There are four different types of essential oil diffusers, including nebulizing, ultrasonic, heat, and evaporative diffusers. Each diffuser has its own unique method for getting essential oils into the air to utilize their therapeutic benefits. From these choices, how do you decide which one would work best for you? To help you decide, we’ve broken down how each diffuser works and some pros and cons that come with their use.
A nebulizing diffuser breaks down the essential oil into tiny particles through the use of a high velocity, pressurized air stream and jet nozzle. When the essential oil is released, it goes into the air in a fine mist. This method does not alter the chemical composition—it diffuses the entire oil at once so you don’t get the more volatile components first and then the heavier later. The particle size is small enough to be easily inhaled.
- Pros: Nebulizers use no heat or water, yet disperse the entire oil into the air for optimal therapeutic benefits.
- Cons: Nebulizers are often the most expensive diffusers to use and sometimes to buy. Because these diffusers use only essential oil, they often also use more oil.
This popular type of diffuser uses water and electronic frequencies to create a fine mist from the essential oil and water. Ultrasonic vibrations are created by a small disk under the surface of the water which causes the essential oil to break up into tiny micro particles.
- Pros: Ultrasonic models only use a small amount of essential oil, and no heat is used to generate the mist in an ultrasonic diffuser. This method also can act as both a diffuser and a humidifier, a helpful characteristic if you live in a dry place.
- Cons: Only a small fraction of the mist is essential oil, and it depends on the air current already in the room to disperse the oil. May not want to add more water to the air if you live in a humid place.
doTERRA has a few main different ultrasonic diffusers. Give the Lotus, Petal, Aroma Lite or Lumo diffusers a try.
As their name suggests, heat diffusers use heat elements to help the essential oil gradually evaporate into the air. Sometimes they may use the oil mixed with water. Some heat diffusers use very high levels of heat to cause a stronger aroma, however, the best heat diffusers will use a very low heat to avoid drastically changing the chemical constituents of the oils being diffused.
- Pros: Diffusing using heat is an economical yet efficient and silent way to spread the aroma throughout the room.
- Cons: The heat used can change the properties of the oil at the molecular level. This means that the therapeutic benefit of an oil may lessen or change entirely.
Evaporative diffusion is using air flow to spread the scent of the essential oils. A fan blows air through a filter, such as a tissue or a pad that has essential oils dropped onto it. The moving air causes the oil to evaporate quickly, and the air with the evaporated oil is blown into and around the room.
With this method, you will get the oil in segments; the lighter, more volatile components evaporate first, while the heavier components evaporate last.
- Pros: Wind-blown diffusion can be a quiet way to quickly spread the oil’s aroma throughout the room.
- Cons: It may not be as therapeutic of a method because all of the components of the whole oil are not diffused at the same time.