While the term aromatherapy wasn’t coined until 1937 by French Chemist René-Maurice Gattefossé, human civilization has been using essential oils for thousands of years. But — certainly not with the best essential oil diffuser for the job. While diffusing has long been a common practice, with some of the most primitive means relying on simple evaporation, having small machines that break apart particles in oils preparing them for diffusion is a relatively modern thing.
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With the best essential oil diffuser, you will have rooms filled with sweet smells of oils like lavender or rose. But first, you need to know some of the basics. There are many options to consider when choosing the best essential oil diffuser.
What Is an Essential Oil Diffuser?
Science defines diffusion as “the process by which molecules intermingle as a result of their kinetic energy of random motion.” The best essential oil diffuser fills a room with the scent of the oil. As a result of the people in the room merely sniffing the air and enjoying the aroma, they are inhaling those molecules. Inhalation of essential oils is one of the most popular means of using these plant extracts.
That is the basis of diffusing essential oils in the simplest of terms.
However, there are many things to consider when looking for the best essential oil diffuser. While some essential oil diffusers use water; some do not. Does the diffuser use heat? Will the diffuser create enough aroma for an entire room?
Adding water in a diffuser can dilute the essential oil particles in the air while also increasing the humidity of a room. However, when using a diffuser that doesn’t require water, you will use essential oils in higher volumes or need to dilute your essential oil with a carrier oil before use.
Most experts do not recommend heating essential oils. Most notably, there is a fire risk when using candles to heat oils, as the essential oils are extremely flammable. However, even beyond the safety risk, heat causes essential oils to undergo chemical changes. This change can impact the therapeutic properties of the essential oil.
Four Types of Diffusers
First, let’s break down the most popular kinds before we determine which is the best essential oil diffuser. All work on the same diffusion principle, but each works just a bit differently in its process. Nebulizing and ultrasonic are currently the most popular types of essential oil diffusers and will without a doubt be closer to being the best essential oil diffuser. However, people still use evaporative and heat diffusers, so they merit inclusion.
Nebulizing diffusers are also known as atomizing diffusers. These diffusers do not use water. Consequently, a nebulizer is the best essential oil diffuser for those looking to use stronger concentrations of essential oils. Some oils may need to be diluted in a carrier oil, depending on the viscosity of oil and strength of aroma. Nebulizers (or atomizers) are typically used by those who seek therapeutic benefits of essential oils.
A nebulizer breaks down essential oils into small molecules. Air in the room carries these droplets, filling the space. As a result of the smaller size, the essential oils are then easily absorbed by the lungs.
There are two main parts to a nebulizer: a base that includes a pump and a glass container that holds the oil during the nebulizing process.
Nebulizers in function are likely the best essential oil diffusers. However, they are more expensive in both upfront cost and their higher consumption of essential oils.
There are certain benefits to using a nebulizing diffuser. Because nebulizers effectively break down essential oils into smaller molecules without the addition of water, they are considered the best route for therapeutic use. Nebulizers can fill a room with the aroma of the essential oil very effectively. The nebulizing process does not use heat, so the chemical properties of the oils remain unchanged. Some people prefer the use of glass for their oils, rather than plastic. All of these things make a nebulizer one of the best essential oil diffusers.
The downside to this concentrated use is nebulizers use essential oils much faster than the other types of diffusers. Additionally, you must dilute thicker oils with carrier oils, or they will clog some diffusers. Cleaning atomizing diffusers can also be a bit more cumbersome and time-consuming.
Ultrasonic diffusers are widely accessible and come with many different options. This kind of diffuser tends to be the most affordable and is widely available. In addition to diffusing essential oils, the ultrasonic diffuser also acts as a room humidifier.
Now, this is some neat stuff. Ultrasonic diffusers work by using ultrasonic sound waves to break water molecules. Negatively charged particles then carry the essential oil through the air where they bond with positively charged free radicals. All of that molecular movement disperses the essential oil throughout the room.
When looking for the best essential oil diffuser, the ultrasonic type is the front-runner in affordability paired with efficient technology.
Since ultrasonic diffusers do not use heat, there is no breakdown of the essential oils. Ultrasonic diffusers use less essential oil because of the addition of water. Ultimately, this saves money.
Ultrasonic diffusers are the most accessible diffuser type on the market, so there is a myriad of options. Some come with Bluetooth speakers, alarm clocks, led colors, and USB ports, to name a few of the bells and whistles.
Ultrasonic diffusers usually have parts made of plastic, which is a point of concern for those who are plastic conscious. There are some that prefer using full concentrates and do not like the dilution aspect of ultrasonic diffusers. Some people do not like the humidity created in their home from this type of diffuser. Based upon user need, these two cons may mean an ultrasonic is not the best essential oil diffuser for their purposes – a better option is a nebulizer.
Evaporative diffusers are the simplest means of essential oil diffusion. In ancient civilizations, evaporative distribution was the only way to use aromatherapy. It was and still is a useful means. Albeit, the aroma is not nearly as far-reaching as other methods of diffusion.
