There are so many different kinds of products out there these days to make your house smell nice and feel more comfortable. There are all kinds of things to choose from, but when it comes down to it, what do you need? Two of these products that get easily confused are essential oil diffusers and humidifiers.  

If you’re confused on how to tell diffusers and humidifiers apart or you want to know the benefits or how to use them, then keep reading. In this article, I’m sharing with you the best aromatherapy diffusers and humidifiers out there. 

What is an Essential Oil Diffuser?

There are a few different types of diffusers, but the basic idea is that they take an essential oil and disperse it into smaller particles in the air. This way, the essential oil’s scent spreads around the room for aromatherapy. 

You might be wondering, what is the science behind aromatherapy? Aromatherapy is something I find insanely cool because it’s been around forever and really works! Scent has a way of getting right into the limbic system, a place in the brain that is responsible for processing feelings, memories, and emotions. So aromatherapy can be one of the fastest ways to calm yourself down and ease anxiety (1). Here are some of its other benefits: 

  • Getting a good night’s sleep
  • Boosting the immune system
  • Easing headaches
  • Improving digestion
  • Managing pain

To reap these benefits, you’ll want the best aromatherapy diffuser and humidifier out there. But here’s the thing, not all are safe to use with essential oils. Because the pure extracts of oils are powerful, they require specific diffusion to get into the air properly. 

So what does an essential oil diffuser do and how do essential oil diffusers work? This depends on the type you’re using. Here are some of your choices.


These are more expensive, but they are also most effective at breaking down essential oils into the smallest particles. This makes them the best aromatherapy diffuser and humidifier in terms of therapeutic benefits. The downside is they can be a little loud. 


An ultrasonic is probably the best aromatherapy diffuser and humidifier out there for the sake of efficiency and price. They use water and vibration to shake up the essential oil particles and get them out into the air. Because of the water they also get moisture out into the air, acting as a gentle humidifier in dry or winter climates. They aren’t expensive and usually hold up for a decent period of time. You can’t really go wrong with these!


These are similar to ultrasonic diffusers as they need to be plugged in. But in this case, you would add essential oils to a little pad and it would use a fan to blow the scent into the air. The downside is that they can get a bit warm, and heat can damage some essential oils. 


The most organic choice of all of them, a ceramic or terra cotta diffuser requires no electricity. You place a few drops into the clay and it slowly releases scent into the air. These work great as essential oil diffuser jewelry but definitely won’t get scent around a whole room. 

Benefits of an Essential Oil Diffuser

Some of the benefits of an essential oil diffuser in terms of home decor and fragrance are keeping your kitchen smelling fresh after cooking and your bathroom always clean- need I say more? Better yet, having one going in your bedroom will promote a sense of calm and ease for sleep. 

What are the benefits of an essential oil diffuser in terms of health? We already talked about aromatherapy for headaches, stress, digestion, and immunity, but I’m going to go a little deeper and share some essential oil diffuser blend recipes to help support these.

Best Aromatherapy Diffuser and Humidifier Blend for Stress
  • 2 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 2 drops of ylang-ylang
Best Aromatherapy Diffuser and Humidifier Blend for Headaches
  • 3 drops of peppermint essential oil 
  • 2 drops of wild orange essential oil
Best Aromatherapy Diffuser and Humidifier Blend for Nausea and Indigestion
  • 2 drops of lemon essential oil
  • 2 drops of ginger essential oil
Best Aromatherapy Diffuser and Humidifier Blend for Immunity
  • 2 drops of tea tree essential oil
  • 2 drops of eucalyptus essential oil

You should use an essential oil diffuser instead of a humidifier when you’re focusing more on scent and the therapeutic benefits of aromatherapy. While some diffusers, like the ultrasonic kind, use water to distribute the essential oils, it’s not going to help with extra dry air and regulating moisture. So let’s get down to the difference between humidifiers and diffusers.

What is a Humidifier?  

A humidifier is designed to keep moisture in the air, especially during the winter when the air is extra dry from artificial heat or in more desert-like climates.  Extra dry air can cause irritated skin and can contribute to sinus congestion and cold symptoms. Dry air also transmits cold and flu viruses more quickly. This is no good in a household full of kids!

So how do humidifiers work? Like diffusers, this depends on the type of humidifier you’re using (2). 

