The Best Essential Oil Diffusers of 2023, Tested by HGTV Editors
Our team of experts tested essential oil diffusers to find our favorites. Read on for our top picks and why we recommend them.
Our Top Essential Oil Diffuser Picks
- Best Overall: InnoGear Ultrasonic 400ml Diffuser
- Best Budget: InnoGear Ultrasonic 100ml Diffuser
- Best for Small Rooms: ASAKUKI Ultrasonic 500ml Diffuser
- Best for Large Rooms: Exqline 1,500ml Diffuser
- Best Design: Paddywax Oil Diffuser
- Best Splurge: Vitruvi Stone Ultrasonic Diffuser
- Best Smart: Pura Smart Fragrance Diffuser
- Best Diffuser/Humidifier Combo: Canopy Humidifier With Aroma Kit
Diffusers are most often used with pure essential oils to bring aromatherapy benefits to a small space, such as a living room or bedroom. In fact, according to the Mayo Clinic, aromatherapy can help improve sleep and mood, among other touted benefits like relaxation, increased energy and enhanced concentration. There are thousands of diffusers on the market, but the most common and affordable type of diffuser is ultrasonic.
Ultrasonic diffusers work by using vibrations to turn water molecules and the essential oil into a fine, cool mist. This improves the diffusion process and preserves the therapeutic benefits since the essential oils aren't heated or diluted by steam. In contrast, nebulizing diffusers turn the oil directly into a mist without heat or water, creating a stronger scent. Nebulizers typically come at a much higher price point than their ultrasonic counterparts. Because of the availability, features and price, ultrasonic models are our top pick.
How to Choose the Right Essential Oil Diffuser
There are a few things to consider when buying an ultrasonic diffuser, from tank size to misting modes. Let's start with tank size; tanks can range from 100ml up to 1,500ml — and sometimes even larger than that. Larger tanks can fill a larger space with scent and can last longer before the water needs to be replaced. Smaller tanks, while needing a frequent refill, can satisfy a small room and are ideal for portability. Whether a diffuser offers intermittent versus continuous misting is also important to consider. And luckily, most models do both. Intermittent mode releases mist in increments (usually 30-second spurts), so the diffuser can last longer without needing a water refill. Continuous mode, however, mists continuously without stopping, meaning the tank will run out of water more quickly.
There are other features that you may also want to consider when purchasing, like whether a model comes with LED lights, automatic shut-off and the ability to set a timer. We considered all of these as we made our choices. Read on for our top picks in eight categories, including Best Overall, Best Portable and Best Design.
When it comes to features, price and aesthetic, the InnoGear Essential Oil Diffuser wins our "Best Overall" pick. We tried out the 400ml yellow wood model, and the tank size is perfect for most rooms and surfaces. We love the two adjustable misting modes; simply press and hold the button to switch between strong (one beep) and weak (two beeps) to extend the duration of misting for several hours. It comes with four timer setting modes and will automatically shut down when the water level is low. The diffuser features a light strip around its diameter that can cycle through seven color-changing mood lights — from teal to fuchsia — each adjustable between bright and dim. Plus, its super-quiet operation makes it a dream for bedrooms and nurseries, even if it continuously mists all night. The company recommends using therapeutic-grade essential oils to prolong the life of the diffuser, as diluted or chemical oils may clog or corrode the machine. We recommend cleaning the tank after using it five or six times. Simply unplug, drain the existing water and clean the interior with a soft, wet rag.
Our Editor Says: "I love the timer settings on this device. I can set the three-hour timer for work sprints and the six-hour timer for bedtime. Plus, the mood lights add a fun vibe to the space."
Our "Best Budget" pick just so happens to be InnoGear’s smaller essential oil diffuser that also ranks high for its features and price tag. At less than $20, this 100ml ultrasonic diffuser is small in size (only 3.9 inches wide!) yet powerful in functionality. With similar features to its larger tank siblings, this model also comes with two misting modes, seven LED mood lights and automatic shut-off. It’s missing a timer option, which bumped it from "Best Overall" on our list. The ease of portability, though, almost outweighs the lack of a timer; its palm-sized frame makes it perfect to toss in your carry-on while on the go or to sit in the corner of your workspace.
