Essential oils have many benefits—they can relax you, help you feel more energized, open up your sinuses…and they can just plain help your home smell nicer for you and your family. But how do you get those wonderful scents to waft through your house? Just sprinkling drops of essential oils on your furniture isn’t going to work. You need an essential oil diffuser.

But with so many to choose from, how do you pick the perfect one? We’re here to help. We’ve sifted through oil diffuser reviews to find the best ones for a variety of measures. No matter your budget or style, you can find the best essential oil diffuser to meet your needs.

What to consider when looking for the best essential oil diffuser

When you’re looking for the best essential oil diffuser for your home, there are a few factors to take into account: first, what will fit in with your decor and your general taste? Are you looking for something cute that might do well in a child’s bedroom or a lighthearted living room? Or do you need something sleek or professional-looking? Maybe you’ll want something that lights up and has a colorful display, or something that blends into the background and won’t distract anyone. 

Diffusers for essential oils really run the gamut when it comes to their appearance—you have ones that look like wood or stone, some with animal characters, others with lights and even music. They’re different shapes, too; many are bulbous, with wide bases and narrow tops, while others are more teardrop-shaped or cylindrical. Consider your space and how much room you have on a countertop or table, as well as how likely it is for someone to knock it over. (If you’re worried about curious cats or kids, you might go with something heavier and with a wider base, rather than a tall plastic diffuser that topples more easily.) 

Then you’ll want to consider how well the product will suit your needs in terms of how long it runs, how easy it is to clean, what room size it’s meant for, how childproof it is (if that matters), and how quiet it is (or isn’t). Some are meant for smaller rooms and have lower output, while others will fill a larger space with scent. The right aromatherapy diffuser for others may not be the right one for you, depending on your needs.

How to maintain your  aromatherapy diffuser

One thing those new to owning an aromatherapy diffuser may not think to consider is how to maintain it properly, which can differ from one unit to the next. Normally, scent diffusers are pretty low-maintenance; they’re almost always smaller and easier to clean than humidifiers, for instance—which are notorious for harboring bacteria and germs and being kind of a pain to empty and clean out on a regular maintenance schedule.

However, aromatherapy diffusers are easy to disassemble and rinse out daily. Every few days or every time you change scents, you’ll want to do a more thorough cleaning, which generally entails using a cotton swab to clean off the ultrasonic chip with rubbing alcohol, and gentle dishwashing detergent to clean out the base and the cover (inside and out). Then on a monthly basis, you’ll do a deeper clean—generally by mixing white vinegar and water in the diffuser’s tank and running it, then wiping it dry. 

Each unit should have more detailed cleaning and maintenance instructions. Most also have automatic shut-off functions that shut the device down when it runs out of water so you’re not wasting electricity or straining the machine.

Best essential oil diffuser for ambience: Pure Enrichment PureGlow Crystal

Glows with Himalayan Salt

If it’s relaxation you seek, check out this combination unit: it’s part Himalayan salt lamp (at the base) and part ultrasonic essential oil aroma diffuser. Amazon

Check Price

This diffuser has a capacity of 160ml and can run for up to 16 hours, though it doesn’t give off a ton of mist. There are five brightness levels to the lamp, and you can run the lamp without running the air diffuser and vice versa. Consider this one a space-saver if you like both Himalayan salt lamps and essential oil diffusers. 

Best essential oil diffuser that’s also a humidifier: BlueHills XL Essential Oils Diffuser

Extra-Large Capacity

If you want a humidifier that can run all night and also provide essential oil diffusion, this is your unit. Amazon

Check Price

This scent diffuser can run for up to 40 hours on low mist because it has a huge tank: 2.5 liters. That makes it ideal for those who are looking for humidity as well as aromatherapy; most humidifiers cannot safely be used with essential oils. You can change the mist output level and the color of the light. With seven colors to choose from, you can go with whatever matches your mood at the time.

Best all-inclusive aroma diffuser set: Anjou Ultrasonic 300ML Aromatherapy Diffuser & Cool Mist Humidifier with Essential Oils

Everything You Need

This is the best diffuser if you’re looking for a complete set: it comes with a range of eight essential oils. Amazon

Check Price

Eight essential oils are included in this package: grapefruit, lavender, sweet orange, tea tree, eucalyptus, peppermint, bergamot, and lemon. The scent diffuser is BPA-free, has a choice of two mist output levels, and can run for up to eight hours with a tank capacity of 300ml, just over a cup. Use the timer or just let it run, and cycle through seven different light colors. 

