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6 Types of Home Fragrance Diffusers

With the growing interest in essential oils, many people have begun to rely less on traditional candles and scent sprays and to invest instead in a home fragrance diffuser to spread different scents throughout their homes. Aromatherapy has been used for centuries to help make an area smell nice and to bring about several benefits. For instance, depending on the type of scent used, fragrances are thought to activate parts of the brain that can sharpen focus, reduce feelings of anxiety or stress, boost energy, lessen pain, induce sleep, support digestion, and even strengthen the immune system.

Many people are aware of the power of smell. Simply walk past your favorite restaurant, and you’ll instantly notice your hunger grow. The flood of smells that are emitted when you walk through the door of a spa can instantly put you at ease. The aroma of pumpkin spice or pine triggers images of fall or winter festivities. There are likely certain smells that are deeply laced with memories from your past.

Choosing to be intentional with what odors you allow in your home empowers you to alter the environment and mood of the room. Are you trying to relax? Releasing some lavender or eucalyptus can help you unwind or even settle down to sleep. Waking up first thing in the day and trying to boost your productivity? Diffusing bold smells such as lemon, cinnamon, or peppermint can help you perk up and prepare for the day ahead. Switching smells often can also help you avoid becoming nose blind.

A home fragrance diffuser is an effective way to spread the scent of your choice throughout a particular room or the entire house. For most types, you do not need to worry about accidentally starting a fire, and there is a wide variety of designs to choose from. However, there are many different types of diffuser systems on shelves and online, which can make it difficult for you to select one that best fits your needs and lifestyle. Here are six different types of scented oil diffusers to consider, along with the potential pros and cons of each.

  1. Reed Diffuser

    Reed diffuser vs home fragrance diffuser
    Reed diffusers rely on a container full of fragranced oil and approximately ten reeds to constantly release a scent in the air. These diffuser systems may use a vessel that is already filled with the scented oil, or you may own a decorative container and simply purchase oil separately that you pour into the diffuser.

    Make sure you purchase reed sticks since you will not get the same effects from other materials, such as bamboo or other types of wood. There are several different thicknesses and lengths you can choose from. The length of the reed should correlate with the height of the bottle you’re using. No matter what width holder you select, place as many reeds as fit into the mouth of the container.

    Dip the reeds into the apothecary and flip them around so that the scent can be released into the room more quickly. It is recommended to repeat this process weekly. The oil saturates the sticks and wicks up each one. While the brand, quality, and environmental factors can affect longevity, one set of reeds typically lasts a couple of months before a new set of reeds and more oil need to be placed into the container.

    Reed diffusers look as beautiful as they smell, and they can be placed in essentially any area since there is no heat or electricity used to distribute the smell. They emit constant fragrance without the need for supervision and create no noise. Additionally, the option is relatively inexpensive. However, reed diffusers are not ideal for large rooms since the scent is not pushed around the area. Many people remedy this by placing diffusers in different corners of the room. It also essential to do research before purchasing products since cheaper quality oils and reeds may be used up quickly, release a weak aroma, or even include questionable ingredients. A good first start is to understand how essential oils are made.

  2. Nebulizing Home Fragrance Diffuser

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    A nebulizing diffuser releases essential oil into the air without the use of any water or heat, dispersing a highly concentrated mist. Pressurized air from a pump is used to break down the essential oil into smaller particles. These fragrance particles are then released through a sprayer.

    A traditional nebulizing home fragrance diffuser is tall with a wooden basin and plastic or glass top that the mist flows through before being distributed into the air. Many modern models are very professional looking with options for controlling how much oil is released at a time.

    While our Whole Home Scenting Diffuser is a type of nebulizing diffuser, it is unique in that it works with your home’s HVAC system to disperse the scented oil into every corner of your house. It can also be used on its own to add lovely smells to even the largest rooms. With smart technology, you can use the Whole Home Scenting app to monitor the system anywhere you may be, changing the concentration level or turning the system off completely. Learn more about the benefits of a whole house diffuser.

    The main benefit of nebulizing diffusers is that they do not rely on heat, which can alter the chemical composition of the oil, or water, which can dilute the oil and lessen its effects. The mist released from nebulizing diffusers is comprised entirely of oil, which strengthens the smell and benefits of aromatherapy. However, since the result is not weakened with water, these systems go through oil more quickly, so you will need to purchase and replace the oil more frequently.

    Additionally, there are several components to these devices, making them a bit more complicated to clean than other types of diffusers. Some models also make quite a bit of noise, which can be disturbing if you are using the diffuser to sleep.

  3. Candle Diffuser

    Candle vs home fragrance diffuser
    Candle diffusers rely on evaporation to emit fragrance from essential oils into the air. The design of these diffusers includes a stove-like open compartment on the bottom with a bowl on top. These can be made from a variety of heat-resistant materials, such as ceramics or glass. A small, unscented tealight candle is placed into the bottom portion.

