While essential oils may feel like a recent wellness trend, the therapeutic use of plant oils is thought to date back to some of the earliest human civilisations. According to the International Federation of Aromatherapists, the burning of plants has been used to “uplift the spirit and help cure diseases” as long as 3,500 years ago in Ancient India, China and Egypt.
Thankfully, in 2022, there are much easier ways to experience the benefits of essential oils. The best diffusers now gently emit fragrances into your home using ultrasonic technology instead of burning, which aromatherapy experts believe can help promote relaxation and feelings of calmness, improve clarity and focus, and even help you sleep.
If you’re in the market for an essential oils diffuser, The Recommended spoke to two aromatherapy experts to get their take on what makes a good diffuser and what features you should steer clear of. In line with these recommendations, we’ve pulled together our list of the best diffusers to buy online.
Jump to the best diffusers:
- Best overall diffuser: Tisserand Aromatherapy Aroma Spa Diffuser
- Best mood lighting: SOTO Aroma Diffuser
- Best nebulising diffuser: Aromis Orbis Nox Merus Nebulizing Diffuser
- Best budget diffuser: Criacr 150ml Essential Oil Diffusers
- Longest run time: ASAKUKI 700ml Essential Oil Diffuser
- Best ceramic diffuser: Earnest Living Essential Oil Diffuser White Ceramic
- Best glass diffuser: Glass Aromatherapy Ultrasonic Cool Mist Aroma Essential Oil Diffuser
- Best high capacity diffuser: ASAKUKI 500ml Essential Oil Diffuser
- Best smart diffuser: Miserwe 500ML Essential Oil Diffuser
- Best portable diffuser: Airwick Essential Mist Kit
Our aromatherapy experts
Our aromatherapy experts Jo Kellett and Amy Galper are highly experienced and well respected figures in aromatherapy, each passionate about helping people experience the health and wellbeing benefits of essential oils.
Jo Kellett trained at the prestigious Tisserand Institute of Holistic Aromatherapy, is a member of the International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists and is a certified infant massage practitioner. She runs her own aromatherapy business based in Brighton, From the Seed, and is also a published author. In addition to her published work, Jo has lectured around the world on the benefits of aromatherapy, and as an accredited aromatherapy educator offers CPD (Continuing Professional Development). She has also appeared as an expert on the Chrissy B Show to talk about using essential oils to support wellbeing.
Amy Galper has been a certified aromatherapist for over 20 years and is the founder of the first aromatherapy school in New York City, the New York Institute of Aromatherapy, which offers an online aromatherapy certification programme called Aromatherapy in Action. Amy is also a member of Credo Beauty's Clean Beauty Council, where she helps develop products, is a guest lecturer at New York University, and is the co-author of Plant Powered Beauty and The Ultimate Guide to Aromatherapy.
What should you look for when buying a new diffuser?
According to Jo, the most important thing to look for when buying a diffuser is that it has an automatic turn-off function for when all the water inside has evaporated. Amy agrees, explaining that a diffuser should have a timer as a safety feature so it doesn’t run 24/7 if you forget about it.
Amy specifically recommends diffusers with ceramic casings as “they are not only pretty to look at, but they are also heat safe and keep cool. Plus, they are easy to clean”.
Amy also endorses nebulising diffusers. “These don’t use water to disperse the essential oil,” she explains, “but rather use vibration and air pressure to vaporise the essential oils so they are easy to inhale and more therapeutically effective.”
Jo adds that you might want to consider a diffuser with coloured light features, which can help to visually set the tone of a room.
What should you avoid when looking for a new diffuser?
“Always read consumer reviews!” Jo stresses, “I personally would also always buy from an essential oil company as opposed to a high street retailer.”
Considering the size of the room where you want to use your diffuser is also important. “Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to use it,” says Jo. “Less is more, so do not exceed the amount of drops recommended.”
In terms of features to avoid, Jo recommends watching out for a noisy fan or heating element, particularly if you want to use the diffuser at bedtime.
Amy says to avoid diffusers that heat up, don’t have timers, that are not easy to clean, and to try to find one with a long power cord as it gives you more options as to where you can place it in your home.
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The best diffusers
Best overall diffuser: Tisserand Aromatherapy Aroma Spa Diffuser
Designed by leading aromatherapy experts
With a choice of two output settings –fine vapour and silent mist – the Tisserand Aromatherapy Aroma Spa Diffuser is the go-to diffuser of our expert aromatherapist Jo.
Recognised as a pioneer in the field, the Tisserand Institute is a leading organisation of aromatherapy research and education and a founding member of the UK Aromatherapy Trade Council. This award-winning, plug-in diffuser draws on this reputation, featuring ultrasonic aroma technology, soft-coloured light variations, an automatic shut-down feature when it runs out of water, and ultra-quiet mechanics.
