What is an essential oil diffuser?
A diffuser is a device that spreads tiny particles and the aroma of an essential oil into the air, diffusing a pleasant scent.
Types of essential oil diffusers
There are 4 types of oil diffusers, each with their set of pros and cons:
- Ultrasonic/Humidifying Diffusers;
- Nebulizing Diffusers;
- Heat Diffusers;
- Evaporative Diffusers.
Ultrasonic Diffusers – also known as cool mist or humidifying diffusers – are the most popular and work by creating a fine mist from essential oil and water. The electronic vibrations causes the oil to break into tiny particles, releasing the volatile components into the air where they remain suspended for a long time. These diffusers rely on the air currents to disperse, thus they usually cover smaller spaces compared to nebulizing diffusers.
- Popular due to price and ease of mainteinance.
- They also act as a humidifier, so they are beneficial in winter or if you live in a place with drier climate.
- They are silent and are appropriate even for night use.
- Most diffusers have time function, so you can program it to run for a particular length of time.
- Children friendly, as the oil concentration is low.
- Usually has a safety off-switch when the water level is too low.
- Some models have lights that change colors, making it good for decorative purposes too.
- The essential oil is dilluted compared to nebulizing diffusers, for example.
- They also need water for usage.
- Some models can be quite expensive.
- Not recommended to use citrus essential oils with this type of diffuser since they can potentially damage it.
For someone who is getting started with essential oils diffusers, an ultrasonic diffuser could be the best choice. To decide if this popular device is the best essential oils diffuser for you, read also My top 10 Ultrasonic Diffusers that also have a Decorative Function.
Nebulizing Diffusers – also known as cold air diffusers. Basically, they work like a perfume atomizer, breaking down the essential oil into small particles by using an atomizer and releasing them into the air. They don’t need heat or water, thus they do not alter the properties of the oil through heating and disperse the entire oil into the air. The oil particles released are so tiny that they remain suspended in the air for a few hours.
- Strong concentration of essential oils are released into the air.
- Since the essential oils are not diluted, it is considered to have the best therapeutic effect.
- Louder than other diffusers – to prevent that, look for the models that mention „silent” or „whisper quiet”.
- Is a bit more expensive than most ultrasonic diffusers.
- It adds no humidity to the room, unlike the ultrasonic diffuser.
- Since the essential oil is not dilutted, a bigger quantity of oil is used.
- Can release a quite high quantity of oil into the air in a short period of time unless they are put on a timer.
- More difficult to use essential oils blends – you need to do the mix before putting in into the bottle.
Heat Diffusers – use heat to help the essential oil gradually evaporate into the room. Although heat makes the oil aroma more intense, the best heat diffusers are those that will use very low heat to avoid drastically changing the composition of the released oils and thus destroying their therapeutic benefits.
Do not use oil burners. They destroy the essential oil therapeutic benefits and can also cause respiratory conditions.
- An efficient and economic way for spreading perfume into a room.
- Heat can make the aroma more intense.
- Are silent.
- Not recommended for therapeutic use, since the heat destroy or significantly change their properties at a molecular level.
- For therepeutic purposes, rather choose an ultrasonic or a nebulizing diffuser.
Evaporative Diffusers – disperse the essential oils into the room by using the air flow. A fan blows air through a filter, such as a tissue or pad that has essential oil on it. The oil perfume is not diffused at the same time: the lighter components evaporate first and the heavier ones evaporates last.
Other types use the existing air in a room to disperse the aroma. More basic ones can be anything from an open bottle of essential oil, pads, necklace pendants, bracelets, personal oil inhalers, pens.
- Quiet and quick way to spread the oil’s perfume in the room
- Easy to carry with you perfume (e.g. necklace pendants).
- It may not be as therapeutic since the oil components are not diffused at the same time.
Essential oils sticks – this can make a very elegant gift or home/office decoration, although their aroma is not very intense.
Aromatherapy essential oils diffuser necklaces and bracelets – these scented statement jewelry make ideal gifts for women, are practical and are ideal especially for people that have allergies from perfumes sprayed directly on skin.
The most popular devices are the ultrasonic diffusers, although nebulizers also have their unique benefits such as a stronger fragrance considered to have the best therapeutic effect if used properly, the possibility to use citrus oil without affecting the device and the possibility to scent bigger spaces.
The ultrasonic diffusers are popular due to price and ease of use and clean. They also act as 2-in-1 devices: both an oil diffuser and a humidifier. While more diluted than nebulizers, they still preserve the quality of the oil and release it in less concentrated particles. Some models have lights that change color, so they can be used for decorative purposes and make appealing gifts for birthdays or new homes.
For someone who is getting started with essential oils diffusers, an ultrasonic diffuser could be the best choice. To decide if this popular device is right for you too, check here My top 10 ultrasonic diffusers that also have a decorative function.
Which essential oil diffuser have you tried or best suits your needs? Let us know in the comments below – we love feedback and your opinion can be a great value to the community!