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Blog - Heat Diffusers

Types of Essential Oil Diffusers



Image of 5 different Essential Oil Diffusers

Whether you are new to essential oils, an old hand, or the yogi of the aromatherapy mountain, understanding how to integrate the aromatic benefits of essential oils using holistic aromatherapy principles is ongoing. More and more people are grasping the benefits of choosing natural products over synthetic ones to care for their bodies, clean their homes, and create uplifting and healthy atmospheres. And there are increasingly more products that make this task easier and more efficient. Companies like Young Living and doTerra tout aromatherapy diffusers for the car, the office, or for a personal space. The variety can be a bit overwhelming, like trying to choose the outstanding leaf in a veritable forest of green choices.

But don’t despair. To select an aroma diffuser for your space and circumstances, there are a few things to know about how diffusers work. The best essential oil diffuser gets oils into the air so that you can be exposed to the benefits … sweet orange for a better mood, lavender for stress relief, or rosemary for focus. The rest is a matter of choice … decisions about efficiency, style, convenience, and control. There are four basic types of diffusers for essential oils; nebulizing, ultrasonic, evaporative, and heat. Each works a bit differently, and each has strengths.

Types of Diffusers

Nebulizing Aroma Diffusers

Nebulizers are a style of essential oil diffuser that take oil, straight up, and turn it into mist. They work like a perfume atomizer, mixing pumped air into liquid oil to create a vapor. They don’t need water to operate, and can quickly produce a large amount of vaporized oil. Because of their high output, they are best for therapeutic settings where a saturation of essential oil is desired. But because they use oils at a higher rate, some people find them expensive to use. These machines are a noisier than other types of oil diffusers, and can be hard to clean.

Ultrasonic Essential Oil Diffusers

An ultrasonic diffuser uses a vibrating plate to convert a mix of water and a few drops of oil into a micro-particle mist. The water helps to humidify the air, and is easily absorbed through the lungs for health benefits. If you care about style, the best ultrasonic essential oil diffusers are beautiful. They range from zen simplicity to contemporary flamboyance. This type of diffuser is quiet enough to be used overnight or in a shared office space. They are easy to clean and maintain. They require less oil than nebulizers, and depend on natural air circulation to disperse the aroma. An ultrasonic oil diffuser is not overly expensive, but can have a short career without proper maintenance. Citrus essential oils are especially culpable at eroding the vibrating plate and inducing an early demise for your diffuser. But with proper maintenance and knowledge about the best essential oils for diffusers, they will last for years, even with frequent use. See an example of one of our favorites.

Evaporative Diffusers

The best evaporative essential oil diffusers work like a swamp cooler – a fan blows air through a pad or filter soaked with essential oil. Other types are even more basic. A reed diffuser, for instance, relies on wicking power. Evaporative diffusers are the eight-track-tape of diffusing technology. They don’t have a high output, and you have less control to adjust aromas and blends based on your whims.

But they are basic, easy to manage, and are quiet. 

Heat Diffusers

Heat diffusers use … you guessed it … heat to diffuse oils. They are economical, and work great in small spaces like vehicles and cubicles. No worries about bothering coworkers with noise – they are silent when operating. Some people worry about altering the chemical constituents of the natural oils with heat, and about the safety of using a hot unit unattended. But if you need something small, inexpensive or quiet, this is a good bet.


Knowing the pros and cons of diffuser technology will help you to choose the best one for your space. Whatever you choose, making the decision to treat yourself and your family with natural essential oils is certainly a move toward better wellbeing.


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