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Published Oct. 8, 2021

Essential oil diffusers are, well, essential for self-care. While they moisturize the air and add humidity to dry environments, helping with chapped lips and dry sinuses, they also allow us to engage in aromatherapy. 

Aromatherapy is an ancient practice that promotes wellness and relaxation through aromas. In fact, studies show inhaling essential oils can help with sleep, and research has also shown that lavender essential oils, in particular, can have relaxing effects on the nervous system. 

They’re super easy to use: you just fill the reservoir with water, add a few drops of your favorite essential oils, and set the timer. Some diffusers come with soothing ambient lighting, doubling as a nightlight. They come in various sizes, models, and designs, at various price points. We did our research so you can find the best essential oil diffuser for your needs.

How we selected the best essential oil diffusers

Methodology

We looked at several factors when considering what to look for in the best essential oil diffusers. We looked at operation time so that you’d have options for how long you used your diffuser. If you use your diffuser at bedtime, for example, you’d want a diffuser that can run for at least 8 hours. 

We also looked at vapor output and coverage area. If you are using your diffuser in a larger space, like an office, you’ll want a diffuser that has a more generous vapor output so you can enjoy your essential oils to the fullest extent.

The design was a factor, as well, since your diffuser will be doubling as a home decor item. The noise level was also a concern: we didn’t want to offer any diffusers that would disturb you while you’re trying to relax! 

Buying Guide

Types of essential oil diffusers

Before you begin shopping for an essential oil diffuser, we wanted to educate you on the different types of diffusers so you can make the most informed decision!

  • Reed. Reed diffusers are evaporative, and usually come with rattan sticks. The essential oil penetrates the sticks and scent your environment. These tend to work better with lighter oils, like lemon and bergamot. 
  • Candle. These diffusers use candle heat to disperse the essential oil. While they’re a cheaper option, they are not ideal because the heat can mess with the oil’s properties
  • Nebulizer. With a motor and glass cylinder, nebulizers work by breaking down the oils into tiny molecules. We don’t recommend these types of diffusers as much because they are noisy, more expensive, and hard to clean. 
  • Ultrasonic. We recommend ultrasonic diffusers most for general use. Ultrasonic diffusers work by creating vibrations through electronic frequencies in water. Then, they  release a fine water mist into the air. There are many affordable options and they tend to be the most quiet. 

What to look for in the best essential oil diffusers

With so many on the market, it can be overwhelming to decide on a diffuser. Here’s what to look for:

  • Coverage area. This has to do with the physical size of the diffuser and intensity of the vapor output. If you are looking for maximum output to cover a large area, remember that this may be a bulkier-looking item. A typical room-sized diffuser is around 6 x 4 x 4 inches.
  • Operation time and settings. Many diffusers come with a range of operating times such as 1 hour, 3 hours, 6 hours, etc. Some will stay activated until the water runs dry. This is important depending on how you plan to use your diffuser. 
  • Safety features. Make sure your steamer comes with burn-proof features like auto shut-off and a leak-proof nozzle. 
  • Reservoir capacity. The smallest diffusers are usually around 100 ml, while larger diffusers for offices, yoga studios, or spacious home use can fill up to 1500 ml! There’s clearly a large range, but most home use diffusers have a reservoir capacity of around 300-500 ml, to give you a better idea.
  • Noise level. Sometimes diffusers can make a slurp sound as they vaporize water. Some larger items can also make a hissing fan sound. If you’re choosing a diffuser for sleep or relaxation, or are easily disturbed by noise, this is something to consider. 
  • Special features. There are diffusers that come with a whole host of accessories, from  remote controls to colorful LED lights and even music. You can also find diffusers that come with a tray of essential oils to get you going. It just depends on what you’re looking for and how much you’re willing to spend.

Best essential oil diffuser: Pure Daily Care Ultimate Aromatherapy Diffuser

Oils Included

This diffuser not only has a generous vapor output, it also comes with 10 essential oils at a reasonable price point.

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Why it made the cut: This is the best overall essential oil diffuser, which not only has a generous vapor output, but it also comes with 10 essential oils at a reasonable price point.

Specs: 

  • Runtime: 6 hours
  • Material: Wood
  • Capacity: 400mL

Pros: 

  • Reasonable pricing
  • Comes with 10 essential oils
  • Multiple settings 

Cons:

  • Can’t choose the oils
  • May leak

This BPA-free, wood grain design ultrasonic essential oil diffuser has it all, with 10 essential oils thrown in for good measure. Who doesn’t love convenience? Plus, these oils are sourced from the highest quality plants all around the world and are filled in 10 ml amber jars to prevent spoiling.

The Essence Diffuser offers lots of settings, features, and capabilities. It has a 400 ml capacity which can be used in several different sized rooms, with 4 timer settings for added versatility. It also has 7 ambient light modes with two intensity settings for 14 different light combinations. It shuts off automatically for safety and comes at a competitive price point.

Best value: URPOWER 2nd Version Ultrasonic Essential Oil Diffuser

Boho Design

This inexpensive diffuser offers all the essentials.

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Why it made the cut: The second generation Urpower diffuser offers several key features for a budget-friendly price.

Specs: 

  • Runtime: 6 hours
  • Material: Plastic
  • Capacity: 100 mL

Pros: 

  • Inexpensive
  • Whisper-quiet
  • No filters required
  • Auto shutoff for safety

Cons: 

  • On the smaller side
  • No brightness control for the light

Adding features without adding dollars, the second generation model for the Urpower essential oil diffuser is an absolute steal. This model produces more mist than the previous version, so you get even more humidity and essential oil smell throughout your space. 

