An enjoyable and easy way to add essential oils to your day is with a diffuser. Diffusers are used to disperse essential oils into the air you breathe. Often people ask me which one I recommend. It is hard to choose with the huge variety on the market, but I can offer the lowdown on the different types of diffusers.
The least expensive are candle diffusers that use the flame’s heat to evaporate an essential oil sitting in a bowl of water. These can be ornamental but not the most effective at getting the therapeutic properties from the essential oils. When heated, the chemistry of the oil changes. You may not be able to tell by the scent but the chemical constituents are altered and don’t provide as beneficial a concentration of healing properties. These are best used for environmental fragrancing – perfect to make a house smell festive for the holidays. Just make sure that they are out of reach of pets who may “mistake” one for a water dish.
Next are electric diffusers. With these fairly inexpensive units, an absorbent pad is placed inside of a ventilated chamber that heats up when plugged in. This allows the essential oil to evaporate, filling the air with aromatic compounds. They are easy to use, require minimal maintenance, and can handle thicker oils that would otherwise clog a different type of diffuser. The drawback, as above, is the essential oil needs to be heated and this can affect the essential oil constituents.
With a nebulizing diffuser, the essential oils are vaporized by air pressure generated from a compressing unit. The diffuser has a glass nebulizer bulb that works as a condenser and disperses the oil into the air as fine droplets. These can saturate the air of a room quickly and maximize the benefits of the essential oils when dealing with respiratory conditions and airborne illnesses. The downside is that they need to be cleaned regularly as they clog easily, especially if viscous oils are used. They also tend to be noisier and consume a greater quantity of oils.
The latest models to be available are called ultrasonic diffusers. One manufacturer’s website explains that a unit “uses high frequency ultrasonic technology that vibrates water inside the unit creating an ultra fine mist into the air. When essential oils are added, they are immediately dispersed into the air.” The advantages are that the diffuser uses no heat and requires only a few drops of oil at a time. The disadvantages are that it uses water, must be cleaned after every use, and can be pretty pricey.
You now know the good and bad sides of each type of diffuser and can make a decision based on your needs. With that said, I collect candle diffusers and have them on display. Many have never been used but serve more as decorative artwork. I guess they fulfill my need to be surrounded by pretty things.