Essential Oil Diffusers – A Man versus Oils Review

Welcome back oh manly users of all things essential oils. Late last year I gave you an outline and review of a number of portable diffusers ready for the busy holiday period. During that post, I promised to do the same in regards to room diffusers so here it is!

Now, I have really gone to town here – hence the delay as I really wanted to make sure that after this post, that you will be an expert in all things to do with essential oil diffusers, their types, uses, benefits, reach and anything else I can think of at the time. I do see this post as one that is constantly growing and being updated as I find new things or new information so if this is something that interests you, bookmark this page for future reference.

And don’t worry, if there is just a little bit of information you are after, I have set up a little table of contents for you so that you don’t have to go through everything just to find it.

Buckle up… Here we go!

Types of Diffusers

Believe it or not, like most things in this world there are a number of essential oil diffuser types. The type you choose should depend on such things as:

  • how often you plan to use it
  • what you are using it for
  • the reach that you need
  • functionality
  • how much you are willing to maintain it.

If I am being honest, there are a number of different types of diffusers available but only two of them are what I would consider to be decent. I have listed them below:

Ultrasonic

Ultrasonic Diffuser
Ultrasonic Diffuser

Ultrasonic diffusers work via ultrasonic vibrations that release micro particles of water and your favourite man-oil recipe into the air as a very fine mist. The essential oils sit on top of the water – obviously they do not mix into it – and once the diffuser is turned on they are released into the atmosphere as negative ions. The fact that they are a negative ions causes them to attach to positively charged matter within the home – which is most things that are considered harmful including toxic chemicals, pollen and mould.

Pros

  • Generally quiet due to the lack of heat or fans
  • Much cleaner that filter or pad (evaporative) diffusers
  • Low maintenance
  • Generally more affordable than Nebuliser diffusers

Cons

  • Can grow mould internally if not kept clean
  • Not as effective as Nebuliser diffuser
  • Oils can eventually damage the plastic water wells (most of them are plastic)

Use when

  • You want a cost effective yet effective method to release oils into your home
  • Your space is not overly large
  • Your interests are more about the aroma than the therapeutic benefits

Nebuliser

Nebuliser diffuser
Nebuliser diffuser

Often considered to be more powerful than the Ultrasonic models, nebuliser diffusers work by using an atomizer to release airborne essential oil particles into the air without the need for water or heat. They are commonly made with glass inserts meaning that the essential oil that is released into the atmosphere has not been in contact with plastics. The lack of water also means that a more concentrated blast of essential oils molecules is released.

Pros

  • Generally quiet due to the lack of heat or fans
  • Covers a greater area that an Ultrasonic diffuser
  • Release more pure, undiluted molecules of essential oil
  • Delivers the complete therapeutic value of essential oils
  • Does not add moisture to the area

Cons

  • More expensive than Ultrasonic diffusers
  • Cleaning is more difficult and time-consuming
  • Use more oil in less time that an Ultrasonic diffuser
  • Needs a timer to reduce the chance of over saturation or exposure

Use when

  • You wish to cover a large area
  • You want to reduce the amount of moisture in your home
  • You wish to gain the most therapeutic benefits from your oils

Other Types

As I mentioned, there are some other diffuser types out there. I have listed them here for information purposes and yes, they can be effective but in my opinion, really not worth it. These include:

Heat Diffusers

As with an Ultrasonic diffuser, essential oils and water are added to the diffuser, however in this instance heat is used to disperse them in the form of a vapour or gas. These are not popular as it is considered that the heat aspects change the composition of the oil and the vapours do not ‘hang around’ as long as the molecules of the main diffuser types. They can however be effective in very small areas – many car diffusers use heat – and with stronger/heavier oils such as sandalwood.

car vent diffuser
Click here to purchase

Evaporative Diffusers

These diffusers work by simply placing a few drops of oil onto a pad or cotton ball and then placing in front of a fan or vent. These are extremely popular in car diffusers as the car’s air conditioning vent is the perfect air source. You might also find them in jewelry where the drops are placed on the pad within the jewelry to evaporate naturally into the air or onto the skin. They actually do work quite well in these scenarios but again, not really as effective as a normal room type diffuser.

