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How To Choose The Right Essential Oil Diffuser

oil diffusers - types and uses

When you first get into aromatherapy and essential oils it can seem a little overwhelming. So I have put this article together to decode all of the different types of diffuser available.

An oil diffuser is designed to get the best out of your essential oils in terms of health benefits as well as aroma. Certain rooms have different requirements and I know that I need a more intense scent in the kitchen then overnight in my bedroom. So we use different diffusers in different ways.

8 Things To Consider When Looking At Types Of Diffuser

For me there is no one type of diffuser that is right for the whole house.

When choosing the right diffuser think about different locations and how much of the room you want to be filled with scent. You may also want certain health benefits or relaxation in different areas. Initial cost is important as is the question of heat dissipation vs water vaporization.

First of all you need to understand your reasons behind buying a diffuser, let’s look at that in more detail first.

Reasons To Choose Certain Types Of Diffuser

  1. Location you are putting your diffuser in. For example a down stairs water closet will not justify an electric diffuser, rather more suitable would be a reed type.
  2. Types of essential oils you are using. If you want to deter pests and mosquitos then a citronella oil would be degraded by being heated. This means you would prefer to use a more passive delivery, such as a terracotta type.
  3. Use of the room is important for choosing the right diffuser. I need a slightly more intense and immediate delivery method in my kitchen than I do for my living room.
  4. Initial cost of the diffuser is important. Although you are able to purchase reed diffusers for only a few pounds, there are more expensive ones which do contain essential oils and are organic and sustainably sourced.
  5. Run time of the diffuser is key. I use a long run time on my water vapor diffuser overnight. By putting it on periodic vaporizing I can have the longest lie in and still have plenty of water and oil left. There is an even longer run time on a reed diffuser, but it doesn’t offer me the strength I need.
  6. Do you want a flame free diffuser? This is a big one for us as well have all sorts of sized children visiting and don’t want to have to think about those sorts of issues. There are also a lot of rental properties with a ‘no naked flame’ type of clause built in as well. So an electric or passive diffuser is much more appropriate.
  7. It is also important to think about the amount of maintenance you will have to provide to your diffuser. A water vapor type is relatively easy when compared to a nebulizer type.
  8. I would be lying if I didn’t say that aesthetics come into the decision making process for choosing an oil diffuser. I have a natural bamboo one in my bedroom and it is very in keeping with the décor. In the bathroom a reed diffuser will also look the part.
how to choose an essential oil diffuser

Types Of Oil Diffuser

Choosing the right oil diffuser depends upon many different factors from size of the room, whether you want to utilize the health benefits of the essential oils, if you need to have humidity added or even if there is a breeze. You must also factor in safety and if an area will have pets or younger children in avoiding flames or heat will be a must.

Candle Diffuser

A candle diffuser relies on heat to warm the essential oil and allow it to diffuse into your room. It is electric and battery free which is nice in some ways, however having a naked flame can be difficult in some settings.

You will need to keep an eye on the candle and the oil as when one runs out the aroma will no longer be diffused. There is also a lot of cleaning required when you are applying heat to oil. Also be aware that some essential oils are degraded by the application of heat. So if you are using the oils for health benefits as well as aroma perhaps look at a different diffuser type. You can use this type of oil diffuser with wax melts as well.

Ceramic Diffuser Often Called A Terracotta Diffuser

The ceramic or terracotta diffuser has not been fully baked, only bisque-fired. This is to allow it to absorb the essential oil more easily. Add 15-20 drops to the terracotta and leave in a sealed bag or box overnight. Then you hang it up in the area you want.

A terracotta diffuser works well in a small space, like a cloakroom or under stairs cupboard. The essential oils will last for 2-3 days only. You can even use in an outdoor area with citronella type of oils to deter pests and mosquitos. If you are using in a nursery, make sure to only use baby safe essential oils.

A big disadvantage of a terracotta type of oil diffuser is the preparation time, soaking it overnight is not for everyone. Then you also have to worry about changing aromas. Although the scent is mostly lost after 2-3 days it may not react well to new oils being added.

Electric Heat Diffuser

The electric heat diffuser works on the same premise as the candle type. Heat is produced which aids the oils dissipation through the room. When the oil has evaporated from the cup holder, then the aroma will no longer be potent. The advantage the electric has over the candle type is that there is no naked flame.

Very easy to clean and change the essential oils, I like an electric heat diffuser for it’s safety and ease of use.

Not to be confused with the other electric types of diffuser as below!

Fan-Style Diffuser

A fan diffuser uses a washable sponge, you apply essential oils and place in front of a fan which then slowly dissipates the aroma around your room. The larger the pad or sponge, the more oil you add and the longer it lasts. You can go for larger or more powerful fans, this means the scent will fill a larger room.

Advantages of a fan style diffuser is that it will be easy to clean the pads and change aroma. The only issue is it can be a bit tricky to judge how much oil to fill the room. Smaller fans are suitable for smaller spaces.

Nebulizer Diffuser

A nebulizer diffuser does not rely on heat to dissipate the essential oils, but instead vaporizes it at an atomic level. This means you can breathe it in more easily and if you are using oils for certain health conditions it can be a quick way to absorb the essential oils.

On a more negative note, a nebulizer diffuser will be a real fiddle to clean out. The essential oils that are made from plants will effectively clog up the moving parts. By using fragrance oils you can limit this, but ironically that can mean a much lower percentage of health benefits passed on from the plants.

Reed Diffuser

Reed diffusers use a bottle to hold the oil and wooden sticks that allow the oil to slowly be absorbed and dissipate their aroma into the room. They don’t have any form of movement and are therefore more suitable for smaller spaces, like a downstairs bathroom or cloakroom.

The benefit of a reed diffuser is that is affordable and you can easily see when the oil has run out. The main disadvantage would have to be the weakness of the aroma, very much not suitable for a busy or larger room.

Ultrasonic Diffuser Also Called A Water Diffuser

I have an ultrasonic diffuser for overnight. It acts as humidifier and aromatherapy diffuser in one. By adding water into the vessel and a few drops of essential oils you can create your own blends. Ultrasonic waves create a vapor which can be continual or in timed puffs.

The larger the water diffuser the larger the room it can fill with aroma. As it does not rely on heat to diffuse the essential oils it is ideal for those who want to benefit from the health properties. For me I use lavender and clary sage for their calmative effects. This helps me to sleep all night without too much restlessness.

In Conclusion

Each oil diffuser has pros and cons attached to it. From heating the oil electrically and that being harmful to the health giving properties of the oils, to using candles and the associated risks of an open flame. Then you need to look at size of room and length of time you want the aroma to fill it.

Different rooms using different diffusers makes sense and hopefully you will feel more confident with your next purchase. Please do let us know your thoughts below! Share your knowledge with others.

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