Essential oil diffusers can alleviate upper respiratory congestion and add a relaxing or energizing element to any room. Plus, they make for a great air freshener, and who doesn’t love a pleasantly scented home? However, to experience the full benefits that an essential oil diffuser can offer, it must be the right size for the surrounding space.
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How Essential Oil Diffusers Work
There are several kinds of essential oil diffusers, each of which works in a different way to create and release scent-infused moisture. However, the basic principle of every diffuser is to turn the water and essential oil into a fine mist or vapor.
As you breathe in the mist through your mouth and nose, the essential oil makes contact with the nerve network of the brain that controls your mood – the limbic system. In addition to inhalation, your skin will absorb a minute amount of essential oil just by being in the room, making a diffuser’s impact twofold.
Types of Diffusers
Essential oil diffusers come in four styles. Due to its almost noiseless operation and lack of a heating element, ultrasonic diffusers are top sellers, especially among safety-conscious parents. By generating high-frequency vibrations via a dynamic disk, this diffuser turns the water and essential oil inside of it into microscopic particles.
Another popular type is the evaporative diffuser. Instead of a vibrating plate such as ultrasonic models have, evaporative diffusers rely on a fan. In the diffuser, there is an absorbent pad that soaks in droplets of essential oil.
As the fan blows air over the pad, the essential oil evaporates, and the scent is distributed through the air.
While parents may prefer heatless essential oil diffusers, those who want the aroma to pack a harder punch gravitate toward heated diffusers.
As you probably guessed, these diffusers contain a heating element that warms and subsequently evaporates the essential oil. They are also quiet, making heated diffusers an excellent choice for sound-sensitive sleepers.
The last kind of diffuser is the nebulizer. To diffuse the essential oil, nebulizers generate pressurized air and push the oil through a jet nozzle, transforming it into a fine mist.
Unlike ultrasonic, evaporative and heated diffuses, nebulizing diffusers don’t require any water. Even though you’ll go through essential oil faster, you’ll get a stronger concentration of it.
Sizing an Essential Oil Diffuser
Multiple factors should be considered when choosing the right essential oil diffuser for your space, but the size of the diffuser needs to be at the top of your list. In small rooms, sizing is easier. You can get away with using a large-area diffuser by running it on the lowest speed.
On the other hand, it’s more important to match the size of the diffuser to the size of a large room. To accomplish this, there are two numbers in the product specs you’ll need to take into account – the coverage area and the water capacity.
First, the room’s size should fall within the diffuser’s coverage range (measured in square feet). The closer the room’s size is to the top end of the diffuser’s coverage area, the higher the speed you’ll need to set the diffuser.
The largest diffusers cover around 1,000 square feet, so you’ll need two for spacious rooms.
The other size-related number is the essential oil diffuser’s capacity (if you go with one of the types that require water). In small spaces, a diffuser with a capacity of 150 to 200 milliliters is plenty. For bigger rooms, double the capacity is recommended. Large-room diffusers can hold as much as 500-plus milliliters of water mixed with essential oil.
Other Features to Consider
A diffuser that’s large enough to provide full coverage in the room of your choice still won’t be the right choice if it lacks other features that signal quality construction. As we briefly mentioned, many diffusers have multiple speed settings. This feature is a must-have if you want to tailor the strength of the essential oil’s aroma.
Some essential oil diffusers are equipped with a timer. When set, you can control how long the diffuser runs without being home or awake. If a timer doesn’t matter much to you, make sure the diffuser at least has an auto-shutoff mechanism, which prevents motor burnout by turning off the essential oil diffuser when the tank is dry.
If you want all the bells and whistles, a diffuser with a nightlight may interest you. Often, the light can be displayed in the color of your choosing, or you can opt to have the diffuser cycle through every color for a fun show. Some essential oil diffusers even let you adjust the light’s luminosity.
Optimal Diffuser Placement
You’ve sized the essential oil diffuser and made your purchase. All that’s left is to decide where in the room to set up the diffuser. The ideal location is in the center of the room. If that’s not feasible, put it a few feet from your home’s HVAC registers and one-half foot from the wall.
Since there is moisture involved, it’s best to keep the diffuser away from electronics just in case someone tips it over. To protect the surface from accidental spills, lay a towel under the diffuser, particularly if that surface is made of laminate, marble or wood.
Cleaning Your Essential Oil Diffuser
Staying on top of maintenance will maximize your aromatherapy experience. Every essential oil diffuser is different, but a good rule of thumb is to wipe down the exterior each time you use it. You should also clean the nozzle and reservoir once per month. Rubbing alcohol works well for those monthly deep cleanings.
Don’t forget to empty the tank after every use to prevent mold growth and mineral buildup. It’s also advisable to dump and clean the reservoir before switching to a new essential oil. Otherwise, the oil’s lingering residue will mix with the new oil, and the resulting fragrance may not be pleasant.
Recap: Sizing an Essential Oil Diffuser
Features like a timer and a nightlight are nice, but the size of the diffuser should be your main focus. The diffuser’s coverage area needs to alight with the room’s square footage. Additionally, the reservoir’s capacity should be big enough to fill the entire room with the aroma of your choice without forcing you to run to the sink.
Our Recommended Essential Oil Diffusers
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Last Update: 2022-06-27 | Affiliate links/Images from Amazon Product Advertising API