Diffuser functionalities

Now what man doesn’t like an overkill of functionality? And when it comes to diffusers, it is no different but with most things of course, sometimes we pay more for functionality that is totally useless. Here is a list of functionality to look out for when purchasing a diffuser. To make things easier, I have split them into must haves and cool to haves!

Must have:

Hourglass

The following functionality, in my humble manpinion, are must haves when it comes to diffusers!

  • Auto Shutoff – this is critical, especially in Ultrasonic diffusers. Put simply this means that when the diffuser runs dry, it switches off.
  • Mist control/mode – The diffuser can be set to different release settings, usually low, medium or high. This regulates the amount of molecules released into the air dependent usually upon the space it is being used in. This setting will also determine how fast the oil/water mix is used up.
  • Timer – This is important in Nebulizer diffusers where the release of essential oils is undiluted.

Cool to have:

  • Colour/light display – Your diffuser will light up in one or more colours, change patterns or even play videos depending on your level of interest and financial input
  • Spill/tip Shutoff – more important for portable diffusers however if your diffuser is placed somewhere where it can be knocked kicked over or bumped off a shelf, it will automatically shut itself off
  • USB connection – good if you want to make it more portable or open up other power options
  • Inbuilt Speaker – goes with the USB cable to make your device into a diffuser and boom box all in one!

Ultrasonic Diffusers

Fine! Time to shut up and let you have a look at some actual real diffusers I guess. Here are some ultrasonic diffusers that will do you right!

Young Living Dew Drop Diffuser.

What is it?: The Young Living Dew Drop Diffuser is an ultrasonic diffuser with up to four

YL Dewdrop Diffuser
Click here to purchase

hours of continuous-run diffusion, automatic shutoff, and ambient light control.

How it works: Essential oils and water are added the well where ultrasonic frequency generates waves at 1.7 million times per second, releasing essential oil molecules into the air.

Pros:

  • Silent operation
  • Automatic shutoff
  • Light can be turned off
  • Includes Lavender, Peace and Calming and Build Your Dream essential oils

Cons:

  • For small to medium rooms only
  • One ambient colour only (Blue)
  • Short operational period (4 hours)

Specs:

  • Coverage area: medium room (approx. 30 m2 / 323 ft2))
  • Operation time: 4 hours maximum
  • Size/dimensions: 13.5 x 13.5 x 19 cm
  • Reservoir size: 180 ml
  • Weight: 0.97 lbs. (0.44 kg)
  • Vapour output: 30 ml of water and oil/hour
  • Noise level: <44db

Price: $104.99 Members $138.15 Non-Members – Click here to order


Young Living Desert Mist Diffuser

What is it?: The Young Living Desert Mist Diffuser is an ultrasonic diffuser with multiple settings and up to 10 hours of operation time with10 LED colored light options.

YL Desert Mist Diffuser
Click here to purchase

How it works: Essential oils and water are added the well where ultrasonic frequency generates waves releasing essential oil molecules into the air.

Pros:

  • Silent operation
  • Automatic shutoff
  • LED Light displays can be customised including candle flicker mode
  • 3 diffuse modes – low (10 hours), medium (8 hours) and high (6 hours)
  • Lights can be turned off
  • Includes Peppermint, Sacred Sandalwood, Joy and Gathering essential oils

Cons:

  • For small to medium rooms only
  • No tip/spill shutoff

Specs:

  • Coverage area: medium room (approx. 30 m2 / 323 ft2)
  • Operation time: 10 hours maximum
  • Size/dimensions: 14.5 (diameter) x 21.6 cm
  • Reservoir size: 200 ml
  • Weight: 0.79 lbs. (0.36 kg)
  • Vapour output: 30 ml of water and oil/hour
  • Noise level: <44 db

Price: $104.99 Members $138.15 Non-Members – Click here to order


Young Living Rainstone Diffuser.

What is it?: Created with an exquisite and rare purple clay found only in a small region of China, the Young Living RainstoneDiffuser is an ultrasonic diffuser with 4 release settings allowing up to 10 hours of operation time with 5

YL Rainstone Diffuser
Click here to purchase

LED colored light options.

