Portable Diffusers for Essential Oils – A Man Versus Oils Review

Hello there my fellow festive season man-oilers! As we hurtle uncontrollably towards the Christmas break, many of us are knee-deep in travel plans. Whether it be a quick trip for Christmas lunch with family or a longer camping getaway, it is time to turn our mantention to all things car travel. My beautiful wife and I were discussing this at length the other day and she made comment that we needed a good car diffuser to help keep us calm on the roads. She ignored my eye rolls to inform me that there are plenty of good portable diffusers for essential oils out there and that they may even make a good Christmas present.

Portable Diffusers for Essential Oils – A Man Versus Oils Review. car diffuser
Want to get rid of those ugly stinky smelly trees?

I had a bit of a look around and what do you know? There are a LOT of them out there! No need for you guys to stress though as once again I have your back. I have had a good look around and here is what I have found!

Before we start

Before we dive into all things portable diffusers, I just wanted to clear some things up for you so that you are going in with your man-eyes open. I want to stress to you that we are looking at portable – read small – diffusers here. None of the options listed below, even though they may say otherwise, are going to cover large areas. So if you are looking to get a diffuser for any other than a standard sedan-type car, office or hotel room, I would really suggest going for a larger, sturdier model.

The biggest negative in regards to feedback in regards to these types of diffuser (besides not covering large areas) is that they do tend to use a bit more oil that the larger types. Again, they will say not, but in reality they do so if you are planning on using this type of diffuser on a daily basis in the one spot, go the bigger option.

My only other concern here is for those of you with brand new cars – do we really want to risk that new car smell just yet?

Note: At time of writing I had not got my man-backside into gear to give you a list of good, non portable diffusers on this site. I promise to remedy that soon!

Now that’s out the way… onward to the world of small, portable essential oil diffusers!

In-car diffusers

First up, I have had a good look at the best diffusers for the car. These are designed mainly for use in automobiles and even though they can definitely be used in other small areas, I have chosen ones here that will fit in your car vents, cup holders or power sockets.

3 Pack Car Diffuser Vent Clip

What is it?: Package contains two stainless steel vent clip diffusers containing interchangeable felt refill tabs.

How it works: Essential oils are added to a felt pad within the unit which is then clipped onto the air-conditioning vents in the car. The oil aromas are then dispersed via the car aid conditioner/fan.


  • No power required to run unit
  • Scents can be changed without the need to clean each pad
  • No chance of water/oil spillage in car
  • Contains 3 units with different patterns
  • Includes 36 re-usable felt pads in 12 colors
  • Vent clips contains rubber protector to avoid scratching


  • Can be overpowered by strong air conditioning settings
  • Can only be used in car
  • Higher levels of less aromatic oils may be required
  • Pads are not reusable (however extras can be purchased)
  • Actual frames are smaller than they appear

Price: $USD 9.99 – Click here to order

Invigorate Essential Oil USB and 12VDC Car Diffuser

What is it?: In-car heat plate essential oil diffuser.

How it works: Essential oils are added a heat plate which heats the oils. The aroma is then dispersed via the inbuilt fan.


  • Contains both USB and 12VDC car power adapters
  • Auto turn on and off with vehicle ignition
  • No chance of water/oil spillage in car
  • Cap can be turned to increase/decrease aroma release


  • No auto shutoff for non-car uses
  • Not suitable for larger rooms or cars

Price: $USD 39.99 – Click here to order

Mini USB Car Diffuser/Humidifier

What is it?: USB Powered diffuser with a 55ml capacity, 2 spray modes, one-touch operation and 2 speed selections.

How it works: Essential oils and water are mixed to release an ultra-fine and smooth uniform aromatherapy mist.


  • Can run for up to 3 hours (continuous misting) or 6 hours (intermittent misting).
  • USB Cable included
  • Completely Silent & BPA free
  • Automatic shutoff when water runs out or container tips to greater than 90 degrees
  • Designed to fit most vehicle cup holders
  • Can also be used in small offices/bedrooms etc.


  • Water/oil can be spilled if container tips
  • Does not come with USB to 12VDC car power adapters (can be purchased separately)
  • Can lose effectiveness in bigger cars

Price: $USD 19.99 – Click here to order

USB Aromatherapy Car Essential Oil Diffuser/Humidifier

What is it?: USB Powered car diffuser with a 55ml capacity, up to 6 hours, one-touch operation and 2 speed selections.

How it works: Essential oils and water are mixed to release an ultra-fine and smooth mist.


