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How and Why to Use an Ultrasonic Oil Diffuser

Written by Sabrina Wilson and updated on December 8, 2016

People have been using essential oils diffusers for years. While some people use them to help with various health conditions, others tend to use them simply because they like the smell. Whatever your reason for using one, diffusers are a quick and easy way to provide yourself with hours of aromatherapy.

What is an Essential Oil Diffuser?

In a nutshell, an essential oil diffuser is a device that’s used to transform essential oils into vapor and disperse it into the air. One single oil may be used or a combination of oils may be used together for multiple benefits. 

Different Types of Essential Oil Diffusers

There are four main types of essential oil diffusers on the market today, all of which have their advantages and disadvantages. They are:

Nebulizing diffusers

 This type of diffuser uses no heat or water. It simply uses pressurized air to expel the essential oils out into the atmosphere. These diffusers are often considered to be the best as they can distribute the oil perfectly in a fine mist. That being said, they’re also the most expensive.

Ultrasonic diffusers

These diffusers are similar to the nebulizing type on that they too create a fine mist of essential oil. However, the way in which they work is different. Instead of using pressurized air to break up the molecules, these diffusers use ultrasonic vibrations in which to do the same job.

You get a great humidifying effect with these diffusers, which is great during the winter. The only real downside to using an ultrasonic diffuser is that you can’t use any citrus oils in them as there’s a high risk of erosion.   

Evaporative diffusers

Just as the name suggests, these diffusers work by using a small fan in which to evaporate the essential oil, releasing it into the air as a vapor. The main disadvantage to using evaporative diffusers is that they don’t disperse the oil evenly. The heavier components tend to sit at the bottom of the tank meaning you don’t get the full effect of the oil. The upside is these are usually the cheapest type of essential oil diffuser to buy.

Heat diffusers

These work in a similar way to evaporative diffusers, but instead of using a fan to disperse the essential oil, they use heat. They too are pretty inexpensive to buy and are really quiet. The main disadvantage with heat diffusers us that they are more of a fire risk. 

Reasons to Use an Essential Oil Diffuser

There are many reasons as to why people choose to use essential oil diffusers. Here are some of the most common reasons:

  • Pain relief. For years people have been applying essential oils directly to their bodies to help with pain relief. This has proved to be particularly useful in easing pain from sore joints, tense muscles, and headaches. Using a diffuser with certain essential oils such as lavender, ginger, or rosemary can help to enhance the effect.

  • Enhance mood. Not only can essential oils help you to relax and de-stress, they can also lift your mood too. Some oils that are particularly helpful in this area are sweet orange, sandalwood, and jasmine.

  • Breathe better. If you’re someone who suffers from blocked sinuses, allergies, or any kind of breathing disorder, then an essential oil diffuser could help. Certain essential oils including eucalyptus, peppermint, and rosemary are good at reducing congestion, helping you breathe much more easily.

  • Keep illnesses at bay. Some people use diffusers to give their overall immune system a boost. Essential oils that are good for this purpose include grapefruit, tea tree, and sage.

  • Repel insects. It may not be a health benefit, but it’s certainly a benefit nonetheless. So, not only will you make the house smell nice, you’ll keep all those unwanted critters such as house flies and mosquitos at bay too. A mix containing eucalyptus, lemongrass, thyme, and basil oil works well for this.

  • Improve cognitive function. Using oils such as peppermint, pine, and lemon can help level out your mood and help make you focus.

  • Ambiance. Essential oils are great for creating a calming environment.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Diffuser


One of the first things you may want to ask yourself is where you will be using the diffuser. These things come in all kinds of shapes and sizes and the bigger the room you want to cover, the larger the capacity you’ll need. To help you out, most manufacturers included an estimated room size that they'll work best in.

Operating time 

Essential oil diffusers may vary in the length of time they remain in operation for. Most basic diffusers will have a set operating time of up to 5 hours. Whereas some of the higher-end models can run for as long as 20 hours or so, dispersing oil every 10, 30, or 60 seconds. 