Sometimes evaporative diffusers are as simple as a small dish with drops of essential oils, while others may be just cloth or wicks.
One favorite item you’ve likely seen at retail stores or in Pinterest tutorials is a reed diffuser. They are very simple and require nothing more than a glass bottle, some reeds or bamboo skewers, carrier oil, and a few drops of your favorite essential oil. That’s it!
Other evaporative diffusers have a small fan that blows across an absorbent material to spread the aroma of the oil.
Evaporative diffusers like the reed diffuser are well loved because they are effortless to create using items you already have at home. Models with a fan are affordable options.
Evaporative diffusers do not have the aroma reach of the nebulizer or ultrasonic diffusers. Secondly, they also pose additional risk to pets as the reeds can attract the attention of cats in particular. For these reasons, the best essential oil diffuser for serious enthusiasts will not be an evaporative type.
As mentioned previously, it is not recommended to use heat when diffusing essential oils. For this reason, a heat diffuser will not be the best essential oil diffuser. However, there are many types of heat diffusers available on the market.
Candle heat diffusers are ceramic and require a tea light as a heat source. Essential oils are flammable, so using this type of diffuser increases fire risk.
Electric heat diffusers usually have a small vessel that holds the essential oil against the heat source. There are also ceramic rings called a lamp ring. These slip on a typical household lamp and use the light bulb as the heat source.
Heat diffusers all work by heating the oil releasing molecules into the air.
Heat diffusers are economical. That is the only pro associated with the heat diffuser. Honestly, with other diffuser types becoming more and more accessible, the economic aspect of the heat diffuser is moot.
Experts do not recommend the use of heat diffusers due to the chemical composition changes caused by heating essential oils.
- Our Picks for the Best Essential Oil Diffuser -
After considering all of the information mentioned above, these are the products in the running for the best essential oil diffuser. We selected nebulizer or ultrasonic essential oil diffusers as the best of the best, as they are industry standard for a quality diffusing experience.
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The URPower Ultrasonic Essential Oil Diffuser is easy to use. It has a capacity of 100ml of water, features a programmable timer and will mist a room up to six hours. It also has color changing lights for a nightlight function and an auto shut-off for safety.
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The GuruNanda is an ultrasonic diffuser with a cool mist humidifier. It also has seven color changing lights with bright, dim and off modes. This diffuser will mist continuously or intermittently and features auto shut-off. The water tank on this is a smaller 90ml capacity.
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This ultrasonic diffuser with extra features like a Bluetooth speaker for sound, an alarm clock, soothing color changing lights, and a sizeable 400ml tank is sure to please even the expert aromatherapy hobbyist. It also has safety features like auto shut off and timer settings.
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Probably one of the most aesthetically pleasing essential oil diffusers on the list, the OliveTech Aroma has a beautiful wood grain finish. It has a generous 400ml tank and produces ample mist. It will work continuously for 8 full hours of heavy mist or 12 hours of light mist. The OliveTech Aroma also features four different timer modes and an auto shut off.
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The Viva Naturals Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser features a 100ml tank, has color changing LED lights, allows the user to switch between intermittent, continues or light only modes and has an auto shut off for safety. This is considered as one of the more economical diffusers,
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The ArOmis diffuser is the only nebulizer to land on our list. This quality piece is in a higher price range than the other diffusers. For the serious aromatherapy enthusiast, this precision instrument is a gem. It is heat free and produces a cold vapor. You don’t use heat or water, so essential oils are full concentrations and remain pure. This diffuser also features a timer function that mists for 10 minutes on and 10 minutes off. It automatically turns off after four hours. For those who prefer natural materials, this nebulizer features a hand-blown glass bottle and a natural beech wood base.
Common Essential Oils to Diffuse
Now that you know about diffusers, it’s time to start exploring all of the oils available to diffuse. Be sure only to select 100 percent pure essential oils that are therapeutic grade. Other oils not labeled as such may contain impurities making them not suitable for diffusion.
Some of the most popular scents include Lavender oil, which is used for headaches and has a calming effect. Lavender oil reduces feelings of stress and anxiety. Chamomile oil is used to fight depression. Tea Tree oil is renowned for its antibacterial features while Peppermint oil has properties that help with respiratory and digestive issues.
There are endless options of essential oils and blends available to diffuse.
Using Essential Oil Diffusers Safely
Aromatherapists advise being cautious when using essential oils. Remember that these concentrates can have different effects on small children and pets. Experts recommend diffusing in well-ventilated areas. Only diffuse for 30-minute intervals at a time, taking frequent breaks. For more information about the safety of using essential oils, please contact a registered aromatherapist.
Essential Oil Diffusion — Ancient Practice with Modern Benefits
The act of diffusing essential oils has touched generations upon generations of humanity with no end in sight. Advancements in technology have made it more convenient and efficient to diffuse these primitive concentrates. Despite these advancements, the benefits remain the same.
What is your favorite way to diffuse essential oils? Which product do you recommend as the best essential oil diffuser?
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