Diffusers… Which Should I Choose?

Diffusers are devices that are used to disperse the scent of essential oils through the air in an enclosed space. It is often used in aromatherapy whereby the scent of essential oils is allowed to travel through the air and when inhaled, it will fill your nostrils with the calming scent allowing you to feel relaxed, calm, and rejuvenated while healing or treating certain conditions in your body. The coverage area highly depends on the strength and capacity of your diffuser.

Evaporative Diffuser

The most classic and ancient method of experiencing the scent of these oils is by allowing the oil to evaporate. This is done by either allowing it to evaporate straight from an opened bottle or pouring a few drops onto a diffuser pad or saucer tray and allowing the compounds to evaporate naturally into the air. Potpourri is an example that applies this evaporation technique. Drop a few drops of essential oil into a bowl of potpourri and allow the oils to diffuse passively through the air. 

Magnetic clip diffusers and car diffusers can be seen to apply this concept as well. Dropping 1-2 drops (magnetic diffuser) or 2-3 drops (car diffuser) of essential oil onto the cotton pads provided will allow the aroma of the oil to dissipate through the air that you breathe.

A quick and simple method but it does have its drawbacks. One of them is that the scent will not be dispersed into a wide area. Thus, it would not be able to fully cover an entire room. Another drawback is that heavier compounds in the oil would like to sink to the bottom while the lighter components will evaporate faster into the air. Thus, making the delivery unbalanced and inconsistent. Therefore, effects might not be seen immediately.

Wood Diffuser

Wood diffusers apply the evaporation principle as well. The essential oil is poured at the top curved section of the diffuser and allowed to soak through the length of the diffuser. Over time the essential oils will evaporate out from the diffuser from all sides and disperse throughout the air. This diffuser takes a long time to evaporate but the scent can last for several hours at a time. The type of wood used also affects the rate of evaporation. It is inexpensive and travel-friendly however it can’t be cleaned and may get moldy if it comes in contact with water.

Reed Diffuser

This device is a passive evaporative diffuser that applies capillary action to draw oils up through the porous wooden reeds. Essential oil is placed in a container then about 4-5 wooden reeds are placed in the oils. The oils then travel up the reed to the tip at the top via capillary action. Once at the top, the oils then evaporate through the air. Plus, the side to this method is that it is aesthetically pleasing with all the various designs available on the market, it has no noise and requires no water. However, the rate of evaporation is much slower compared to other diffusers.

Ceramic Diffuser

This method is another example of passive evaporation whereby the scent disperses when the oil permeates the clay or stone and then slowly releases into the room. The clay device comes in various shapes and sizes. The coverage area depends on the size of the device. Clay diffusers are similar to wooden diffusers where they are often hard to clean and cant be used if you intend on changing oils frequently. 

If you wish to reuse the device for other oils, use a tiny bristled brush or toothbrush to scrub the clay with dish soap and then vinegar. Rinse with clean water then soak overnight before allowing the clay to dry for a few days under the sun. Although clay diffusers are aesthetically pleasing and priced in the middle range, it distributes scents across a room much slower and unevenly. The scent of the oil is intense in the first few minutes of pouring and dissipates over time. However, it can be useful in small spaces such as the work desk or even in the car.

Electric Diffusers

Electric diffusers are just a more advanced version of the evaporation method is using a small fan beneath the oils that have been placed on a diffuser pad to allow the oils to actively evaporate and disperse through the surrounding air at a quicker rate. This type of device usually comes in multiple sizes to cater to different sized areas. 

This method is inexpensive however some recurring costs may incur when you need to replace the disposable pad whereas the saucer tray can be washed and recycled. You may also end up using more essential oils over time if the scent does not evaporate from the disposable pad/ tray fast enough. Another downside is that these diffusers often are loud and consume more energy compared to regular evaporative diffusers.

Heat Diffuser

This kind of diffuser functions similarly to evaporative diffusers but instead of relying on air to carry the oils through the surrounding, it relies on heat from a candle or electrical device to evaporate the oils. Electrical heat diffusers usually have a heating element below the bowl where essential oils are placed. This might be slightly costly compared to candle diffusers as it uses up electricity, but you do not have to worry about the device turning off when a candle burns all the way out. 

Using electrical heat diffusers also excludes the hazards of hot wax and open flame which you typically experience when handling candles.  When using candles, it is advised to use unscented tea candles to avoid conflicting scents. Heat diffusers are easy to clean, just wash the oil basin with water and dish soap. You should clean heat diffusers regularly to avoid the build-up of residue or burn patches. However, one of the major drawbacks of heat diffusers is that the therapeutic properties of essential oils are not felt due to the fractionation of oils and the fact that heat can change the chemical properties of the oils thus reducing their effectiveness.

Water Diffuser/ Ultrasonic Diffuser/ Humidifier

This diffuser is the one that is most common among essential oil users. It is inexpensive but also easy to use and clean. Water is added to the allocated compartment, then ultrasonic waves emit electronic frequencies from the base of the diffusers via a rapidly rotating disc in water. The water is converted from a liquid into water vapor using ultrasonic vibrations instead of heat. The rapidly rotating disc creates vibrations in water which then creates a fine mist of water and essential oil that leaves the top of the device and allows the molecules to disperse through the air. 

Ultrasonic diffusers are known to be cheaper and quieter compared to nebulizer diffusers and it is much sturdier. Humidifiers operate using the same principle but may also have an additional feature of automatically regulating moisture in the air and are often larger compared to diffusers. 

The size of the device often dictates how long these diffusers can operate. The larger the device, the longer the run times. There are devices that are big enough which allows you to run it continuously while you sleep throughout the night and typically have an automatic shut-off feature that turns off the device after a preset duration or when there is no water in the compartment. It is easy to clean and usually requires not much cleaning compared to other diffusers. However, it is advised to wash the water compartment each time you change oils to ensure the maximum effectiveness of the new oil.

Nebulizer Diffusers/Atomizer

This diffuser is often the most expensive among all diffusers as the technology used in this device is more advanced. This device applies a physics concept known as Bernoulli’s Principle and does not need a water reservoir to help disperse the oils through the air. A small tube at the bottom of the device shoots air at high velocity. This creates a difference in pressure in the device whereby the pressure at the top of the small tube is lower. The difference in pressure creates a suction effect and pushes the essential oils from the bottom base of the device to exit at the top. The pressurized air atomizes (breaks into separate molecules) the essential oil which allows it to disperse through the air and be absorbed into the lungs then bloodstream easier and quicker. 

Compared to ultrasonic/ water diffusers, atomizers do not dilute the oil. Therefore, you will be absorbing pure unaltered oils into your body. These devices often have features to control the speed of airflow and rate of diffusion. The downside to this device is that cleaning is slightly more complicated and time-consuming compared to ultrasonic diffusers. It is important to clean these kinds of devices on a regular basis as the oils can accumulate and clog the pump/tubes. The parts in the device such as glass containers are often expensive when needed to be replaced if faulty or broken

The choice is ultimately yours. Choose a device that is suitable for you and your daily lifestyle. Dr mysalyanie 100% pure essential oils are suitable for all kinds of diffusers. Just ensure you do not mix two or more of these oils together or mix with other essential oils in a similar diffuser. Click on our products to get one today! If you are unsure and need more information or guidance, do not hesitate to write to us to know more.

New to essential oils? Read What are Essential Oils? and Essential Oil For Beginners to get up to speed!

Do stay tuned for our next blog post to learn more about essential oils.

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