The 3 best oil diffusers

Photo by Kristin Forte/Simplemost

Essential oils have become a hot commodity over the last few years. Whether you’re using them for aromatherapy or you just want your living room or office to smell great, you’ll need an oil diffuser to release beautiful scents into your environment.

There are a few different types of diffusers, but ultrasonic diffusers are the most common variety that you’ll find online for personal use. They plug into your wall, but they don’t use heat the same way that other diffusers do. Instead, they use ultrasonic vibrations to push your oils to the top of the water, and then they vaporize the water and oils. The vapor releases your essential oils into the air, and it also acts as a mild humidifier. Your essential oils will last longer in ultrasonic diffusers because they’re being mixed with water.

There are hundreds of soothing diffusers to choose from on the web, but we sifted through all the noise to help you choose the best diffuser for your home and family.

Why We Like It:  In our testing, this diffuser stood out because of its sturdy construction and the smooth, reliable stream of essential oil mist it produces. We also found it to be quick and easy to set up, especially since one button controls all of the functions. This gorgeous diffuser’s modern design (we especially loved the dewdrop shape) means it actually looks great inside your home, while being incredibly effective at the same time. It runs super quietly, so you get all the benefits of the essential oils you choose without a distracting machine running in the background. It also doubles as a pretty little night light.

Photo by Kristin Forte/Simplemost

Why We Like It: This oil diffuser is perfect if you’re keeping a close eye on your spending — it’s affordable, but that doesn’t mean you should expect poor performance. Our tests revealed that the instructions that come with this diffuser are spot-on and easy to follow — hold the mist button for a second or longer to get the diffuser to turn on. We also especially liked the long timer settings (60, 180 or 360 minutes), as well as the large 300 ml capacity — it can run for many hours without you needing to refill the water. The seven LED color options are an added bonus, and makes this a great option for a kid’s bedroom. Since it’s small, it doesn’t take as much space, so if you don’t have tons of room, this diffuser can get the job done.

Photo by Kristin Forte/Simplemost

Why We Like It: When we pulled this diffuser out of the box for the first time, we were surprised at how lightweight it is. Yet when we turned it on, it still produced a powerful and steady stream of mist. The sleek design and seven LED colors make this an oil diffuser you’ll be proud to show off in your home.  It can run up to 16 hours on a single fill (it has a capacity of 500 ml of water) and it automatically turns off when the water runs out. We also liked that you can choose how strong you want the mist to be, as well as the four timer options (60, 120, 180 and “stay on” mode).  This diffuser also comes with a measuring cup, which is a handy and useful addition.

Photo by Kristin Forte/Simplemost

Tips and Advice

  • You’ll want to determine the square footage of whatever room you want to have your diffuser in before you buy. Smaller rooms (up to 200 square feet), can get away with smaller diffusers, while larger rooms (up to 300 square feet) need a diffuser with a little more oomph.
  • Safety is key when you’re plugging a diffuser that uses water into an electrical outlet. All four of our top picks have an auto-shutoff feature for safety. When the diffuser has used up all of the water, it turns off to protect you and your home.
  • What type of color designs do you prefer? Many diffusers have bands of LED lights that brighten up the center of the diffuser. Other units light up the entire diffuser with an array of beautiful colors.

Photo by Kristin Forte/Simplemost

  • If you have children or pets, you’ll want to place the diffuser on a surface that’s high off the ground. That will prevent your child or pet from knocking over the diffuser and getting water and oil everywhere. You’ll also want to make sure that the cord is tucked away behind your dresser or table and that the power outlet isn’t accessible to tiny hands.
  • If you need some extra humidity in your room, diffusers can add small amounts of moisture to the air for greater comfort during dry winter months. Some diffusers double as cool mist humidifiers for your bedroom or office.
  • How much space do you have for your diffuser? Diffusers range from six and a half inches wide to about seven inches wide, so they’ll easily fit on most desktops or tables.
  • Make sure you clean your diffuser regularly for optimal performance. You should rinse out your diffuser with water after each use, then give it a deep clean once a month. For the deep clean, just fill your diffuser halfway full with clean water, add ten drops of pure white vinegar and run your diffuser for five to 10 minutes. The white vinegar loosens any oils that might be stuck to the bottom of the diffuser. When you’re finished with the white vinegar rinse, pour it out and use a cotton swab or a soft cloth to wipe away any residue. Rinse once more with clean water, then enjoy your diffuser for another month.
  • Curious how essential oils became so popular? As far as lavender oil is concerned, it all started when a French chemist named René-Maurice Gattefossé was working in his lab in 1910 when an explosion took him by surprise. He stopped, dropped and rolled to put out the fires on his body, but he could tell that he had tissue damage on his arm from the burns. He was developing a type of gangrene from the laboratory’s gases. He plunged his arm into a vat of water containing lavender oil and immediately noticed that it halted the gangrene in his arm. His tissues began to heal the next day. René-Maurice continued studying essential oils, and he was the first person to use the word “aromatherapy” several years after his accident.

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