Oil diffuser in home

Most of us could stand to achieve a little more relaxation in life. Sometimes you can achieve this in the smallest ways. Finding a touch of extra zen in your life can yield surprisingly large results.

Essential oils are a popular way of finding that zen spot. Nice smells unlock the feel-good portions of the brain and trigger positive memories, and many feel that essential oils help them in other ways, like helping to clear stuffy sinuses. Getting more humidity in the air could also help to ease dry-skin conditions.

If you’re breaking into the essential oil habit or looking to expand your diffuser collection, then you’ll want to know what’s on offer.

In this guide, we take a look at what to look for in the best essential oil diffusers and choose our top five picks.

Our Top Picks:

Best Overall: URPOWER 2nd Gen 300ml Aroma Essential Oil Diffuser
Best Budget: URPOWER 2nd Version Essential Oil Diffuser
Best Splurge: Vitruvi Stone Diffuser
Best Style: Smiley Daisy Whisper-Quiet Cool Mist Humidifier
Best for Large Spaces: ASAKUKI 700ml Premium 5-in-1 Essential Oil Diffuser

The Best Essential Oil Diffusers: Our Top Picks

Best Overall: URPOWER 2nd Gen
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URPOWER 2nd Gen

A powerful diffuser with great capacity.

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$14.99 USD

Why We Picked It

The 2nd Gen URPOWER diffuser is a powerful unit with a generous 300ml water capacity, capable of covering a space of up to 200 sq feet. It comes in white and brown options, with the brown option having faux-bamboo grain housing. Seven different light settings help to set the mood.

The URPOWER can be set to continuous or interval mist mode and has an automatic cut-off when the water reservoir is empty. It can typically run for around 6-7 hours.

The URPOWER outperforms some more expensive models thanks to its large capacity, and it’s available for a fraction of the price. Its shape makes it easy to clean and it has timer functions along with various light settings.

It comes with a 45-day money-back guarantee and an 18-month warranty.

Keep in Mind

It’s not the most aesthetic choice, but it’s great at what it does and its lighting options help to set the atmosphere.

In a Nutshell

  • 300ml capacity
  • Auto-off
  • Inexpensive
Best Budget: URPOWER 2nd Version
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URPOWER 2nd Version

A great diffuser that won’t break the bank.

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$9.99 USD

Why We Picked It

The URPOWER 2nd Version Essential Oil Diffuser is an excellent budget portable diffuser with a 100ml capacity. It comes in four colors, three in faux-wood grains while the fourth is a full light, which would work great as a mood or night light. All models are able to cycle through seven different LED color variations. Diffusion options include continuous and intermittent, and the device has an automatic shut-off.

This diffuser is very affordable compared to other diffusers, which makes it very attractive for shoppers on a budget. Despite the low price, it’s full-featured, with its 100ml capacity and range of dynamic color options. The multiple variations give you a range of aesthetic choices to suit your room.

Keep in Mind

The faux-wood effect won’t be for everyone, and it could clash with your decor.

In a Nutshell

    • 100ml capacity
    • Automatic switch-off
    • 7 LED mood lights
Best Splurge: Vitruvi Stone Diffuser
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Vitruvi Stone Diffuser

A touch of class for an extra cost.

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$119.00 USD

Why We Picked It

The Vitruvi Stone Diffuser is a ceramic diffuser with a 90ml capacity. It uses 10-20 drops of essential oils to cover up to a 540 sq. ft. area. The Vitruvi will operate for three hours on a continuous setting, or seven on an interval setting.

The Vitruvi’s ceramic and monochrome design feels chic, which helps it blend into modern environments where other diffusers can struggle to get away from that nightlight look.

The Vitruvi doesn’t come cheap, but if you’re looking to splurge on something, then it’s a strong choice thanks to its aesthetic design and diffusing options.

Keep in Mind

The Vitruvi is not cheap, but it will last a long time and has a timeless design.

In a Nutshell

  • 90ml capacity
  • Continuous and interval operation cycles
  • Modern and sleek design
Best Style: Smiley Daisy Whisper-Quiet
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Smiley Daisy Whisper-Quiet

A low-profile, elegant diffuser

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$89.99 USD

Why We Picked It

The Smiley Daisy Whisper-Quiet Cool Mist Humidifier is an elegant diffuser with a generous 350ml water capacity and it can run continuously or on its 2-hour auto shut-off cycle. It’s available in two color options, as either a sleek white or a faux-wood grain.