How it works: Essential oils and water are added the well where continuous ultrasonic diffusion at 1.7 million waves per second releasing essential oil molecules into the air.

Pros:

  • Silent operation
  • Automatic shutoff
  • LED Light displays can be customised including candle flicker mode
  • Contains a negative ionizer
  • Remote control
  • 4 diffuse modes allowing for one, two, three, six and eight-hour settings
  • Lights can be turned off
  • Comes with Cleaning brush
  • Includes Lavender, Joy and Citrus Fresh essential oils

Cons:

  • There are no operational buttons on the diffuser itself so if the remote is lost, you cannot use the diffuser until a replacement is purchased
  • For small to medium rooms only
  • No tip/spill shutoff

Specs:

  • Coverage area: medium room (approx. 30 m2 / 323 ft2)
  • Operation time: 8 hours maximum
  • Size/dimensions: 12.8 x 12.8 x 17cm
  • Reservoir size: 200 ml
  • Weight: 4.48 lbs. (2.2 kg)
  • Vapour output: 21 ml of water and oil/hour
  • Noise level: <44 db

Price: $283.25 Members $372.70 Non-Members – Click here to order

Click here to see other diffuser options from the Young Living Stable.


Everlasting Comfort Dark Wood Essential Oil Diffuser

What is it?: The Everlasting Comfort Dark Wood Essential Oil Diffuser is an ultrasonic diffuser with multiple timer and mist settings with 7 LED colored light options.

How it works: Essential oils and water are added the well where ultrasonic diffusion releases essential oil molecules into the air.

Everlasting Comfort Dark Wood Essential Oil Diffuser
Click here to purchase

Pros:

  • Silent operation
  • Automatic shutoff
  • LED Light displays can be customised
  • 4 timer options – 1, 3, 6 and unlimited hours
  • 4 mist release options
  • Large 400 ml water well
  • Lights can be turned off
  • Comes with free cleaning kit

Cons:

  • For small to medium rooms only
  • Larger tank means higher oil usage

Price: $USD36.95 – Click here to order.

Click here to see more Ultrasonic diffusers on Amazon including:

 

Nebulising Diffusers

Feel the need for a little stronger essential oil man-smell. Try these nebulising diffusers:

Young Living Aromalux Diffuser.

What is it?: The Young Living AromaLux nebulising diffuser includes a master timer control off switch with 1–10 hours of diffusion, a vapour volume control and 5 different LED display light settings.

YL AromaLux Diffuser
Click here to purchase

How it works: Essential oils are diffused directly from the bottle via the top attachment and the diffuser base.

Pros:

  • Silent operation
  • diffusion run timer (1–20 minutes)
  • diffusion pause timer (1–20 minutes)
  • 5 different LED display light settings
  • Fits both 5ml and 15ml bottles
  • Lights can be turned off
  • Reaches a larger areas than ultrasonic diffusers
  • Includes Thieves essential oil blend

Cons:

  • Uses much more oil than an ultrasonic diffuser
  • Can only diffuse one oil at a time by default – diffuser blends and recipes will need to be added to a spare bottle to be diffused

Specs:

  • Operation time: 10 hours maximum (via timer switch)
  • Size/dimensions: 13cm Wide x 13cm Deep x 14.7cm Tall.

Price: $183.35 Members $241.25 Non-Members – Click here to order


ArOmis Nebuliser Diffuser – Professional Grade

What is it?: The ArOmis nebulising diffuser is made of natural beech wood and hand-blown glass external components with a built-in timer function that turns on and off every ten minutes then shuts down after 4 hours.

ArOmis Nebuliser Diffuser
Click here to purchase

How it works: Essential oils are diffused directly from the glass container.

Pros:

  • Silent operation
  • Auto on/off settings to control release
  • Cold vapour – no heat or water required
  • Diffusion auto shut off (4 hour)
  • Glass essential oil container
  • Reaches a larger areas than ultrasonic diffusers

Cons:

  • Uses much more oil than an ultrasonic diffuser
  • Essential oil container can be much harder to clean than other diffusers

Price: $USD 89.99 – Click here to order


AromaTech AromaPro Nebuliser Diffuser 

What is it?: This is the grand daddy of diffusers covering 500 – 4,000 sq.ft. with a 24/7 Timer.  Can be wall moounted

How it works: Essential oils are diffused directly from the internal 500ml essential oil bottle.

