Best essential oil diffusers to give as gifts in 2020
This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2020, CNET’s gift picks with expert advice, reviews and recommendations for the latest tech gifts for you and your family.
With many of us spending a lot of our downtime at home or still working remotely, it’s more essential than ever to refresh your space with a soothing scent that can help you feel relaxed or rejuvenated. That’s where aromatherapy comes in. Aromatherapy can be a soothing health and wellness booster — especially if you need to relax your body, calm your mind, and get a good night’s sleep.
So, what better gift to give friends or a loved one than an essential oil diffuser? With just a few drops of therapeutic oil, you can mist an entire room and make your home smell amazing. (Just be careful to research the potential downsides of essential oils and ask your loved ones about any allergies before gifting oils.)
Our guide to buying the best essential oil diffuser includes various kinds of diffusers on the market, such as nebulizer models and ultrasonic ones, plus advice on how to find out which type will suit you best. Read on!
For a reasonable price point, this ultrasonic diffuser from health brand Now offers a quiet, heat-free way to diffuse your favorite essential oil throughout your bedroom, home office or bathroom. Now is best known for its health and sports supplements, but the brand has done a good job with its diffuser line, which includes this natural bamboo model as well as a ceramic model.
The Now bamboo essential oil diffuser runs for up to 14 hours intermittently or up to seven hours continuously. You can choose from blue, red and green LED lights and this ultrasonic essential oil diffuser covers up to 400 square feet of space.
If you want the aromatherapy benefits of an essential oil diffuser but don’t care for all the bells and whistles, the PureMist diffuser from SpaRoom is the aroma diffuser for you. SpaRoom has made a name for itself in the aromatherapy arena and you can find SpaRoom products in most big retailers (like Target and Walmart).
This aroma diffuser in particular offers a great mist output of diffused essential oil for a low price — less-expensive diffusers often put out a weaker mist. The PureMist diffuser has an LED light that changes colors, a 100-milliliter water capacity and a maximum three-hour run time.
Can’t live without your essential oil diffuser? Take this SpaRoom oil diffuser along with you wherever you go for a pleasant scent, air freshener and an on-demand aromatherapy mist. One of the advantages of the SpaRoom Aromafier is that it can be powered via a USB, but you can also run it on two AA batteries, so you can travel with this portable diffuser even if you won’t have access to a USB port. This aroma diffuser can be used with your choice of pure essential oil, comes in different colors and emits a soft blue LED light.
This ultrasonic oil diffuser from Stadler Form can run for up to a whopping 53 hours. It will emit a fragrance into the air for up to 18 hours of continuous mist operation or 53 hours on interval mode, where it runs on a 10-minutes-on, 20-minutes-off misting cycle. It also offers an oscillation feature and buyers love its quietness and sleek design.
The Julia diffuser has automatic shut-off triggered by an empty reservoir, so you can rest assured your diffuser won’t overheat if you forget to turn it off. It has an LED light with four color options and a dimming function, but you can also keep the light off completely.
Calling all smart home fanatics: You can power on this aesthetically pleasing essential oil diffuser via your Amazon Echo or Google Home. You can also control the settings on this aromatherapy essential oil diffuser, including the color and intensity of the light, countdown timers, mist intensity and the diffuser schedule, with the TuyaSmart app.
In terms of actual specs, this Asakuki diffuser has an impressive 700-milliliter water reservoir and a run time of up to 15 hours on the low-mist setting.
If you want to fill a large space in your home with aromatherapy, smaller diffusers may not do the trick. For open floor plans and large rooms, a larger reservoir ensures you can enjoy the scent of essential oils from all corners.
While the AromaTech AroMini covered below (as the best luxury diffuser) boasts the best square footage I’ve seen in my research, it’s very expensive and not everyone needs all of its fancy features. The Exqline ultrasonic diffuser, however, has an impressively large 1,500ml (50-ounce) water capacity reservoir, along with an output of 450 square feet.
Those features combine to make it great for larger spaces and it comes at a more affordable price point. The 22-hour run time doesn’t hurt, either.
Eco makes environmentally friendly essential oils through ethical manufacturing practices and close monitoring of their supply chain to minimize waste of resources. Eco also happens to have a nebulizing essential oil diffuser, which could be considered more eco-friendly than an ultrasonic diffuser, because you don’t need water to operate a nebulizer. Nebulizing diffusers also tend to conserve more of the diffusing oil than ultrasonic models, so ultimately you’ll use less oil, less packaging and so forth.
Even if the actual nebulizer diffuser doesn’t make a huge difference in the overall scheme of things, using Eco essential oils with your Eco diffuser would: According to Eco’s website, the entire essential oil line is vegan and cruelty free, and all ingredients are sourced from where the plants grow natively. Eco’s facilities are also Australian Certified Organic.
This essential oil diffuser from AromaTech is not inexpensive by any means. In fact, it probably costs much more than most people are willing to spend on this sort of device. However, if you can afford it and it feels worth it, the AroMini Bluetooth Scent Machine is a next-level diffuser.
The AroMini covers up to 1,000 square feet and because it’s a nebulizing diffuser, a single 4-ounce (120ml) bottle of essential oil or essential oil blend can last up to three months in this diffuser. No more refilling water every morning!
You can set intervals with the built-in 24-hour timer and enjoy remote connectivity via Bluetooth. You can even digitally adjust the scent intensity to create the perfect aromatherapy environment for you. Plus, the AroMini is sleek and would look beautiful in any home.
How to choose an essential oil diffuser
You could choose from literally hundreds of types of aromatherapy diffusers that range in price from $10 to more than $100. Before you buy, consider these factors in selecting the best essential oil diffuser.
Reservoir capacity: Diffuser water capacity can run anywhere from 100 milliliters (3.4 fluid ounces) to more than 1 liter (33.8 ounces) of water, but the average water reservoir holds around 300ml. You may want a larger water reservoir capacity if you don’t want to be bothered to refill the water very often, or if you need your diffuser to run for a long time in a large space.
Run time and timers: Do you want to be able to set your aromatherapy oil diffuser for one, three or five hours? Do you want a continuous-run option for aroma and mist? How long do you need it to run? These are all important questions to consider when purchasing a diffuser.
Automatic shutoff: Even if you’re typically not a forgetful person, choosing a diffuser with auto shutoff is a smart move. If you forget to power down your diffuser when there’s little water left, it can overheat and fail.
Area coverage: For small rooms, such as a bedroom, bathroom, kid’s bedroom or a small yoga studio, you don’t need to worry too much about the square footage your diffuser covers. If you’re looking to use it in an open space or large room, however, look for diffusers with a high square footage.
Lighting: Many diffusers offer ambient LED lights or double as night lights. This is very much a personal preference, so if you definitely don’t want a light, make sure the aromatherapy diffuser you want to buy doesn’t have one, or you can easily turn it off.
Mist settings: Do you want a continuous cool mist that runs for hours for diffusing essential oil drops or an intermittent mist?
Intensity: For a stronger scent, look for nebulizing diffusers. A nebulizing diffuser is a device that vaporizes the oil drops without using heat, before pumping out the smell in a fine mist into the air. These are often more expensive than standard diffusers but can be worth it if you find standard diffusers to be not effective enough.
Humidity: Many essential oil diffusers double as a cool mist humidifier. This can be a great two-in-one option if you live in a dry climate.
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The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.