New technologies appear on a regular basis. As far as Aromatherapy goes, there are many gadgets and devices that help you enjoy the benefits of essential oils. Humidity also plays an important role in our health. But what method is the best to gain all their benefits? Find out all about a diffuser vs. humidifier!
I’m sure you heard lots about them, and I wanted to make things clear. Many people are still confused about which is better, I know because I get asked a lot.
The confusion comes from the fact that some can perform as diffusers and humidifiers. Read through my article to find out about:
- A FAQ section about the differences between a humidifier and a diffuser. With pros and cons and benefits to take into account for your decision making process.
- A few ideas on blend recipes for your diffuser, if you decide to get one.
- Plus other options you have to enjoy your essential oils, even if you choose to use a humidifier.
What is the Difference between Humidifier and Diffuser? Diffuser vs. Humidifier FAQ
The difference between diffuser and humidifier consists in a few specifics and characteristics. They make them separate products, with separate purposes. But they use the same technology.
A humidifier uses a large water tank and ultrasonic sounds to evaporate the water into a cold mist. A humidifier may also use heat to boil the water and help it disperse throughout the environment.
But an ultrasonic diffuser that uses heat is never a good choice. It can break down the oil molecules and ruin their benefits and properties.
What is in fact humidity?
Air humidity is basically water particles that stay suspended in the air. That increases the humidity level inside a room. The level of humidity is given by comparison.
The comparison between the actual water in the air and the maximum quantity of water the air can hold. The latter depends on temperature.
Humidity level inside a healthy home should be between 40 and 60%. During the colder seasons, the air becomes very dry and the humidity often drops below 30%.
That happens mostly because of too much heat and the lack of ventilation. A dry air can create lots of health problems.
To control the level of humidity, people have created humidifiers. Some essential oil diffusers are built with this function, which seemingly seems ideal. But it is not.
Before comparing aromatherapy diffusers vs. humidifiers, I must tell you more about each. So let’s start!
What is a humidifier and what is its purpose?
A humidifier is a device meant to help you control the humidity levels in your home. Its purpose is to disperse tiny water particles into the air and increase the humidity level.
Old practices included the boiling of water, which was not practical or safe. A humidifier is easy to move around, from room to room if necessary.
There are many types of humidifiers on the market. The best ones use ultrasonic technology and release a cold mist. They can be used for hours, until the desired humidity level is reached.
An essential oil diffuser cannot be used in such a way! The oils have a strong effect on the mind and body, and they’re not supposed to be diffused for a long time.
Other types use heat, while some humidifiers use air filters too, to purify the air. These filters however, need to be changed from time to time to continue being effective.
What are the benefits and disadvantages of a humidifier?
An air that’s too dry creates many health problems. It can cause throat irritation and nasal congestion. Or it can cause bronchitis and allergies.
Mostly, the respiratory system suffers because of lack of humidity. The skin also suffers, because dry air causes dry skin (dehydration). Static energy will also be present wherever there’s too much dry air.
Pros for Humidifier:
- All you need to do to remedy the above mentioned problems is to use a good humidifier.
- Its water tank is usually very large. This means you can control the humidity level without having to add water throughout the day.
Cons for Humidifier:
- The first disadvantage is that it should not be used as essential oil diffuser too. It is not recommended mostly because humidifiers are not built to support essential oils. In time, they can dissolve the plastic water tank and ruin your humidifier.
- A humidifier doesn’t have the same mist power as an actual diffuser.
- It needs to be cleaned daily or every other day. Bacteria and mold growth can happen very quickly. If you turn your humidifier on in that state, you can disperse mold and bacteria particles in the air and get sick.
What is an essential oil diffuser and what is its purpose?
An essential oil diffuser is a device meant to disperse fine particles of essential oil into the air. They use the same ultrasonic technology (among others). This diffusion method produces micro-particles of oils and water. They bind together and stay suspended in the air.
Through inhalation, the tiny molecules of oils are fast absorbed by your body and skin.
The best Aromatherapy essential oil diffusers are the ones that use cold mist and vapors. You can get the best therapeutic results with nebulizers and ultrasonic diffusers.
What are the benefits and disadvantages of an aroma oil diffuser?
The benefits of using an aroma oil diffuser are quite many. They are so many because of essential oils, which are concentrated essences.
They contain only active molecules that act and react as soon as they get in contact with a living organism.
Aromatic oils have antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. This means that they can kill germs, bacteria, molds, fungi and viruses.
Pros for a Diffuser:
- Diffusing essential oils, you can protect yourself and your family against many diseases.
- Diffusers are usually easy to clean because the water tank is plastic. Ceramic ones are best, though.
- With the help of essential oils, a diffuser can purify the air you breathe.
- It can speed up your relaxation process. It makes and releases fine particles of oils that the body absorbs faster.
- The device can help you improve your mood with the fragrant aromas of pure essential oils.
Cons for a Diffuser:
- The properties of essential oils diffused with an ultrasonic can be diminished. They don’t stay suspended long enough to inhale all the molecules.
- Really high quality ultrasonic diffusers are made of ceramic, or at least the water tank is. But those are also more expensive.
- An electric diffuser can sometimes make a perceptible noise. Nonetheless, it shouldn’t be bothersome while sleeping, for instance. That is because you should never sleep with a diffuser on in the first place. Longer than 60 minutes’ inhalations can cause high blood pressure and anxiousness. Long diffusions can also saturate the air and cause headaches or nausea.
- Their LED lights can sometimes be annoying and prevent you from keeping them on while diffusing. This should easily be solved if the product has control options, however.
- Make sure you wash the tank regularly to prevent mold and bacteria growth.
- Do not use thick essential oils, extracts or absolutes because they can clog your diffuser. Also, carrier oils can do the same damage. Only add pure essential oils.
