Tips on buying an aromatherapy diffuser
When you are searching for ways to relax after a hard day’s work, an aromatherapy diffuser is a wonderful addition to your relaxation arsenal. Just being able to kickback and unwind, while the beautiful and healing fragrances of the essential oils drift across the room is such a natural and easy way to loosen up after a stressful day.
If you don’t know much about aromatherapy diffusers, then there are two questions to ask yourself and your answers will give you an idea of which diffusers are best for your situation.
Do you want to use the aromatherapy diffuser to deliver therapeutic doses of essential oils?
Therapeutic delivery of essential oils: If you want an aromatherapy diffuser for therapeutic reasons, then your choice is limited to the nebulizing diffusers.
Relaxing fragrances: If you just want to fill your room with a wonderful fragrance to help you unwind and relax, then you can choose any of the four different types of diffusers.
Do you want to increase the humidity in the room or is that not important?
Humid environment: If you live in a humid environment or there is a problem with damp, then opt for a nebulizing, evaporative or heat diffuser and avoid the ultrasonic diffusers.
Dry environments: If you want to add humidity to a room, then the ultrasonic diffuser is perfect, unless you ant therapeutic doses then you will have to go with the nebulizing diffusers.
There are 4 types of aromatherapy diffusers you can buy
There are four different types of diffusers on the market, so the first decision you need to make is which type of aromatherapy diffuser is best for your situation. Your answers to the two questions above will have given you a guideline, which you can finalize by reading the information below.
Ultrasonic diffusers: These are the most popular diffusers, because they are easy to use, affordable, use cold mist technology and only need a few drops of essential oil in the water reservoir.
They do however, increase the humidity in the room (which is great in dry environments) and because they dilute the essential oils, are not suitable for therapeutic use.
Nebulizing oil diffusers: These are popular because they use an atomizer, so they do not dilute the essential oils and are suitable for therapeutic use.
They are also waterless, so they don’t increase the humidity in the room, so are a good option for people who already live in damp or humid environments.
You can only use thin oils (100% essential oils) in these diffusers or else they will clog and be difficult to clean (so no carrier oils!).
Evaporative scent diffusers: These use a simple fan to diffuse the essential oils into the air and are waterless, so they don’t increase the humidity. The main problem with these diffusers is that they are not suitable for therapeutic use due to fractioning of the essential oils.
This means that the evaporative process releases lighter molecules first, followed by heavier molecules – effectively reducing the efficacy of the oils. You can use both thick and thin oils in evaporative diffusers.
Heat oil diffusers: These are those beautiful tea light holders that waft lovely fragrances around a room. You do need to use a teaspoon of water with these diffusers, but not enough to cause problems with humidity.
Whilst they give a wonderful ambiance to a room they also cause fractioning of the essential oil molecules.
In terms of cost, you will generally find that nebulizing diffusers cost more than ultrasonic diffusers, with evaporative and then finally heat oil diffusers. This doesn’t always ring true, because a handcrafted heat diffuser can sometimes cost more than a nebulizing diffuser, but it is a general guideline.
There are lots of different options with your aromatherapy diffuser
The options and features of aromatherapy diffusers depend heavily on the type of diffuser you have selected, so for example, a heat oil diffuser won’t have an auto shut-off feature.
You can decide on the type of aromatherapy diffuser you want first and then pick the one with the most suitable options. Alternatively, you can decide which of the options you prefer and then select the type of diffuser that offers these features.
So let’s take a look at the various features of aromatherapy diffusers.
Style: There are some absolutely beautiful looking diffusers on the market, making it quite difficult to make a decision. There are glass diffusers, ceramic diffusers and plastic diffusers and they come in different styles and colors. Sometimes it is easier to hone in on a diffuser that appeals to you and then decide whether it has the features on your list or not.
Noise factor: Obviously the heat oil diffusers will make no noise at all, but the other three types of diffusers can make some noise when they are working. The ultrasonic diffusers are generally the quietest of the three and many of these are completely silent. Some of the evaporative diffusers can be a little noisy due to the fan, and some of the nebulizers due to their atomizers.
Water capacity: Only the ultrasonic diffusers use any serious amount of water, as the nebulizers and evaporative diffusers are waterless and the heat diffusers only need a teaspoon.
Water is required by the ultrasonic diffusers to create the fine mist of essential oils that is dispersed throughout your room. The capacity of the reservoir is a concern when you want to leave the diffuser running all day, as you will need at least a 200 to 300ml capacity. Just for a few hours of fragrant scents, you will most probably only need around an 80 to 100ml capacity.
Timer options: With the ultrasonic and nebulizing diffusers, it is a good idea to have a timer with pre-set options and an auto shut-off or one that is programmable. Otherwise you will have to keep an eye on the amount of water in the ultrasonic reservoir and the essential oil container in the nebulizing diffuser, in case they run dry. Each diffuser will have a variety of running times, some that will run for just 2 or 3 hours and others that can run for up to 8 or 10 hours.
Variable air flow: The nebulizing evaporative diffusers both rely on air flow to disperse the mist of essential oils.The nebulizing diffuser uses an atomizer and the evaporative diffuser uses a fan.
Some of these essential oil diffusers allow you alter this flow of air, resulting in more or less dispersal of the mist throughout the space, giving you a stronger or lighter fragrance.
Misting times: Even with a timer, auto-shut off feature and the ability to vary the air flow, you might still want to choose between continuous or intermittent misting. As you can imagine, continuous misting will use up the water and essential oils much quicker than intermittent misting. Some aromatherapy diffusers do offer intermittent misting, usually with 20 or 30 second intervals between each mist.
Area of diffusion: Each diffuser will have an approximate range of operation, within which it can disperse the mist of essential oils. So if you have a large area you will want a diffuser with an equally large dispersal range and of course, this won’t be such of an issue for smaller spaces. Most diffusers can comfortably operate in a 250 foot square room with others taking on 400+ foot square rooms. So make sure to check the operating range of the aromatherapy diffuser or you could purchase one that isn’t powerful enough for your needs.
Essential oil turnover: The nebulizing diffusers use the most essential oils because they do not dilute the oils with water.
Therefore, these diffusers can cost more to run, so if your budget is limited, the ultrasonic, evaporative and heat diffusers might be more appropriate for you.
Changing essential oils: With an ultrasonic diffuser, if you want to change to a different essential oil, then because you are using a mix of water and essential oil you will need to rinse the water reservoir to remove all traces of the previous oils before setting it up again. If you are using a nebulizing diffuser, you might only need to clean the nozzle where you attach the essential oil container, so for minimal cleaning in between uses, the nebulizing diffuser comes out on top.
LED lights: Some of the ultrasonic and nebulizing aromatherapy diffusers come with mood enhancing LED lights, which when combined with relaxing essential oils can boost your relaxation and help you to wind down. If the diffuser does come with LED lights make sure that you can turn them on and off because you prefer to use the diffuser without the LED lights on occasion.
Safety: Some of the prettiest aromatherapy diffusers are made of glass, but there is a safety factor when you use glass around young children and pets. So if you select a glass diffuser just be sure to keep it out of reach of little fingers and paws.
Also, the heat diffusers can pose problems with children and pets if they within reach, so again, just be careful about their placement in your home.
Portability: If you want to take your essential oil diffuser on holiday or camping with you, then you want to select a lightweight and compact model and one that also operates on batteries.
BPA free: The vast majority of aromatherapy diffusers are made of hard plastic, although there are ceramic and glass models available as well. Many customers are prefer plastic that is BPA free and there are a number of models that come into this category.
With this list of options, you should be able to find your perfect aromatherapy oil diffuser with no problem at all.