Best for mood lighting: SOTO Aroma Diffuser
Great for setting the tone of a room
The SOTO Aroma Diffuser also comes recommended by our expert Jo, with its colour changing mood lighting, auto-off function, and ultrasonic aroma technology ticking her boxes.
This diffuser, from essential oil company Made by Zen, also acts as a mini humidifier, designed to deliver a cool mist that aids concentration. Suitable for use with any essential oils, this diffuser also has a night mode, so can be used without any light, and a mist setting that lasts for up to four hours.
Best nebulising diffuser: Aromis Orbis Nox Merus Nebulizing Diffuser
This nebulising diffuser from Aromis comes recommended by our expert Amy, who says it is the most therapeutically effective way to use essential oils.
Using vibrations and air pressure technology, Amy says nebulising diffusers such as this make it easier to inhale essential oils, are easy to clean, and use up less oils than water-based diffusers. This product has a solid pine wood base and an adjustable dial that allows you to toggle between timer options ranging from one to eight hours.
Best budget diffuser: Criacr 150ml Essential Oil Diffusers
Automatically shuts off
A solid pick considering the price, this 150ml essential oil diffuser from Criacr features seven changing LED lights, as well as ultrasonic technology that promises to be less than 35dB loud.
With three working modes, you can adjust the frequency and intensity of the mist. This diffuser also features a waterless auto-off mode, which means that it will safely switch off when it runs out of water, and promises a maximum runtime of four hours.
Longest run time: ASAKUKI 700ml Essential Oil Diffuser
This 700ml nebulising diffuser from Asakuki promises to keep running for up to an impressive 20 hours without the need to add more water.
This nebulising diffuser ticks all of our experts’ boxes. It features a 700ml water tank, seven LED light settings, adjustable mist modes, an auto-off function, four timers, acts as a humidifier and is easy to clean. Its nebulising technology uses vibrations and air pressure technology as opposed to water to release the essential oils, which is why it can last so long.
Best ceramic diffuser: Earnest Living Essential Oil Diffuser White Ceramic
Stylish and easy to clean
Our expert Amy recommends ceramic diffusers such as this one from Earnest Living as they are heat safe, keep cool during use, and are easy to clean.
This 100ml ceramic diffuser also features an automatic shut-off feature for when it runs out of water and comes with four timer modes ranging between half an hour and three hours. It also has seven fixed colour settings and uses ultrasonic technology to emit the essential oils.
Best glass diffuser: Glass Aromatherapy Ultrasonic Cool Mist Aroma Essential Oil Diffuser
Handmade glass vase
With an automatic shut-off feature, “whisper quiet” ultrasonic technology, and four timer settings, this glass diffuser from Bobolyn Store ticks a lot of our experts’ boxes.
The most stand-out feature of this diffuser, though, is its design. With a handmade glass vase that lights up with a 3D fireworks design and seven colour-changing mood lights, this diffuser is ideal for helping to set the tone of a room. It also operates without heat and has four inbuilt time setting modes ranging from half an hour to three hours.
Best high capacity diffuser: ASAKUKI 500ml Essential Oil Diffuser
Suitable for large rooms and night use
Great for large rooms, this 500ml essential oil diffuser from ASAKUKI can last up to an impressive 10 hours, which is ideal for using through the night.
This 5-in-1 diffuser also features seven LED light colours, adjustable brightness settings, auto colour cycles and fixed colour modes, multiple mist timer modes, as well as a safety auto-switch designed to prevent it overheating when it runs out of water. This diffuser also claims to be eco-friendly, as it operates on a low-voltage.
Best smart diffuser: Miserwe 500ML Essential Oil Diffuser
With a wireless Bluetooth remote control, you can change the lighting, timer, and mist mode on this diffuser without having to leave your seat.
This 500ml diffuser also features seven LED lights that you can adjust for brightness, colour and rotation. It also has an auto-off function for safety, and promises to be “whisper quiet”, which is great if you intend to use it at night.
Best portable diffuser: Airwick Essential Mist Kit
Ideal for moving between rooms
Battery powered, you can place this essential oil diffuser and air freshener from Airwick anywhere in your home, without having to worry about having a plug socket nearby.
With Airwick’s Essential Mist Kit, you can toggle between three intensity settings to determine the amount of fragrance you want in your room. Because this is more of a set it and forget it-type of diffuser, there is no automatic shut-off function, which is something our experts advised against. Instead, this diffuser is long-lasting and designed to provide up to 45 days of continuous, long-lasting fragrance per refill, emitting a short burst of mist either four, five or six seconds long, in 17, 12 or 10 intervals, depending on which setting you pick.
Want more expert-recommended round-ups? Check out our Household page, where you’ll find more home appliance recommendations, including the best energy efficient heaters, recommended by an electric heating expert, the best fans to help you beat the heat, and a set of smart plugs to help you save on your energy bill.
Luke Chamberlain is a Staff Writer for The Recommended, and interviews some of the world’s most knowledgeable product experts to help readers make smarter decision about the products they buy online.