Warm Mist

A warm mist would be an ideal winter humidifier, as it will gently heat the water until it becomes steam. The steam then gets blown out into the air with a heated fan. This kind of humidifier warms your home while also keeping the air filled with moisture. An excellent choice for dry wintery climates.  


Similar to ultrasonic diffusers, this ultrasonic humidifier breaks water down into very fine particles before releasing it into the air. Because it uses an ultrasonic vibrating system, it’s quieter than traditional humidifiers. This would be one of the best humidifiers for baby. 

Cool Mist 

This one seems pretty self-explanatory, but it actually releases room temperature water, not cold water. It can, however, lower the temperature of a room a bit, so it works in both winter and summer. This could also be a good choice for the bedroom, as it’s generally easier to sleep in slightly cooler temperatures. 

So if you are looking to get the benefits of aromatherapy can humidifiers act as essential oil diffusers too? Not really.  Most humidifiers aren’t equipped to dispense essential oils and adding them to your humidifier water can damage the material and cause it to start breaking down.  So if you want the best aromatherapy diffuser and humidifier options, go ahead and invest in both of these for your home. Then you get the benefits of essential oils and a nice moisture in the air too! 

Benefits of A Humidifier

If you’re from a very humid or tropical place, you may be wondering why anyone would want to add moisture to the air. But there are some great benefits to humidity, from happy skin to happy noses. So what are the benefits of a humidifier in terms of health?

I already explained that dry air transmits cold and flu viruses more easily— and maybe that’s the source of that old wives tale about catching a cold in the cold? Let’s think about it. If someone coughs and the air is thick with moisture, that virus is less likely to end up making its way to your nose. In fact, one statistic showed that only 14% of viruses could travel in humid air, as opposed to 70% in very dry air (3). Check out our article on getting rid of colds naturally to learn more.  

Here are some of the other awesome benefits of a humidifier: 

Protects your Sinuses

When your sinuses are dry and your mucus membranes are irritated, your body may try to make up for it by producing extra mucus. The other negative is that your sinuses become more prone to infections, colds, and flu. A humidifier can keep your sinuses soothed, and therefore help you fight off sickness in the winter. Bonus points if you use my recipe for the best aromatherapy diffuser and humidifier blend for immunity. 

Better Sleep

If your sinuses are draining or your throat is dry and scratchy, chances are, you won’t get a good night’s sleep. Running a humidifier at night could help keep your room cool, protect your nose and throat as well as offer up some white noise. That’s a three-fold advantage for sleep!

Smooth Skin 

Dry skin is aging skin, more prone to wrinkles, sagging, and dehydration. If you suffer from dry skin, keeping a humidifier going will keep your skin soft. This is especially important for anyone living in a dry or desert climate since no amount of moisturizer will help if the air around you is constantly zapping it. The same goes for your hair! 

Protects Wood Floors and Furniture 

Wood floors, doors, molding, and antique furniture need moisture as much as your skin does. This is why wood polishes are usually full of oils to keep wood sealed and hydrated. Running a humidifier will keep the moisture up and cut down on your housework. 

Happy Plants 

What are the benefits of a humidifier in terms of plant care? Well same as your furniture, skin, and hair, plants need moisture in the air too. Humid air means plants and soil are less likely to dry out. That also means less watering for you.

Why would you choose to use a humidifier instead of an essential oil diffuser? I guess if you simply wanted air with more moisture but no scent at all, you would go for just a humidifier.  This would be the case for newborns, as most essential oils are just too irritating to their delicate respiratory system. 

But in my opinion, the best aromatherapy diffuser and humidifier choice is to have both going at the same time, and in every room! Okay, maybe not every room, but most of them. So that’s my rundown of diffuser and humidifier facts, how they work, and why you should have one (or both). 

Now I’d love to hear from you. Have you found the best aromatherapy diffuser and humidifier combo? Or some essential oil blends that leave your home smelling amazing? Leave a comment below and tell me about it!



  1. Cronkleton, Emily (2018). “Aromatherapy  Uses and Benefits.” Retrieved from:
  2. Sylvane (2019). “Frequently Asked Questions About Humidifiers.” Retrieved from”
  3. Aragon, Britta (2015). “10 Ways a Humidifier Improves Your Health, Skin, and Household this Winter.” Retrieved from:

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