Since Martha and I have started sharing more about our experiences with essential oils here on Simple Nourished Living, we've been getting quite a few questions about diffusers…
- What's the best essential oil diffuser?
- How do electric aromatherapy diffusers work?
- Do you know about the smaller, personal USB-powered diffusers?
- What's the best way to use my diffuser?
- Are there any other types of diffusers that I should know about?
Just to name a few.
I've decided to keep this post focused on electric essential oil diffusers. In a future post, we'll go into more detail on other (non-electric) types of diffusers such as: necklace pendants and lockets, bracelets, lava stone beads, clay jewelry diffusers, aromatherapy pens, and more.
The Main Types of Electric Aromatherapy Diffusers
There are four main types of electric diffusers you can use with essential oils:
- Atomizing or Nebulizing Diffusers
- Ultrasonic Vaporizing or Humidifying Diffusers
- Fan or Evaporative Diffusers
- Heat Diffusers
Atomizing or Nebulizing Essential Oil Diffusers
These sturdy machines are considered by many to be the most powerful and best type of diffuser. It's most likely the type you'll find in a commercial setting (i.e. dentist or doctor's office, firehouse, spa, emergency room, therapist's office, etc.).
Here's a brief video that shows how Vanderbilt ER is diffusing essential oils for both employee and patient benefit:
The atomizing diffusers use a mini cold air pump to push the essential oil through an atomizer that separates the oil into millions of tiny particles which in turn creates a micro-fine vapor in the air.
It's important to note that these diffusers do not require water. The bottle of essential oil is attached directly to the diffuser itself.
Atomizing or nebulizing diffusers are generally the most expensive type of diffuser and they also create a little bit of noise due to the the action of the pump and atomizer.
You will receive a higher concentration of essential oils released into the surrounding air with this diffuser and you are also likely to use the oil more quickly.
Here is an atomizing diffuser that I use at home and can be purchased on Amazon:
You can turn this on and diffuse for only 15 minutes and will get a strong and powerful scent from the oil. Plus, there is a built-in timer that allows you to control how often it runs and how strong the output of vapor will be. Adjusting these down can help you use less oil than if you just turned it on and let it run continuously.
Ultrasonic Vaporizing or Humidifying Diffusers
These are probably the most common type of diffuser in use and also create a fine mist - like the atomizing diffuser. The difference is that with this type of diffuser, you need to add a few drops of essential oil to water and ultrasonic waves cause vibrations that will emit the super-fine mixture of oil and water particles into the air.
These ultrasonic vaporizing diffusers are generally less expensive than the atomizing type and you will also find lots of different options available, such as: timers, auto shut-off, area of coverage, LED night lights, etc. - all of which affect the price.
Here is an ultrasonic diffuser that I use at home and have given out as gifts to friends. It too can be purchased on Amazon:
Fan and Heat Diffusers
These are very simple diffusers that perform best in very small spaces and are generally very low cost.
The fan or evaporative type of diffuser will most likely use a fan to blow cook air through a pad which contains the essential oil. This type of diffusion is beneficial but not at the same level as the atomizing or ultrasonic diffusers for therapeutic purposes.
Some diffusers may use an intense heat source (such as a light bulb or candle) and may alter the chemical makeup of the oil along with its therapeutic qualities, so these are generally not recommended.
Different diffusers provide different capacities for covering the square footage of a room. Other important features may include timers, some allowing both constant and intermittent distribution options.
The best dosage for aromatic use of essential oils is smaller doses dispersed multiple times throughout the day.
Essential oil diffusers can be made from ceramic, wood, plastic, glass and even metal. I've found that most are easy to clean with water and white vinegar, easy to maintain and easy to operate.
Benefits of Diffusing Essential Oils
Depending on the particular oil you are using, you may experience one or more of the following:
- Promotes calming and relaxing qualities
- Immune-supporting properties
- Lifts mood
- Helps maintain feelings of clear airways and easy breathing
- Can help reduce stress
- Safer than incense and candles
- Can naturally repel insects
Favorite Diffuser Blends for a Romantic Valentine's Day
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Hi! I love this post! What is the name of the oil diffuser on the top photo? 🙂