How Does A Diffuser Work?

Understanding How Do Oil Diffusers Actually Work

Did you see the best essential oil diffuser at your local store and wondered how does it work? We will explain how do essential oil diffusers work, so you know which diffuser is best for you.

How an aroma diffuser works can get complicated depending on the type.

 There are 6 common types of diffusers you can buy to diffuse your essential oils or fragrance. We will teach you how the most popular oil diffusers work.

How Reed Diffusers Work

Reed diffusers are made out of rattan reeds, bamboo skewers, or sticks. You place the reeds in a glass or plastic vessel. The vessel contains essential oils or fragrance. The reeds soak up the oil in the bottle. The reeds release fragrance through an evaporation diffusion process.

There are about 20 channels inside the rattan stem that wick the oil inside the container. The oils at the top of the reeds get into the air and slowly permeates the room with wonderful scents.

In about 1 – 2 months, you will need to replace the oil that has evaporated in the glass jar. Remember to replace the reeds with new ones, too. The length of the reed will vary between 10″ – 12″ for a 4 oz mini-apothecary and 15″ for a very large 66 oz Orb bottle.

You must flip your reeds every 1 – 2 days to keep the fragrance oil going throughout your space. The more often you flip them, the quicker the essential oils or fragrance will evaporate.

How Ultrasonic Diffusers Work

Ultrasonic diffusers disperse essential oils into the air using molecular diffusion. The electronic diffuser breaks down essential oil particles into micro-molecules. The molecules disperse into the air as negative ions. The essential oils turn into a very fine mist and moisture into the air.

These diffusers have the name “ultrasonic” because of the ultrasonic vibrations used to break down the essential oils into microparticles. These vibrations come from a vibrating disc. This disc produces sound waves at an ultrasonic frequency, which we can’t hear.

Are you wondering how do diffusers work without heat? It’s because of the ultrasonic vibrations emanating from the vibrating disc. So an ultrasonic diffuser does not need heat to diffuse your essential oils. It uses sound vibrations. The essential oil maintains its therapeutic benefits because there is no heat affecting it. The oils are fully preserved when dispersed.

If you’re wondering, “does a diffuser work as a humidifier?” Yes, essential oil diffusers put moisture in the air the same way an ultrasonic humidifier does. So diffusers can work as a cool mist humidifier. But, most essential oil diffusers are not big. They will not put as much moisture in the air as regular humidifiers.

How Nebulizing Diffusers Work

The way how do nebulizer diffusers work is very different than an ultrasonic diffuser. A nebulizing diffuser has different mechanical parts. A nebulizer does not use water. It uses air pressure and a series of tubes to diffuse essential oils into the air.

A nebulizing diffuser is a type of waterless diffuser that functions by air going through a small glass tube. The essential oil atomizes into micro-particles that fill the glass reservoir. The tiny particles rise up and are emitted out of the glass cap in a (water-less) mist that is released into the air. The air disperses the essential oils in their purest form.

The oils end up being purer than an ultrasonic diffuser, which will include water or mist. The vapor coming from a nebulizer is also more potent. You do not need to run this type of diffuser as long as other diffusers. But, a nebulizer will need more essential oils because it is waterless.

A nebulizer makes a buzzing sound while operating, so it is louder than an ultrasonic diffuser.

It is also more expensive because of its atomizer technology, mechanics, and material options.

Pressurized air is one way a waterless diffuser can work.

If you want to know how do waterless diffusers work, such as candle diffusers or aroma diffusers, this is how. Waterless diffusers work with heat. Heat diffusers, such as a candle diffuser, warms up the essential oils that sit directly on top of the heat source or flame. The oils heat up and evaporate into the air.

Aroma heaters or essential oil burners get really hot. So be cautious when using around kids or pets.

How Essential Oil Diffuser Bracelets Work

Diffuser jewelry is a great way to reap the aromatherapy benefits of essential oils while on the go. Diffuser bracelets and necklaces came into the market in 2015 and are more popular than ever.

Aromatherapy bracelets have colorful felt pads inside the bracelet locket. You drop a few of your favorite essential oils onto the pad. The locket will hold the pad in place. The pads are reusable for different oils. 

While you are wearing it and going about your day, the essential oils will evaporate into the air.

Instead of lockets and a felt pad, you can use lava beads, lava stone, or clay beads. The molten rock, or Basalt, will absorb the essential oils. Simply drop one to two of your essential oils and rub them on the black lava beads. An easier way is to drop some oil on your finger first and then rub it on the black lava stone. 

After 2 – 3 days, the essential oils on the beads will start to fade. So you will need to reapply once the oils evaporate.

Make sure your stone or clay bracelet uses natural beads that aren’t coated in wax. If they are coated, then they will not absorb the essential oils.

How To Work An Essential Oil Diffuser

Just bought a diffuser? Essential oil diffusers work well only if used correctly. Follow these general directions for using an ultrasonic diffuser. We recommend following the instruction manual that comes with your device. 

Directions for use:

  1. Remove the covering by pulling or twisting it off.
  2. Pour distilled water into the water tank (do not fill over the max line).
  3. Add 2 – 4 drops of your favorite essential oils.
  4. Close back the water tank with the covering.
  5. Press MIST to start the diffuser
  6. (Optional Feature) Press the LIGHT button to change the LED colors

Diffuser Troubleshooting Tips:

  • Check to see if there is enough water in the reservoir.
  • Make sure the correct power adapter is used and properly plugged into the wall socket.
  • Let your diffuser sit for 1 – 2 days if you accidentally let water into the mechanical insides.

Steps to clean your diffuser:

  1. Add clean water and fill it up as you usually would.
  2. Add 8 – 10 drops of pure white vinegar to help lift up essential oils remaining in the water tank.
  3. Run your diffuser for about 5 – 10 minutes to allow the vinegar solution to clean inside.
  4. Turn off the diffuser and drain out the liquid.
  5. Use a soft cotton pad dipped in vinegar and gently wipe the insides of the reservoir.
  6. Do not wipe hard. The round disk is delicate and should be cleaned carefully.
  7. Let it dry before using it again.

How To Select A Diffuser

It’s important to pick the right diffuser that will fit your needs. Going through tons of brands and models can get confusing. You might not know which diffuser to buy. So we’ve come up with a list of the most critical factors you need to consider when selecting a diffuser.

  • Design
  • Capacity
  • Operating Time
  • Coverage
  • Noise Level 
  • Warranty

Now you know how different kinds of diffusers work. It’s time to go and buy your own! We reviewed tons of diffusers over the years. We narrowed down our top 10 ultrasonic diffusers you should buy right now. Check out our diffuser reviews and get the one that is right for you!


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