Vapor output

This is another feature that will differ across the board. Just remember that the greater the output, the stronger the aroma will be. However, you can always make the fragrance weaker by diluting it with a little more water.


How durable the diffuser is will largely come down to what material’s been used to make it. Essential oils can corrode and eat away at some plastics Those made of ceramics or glass are a little fragile, but are not harmful in any way. Stainless steel diffusers are good as they’re tough, sturdy, and non-toxic. Some diffusers are even made from wood. These too are pretty durable and look great too!

Noise level

Diffuser noise levels often vary in accordance with their size. Bulky diffusers that have big fans are likely to be quite noisy, with some being as loud as 54 decibels. Try and opt for a diffuser with a noise output of fewer than 23 decibels. There are some silent diffusers out there, that simply let out a silent hum, but you will pay considerably more for these models.

Extra features or accessories

While using an essential oil diffuser on its own is nice, there are some extra features and accessories that can make the whole experience even more enjoyable. Those that have an automatic shut off feature basically shut off as soon as the tank runs out of water, eliminating the risk of fire. Accessories vary from diffuser to diffuser, but some of the added extras you can get include glass covers, LED lighting, atomizer tops, and even remote controls.      

Tips on Using a Diffuser

How and when you want to use your essential oil diffuser is completely up to you, but there are a few things you may want to consider that will make your experience more enjoyable:

  • Choose the right fragrance (s) for your mood. Different essential oils will have different effects. For example, lavender is known to relieve stress and anxiety, while pine and cinnamon are both great for helping you focus. 

  • When using an essential oil diffuser around kids and/or pets, just remember that they are much smaller than us adults and therefore have lower tolerance levels. In these instances, be sure to use diluted solutions. Also, be sure to never leave kids or pets in an enclosed room with the diffuser left on.  

  • Make sure you clean your diffuser on a regular basis. Not only will this help keep it working more effectively, it will also prevent the buildup of any mold or bacteria. As a general rule of thumb, diffusers are pretty low maintenance. That being said, they are all different. So just be sure to read the instructions provided for cleaning.  

  • Use low mineral water in your diffuser for best results. This will minimize the amount of scale buildup in the diffuser, meaning you won’t need to clean it as often.

  • Remember, that less is more. While many essential oil diffusers recommend using 8-10 drops of oil, this can be overbearing for a small room. You should always start with a minimal amount (1-2 drops), and add as you feel necessary.

  • Get used to your diffuser gradually. If you’ve not used an essential oil diffuser before it can take a while to get used to. It’s recommended that to begin with, you should only use the diffuser for around 20-30 minutes per day. As you get used to it, you can start to use it more often, up to several hours per day if wanted.


Available in either a black, yellow, or light wood color option the InnoGear Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser is a great little accessory to add to any room. It’s stylish, it’s efficient, and it’s a great price. 

InnoGear 200ml Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser Wood Grain Ultrasonic Cool Mist Diffusers with 7 Color LED Lights Waterless Auto Shut-Off

It’s available in a 200ml or 500ml option and has a 7 color LED lights that enable you to have one fixed color, a rotation of colors, or no lights on, depending on your mood. You can even choose the strength of the mist by a simple press of a button.

There’s a timer function that allows you to set the diffuser to disperse in 1hr, 3hr, or 6hr burst or constantly if preferred. And, there’s also an auto shut off feature that powers off the diffuser when the water level runs too low.

In terms of quality, I’m not going to lie, there are better-made models out there. That being said, it’s still pretty durable, and for the price you’re paying, it’s actually not bad at all. The only other slight annoyance is that is beeps rather loudly after 6 hours when it shuts off, even when on the silent setting.  

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    Great price
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    7 color LED lights
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    Auto shut-off feature
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    Stylish design
  • Quality could be better
  • Noisy when shutting off

If you’re looking for an essential oil diffuser that looks great, is well-made, and runs for up to 10 hours, then be sure to check out the PureSpa Deluxe Ultrasonic Aromatherapy Oil Diffuser. Made from BPA-free plastic, it’s the perfect solution for creating a relaxing environment for your home or office.