With 100 ml of reservoir space, this is a smaller model but offers plenty of power for up to 6 hours of misting. It features two adjustable mist settings: continuous and intermittent (30 seconds on and 30 seconds off) with a whisper-quiet operation that won’t annoy you. The auto-shut off feature protects the diffuser from burning when waterless, and is made from high quality plastic that is durable and long-lasting. 

Best essential oil diffuser for large spaces:  ASAKUKI 700ml Premium

LED Spectrum

Large capacity and super long run time to fill bigger spaces.

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Why it made the cut: With 700 ml of reservoir space, this premium essential oil diffuser is perfect for large spaces. 

Specs: 

  • Runtime: 20 hours
  • Material: Plastic
  • Capacity: 700 mL

Pros: 

  • Large reservoir
  • Lightweight
  • Auto shut off
  • Easy to clean

Cons:

  • Oil use can cause clogging
  • Requires frequent washing

This 700 ml diffuser offers a whopping 20+ hours of operation, with a strong vibration frequency that creates for thicker mist and denser humidifying. It features 2 levels of ultrasonic misting: continuous or timed: 1 hour, 3 hours, or 6 hours. Go ahead and hit continuous use without fear, since there’s an auto shut-off feature for added peace of mind.

This essential oil diffuser weighs a little less than 5 oz, making it super lightweight for such a powerful product. One of the cooler features is the 7 different LED Colors, that you can use with or without the diffuser. Use this diffuser in a living room, office space, or a larger bedroom! Be sure not to overfill over the MAX line – it can cause leaking!

Best modern design: Vitruvi Stone Diffuser

Sleek Look

Look cool while you breathe deep.

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Why it made the cut: This gorgeous design is sober, cool, and modern, offering chic decor with strong humidifying power. 

Specs: 

  • Runtime: 8 hours
  • Material: Plastic, ceramic, porcelain
  • Coverage: 500 sq. feet

Pros:

  • Cool design doubles as decor
  • Comes in several colors
  • Made from high quality porcelain 

Cons: 

  • Pricey
  • Heavier than other models

If decor is as important to you as humidity, the gorgeous, sleek, and minimalist design from Vitruvi offers that modern take you’re looking for. Because it’s so refined and neutral, it can easily complement a variety of home decor styles.

It features two run times: continuous 4 hours and intermittent 8 hours and is crafted out of the highest quality porcelain with a matte ceramic finish. While those materials mean more weight than their plastic alternatives, it also makes for better eye candy.

There’s also an optional LED light to double as a nightlight.

Best essential oil diffuser for sleep:  Pure Enrichment PureSpa

Compact Pick

Luxuriously quiet for a humid and happy night sleep.

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Why it made the cut: This whisper-quiet diffuser is so soothing, you won’t notice it working as you drift off to sleep. 

Specs: 

  • Runtime: 10 hours
  • Material: Plastic
  • Coverage: 250 sq. feet
  • Capacity: 120mL

Pros: 

  • Ultra quiet
  • BPA-free materials
  • Auto shut off
  • Nice design

Cons:

  • Color changes, cannot select a single color
  • Not great for large spaces

No more waking up with a dry nose and throat! If you need help window down before bed, a soothing essential oil diffuser can offer you relaxation and comfort. Perfect for your bedside table or nightstand, this ultrasonic BPA-free diffuser turns your favorite essential oils into a dreamy cool mist. 

The 4 oz water tank will last you 8-10 hours (a full night’s sleep) so you can enjoy fragrant air all night long. It’ll shut off automatically when the water runs low!

The PureSpa Deluxe essential oil diffuser features a simple, single-button control for both misting and lighting. Tap once to turn the mist on, twice for mist and light, and third to turn the whole thing off. 

Things to consider before buying an essential oil diffuser

While any diffuser can reduce odor and boost the humidity of your space, there are a few key factors that you should keep in mind when making your final selection. 

Room size

As some diffusers are equipped with a larger tank, run time and coverage area, it’s good to choose one that suits your room of choice. We recommend measuring the square footage of your space and comparing it to the coverage area on the product descriptions. Generally, diffusers with larger tanks can cover greater areas. 

Method of use

Are you planning on using your diffuser while working from home, or do you want to experience aromatherapy while you sleep? The way in which you use your diffuser can determine which type you could get. While a compact pick with a short run time is well-suited for day-to-day use, a larger capacity diffuser can have an extended run time and not lose steam as you sleep. If you do plan on using a diffuser while you rest, you’ll also want to look for one that runs with minimal noise. 

FAQs

Q: Can I use any essential oils in my diffuser?

Yes! Just make sure they don’t have any fillers, additives, or perfumes as they can impede your diffuser’s ability to disperse the oils or clog up your machine. Be sure not to use any other oils besides essential oils, though, like cooking oils – these will clog up your diffuser and won’t offer you that lovely aroma therapeutic effect. 

Q: What type of water should I use?

While you can use tap water, if you want to be very safe – distilled or purified water would be the best bet to prevent clogging.

Q: How much oil should I put in my diffuser?

A few drops should suffice. You can always add more, but once you’ve added too much – your room will stink! Some people also report getting headaches if the oil smell is too strong. Start slow and add more if you think you need it.

Final Thoughts

There’s no need to make a trip to the spa when you can have a custom aromatherapy session right from home. You can create essential oil blends tailored to you, improve sleep quality and introduce a relaxing scent to any room. Our favorite is the Pure Daily Care Ultimate Aromatherapy Diffuser because it comes with 10 essential oils while still being affordably priced.

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