Depending on the technology used for your diffuser or humidifier, the results may vary. Each technology releases the oils or the water in different ways: by mist or vapors. The simplest method though, remains the evaporation.
Essential oils evaporate quite fast, but they don’t have the power to cover a larger area that way. On its own, water also evaporates at certain temperatures. In this case, if the air is too dry and the temperature inside the room not high enough, the humidity level increases very slowly.
The difference between mist and vapors (Aromatherapy diffuser vs. humidifier)
Mist is made of tiny water droplets or essential oil droplets/molecules.
Vapors represent the gaseous phase of the water. Water vapors are invisible, while mist is not. Humidifiers release vapors, diffusers mist.
Mist is heavier and doesn’t stay suspended in the air for too long. While being released by a diffuser, it doesn’t have the power to travel through wide areas. These two factors cannot help increase the humidity level.
That’s why the best aromatherapy diffuser and humidifier, is not actually too good as a humidifier.
For example, some of the best ultrasonic humidifiers can release up to 250ml of water particles/ hour. That is 20 times more than an ultrasonic essential oil diffuser!
So, what is the best essential oil diffuser vs. humidifier? The best one is the one that is made only for diffusing essential oils. For that reason, nebulizers are the most recommended for therapeutic use of essential oils. I will tell you more about them shortly.
Some Essential Oil Blend Recipes for Diffusers
I’m sure you’d want an essential oil diffuser of your own. And now that you know the difference between diffuser vs. humidifier, you can also make more informed decisions. Here are some very pleasant blend recipes for diffusers, regardless of their technology.
Uplifting and Lively Diffuser Oil Recipe
- Grapefruit essential oil: 3 drops
- Pine essential oil: 2 drops
- Bergamot essential oil: 3 drops
Add these oils into the water recipient of your diffuser. Keep it on for 30 minutes; you can repeat every 2 hours. Also, make sure the area where you’re diffusing is well-ventilated to avoid headaches.
Disinfecting and Antiviral Diffuser Recipe
- Eucalyptus essential oil: 4 drops
- Rosemary essential oil: 3 drops
Diffuse these oils 2 or 3 times a day, for 30 minutes each session. Maintain at least 2 hours in between diffusions. Make sure the room is well-ventilated every time.
This blend will kill bacteria and viruses that cause infections and epidemics. It will also freshen up and purify the air.
Using one of the best aroma diffusers and a humidifier at the same time can take care of all your problems. You can maintain optimal and healthy levels of humidity in your home. And you can also breathe pure air and prevent many diseases.
Other Options for Diffusing Essential Oils
Diffusing essential oils is an important part of Aromatherapy. In the last decade, many of their benefits have been proven. Most professionals also agree that Aromatherapy is a good complementary therapy.
It’s a therapy that can support you physically and mentally during other treatments. As long as the medication doesn’t interact with essential oils, you are safe. Always consult your doctor before using essential oils!
There are various methods and products to use to diffuse your oils efficiently. Some of them require only the essential oil. For instance, a cotton pad: you can add a few drops of EO on it and keep it near your computer while working. It needs to be refreshed every 2 hours and the cotton changed when using different oils.
You can also wear your favorite oils around in jewelry pieces (necklaces or bracelets). These are usually made of terra cotta. It’s a porous material that absorbs and diffuses the oils slowly.
They don’t cover a large area however, and you need more jewelry for each oil you like to diffuse that way. Find out more on how to use so many other types of diffusers.
There are USB Aroma diffusers, car diffusers, cordless diffusers, ventilation diffusers (outlet-plugged), etc.
But the best type of Aromatherapy diffuser is the nebulizer. What is the difference between diffusers and nebulizers? I will tell you below, with the usual pros and cons for a better understanding of each.
Nebulizer vs. Diffuser
PROS for Nebulizers:
- Doesn’t use water, so it releases a mist of pure essential oil molecules. They stay suspended in the air a long time.
- The technology uses high frequency vibrations that release a cold mist. Thus, the oil’s properties are maintained intact.
- A nebulizer can cover very large areas (about 1000 sq. ft.).
- It is very powerful.
- It is made only from high quality materials like glass and wood.
- They look very beautiful as décor pieces.
- The materials give it a professional look.
- A nebulizer also makes a great gift.
- You can also find spare parts if something should break.
CONS for Nebulizers:
- A nebulizer is not suited for small rooms.
- It needs careful handling and cleaning.
- They can also emit various buzzing sounds that in large areas usually, are barely noticeable.
- The glass may shatter if mishandled, dropped or left around children or pets.
- Thick oils and absolutes or extracts can clog this device too.
- The best nebulizing diffusers can be very expensive. They certainly are, out of all the other essential oil diffusers. Though, considering the materials, its long shelf life and benefits, the price may not seem too much at all.
Ultrasonic diffusers are more affordable but they may lack in quality materials. Are you more interested in an essential oils diffuser or a nebulizer? Generally speaking, the first term, though a bit general, it usually refers to ultrasonic diffusers.
As you can see, a nebulizer is above an ultrasonic diffuser in almost all aspects. But ultrasonic diffusers are also efficient and practical. If used in small rooms, for short periods of time, they can also act as humidifiers.
Just remember that they are not made for that purpose though. A humidifier will always do a better job increasing the humidity level in your home.
If you’re looking for the best essential oil diffuser and humidifier, it’s better to buy separate products. That way you’ll get the best out of each and increase their shelf life as well. Like I said, essential oils can ruin a humidifier. While an aroma oil diffuser doesn’t release enough water in the air to get rid of the dry air fast enough.
Hopefully, the problem of diffuser vs. humidifier is much clearer now. Don’t hesitate to leave me your comments and questions and I will get back to you a.s.a.p.!