If you're interested in learning more about aromatherapy or just making your home smell like a spa, an essential oil diffuser can come in handy. It can add joy or relaxation to your home, or just provide a pleasant scent.
However, choosing the right diffuser can be challenging.
This is why after several years of testing some of the most popular essential oil differs on the market, we think the Airomé(available at Amazon) is the best for your home. With its simple and easy-to-operate design, it’s perfect for an old hat or someone who is interested in trying one for the very first time.
During our trials, we discovered the top models are simple to operate, do not overpower your home while diffusing, and that special features (such as flashy LED lights or fancy stone material) don’t always make for the perfect essential oil diffuser.
These are the best essential oil diffusers we tested ranked, in order.
Innogear Upgraded 150ml Diffuser
Stadler Form Jasmine
Airomé Serenity Medium Diffuser
The Airomé Serenity checked every box during our testing. It's easy to transport, attractive, quiet, and simple to operate and clean. To get the most accurate results possible, our tests focused on running each diffuser for eight hours, while popping our heads in each hour to check on their progress. The ultrasonic Airomé diffused a fine mist evenly into the room and continuously created a pleasant but not overpowering scent. Plus, it comes in a lot of different colors and aesthetics.
The Airomé had no special features, but this diffuser offers a simply elegant design and even diffusing power. While not extravagant, it has a nice clean design, with a polished porcelain lid ringed with gold. I used lavender essential oil “for relaxation” during our tests and the Airomé did not disappoint during diffusing. It adds a simple elegance to the room and dare we say the even stream of diffused lavender made us feel a bit more relaxed during the process.
Asakuki is a popular name in this space so we just knew we had to look for ourselves. We tested both the 100-milliliter and 500-milliliter models and the snazzy smaller model took our spot for Best Value. We loved how it creates a noticeable but not overwhelming scent during diffusing at an affordable price.
Despite having less water capacity, the smaller Asakuki diffused the lavender scent we used in testing evenly. There is beauty in simplicity and the smaller Asakuki model provides a nice touch to the room with its simple white lid and wood grain bottom with different light and mist modes.
We also liked how quiet the smaller model diffused during testing. It was little more than a whisper while it was running than the occasional sputter the larger Asakuki emitted. Easy to operate and clean because of its basic plastic covering, this Asakuki is a solid choice for a first-time user who may not prefer the overpowering scent of the 500-milliliter mode.
Hi, I’m Cailey Lindberg, the Updates Staff Writer here at Reviewed and a full-time dog mom to a 7-month-old basset hound puppy named Sandor. I also delve into personal essays and entertainment journalism over at Medium. Scented candles, sage, and incense are basically a religious experience for me, so I wanted to see how essential oil diffusers stacked up.
Our initial round of testing was done by Reviewed's smart home editor, Sarah Kovac, who has used essential oils for aromatherapy and skincare off and on for years. In addition to testing products, she's covered a broad range of topics—from neuroscience to parenting to disability issues.
To find which products to recommend, we looked for ease of assembly, use, and cleaning, as well as strength of diffusion, portability, mist output, aesthetics, noise level, special features, and overall experience.
For testing, we used an upstairs bedroom and chose a mild and relaxing lavender essential oil blend. Each diffuser was shut in the bedroom and turned on to continuous mist (except the nebulizers, which only operate intermittently). We popped our heads into the room at scheduled intervals to check the aroma’s strength.
What You Should Know About Essential Oil Diffusers
When deciding which product to buy, it is important to know the difference between the four different types available. Each offers unique features and has pros and cons that can be weighed before purchasing.
Nebulizing diffusers work by using a pressurized airstream and jet nozzle, which diffuses the oil into smaller amounts that can be beneficial for aromatherapy you inhale them. They use no heat or hot water when diffusing, but they are also the noisiest (and cost the most) of all of the oil diffuser types.
Ultrasonic essential oil diffusers work by using a small underwater disk to break up the essential oils so that they can be evenly diffused into the air. They’re also quiet, use no heat, and can act as a humidifier during ultrasonic diffusion.
Heat essential oil diffusers act by using a heated plate to diffuse the essential oils into the air, using water mixed with heat at low levels. These models are an economical and silent alternative.
Evaporative essential oil diffusers release the oil in segments, relying on airflow to push the scent into the room quickly. They hit the mark for speed, but the essential oil can often become diluted because it is diffused in segments.
