Which Diffuser? A Guide to the Different Types of Essential Oil Diffusers

There are four different types of essential oil diffusers, including nebulizing, ultrasonic, heat, and evaporative diffusers. Each essential oil diffuser has its own unique method for getting essential oils into the air so you can utilize their therapeutic benefits. From these choices, how do you decide which one would work best for you? To help you determine what to choose, we’ve broken down how each essential oil diffuser works and some pros and cons for diffusing oils with that method.

Nebulizing Diffusers

A nebulizing essential oil diffuser breaks down the essential oil into tiny particles through the use of a high velocity, pressurized air stream and jet nozzle. When the essential oil is released, it goes into the air in a fine mist. This method does not alter the chemical composition or the scent—it diffuses the entire oil at once instead of in stages. (Some essential oil diffusion methods release the more volatile components first and then the heavier later.) The particle size is also small enough to be easily inhaled and used for aromatherapy.

  • Pros: Nebulizers use no heat or water, yet disperse the entire oil into the air for optimal therapeutic benefits.
  • Cons: Nebulizers are often the most expensive essential oil diffusers to use, and even sometimes to buy. Because these diffusers use only essential oil, they also use much more oil. Some models of nebulizing oil diffusers are noisy in comparison to other diffusers.

Ultrasonic Diffusers

This popular type of essential oil diffuser uses water and electronic frequencies to create a fine mist from the essential oil and water. Ultrasonic vibrations are created by a small disk under the surface of the water which causes the essential oil to break up into tiny micro particles.

  • Pros: Ultrasonic models only use a small amount of essential oil, and no heat is used to generate the mist in an ultrasonic essential oil diffuser. This method also can act as both a diffuser and a humidifier, a helpful feature if you live in a drier climate. There is very little to no noise associated with ultrasonic diffusers, making them perfect for nighttime use.
  • Cons: Only a small fraction of the mist is essential oil, and it depends on the air current already in the room to disperse the oil. If you already live in a more humid place, you may not want to add more water to the air.

doTERRA has a few different options for ultrasonic diffusers. Give the Lotus, Petal, Aroma Lite, or Lumo essential oil diffuser a try.

Heat Diffusers

As their name suggests, heat essential oil diffusers use heat elements to help the essential oil gradually evaporate into the air. Sometimes they may use the oil mixed with water. Some heat diffusers use very high levels of heat to cause a stronger aroma, however, the best heat diffusers will use a very low heat to avoid drastically changing the chemical constituents of the oils being diffused.

  • Pros: Diffusing using heat is an economical, yet efficient and silent way to spread the aroma of an essential oil throughout the room.
  • Cons: The heat used can change the properties of the oil at the molecular level. This means that the therapeutic or aromatic benefit of an oil may lessen or change entirely.

Evaporative diffusers

Evaporative diffusion uses air flow to spread the scent of the essential oils into the area. A fan blows air through a filter, such as a tissue or a pad that has essential oils dropped onto it. The moving air causes the oil to evaporate quickly, and the air with the evaporated oil is blown into and around the room.

With this method, you will get the oil in segments; the lighter, more volatile components evaporate first, while the heavier components evaporate last.

  • Pros: Wind-blown diffusion can be a quiet way to quickly spread the oil’s aroma throughout the room.
  • Cons: It may not be as therapeutic of a method because all of the components of the whole oil are not diffused at the same time.

Regardless of the essential oil diffuser you choose, the aromas of essential oils have so much potential to influence your emotions and overall well-being for the better. In the end, each of these methods of diffusing will help you enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy in your home. Let us know which one you prefer in the comments!