EO Extras

4 Essential Oil Diffuser Types: Which One Do You Like?

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Last Updated on November 4, 2020 by Lynn

In this post, we’re going to talk about 4 essential oil diffuser types and how to use them.  Aromatherapy (which is inhaling the properties of the oils) is the most popular use of essential oils. There are several ways to inhale the aroma but the most familiar is to use an essential oil diffuser.

Remember, the properties of the oils are very therapeutic and you want to use a diffuser that will be the most beneficial.  The 4 types of diffusers you can choose from are an Evaporative diffuser, Heat diffuser, Ultrasonic diffuser, or a Nebulizing diffuser. Let’s take a look at each one, starting with the Evaporative diffuser.

Evaporative Diffuser

There are actually two kinds of Evaporative Diffusers.

1. This method of Evaporative diffusing uses forced air passing over a pad or wick which evaporates and releases the scent and oil to circulate around the room. The essential oil is placed on the pad. This is know as an aroma fan diffuser.  A small fan blows the air over the pad thus evaporating the oil and lifting and blowing the aroma into the air.
evaporative cooler diffuser

2. The other method of Evaporative diffusing doesn’t need a fan. The oils in this method are exposed to the air and they evaporate naturally with the flow of the air in the room.  Examples include placing a drop of oil on a tissue to inhale. Or placing a drop or two on a cotton ball and placing it somewhere in a room or cabinet (to repel pests for example).  These types of diffusers are more for small areas and your personal space. These can be necklaces, pendants, bracelets or personal inhalers.

With the Evaporative Diffuser, the lighter components of the oils tend to evaporate much faster than the heavier components, so you don’t get the whole of the oils at once.

Heat Diffusers

Heat diffusers in a way could be considered in the Evaporative Diffusers. They work in much the same way as Evaporative diffusers, except instead of using a fan and blowing air they use heat. Oils are dropped on a pad, like the Evaporative diffuser, and the increase in temperature from the heat forces the oil to evaporate and waft into the air.

There are several kinds you can get, i.e., candle diffusers, electric heat diffusers, lamp rings. For lamp oil rings, you put oil in a ring and place it over a light bulb. The scent of the oil starts evaporating into the air when the light is turned on. An aroma candle diffuser can be made out of ceramic or brass with a space to hold a candle, with a bowl over the space to hold essential oil. The heat of the candle diffuses the oil into the air.
candle essential oil diffuser

There are issues with Heat Diffusers, though;  the heat alters the chemical compounds of the oil. This causes it to lose its therapeutic effectiveness and may not be the best diffuser choice.

Ultrasonic Diffuser

Another of the different kinds of essential oil diffusers is the Ultrasonic Diffuser. This one seems to be the most popular of the diffusers. I think maybe one of the main reasons is because it does not use heat for diffusing.  Another reason is because the oil is better diffused.  These diffusers use electrical frequencies to vibrate a disk in the bottom of the diffuser, under water. These are known as essential oil mist diffusers. You fill the compartment of the diffuser with as much water as instructed, depending on the size of the diffuser.
essential oil ultrasonic diffuser

The essential oil is dropped in the diffuser after the water is added. When it is turned on, the disk in the bottom vibrates at a very fast rate, and the vibration creates a fine mist/vapor that is filled with micro particles of oil.

This mist helps not only to bring the healing power of oils, but it also helps to humidify the air. There is no heat used, thus keeping the oil properties intact. The tiny particles of oil created by this are more easily absorbed into the lungs, for a greater therapeutic effect.

A majority of Ultrasonic Diffusers have timer settings so you can set them for several hours at a time. Some can run up to 9 or 10 hours, which is nice to set for overnight while you are sleeping. Some of them can be set to come on at intervals, such as every 30 seconds, or a minute, depending on which diffuser you use.

Also, a majority of them have different colored lights on them that you can turn off or on. I use the Ultrasonic diffuser and have found that if you have a ceiling fan turned on while using it, the oil mist circulates more throughout the room, thus bringing more of the beneficial properties to your body.

Essential Oil Nebulizing Diffuser

This is one of the newest types of diffusers. It is most often considered the better kind for therapeutic use, because it puts the wholeness of the oil into the air. It doesn’t need heat or water, so you get nothing but pure essential oil being dispersed into the air. The composition of the oil are not broken down during diffusing.

With some of these types, the bottle of oil is directly attached to the diffuser. An air pump is used to blow a jet of air across a small tube, creating a vacuum. This vacuum pulls liquid from the bottom of the tube and up to the top. The air that blows across the surface of the oil at the top blows the oils away in a fine spray or mist, which are referred to as droplets. Without separating the mixture, it breaks down the molecules of the oil, thus keeping it’s purity.
nebulizer essential oil diffuser

The particles of oil are small enough to rapidly absorb in the body. These particles can remain suspended in the air for hours and be fully intact and be continuously taken in by the body. They eventually completely evaporate without leaving behind residue. Most of the diffusers have built-in timers and controls for the air flow so you can control how much oil is being diffused and since the oil lasts so long in the air, that’s nice to have. You wouldn’t need to have it run continuously. This also helps to conserve oil, as this type tends to use more.