How To Use An Oil Diffuser
The best place for an oil diffuser is in the center of the room so that the oils are evenly distributed. Place it on a flat surface and plug it into a nearby power outlet. The type of casings varies between different designs, but generally, the top will need to be lifted off in order to fill it with water.
Use room temperature water when filling your diffuser and only fill it to the line marker. Most diffusers use 3 to 10 drops of essential oil per use, but you can consult manufacturer information for more specific instructions. After filling the water tank with the correct amount of essential oil, simply replace the lid and flip the switch to begin diffusing.
Are Essential Oil Diffusers Safe To Use?
While wellness advocates claim essential oils can help reduce stress or boost energy, there are a few potential risks to be aware of. Cynthia Tamlyn, a clinical aromatherapist with more than 20 years of experience, has good advice on how to properly use your oil diffuser.
Few people know that these products are only supposed to have a run time of 15 to 20 minutes, she says. After diffusing for short periods, Tamlyn recommends turning your diffuser off for at least an hour to give your body a rest from the essential oils.
Tamlyn says that passive diffusion using an ultrasonic model is the safest method of using essential oils in your home. To do so, apply a few drops of oil to the diffuser's terra cotta disk or balls which will allow the essential oil to evaporate at its natural rate.
She recommends using less essential oil if you’re diffusing in a small space, especially if people or pets are in close proximity. She advises to do your research when purchasing essential oils and always keep it out of reach of children and pets.
There have been few scientific studies on essential oils and the industry has not been regulated by the FDA. David Stukus, a pediatrician and associate professor of pediatrics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio told the New York Times that oil diffusing may be most concerning for children with underlying conditions such as asthma and allergies, saying that that essential oils are “really good at infiltrating the upper and lower airways, which can cause irritation, especially in people with underlying chronic medical conditions such as asthma or allergies.”
Are Oil Diffusers Safe For Pets?
Oil diffusers may also be harmful to your pets. ASPCA lists the issue as complicated and recommends caution if you plan to use essential oils around your pets.
“As long as the oil diffusers are kept in a secure location where pets are unable to knock them over or consume any of the contents,” says Leslie Brooks, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and veterinarian consultant for betterpet.
“However, some dogs and some cats may have asthma or allergic sensitivities to them. If you use an oil diffuser and then notice your cat or dog coughing or sneezing or having watery eyes, it could be because of the oil diffuser. Cats may be especially sensitive if they already have asthma.”
The oils are thought to be the most dangerous in their most concentrated form before diffusing and your pet could suffer if the concentrated oil is ingested or gets directly on their skin. Cats are reported to be more sensitive than dogs and the risks associated with diffusing around them can be more serious.
If you decide to use an oil diffuser with pets in this house, taking which scents you use into account is important to keep your dog or cat safe. According to Sara Ochoa, a veterinary consultant for doglab.com, oils such as cinnamon, citrus, pennyroyal, peppermint, pine, sweet birch, tea tree, wintergreen, and ylang-ylang are considered toxic for dogs. The list for cats is slightly longer and includes wintergreen, peppermint, citrus, tea tree, pine, eucalyptus, cinnamon, pennyroyal, sweet birch, clove, and ylang-ylang oil.
“When you first use a diffuser, stay at home and monitor your pet," says Ochoa. "If you notice any problems, turn the diffuser off and air out your house. At first use, just a little bit of the oils as pets have a stronger smell than humans.”
Other Essential Oil Diffusers We Tested
InnoGear Upgraded 150ml Diffuser
Our former Best Overall, the Innogear Upgraded 150ml, just didn’t hold up against the new models we tested, although it is still the cheapest of all the products contained in this guide. The features we loved initially, such as the measuring line and built-in measuring cup, and built-in LED lights are still big pluses for us, but its diffusing power was lower than our new favorites, the Airome and Asakuki.
Despite its lower score in our second round of tests, the Innogear still has unique features that make it a good purchase. For example, the top of the Innogear locks into the base for an automatic shut instead of just lifting off like most models.
The locking feature made it easier for us to take it from room to room without spilling the water and the oils inside. The LED mood lighting also rotates so you can choose the color you want easily, and the Innogear could easily function as a night light.
The Vitruvi is a simply gorgeous diffuser, made with a high-quality stone casing that will add style to any home setting. It was beautiful to look at during testing and we would love to have it in our homes. Despite how lovely the off-white stone looked in my bedroom, it was very slow to dry after I cleaned it and the diffuser requires more essential oil per milliliter to operate at its highest level.
