Essential oils contain the essence of a plant, the power of the sun and the soil distilled into something you can use in every aspect of your life. One of the best ways to experience everything essential oils can offer is by using a diffuser! Diffusers help break essential oils into small particles that can disperse through the air and fill an entire space with powerful, breathable essential oil benefits.

What are the different types of diffusers for essential oils?

If you’ve ever searched for a diffuser online, you’re probably already aware of how many options there are. What are the different types of diffusers for essential oils? Does the type of essential oil diffuser matter? Don’t worry: We’ll talk about the different types of diffusers, how they work, and what benefits each type offers. Read on for a quick and easy breakdown of what you should be looking for when you’re ready to buy.

Aria diffuser on bedside table - Young Living Lavender Life blog

Ultrasonic diffuser 

The most common type of diffuser is the electric ultrasonic diffuser. If you’ve encountered a diffuser at a friend’s house or at your office, it’s probably ultrasonic. These types of diffusers use a small, high-speed vibrating metal plate that breaks up the essential oils into tiny droplets that mix with water and are then dispersed through the air as a vapor. Since ultrasonic diffusers carry the essential oil droplets in water, the strong smell of essential oils is slightly diluted, making for a more subtle aroma that some people prefer when creating a more atmospheric, sensory essential oil environment. Young Living carries a wide variety of ultrasonic diffusers, including:

Many of our diffusers also offer features like color-changing lights, diffusion timers, and sound settings to cultivate the atmosphere you want to create and to help set the right mood wherever you diffuse. Many of them also have their own high, low, and intermittent modes to allow you to customize your experience.

The diffuser features, coverage area, and amount of water and essential oil needed for your diffuser vary depending on the specific one you have. Refer to or your diffuser’s user manual for more information.

Atomizing/nebulizing diffuser: Is a nebulizing diffuser better?

If you’re looking for a diffuser geared more toward aromatherapy and intensive essential oil experiences, try an atomizing/nebulizing diffuser! These diffusers do not use water to disperse essential oils. Instead, the essential oil bottle is attached directly into the machine and high-speed air sucks the oil out through a tube. The atomizing technology transforms the essential oil into a vapor of millions of microparticles, dispersing them into the air and releasing the powerful plant constituents. Utilizing undiluted essential oil makes an atomizing diffuser perfect for targeted aromatherapy, while ultrasonic diffusers are more geared toward creating an inviting aromatic environment in settings like your kitchen, office, or home spa night.

Young Living’s AromaLux™ Atomizing Diffuser functions as an aroma diffuser, air purifier, and atomizer in one simple-to-use product. To make things even better, this diffuser comes with controls that allow you to customize your oil experience. The AromaLux has six controls:

Person attaching essential oil bottle to AromaLux Atomizing Diffuser - Young Living Lavender Life Blog
  • On/off switch: Used to turn your diffuser on and off.
  • Vapor volume: Lets you decide how much essential oil vapor output you want—low volume to scent a room and conserve oil, high volume to deliver a powerful dose of essential oil vapor, or somewhere in between.
  • Master timer: Allows you to choose how long the diffuser will run before it shuts off automatically—between 1–10 hours.
  • Diffusion run timer: Allows you to customize intervals of diffusion, up to 20 minutes.
  • Diffusion pause timer: Allows you to decide how much time the diffuser is paused between run times. For example, you can set your AromaLux to diffuse for 15 minutes using the run timer, then pause for 7, then begin the interval again for as long as you have set the master timer to run.
  • Light control: Lets you choose between six light display options—white, red, green, blue, a cycle of all colors, or off. These colors can help create a specific sensory experience and set the scene when you’re meditating, relaxing, or trying to get some work done.

Both our 5 ml and 15 ml essential oil bottle sizes fit this diffuser. The aroma can cover a large room, up to 700 square feet.

Person wearing One Voice Collection diffuser bracelet - Young Living Lavender Life Blog

Non-electric diffuser 

Not every diffuser requires electricity. Some come in the form of jewelry or pendants, while others use fabric pads to distribute essential oils.

