347,182k Readers
Trusted by Consumers and Businesses
Natural Health and Beauty

How to choose an essential oil diffuser, including the difference between ultrasonic essential oil diffuser and nebulizing essential oil diffuser.

Essential Oil Diffuser

For those new to aromatherapy, or those looking to understand the difference between diffusers and nebulizers, in this article we’ll answer the question ‘what is a diffuser for essential oils’, take a look at the different types of diffusers and explain step-by-step how to use an essential oil diffuser.

An essential oil diffuser, or EO diffuser, disperses essential oils into the air of a surrounding area. The particles emitting from the diffuser help create a fragrant aroma for any room or space. Essential oil diffusers are commonly used in large living spaces, cars, bedrooms and for aromatherapy.

As mentioned, there are several types of essential oil diffusers to choose from. To determine the best essential oil diffuser for you, consider factors such as your profession, living space, personal taste and lifestyle.

For example, if you’re a massage therapist or your profession involves aromatherapy, you’ll likely want a high-grade diffuser compared to someone who just wants to diffuse fragrances occasionally at home.

While some people enjoy the look of a wood aroma oil diffuser, others may prefer the appearance of a glass. Not all of them work the same however, and which one you choose should be based on your needs and desires.

For those interested in purchasing a diffuser, we’ve also compiled a list of the best essential oil diffuser in each category. For more details on the different types of diffusers for essential oils, keep reading below.

Ultrasonic Diffuser

An ultrasonic diffuser for essential oils uses water and essential oils for a mist that dispenses into the air. This is a common large room essential oil diffuser, as it delivers the essential oil into the air and disperses freely into the living space.

diffusers for essential oils and the best essential oil diffuser

An ultrasonic diffuser uses water and essential oils to disperse fragrance throughout a room. Some are equipped with timer settings and LED light options.

Ultrasonics also act as a cool mist essential oil diffuser. Since water is used to disperse the aroma, the fragrance of the essential oil is less concentrated compared to a nebulizing diffuser. However, depending on how many drops of essential oil you add to the ultrasonic essential oil diffuser, the mist can have a subtle or more pronounced smell throughout the room.

Ultrasonics also work as an essential oil diffuser humidifier which can be beneficial for the dry winter months. It may also prove helpful for those who have seasonal allergies.

Generally, essential oil ultrasonic diffusers do require more maintenance because of the water they use. Cleaning is relatively quick and easy, with water and vinegar usually needed to clean the basin.

Nebulizing Essential Oil Diffuser

A nebulizer essential oil diffuser is a diffuser that doesn’t need water or heat to dispense the essential oils. Instead, an atomizer for essential oils dispenses them into the air. This creates a stronger concentration and fragrance, which is great for aromatherapy. An essential oil diffuser nebulizer can also work well when someone is sick and needs a smaller space to heal.

As nebulizing diffusers often feature a glass dome or aerator, they may also be referred to as a glass essential oil diffuser. The cost for this diffuser is typically higher than an ultrasonic, but is well worth it for those interested in the therapeutic side of aromatherapy.

USB Diffuser

A USB essential oil diffuser is a great, portable way to carry the benefits of essential oils with you wherever you go. It also tends to be a cheap essential oil diffuser compared to the nebulizer and ultrasonics.

There are generally two styles of USB diffusers available. The first, operate like ‘mini ultrasonics’ and emit a steady stream of mist to maintain a constant aroma. The second style will dispense the essential oil and mist intermittently, which may be a suitable option for those who want to add a subtle fragrance.

To use a USB diffuser, simply fill the diffuser’s bottle with an essential oil. Then plug the USB diffuser into any USB port. As an electric essential oil diffuser, it’s important to always fill the product when it’s unplugged.

Car Diffuser

For a refreshing aroma on the road, use a car essential oil diffuser to freshen up your vehicle. This portable essential oil diffuser is plugged into the power outlet of your car and dispenses the oil into the air. Essential oil diffusers for cars are much smaller than an ultrasonic or nebulizer, but generally bigger than a USB diffuser.

Car essential oil diffusers are also a great alternative to other air fresheners, which may contain harmful chemicals or artificial fragrances. Depending on the type of essential oil car diffuser, you may need to use water or small pads to dispense the essential oil.