The added expense of more essential oils over time, cleaning difficulties, and the high price could be a deterrent for a first-timer, but the investment could be a great option for an experienced user. Putting the drawbacks aside, the Vitruvi is a beautiful piece of decor that will match any room and a fantastic diffuser when given enough essential oil, it is just a little more high maintenance.
We liked doTerra’s Petal Diffuser for its large capacity and ease of use. A bright red water level marker makes it easy to keep from overfilling the unit, while mist, light, and time interval buttons on the front are clearly labeled. It is immediately obvious how to use this diffuser and adjust its settings.
The Petal’s design is not obtrusive, and the built-in light emits a soft white glow, though it doesn't give you the opportunity to change colors or use the light without the mist. While it can’t output as much aroma as the Raindrop 2.0 nebulizing diffuser, the scent it diffused lingered as long as any of the other standard diffusers we tested.
Despite the different names, the URPOWER essential oil diffuser is almost exactly the same as the InnoGear. The only difference is in the reservoir capacity. The URPOWER holds 100ml, while the InnoGear holds 150ml.
On all other fronts—shape, lighting options, buttons, locking base, ease of use—these two products are identical. The reservoir capacity can be a big deal, though, if you want a diffuser that will run all day. The URPOWER and InnoGear also both hover around the same price point, so we recommend choosing the InnoGear for its larger capacity.
The SpaRoom PureMist is a solid diffuser for its price. Several Amazon commenters claim that it won’t run without the light being on. That would indeed be a problem, especially for those who like to run a diffuser as they sleep instead of in their living room. But the unit we tested ran with the light on or off. The PureMist doesn’t have any bells and whistles and the design isn’t as appealing as some others we tested, but the price tag is.
If you’re looking for a diffuser that will blend well with modern, minimalist decor, the Stadler Form Jasmine has you covered. It comes in your choice of black or white, and if it weren’t for the barely-noticeable power and interval buttons on the front, it could be mistaken for a simple bowl. Its diffusing capabilities were about the same as the others we tested except that the mist wasn’t as dense.
While that means it took a little longer for the aroma to build up in our test room, it also means that it can run for many hours longer than other diffusers. In continuous mode, the Jasmine can run for about seven hours. Switch it to interval mode, and it can last for 21 hours. If you’re looking for a small but steady stream of oils, you’ll like the Jasmine diffuser.
The Raindrop 2.0 is a waterless nebulizing diffuser, so there’s no measuring required, and there’s no messing with the water-to-oil ratio. Just fill the bottom with 10 to 20 drops of essential oil and turn it on. This diffuser filled the room with an aroma very quickly, and at full blast would be great in larger rooms and open floor plans.
The Raindrop is also very pretty. True to its name, the wood-grain base and glass bottle combine to make an elegant droplet shape that looks more like art than a diffuser. The color-changing light isn’t especially bright, and can’t be paused on any particular color, but it actually looks better without it on.
The glass bottle looks delicate yet feels very sturdy seated in the wooden base, and the bottom is covered in a rubbery material to keep it stable. Cleaning is slightly more work than with a regular diffuser, but it’s not a big deal.
A few drops of rubbing alcohol diffused for five to 10 minutes and it’s back to being clear and spotless. In our first round of testing, we named the Organics Aroma Raindrop as our top nebulizing model, but because it’s difficult to set up, it scored poorly in our recent testing.
Aroma Outfitters 3D Galaxy 230ml Essential Oil Diffuser
Aroma Outfitters was probably the most disappointing oil diffuser we tested and not worth all of the excitement it caused with its flashy galaxy color-changing LED light advertisement. I couldn’t wait to receive and test it, envisioning a lighted galaxy on my wall combined with a calming lavender smell.
A “Most Wished For” diffuser on Amazon, it was surprising that the Aroma Outfitters fell so flat during testing. The design was cool, but it simply wasn’t functional, as we could only smell the faintest scent during testing. While the LED lighting turns your room into a virtual galaxy, you’d be better off just purchasing a regular blacklight and skipping out on the diffusing altogether.
Sarah Kovac is an award-winning author and accessibility editor for Reviewed. Previously, she worked with a multitude of outlets such as Wirecutter, TIME, PCMag, Prevention, The Atlantic, Reviews.com, CNN, GOOD, Upworthy, Mom.me, and SheKnows.
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