Choosing An Essential Oil Diffuser

Essential oils being diffused into the air.

There are four main types of essential oil diffusers, each with its own advantages and drawbacks. It’s important to know how each type works, and what effect you’re aiming for, so you can choose the diffuser that is right for you.

Essential oils being diffused into the air.Heat Diffusers

Heat diffusers use an electric heating element to heat oils, dispersing them into the air. However, heat can alter the constituents of the oils, rendering them less effective. They may also consume more oil, depending on the type of heat diffuser. Some portable heat diffusers that plug into USB outlets use a low amount of heat that may not hurt the oils as much as the larger models.

Evaporative Diffusers

This style of diffuser is ideal for bathrooms, toddler’s rooms, or for using oils on the go. No water is required, and most of these models are operated with a USB cord, which can be powered by a car’s USB outlet or the USB port on a computer.

This diffuser works by dripping oil onto a pad or filter and placing it in the unit. A miniature fan inside the unit blows over the pad, blowing the scent into the room. The drawbacks are that you may need to add oils frequently to keep the scent going, and the scent and effects are likely to be far more subtle than what you would experience with other diffusers.

Humidifying Or Ultrasonic Diffusers

Ultrasonic diffusers are filled with a small amount of water, to which drops of oil (usually 3 to 8, depending on the model) are added. The diffuser’s electronic frequencies make a small metal disk at the bottom of the diffuser to vibrate at a fast rate, which breaks the oil and water into tiny particles. These particles are dispersed into the air in a fine mist.

These diffusers are easy to use and economical, due to the relatively small amount of oil that is used to get a therapeutic effect. No heat is used to create the mist, which means the oil’s constituents remain intact.

Nebulizing Diffusers

An essential oil bottle is attached to the nebulizing diffuser, with a small tube inserted into the oil bottle or reservoir. A stream of air blows across the small tube, which creates a vacuum, pulling the oil to the top of the tube. The jet of air blows the oil out of the diffuser in a fine mist.

The large amount of oil droplets dispersed by nebulizers makes this method the most effective for therapeutic use, and perfect for large open spaces. Unfortunately, these units tend to be louder and consume oil faster. It can also be more difficult to switch to a new oil than it would be with an ultrasonic diffuser.

Most often, an ultrasonic diffuser is the ideal choice for a first time essential oil user. They’re relatively inexpensive, simple to use, easy to clean, and give you the most bang for your buck without wasting oils. Once you’ve gotten used to diffusing oils, if you have a very large space or a strong need for therapeutic uses, you might consider upgrading to a nebulizing diffuser. If you travel or drive a lot, you may want to also purchase an evaporative USB unit.

Choose the essential oil diffuser that works best for your lifestyle and you’ll be able to use your oils more effectively and economically. This allows you to enjoy each oil to its fullest.