We have often been asked which diffuser is the best; but with so many different types of diffusers available (each with their benefits and downsides), the best answer we can give is—it depends on what you like in a diffuser. There are many different diffusers on the market today, so it is important to know the differences so you can choose one that will work best for you.
There are four different kinds of diffusers on the market today: nebulizing diffusers, ultrasonic or humidifying diffusers, evaporative diffusers, and heat diffusers. Let’s discuss what each of these diffusers is along with the benefits and downsides of each.
A nebulizer works basically the same way a perfume atomizer works. A jet of air blowing across a small tube creates a vacuum that pulls a liquid at the bottom of the tube to the top of the tube. The air flow blowing across the surface of the oil at the top of the tube blows the oil away in a fine spray or mist.
- Quickly saturate the air with oil. With a constant air supply source, this type of diffusion can quickly put a large amount of oil into the air.
- Diffuses whole oil = best for therapeutic use. Because this type of diffusion works to put the whole oil into the air in the form of tiny droplets, it is often considered the best type of diffusion for the therapeutic use of essential oils.
- Typically louder diffusers. Since nebulizing diffusers work so powerfully, they generally run at a higher sound level than other diffusers.
- Use a lot of oil. Because nebulizing diffusers quickly saturate the air with essential oils, they tend to use oil at a higher rate than any other type of diffuser.
Tip: We generally recommend using a timer with any nebulizing diffuser and setting the timer so that the diffuser is only running for about 15 minutes each hour. This not only helps to conserve oils, but it also allows the olfactory system time to process the oils and recover before receiving more.
For those who want to be able to quickly saturate the air in a room with the whole oil, this system just can’t be beaten!
Nebulizing Diffusers Abundant Health™ Carries:
The Advanced Essential Oil Diffuser is the most powerful diffuser we carry. It features built-in settings that allow you to control both the air flow and the amount of time the diffuser is left on and off. This enables you to have control of how much oil is being diffused at a time.
The Digital Timer has 20 time slots available for you to set, so you can choose to have the device come on and off 20 times throughout the day or 20 times throughout the week. It is programmable to the minute, allowing you to set it to the exact time you want. Automate a diffuser or other device using easy preset options or custom settings for each day of the week.
Ultrasonic or Humidifying Diffusers
Like nebulizing diffusers, ultrasonic diffusers also create a fine mist, but the method by which this is accomplished is very different. An ultrasonic diffuser utilizes electronic frequencies to cause a small disc under the surface of a liquid (usually water) to vibrate at a very fast rate. These ultrasonic vibrations break the essential oil into tiny microparticles, dispersing the oil in a fine mist. These tiny particles are more easily absorbed by the lungs for a greater therapeutic effect on the body, mind, and spirit.
While the transformation of water or other liquids into vapor normally requires great heat, the transformation of these liquids into vapor is accomplished through an adiabatic process, which means the change in state of the liquids was accomplished without any kind of heat energy being used at all.
- Helps humidify the air. This type of diffusion creates a lovely mist that helps to humidify the air and features the gentle sound of trickling water.
- Conserves oil. Because only a small amount of essential oil is needed in this type of diffuser, less oil is used as compared to other diffusers.
- Very little oil is diffused. Because this type of diffuser needs a large amount of water compared to oil to create the mist, only a small fraction of the mist is actually essential oil, and it depends solely on the air current already in the room to disperse the mist throughout the room.
- Typically needs cleaning often. If the oil is placed in the base of the diffuser with the water, there is the potential for the oil to build up on the ultrasonic disc (the silver disc that vibrates and creates the mist). If oil builds up on this disc, causing the disc to be unable to vibrate quickly, the result may be a burnt-out motor in the diffuser. However, this can be avoided by frequently cleaning the ultrasonic disc by dipping a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and gently scrubbing the disc.
For those who desire only a small amount of oil to be diffused in a room, this type of diffuser not only works well but can also be very beautiful.
Ultrasonic/Humidfying Diffusers Abundant Health™ Carries:
Our most popular humidifying diffuser is the Whisper Premium Silent Misting Diffuser because the oil never touches the moving parts, it is easy to clean, and it has timer settings that allow the diffuser to run intermittently for up to 9 hours. This is one of the best nighttime diffusers because it is silent and will run off and on all night long.
The gorgeous Handcrafted Porcelain Ultrasonic Diffusers come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and designs. If you are looking for an elegant diffuser to display, these are the ones to look at. These diffusers also come with 16 light options (including no light) and 3 mist options: high, low, or intermittent.
The USB Diffuser is the smallest ultrasonic diffuser on the market! Just insert a small bottle of oil in the compartment underneath the diffuser, and the ultrasonic disc will mist the oil into the air. This diffuser works anywhere there is a USB connection or adapter.
The Ultra Mini USB Diffuser and the Ultrasonic Car Diffuser both use a wick to bring the water and oil up to the ultrasonic disc to be diffused out. The Ultra Mini USB Diffuser makes a great starter diffuser because it is inexpensive and works well. It is also a good choice for use with children because the water won’t leak if the diffuser is tipped over.
