Essential oils have so many benefits; from calming the mind and relaxing the muscles to uplifting your mood and improving sleep. Aromatherapy can be a powerful tool. But how you use them, or diffuse them really makes a difference. Whenever I host workshops, one of the most common questions is “What is the best diffuser?” and I always ask “Why, when and where are you diffusing them?”.
There are four main types of diffusers: Nebulizer Diffusers, Ultrasonic Diffusers, Heat Diffusers and Evaporative Diffusers and each one has its pros and cons; choosing the right one for you will depend on three main factors:
- Why you are diffusing the oils (for therapeutic purposes or just to enjoy the aroma)?
- When are you diffusing them (if it’s at night to help you sleep, you are going to want a quiet one)?
- How large is the space that you are diffusing in?
So here is quick breakdown of each option and some pros and cons:
- Nebulizer diffusers
Easy to use and one of the most powerful diffusers. All you have to do is add a few drops of oil directly to the diffuser and switch it on. Some will even attach directly to your bottle of essential oil. This diffuser doesn’t use heat or water, but instead uses an atomizer to create fine particles of the oil which are blown into the air. Because the essential oil is not diluted with water it releases a very strong concentration of the oil, making it ideal for large spaces. Many people feel that a nebulizer diffuser is the best choice when using oils for therapeutic purposes as it doesn’t alter the chemical composition of the oils. It breaks down the oil’s molecules without separation of the mixture, producing a particle size small enough for the lungs and body to absorb quickly. Most models come with a timer which is useful if you don’t want such a strong concentration of oil, but they are pretty noisy, so they are not the best choice if you plan to use it at night. Plus you will use up your essential oils pretty quickly and the diffuser itself is also the most expensive of the four options. You can find some great options on Amazon that will deliver worldwide.
- Ultrasonic diffuser
Very similar to a nebulizer as a fine mist is also released, but this diffuser uses water so the concentration of the oil is not as strong. This is another great option for therapeutic use and the diffuser can also act as a humidifier (not so useful in tropical climates). It’s not as expensive as a nebulizer but it is more of a hassle as you have to add water and clean it regularly. They are however usually pretty quiet, so they are the best choice if noise is a concern. Most models come with lights, so I recommend choosing one that gives you the option to turn these off, especially if you are using them in your bedroom. If you live in Singapore, Muji has a great model that comes in two different sizes and Amazon also has many options.
- Evaporative diffuser
This refers to your more basic diffuser. It works by a fan blowing air through a pad that has essential oils dropped onto it, which vaporizes the oil. This diffuser comes in many forms including battery operated, manual, and personal diffusers (necklaces and bracelets). The biggest drawback to this diffuser is that the lighter molecules of the oil evaporate quicker than the heavier molecules. This means you are not going to get the whole oil all at once so it would not be best for therapeutic use. However, this diffuser is still a great way to get the aroma of oils into your personal space. I don’t have much experience with this type of diffuser so unable to recommend a specific brand.
- Heat diffuser
As the name suggests, these use heat to evaporate oils. But just like evaporative diffusers you will run into the same problem of the chemistry of the oil being altered, so avoid using these for therapeutic use. Use these diffusers if you simply want to experience the aroma of oils. They are a great way to fill your home with lovely scents! I use heat diffusers to replace air fresheners that are packed full of nasty chemicals. Any one will do, just pick one that you like the look of. One tip is to find one that can hold a lot of water so you don’t have to top it up constantly.
Whatever diffuser you decide to buy, please use it safely. Essential oils are very concentrated and you can diffuse too much. I always recommend to diffuse oils in a well-ventilated area and only for short periods of time, not all day and night. And please use extra caution when diffusing oils around babies and pets as they are much more sensitive than us and some oils can be very irritating to them.
I hope this post has helped you to understand the differences between the various types of diffusers on the market and helped you decide which diffuser is best for you. Please post any questions or comments below. I would love to hear from you 🙂