How Do Oil Diffusers Work?

As a gateway to a more relaxing life, essential oil diffusers can mean the difference between a tense version of you and a calmer you! But how does a diffuser work?

Understanding How Essential Oil Diffusers Work

Put simply, essential oil diffusers work by emitting essential oils into the air. This means you can inhale and absorb the benefits into your body, which can aid relaxation but also works wonders for your senses. For example, if you’re looking to relax after a stressful day, it can make all the difference. Most essential oils also send out a pleasant scent into the air when you are using a diffuser which also purifies the air at the same time.

Four Different Types of Oil Diffusers

Each diffuser uses a different process to disperse the essential oils into the air. While each has its own unique benefits, some have their limitations.

  • Ultrasonic (Ultrasonic Vibration)
  • Heat (Heat)
  • Evaporative (Wind/Fan)
  • Nebuliser (Force/Atomization)

Ultrasonic Diffusers

What is an ultrasonic diffuser for essential oils?

An electric, ultrasonic, diffuser dispenses essential oils into the air through vibrations of a plate which causes ultrasonic waves, creating microscopic particles of oils which disperse into the air. The water tank must be filled as directed in manufacturer instructions for each diffuser, then add about 10 drops of essential oils depending on the desired scent and effect of the diffuser; whether uplifting, inspiring, soothing or relaxing. 

Vibrations from the diffuser cause the essential oils to be mixed with water vapour and dispersed as a very fine mist into the air. These diffusers are not particularly noisy, so many people find it is not too distracting to use in an office. Essential oils such as citrus lemon, grapefruit and orange, and peppermint can help you to concentrate! 

Does an ultrasonic diffuser use heat?

No heat is used and because the process of the ultrasonic diffuser is adiabatic, meaning the oil changes states without heat, the oil is intact and not broken down so you can enjoy the benefits of the pure plant goodness. This also makes ultrasonic diffusers a great option in areas with children due to the reduced risk compared to a candle.

Can an ultrasonic diffuser be used as a humidifier?

As an ultrasonic diffuser uses water it can double up as a humidifier. While adding water dilutes the oil which can reduce its potency if you don’t like strong smells and would prefer the oil to last longer, this is a very suitable option.

Heat Essential Oil Diffusers

What is a heat diffuser for essential oils?

The process of a heat diffuser is all about heating essential oils until they evaporate. This is all about choosing the right oil. For example, a thicker oil like Sandalwood can easily evaporate into the air when using a heat diffuser. Heat diffusers such as melting by a candle or flame use a tray next to the source of heat, from which the oils evaporate when they reach high enough temperature.

What are the disadvantages of heat diffusers?

When you are looking for a cheap and cheerful option, heat diffusers work very well. They disperse the essential oil but because the heat alters the chemistry of the oil it can have an impact on the health benefits of each individual oil. Users must also be aware of the dangers posed by the burning flame in certain environments such as with young children around. 

Evaporative Essential Oil Diffusers

What is an evaporative diffuser and how does it differ from a heat diffuser?

The big difference between an evaporative diffuser and a heat one is that the evaporative diffusers use a fan. Heat diffusers disperse oil via evaporation but an evaporative diffuser generates a wind versus heat approach. This helps the oil to evaporate more effectively.

What are the benefits of using an evaporative diffuser?

An evaporative diffuser holds the oil in an absorbent material like a pad or a wick. This means the oil evaporates in a more controlled method compared to some other diffusers.


What is a nebuliser used for?

Used in aromatherapy, a nebuliser is greatly assumed to release the purest form of essential oils. The nebuliser process breaks down the oils into atoms, and similar to a perfume bottle, this means greater dispersion of the essential oils, guaranteeing they will permeate every pore. Nebulisers are similar to an inhaler but less portable. Used to administer medication to clear your airways or to treat infections, they can be used for longer durations and are especially useful in emergency situations to administer medication to help a person to breathe, or to administer antibiotics. 

How are nebulisers used at home?

The great benefit of nebulisers is that they don’t require heat or water. For those looking to work in aromatherapy or have the benefits at home, a nebuliser delivers a very concentrated stream, this allows the body to quickly benefit from the medication, therefore a nebuliser may be recommended for those with asthma or another respiratory condition. The nebuliser allows more medication to flow into the lungs over a longer period of time than an inhaler. 

What are the benefits of using an essential oil diffuser?

A great alternative to candles, using essential oil diffusers is a perfect way to help you relax, revive and enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy. Aromatherapy is believed to be one of the most effective ways for essential oils to be absorbed into the blood stream and circulated around the body. This supports our limbic system which controls our emotions, mood and memory.

Effects of aromatherapy include:

  • Relax, calm & destress
  • Stimulate & refresh
  • Uplift & energise
  • Maintain healthy muscles & joints
  • Improve focus
  • Aid digestion

There are so many different ways to use essential oils for a natural solution to a better life. For those that struggle to sleep, some calming lavender, vetiver, cedarwood or frankincense will work wonders. If you’re looking to help your digestive system, try some cardamom, wild orange, peppermint, ginger or fennel.

As well as the scents, using a diffuser with water means that it becomes a makeshift humidifier which works wonders for those with dried out airways.

You can also enjoy the benefits of many of these essential oils in roller bottles, in skincare cream or serum or using atomiser spray.

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