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Smart Home

I tried a smart oil diffuser—now I can't live without it

It's helpful-smart, not annoying-smart

Pura smart essential oil diffuser on yellow background Credit: Pura

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When you have three young children, a dog, a cat, and you've never been the most tidy person yourself, keeping your home smelling nice can be a serious struggle. Obviously I'm speaking from experience here, but even childless, petless neat freaks want their abode to be pleasant and welcoming—undesirable smells achieve pretty much the opposite effect, and they can originate from so many sources.

There are several ways to get your house smelling great—from air purifiers to candles to essential oil diffusers to sprays—but I've never found something that works well for me, mainly because I work from home. I rarely leave the house and would honestly not even know if my living room was smelling like my dog's breath or my toddler's diaper. But, to my eternal relief, there is a smart home gadget for that.

I saw advertisements for the Pura smart diffuser, and while I usually like to try new tech out before I commit to buying it (one of the perks of the job), I immediately added it to my shopping cart and bought it that day.

Alternating scents

Two Pura fragrance cartridges side by side
Credit: Pura

The Pura holds two different scents at once and can switch back and forth on a schedule or at will via the app.

What excited me so much about the Pura was that it can alternate between two scent cartridges throughout the day. So in the morning you can start off with one scent and program it via the app to switch to a different scent later in the day or to alternate back and forth. That means your nose never gets completely used to either, and you can always smell something lovely. You can choose from designer fragrances such as Pink Jasmine, Velvet Wineberry (which I love), Golden Mimosa, Vanilla Chiffon, Apple Orchards, Pink Peony and Silk, and many more.

Another cool thing about Pura is that it works with an optional subscription service. Starting at $12 a month, the plans send you two new scent cartridges every four weeks, and if you don't like one of them, the company will exchange for something different at no charge. The plans can be customized to include more refills and/or less frequent deliveries.

Adjustable strength

A hand holding a phone that has the Pura app on screen.
Credit: Pura

In the app, Pura users can adjust the intensity of each scent, and those settings are remembered each time Pura starts up.

Candles and air fresheners tend to give me a headache, so I love the fact that the app allows me to adjust the strength of each scent. If there's one that I love that doesn't give me a headache, I can crank it up and it will always dispense that scent at the level I've selected. If there is another one that tends to overwhelm me, I program it to stay very low when it turns on.

I have my Pura set on a schedule. We wake up to scent number one (Velvet Wineberry), it runs for an hour and then turns off. Scent number two (Vanilla Chiffon) turns on a few hours later, it also runs for an hour and then turns off. Then back to number one a few hours later, and number two again right before bed.

Pura isn't running all day, but it gives little boost of scent at times of day when I know people will be entering the living area. Pura plugs into the wall and can also double as a nightlight. You can select any color you like and adjust the brightness.

The right kind of smart

While the Pura is technically a smart home gadget, it does not have the multitude of options and cluttered interface that many smart home products have. It's extremely easy to use, simple to schedule, and pretty much just gets out of the way and does its thing. It's smart, but not smart enough to be annoying.

I'm swimming in smart home products over here, and the Puro air freshener is one of the few that actually makes me feel better about my home. Well worth the (minimal) investment.

Buy the Pura Diffuser Starter Kit from Anthropologie for $59

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Prices are accurate at the time this article was published, but may change over time.

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