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Filling your space with scent can be a powerful thing. For instance, starting your day with a whiff of citrus can wake you up and get you mentally ready for what’s ahead, while sniffing on lavender before bed can make it easier to drift off to dreamland2. While candles and sprays are great ways to add scented home ambiance into your routine, a home fragrance diffuser allows you to do it on autopilot.

“A fragrance diffuser is a device that disperses chosen scents into the air, enhancing the ambiance of a space,” says Rancy Wong, the international product manager at doTERRA, an essential oils brand. “Diffusers can be used in any room in the house. Some popular locations are in the kitchen to freshen up a space after cooking, in the bathroom to keep it smelling clean, in a bedroom to diffuse while sleeping or in an office to accompany you throughout your workday.”

What makes these home fragrance devices better than their similarly scented counterparts is that they require very little work—all you have to do is turn them on. There’s no remembering to trim your wicks or having to search for the bottle of pillow spray that’s buried somewhere in your nightstand; they’re “set it and forget it” products that will leave your space smelling its best. Keep scrolling to find out what you need to know before you invest.

Best home fragrance diffusers, at a glance

 

How home fragrance diffusers work

Fragrance diffusers—otherwise known as essential oil diffusers or aromatherapy diffusers— work by emitting scent into the air. There are five different types of devices on the market, each of which operates in a slightly different way and comes with its own set of benefits.

1. Waterless Diffusers

These types of diffusers diffuse essential oils into the air without the assistance of water.

Pros: Because these diffusers don’t use water, they disperse essential oils into the air more potently.

Cons: Waterless diffusers are more expensive to operate and require you to use a higher volume of essential oils for optimal results. Additionally, they can be noisy.

2. Ultrasonic Water Diffusers

“These popular electric diffusers use electronic frequencies to create a fine mist from essential oil and water,” says Wong. “A small disk under the water’s surface creates ultrasonic vibrations that break an essential oil into micro-particles.”

Pros: These models are quiet, don’t use heat, and only need a small volume of essential oils. “They can also act as both a diffuser and humidifier, which is helpful if you live in a drier climate,” says Wong.

Cons: Because ultrasonic water diffusers use water, only a fraction of the mist that comes out of them is essential oil, and if you live in a humid climate, you may not want to add more water into the air.

3. Heat Diffusers

“As the name suggests, heat diffusers evaporate essential oils with warmth,” says Wong. “Some heat diffusers mix essential oils with water, while others employ high temperatures for a stronger aroma.”

Pros: Heat diffusers are economical, efficient, and silent.

Cons: Heat diffusers can be dangerous due to their high temperatures. Just make sure you turn them off and keep them away from things that are flammable!

4. Evaporative Diffusers

“Evaporative diffusers have a fan that blows air through a filter, such as an essential oil–infused tissue or a pad, evaporating the essential oil and dispersing it through a room,” says Wong.

Pros: They’re extremely quiet.

Cons: Evaporative diffusers release essential oils first, so they may not deliver strong scents because the chemical components are diffused at different times.

5. Reed diffusers

“A reed diffuser is a passive diffuser that does not have any electronic components or fan to help disperse the aroma,” says Wong. “Reeds absorb the mixture of fractionated coconut oil and essential oils and evaporate the oil slowly into the air.”

Pros: Reed diffusers do not require batteries or electricity, which means they’re pretty affordable.

Cons: Dispersion is generally weaker, which means these types of diffusers are better suited for small spaces like bathrooms or nightstands.

How to choose a home fragrance diffuser

There are several factors to consider when choosing the best fragrance diffuser for your home. First and foremost, how big is the space you’re trying to fill with scent? For larger rooms, you’ll want to opt for a waterless or ultrasonic device, as these tend to deliver more potent perfuming effects. “Also, evaluate factors like run time, noise level, ease of cleaning, design, budget, and additional features to choose a diffuser that suits your space and preferences,” says Wong.

Once you’ve made your pick, it’s important to remember to clean your diffuser regularly.

What is the difference between a home fragrance diffuser and an air freshener?

Air fresheners and diffusers both work to release fragrances into the air—they just happen to do it in slightly different ways. “Diffusers employ mechanisms like ultrasonic vibrations or heat to disperse natural essential oils, creating a nuanced scent profile and contributing to a specific ambiance with potential therapeutic effects,” explains Wong. “In contrast, air fresheners rely on synthetic chemicals to quickly eliminate or mask unpleasant odors, often using aerosols, gels, sprays, or solid forms.”

While both of these product categories get the job done in enhancing the air in your space, diffusers do so “with a more natural and multifaceted experience,” says Wong, while air fresheners use artificial fragrances to get rid of bad smells.