The Nebulizing Diffuser does make more noise than the others, due to the air pump pumping the air. So that may be a drawback to some people. Another drawback for some, might be the price. These diffusers are more on the pricey side, probably because of the way they work in getting the whole essence of the oil into the air, and your body being able to absorb more of the beneficial purity of the oil.

My Final Thoughts

Well, here you have it. With all these choices, you have to find the one that fits your need. There are several essential oil diffuser types, and different styles for each type of diffuser. Whether you want to give your room an aromatic lift, or you are looking for something for therapeutic reasons there’s many to choose from. I hope this helps you in your search for essential oil diffusers.

If you like what you read, leave me a comment and let me know what you think. Come on back and see what’s next as we continue with our essential oils journey.

As always, thanks for reading!


6 thoughts on “4 Essential Oil Diffuser Types: Which One Do You Like?

  1. Hi
    Thank you for your detailed comparison of diffusers. They all look to run on the same principle. I never thought there are different kinds of oil diffuser. Which one do you recommend the most for a baby’s room? I heard that diffusing lavender oil and chamomile makes them sleep better and make them feel more relaxed. Thanks in advance.


    1. Hey, Joanna..
      Thanks for reading.. For your baby’s room I would recommend the Ultrasonic Diffuser. It sounds like you would want it for the aromatic affects for your baby to be more relaxed and sleep better. I think the Nebulizer would be to loud and powerful. Both Lavender and Roman Chamomile have a calming scent and helps with relaxation. We diffuse Lavender every night as we sleep and it does help us sleep better. Personally, I think Lavender works better for relaxation and calmness. You could actually diffuse a little Chamomile with Lavender and see how that does. But if your baby is less than 3 months use it sparingly. Start with a drop in the diffuser and use it about 15 minutes before sleep time, shutting it off when baby goes to bed. The fragrance will linger and should calm and relax the baby. Baby’s respiratory system is still developing at that age so you want to be careful and not overwhelm it. If your baby is older you could start with that and gradually leave the diffuser on for a few minutes after putting baby to bed. The older they are, the longer the diffusing time and an increase in oil amount. Make sure you use 100% pure essential oil. A lot of companies add fillers. Make sure it’s a reputable company. Hope this helps….

  2. I am a fan of various essential oils and I use the Ultrasonic Diffuser. I got him in a kid’s room and always use 100% natural essential oil of Ravintsara (Cinnamom camphora ct cineol) .It’s safety and extreme antiviral effect make it suitable for use in children as well as in adults. But, just to point out Ravintsara oil is not recommended in the first 3 months of pregnancy.

    1. That’s awesome that you use essential oils, also. I use an Immunity blend or a Germ fighter during the day in my Ultrasonic. Helps keep us healthy throughout the year!. I love my 300 ml. I can run it all day….
      Thanks for commenting!

  3. Hi,
    Thank you for the great essential oil diffusers overview.
    I never thought that there are so many types of them.
    The ones we have in my house are the heat diffusers that are heated by the lamp. It works fine for us as I am not a big fan of strong smells in my house and it takes some time for the smell to be distributed in the house.
    I am intrigued with Ultrasonic Diffuser. I saw them before in the stores but never paid attention to the technique of essential oil vaporizing. When the disc moves, does it make some noise or you can barely hear its working?
    I am also interested in the Nebulizing Diffuser. Honestly, I did not see any sold in our town, I am pretty sure I could find some online. Being new do they have some variety of designs? How bulky are they?
    Thank you.

    1. Anna,
      Thanks for your comment. In regards to the Ultrasonic Diffuser, that’s what I use in my house. They are fairly quiet. I think they have more of a humming noise than anything, but it’s not that noticeable. I have several different kinds and I think it depends on the size. I have a couple 150 ml capacity and one 300 ml capacity. The larger one seems to make a bit more noise, but still fairly quiet. I like this one because I can run it for about 9 hours straight. So I run that in the living room during the day and the smaller one in the bedroom while we sleep.. As far as the Nebulizing Diffuser, I personally have not tried it, but I am planning to get one soon. I like the fact that it diffuses the pure oil, which is good for therapeutic reasons. We suffer from allergies in our house and think it would help more with those issues. I have never seen them in stores, only online. Amazon carries quite a few. They do have some variety in design and they don’t seem to me to be much bulkier than the larger Ultrasonic that I use. They are a bit more expensive, though. If you get an Ultrasonic, let me know how you like it..
      Thanks for your comment!

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