One of the best ways to receive the therapeutic benefits of essential oils is by diffusing them in an essential oil diffuser.
There are many diffusers available to choose from, and they range in both price and function. However, they all share the main purpose of breaking down the essential oil into small particles and dispersing them into the air.
Trying to decide on which diffuser can be a time consuming task, and can be a bit confusing if this is the first one you have ever purchased. To help you we have put together this resource – a one-stop-shop, all inclusive guide to help you find the best essential oil diffuser for you.
Ultimate Essential Oil Diffuser Guide
Use the chart below to compare the top essential oil diffusers. You can click on the columns to sort the data as required.
Price Range shows approximate current pricing :$ = under $20, $$=$30 to $50, $$$=$50 to $75, $$$$=$75 to $100
Rating – Represents the average user rating on Amazon.
Ultrasonic $$ 4.8/ 5 Ultrasonic $$$ 4.7 /5 Ultrasonic $$ 4.5 /5 Nebulizer $$$$ 4.4 /5 Ultrasonic $$$$ 4.3 /5 Ultrasonic $$ 4.2 /5 Ultrasonic $$$$ 4.8 /5 Evaporative $$ 4.6 /5 Heat $ 4.3 /5 Heat $ 4.5 /5
Types of Essential Oil Diffusers
How It Works
With nebulizing diffusers, a jet of air blowing across a small tube creates a vacuum that pulls a liquid at the bottom of the tube to the top of the tube. The airflow blowing across the surface of the oil at the top of tube blows the oil away in a fine spray or mist. Because of the constant air supply, this type of diffusion can quickly put a large amount of oil into the air. Because this type of diffusion works to put the whole oil into the air in the form of tiny droplets, it is often considered the best type of diffusion for the therapeutic use of essential oils.
Maximum effect of oils. The microscopic droplets produced by the nebulizer stay suspended in the air for long periods of time and maximize effects of your oils. Also, these very small droplets are considered the optimum size for deep therapeutic action as they enter the bloodstream through the lungs.
Louder Than Other Diffusers. Nebulizing diffusers are louder than other types of diffusers, although some people enjoy the soothing sound of white noise in the background.
Use More Oil. Since nebulizing diffusers are more powerful, they tend to use oil at a higher rate than other types of diffusers. The best type of nebulizing diffuser to get is one with a timer so that the diffuser is only running for about 15 minutes every hour. Not only does this conserve oil, but it also gives your olfactory system (aka your sense of smell) time to process the oils and recover before receiving more.
Higher Maintenance. Nebulizing diffusers tend to require more maintenance and needs to be cleaned regularly. Letting the nebulizer to stand with oils in it, allows them to react with oxygen in the air and the oils will eventually get thick and gunky. The best way to clean them is to add high proof rubbing alcohol (90% works best) to dissolve the accumulated oils, drain and dry.
Not To Be Used With Some Oils. The nebulizer can’t be used with very thick, viscious oils like sandalwood oil or ylang ylang oil. They will clog the diffuser and won’t diffuse unless blended with thinner essential oils. Never use a carrier oil in a nebulizer, or an essential oil diluted in a carrier. It will ruin the nebulizer.
How It Works
Just like nebulizing diffusers, ultrasonic diffusers create a fine mist, however the method by which it happens is different. An ultrasonic diffuser uses electronic frequencies to cause a small disk under the surface of a liquid, which is usually water, to vibrate at a very fast rate. These ultrasonic vibrations break the essential oil down into tiny microparticles, dispersing the oil as a fine mist. These tiny particles are more easily absorbed by the lungs for a greater therapeutic effect on the body and mind.
While the transformation of water or other liquids into vapor normally requires a lot of heat, the transformation of these liquids into vapor is accomplished through an adiabatic process, which means the change in state of the liquids was done without any kind of heat energy being used at all.
Use Less Oil. Other types of diffusers that use heat will burn through oils quickly while dispersing the same amount of scent into the air. Ultrasonic diffusers only use a fraction as much essential oil to get the same fragrance effect.