Shop the 10 best home fragrance diffusers

Pura 4

Best electric home fragrance diffuser: Pura 4 — $50.00

Of all the diffusers on this list, the Pura 4 is by far the smartest. It plugs into the wall like a next-gen Glad Plug-In (remember those?!), and can be filled with two fragrances at a time. Using an app on your phone, you can choose between the scents, adjust their intensity, and even set a schedule for them to diffuse automatically.

Size: 3.75”L x 4.75”W x 4.5”H

Run time: 120 hours

Coverage space: Medium-to-large rooms

Automatic shut-off? No (timers can be set)

Lighting? Yes (nightlight)

Timer and intensity settings: Fully customizable, controlled by app

  • Scents from well-known perfume brands like LAFCO, NEST, and Anthropologie
  • App allows for fully customized experience
  • Takes up no space (plugs into wall)
  • Device only compatible with Pura’s scent vials

Neom Wellbeing Pod Luxe

Best ultrasonic diffuser: Neom, Wellbeing Pod Luxe — $130.00

Neom’s diffuser works like most ultrasonic devices do—by using electronic pulses to create a fine mist—but comes with some notable well-being benefits that make it one of the best on the market. Choose “breathing mode” for a pulsing light show that will help guide you through meditative moments, or “alternating mode” for 30 seconds of diffusion followed by a 30-second break. A remote control allows you to customize the mode, brightness, and diffusion intensity, and a full tank will last up to 12 hours.

Size: 5.5”W x 5.5”H

Water tank capacity: 350ml

Run time: Up to 12 hours

Coverage space: 1075 sq. ft.

Automatic shut-off? Yes

Lighting? Yes

Timer and intensity settings: Diffusion intensity, light strength, and operation times adjustable with remote

  • Adjustable intensity
  • Remote control operated
  • Meditative “modes” available

Best waterless diffuser: Homedics, SereneScent Diffuser — $150.00

Say goodbye to spills and messes—this chic gadget brings fragrance to your space without the fuss of water. Its sleek design doubles as a piece of decor while infusing your space with the prettiest scents, all of which come bottled and can be placed directly in the device for instant diffusion.

Size: not specified

Run time: 8 hours

Coverage space: 1000 sq. ft.

Automatic shut off? Yes

Lighting? No

Timer and intensity settings: 1-, 3-, and 5-hour timer with 9 intensity modes

  • Waterless
  • Sleek design
  • Large coverage space
  • Remote-controlled
  • Only compatible with Homedics scents
  • Requires outlet

Aroma360 Wireless Pro

Best home fragrance diffuser for large spaces: Aroma360, Wireless Pro — $170.00

Originally $270, now $170

With the ability to fill a room as large as 600 square feet with scent, this electric home fragrance diffuser is the perfect pick for an open floor plan or studio apartment. It uses cold-air diffusion to emit a fine (mess-free) mist into the air.

Size: 3.25”W x 11.25”H

Run time: Up to 12 hours

Coverage space: 600 sq. ft.

Automatic shut off? No

Lighting? No

Timer and intensity settings: Intensity adjustable with remote control

  • 12-hour battery life
  • Comes with a remote control for easy adjustments
  • Heatless and waterless
  • Only compatible with Aroma360’s essential oil pods

DoTERRA Volo Diffuser

Best home fragrance diffuser for small spaces: DoTerra, Volo Diffuser — $98.00

Don’t let the small size of this pretty diffuser fool you—it can do a whole lot more than you might think. It comes equipped with two light settings (warm and amber) and three misting intensities and can fill a 300-square-foot room with scent for up to 14 hours.

Size: ‎4”L x 4”W x 6”H

Water tank capacity: 750 ml

Run time: Up to 14 hours

Coverage space: 300 sq. ft.

Automatic shut off? No

Lighting: Yes

Timer and intensity settings: 1-, 3-, and 6-hour timer settings; adjustable mist intensity

  • Comes in two colors
  • Adjustable settings
  • Covers a very small space
  • Must be plugged in

Canopy Bedside Humidifier

Best humidifier home fragrance diffuser: Canopy, Bedside Humidifier — $125.00

Canopy has reimagined the classic humidifier with this device, which emits scent alongside its skin-saving humid air. You can choose to insert an entire bottle of fragrance oil into the diffuser well for an intense, long-lasting single scent, or you place a few drops on the device’s aroma puck for something more subtle. The brand regularly partners with perfumers—currently, they’re working with By/Rosie Jane—to reimagine their formulas as home fragrances.

Size: 10”L x 7”W x 8”H

Water tank capacity: 2.5 L

Run time: 36 hours

Coverage space: 500 sq. ft.