    The bowl on top is filled about two-thirds of the way with water. You can then add a couple of drops of essential oil of your choice to the water. The candle is lit, heating up the water and causing it to evaporate and release the scent into the air.

    Candle diffusers come in a wide variety of designs, and the lit candle can set a relaxed, cozy ambiance to the room. Additionally, these diffusers are often very inexpensive, and the tealight candles used to heat up the oil and water can be purchased in bulk at a reasonable price as well. No electricity is needed to power the device, meaning it can be placed anywhere and does not add to your utility bill at the end of the month.

    However, while heat-based methods can fully release the smell from the essential oil, the chemical composition of the oil is altered. This can reduce potential health benefits, especially when the heat is used at high levels. Also, lit candles require constant supervision to ensure a fire doesn’t break out. The diffuser cannot be used in an unoccupied room and must be put out when you leave the house. You also need to keep the diffuser away from any areas where flammable objects are close by, such as near curtains or on top of a tablecloth. The diffuser needs to be turned off before you sleep at night, which can make it difficult to use calming or sleep-inducing scents.

  4. Ultrasonic Home Fragrance Diffuser

    Ultrasonic diffuser vs home fragrance diffuser
    Ultrasonic diffusers are the most common type of diffuser found on the market. These devices most often require electricity to run but do not require heat. Rather, the fragrance is broken up into smaller particles by ultrasonic vibrations from a small disk at the bottom of the device.

    These diffusers have a basin that should be filled mostly with water and a few drops of oil. The more oil you place, the stronger the smell. Since water and oil do not mix together, the oil sits at the top of the water as it vibrates. This releases a visible mist that comes out of the top of the diffuser, which is different from steam that is formed by heat.

    Since ultrasonic diffusers rely on water, the oil is diluted, releasing a weaker scent than what you would experience from a nebulizer diffuser. However, this method can be less expensive since you will go through oil more slowly. While ultrasonic diffusers emit a small hum, the sound is minimal and calming.

    These devices also release moisture into the air, which has a humidifying effect. If you live in a dry climate, this feature can be seen as a benefit. However, the added moisture can be potentially problematic for those living in humid environments. You’ll need to monitor moisture levels in your home to avoid mold growth. Additionally, the diffuser itself is susceptible to mold, so make sure to clean it frequently, which can be done easily by washing the inside basin with soap and water.

  5. Electric Diffuser

    Electric diffuser vs home fragrance diffuser
    Very similar to candle diffusers, electric diffusers use heat to evaporate water and oil to emit a fragrance into the air. However, instead of using a lit candle, these devices rely on electric power to create heat. These diffusers typically take the form of a lamp with a basin on top to place the water and oil. The light bulb inside emits heat while also creating light.

    While lamp diffusers are safer to use than candle diffusers, you still need to be aware of the heat. These devices can be hot to the touch, and the light bulb inside can potentially burst. The water and oil cannot be added to the plate on the top until the device cools down. The heat still alters the chemical composition of the oil. Since the device relies on electricity, you can only use it near an electrical outlet.

    Some types of electric diffusers just use a ceramic plate with an internal heating component. Unlike lamp varieties, ceramic diffusers do not need water to dilute the oil. Rather, you simply add a couple of drops of oil to the top of the plate. These devices are also used as wax burners, which melt cubes of candle wax without an open flame. Since the medicinal components of the oil are still compromised with this method, it is best used if your main goal is to emit a nice odor into the room.

  6. Fan Diffuser

    Fan diffuser vs home fragrance diffuser
    Also called evaporative diffusers, fan home fragrance diffusers use air from a fan to speed up the evaporation of the oils and spread it throughout the room. The oil is applied to a filter pad that is placed in a compartment near the fan component. While there are some models that look like a regular table fan with a clip for adding the saturated tissue, many models are uniquely designed to hide the appearance of the fan and look similar to ultrasonic diffusers.

    The sounds emitted from fan diffusers are often low and soothing. There is no heat or water involved in the process, and only oil is used, avoiding any dilution. The force of the air easily pushes the fragrance to other parts of the room, making them an effective option for large spaces. However, these diffusers cause the lighter parts of the essential oil to evaporate and disperse before the heavier parts, potentially reducing the health benefits of the oil.

    With so many different types of diffusers to choose from, picking one that best meets your needs can be difficult to do. You will need to consider how the device disperses the oil, whether this involves heat, air, or water, and determine your budget for purchasing oils and replacement parts. Additionally, the size of the area you want to cover has a significant impact on what kind of home fragrance diffuser you should get. If you’re seeking a device that can help you reap the benefits of aromatherapy wherever you go, the Whole Home Scenting Diffuser is the best product for the job.

Photo credit: Pixabay (reed diffuser sticks and candle), Eric Anada (light bulb), Jess Bailey Designs (fan)
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