AromaTech Aroma Pro Nebuliser Diffuser
Click here to purchase

Pros:

  • Silent operation
  • 24/7 timer
  • Covers a massive area
  • Can be conneted to home A/C units
  • Adjustable fragrance intensity

Cons:

  • Can only be used with AromaTech 500ml bottles which must be purchased separately
  • Expensive for the home (but not so much for a large office)

Specs

  • Covers 500 – 4,000 square feet
  • Power: 110-240 volt power source
  • Consumption: 1-2 ml. per hour
  • Dimensions: 11″ w x 10″ h x 3.5″ d
  • Bottle Capacity: 500 ml. (1-3 months)
  • Refill: 1-3 months depending on usage
  • Weight: 7 lbs
  • Color: Sleek Black or Modern White. Note when choosing Modern White color the casing will be all white.

Price: $USD 851.23 – Click here to order

Click here to see more Nebuliser diffusers on Amazon including:


Caring for your diffuser

Once you have made your purchase, there are some minor maintenance procedures that you may need to undertake to keep your diffuser working at optimum level. Most of this evolves around cleaning obviously but there are a few other little things to watch out for:

Ultrasonic diffusers

Shifting Spanner

After a daily use – or if changing oils:

  1. Disconnect the power supply from the unit.
  2. Wipe inside water tank and inner cover with clean dry cloth or paper towel until dry.

Monthly – of after every 10000km – haha

  1. Complete steps 1 and 2 above.
  2. Add 100ml of water and about a 1/2 teaspoon of white vinegar to the reservoir.
  3. Plug in the power supply and run for 5 minutes.
  4. Disconnect power supply and pour water and vinegar out.
  5. Rinse with clean water.
  6. Pour water out and wipe completely dry with clean cloth and cotton swabs (for edges ad fiddly bits).

Nebulising diffusers

  1. Remove oil bottle/oil from diffuser
  2. Add roughly 5ml of rubbing/isopropyl alcohol into the glass reservoir or glass bottle and shake/swirl then pour out.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 and turn on the diffuser for around 10-15 minutes in order to clean the micro-tubes
  4. Dispense the leftover alcohol and let your diffuser air dry

Recommendation

If it was me, and I guess it is cos I use one at home and in our workplaces, I would go for a good ultrasonic diffuser. They are easier to use, clean and experiment with than the nebulising models. I would probably only look at the nebulisers if I had a specific therapeutic reason for a particular oil or needed to cover a large room.

My last recommendation here would also to not be a Tony Tighta$$ here. We have used cheap models in our Pilates studios and they need to be replaced quite often. Once we went to a higher quality model, it not only lasted longer but emitted a much more noticeable aroma.

We use the Young Living Desert Mist Diffuser and haven’t looked back.

Conclusion

As always, I hope that I have provided enough information to assist you with your diffuser purchases. If not, please comment below and I will be more than happy to provide whatever it is that you are looking for. And don’t forget, if you are after a portable option – see my other post on portable diffusers.

Until next time

Have fun.

Paul


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14 thoughts on “Essential Oil Diffusers – A Man versus Oils Review”

  1. This is a great Post! I am actually familiar with a nebulizer, and although it’s the medical one I believe they work in a similar manner according to your description. You place the liquid in the mask and then it atomizes it  into a fine mist that you can easily breath in.

    I believe that didfusers are not just nice to have but also necessary to prevents health issues. It is especially nice for young children and elderly folks with weaker immune systems. This can really make a difference to a space as well because depending on the oil you use, a calming and relaxing mood can be set especially before bed time.

    I think the auto shut off feature is vital like you said but also the spill shit off because let’s face it we all have those clumsy moments! I think this is a good investment into your health and Osborn’s definitely worth the price as well ad the effort to clean the device.

    Thanks for sharing this!

