The Ultimate Guide to Essential Oil Diffusers

by The Puritan's Pride Editorial Team

Here at Puritan’s Pride, we know a thing or two about diffusers.

While style, functionality, and price may be your top considerations before purchasing an essential oil diffuser, several other less obvious factors may ultimately determine which type of diffuser can provide the optimal aromatherapy experience for you and your home. Here are a few considerations.

Diffusion Method

Diffusers can be divided into two different categories – those that require water to operate, and those that do not.

Some entry-level diffusers do not require water; instead, essential oils are dropped onto reusable, absorbent pads that are inserted into the diffuser; a small fan blows air over the pad, releasing the oil vapors into the air without creating the misting effect that you may associate with diffusers.

The advantage of non-misting diffusers is that they are generally small, lightweight, portable, and cost-effective.

Misting diffusers – those that release a visible stream of vapor into the air – are the preferred choice for the advanced oiler because they offer a greater range of options with regard to style and efficiency. If a misting effect is indeed what you prefer, be sure to purchase a diffuser with a water tank.

Power Source

Many smaller diffusers are powered via USB cable only, which may pose a problem if you do not plan to use your diffuser near a computer. Though a USB to AC power adapter is easy to purchase separately, and your iPhone cord may also work, be sure that you understand how your diffuser is powered prior to purchasing.Some diffusers may also be battery operated.

Room Size

Do you have a particular room in mind that the diffuser will call home? Read the product description carefully; most diffuser manufacturers offer a ‘suggested room size’ in the product description. Smaller diffusers are great for bathrooms and small bedrooms, but consider a larger, misting diffuser for open living and dining areas.

Run Time

The length of time that any diffuser can operate, continually or intermittently, is a function of the tank size and the intensity of the mist. Most product descriptions indicate an approximate run time, which can vary from as little as 30 minutes to an entire day. To date, among all diffusers that I’ve tested personally, the Aromaflower has the longest run time – up to 24 hours.

Lighting Features

Don’t assume that every diffuser with a sleek, modern exterior design has an equally colorful and contemporary lighting feature. While some of our most popular diffusers, like the SpaMist and the Summit Mist, boast a rotating rainbow spectrum of LED colors, others may provide a more simple, soft and steady glow. To really understand how the diffuser of your choice lights up, read customer reviews or watch a video of the diffuser in action.


While the majority of essential oil diffusers are manufactured with durable, plastic shells, some are made from other materials, like the Natura Natural Wood Diffuser, or the MarbleMist Glass Mister. While wood diffusers are generally quite durable, a glass diffuser may not be the best option for placement in high-traffic areas, or in homes with rambunctious children or pets.

Aromatherapy Diffuser Gifts

This may seem like a no-brainer, but give special consideration to the aesthetic nature of a diffuser if your intent is to give it away as a gift.

If the gift recipient is new to aromatherapy, consider a low to moderately priced, durable diffuser, and spend a few extra bucks on essential oils.

Kits that contain both a diffuser and essential oils are also a great option for first-time oilers. The Aromatherapy Essential Home Kit contains the customer favorite SpaMist diffuser with a bottle each of sweet almond carrier oil and lavender essential oil.

For the workplace, consider a small, portable, USB-powered diffuser, like the Aromapod, the Mistique, or the Zen Air.

For teachers or parents of young children, the MobyMist may be an ideal fit.

For the advanced oiler who values both style and functionality, consider the Enlighten Essential Oil Diffuser, the MarbleMist Blue, or the Natura Natural Wood Diffuser.

The handy, compact and affordable Aromafiers are available in white, silver, red, black, and gold, and make fantastic stocking stuffers.

For the frequent traveler, consider a durable, attractive, battery-powered diffuser like the Scentifier.

For a man, the color scheme of the Aromapod Black & Red Portable Misting Diffuser makes it the perfect gift.