This diffuser also has a small but notable advantage of being low profile. Its squat shape and stable base make it a good match for homes with kids or animals, as it won’t be easy to tip over. Cleaning the device is easy, as its wide shape creates an open interior space.

We chose this diffuser for best style thanks to the elegance of its low-profile design, and the option to have it in unobtrusive monochrome or stylish wood grain.

The Smiley Daisy Whisper-Cool comes with a 180-day warranty.

Keep in Mind

The lower profile comes at the cost of a larger footprint, so it may not be the best match for the space-conscious.

In a Nutshell

  • 350ml capacity
  • Low profile
  • Stylish, modern design
Best for Large Spaces: ASAKUKI 700ml Premium
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ASAKUKI 700ml Premium

A beast of a diffuser for the room with space to spare.

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$39.99 USD

Why We Picked It

The beefy ASAKUKI 700ml Premium 5-in-1 Essential Oil Diffuser has a beastly capacity of 700ml, which means it can run for many hours without a water refill. It can function continuously, but also comes with three separate time settings, giving you a range of options. It also has a humidifier setting, seven different LED functions, and an auto-off safety function.

Thanks to its huge size and square tank, the ASAKUKI is particularly easy to clean compared to some of its peers.

The ASAKUKI is perfect for a shopper with some space to fill. The 500ml tank can cut down on some of the busywork of refilling the tank and adding oil, leaving you to enjoy your diffuser for longer. However, you’ll need to have the space to put it.

Keep in Mind

The quirky, blocky design won’t fit in every room.

In a Nutshell

  • 500ml tank
  • Low-profile design
  • Humidifier setting

How We Chose the Best Essential Oil Diffusers

To select our top picks, we take a close look at several key categories that make up the overall diffuser package. These are largely questions of usability and effectiveness, but there are some other considerations as well. The categories we take a look at are:

Output

There are a few key factors we look for in diffuser output. A diffuser needs to do its job quietly, efficiently, and well. In other words, a noisy diffuser that overwhelms with excessive levels of scent isn’t going to be welcome in your home. Other diffusers may be too subtle, meaning you’d have to be next to it to experience its benefits. Others still can be inconsistent, starting strong but tailing off over their operation cycle.

Coverage Area

We take a look at the coverage area (the “range”) of the diffuser to give you an idea what kind of space it’s best suited for. Some diffusers will only be good for smaller rooms, while others, such as those with high capacity, can tackle larger spaces more effectively. Choosing the wrong diffuser for the room could leave you underwhelmed with its performance.

Ease of Use

Essential oils are associated with relaxation and stress reduction, but what’s more stressful than fiddling with an annoying gizmo? That’s our thought process, and it’s why we take a look at how easy a diffuser is to use as part of its evaluation. Easy diffusers have simple, accessible internals that are wipe-clean. More complex devices may have corners that are hard to reach or have an awkward shape for cleaning. There’s also the question of getting the device to run in the first place. A good diffuser should be intuitive to use, with clear functions and a straightforward instruction booklet.

Design/Aesthetics

Would you want this on display in your room? That’s the question we ask of the diffusers we look at. Some diffusers have definite nightlight or plastic vibes that don’t always scream “chic.” Aesthetics aren’t always the primary consideration behind a diffuser, but they’re a definite nice-to-have, so we include it in our evaluation.

Value

We’re all on the hunt for a good deal, so we take value for money into account when rating a diffuser. While we can’t tell you what you want, we can give you the information you need to make your decision. For instance, a diffuser on the expensive side may offer some extra features — but if you don’t care about those features, then it may not be the diffuser for you. Cheaper diffusers may be made of lighter or less robust materials, but they can do the job just as well as more expensive options in certain cases.

How to Use an Essential Oil Diffuser

To get the most out of your essential oil diffuser, you’ll need to know how to use it. This quick start-up guide will help you through the process.

General Operation

Most diffusers operate on the same general principles. First, you’ll need to find a suitable home for it. This should be somewhere around or below nose-level (preferably seated). The higher you position your diffuser, the more scent will be lost in the rising air. Putting your diffuser in a position where it’ll catch air currents is a great way to diffuse the scent further.