    Reply
  2. A very complete overview of what the market has to offer in regards to the essential oil diffusers and how to use each and why you may select one over another. I had no idea that there was such a wide selection of options out there, but I sure do now. My man-self is ready to shop!

    I am not a Tony Tighta$$ by any means, but most certainly wanted to know about what the heck I should be looking for since I mainly deal in killing meat for the family and got stuck with this mission! If I was a hen-pecked husband like my brother, I would worry about the money, but I am a true man.

    The reasoning you use to prefer an ultrasonic over a nebulizer version makes sense to me, and I will defer to your manliness on this. In looking at the models that you have profiled, it seems that I would be best going with the one that you use.

    Let’s hope I do not do too good of a job with this task, or I may have to order the essential oils to go along with the coming diffuser. That will take away from the important things in life, like cleaning and oiling up my 12-gauge for the next hunt! Thanks for a thorough job here and saving me a lot of time!   

    Reply
  3. This are  totally New to me and their work I am still to  understand. Are they air purifier or what are they ?  How long do one  atomizer last ? Do they have  expiry dates or it  is one products to last a live time.? The reason I am asking these questions is need to know what actually they are and what they actually do.

    Reply
    • Hi Charles, in essence, they emit molecules of essential oils into the air.  Their benefits after that do depend a lot on which oil is used.  Diffusers are sometimes called air purifiers but apart from being negative charged and attaching to positively cvharged bad matter, I am not sure that they always purify the air as such.

      The length of time a diffuser lasts, like all things depends on the quality of the product.  We have purchased two n the past two years for our studio and both have lasted roughly 12 months.  We have a better quality one at home which has lasted a lot longer.  The ones in the studio are used a lot more though.  

      If you want more information on the oils themselves, click on my earlier blog on What are Essential Oils and do they work? – A skeptical perspective.

      Hope this helps

      Paul

      Reply
  4. Hi Paul:

    Wow, an Ultrasonic Diffuser – I didn’t know there was such a thing! I thought they all had to use heat to operate.

    I like how the Nebuliser uses glass instead of plastic to hold the oil. I’m a big opponent to plastic being used in so many products because it seeps into liquid and it’s horrible for the environment.

    I suppose I could use a heat diffuser but like you say, this can change the molecular properties of the oil. Can a heat diffuser actually destroy the oil?

    I really like that Young Living Rainstone Diffuser but it’s pretty pricey!

    You’ve really given us a thorough post here with lots of good information – even the care and maintenance!

    Thanks Paul – great post!

    Reply
  5. Aloha Paul!Thank you for this great information about essential oil diffusers. I was pretty surprised how many different types of diffusers you can use. And also about the price range!! You can really spend money on them. Mainly, I used a heat diffuser, or added several drops of oil to the purified water and sprayed it myself; and I also dropped few drops on the cotton and placed it on the heater. These ways were pretty inexpensive.However, I often use high-quality oils of the brand Young Living. My Mom-in-law is a member of Young Living and provides us with those oils from time to time. I think, they deserve a better diffuser 🙂 My Mom wants to present a gift to us for our little, three-years-anniversary and I thought that maybe the Comfort Dark Wood Essential Oil Diffuser that — what I understood from your comparison — has great features, looks good and isn’t very expensive, could be the choice. Would you recommend this type, Paul? The room where I want to diffuse the oil is small.Thank you in advance for your time and effort!Aloha, Jenna

    Reply
  6. I used to work at Bed, Bath and Beyond and I sold diffusers as a push item and they sold like crazy! It was all the craze and I often would ask my customers pros and cons about each different diffusers because I was getting a lot of returns on them. They all pretty much said the same thing you are clearly outlining by category and its weird because you would thing the most expensive the better but it seems some of the ultra sonic ones are realistic and not too bad in functions.

    Thanks for the simple breakdown

    Reply
  7. I’ve been looking for a diffuser for awhile now, but the prices and types always vary so much that I never knew which one to choose.  Thank you for being so thorough in your review!  I feel like the nebuliser diffuser would work best since it reaches a larger area.  Would the ArOmis Nebuliser Professional Grade model do well in an open area that is about 600 sq. ft.?

    Reply

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