There are two main types of essential oil diffusers: ultrasonic and nebulizing. The primary difference is that ultrasonic diffusers use water, and nebulizing diffusers do not.
Ultrasonic diffusers have a tiny disc that agitates water and essential oils at millions of vibrations per second. This converts the water into a fine mist and converts the oil into micro-particles that are released into the air. You can see the disc in this picture from my tutorial on how to clean your diffuser.
The water and essential oil mist is so fine that if you hold your hand over the diffuser, your hand doesn’t get wet. This is different from a humidifier, which pumps out a lot of water for the purpose of increasing the humidity of a room.
Nebulizing diffuser pressurize air and draw oils through a special nozzle, like this.
This breaks the oils down into minute particles and disperses them into the air. These diffusers don’t use water, but can use an entire bottle of oil quickly if diffuser settings are not correct.
Here are some important pros and cons for each type of diffuser.
|Cost||Less expensive||More expensive|
Other Types of Diffusers
Ultrasonic and nebulizing diffusers are the most popular and most effective. You may see less expensive options, such as heat diffusers or evaporative diffusers. I don’t recommend these for a few reasons:
Both of them use heat to disperse the oils, which destroys the oils’ therapeutic properties.
The evaporative diffusers use electricity to push air through a scented pad, and you can easily scent the air without electricity by using a homemade felt air freshener.
Note: Don’t burn essential oils in a wax burner or other contraption! While they’ll still smell good, you won’t get any therapeutic benefit–which is a waste of good oils.