Best whimsical design: ODONOBO Cute Dumpling Essential Oils Diffuser for Kids

Cute and Useful

Sure, it’s marketed for kids, but who doesn’t want a useful dumpling in their home? Amazon

Check Price

This essential oil diffuser has it all: it’s an adorable design that’s kid-friendly, functions as a night light with seven LED colors to choose from, and has a 300ml capacity tank that’s easy to fill and clean. It’s made of plastic, and has a 1, 3, or 6-hour timer or you can set it to run continuously until the water runs out (about eight hours). Just be aware that it beeps twice when it runs out of water, so you might not want to leave it on “continuous” mode while someone is sleeping in the room. 

Best essential oil diffuser on a budget: What’s out there for under $30?

You can find essential oil diffusers at low prices—many under $30. They’re generally plastic and not made with any special design features, but if that doesn’t matter to you, you may be okay with one of these models. What you do have to watch out for are two main things: leaks and short life spans.

Some of the lower-end units are not made to exacting manufacturing standards and are prone to leaking or breaking down quickly. Always run essential oil diffusers with a towel or protective surface underneath (like a silicone mat, tile, or plate) so you don’t run the risk of ruining wood or other sensitive surfaces. Here’s the best essential oil diffuser we’ve found for less. 

Best budget essential oil diffuser: Innogear Essential Oil Diffuser

Basic But Effective

Our least-expensive pick is still very highly rated and can run up to eight hours at a time. Amazon

Check Price

Innogear offers a few types of essential oil diffusers, and this is the entry-level model. Even so, it has some surprising features for the low price point: you can set it to run continuously or in cycles of 30 seconds on, then 30 seconds off. (You’ll get 3 to 4 hours of run time in continuous mode and 6 to 8 hours in intermittent mode.) It lights up and cycles through colors every few seconds, but be aware that although you can change the brightness, you cannot turn the light off altogether while the mist is running. As a result, you might want to keep this away from the bed during sleep hours. 

Best essential oil diffuser FAQ: people also ask

Are diffusers bad for your lungs?

Essential oil diffusers are generally safe for lungs and some scents may even help to open up your breathing passages when you have a cold or sinus infection. However, for those with migraines, allergies, asthma, or other breathing disorders, they can be triggering. Asthma specialists will usually discourage the use of essential oils because the effect is unpredictable; for some asthma sufferers, essential oils may help, while for others, they can be irritating and provoke an attack.

Are essential oils safe for dogs?

In short: essential oils may be dangerous to dogs—some types are even poisonous to them. According to the American Kennel Club, if you have a dog, be sure to stay away from oil of cinnamon, citrus, pennyroyal, peppermint, pine, sweet birch, tea tree (melaleuca), wintergreen, and ylang ylang. Aside from concerns that dogs might knock over the diffuser and directly ingest essential oils or get some on their bodies, their sense of smell is much more acute than ours (which is why they make such great detectives!). Scents that you perceive as mild can be very irritating to dogs, who smell them more strongly. Some essential oils though, such as lavender, are considered safe and calming for dogs. Check in with your veterinarian about which ones you’d like to try out.

Do doctors recommend essential oils?

Whether doctors recommend essential oils depends on your intended use. Some essential oil manufacturers make dodgy claims about unproven health benefits or even dangerous uses. Essential oils do not treat serious health conditions such as cancer or heart disease. They don’t cure developmental disorders. But many doctors and psychologists will acknowledge their effectiveness in creating a calming atmosphere or helping to focus or improve a mood. Doctors have recommended essential oils for issues such as insomnia, nausea, restlessness, and anxiety, though the FDA is careful to categorize essential oils as food supplements, not drugs. This means manufacturers are not allowed to make medical claims, and the products are not regulated by the FDA like medicine is. 

Related: Pleasant scents may help you quit smoking

The bottom line on finding the best essential oil diffuser for you

Sometimes when you get started, it’s hard to stop: you might wind up buying an essential oil diffuser for each bedroom and main living space in your house. Not only can these little machines enhance your mood or help you to wake up or wind down, but they can also help to neutralize odors from cooking, litter boxes, and a multitude of other less-desirable scents. It’s not hard to get started; essential oil diffusers are easy to use and don’t require much upkeep. Give it a try and see how the best essential oil diffuser changes your home’s atmosphere for the better.