We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.
Essential oil diffusers release the fragrance of essential oils into the air over time. The best essential oil diffusers are easy to use, release fragrance continuously, and reduce the risk of injury by minimizing spills.
Essential oil diffusers deliver a diluted form of essential oil into the air, allowing a person to continually inhale a fragrance or combination of fragrances.
Keep reading to learn more about how they work, if they work, and some of the best essential oil diffusers available.
Please also note that the writer of this article has not tested these products. All information in this article is research-based, and we do not intend to recommend certain products over others.
Traditional medicine practitioners have used aromatherapy and essential oils for centuries. These oils, which derive from plants, are often highly fragrant.
Numerous advocates claim that essential oils can treat a wide range of ailments. While past research showed skepticism towards the medicinal properties of essential oils, more recent studies show there may be some truth to these claims.
One study, for example, found that lavender essential oil reduced anxiety levels in patients with coronary artery disease. It also improved sleep.
Another study demonstrated the benefits of using essential oils in preprocedural stress reduction.
There is also strong evidence that essential oils could be effective in pain management, though researchers recognize that the sample size for one particular study was small, and they need more research.
That said, it may be wise for consumers to remain skeptical. People must not use essential oils as a substitute for medical treatment but only alongside it.
Ultrasonic diffusers operate via battery or electricity, and pump vaporized water, containing the essential oil, into the air. These diffusers are easy to find, often at very affordable price points.
VicTsing’s 300 ml ultrasonic diffuser
VicTsing’s 300 ml ultrasonic diffuser has a large capacity, allowing it to run for 6 hours or longer. The wood design and shape fits with many decor.
Doterra’s Petal diffuser
Doterra’s Petal diffuser is one of the most popular on the market. It offers many settings, optional lights, and a large reservoir. Consumers can also purchase it with aromatherapy starter sets.
InnoGear’s 400 ml cool mist diffuser
InnoGear’s 400 ml cool mist diffuser boasts a large capacity, attractive wood design, four timer settings, and an automatic shutoff.
Round Rich’s 160 ml essential oil diffuser
Round Rich’s 160 ml essential oil diffuser has a smaller capacity than other diffusers. However, it doubles as a humidifier, and users can choose among seven soothing light settings.
Portable diffusers are smaller diffusers that are ideal for travel. Each functions differently, but most require little to no setup or additional equipment.
The SpaRoom Aromafier
The SpaRoom Aromafier uses a fan to distribute essential oils, requiring no water or other setup. The user simply places a few drops of the oil onto the pad in the diffuser.
The Bovis cool mist diffuser
The Bovis cool mist diffuser features soothing lights and a large 420 milliliter (ml) capacity. The built-in lithium battery is chargeable, which means users can charge it then turn it on without cords. This feature may suit people concerned about spills.
Passive diffusers do not pump essential oils or water directly into the air. Instead, they release fragrance from rocks, ceramic, and other surfaces.
The fragrance from passive diffusers is not usually as strong but may last longer.
These diffusers are a good choice for people who are concerned about spills, do not want to refill a diffuser, or who want something attractive and understated.
Yankee Candle Reed diffusers
Reed diffusers are a perennial favorite, using a bottle of essential oils and reeds to fragrance a room, sometimes for many weeks. Yankee Candle offers prefilled reed diffusers for mess-free aromas.
Etsy ceramic flower diffuser
Another option is to choose a decorative object that can absorb oil. Etsy offers many unique and beautiful options, such as a wood and ceramic starflower diffuser.
Numerous health organizations have warned about the risks of using essential oils, especially as a replacement for standard treatments. Some risks include:
- Poisoning: It is not safe to ingest essential oils. Many essential oils, including eucalyptus, pennyroyal, and camphor, are toxic. Even those that are safe to consume in small doses may be poisonous at larger doses. For this reason, people must keep diffusers away from children and wash their hands after touching the oils.
- Skin irritation: Many essential oils can irritate the skin, especially if a person makes direct contact with the undiluted oil.
- Inhalation: While it is safe to put diluted oils in a diffuser, directly inhaling essential oils or putting them in the nose may be dangerous.
- Drug interactions:
Some essential oilsmay interact with prescription or over-the-counter drugs. Few studies have tested these interactions, so doctors do not have a comprehensive list of interactions. People who use prescription drugs must talk to a doctor before trying essential oils.
- Delayed treatment: When a person uses an essential oil as a substitute for prescription medication or medical treatment, their condition may get worse.
- Allergic reaction: Some people develop allergies to essential oils. While these allergies are usually mild, a person may develop a more severe reaction called anaphylaxis. Anyone who experiences trouble breathing, a severe rash, or swelling must go to the emergency room for treatment.
- Be aware of the environment and others: Essential oils may be toxic to pregnant women, children, and pets. So, if a person is using essential oil diffusers, they must be aware of who else is in their environment.
Essential oils may help improve a person’s mood or calm an anxious mind. However, the research on how effectively they treat medical conditions or mental health concerns is limited.
It is safe for most people to try aromatherapy, but they must not use it as a substitute for medical treatment.
A doctor or herbalist who is knowledgeable in aromatherapy may be able to recommend specific essential oil combinations.