downside, it may not be sufficient for a larger room. Also, the plastic container on the outside is not too sturdy. It also needs cleaning and drying regularly.
AromaAllure’s waterless, heatless, and portable diffuser is ideal for small spaces and personal use. It consists of a fan-operated by AAA batteries that blow air over pads. You can add your favorite oil to the pads. You can take the small and compact diffuser along on travel. It is free from messy leaks and oils spills.
- Consumes less than 0.4 W of power
- Ceramic outer cover
- 2.64 L x 2.64 W x 3.43 H inches
- Soft light glow underneath
- Fan runs at 2000 r.p.m
- You can use 2 AAA batteries or using a power adapter
- Comes with 3 microfiber pads. The seller also sells the pads separately.
- Instruction manual included
- Great for personal use in the office, at home, on travels, etc. Small profile fits in compact spaces like bathrooms and cars
- No rinsing, cleaning needed
- Noise-free operation
- Turns off after 30 minutes when running on battery mode.
- Great for gifting
- You can add a blend of oils to the pads and create your favorite scents
- Batteries run down pretty quickly.
- The scent only covers a very small area.
Use thinner felt pads instead of the pads included. These absorb more oil and give a greater scent output.
How it compares
This is an excellent personal diffuser. It has a ceramic cover – not plastic, which imparts elegance to it. The soft glowing LED light underneath the diffuser is also soothing. If you are looking for mess-free oil, a waterless diffuser to take on your travel, or freshen up a small area, then this is a great choice.
What to Look For When Buying a Diffuser?
Here are some factors to consider when buying an essential oil diffuser
Decide which type to choose
Now that you know the different kinds of diffusers available, you may want to first decide on the best type for your needs. If you want a diffuser that also humidifies the air and can be used for several hours at night, then a nebulizer or ultrasonic diffusers may be a great option.
For portability or use on the go, or simply for freshening up a small area, go in for the evaporative type of diffuser.
The purpose of diffusing
If you want to experience essential oils’ medicinal or therapeutic benefits, you might benefit from nebulizing and ultrasonic diffusers. Heat diffusers tend to alter the chemistry of the volatile oils and could even render them useless.
In winters, you may want a humidifying diffuser that adds back moisture to the dry air. Patients with asthma, respiratory illnesses like COPD, and other health issues might benefit from nebulizing and ultrasonic diffusers.
Size of your room
A bigger room will benefit from a nebulizer type or ultrasonic type of diffuser. These disperse a greater quantity of oil and cover up to 500 sq. ft. of area.
For bedrooms, offices, and small rooms, you want to stay away from loud, fan-based diffusers or diffusers that bubble and make dripping noises. For these rooms, heat diffusers or special low-noise ultrasonic diffusers work best. Look for diffusers that promise a quiet operation under 40 dB. Some ultrasonic diffusers even work under 25 dB.
The kind of oils you use
Some oils are very thick and viscous. You cannot diffuse them with just about any diffuser. Some heat diffusers let you diffuse oils with higher viscosity. Specific nebulizing diffusers also allow you to diffuse viscous oils like coconut, vetiver, or sandalwood.
On the other hand, citrusy oils can corrode the metal parts of a diffuser – so always check which oils can be safely used with the diffuser you buy.
Ease of use and maintenance
Look for a diffuser that is easy to set up. Many ultrasonic diffusers come with a wide array of buttons. You may have to press the same button for varying lengths of time to activate different functions. Choose a diffuser that is intuitive to use – one that you can start using in minutes.
It is important to remember that diffusers also need cleaning from time to time. This is important to eliminate the dried oil that clogs the diffuser’s nozzle.
Diffusers like evaporative ones eliminate such cleaning hassles – you simply need to change the inner pads after a few uses.
Choose a diffuser according to the cleaning effort you are willing to put in.
Appearance and extra features
If you plan on using the diffuser in an office or living area, choose one that suits its decor. For the bedroom, you may want romantic or cozy lighting and the facility to turn off the light as needed.
Timer and the strength of the scent
Select an ultrasonic diffuser if you want a strong or weak scent or the ability to control the length of time for which the diffuser works. Some nebulizing diffusers also have these settings and control features. With heat-based ones, you have to remember to switch off the heat source – so they may not be convenient for use while sleeping.
Conclusion – Which Essential Oil Diffuser is the Best?
Essential oil diffusers fall into four categories: nebulizing, heat, ultrasonic, and evaporative.
They all have different salient features and pros and cons. We hope this guide helps you choose the best essential oil diffuser based on your exact needs.
Below is a helpful YouTube video that explains the different types of diffusers.
FAQs – Which Essential Oil Diffuser is the Best?
Is it worth buying a diffuser?
Yes. a diffuser is a worthwhile buy. It can help you reap the benefits of essential oils and aromatherapy.
What makes an essential oil diffuser good?
The ability to diffuse oil consistently without leaks or loud noises and without consuming too much oil are some features that make an essential oil diffuser great.
Which is better – a humidifier or diffuser?
A humidifier will help you add more moisture back into the atmosphere. A diffuser will freshen up your room and help you reap the benefits of aromatherapy essential oils.
Is breathing essential oils safe for the lungs?
It should be safe as long as you follow the manufacturer’s instructions about diffusing each oil. Some sensitive or allergic individuals could have an adverse reaction to certain potent oils.
Some strong oils can also cause headaches in some people. Oils like pennyroyal and tea tree are harmful to diffuse around pets. So exercise caution at all times.