The best aromatherapy diffusers are the ones that help you forget about the weird scents that seem to be attached to kids, pets, and food. Without one, the common “What’s that smell?” question in a house with small kids could mean anything. The answer could be anything from a banana discarded under the couch to a bathroom 9-1-1.
But there is a way to turn the question into a positive with an essential oil diffuser with an essential oil diffuser (and maybe an air purifier while you’re at it), an entirely customizable self-care accessory that caters to mood and room (think lavender for a quiet bedroom or lemon for a busy kitchen).
This comprehensive guide includes a chic option favored by Instagram influencers, a 5-star Amazon super scent star, a portable plug-in (perfect for travel and a not-so-fresh car) and a mid-century modern centerpiece.
What Are The Benefits of Oil Diffusers?
Essential oil diffusers release specific scents into the air (such as lavender, eucalyptus, tea tree, etc.) for a specific effect. Whether its purpose is stress-relief, to calm, or to revitalize, scents are known to be mood-boosting and can help with focus and even help you have a restful night’s sleep. They’re the best way to unwind after a long day (other than wine, of course). Essential oil diffusers are also a safe alternative to candles and, at minimum, anything smells better than toddler farts.
For some pets, like birds, essential oils are a no-go, so do check out this ASPCA guide for safety tips. If you’re all set and ready to up your self-care game, check out the best essential oil diffusers of 2021 below!
Best Essential Oil Diffusers
These are the fan-favorite oil diffusers (some with an actual cult following). You can’t go wrong.
You may have already spotted this beauty on Instagram as it is a favorite of influencers (on the right coffee table, it looks like an expensive piece of pottery). Sarah Panton, co-founder and CEO of Vitruvi, tells us the diffusers are “uniquely designed to scent your home in an elegant and non-toxic way.” Combining prettiness and practicality, there are instructions on how to freshen up a large room (10 drops for spaces up to 600 feet) and setting options can go strong (3 hours of constant puffing) or long (a 7-hour interval). The Vitruvi oils come in sleek black-and-white bottles with mixes that are results-oriented. Panton says Dusk is amongst the most popular oils; a blend of eucalyptus, lavender, ho wood and frankincense, it is “ inspired by moonlit walks in the desert, and best diffused while the sun is setting or before you hop into bed.”
Cue the relaxation: The Anjou Essential Oil Diffuser is exactly what you need to create a zen workspace/home space/sleep space, you name it! Get in the zone with 12 hours of consistent scent and aromatherapy. (Just FYI: The scents last 11-15 hours in low mode and 6-10 hours in high mode.) By only adding water, it can also double as an air humidifier by putting moisture into the air. Benefits of incorporating an essential oil diffuser into your home life include getting better sleep, sharpening focus, relaxing your mind, and relieving tiredness. Picture this: You attempting your morning yoga routine with a calming aroma to chase away any negative thoughts.
“Better than MUJI essential oil diffuser in terms of price and quality,” says one Amazon customer. Keep reading—it gets better. “This essential oil diffuser is beyond my expectation. I was planning to purchase a MUJI essential oil diffuser and therefore read a lot of comments by people who bought it. However, I found that some of them complaining of the short working hours (~ 4 hrs for the medium-sized one), fragile, difficult to clean, and most importantly pricy. This diffuser, in comparison, can work for 12 hrs with moderate mist, and quite silent (as I am very sensitive to noise during sleep). What is more, I can choose the light color as I want and can also completely turn it off. Last but not least, the price is also affordable. Overall, I give this diffuse a five-star.”
If you’ve always wanted to recreate a basement from the 70s, the one above looks like lava lamp meets an oil diffuser. Lighting it up is optional, as is the essential oil (some Amazon users fill it with water but don’t add oil, making it more of a humidifier). Reviewers also note that it’s more compact than other diffusers and won’t overpower a small space, which makes it ideal for a nightstand. Shag rug not included. Get ready for this product to spark joy. With 44K ratings (and counting), the reviews keep rolling in. “I am delighted with this diffuser. It came quickly, was packed securely and efficiently, with easy to open packaging. The specs say that it runs about 3 hours on the continuous setting (it can also run intermittently), but when filled completely, I’ve found it lasts through the night. I have it set on my nightstand and it’s perfect for unwinding at bedtime (or with some sinus-clearing essential oils on a headache day.)”
Best Essential Oil Diffuser For A Large Space
If rotund shapes don’t fit in with the rest of the décor, this modern square design boasts a “thick and strong” mist, as well as 7 light options and a large water capacity (700 mL). There’s also the option to sync it with Alexa, a tech perk many users noted in reviews. Says this Amazon customer, “I absolutely love this humidifier! I am new to the aromatherapy humidifier world. I didn’t even know a such thing existed until a nurse used it in my room after my c-section. I love it! I bought another brand before this one and didn’t care for it much because the scent never spread throughout the room. This one however does a great job of sending fragrance through the whole room. It’s super easy to use and it’s beautiful. I love all of the colors. I also like that I can turn the color off and just run the humidifier if I want or just use the light and turn off the humidifier. My husband is a vampire and can’t stand any light being on at night so it’s a great fit for us. I’m going to give this humidifier a run for a couple of months, and if it continues to work as it’s been working, I will def purchase more!”