  • Diffuser jewelry: If you want to create an essential oil scent barrier between you and the world, diffuser jewelry is just the thing for you! Whether you’re out and about in a scent-heavy environment or you simply prefer to navigate the world with the familiar scent of an old essential oil friend, diffuser jewelry can help. This type of jewelry often includes clay beads that absorb essential oils to gradually and subtly diffuse their scent. Our One Voice™ Collection includes a stacking diffuser bracelet that does just this.
  • Clay ornament diffuser: Clay ornaments like our YL Foundation Ornament passively diffuse your favorite essential oils. They can be hung in your kitchen, bathroom, a rearview mirror, or anywhere you want to customize your sensory experience.
  • Cotton pad diffuser: Some diffusers, like our Car Vent Diffuser, utilize reusable cotton pads to offer passive diffusion on the go. This diffuser clips onto your vehicle’s air vent and lets the vent do the work to disperse the oil’s aroma into the air.

Does the type of essential oil diffuser matter? 

The best diffuser for you is really all about what you think your routine might be missing. Take some time to think through what you actually want from essential oils. Are you looking for intensive aromatherapy? Or are essential oils a source of personal comfort that you need to keep close? Finding what you really need from essential oils will guide you in the right direction in terms of diffusers.

Haven Ceramic Diffuser in front of a house plant - Young Living Lavender Life Blog

Where will you put your diffuser? 

When choosing a diffuser, it is important to think about where you plan to put it. Will it be in a small space, on your work desk, in your car, or in a large room?

If you plan to put your diffuser in a large space like an open living room and kitchen or a larger workspace, try the AromaLux Atomizing Diffuser. It’s built for large spaces and big jobs. If you’re looking to infuse a medium-sized room with essential oils, most of our ultrasonic diffusers, such as the Ember™, Aria, Haven™, or Dewdrop™ are more equipped for the task. That being said, some small spaces require more precision, which is why we’ve designed diffusers like the space-efficient Orb Diffuser. These diffusers have a small range and are best for use in smaller rooms or in environments like a small office or bathroom where you will be close to the diffuser.

If you live in an area with pollution, smoke, or heavy agricultural smells, you should try a portable travel diffuser for the car like our Viya™ Car Diffuser or USB Diffuser! These diffusers are like a scent windshield, keeping offensive smells outside your car where they belong. Even getting stuck in traffic can be a breeze when you’re safe inside your essential oil scent bubble!

What features would you like your diffuser to have? 

The added features of a diffuser allow you to customize your space and your experience, adding lights, sounds, and control to your essential oil experience.

When you think of diffusing Lemon essential oil, what color comes to mind? For us, we think of bright yellow or orange, uplifting citrusy colors that remind of bright days in the sun. Lavender is more, well, lavender, a calm color in rainy skies at sunset. But that’s just us. With customizable lights, many of our diffusers help you to expand your sensory experience beyond just scent into sight. Try our Lantern Diffuser or Haven Ceramic Diffuser to add an extra dimension.

When you’re creating the right meditative essential oil environment, what should it sound like? What sound pairs with the scent of Frankincense? Our Aria Ultrasonic Diffuser has multiple sound options that help you to expand your experience further. If you don’t really feel a perfect match with the pre-loaded sounds, connect your phone to the  built-in speakers and bring your own sounds. If you’re diffusing around your kiddos as part of their bedtime routine, our Feather the Owl Diffuser has white-noise features so you can set the stage for winding down.

Still unsure which diffuser is best for your needs? Take this quiz to find out!

Woman smelling from diffuser - Young Living Lavender Life Blog

Diffuser alternatives 

If you don’t own a diffuser yet but would like to start getting the aromatherapy benefits of essential oils, try some of these methods:

  • Tissue diffuser: Place your desired essential oil onto a tissue or cotton ball and breathe in its aroma.
  • Scent tent: Put a drop of oil into the palm of your hand (dilute with a carrier oil if the oil packaging specifies that dilution is needed). Cup your hands around your nose and breathe deeply.
  • Smell straight from the bottle: Remove the lid from the essential oil bottle and deeply breathe in the essential oil aroma. For a less intense experience, smell from the lid instead of the bottle.
  • Aroma Ring: The Aroma Ring is a soft silicone ring infused with Lavender and AromaEase™ essential oils. It fits comfortably on your nose or on your ear to deliver subtle, continuous aromatherapy for up to six hours.

Now that you know type of diffuser to use, read up on how to maintain a diffuser in this blog post: How to take care of your diffuser. If you’re wondering how to maximize your essential oil experience with your diffuser, check out this blog post on making custom essential oil blends: An insider’s guide to creating diffuser blends.

If you could pick any feature for you diffuser to have, what would it be?

Tell us in the comments below!