Best aromatherapy oil diffusers: what do oil diffusers do, and how do they help with stress?

Essential oil diffusers were one of the top-selling items of late 2020, helping people create a calm atmosphere in their home while also smelling great. We've picked our favourites

Thursday, 4th November 2021, 9:05 pm

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Aromatherapy diffusers are an excellent, easy way to add a little tranquillity into your household. More effective than scented candles, less obnoxiously scented than incense sticks, they're an altogether classier proposition.  

What are aromatherapy diffusers? 

Aromatherapy diffusers use ultrasonic waves to break down essential oils which have been added to water, in order to create a fine mist which is then dispersed throughout the room. Using essential oils in this way not only makes your home smell divine, but it can have a positive impact on your wellbeing.

Why are aromatherapy diffusers good for you? 

Studies have shown essential oils are known to act upon both the brain and the nervous system. When concentrated essential oils are breathed in through a diffuser, it's more easy for the olfactory system to be stimulated by them.

The benefits of essential oils are many: clinical studies have connected the use of certain essential oils to helping with mental focus, alleviating stress and depressive symptoms, reducing anxiety, easing menstrual pain, and calming the nerves.  

Simply change the oil you use in your diffuser to address whatever issue you are having: lavender is known to help relaxation, peppermint helps focus, lemon, bergamot, cedarwood have benefits in combatting stress and anxiety.  

Most of the diffusers we tested worked by water mist diffusion, however there are also fan diffusers available, which instead use a fan over an absorbent pad saturated in essential oils, to release the vapours across the room.  

What are the best diffusers available? 

We tested a variety of diffusers to see which ones came out on top, testing how they looked, their efficiency at diffusing, and the smell of any oils which accompanied them, resulting in our favourites below. Get ready to relax...

If you’re looking for more inspiration of how to make your bedroom look its best then check out our guide to how to decorate your bedroom.

Or, if your living room needs livening up then take a look at our how to decorate your living room guide.

The White Company- Electronic Diffuser

The White Company- Electronic Diffuser
5/5

If you want a diffuser which adds style to your home, the Electronic Diffuser from The White Company is the most aesthetically pleasing one around.

The pearly ceramic dome complements any room’s colour scheme and the wooden trim around the bottom adds an earthy, natural touch.

The diffuser has a nightlight function to add a calming glow to the room. We loved the way that you can choose between three active timer settings (60mins, 120mins or 180mins), so you can pop it on before you go to sleep, worry free.

The level of diffusion is a brilliant balance; only 2-3 drops of essential oil achieves a good level of fragrance without becoming overpowering.

You can purchase the diffuser on its own or buy for £80 with two oils from The White Company collection; we loved the Sleep Oil, a calming combination of lavender, chamomile and clary sage.

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Neom- Wellbeing Pod

Neom- Wellbeing Pod
4/5

While the most expensive of the diffusers we tried, the Neom Wellbeing Pod was the most efficient; it only required a 1-2 drops of the essential oil and a few minutes before a beautifully balanced fragrance had filled the space. 

It requires a mains connection, but with its sleek design, it was easy to find a place in our home where it looked lovely. 

The Wellbeing Pod is equipped with two light functions; a soft LED light and a nightlight option, which means it can transition from day to night sense stimulation perfectly. It also has multiple time settings; continuous misting and one, two and three hours stints.

 We found this diffuser performed the best at creating a consistent diffusion throughout its active time; the scent was strong from start to finish. 

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Oliver Bonas Essential Oil Electric Aroma Diffuser

Oliver Bonas Essential Oil Electric Aroma Diffuser
4/5

If you want a diffuser which adds style to your home, the Oliver Bonas Essential Oil Diffuser is the one of the most aesthetically pleasing one around.

The fluted ceramic diffuser is bijou - compact enough to fit into any small space. Turn it on and for whatever spell of diffusion you fancy and your room will be gorgeously scented within minutes.

We loved the way that you can choose between active timer settings (30 mins, 60mins, 120mins or 180mins), so you can pop it on before you go to sleep, worry free.

The level of diffusion is a brilliant balance; only 2-3 drops of essential oil achieves a good level of fragrance without becoming overpowering.

With different coloured lights you can choose, you can decide on what ambiance you want to lend if you’re using it in a softly lit road. All this at a very reasonable price. Any oils can be used with it - our favourites are from Tisserand, robustly scented essential oils at a fair price.

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This Works at Look Fantastic- Travel Diffuser with Love Sleep Bedroom Blend

This Works at Look Fantastic- Travel Diffuser with Love Sleep Bedroom Blend
3/5

Who says aromatherapy must be restricted to your home? This travel diffuser is perfect for creating calm atmospheres wherever you go. 

The Travel Diffuser from This Works comes in a nifty pouch, which includes all you need to set up a piece of peace within your hotel room. 

The USB power cable can connect to any power device, and unlike others we tested, the diffuser does not require water. 

It comes with absorbent pads which you add a few drops of the oil to, making it even more hassle free to install. The accompanying Love Sleep Bedroom Blend oil is a 100% natural mix of ylang ylang, patchouli and frankincense, which smells like a warm hug. 

Scientifically designed to help de-stress, promote good sleep and even encourage intimacy, this oil ensures your hotel room is a home away from home. 

While we love the indulgent aroma of this oil, this compact diffuser can be used with other oils too.  

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Aromaworks at Look Fantastic- USB Aroma Diffuser

Aromaworks at Look Fantastic- USB Aroma Diffuser
4/5

Both USB and battery powered, the Aromaworks Aroma Diffuser can be used in the comfort of your own home or on the go for a peaceful atmosphere. 

The design is an oval shape but is compact enough to fit into any space within your home. Similar to the other travel diffusers we tested, this diffuser works with an absorbent pad rather than water, so takes a little longer to infuse its surroundings. 

It also features a multi-coloured soft mood lighting which meant it complemented any room or mood we found ourselves in. 

While this diffuser does not have multiple time settings, it comes with two essential oils which makes it brilliant value. The petitgrain and lavender oil left us feeling truly relaxed while the lemongrass and bergamot oil invigorated our senses.

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Electric Diffuser Plug by Diptyque

5/5

Lovers of Diptyque fragrances and candles are rightly devoted to the French perfume house, and will undoubtedly adore this electric plug diffuser, which releases the scent of Diptyque’s signature fragrances gently across the room.

This plug-in is pricy, but has great throw, and we found within minutes of deployment our living room was sumptuous with the scent of our favourite Diptyque scent, Baies - delicious rose and blackcurrant.

There are no aromatherapy claims to be made here, but if you want your house to smell great, nothing will do the job more thoroughly or quickly. Be warned, though: the diffuser comes without any cartridges, so you have to buy them to go worth it. If you’re serious about room scents, its well worth it.

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Ultrasonic Diffuser Gift Set

Ultrasonic Diffuser Gift Set
4.5/5

Stylish, high-performing, and reasonably priced, the Marks and Spencer diffuser is an excellent option for a touch of class in your living room. 

This silent diffuser provides a fine, steady mist for up to eight hours, and will switch off automatically when it has finished refreshing a room. Much better looking than the price tag would suggest, it lights up via LED in the dark to add warmth to the atmosphere. 

While the Marks & Spencer diffuser can be used with any essential oils, this gift set comes with their highly-popular Calm scent, a proprietary mix of cedarwood, bergamot, and lavender, that is especially soothing. We were impressed with this reliable choice. 

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