Our Editor Says: "I keep this little guy running in my home office, so I can stay relaxed yet focused throughout the workday."
What the ASAKUKI diffuser lacks in appearance, it more than makes up for in performance. The gigantic 500ml tank allows this diffuser to pump out a steady stream of mist nearly all day. There are quite a few performance options, too, ranging from a continuous aromatherapeutic mist with color-changing LED lights to a timed mist without lights. Choose between a 60-minute, 120-minute or 180-minute timer, or let it run continuously until the tank is empty. A gentle or high-powered misting function humidifies the air in tandem with the aromatherapy feature. We liked how quickly we could smell the essential oils and that the diffuser was powerful enough that the scents filled the room. While there is a learning curve with this device — the “mist” button actually powers on the device and sets the timer, which is misleading — overall, it’s pretty user-friendly. Between the large tank and customizable features, this diffuser is a great value at less than $30.
Our Editor Says: "I was amazed at how long this diffuser ran. Because the tank is so large, I filled it up in the morning, and it was still diffusing through the evening! I love that the scent of my essential oil blend never fades and fills up my entire living space."
If you’re trying to cover a room larger than 500 square feet, you should probably use two or more diffusers. However, for spaces in the 500-square-foot-or-less range, we suggest the Exqline Diffuser. The Exqline is a diffuser/humidifier combo and is fairly compact for its size. While it has a 1.5-liter tank, it’s easy to store and move around. At around nine inches tall and five inches wide, it can fit nicely on a desk or shelf. The Exqline covers a 325- to 450-square-foot space and runs for 10 to 20 hours, depending on the setting — a dial allows you to adjust the vapor intensity. If you care about aesthetics, the Exqline fits the bill, too. It features a wooden base and clear water reservoir that beautifully displays an LED light that can be adjusted with the push of a button. While its noise level is low, its brightness level is very bright. (If you’re a sensitive sleeper, avoid the LED light.) After just a few hours of running on the highest setting, our tester noticed a big difference in the humidity of the room. The fill line can be a bit confusing at first, and the way the lid is made makes it more difficult to add water. Overall, we love the compact design that delivers a powerful mist and the ease of adding essential oils directly to the water.
Our Editor Says: "I liked how much mist can come out of it despite being more compact. Using this one in my bedroom near my plants, the mist is powerful enough that I can see water droplets on my plants' leaves, so that’s nice. I can also tell that it’s adding a bit more humidity to my bedroom even if it’s minuscule."
The Paddywax Ceramic Diffuser is hands-down the best-looking ultrasonic essential diffuser we've tried, and the sleek aesthetic is what sets it apart from other picks. It’s made of modern ceramic and polypropylene for a look that rivals other tabletop diffusers. Its 100-ml tank size makes it perfect for small-to-medium-sized rooms, and it can run continuously for approximately 6.5 hours on low or 3.5 hours on high, automatically shutting off when the water reservoir is empty. The controls are simple to use with just two buttons: the mist setting (continuous or intermittent) and the high/low setting. The noise level is nice and quiet, too, with only a subtle dripping water sound that our tester found to be soothing, especially at night and if you’re a fan of noise machines. The Paddywax Diffuser comes in two hues at the moment — black and white — which is perfect for most aesthetics, although we would love to see more color options in the future.
Our Editor Says: "I do appreciate that it looks more like a sculptural decor piece than a brightly colored piece of plastic. I like using aromatherapy when doing yoga or my nighttime skincare routine, and since I prefer calming neutral or muted colors for most things in life (home decor, fashion, etc), the same is true for household items like a diffuser I want to use during some of my everyday rituals."
The Vitruvi Stone Diffuser gets points for being one of the sleekest and aesthetically pleasing diffusers we’ve tried — and it’s also the most spurge-worthy. Available in six hues, including matte black, terracotta and charcoal, it features a ceramic stone cover that rests over the water reservoir and BPA-free plastic lid. Easy to operate, this diffuser comes with two settings. Clicking the power button once triggers a three-hour continuous mist, and hitting it twice selects a 7.5-hour intermittent mode. The noise level is very quiet, making it ideal for bedrooms, and this diffuser is easy to clean. The price point makes it the most expensive option we recommend, but we think it'd make a great gift or splurge-worthy buy for someone who values household items that complement their decor and would appreciate the whisper-quiet operation.