Automatic shut off? No

Lighting? No

Timer and intensity settings: Not specified

  • Up to 36 hours of run time
  • Comes in multiple colors
  • Three fan speeds for customized diffusion
  • Popular perfume fragrances available
  • Doubles as a humidifer
  • Works best in small spaces
  • Filter must be replaced every six weeks

Saje Aroma Wave

Best decorative diffuser: Saje, Aroma Wave — $129.00

Sometimes you want the benefits of a home fragrance diffuser without actually having to look at a home fragrance diffuser. If that’s the case, look no further than the Saje Aroma Wave, which is one of the most stylish diffuser options on the market. The ultrasonic water tank hides within a chic, cement-colored pot—which is what minimalist design dreams are made of.

Run time: 6-12 hours

Coverage space: 500 sq. ft.

Automatic shut off? Yes

Lighting? No

Timer and intensity settings: Not specified

  • 6-12 hours of run time
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Quiet

Hotel Collection Studio Scent Diffuser

Best hotel scent diffuser for home: Hotel Collection, Studio Scent Diffuser — $189.00

Originally $270, now $189

Scent and memory are intrinsically linked, which means filling your home with fragrances that remind you of your favorite destination will mentally transport you into vacation mode. Hotel Collection’s Studio Scent Diffuser is designed to do just that with its hotel-inspired scents created in partnership with brands like The Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton, and The 1 Hotel. The devices—which come in a range of sizes that you can choose from depending on the size of your space—use cold-air diffusion to deliver a mess-free mist that lasts for hours on end.

Size: 3.25”W x 11.25”H

Coverage space: 400 sq. ft.

Automatic shut off? No

Lighting? No

Timer and intensity settings: 3 intensity settings

 

  • Multiple sizes to choose from
  • Hotel-inspired scents
  • Remote controlled

Nest Bamboo Reed Diffuser

Best reed diffuser: Nest, Bamboo Reed Diffuser — $62.00

Reed diffusers work best in small spaces, and you can’t go wrong with one of Nest’s dozens of scent options (FWIW: I’ve had them in rotation in my bathroom for years). The glass holder is refillable, which means that when it comes time to replace the scent after 90 days, you can choose from one of the more affordable refillable options (which are $44 instead of the usual $60). Unlike electric diffusers, which emit fragrance only when you turn them on, reed diffusers like this one deliver nonstop scent into your space.

Size: 175 ml

Run time: 90 days

  • No power source required
  • Lasts for 90 days
  • Subtle scent diffusion
  • Works best in small spaces

Asakuki 500 ml Premium Essential Oil Diffuser

Best lighted diffuser: Asakuki, 500 ml Premium Essential Oil Diffuser — $26.00

Mood scent and mood lighting at the same time? Yes, please. That’s what you’ll get with Asakuki’s affordable home fragrance diffuser, which emits scent via a fine mist and comes equipped with seven different LED lights that allow you to flood the room with color.

Size: 6.61″L x 6.61″W x 4.76″H

Water tank capacity: 500 ml

Run time: 16 hours

Coverage space: 300 sq. ft.

Automatic shut off? Yes

Lighting? 7 LED lights

Timer and intensity settings: 60, 120, and 180 minutes; continuous; intermittent; light or strong mist

  • Affordable
  • Large water tank that offers 16 hours of runtime
  • Equipped with lights
  • Remote control allows you to customize lighting modes and misting intensity
  • Larger than most other diffusers on the list


Well+Good articles reference scientific, reliable, recent, robust studies to back up the information we share. You can trust us along your wellness journey.

  1. Agarwal, Pooja et al. “Citrus Essential Oils in Aromatherapy: Therapeutic Effects and Mechanisms.” Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 11,12 2374. 30 Nov. 2022, doi:10.3390/antiox11122374
  2. Malloggi, Eleonora et al. “Lavender aromatherapy: A systematic review from essential oil quality and administration methods to cognitive enhancing effects.” Applied psychology. Health and well-being vol. 14,2 (2022): 663-690. doi:10.1111/aphw.12310


Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.


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Harmony Evans is an award-winning author of Harlequin Kimani Romance, African-American romance, and so on. Harmony Evans is an award-winning author for Harlequin Kimani Romance, the leading publisher of African-American romance. Her 2nd novel, STEALING KISSES, will be released in November 2013. Harmony is a single mom to a beautiful, too-smart-for-her-own-good daughter, who makes her grateful for life daily. Her hobbies include cooking, baking, knitting, reading, and of course, napping and also review some of the best-selling and popular brands and services in the market and also write comprehensive blogs.

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