I recently posted about why we don’t use scented candles and what we use instead. One of my favorite alternatives is to use an essential oil diffuser, and many people asked what type of diffuser I use and recommend.
I’m not an herbalist or aromatherapy expert, but I have tried many types of diffusers and I wanted to share the pros and cons of the ones we’ve tried.
From my experience, not all diffusers are created equal and some work much better than others. I wish that I’d read a review like this before deciding which to purchase and I hope my experience will be helpful to you.
Types of Essential Oil Diffusers
- Nebulizer Diffusers
- Ultrasonic/Humidifying Diffusers
- Heat Diffusers
- Evaporative Diffusers
I have not found a heat diffuser or evaporative diffuser that worked nearly as well as even the worst nebulizer or ultrasonic diffusers I’ve tried, so I can’t make any recommendations on these types of diffusers. The one exception is a basic heat diffuser I use in the car since larger diffusers are not practical while driving, and it works decently well in a small space like a vehicle (and is much better than car air fresheners).
Nebulizing diffusers are often considered the most powerful type of diffusers and with good reason. They do not need water or heat to get the essential oil in to the air and they work by using an atomizer to create fine, airborne particles of essential oils and blowing them in to the air. Nebulizing diffusers are my favorite type and we especially use them if anyone gets sick since they keep a near-continuous stream of essential oils in the air.
- The nebulizing diffuser we have attaches directly to the bottle of essential oil and can be turned on with the flip of a switch.
- No water or set-up required.
- Strong concentration of essential oils released in to the air
- Timers for run time and rest time let you control how long it runs and makes it ideal for overnight use (if needed).
- No light so they can be used at night.
- Louder than ultrasonic diffusers
- Uses oils more quickly than ultrasonic or other diffusers since they attach directly to the diffuser.
- More expensive than most ultrasonic diffusers (though not by much)
We use: This Advanced Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser from Amazon. I’ve now saved up and ordered a couple of these because they work so well. Even just diffusing for 15 minutes will leave a lasting essential oil scent for hours.
Ultrasonic diffusers work in a similar way to nebulizing diffusers by creating a fine mist. The difference is that ultrasonic diffusers use water and essential oils to create a cool mist of water/oils that releases in to the air. They double as a humidifier, so they are beneficial in winter, but they don’t put out as strong of a concentration of essential oils since they also use water. It is not recommended to use citrus essential oils with this type of diffuser as they can cause the parts to erode.
- Less expensive than nebulizing diffusers
- Doubles as a humidifier (beneficial in cold months)
- Many options to choose from
- Can’t use citrus essential oils
- Need water to operate
- Must be cleaned occasionally
- Some have lights that can’t be turned off
- Not as effective as nebulizing diffusers
What we use: Several different types of ultrasonic diffusers and I’ve found that some work better than others. These were our favorites…
- The Noor Litemist Aromatherapy Diffuser– A simple cone-shape design. It diffuses for several hours and has an option to turn the light on or off for night time use.
- The Allay Litemist diffuser– Very similar and slightly cheaper than the Noor Litemist, but it doesn’t seem to have a way to turn off the light which makes it unusable at night (for us).
- The Whisper– (not pictured because it is on lend to a friend) Can diffuse in up to a 1,000 square foot area and is completely silent. It is more expensive than the other ultrasonic diffusers we’ve tried and I don’t think that the difference in diffusing is necessarily worth the cost.
- AromaLite Diffuser– Very similar to the Noor and the Allay but substantially more expensive. It works well but I would not consider it worth the extra cost.
- Lagute Apple Shaped Diffuser-I ordered this one because it looks nicer than the others but would not order it again. It was more expensive than the Noor or Allay and does not work as well. it is also difficult to open to add water and oils.
Other Ways to Freshen Indoor Air
Essential oils are a great way to freshen indoor air with natural scents but they are definitely not the only way! We keep our indoor air clean naturally with:
- Indoor plants to filter the air. A NASA study found that plants were effective at filtering out VOCs and other indoor air toxins.
- Salt Lamps, Beeswax Candles and Charcoal Bags– Three simple ways to clean indoor air without needing a diffuser or essential oils. They don’t offer a natural scent like oils do, but can remove harmful compounds from the air.
Have you ever used a diffuser? What did you like or not like about it? Share below!