With so many essential oil devices available, it can be hard to pick just one. I know I found myself asking about essential oil diffusers and humidifiers. When you compare humidifiers vs. diffusers, which one is best? I wanted to know what ones to use around my kids to get the most benefits, so I started to do my research. I believe that my readers can benefit from what I found, and I’m sharing my findings with you!

Essential Oil Diffusers

An essential oil diffuser is a device that works to distribute your essential oils throughout your room. Some mix the oils with water to distribute them and other essential oil diffusers use vibrations. They come in a variety of sizes, styles, and options that allow you to customize your diffuser to suit your needs.

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Benefits of Using an Essential Oil Diffuser

There are several benefits of using an essential oil diffuser. Many people like to use them because they promote both physical and mental health. It’s also important to note that you can run the diffuser for a few hours, a few minutes, or overnight to disperse the oils. Any of these settings allow you to get the full benefits, and all you have to do is breathe them in. These benefits include but are not limited to:

  • Aromatherapy
  • Promotes relaxation
  • Helps you sleep
  • Can fight bacteria and viruses
  • Allows for better focus

Different Types of Essential Oil Diffusers

If you’re like me, you’ll be thrilled to find out that there are four different types of essential oil diffusers. They all work very well, but it’s important that you know the difference between them. This will help you pick the best one for your situation, room size, and your needs. You may even end up getting more than one!

Ultrasonic Diffuser

This is a very compact diffuser that comes with a small metal plate. When you switch this diffuser on, the plate will start to vibrate very rapidly. These vibrations cause the essential oil to create a vapor. This vapor is what disperses throughout your room. It doesn’t use heat to do this, and this means that the oil’s chemical makeup stays intact.

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Nebulizer Diffuser

These glass diffusers use a motor to force the essential oils up through a small tube to the opening. At the same time, it decreases the exit point pressure. These pressure changes create a suction that draws the essential oils toward a pressurized air stream. This mixture funnels into a reservoir, and the tiny particles rise up into your room’s air.

Heat Diffuser

You add water and a few drops of pure essential oils into the reservoir before switching it on. It’ll start to slowly heat up until a steam forms. Your oil and water mixture will start to flow out of the diffuser into your room when it reaches a certain heat. You may need to replenish the oil to keep smelling it.

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Fan Diffuser

You may have heard of these diffusers called evaporative diffusers. You add a few drops of your essential oil to an absorbent material like a sponge, cork, or cloth. You place this material over a small fan in your diffuser. Turning it on starts the fan that then blows onto the material and disperses your essential oils throughout your room.

Does a Diffuser Add Moisture to The Air?

It can. However, this depends heavily on the diffuser type. If your diffuser uses pure essential oils and no water, it won’t add moisture into the air. Mixing the oils and water means that a small amount of water ends up into the air. This can add a little moisture to the immediate air, but it works better in small or enclosed spaces. If you’re looking for something that adds moisture to the air while it runs, you may be better off looking for a humidifier.

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A humidifier comes equipped with a larger reservoir. You add water into this reservoir and switch it on. Once you do this, it converts the water to a cool vapor that it sends the air to add more moisture. They’re very popular for people who live in dry climates, have colder months, or who have allergies.

The Benefits of Using a Humidifier

The great news about using a humidifier it allows you to take on several common issues around your home simultaneously. This is great if you have a busy home like mine. I don’t always have the time to refill and clean a smaller device. A larger humidifier makes the whole process very fast and easy for me when I do clean it. The biggest benefits are:

  • Adds moisture to your room’s air
  • Can work to combat allergies like pet dander, mold, and dust
  • Helps ward off respiratory issues
  • Prevent static from building up in your home
  • Helps you go to sleep faster and stay asleep longer

Where to Put Your Humidifier

You can place your humidifier anywhere you’d like in your home. However, it works the best in the room that you have it running in. This is why you want to put it in the rooms where you frequent the most. Personally, I like to have one going in my family room because we spend a lot of time in there. Putting them in your bedroom is also a great idea because it can get dry overnight. This dryness can make it hard to fall asleep, stay asleep, and you can wake up with a sore or scratchy throat without it.

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Can You Put Essential Oils in a Humidifier

Yes and no. If you get a humidifier that is specially designed to handle essential oils, you won’t have any problems with it. However, putting essential oils in a regular humidifier can cause it not to work as well because the oils can build up in places where they’re not supposed to go.

The Major Difference Between a Humidifier and a Diffuser

The biggest difference is the function. A humidifier’s main function is to add moisture into the room’s air that you have it running in. You fill them with water, switch them on, and it converts the water in the reservoir into steam. This steam then leaves the device through slates or vents and goes into the surrounding air. They’re great for dry or arid climates.

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On the other end of the spectrum, you have a diffuser. An essential oil diffuser’s main function is to disperse your essential oil into the air. This allows you to get the full aromatherapy benefits. They can add moisture to the air if you get a diffuser that requires you to add water to your oils. However, the main advantage is the oils and aromatherapy.

How to Choose Between a Diffuser and a Humidifier

Your final choice will come down to a few factors. You have to consider what you want to get out of it. Both devices have different functions, and you have to keep a few key points in mind when you start to shop. This can help you pick out the better choice for your needs. The biggest considerations are:

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Do You Need to Add Moisture to the Air?

Do you live in a dry and arid climate or a humid climate? If your home is dry and you’re lacking moisture, you want to choose a humidifier. If your home is already too humid, but you want the aromatherapy benefits, a diffuser is the way to go.

What’s Your Budget?

Your budget will factor into your final option. However, you can find both humidifiers and diffusers in all price ranges. Buying higher quality may cost you more up front, but the devices usually pay for themselves because they last longer than the lower cost ones. It may take a little research to find one that suits your budget.

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How Big is The Room?

As a general rule, you’ll need a bigger diffuser or humidifier if you want to cover a bigger room. Humidifiers can be better for very large rooms because they’re traditionally larger overall. Diffusers are better for small or medium rooms because they’re usually not designed to disperse as far.

Is Your Device for Therapeutic Use?

Obviously, a diffuser is the way to go if you’re more concerned about the therapeutic benefits of your essential oils. Humidifiers work too, but the oil tends to dilute and fade much quicker because it mixes with a lot of water. Even if your diffuser uses water and oil, you’ll still get a stronger scent that lasts longer.

Essential Oil Diffuser and Humidifier Combination

Finally, you can get a single device that combines the benefits of a humidifier and a diffuser. You add your water into the reservoir of the device. There is usually a smaller area for you to put a few drops of your essential oils. The oils will meet the water when the water starts to go through the vents as steam. You’ll get a mixture of water and oil coming out of it. They’re excellent for when I’m busy, and I don’t have the time to clean and maintain two different devices.

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Bottom Line

Did you decide whether you want a humidifier or a diffuser? Maybe you already have and prefer one device over the other. In the humidifier vs. diffuser debate, both sides have valid points. One device adds moisture to your air, and the other device adds essential oils for aromatherapy benefits.

Personally, I like to use the humidifier and diffuser combination for my bigger rooms in my house. I have a diffuser in my bedroom for when I want to relax, and my kids have a humidifier because their rooms get dry at night. Which do you prefer? Let me know!

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