Purify the Air. These diffusers purify, sterilize and deodorize the air you breathe, which can help control allergies, asthma, cold & flu symptoms, eczema/psoriasis, emphysema, etc.
Create & Circulate Negative Ions. These diffusers circulate negative ions, which increase the flow of oxygen to the brain. This helps relieve stress, mental fatigue, and headaches and improve breathing and sleep.
Moisturize The Air. These diffusers humidify the air, which is useful in air-conditioned rooms or cold climates where air is dry and is harmful to the skin.
Breaks Oils Down. When using ultrasonic diffusers, essential oils are broken down into much smaller, lighter particles, than they do with heat diffusers. They can travel more deeply into your sinuses and bronchial passages allowing for better absorption into your body.
Ultrasonic diffusers have limited aromatherapy value and disperse scented water vapor into the air. The essential oil is added to the water in small ratios. When shopping for a vaporizer, buyers beware: Many are cheap imports and will not last. The technology used in the ultrasonics does burn out over time.
How It Works
Evaporative diffusers are considered the most basic in how they operate. A fan blows air from the room through some sort of pad or filter that has essential oils dropped into it. The air blowing through the pad causes the oils to evaporate more quickly than normal, and the air with the evaporated oil is blown into the room.
Low Level of Noise. Not completely quiet due to the fan, but a lot less than a nebulizer.
No Use of Heat. Since there is no heat source and the oil is left to evaporate and the scent is dispersed by a small fan and can be left unattended.
Can Use Both Think & Thick Oils.
Oils Evaporate Faster Than Normal. Anytime an essential oil evaporates, some of the lighter, or more volatile, components of the oil tend to evaporate faster than the heavier and less volatile components. This means that instead of getting the whole oil all at once, you are getting a higher percentage of the lighter components at the beginning of the process and a higher percentage of the heavier components towards the end of the process.
Not As Effective As Other Diffusers. It doesn’t fill any single need as well as some of the above named types of essential oil diffusers. The nebulizing and ultrasonic diffusers are more powerful when you have therapeutic needs. The Heat diffuser, like an aroma lamp are more aesthetically pleasing as well.
How It Works
Heat diffusers work by using a heat source to evaporate a liquid, usually water, the essential oil is diluted in. The heat source can either be from a candle flame or an electric heat source, such as a light bulb.
Heat diffusers can cover a relatively large area as the water vapors travel where airflow takes them carrying the essential oils with them.
Just like fan diffusers, heat diffusers also cause the essential oils to evaporate faster than normal, but use heat instead of blowing air to accomplish diffusion.
While some heat diffusers use high levels of heat to produce stronger smells, the best heat diffusers will only use very low levels of heat that produce more subtle aromas. This difference is important because high levels of heat can actually alter the chemical makeup of the oils.
Cheapest Type of Diffusers.
Comes in many different styles and designs.
You must be aware of the water level. An aroma lamp with a fairly small bowl can evaporate all the water before the candle burns itself out. Adding cold or cool water to the hot bowl almost invariably leads to broken glass!
Challenge To Clean. If you allow it to burn dry, even if you don’t break the bowl, and cleaning it can be a challenge.
Candles should not be left unattended. Of course there is always a risk when you have candles burning. Don’t leave the room, don’t use an aroma lamp around children, or mischievous pets.
Heat Changes Chemical Components of the Oils. Changing the Chemical compononet of the oil is something you want to avoid since you are inhaling it into your lungs. It is important to make sure the water does not evaporate leaving only the oil to burn.
Oil May Evaporate Faster Than Normal. Anytime an essential oil evaporates, some of the lighter, or more volatile, components of the oil tend to evaporate faster than the heavier and less volatile components. This means that instead of getting the whole oil all at once, you are getting a higher percentage of the lighter components at the beginning of the process and a higher percentage of the heavier components towards the end of the process.