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Essential Oils Diffusers 101: How to Choose the One That’s Right for You

You’ve heard about the dangers of scented candles and air fresheners and you’re ready to make the switch to diffusing pure essential oils. But there are so many devices on the market, it can be hard to know how to choose the best diffuser for your needs. Here are some things to consider when shopping for a diffuser.

Cool Mist

While some diffusers (especially portable ones) are fan-operated and require you to drop essential oils on a scent pad, you’ll find that you end up using more oil this way and the scent dissipates quickly. Look for a diffuser that has a water reservoir. These diffusers emit cool mist and add humidity to the air, similar to a cool mist humidifier. You only need to add a few drops of essential oil to the water and the benefits last for hours. Essential oils should not be added to traditional humidifiers, as they can degrade plastic that is not medical-grade. Also, warm mist humidifiers should not be used, as heating essential oils can destroy their therapeutic properties. For this reason, essential oils should not be confused with “fragrance oils” and should not be added to fragrance warmers. Fragrance oils often contain synthetic chemicals and release toxins into the air, much like scented candles do.


Ultrasonic diffusers have a metal plate or ring at the bottom of the water reservoir. When the unit is turned on, electronic pulses are sent through the water. This breaks up the essential oil molecules and releases them into the air where they can be breathed in.


Water tanks in most essential oil diffusers range from 120mL to 500mL capacity. The size of your diffuser should correspond to your needs. A 120mL diffuser is sufficient for a bathroom or small bedroom. For a large living space, you may want to purchase a diffuser with a larger capacity water tank. The larger diffusers often run longer, although they also require more drops of oil to fill the room.


You’ll want to read the product description carefully and check that the diffuser’s running time is sufficient. Some diffusers turn off automatically after 4 hours. Some diffusers have high and low settings, as well as intermittent settings that enable them to run longer before running out of water. These diffusers can run for 8-10 hours or longer, making them perfect for diffusing during the night.

Just as there are many options to choose from, you’ll find that diffusers come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and prices. High-end diffusers may even come equipped with remote controls and relaxing music! While these features are fun and it may be tempting to choose a diffuser based on looks alone, these perks are not really necessary and you can enjoy the same therapeutic benefits from essential oils with a budget diffuser. It is more important to buy pure, quality essential oils which may cost a bit more rather than splurge on the fanciest diffuser money can buy.

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