Which DIFFUSER to use, it can be confusing!

I really like diffusing essential oils, whether I am in the car, in the office or at home; and since we get asked frequently which diffuser, what are the differences, I thought I would do my own personal evaluation. As with everything it is really about personal choice and what works best for your particular situation, all that said, below is what I discovered.

Aroma ShellAromaShell – The AromaShell has a small metal tray that sits on top of a ceramic “heater”. The heater warms the oils (note: nothing ever gets hot) which causes the molecules to evaporate

Benefits: No sound, easy to use, easy to clean, aroma emitted remains close to true to scent of essential oil

The AromaShell provides a lightly scented room with no sound output. For a small working space with no windows for ventilation or for those of us that are sensitive to noise these can be an important features.

Drawbacks: Essential oils evaporate quicker in the AromaShell vs. the nebulizers especially the top note essential oils such as those in the citrus family; you will end up using more essential oil than with the nebulizer diffusers.

Car ScenterCar and Scent Ball Diffusers – These are quick and convenient plug into the wall or car charger unit. Place a few drops of essential oil on the pads* and you are good to go. These diffusers use a very low temperature “heat” to create evaporation.

Benefits: Cost and ease of use

*Both the Car Diffuser and the Scent Ball require pads to put your essential oils onto. These pads can be re-used for multiple applications and you will eventually need to replace them.

Drawbacks: One thing I noticed is that in reusing the pads unless you are choosing the same essential oil, there seems to be residual scent from the previous essential oils added. The other drawback for me was that the aroma had a bit of a “heated oil” aroma.

Nebulizers – Ultrasonic and AromaSens: Water based electric diffuser. Add water to the diffuser and a few drops of essential oil and turn the unit on. The nebulizer diffusers convert the oil and water to a fine cool mist.


Benefits: This is my favorite of all the diffusers. The Ultrasonic-Nebulizer diffuser’s technology converts the oil and water to a fine mist containing small aromatic molecules. These molecules remain in the air longer and thus extend the time molecules are available for inhalation giving our bodies more opportunity to utilize the essential oils. Also, the Nebulizers do not use heat to create diffusion so the scent of the essential oil is not in any way altered, producing the “truest” aroma. The Ultrasonic has a built in timer that gives you the option of running the unit continuously or intermittently. I have found this to be the best unit for nighttime diffusion as it will run for most of the night when set on low intermittent out put and the new models have added an on/off switch for the neon blue lights (the lights used to be on all of the time, which was a big drawback for me).  This diffuser has an indicator that will turn the unit off when the water levels is low, a great feature as it eliminates the necessity of remembering to turn the unit off, especially helpful for those of us that tend to forget about these things.  Another big benefit of the Ultrasonic diffuser is the small amount of essential oil needed, normally a few drops of essential oil is all that is needed for hours of use.

Easy to use and easy to clean, empty water and wipe out with cloth, also no need to use “special” water, i.e. filtered, distilled, etc. Tap water works just fine and I do tend to use filtered to avoid chlorinated water.

Drawbacks: Although the sound is not loud, there is a sound when the Ultrasonic diffuser is on. I have used it in my massage room and have never received any objections from my clients; however, I have had moments where there is extraneous noise in the outer office, i.e. music and air conditioning and the extra sound of the Ultrasonic diffuser seems a bit much.  This is a non-issue for many people but for anyone who is sensitive to sound it is something to take into consideration.

The price of this unit is higher than the others; but the added features and benefits, especially the reduction in the amount of essential oil needed, more than makes up for the initial upfront cost.

 (Melanie from Society Wellness created this video on the Ultrasonic Diffuser)

I have reviewed the above because these are the diffusers we have chosen to offer. We do not recommend tea candle diffusers due to the flammability or the glass bulb nebulizer due to the difficulty in cleaning as well as the cost of the unit and the cost of replacing the glass if broken.


Massage Therapist, Energy Practitioner, E3 Certified Aromatherapist

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