Other ultrasonic or humidifying diffusers include the Aroma Ready™ Oil Drop Diffuser, the Ultrasonic Personal Diffuser, the Sirona™ Ultrasonic Diffuser, the Airmid™ Ultrasonic Diffuser, and the Cloud Ultrasonic Diffuser.
There are usually 2 kinds of evaporative diffusers, ones that use a fan and ones that use the existing air current. Both kinds of evaporative diffusers are pretty basic in how they operate.
With an evaporative fan diffuser, a fan blows air from the room through some sort of pad or filter that has essential oils dropped onto it. The air blowing through the pad causes the oils to evaporate more quickly than normal, and the air with the evaporated oil is blown into the room.
The other type of evaporative diffuser doesn’t require a fan to blow the oil around but rather uses the air current existing in the room to subtly diffuse around a small area. These diffusers are usually personal diffusers such as necklace pendants, bracelets, personal oil inhalers, or pens. Some can even be absorbent beads placed in a mesh bag to diffuse in a small space.
- Provides aroma for a small area. This method of diffusion works well at getting the scent of the oil into the room or around your personal space.
- Pretty quiet diffusers. Aside from fan noises in the fan diffusers, evaporative diffusers are typically very quiet and may not make noise at all.
- Oil components evaporate at different times. Anytime an essential oil evaporates, some of the lighter, or more volatile, components of the oil tend to evaporate much faster than the heavier and less volatile components. This means that instead of getting the whole oil all at once, you are getting a higher percentage of the lighter components at the beginning of the process and a higher percentage of the heavier components towards the end of the process. Because the whole oil is not diffused at once, the therapeutic benefits of the oil may be reduced.
While this fractioning of the oil may diminish any therapeutic properties that the whole oil had possessed, evaporative fan diffusion is still a good and relatively quiet means of getting the aroma of the essential oil throughout the room, and evaporative personal diffusers are great at containing the aroma within your personal space.
The Whispi™ Personal Pump Diffusers are a little unique because the pumping action with your finger pushes the air through the scent cell, picks up the aroma of the essential oil, and blows it out for you to smell.
Like evaporative diffusers, heat diffusers also cause the essential oils to evaporate quicker than normal but use heat instead of blowing air to accomplish diffusion.
While some heat diffusers use high levels of heat to produce stronger smells, the best heat diffusers will only use very low levels of heat that produce more subtle aromas. This difference is important because high levels of heat can actually alter the chemical constituents of the oils.
- Provides aroma for a small area. This method of diffusion works well at getting the scent of the oil into the room or car.
- Silent diffusers. These diffusers are silent since no air is being blown, no water is bubbling, and no fans are blowing.
- Oil components evaporate at different times. Heat diffusers share the same drawback of any diffuser that relies on evaporation—the potential of fractionating the oil into its components instead of putting the whole oil into the air. See evaporative diffuser downsides (above) for more information.
- High levels of heat alter oils. As mentioned above, high levels of heat can actually alter the chemical constituents of essential oils, so it is best to only use essential oils with low levels of heat.
Heat diffusers are a very economical and totally silent method of putting an oil’s aroma into the air.
Heat Diffusers Abundant Health™ Carries:
Abundant Health™ only offers low-level heat diffusers so they can be used with essential oils. These heat diffusers include the Car Diffuser and the Plug-In Diffuser.
How do I know which diffuser I need?
With the large variety of diffusers on the market, it can sometimes be hard to decide on which one to get for youself and your family. To help you better understand your diffuser needs, try answering the following questions:
- How do I anticipate the diffuser to primarily be used? Do I need it for its strong therapeutic benefits, or do I primarily want to diffuse for the aroma?
- When do I need the diffuser to run? At night while everyone is sleeping or during the day? Some diffusers are quieter than others, so keep this in mind when choosing a diffuser.
- How large is the area I wish to use my diffuser in? Some diffusers are meant for small spaces while others may cover the whole house.
- Does the warranty matter to me? Warranties can be an indicator of the quality of the diffuser, so this may be a feature to look for.
- Do I mind cleaning the diffuser, or do I need a low maintenance diffuser? Diffusers vary in how much maintenance is required. On average, humidifying diffusers require the most maintenance with the Whisper diffuser being an exception.
- How much am I willing to spend on a diffuser? This can be a huge factor, but you should consider the long-term costs as well. Some diffusers are pretty inexpensive but, if not maintained properly, could break down quickly requiring multiple purchases over time. Other diffusers may be an investment with a higher upfront cost but, with warranties and low maintenance needs, could prove to be a better deal in the long run.
- Do I care what the diffuser looks like? Some diffusers are more aesthetically pleasing than others, so if the diffuser will be prominently displayed, this could be a deciding factor.
What are the diffusers Abundant Health™ sells, and how do they compare?
Click to enlarge the diffuser information graphics below.