Our Editor Says: "This sleek diffuser is the perfect choice for anyone who prefers their home appliances and electronics to blend in with their decor as much as possible. I love using this diffuser on my nightstand, desk and even near my yoga mat. It’s perfect for setting the mood and is easy to move around my home wherever I need some aromatherapy."
Smart diffusers? Yeah, they’re a thing. The Pura Smart Diffuser is roughly the size of a coaster and plugs into any outlet in any space where you need a boost of freshness — no cords or cables required! Our tester finds the Pura works best in central locations or spaces that see a lot of movement, like hallways and living spaces. The scent intensity is adjustable so you can customize it to the size of your space. There’s no tank for this diffuser and therefore no mist output. Instead, place two scent cartridges into the device and rotate between the two fragrances — or you can choose which one you’d like in the accompanying smartphone app. It’s highly programmable to your liking but can also be used in its simplest of forms. The cartridges can last up to 45 days, depending on the frequency of use. This was our tester’s sole downside to the device — having to purchase cartridges and budgeting for that recurring cost. But the power of the scent and low-maintenance design make it worth the supplemental purchases. The smart capabilities are why this device made our list; you can program a scent schedule, adjust the light (which also functions as a nightlight), adjust fragrance intensity, scan in fragrances via QR codes, set an away mode and set an ambient mode that turns on the nightlight when the room is dark. While you can’t mix your own scents, several well-known fragrance brands have their own Pura cartridges, from NEST to Capri Blue to Votivo. Our tester recommends pairing Capri Blue Volcano with Pura's Yuzu Citron for a complementary fragrance that’s perfect for both day and night. While the price tag is certainly not cheap for such a tiny device, the benefits make it worth the money.
Our Editor Says: "I have actually considered buying a second one to put at the other end of our house to increase the freshness. One does a lot, but I could see the benefit of a second one offering more customizability. I also love the rotating scent feature and that you can easily scan the QR codes to add them to the app. It makes it a really seamless install, and I never get too adjusted to the scents where I stop noticing them."
If you’re looking for a device that does it all, look no further than the Canopy Humidifier that comes with clean, evaporative aroma diffusion built in. Canopy hydrates rooms up to 500 square feet, features a 2,500ml tank with up to 36 hours of running time and uses sensors to maintain optimal moisture day and night. But since we’re talking specifically about diffusers, Canopy comes with an aroma sample kit that includes one aroma and one aroma puck. Simply place the aroma puck on the top grate and drop two to five drops of the included oil onto the puck, then diffuse. When you’re ready to try a new scent, switch your scent and puck and repeat. It’s a simple and healthy way to enjoy home scenting while also getting the benefits of a whole-room humidifier. While using Canopy, you’ll notice no mist, just filtered, hydrated air and clean moisture. Plus, unique technology stops mold from growing. Smart Persistent Airflow (SPA) knows to continue running until the unit is completely dry inside, meaning mold can’t grow. And this means it will run consistently until empty, even if you're not in the room. You’ll also love how easy it is to clean. It’s dishwasher safe and the paper filter is a breeze to switch out. Users, including our tester, swear by the skincare benefits, including hydration and improvement of dry, dull winter skin. The device takes up little real estate (our tester kept it on the nightstand) and comes in four sweet hues: white, blue, pink and green. You can even opt for just the device or tack on a filter and/or aroma subscription that ships every 45 days.
Our Editor Says: "I am obsessed with the Canopy. It's so cute and doesn't look bulky in my space, and I love that it serves two purposes throughout the night — it hydrates my skin and delivers calming aromatherapy. I plan on buying one for my son's nursery, too."
How to Clean an Oil Diffuser
Diffusers require routine maintenance and the occasional deep clean. Learn how to care for this machine, and be rewarded with the best possible aromatic experience.
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