Aromatherapy is a great way to create a soothing environment, help calm the mind and pave the way to a good night’s sleep. The easiest way to get started is with an essential oil diffuser. As long as you fill your device with a few drops of diffusing essential oils from a reputable brand, your diffuser will pump a relaxing, health-boosting scent throughout your home.
Before you start shopping, check out our guide to buying the best essential oil diffuser — from nebulizer diffusers to ultrasonic diffusers — and the most-loved ones you can get on Amazon according to enthusiastic reviews.
How to choose an essential oil diffuser
You could choose from literally hundreds of types of diffusers that range in price from $10 to more than $100. Before you buy, consider these factors in selecting the best essential oil diffuser.
Capacity: Diffuser water capacity can run anywhere from 100 milliliters (3.4 fluid ounces) to more than 1 liter (32 fl. oz.) of water, but the average reservoir holds around 300 ml. You may want a larger water capacity if you don’t want to be bothered to refill the water very often, or if you need your diffuser to run for a long time in a large space.
Run time and timers: Do you want to be able to set your diffuser for one, three or five hours? Do you want a continuous run option for aroma and mist? How long do you need it to run for? These are all important questions to consider when purchasing a diffuser.
Automatic shutoff: Even if you’re typically not a forgetful person, choosing a diffuser with auto shutoff is a smart move. If you forget to power down your diffuser when there’s little water left, it can overheat and break.
Area coverage: For small rooms, you don’t need to worry too much about the square footage your diffuser covers. If you’re looking to use it in an open space or large room, however, look for diffusers with a high square footage.
Lighting: Many diffusers offer ambient LED lights or double as night lights. This is very much a personal preference, so if you definitely don’t want a light, make sure the diffuser you want to buy doesn’t have one, or that you can easily turn it off.
Mist settings: Do you want a continuous cool mist that runs for hours for diffusing essential oils, or an intermittent mist?
Intensity: For a stronger scent or mist, look for nebulizing diffusers. Nebulizer diffusers vaporize the oil, without using heat, before pumping out the fine mist. These are often more expensive than standard diffusers, but can be worth it if you find standard diffusers to be weak.
Humidity: Many essential oil diffusers double as a cool mist humidifier. This can be a great two-in-one option if you live in a dry climate.
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This sleek ultrasonic diffuser from VicTsing features a wood-grain exterior, screw-on cap, a continuous cool mist output of 10 hours, optional timer and automatic shutoff.
It’s also super-quiet, thanks to ultrasound technology, and it allows you to choose from seven ambient colors of LED lights for an all-around spa effect. For less than $40, buyers on Amazon dote on the value.
For a few bucks less than the best overall pick, you can get this ultrasonic diffuser and cool mist humidifier from InnoGear that reviewers say “does what it’s supposed to.”
Like the VicTsing, the InnoGear also offers seven colors of LED lights to choose from, as well as automatic shutoff. Many buyers note that this diffuser is best used in smaller rooms because its aromatherapy output isn’t as strong as some other diffusers.
You can also adjust the color, brightness, timer and intensity on this smart ultrasonic diffuser.
Can’t live without your essential oil diffuser? Take this one along with you wherever you go. One of the pros of the SpaRoom Aromifier is that it works with a USB, but you can also run it on two AA batteries, so you can travel with this portable diffuser even if you won’t have access to a USB port. This diffuser comes in different colors and emits a soft blue LED light.
This ultrasonic diffuser from Stadler Form runs for a whopping 53 hours. It will emit a fragrance for up to 18 hours on a continuous operation or 53 hours on interval mode, where it runs on a 10-minutes-on, 20-minutes-off cycle.
It also offers an oscillation feature, and buyers love its generous mist and its quietness.
Many small diffusers don’t adequately fill larger rooms with a scent. This Exqline ultrasonic diffuser has an impressively large 1,500ml water capacity, along with an output of 450 square feet.
Amazon reviewers love the powerful output — one buyer even said this ultrasonic diffuser can handle a “huge living room with cathedral ceilings.”
This Vitruvi diffuser emits 2.3 fluid ounces of water per hour, making it a great option for people who want the scent that comes with an essential oil diffuser and the moisture that comes with a humidifier. Its chic porcelain finish and stable legs are a bonus.
Talk about a trifecta: This diffuser from Ellia combines sound, aromatherapy and sight for an ultra calming effect to help you get a good night’s sleep. It’ll play sleep sounds while emitting ambient mood lights along with the scent of the essential oils you bought it for.
If you’re an all-in-one kind of person, this cute box-shaped diffuser was made for you. It functions as a speaker, a cool mist humidifier, a night light and a clock all at the same time — oh, and as an essential oil diffuser, of course.
Originally published earlier this year. Updated pricing.