How to Buy the Best Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser


This article was contributed from Jill Holiday, editor at Pure Wild Oils

An aromatherapy essential oil diffuser helps you truly enjoy and benefit from the aroma and medicinal value of essential oils.

A diffuser evenly distributes the oil’s fragrance throughout your environment, calming your body and senses. Today, there is a wide range of essential oil diffusers with special features that can help you find your Zen at home or office.

Three common types of diffusers available today are Ultrasonic, Heat and Evaporative.

Ultrasonic diffusers use high frequency to convert water and essential oil mixture into a fine mist. Heat diffusers break down volatile compounds of essential oils using a candle, releasing their aroma in the process. Evaporative diffusers use a fan to spread the oil’s aroma in the air. Apart from these basic types, each diffuser can be categorized based on certain features. Having an idea about these features ensures you make an informed choice when buying the perfect essential oil diffuser for your needs.

Features to Consider When Purchasing an Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser

Following are some of the most important features to consider when selecting an aromatherapy diffuser:

Coverage area

Coverage area is the area measured in square feet or square meters throughout which the diffuser can diffuse the oily mist. You can choose from diffusers suitable for a small closed area (covering up to 150 square feet), or an average bedroom (215 square ft/20 square meters), a medium room (30 square meter) or a very large room (700 sq. feet).

Operation time

Diffusers are also available in varying operation times. A good quality diffuser will allow you to control diffusion/operation time so you can save the precious essential oils. Basic diffusers come with a fixed operation time of up to 5 hours, while some USB diffusers can run continuously for 20 hours diffusing at intervals of 10, 30 or 60 seconds.


The size and dimension of your diffuser is an important feature to consider if you want it to be as mobile and hardworking as you are. Small diffusers measuring up to 9 cm (diameter) x 10.5 cm (tall) are easy to move from room to room or even to your car. Travel fan diffusers can even be tossed into a suitcase along with a bottle of essential oil so you can carry it on your flight and into your hotel room to create your own personal oasis wherever you go.

Reservoir Size

Reservoir sizes of diffusers can vary from 1 ml all the way up to 260 ml. The higher the capacity of your diffuser’s reservoir, the greater the oil and water mixture it can hold. However, the greater the reservoir size also means a bulkier diffuser. Many people prefer smaller, discrete diffusers which can blend with their room’s décor.


Weight of the diffusers available today can vary from a few ounces to up to 5 pounds. Spas and yoga facilities often prefer bulkier diffusers with greater oil reservoir capacities. This prevents the need to refill the diffuser as often. Choose your diffuser based on the room’s area you wish to cover and the purpose you wish to use it for.

Vapor output

This feature controls how much mist is put out into the environment. The greater the vapor output, the stronger your oil’s fragrance. However, you can also control the fragrance by changing the dilution/concentration of oil in water. Vapor output is a nice feature to control just like turning up or down the volume on your TV or radio.

Noise level

Bulky diffusers with a large fan could end up being noisy. Most consumers prefer silent diffusers which let out a silent hum that doesn’t interfere with one’s tranquility and inner peace. Choose a diffuser with noise output no more than 23 decibels. Very large diffusers can even go up to 54 decibels.


Accessories for diffusers can vary from glass covers, air vent accessories, remote control, splash control, power adaptors, LED lights in multiple colors, playback music, ambient light, timed shut off, refill cartridges, replacement wicks, atomizer tops etc. Many of these accessories make the diffuser a great companion for one’s Yoga practice and especially for professional spa facilities. Some accessories are totally optional and only add to the price of the unit.

Questions to Ask Yourself before Buying a Diffuser

We have just looked at some of the main features an essential oil diffuser can have. Here are some questions you might want to consider before buying one:

Is the diffuser I am looking for suitable for a particular purpose/ailment I have in mind?

Many people purchase a diffuser for treating specific ailments. If that is the case, it is best that you speak to a therapist. A trained aroma-therapist can recommend the right type and brand of diffuser for your specific needs.

What type of diffuser is the best: Ultrasonic, heat or evaporative?

A good quality diffuser that is well priced, attractive and has the latest technology is ideally what you should be looking for. Heat diffusers use hot air to blow the aroma of the essential oil. It is best to stay away from these as they cook the volatile oils and could change their delicate chemical structure and medicinal properties. Instead, go for cold air diffusers which preserve the oil’s scent as well as its health benefits.

Am I willing to spend time cleaning the diffuser?

Water and oil mixture left standing in the reservoir is likely to develop bacteria and mold. Therefore, it is very important that you clean the diffuser, its outlet valve and reservoir from time to time as per instructions given by the manufacturer. Choose a small easy-to-clean unit that won’t take too much of your time.

Price of a diffuser: How much is too much?

Not all diffusers are expensive. Today, there are many cost effective models available out there. However, simple, inexpensive diffusers may use the candle/heat option which in addition to changing the oil’s properties; may also be a fire hazard. Look for a moderately priced unit that has main features like ease of use, ease of assembly and maintenance, timer controlled and noise free operation etc. The main controls should be variable to your liking and as simple as turning a dial. If you want other bells and whistles like lights and music, be prepared to shell out some extra money.

Happy Diffuser Shopping!

I hope my brief guide above helps you select the perfect aromatherapy essential oil diffuser, especially if you are buying one for the first time. Keep the above points in mind so you buy a unit that is simple to operate and lasts for years to come.

About the Author

Jill is a full-time resident on the exotic island of Bali, Indonesia. When she’s not free-diving in the Indian Ocean, Jill spends time researching and writing about the medicinal and practical uses for essential oils and other natural oils at Pure Wild Oils. She is committed advocate for discovering and using Mother Nature’s alternative solutions over harmful man-made chemical products.

Do you have a favorite essential oil diffuser? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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