  • 7 colors can be selected as a single color, cycled or turned off.
  • USB Cable included
  • Completely Silent & BPA free
  • Automatic shutoff when water runs out
  • Designed to fit most vehicle cup holders
  • Can also be used as a diffuser/nightlight in small offices/bedrooms etc.


  • Water/oil can be spilled if container tips
  • No auto shut-off if container tips
  • Does not come with USB to 12VDC car power adapters (can be purchased separately)
  • Can lose effectiveness in bigger cars

Price: $USD $29.99 – Click here to order

Portable Diffusers

These diffusers are similar to the USB car types that I have previously outlined however are more designed for small offices and for travel (hotel rooms etc.).

AromaTech Aromacube

What is it?: Battery or Powered fan diffuser with a 2-hour operation time.

How it works: Essential oils are added to a cotton pad and dispersed via a heat-free, fan based system.


  • Silent and energy efficient
  • Constructed from recycled plastic
  • Uses 3 AAA batteries or socket power
  • Covers up to 100sq ft
  • Automatic shutoff after 2 hours
  • Comes with 2 replacement pads
  • Available in 2 colours (black or white)
  • User manual available


  • Batteries and power cables not included

Price: $USD 29.99 – Click here to order

Rechargeable Waterless Essential Oil Diffuser

What is it?: Rechargeable Waterless Essential Oil Nebulizer with auto shutoff, 4 timer settings and 3 aroma sensitivity settings.

How it works: Essential oils nebulizers process essential oils into an almost gas like state and then release them into the air. Often considered the purest way to disperse oils.


  • Built in rechargeable battery
  • Up to 50 hours continuous use per charge
  • Auto shut off if unit tips
  • Timer shut off
  • No cables required for use making it extremely portable


  • Does make a small humming sound when working

Price: $USD 134.75 – Click here to order.

USB Diffusers

And finally, USB diffusers. These are small diffusers that literally look like USB sticks – and what man doesn’t like a good USB stick?

YL USB Diffuser

What is it?: USB diffuser with 3 timer settings.

How it works: Essential oils are disbursed via an internal wick and nebuliser.


  • Compact
  • Completely silent
  • Comes with 3 replacement wicks
  • Light flashes when oil is diffusing
  • Comes in Black, White, Pink and Purple


  • Does not auto shut off

Price: $24.25 Members $31.91 Non-Members – Click here to order.

YL USB Diffuser

Pure Enrichment USB Personal Aroma Diffuser

What is it?: USB diffuser with auto shutoff, 3 timer settings.

How it works: Essential oils are dropped onto a small cotton pad and disbursed via an internal fan


  • Waterless
  • Comes with 3 replacement pads


  • Does not auto shut off
  • Oils need to be added more regularly than other models
  • Unit can heat up

Price: $USD14.99 – Click here to order.


Hmmm, A lot of options there. In my opinion, I would be looking for one with an auto shut-off and that can be transferred between the car and a small hotel room. I have personally seen both water and non water based portable options in use and I must say that any diffuser with water use tends to provide a better coverage and more noticeable aroma. The obvious risk here is that even though there may be an auto shut off, water/oil could still spill in the car if the unit tips or rolls. Placing the unit in a cup holder however may alleviate this.

I have also seen the vent options in use and they do seem to work making them a good, cheap option as well.


Once you get your diffuser, you will obviously need some good road-travel oils to go with them.  For car trips, I (my wife) recommends the following recipes:

Ginger and Peppermint – Ginger is very good calming upset tummies and peppermint is actually proven to assist with IBS so try this one for car sickness.

Lavender and Cedarwood– Lavender and Cedarwood are both heavily used in many calming recipes so add these to make the car ride smooth and relaxed.

Peppermint and Orange – Getting tired?  This one is a more energetic blend!

I have tried to keep the recipes small so as to reduce the amount of oil bottles to be packed – obviously feel free however to experiment with larger recipes as you see fit.


Anyway, I hope this helps and I have provided you with enough information to make a solid informed decision in regards to your portable diffuser needs. If not, please let me know below and I will be more than happy to do some more legwork on your behalf.

In the meantime, Merry Christmas to all and as always, have fun!


Read more: Essential Oil Diffusers For Men – Which One Are The Best?


Note: If you make a purchase from this page, there is a very good chance that I make a commission from it. These commissions do not increase your sale price.

Join the Young Living Community: Are you interested in becoming a Young Living Partner or simply want to enjoy some fantastic discounts? Well, follow the link and join the Young Living Community!

Registration is super quick, easy, and it's also completely worth it. You'll get access to all the amazing products that Young Living has to offer.


