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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.
A quick look at 8 of the best essential oil diffusers
- Best for small rooms: VicTsing essential oil diffuser
- Best for listening to music: ArtNatural essential oil diffuser
- Best for nighttime: InnoGear 400 ml cool mist diffuser
- Best for different designs: Round Rich 160 ml essential oil diffuser
- Best for reusable pads: The SpaRoom Aromafier
- Best for a recyclable product: Yankee Candle Reed diffusers
- Best for less maintenance: Plant Therapy Passive Sunflower Aromatherapy Diffuser
Essential oil diffusers deliver a diluted form of essential oil into the air, allowing a person to continually inhale a single scent or combination of aromas.
Keep reading to learn more about how they work, if they work, and some of the best essential oil diffusers available.
Although research suggests that essential oils may have some health benefits, it is important to remember that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not monitor or regulate the purity or quality of these. A person should talk with a healthcare professional before using essential oils, and they should be sure to research the quality of a brand’s products. A person should always do a patch test before trying a new essential oil.
Medical News Today chooses products that meet the following criteria where possible:
- Features: MNT chooses diffusers with a range of features, such as battery or electricity-operated products and portability.
- Add-ons: MNT chooses a range of products, including those with add-ons such as essential oil packs.
- Style and materials: MNT chooses a range of diffusers in different styles that may suit several living spaces, such as contemporary or rustic.
- Cost: MNT selects products that fit a range of budgets.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.
Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.
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.
Best for small rooms: VicTsing essential oil diffuser
- List price: $59.99
- Pro: comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 2-year warranty
- Con: has a smaller water capacity which may only suit smaller rooms
The VicTsing 130 milliliters (ml) ultrasonic diffuser lasts up to 4 hours on the high mist mode and 6 hours on low mist. The wood design and shape fit with many decors.
Due to the smaller water capacity, this diffuser may better suit smaller rooms. Those with an open floorplan or larger rooms may wish to consider diffusers that can emit more mist and scent.
The brand states that this is whisper-quiet, shuts off automatically when the tank is empty, and has a choice of eight light colors. It is easy to carry around for refills as it can fit in hand.
Buyers also receive eight bottles of different essential oils. These include lemongrass, eucalyptus, and sweet orange.
Best for nighttime: InnoGear 400 ml cool mist diffuser
- List price: around $25
- Pro: features different brightness settings
- Con: not portable, as it requires a wall plug
The InnoGear 400 ml cool mist diffuser has a quiet design, four timer options, and an automatic shutoff.
People can also choose between a strong and weak misting. Depending on the setting, a full tank can last between 6 and 10 hours.
Consumers can choose between eight colors and even turn on a rotating color feature. Unlike other products, they can also change the brightness, making it an ideal feature for use during nighttime.
Best for different designs: Round Rics 160 ml essential oil diffuser
- List price: around $30
- Pro: different designs to suit different surroundings
- Con: small tank
This diffuser features a 160 ml tank for diffusion and humidification, a night light function, and a choice of seven light colors.
To use it, an individual must plug it into a wall socket.
It shuts down automatically when the water runs out. The manufacturer recommends it for rooms up to 30 square meters.
People can choose from several different designs, such as pineapple, owl, cactus, and deer.
Portable diffusers are smaller diffusers that are ideal for travel. Each functions differently, but most require little to no setup or additional equipment.
Best for reusable pads: The SpaRoom Aromafier
- List price: around $16
- Pro: has reusable pads
- Con: batteries do not last long according to some reviewers
The SpaRoom Aromafier uses a fan and replaceable pads to distribute essential oils and does not require any water. People must place a few drops of the oil onto the pad.
While the pads are reusable, people may need to replace them due to wear and tear, or when a person changes the oil they use.
People can connect this diffuser to any outlet with a USB cable or use rechargeable standard batteries.
Passive diffusers do not pump essential oils or water directly into the air. Instead, they release a fragrance from rocks, ceramics, 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 with spill concerns, who do not want to refill a diffuser, or want something attractive and understated.
Best for a recyclable product: Yankee Candle reed diffuser
- List price: around $25
- Pro: no chance of oil leakage
- Con: artificial fragrance, must purchase reeds to change fragrances
Reed diffusers use reeds with fragrances that can provide scent to a room for several days. People do not have to purchase essential oils, and do not have to worry about the oils leaking out of the product.
Yankee Candle states that its diffusers are 100% recyclable.
People can change the scent by purchasing different reeds. However, this may be more expensive than buying essential oils and some people may not prefer artificial fragrances over essential oils.
Reed diffusers are also highly portable, as they do not rely on batteries or wall plugs to work.
Best for less maintenance: Plant Therapy Passive Sunflower Aromatherapy Diffuser
- List price: around $15
- Pro: requires less maintenance as it does not require water
- Con: may provide a gentler scent than some people would like
This passive essential oil diffuser is available in sunflower, lotus, or poppy designs. The base is wood and the flower is porcelain, and the company states that adding essential oils provides unique coloration.
This product does not require any maintenance apart from occasionally cleaning the decorative flowers. The company recommends adding up to six drops of oil and cleaning the flower with a cloth dipped in white vinegar and water.
The following table compares each essential oil diffuser in this article.
|Type of diffuser||Water capacity||Requires electricity||List price|
|ArtNatural||cool mist||400 ml||yes||around $35|
|InnoGear||cool mist||160 ml||yes||around $25|
|Round Rich||cool mist||none||yes||around $30|
|SpaRoom||fragrance pads||420 ml||yes||around $16|
|Yankee Candle||reed diffuser||none||no||around $25|
|Plant Therapy||passive diffuser||none||no||around $15|
People may wish to consider the following before purchasing an oil diffuser:
- Features: Some diffusers may have lights, speakers, sounds, and clock functions.
- Portability: People may wish to consider whether they require a portable diffuser or if they want the product in one room only.
- Type: Many diffusers require water or a candle and essential oils. Others are more passive and only require scented reeds or essential oils.
- Cost: People may wish to consider the cost of the product, any replaceable parts, and essential oils before making a purchase.
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 toward the medicinal properties of essential oils, more recent studies show there may be some truth to these claims.
Another study demonstrated the benefits of using essential oils in preprocedural stress reduction.
A 2020 animal study found that essential oils, such as rosemary, lavender, and lemon, have positive effects on depression and anxiety.
There is also evidence that essential oils could be effective in pain management. However, researchers recognize that the sample size for one particular study was small, and they need more research.
That said, people must not use essential oils as a substitute for medical treatment but only alongside it.
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 pets 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 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 with 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 worsen.
- 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 people who are pregnant, children, and pets. So, if a person is using essential oil diffusers, they must be aware of who else is in their environment, and always use in a well-ventilated space.
Here we answer some common questions about these diffusers.
Are essential oil diffusers worth it?
Some people may find essential oil diffusers promote relaxation or more restful sleep.
However, it is important to consider who else is in the area when diffusing oils. Some oils may cause allergic reactions or be toxic to certain people and animals. People should always use caution when diffusing essential oils around people who are pregnant, children, and animals.
Can diffusing essential oils be harmful?
Yes, diffusing essential oils can be harmful.
Essential oils can cause allergic reactions. Some oils may also be toxic to people who are pregnant, children, and animals.
Can I leave my essential oil diffuser on all day?
People should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how long to leave an essential oil diffuser on.
However, it is important to ensure the area has good ventilation and to stop diffusing oils if a person experiences any side effects such as irritated eyes or headaches.
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.