Portable Essential Oil Diffuser

For those who want to take the pleasant aroma of essential oils around with them, there are a number of battery operated devices, as well as essential oil diffuser necklaces and jewelry options. Small essential oil diffusers offer a great, natural alternative to expensive perfumes and air fresheners that are filled with synthetic substances. When travelling on long road trips, battery operated diffusers paired with calming essential oils make a great option for those who may get anxious.

Other Types of Diffusers

Beyond electric essential oil diffusers, there are many other types that can be used to disperse essential oils. One of the most popular is a ceramic essential oil diffuser, which features a ceramic dome to reduce possible corrosion and enhance the longevity of the diffuser.

As one of the most affordable options, it uses a tea light to heat up water and the essential oil of your choice. While the scent doesn’t travel as far as other as with other diffusers, the candle light does create ambiance for the room you’re in. As they do use an open flame, users should always stay in the room to observe the water line. If too much of the water dissipates, it can create smoke and quickly become a fire hazard.

How to Diffuse Essential Oils

To use an essential oil or aromatherapy oil diffuser, open the lid of the diffuser and pour room temperature water into the basin. Depending on the instructions of your specific diffuser, you will want to use clean or filtered water. Fill the basin until the water mark, making sure to not over pour.

Next, add the essential oils to the basin. Put the lid on and plug the electrical cord into the outlet. Push the on or power button to start the diffuser. You’ll likely start to see puffs of mist and notice the smell of the essential oil when the diffuser is working.

How Does an Essential Oil Diffuser Work?

Essential oil diffusers work by breaking down and dispersing small particles of the essential oils into the surrounding air. This creates an ultralight mist that maintains the essential oil’s properties. Using an essential oil diffuser with timer settings will automatically start and stop the misting process and help maintain a consistent aroma.

How Many Drops of Essential Oil in a Diffuser?

Generally, 10 drops of an essential oil in a diffuser is enough to smell the fragrance. This is the case no matter what kind of essential oil is used. However, you can experiment with more or less to see what’s best for you.

Benefits of Essential Oil Diffuser

Essential oil diffusers help keep your home, office or personal space smelling great without the chemicals or carcinogenic compounds found in many commercial air fresheners. Some essential oil diffusers also act as humidifiers, adding moisture to the air. Many also help purify the air by removing dust and other fine particles. Using essential oils diffusers is a great way to quickly and easily reap the benefits of each unique essential oil’s properties. Some essential oils even contain natural decongestant and allergen-reducing properties that can help users breathe clearly.

How to Clean Essential Oil Diffuser

Another one of the benefits of an essential oil diffuser is that they’re easy to clean. Generally, you’ll want to fill your diffuser halfway with clean water and add several drops of white vinegar.

After adding the white vinegar, allow the essential oil diffuser to run for at least five minutes to ensure it’s clean. Then, rinse out the water and vinegar mixture. Make sure the diffuser is dry before using it again.

Homemade Essential Oil Diffuser

For those who are new to aromatherapy and wondering how to diffuse essential oils without a diffuser, there are several DIY essential oil diffuser options that you can easily make at home. One of the most popular methods is creating a homemade essential oil reed diffuser that will help keep your home smelling great.

how to make homemade essential oil reed diffuser

To make your own DIY essential oil reed diffuser, you’ll first need:

  •  5-10 reed diffuser or bamboo sticks
  •  A small glass container
  •  ¼ carrier oil (fractionated coconut oil, sweet almond oil or sunflower oil)
  •  20-35 Drops of Essential Oils
  •  1 Tbsp. of Rubbing Alcohol or Vodka

Simply combine the carrier oil, desired essential oils and rubbing alcohol in a small bowl. Stir to mix the oils and pour into your glass container. Insert the sticks for an hour or two, then flip so the saturated end is now pointing upwards. Every week or so flip the sticks until the scent dissipates.

It’s good to note that essential oil reed diffusers are a great electric alternative and good for creating a subtle aroma. However, reed diffusers won’t carry as strong as a scent as diffusing essential oils in ultrasonic or nebulizing diffuser.

preloader