Pure Enrichment PureSpa Deluxe Ultrasonic Aromatherapy Oil Diffuser - 120ml Water Tank, Mood-Boosting Ionizer and Optional Color-Changing Light - Lasts Up to 10 Hours with Auto Safety Shut-Off

It has a pretty large water tank (120ml) meaning you won’t have to keep filling it up every five minutes. And, there’s optional LED lighting to create even more ambiance. The thing I like most about this model is that it’s so easy to use. Simply add around 3 drops of oil to the water in the tank and turn it on For best results, it’s recommended to be used in rooms up to 250 square feet.

There’s not much bad I can say about this diffuser other than it is a little on the expensive side, especially considering there are no timers or speed settings. But, if you’re someone who likes simplicity, this could well be the ideal match for you.     

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    Made from BPA-plastic
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    Runs for up to 10 hours
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    Suitable for rooms up to 250 square feet
  • Expensive
  • No timer
  • No adjustable fan

The Smiley Daisy Essential Oil Diffuser is my favorite of all the essential oil diffusers out right now for many reasons. Firstly, I love the look. It’s simple yet elegant and blends in well pretty much anywhere. Secondly, it has a 350ml tank which is pretty significant, meaning less filling up for you. And thirdly, it’s made from BPA-free plastic.

Smiley Daisy Essential Oil Diffuser, Quite Cool Mist Humidifier, 350 ml

When it comes to ease of use, Smiley Daisy has that covered too. It feels durable to hold and sturdy when in use. The noise level is less than 35 decibels and it will run quite happily on either a 2hr cycle or a continuous setting.

One of the really cool things about this diffuser is that even when you have run out of essential oils, you can still use it as a humidifier. It’s suitable for rooms up to 200 square feet in size and will run for 6 hours on a full tank.

The only slight downside I can see with this diffuser is that it’s a little expensive. But, considering you’re getting one of the best there is, it’s well worth it.   

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    Elegant look
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    Large tank
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    Doubles up as a humidifier
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    Suitable for rooms up to 200 square feet
  • Pricey

If you’re looking for an essential oil diffuser that not only works really well but will be the envy of all your visitors and a wonderful conversation piece, then feast your eyes on the VicTsing Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser.

VicTsing 400ml Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser, Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier with Wood Grain Design for Office, Room, Spa (Dark Brown)

With a tank capacity of 400ml, this beautiful, sophisticated diffuser will run for up to 10 continuous hours. And with an auto shut-off feature, you can be sure you’ll remain safe if ever the diffuser does run below the recommended water level.

What I like best about this diffuser is that you can program it with four different settings that range from one hour to continuous. There are also various LED light settings to choose from to add even more class to the item. It’s effective in a room up to 269 square feet in size and can produce a mist of around 30-60ml per hour, depending on the setting.

The only slight annoyance I found with this diffuser is that the water is that the power connection is in an awkward place and quite difficult to get to. 

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    Sophisticated look
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    Runs up to 10 hours
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    Auto shut-off feature
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    4 programmable settings
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    Good price
  • Design flaw where power connection sits at bottom of the reservoir

If it’s capacity you’re looking for, then The URPOWER Square Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser is the most logical choice. With a tank capacity of no less than 700 ml, this diffuser is capable of dispersing sweet smelling essential oils for more than 20 hours in a room up to around 600 square feet in size!

URPOWER Square Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser Humidifier, 700ml Large Capacity Modern Ultrasonic Aroma Diffusers Running 20+ Hours 7 Color Changing for Home Office Bedroom Living Room Study

It has 7 different LED light options, to help set the mood and the brightness can easily be adjusted by simply pressing and holding the button. The other thing I really like about this diffuser is that it’s fitted with Whisper-Quiet Ultrasonic technology, meaning that’s it’s pretty much noiseless.  

For me, the only place this product falls short is that after a few hours use, there is a slight puddle around where the diffuser sits and it does drip a little when you lift the lid, both of which are due to a build-up in condensation. But if you’re happy to place something underneath it while in use, it’s a great diffuser that’s perfect for those larger spaces.     

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    Huge 700 ml capacity
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    Can run for 20 hours +
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