Remember when Yankee candles were the thing? Everyone used to go crazy over them. Then we finally realised that when a company doesn’t even want to tell you what the candle is made of without making a huge fuss over it, it’s probably not made out of something that we want to be inhaling every day. That’s when aroma diffusers stepped in. And not just a single one, there have been loads. One that diffuses steam. An ultrasonic diffuser. Maybe I could also include a reed diffuser? And a nebulising diffuser.
How do these diffusers work?
There’s not a lot of talk going around explaining what the difference between various diffusers is. Most diffusers that are available in shops are called ultrasonic. These are the super steamy ones. They make huge puffs of white clouds that are just so relaxing to look at. You fill them with water, add a few drops of essential oils. The ultrasonic plate jiggles with vibrations and mixes the oil and water, which is then sent out into the air. Your room is filled with soft scent of essential oil and you also get extra humidity from the dispersed water.
These ultrasonic diffusers are fantastic as mild room fresheners. You can add whatever oil you fancy, turn it on and read a book for the next 4 hours. The steam is calming and the little puffs look beautiful. You can also use the same diffuser as a humidifier for your plants or just to get a more humidity in the air for yourself.
Do I have one of these? Oh yes, of course I do. It’s amazing for when you’re poorly with stuffed nose. You add a drop of eucalyptus and it’s immediately easier to fall asleep, even with that pounding stifling flu-y headache.
Nebulizing diffuser is a completely different story. It looks very similar yet it works very differently. The key difference here is that you do not use any water in it. You use pure essential oil and nothing more. The diffuser sucks in the oil and pushes it out with the force of vacuum. It disperses the tiniest microscopic droplets of undiluted essential oil into your room.
That means many things. Firstly – you’re getting an actual aromatherapy session. Because the oil is not diluted in water, you’re getting a full 100% dose of it. That means you’re getting full benefits of given essential oil, but it also means the scent is very strong. You can’t leave it on for hours and just chill. For its intensity is so strong you really do use it as a targeted aromatherapy tool.
Secondly, it’s way more expensive than an ultrasonic diffuser. You are using 100% essential oils in this diffuser and it eats it up within minutes. Logically you’re spending more on essential oils when using this diffusers – yet you do need to take into account you’ll be using it way less. Even if you’re using it to freshen the room, you’ll only be using it for 30 minutes maximum. And your whole home will smell beautifully in that short amount of time!
Which diffuser to choose?
To me, both of these are pretty valuable devices. I love the way they both work, I love the benefits they can provide. If I was to choose just one, I’d pick the nebulising diffuser for the simple reason I appreciate the aromatherapy benefits more than I appreciate humidity that a diffuser gives. Not everyone appreciates the strong scent and fairly expensive fuel, so here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons. Oh, I totally forgot to mention that both run on electricity so you gotta plug them in!
- acts as an essential oil dispenser and a humidifier in one
- creates soft scent
- puffs out little white clouds
- very relaxing to watch
- various designs to choose from
- quite affordable to run (you dilute oils in water so use less of them)
- hums or buzzes, but it’s not irritating I don’t think
- they tend to be made quite cheaply
- dilutes essential oils which means their benefits are decreased
- can make the room too humid
- acts as an aromatherapy device
- very strong aromatherapy benefits
- spa like feeling
- fills room with scent very quickly
- not that many companies make these so designs are pretty limited
- tends to be well made (for it has a more complicated mechanism)
- slightly louder
- a little higher maintenance (need rubbing alcohol and pipette)
- more expensive to run (you use larger amounts of essential oil)
How to clean your diffuser?
An ultrasonic diffuser is very easy to clean – you just wash it out with water (can add mild soap in it) and you’re done. For the nebulising diffuser has tiny glass tubes filled with 100% essential oil residue, you need to pull out the big guns. Use a pipette and rubbing alcohol to get rid of the oil residue. Spritz the alcohol in the glass tubes and around them to really clean the device. I feel like if you’re taking a good care of it, it will last you forever. The one I have is way better quality than the ultrasonic one I own. That one is made mostly out of plastic with a wood effect (might have been my poor choice really). Whereas the nebulising diffuser is made out of real wood with proper glass cylinder and tubes.
You can buy a nebulising diffuser on this website (ships internationally), also this Czech company sells them or you can get an ultrasonic one for example at Neal’s Yards here (UK) or here (CZ).
Don’t forget to read more about intentional low impact living in these posts.