You’ll need to position your unit near an electrical outlet if it’s not battery powered, but most diffusers can blend in well among other devices and decor.

Diffusers can run continuously, but many also have timed modes, so set these to your preference before you begin.

Oil

To fill your diffuser, simply fill it with water to its internal fill line and add a few drops of essential oils. Follow the manufacturer’s advice for a guideline on how many drops to use — a larger water capacity means you’ll need to use more oil, so this varies between models.

Cleaning

It’s important to clean a diffuser regularly to keep it working efficiently. If the performance of your diffuser drops off despite being a recent purchase, it’s a sure sign you’ve not kept up with maintenance.

You should follow the manufacturer’s instructions to clean your diffuser, but one popular option is to run the unit with a mixture of water and some white vinegar — this will help to break down any oil residue and allow you to wipe the unit clean.

What to Look for in an Essential Oil Diffuser

There’s a world of performance difference between the many oil diffusers out there. To choose the right one for you, you need to take a look at two main metrics: the quality of the diffuser and whether it’s the right fit for you.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

Capacity

You can think of capacity as your diffuser’s range, of sorts. With more capacity for liquid, a diffuser can distribute scent for longer, allowing it to handle larger rooms. Diffusers with lower capacity may be better suited to small spaces. Think about the kind of space you want to fill and how that affects the kind of diffuser you’ll need. If you want to run your diffuser on long cycles with minimal oversight, then a larger capacity will be for you. However, this may mean finding a larger space to keep it in.

Construction

You’ll need to clean your diffuser regularly to keep it doing its job, so it’s helpful to have a diffuser you can disassemble easily for maintenance. A diffuser made of more robust materials is also likely to last longer — or at least survive the occasional cat attack (for example). More expensive models are typically made with better materials, though they come at the obvious trade-off of the price increase. Some diffusers also lean into a secondary function as a mood or night light.

Size

You’ll need to find a home for your diffuser after you purchase it, so consider the diffuser’s size before purchase. You’ll need a space for it somewhere below nose-level — otherwise, the ceiling will see most of the action. That means it will probably have to sit alongside your other knick knacks, and you likely don’t want to have to shift it around regularly. Larger tanks will typically require more room, but their dimensions will differ. Some will require more area, while others will need more headroom.

What are the Benefits of Essential Oil Diffusers?

People enjoy essential oils and diffusers for a variety of reasons. These range from the aesthetic and sensory to the medical, with some people claiming that aromatherapy brings them good health in several ways.

Here are some of the top benefits of essential oil diffusers:

Relaxation

Smells are one of the most psychologically powerful senses, and by instinct, we associate positive smells with relaxing environments. Nice smells speak to our animal brains to make us feel “safe.” Essential oils can be used to invoke these feelings, and also to conjure up smells you may have a positive association with, bringing you a dose of tranquility.

Stress relief

A natural partner to relaxation, stress relief often comes from taking a moment to (appropriately) stop and smell the roses. Smelling cherished smells or smells of the natural world can help to unwind mental and physical tension, which can lead to an overall feeling of wellbeing.

Colds and Congestion

Many people who swear by essential oils feel they help with congestive issues, like colds or sinus problems. The pleasant scents may be able to open up the sinuses and at least distract the mind from any ongoing unpleasantness.

Skin Issues

Some people have experienced better skin health through aromatherapy, which may trace back to a diffuser’s ability to hydrate the air. It’s also possible that some of the positive mental benefits may have a consequential effect on physical health.

Headaches

There’s a link between smells and headaches, as anyone who has experienced odor sensitivity during a migraine can attest. Just as listening to music can help relieve pain, it appears that pleasant scents can have a similar effect. They trigger the body’s relaxation state, which can help to relieve tension headaches and stress-related migraines.

Insomnia

Insomnia has complicated roots, and no two cases are guaranteed to be the same. So while essential oil diffusers can’t help with every kind of insomnia, there are certain kinds that they can tackle. The various conditions we’ve explored above are all potential causes of insomnia. Many people suffering from insomnia are suffering from an inability to unwind, so a diffuser could help them achieve this state.

Related Resources

Essential oil diffusers can be a great step in creating a calm and relaxing atmosphere. Take a look at some of our other in-depth buyer guides for health products for other ways to cleanse and unwind.

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Daniel James