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Home Page > Aromatherapy Articles & Guides > Aromatherapy Diffusers

Aromatherapy Diffusers
Also Known As Essential Oil Diffusers

Essential Oil DiffusersDiffusion is the process of dispersing essential oils so that their aroma fills a room or an area with the natural fragrance. From the simple to the elaborate, many different methods exist for diffusing essential oils into a room. Three easy methods exist which can be done with things you probably already have in your household. In addition, there are numerous diffusers and diffusing devices available for purchase. This article will detail the different types of devices and methods that may be used.

Try AromaWeb's Diffuser Blends once you've selected your diffuser.

Aromatherapy Diffuser Methods That Can Be Done With Items Already in Your Household

Simple Tissue Diffusion

Place 3-4 drops of essential oil on a tissue. Place the tissue near you. As movement occurs in the room (i.e. as you move or as someone walks by),the aroma will waft through the air.

This method can be used anywhere and is quickly transportable. This is an ideal method to use in public (i.e. in a work cubicle or on an airplane) when you can't diffuse essential oils throughout the room or space.

This method does not emit much aroma into a room.

Steam Diffusion

Boil 2 cups of water. Pour the water into a bowl and add up to 10 drops of essential oil to the water. Use fewer drops if you are using an essential oil or synergy that may cause irritation to your mucous membranes (i.e. cinnamon, eucalyptus, rosemary, pine, thyme, cajuput). Use of energizing or relaxing oils can make this method useful any time of day or night. The steam will heat the oils and cause them to evaporate quickly into the room.

This method will quickly diffuse the oils into a room.

The aroma is not exceptionally long-lasting. Additionally, the heat may alter or destroy certain constituents of the oils and thus the therapeutic benefit may not be as optimal as using cold-air diffusion methods.

Candle Diffusion

Light a pure soy candle and allow it to burn for about 5 minutes. Extinguish the candle, place 1 drop of essential oil in the melted wax (not on the wick!) and then relight the candle. Essential oils are highly flammable, so great care must be used.

This method can be used most anywhere that a candle may be used.

Essential oils are flammable, so great care must be used. The aroma is not long-lasting. The heat may alter or destroy certain constituents of the oils and thus the therapeutic benefit may not be as optimal as using cold-air diffusion methods.

Aromatherapy Diffusers and Diffusion Products on the Market

Passive DiffusersThe descriptions below are generalities about the different aromatherapy diffusers and other products that are available. Always check the specifications, requirements and safety comments supplied with the particular product you are interested to confirm that it is suitable for your needs and expectations.

To locate vendors that sell aromatherapy diffusers, visit the Diffusers & Nebulizers Category of AromaWeb's Business Plaza.

Lamp Ring Diffusers

Aromatherapy Lamp RingLamp rings are typically made out of terracotta or brass. They are shapped like a ring and set directly onto a standard light bulb. They have a grooved lip that goes all the way around them. This lip holds essential oil. The heat from a light bulb heats the essential oil in the lamp ring, and the oil is then gently diffused into the room.

Lamp Rings are usually inexpensive.

If any essential oil gets onto the light bulb, the light bulb could break. They won't work with odd sized bulbs or with bulbs that are situated at odd angles. Lamp rings probably cannot be used with high efficiency bulbs. The heat may alter or destroy certain constituents of the oils and thus the therapeutic benefit may not be as optimal as using cold-air diffusion methods.

Terracotta and Sandstone Diffusers

Passive DiffusersTerracotta clay and sandstone diffusers go by many names and come in an array of attractive shapes and sizes. Some terracotta diffusers resemble tiny clay pots that accept a small quantity of essential oil. Usually a cork is the method by which the opening is closed. The oils permeate through the pot and then diffuse out into the room. The intensity of the aroma depends on how much essential oil is added to the clay pot or other shaped diffuser. Sandstone is quite porous and is another lovely way to passively diffuse essential oils.

Clay pot diffusers are very inexpensive, easy to use, and do not require electricity or batteries.

The aroma is strongest shortly after adding essential oil to the clay pot and then dissipates as time passes. As such, it’s hard to keep the same level of aroma in the room.

Candle Diffusers

Candle DiffuserA candle diffuser is a diffuser that utilizes a tea light or other candle to gently heat the essential oil to promote diffusion into a room. A candle diffuser is usually ceramic or metal. The diffuser has an opening or space for a candle and a little bowl or tray for storing a tiny quantity of essential oil. Candle diffusers come in many shapes and colors from the modest functional piece to those that act both as a work of art and as a candle diffuser.

Candle diffusers are usually less pricy than nebulizing diffusers, depending on the style and design. Candle diffusers do not require electricity or batteries.

One needs to be as careful with using a candle diffuser as with using candles in general. Also, one must be sure to keep replacement candles on hand. The heat may alter or destroy certain constituents of the oils and thus the therapeutic benefit may not be as optimal as using cold-air diffusion methods.

Fan Diffusers
Also Known as Electric Diffusers

Electric Fan DiffuserFan diffusers come in a variety of sizes, shapes and styles. Essentially, a fan diffuser uses a fan to blow the essential oils into the air. To use a fan diffuser, essential oils are usually placed onto a disposable absorbent pad or into a tray. The pad or tray is placed into the unit and then powered on. The fan then blows air across this pad or tray and carries the aroma throughout the room. Since fan diffusers come in a variety of sizes, some fan diffusers will only diffuse a small room whereas others can diffuse very large areas.

Fan diffusers are available in a wide variety of brands and styles. Depending on the brand and model, fan diffusers can fragrance a large area. Fan diffusers are generally easy to use. Some fan diffusers are powered by both electricity and batteries making them quite portable.

Some fan diffusers, depending on the brand and model, require the purchase of replacement absorbent pads. Some fan diffusers are noisy.

Electric Heat Diffusers

Essential Oil Heat DiffuserHeat diffusers use heat to gently heat the oil and disperse the aroma into a room.

Electric heat diffusers may fragrance larger areas, depending on the brand and style. They can also help to more efficiently disperse the aromas of thicker oils such as Sandalwood and Patchouli.

Heat may alter or destroy certain constituents of the oils and thus the therapeutic benefit may not be as optimal as using cold-air diffusion methods.

Essential Oil Nebulizers

Essential Oil NebulizersA nebulizer is a device that takes essential oils and breaks them into separate molecules before dispersing the smaller molecules into the room. It is said that these smaller molecules can be more readily absorbed by the lungs and thus create greater therapeutic value than by use of other diffusion methods. A nebulizer is a small (perhaps 8" x 4" x 6") device that consists of two main parts: the plastic base that contains the motor and a very unusual, clear blown-glass looking device that holds and "nebulizes" the oils. Instead of the use of the unusual glass piece, some nebulizers use a special bottle that looks like a Boston round bottle.

I am sometimes asked about carrier oil usage when diffusing essential oils. Carrier Oils are generally not necessary when using most types of nebulizers and diffusers. Check the instructions that come with your diffuser or contact the manufacturer for usage instructions).

It is said that nebulizers can supply greater therapeutic benefit than the use of other diffusers because they break the oils down into smaller molecules.

The glass piece can break and can be expensive to replace. Compared to other methods, cleaning the nebulizer, especially after using thicker oils can be time consuming. Depending on the style nebulizer, thick oils such as Sandalwood and Patchouli usually cannot be used as they can clog certain style nebulizers.


To locate vendors that sell diffusers, visit the Diffusers & Nebulizers Category of AromaWeb's Business Plaza.

For blends that you can try once you have your diffuser, be sure to visit the Diffuser Blends page.

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