Comparing Essential Oil Diffusers

by Cynthia on April 1, 2012


A previous introductory post on essential oil diffusers focused on the three main types of diffusers:

  • ventilation or travel diffuser
  • humidification or ultrasonic diffuser
  • nebulizer or cold-air diffuser

In this post we will dig deeper into how each diffuser works and their pros and cons to aid you in choosing the right one for your particular needs.

Travel Diffuser

Young Living Travel Fan DiffuserThe travel diffuser introduces convenience and portability to essential oil diffusing. The Travel Fan Diffuser offered by Young Living Essential Oils is capable of diffusing any essential oil, even the thick, viscous ones. It diffuses by blowing cool air through the essential oil pad, releasing the therapeutic benefits of the essential oil into the air. The Travel Fan Diffuser uses a quiet but powerful mini fan and all natural high-density essential oil pads, and has output that can fill a room as large as 1000 sq. ft.  It can run on batteries or be plugged into an electrical outlet.  Ten essential oil replacement pads are included and extra pads can be purchased separately.

How to use: Apply 15-20 drops of your favorite essential oil.  Slide the essential oil pad holder, grid facing down, back into the diffuser. Press down the on/off button to turn on the diffuser. A green indicator light will turn on when the unit is diffusing.

Pros and Cons:  This small, portable essential oil diffuser is great for travel or if you are interested in replacing your toxic store-bought air fresheners.  It is easy to maintain–just replace the essential oil pad and you are good to go.  It can diffuse even the thicker, more viscous essential oils.  This diffuser is great for small apartments or individual rooms.  The therapeutic value comes in because you are using therapeutic grade essential oils, however, if you are looking for optimum therapeutic value, consider the nebulizer or cold-air diffuser.

Get this diffuser if: you want to get rid of your toxic home air fresheners and replace them with healthy ones.  Also, this diffuser is great for travel or students in dorm rooms.

The Ultrasonic Essential Oil Diffuser

Young Living Home DiffuserThe Home Diffuser from Young Living emits a fine mist of essential oils that stays suspended in the air using ultrasonic technology. It is a perfect natural alternative to synthetic air fresheners. By breaking up a mixture of water and essential oil into millions of micro-particles, the Home Diffuser disperses an aromatic mist into the air, activating the beneficial constituents found in Young Living Therapeutic Grade essential oils.  The diffuser comes complete with continuous and interval timer settings and the option to enjoy its soothing light system…or not.

How to use:  Fill reservoir up to the fill line with filtered water.  Place 10-15 drops of essential oil into the reservoir. Unscrew the water tank cap, fill with filtered water and replace cap.  Replace the water tank, pressing down tightly.  Attach adaptor to rear of diffuser, plug into outlet and press middle button to turn on.  You can chose continual or interval operation, lights or no lights with the buttons on the front.  Cleaning is as simple as wiping the diffuser with a soft cloth.

Pros and Cons:  While it is indeed portable, you would do better to employ the Travel Fan diffuser if you were traveling.  Cleaning the diffuser and changing to another oil is a snap–simply empty the reservoir, wipe with a soft cloth and refill.  You can diffuse all essential oils, even the thick and viscid ones.  While you do receive therapeutic value from this diffuser, if this is your prime reason for using a diffuser, the nebulizer diffuser is tops.

Get this diffuser if: you want some therapeutic value from Young Living Essential Oils in an easy to maintain diffuser.  This diffuser would be ideal for the nursery, young child’s bedroom or playroom (it can double as a nightlight), adult bedroom, kitchen–okay, for any area of the house!

The Cold-Air Diffuser

Young Living Essential Oil DiffuserThe Essential Oil Diffuser from Young Living disperses essential oils without heating them so they retain their therapeutic benefits. With Young Living’s innovative air pump, oils are dispersed in a micro-fine vapor, allowing them to remain suspended in the air for extended periods of time.  When inhaled, the oils are easily absorbed through the lungs.

How to use: The Young Living Essential Oil Diffuser consists of an air pump, an oil well base, and a glass nebulizer connected by a flexible air tube. Attached to the air tube is a flow control valve. You can set the pump on the floor or under a table so that it is out of sight. For your convenience, you can attach the pump to an appliance timer so it will turn on and off automatically.  Pour 15 to 20 drops of oil directly into the well approximately one-quarter inch deep. You only need enough oil for the mist to start coming through the top of the nebulizer. You may wish to place the bottle of essential oil upside down in the well located next to the nebulizer. Be sure that the plastic orifice (drop reducer) is still in the bottle opening. Turn the knob on the flow control valve to adjust the amount of oil dispersed through the glass nebulizer.  To clean this diffuser, use soapy water or rubbing alcohol.

Pros and Cons:  If you are looking for the essential oil diffuser that will give you the greatest therapeutic value, the cold-air nebulizer is the one for you.  It is, however, the least portable of the diffusers mentioned above and it is not the easiest one to clean.  It is also not recommended to diffuse the thicker essential oils as they could clog the jet.  With that said, it is the only type of diffuser I use–I have three of them in my home, each attached to timers and diffusing different essential oils.  And yes, I also carry it with me when I travel.

Get this diffuser if: you want the maximum therapeutic value from Young Living Essential Oils.  This is the pull-out-all-the-stops diffuser.  The essential oils are not diluted in water, they are dispersed directly into the air.  This diffuser works overtime to kill airborne microbes and can be used with an electrical timer to diffuse at specific intervals.  Heavy duty enough for toxic mold.


Diffusing is a simple and effective way to use essential oils.  Depending on the oil used, diffusing can provide an array of benefits such as easing stress, eliminating toxic mold, helping to decongest lungs and sinuses, supporting the immune system or just cleansing the air of odor.  Each of the three diffusers are effective in dispersing the essential oil into the air.  It is just a matter of preference as to which one will work best for you.  And always be sure that you are using therapeutic grade essential oils.

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