Best Essential Oil Diffuser For A Small Space
This petite option gives off a fine mist and has an adjustable spout, which can be turned to different directions (a nice feature if it’s being used in the bedroom). Meant for small spaces up to around 200 square feet, it weighs less than 1.5 pounds and can sit unnoticed while it freshens up a room. It can function as an air humidifier OR an air diffuser (just add a few drops of your favorite scents); that’s basically the equivalent of getting two products for the price of one. That’s how we see it anyway!
If you’re sensitive to scents, read on to see what one customer had to say, “I consider myself HSP (Highly Sensitive Person), and most plug-in air fresheners give me a really bad headache. Not to mention they are toxic with all of the chemicals. I like fragrance in my home and am into creating a comfortable sanctuary. I walked past a high-end spa in a luxury hotel recently and loved the Eucalyptus scent, so I looked into getting a diffuser. I like that the Essential Wellness is an ultrasonic diffuser. The mist comes out at a forceful, steady level, but the delivery is a superfine airy mist, very quiet, subtle and the right amount of scent for my space – I have no headaches or allergy symptoms when using this. I use high-quality essential oils, adding 4-5 drops to 200-300 mL of water for a pleasant level of aromatherapy.”
Top Rated Aromatherapy Diffusers
With over 1300 reviews and a 5-star Amazon rating, this diffuser differs from other options in that it comes in 3 sizes and with a remote. Its selling points include BPA-free materials, auto shut-off (when the water level becomes too low), and is quiet enough to use through the night. Perhaps our favorite part is the 7-color LED lights (each light is adjustable between bright and dim). We know aesthetic isn’t everything but we’re pretty hype about the changing colors. Heads up, mamas: The scent that you choose creates a powerful connection between the user and their emotions and memories. Since you can’t try before you buy, take a peek at what this customer had to say, “I recently purchased this diffuser after reading reviews on several. The diffuser is very easy to use and comes with a convenient remote for operations. The noise level is excellent I rarely if at all hear it running and it’s very soothing. Easy to reclean and refill. The accord has good length on it and it’s easy to store away or transport from one room to the next. I absolutely love the color choice for lights. I would highly recommend this for relaxing, meditation or if you just want to bright up a room with a fresh smell. I’m actually buying 4 more‼️”
Lucky for you, learning how to use an essential oil diffuser is easy-peasy. All you have to do is set it up, fill it up with water, and then add the essential oils of your choosing. And that’s it! We don’t know about you but it’s been a longtime dream of ours to make our entire home (even the bathroom) smell like Muji. As you set out to do just that, allow this Pilgrim Zoe Essential Oil Diffuser from Anthropologie to rock your world. Not only do we appreciate the modern aesthetic (it seriously looks like something you’d find in a swanky hotel!) but it includes a remote control for easy on/off access. It’s handcrafted from oak wood and ceramic, and the design is sleek enough that it won’t stick out like a sore thumb. Says this Anthro shopper, “This diffuser is a beautiful design piece for any space. Not only does it add the aroma to a room but also acts as a lamp in modern disguise. I love it! Most durable, value worthy diffuser I’ve ever had!” Yay! That’s what we like to hear.
For a luxe and analogue option (no plug required), consider the upscale Jo Malone fragrance diffuser with sticks. The bottle of essential oil (with mixes like lime, basil, and mandarin) has the signature Jo Malone black label and 6 sticks, which can be turned every week or so for a refreshed scent. This would look lovely in a bathroom or on a shelf as the scent is meant to be subtle. Take it from this reviewer with good taste, it’s worth every penny. “One of my favorite Jo Malone scents! Looks luxurious on any surface. I keep it on my kitchen island, and it provides an elegant vibe the moment I walk into my house. These diffusers [lasted] a little over a year for me, worth the splurge.” Another customer adds, “The scent is lovely and you can actually smell it when you walk through the door.” K, that’s all we needed to hear.
For an essential oil diffuser to match a modern living space, this marble and mesh option has more texture and personality than the light-up plastic ones (and the price reflects that). Just imagine it perched on your bathroom counter alongside a little fern friend. It can run continuously for about 5 hours and intermittently for up to 10; there’s also an option for a soothing white light. For the minimalist at heart who prefers to take a “less is more” approach to decorating, this diffuser will be the perfect match. Raves this customer, “It looks gorgeous! This diffuser doesn’t look cheap at all. It’s modern, sleek, and looks expensive. The light is so subtle. I couldn’t stand the diffusers that change 10 different colors, so this is the simplicity I needed. Very happy.”
For those who love the smells but don’t love the look of essential oil diffusers, this pineapple-shaped diffuser has the typical bells and whistles (like lights and a timer) with a punchier personality. In some parts, pineapples are a symbol of hospitality, so this would fit well in an area where everyone can see it.
The reviews don’t lie. Says one buyer, “This is a really pretty decorative essential oil diffuser. It is a nice size and fits in on a shelf or table like any other decoration. I bought the Amazon Choice essential oils to go with it and am very happy with both purchases. Just drop a few drops of oil in and it makes the entire room smell light and nice, not artificial smelling at all.” Another happy customer adds, “I’ve been using this daily all week & I am very happy with it. It seems to last way longer than 3-4 hours. I would say like 6-7 when you fill it to the top line.”
Wonder what else would look great in your home and kitchen? We’ve got ideas.