A Guide to Choosing the Perfect Diffuser
Benefits of Diffusing Scents
Scents have the power to instill positive feelings, to make you remember happy memories and look forward to the day.
For example, the scent of citrus can make you feel more awake, productive and uplifted, while the scent of lavender can help you feel more calm and relaxed. There are many reasons why we diffuse scents in the air, be it to benefit from the therapeutic benefits that scents have to offer; or to create the right mood for any occasion.
However, for us to achieve the best sensorial experience while leveraging on the benefits of diffusing scents in the air; we would need a diffusing machine to do the job right. If you are currently on the lookout for the right diffuser, here is the guide for the different types of diffusers available in the market, so you can make an informed decision on which type suits you best.
The Different Types of Diffusers
There are 5 different categories of diffusers available on the market today. Each of these use different diffusion methods to diffuse essential oils into the air, with different pros and cons.
1. Heat diffusers
This type of diffuser heats the essential oil to promote diffusion throughout the room. The most common heat diffuser that you can easily find is the candle diffuser. It is an inexpensive option for scenting your space, but they are not optimal because heat can change the chemical properties of the oil and the therapeutic properties of the essential oil are minimised.
Candle diffusers are usually made from glass, ceramic, and other similar materials. To use a candle diffuser, mix a few drops of oil in some water and pour the mixture into the dish on top. Light the candle below the dish so the heat from the flame can heat the water-oil mixture and disperse it into the air.
If you are wondering whether there are other types of heat diffusers available, you can also look for lamp rings, electric heat diffusers and steam inhalation units. They disperse scents in the air in the same way that it works with a candle lamp diffuser.
Pros: Diffusing using heat is an economical, yet efficient and silent way to spread the aroma of an essential oil throughout the room.
Cons: The heat used can change the properties of the oil at the molecular level. This means that the aromatic benefit of an oil may lessen or change entirely. You might also have to monitor the candle used from time to time and place it on a higher ground if you have kids or pets around your home.
Price: Budget-friendly and great for beginners.
2. Reed diffusers
Reed diffusers often use rattan sticks, which have small channels that allow the essential oil to travel up the stick and scent the room. Lighter oils like bergamot, grapefruit, or lemon essential oil tend to diffuse faster than the heavier oils such as patchouli and sandalwood essential oil.
Pros: They’re eco-friendly, don’t consume energy and are usually made of natural or recyclable materials. And unlike candles, they can be left unattended without any risk of the house going up in flames. You can also check out for other DIY diffusers that do not require electricity nor heat.
Cons: This diffusion method is best suited for small spaces (e.g.: bathroom, rooms with 200sqft and below) for you to fully experience the scent in the air.
3. Evaporative diffusers
An evaporative diffuser is a device that uses a pad or a filter to diffuse the essential oils. A fan blows air from the room through a pad or filter that has drops of essential/fragrance oils and scents the air. Car diffuser is the best example of this type of diffusing technique.
Pros: Wind-blown diffusion can be a quiet way to quickly spread the oil’s aroma throughout the room.
Cons: One of the disadvantages of this is that the lighter components of the fragrance oils (such as citrus) will be circulated around the ceiling first and you will only get to experience the heavier essential oil (such as sandalwood) at the end of the process.
Price: Ranging from affordable to expensive, depending on the brands and quality of the diffusers.
4. Ultrasonic or humidifying diffusers
An ultrasonic diffuser uses electronic frequencies to cause a small disc under the surface of a liquid (usually water) to vibrate at a very fast rate. These ultrasonic vibrations break the essential oil into tiny microparticles, dispersing the oil in a fine mist. These tiny particles are more easily absorbed by the lungs for a greater therapeutic effect on the body, mind, and spirit.
While the transformation of water or other liquids into vapor normally requires great heat, the transformation of these liquids into vapor is accomplished through an adiabatic process, which means the change in state of the liquids is accomplished without any kind of heat at all.
While this type of diffusion creates a lovely mist that helps to humidify the air and features the gentle sound of trickling water, only a small fraction of the mist is actually essential oil, and it depends solely on the air current already in the room to disperse the mist throughout the room. For those who desire only a small amount of oil to be diffused in a room, this type of diffuser not only works well but can also be very beautiful. If you are worried about it running even when there is no water or oil in the basin, do not be. These machines usually come with a timer and have an automatic shutoff when the basin is empty.
Because ultrasonic/humidifying diffusion is the most popular diffusion method, there are many different types of ultrasonic diffuser to choose from.
Pros: Ultrasonic models only use a small amount of essential oil, and no heat is used to generate the mist in an ultrasonic essential oil diffuser. This method also can act as both a diffuser and a humidifier, a helpful feature if you live in a drier climate. There is very little to no noise associated with ultrasonic diffusers, making them perfect for nighttime use.
Cons: Only a small fraction of the mist is essential oil, and it depends on the air current already in the room to disperse the oil. If you already live in a more humid place, you may not want to add more water to the air with your diffuser.
Price: Ranging from affordable to expensive, depending on the brands, aesthetics and features of the diffusers.
5. Nebulizing diffusers
A nebulizer works basically the same way a perfume atomizer works. A jet of air blowing across a small tube creates a vacuum that pulls a liquid at the bottom of the tube to the top of the tube. The airflow blowing across the surface of the oil at the top of the tube blows the oil away in a fine spray or mist. With a constant air supply source, this type of diffusion can quickly put a large amount of oil into the air.
Because this type of diffusion works to put the whole oil into the air in the form of tiny droplets, it is often considered the best type of diffusion for the therapeutic use of essential oils. You may also consider fragrance oils created for home to create a certain mood for your ambience.
Since nebulizing diffusers work effectively to quickly saturate the air with essential oils, they generally run at a higher sound level, and they tend to use oil at a higher rate than any other type of diffuser. The latest models come with a timer and ON / OFF intervals so you can adjust how long you would like it running and set the intervals of dispensing according to the size of your area and preference.
Plug and Play, no heat or water required.
Optimum scent dispersion: The undiluted essence is dispersed into the air resulting in an optimum scent dispersion into your spaces.
Portability - it’s easy to bring around anywhere as long as there is a power outlet to plug it in. Some even work with a USB plug-in.
Sturdy - wherever you think about placing it, this diffuser will stay in its place with its non-slip base.
Timer feature - this feature makes it easy for us to control the diffuser’s settings, and we can choose how long we want to diffuse scent for.
No mess - Unlike the candle diffuser or the ultrasonic diffuser, you don’t have to worry about cleaning or changing the water or candles everytime you want to use it.
Nebulizers are the most expensive diffusers in terms of the unit price and the amount of fragrance essence used. Because these diffusers use undiluted essential oils or fragrance oils, you may end up using much more oil compared to other diffusers.
Some models of nebulizing oil diffusers are noisy in comparison to other diffusers.
Points to consider when choosing the right diffuser
Aside from considering the types of diffuser that you want to get, you might also want to think about the intended purpose and also the area that you would like to scent. For instance, if you are having trouble sleeping, a diffuser that is quiet is a better option so it does not disturb your sleep even further. By identifying your “why” it will help you to make a better decision on which type would work best for you.
Our top pick
Although different types of diffusers have their own pros and cons, after testing out all of them, we found that what works best for us is the nebulising diffuser. It is a more expensive option than the rest, but we think it's worth the money because it is the most convenient to use. On top of that, the features that allow us to control and time the intensity and longevity of the diffusion with ease are added advantages. We love it so much that we carry the Premium Portable Scent Diffuser on our online store to make it easier for you to get one too. You can get them together with our range of MoodScents, of 7 different fragrances designed to suit different spaces and to create different moods.