Please Share:
Follow me for more of the good stuff
Website | + posts

My name is Paul and I live on the east coast of Australia with my wife and six year old son. I also have 19 and 23 year old daughters. I am an ex government and bank worker who took a bit of a sea change and opened my own business by the beach with my amazing wife. If you can do it, try it. You will never look back. You want to know more about me, read my About Me page

18 thoughts on “Portable Diffusers for Essential Oils – A Man Versus Oils Review”

  1. wow i had no idea they had portable diffusers for cars, let alone so many different types. Thank you very much for doing all the research for us and showing us which ones you like the best.

    I could imagine having a good pine or cinnamon eastinalial oil in my car right now, as it would smell very good.

    By the way do you know if they have a “new car” type of oil? That would be amazing lol.

    Thanks again for these great suggestions.

  2. Hello Paul,

    I have never used a diffuser before, so it was very helpful to have you put together a list such as this.

    I like the idea of having the choice of mains power or battery. I can see there would be times when it would need plugging in. So I would have to go with one that had both options.

    It would also be important to have no spill as well. Don’t want oil all over the place!

    Silent running would also be really good.

    Price would also be a factor.

    I think I would tend to be leaning towards the Invigorate Essential Oil USB system.

    Would this make a good choice?


  3. I think a car diffuser is a really good idea, I was recently on a road trip and I really struggled with tiredness so I had to keep stopping to have a rest. 

    Perhaps if I had a car diffuser with the peppermint and orange oil it would of helped keep me more alert. 

    I’m definitely going to look into getting on from your reccomendations 

  4. Thanks for taking out time to write this beautiful article about car diffusers. Indeed there are many options to choose from and they could serve as an amazing christmas present.I personally like the invigorate Essential Oil USB and 12VDC car diffuser cause it looks techy,  like a car charger, I am pretty sure most people seeing it in my car would ask; what is this?

  5. It seems you know a lot about what you are writing.  I have never used a diffuser or essential oils but the information you have presented has encouraged me to research them.  It looks like there are health benefits to what you are discussing.  I like that there are so many options for dispersing essential oils for different situations.

  6. I have used the aromatherapy car vent diffusers before I must say for the price they are not too bad. Not as fragrant as I would like but again for the price not bad. The mini usb car diffusers do you have any experience with them ? I was wondering if it got spilled just how easy is it to clean up ? Would the essential oils stain your car interior? 

    • Hi Cathy, I have not used the USB diffusers myself but I do have a friend who uses one in his office.  She says it is a little weak but certianly effective in a small space.  Essential Oils are tehcnically not oils and do not leave a residue like an olive oil or such.  However some of the citrus ones may do some damamge if not got to straight away so yes, I would be careful with them.


  7. I hadn’t even considered taking oils on holidays, but it makes sense that a portable unit would be the best option. I didn’t even know that USB diffusers existed! They would be a great option as long as you have a laptop with you. 

    I quite like my essential jewellery as a way to have essential oils with me when I’m out and about. 

  8. I too am a big time skeptic of essential oils. However, the girlfriend loves them. She suggested the same, something for travel.

    My initial objections were overruled as she said we were going to “compromise” which means we need to buy one, haha. 

    Needless to say we are now looking for the best portable diffuser (I don’t want it spilling in my BMW). Glad to see that you’ve done majority of the hard work for me and researched the best portable diffusers (compact of course) that will work in my car. 

    I’ll most certainly go after the vent clip diffusers. Thanks again for dishing the details on the different offers out there. 


    • Hey Dalton, the vent ones are definitely a good place to start – and definitely no chance of spilling in the ‘beamer’.

      Let me know how you go


  9. I’ve gotta tell you, Paul, I’m pretty much a know-nothing when it comes to essential oils.  Your post gives me some good info and a good start.  I do have a question.  Is an essential oil diffuser like you review a better option than a standard air freshener that’s made for the car?  I have used the kind that fit in the vents and have a small amount of liquid in them.  Do you know if that liquid is an essential oil?  It would be nice to be able to re-use a device and take it into a room.  Thanks for the great info.

    I’m Grant

    • HI Grant, the main difference is that the car fresheners are a pre made product that means there is only one scent you can have.  You certaily can buy them with essential oils and natural ingredients and some do find them to be much easier than a diffuser.  With the diffusers you can change the aromas and benefits to suit.

      I guess from a chemical free living point of view I would look to make sure they are natural and not chemical aromas also.

      I hope this has answered your question.



Leave a Comment