The Best Aromatherapy Diffusers of 2020
If you're after a diffuser that can fill a whole floor and will keep running for a long time, you've found it. The ASAKUKI Smart diffuser is a behemoth ready for action and has the largest capacity of any unit we tested. By connecting to your home wifi network, the ASAKUKI is easily controlled by a free app; TuyaSmart. It takes just a few minutes (and your wifi password) to get started, and then you can control your diffuser from anywhere in the house. The unit itself has the same standard, minimal buttons as many other models, but impressive control through the app. Select your favorite color from the entire spectrum, choose your brightness on a sliding scale from 0-100, and easily change the strength of mist coming out the top. You can even set up specific schedules and pair with your Alexa-enabled device to turn on your favorite diffuser mood with just your voice.
Without the app, the settings of the ASAKUKI work much like many other diffusers we tested. Its biggest selling point is the additional and exceptional control you have harnessing the power of today's smart technology. And though we love its thick plume of fragrant mist that can last all weekend, for small spaces, it's a bit much. It also isn't the most chic-looking model in the line-up, but it's also not our least favorite. Woodgrain accents help the ASUKAKI fit in better around your home. For the best coverage, longest run time, by far the most control, and the sheer ease of integrating this device into your smart home, this diffuser takes the proverbial cake.Timer Settings: 1 hour, 3 hours, 6 hours, ON (auto shut off when empty)
Mist Settings: Weak, strong
Includes: Diffuser, adapter, directions, 150 ml measuring cup, optional free app, optional Alexa-enabled voice control
When you're looking for subtlety and consistency, the Anjou 500ml is the answer. This teardrop-shaped aromatherapy diffuser comes with a unique oil tube inside to more evenly distribute essential oils over time. Most other models let the oil float on top, where it tends to be diffused first, initially packing a powerful punch, but growing weaker the longer the unit runs. By adding your oils to the small glass tube inside, the Anjou evaporates a smaller but more consistent amount of oil throughout its exceptionally long run time. It may take longer before you can smell it, but the delicate fragrance lasts longer than most others. It's also one of the few models with a visible difference between the high and low mist settings — many others appear identical in output. A thin light ring wraps around the middle of the base, providing an understated accent color that won't blind you in your bedroom at night.
However, this diffuser is BIG. Compared to others we tested with similar or even larger capacities, the Anjou is exceptionally enormous, both bulbous and towering. Be sure you like the look of whichever color or woodgrain you decide to purchase, as it isn't something easily tucked away out of sight. The inside portion of the lid also has a lot of very complicated surface area that makes it harder than most to clean when you want to swap between scents. And because it prioritizes a slower, more even use of oils, it does take longer to fill your space with that fresh scent. But if you're after consistency and don't mind the size of this centerpiece, the Anjou is an excellent choice to keep your quarters pleasantly refreshing for hours on end.Timer Settings: 1 hour, 4 hours, 8 hours, ON (auto shut off when empty)
Mist Settings: Low, high
Includes: Diffuser, adapter, directions, small cleaning brush, extra essential oil tube
An obvious choice for every scent-seeking, remote-lover out there, the RENWER 500ml has a lot of other things going for it besides just its miniature remote with a battery included. This 500ml aromatherapy diffuser is impressively compact for its capacity and is the smallest 500ml unit we tested. It's a fairly common design that's simple to use and easy to clean. Offering pretty solid spacial coverage and an about average run time, the RENWER does all this for half the price of many others. Like so many others, it offers 7 colors that you can choose between bright or dim modes, or cycle through the whole spectrum. As the whole top lights up, it makes for a fairly bright spot in a dark room. The remote not only allows you to control the unit from across your abode but also offers an additional option for an intermittent mist that isn't available with the on-unit buttons alone.
While we don't think this diffuser is excessively loud, it is one of the noisier specimens we tested. It hums like a small fan and makes the typical bubbling and glurping noises of an ultrasonic diffuser. It's not unpleasant, but could be a bit much if kept on your bedside table. It also only has timer options of 1, 2, and 3 hours, which we find rather limiting compared to most others that can be set to last through a full workday or night of sleep. Despite these minor shortcomings, we think the RENWER is a solid performer and a great deal for what you pay.Timer Settings: 1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hours, ON (auto shut off when empty)
Mist Settings: Low, high
Includes: Diffuser, adapter, directions, 150 ml measuring cup, remote (with battery)
The maker of several types and sizes of diffusers, InnoGear is also behind this little 200ml Woodgrain model that we grew to love during our testing. This unassuming, moderately sized aromatherapy diffuser keeps its smaller capacity wide and low, making it very difficult to knock over. Despite having a volume less than half of many others, it still manages to pump out therapeutic mist for nearly as long. Its simple, broad shape also makes it very easy to clean regularly without a huge hassle. Additionally, the woodgrain exterior with a thin light strip help it to more easily blend into your decor without sticking out like a sore thumb.
We do find it odd that the maximum fill line inside the tank is well under half of its true capacity. Just for kicks, we measured how much water we could actually fit inside, which turned out to be about 500ml! Still, the directions clearly state not to exceed that lower line of just 200ml, for some reason. The only real complaint we have about this solid performer is that it beeps rather loudly when the timer shuts off, which isn't ideal for a bedroom unless you like hearing random beeps at odd hours in the night. However, if you live in a house where things often get knocked over or spilled, the InnoGear 200ml Woodgrain is sure to help keep your essential oils off the counter.Timer Settings: 1 hour, 3 hours, 6 hours, ON (auto shut off when empty)
Mist Settings: Low, strong
Includes: Diffuser, adapter, directions
The Homàsy Ultrasonic is a good-sized diffuser that's made to keep running for a long time. During our testing, this 500ml unit was outlasted only by one model with an even larger capacity. It's a good choice for covering larger spaces and is even advertised as a limited humidifier when used without essential oils. While most models we tested have several timer options you can cycle through, only the Homàsy has separate buttons to quickly select whatever amount of time you want it to run. You can also quickly change it to sleep mode, which changes the unit to low mist and turns off the light all with a single press of a button. If you'd rather have a bright nightlight, you can then turn on whatever color you elect to drift off to dreamland with.
Unfortunately, there are no dim light options, making this a poor choice if you prefer a dark space when you sleep. It's a fairly chunky package, even considering its capacity. The top is also indented, which we found collected pet hair quite readily. This shape is less conducive on the inside to regular wiping to remove oil build-up. And it's one of the loudest diffusers we tested — another reason not to keep it in your bedroom. Yet if you don't mind the mechanical hum or the choice between a bright light or no light, we do appreciate the simplicity of the buttons on the Homàsy that allow you to quickly and easily get it running the way you want.Timer Settings: 1 hour, 3 hours, 6 hours, ON (auto shut off when empty)
Mist Settings: Low, high
Includes: Diffuser, adapter, directions
We find it difficult to look at the Vitruvi Stone Diffuser without our eyes turning into little cartoon hearts (in our heads). This elegant aromatherapy diffuser is small but gorgeous. But you already know you love how it looks — you want to know how it works. Well, it has a puny 90ml capacity and very limited settings. Depending on how you dilute your oils, you can still get pretty good coverage from this adorable specimen. It might not be ready to tackle your entire 2000 square foot house, but it filled our main tester's spacious living and dining room area with relative ease. Limited timer and light settings keep it simple to use and looking fly in the process. It's even uncomplicated to clean; simply run it for 30 minutes with a specified white vinegar mixture and voila!
However, if you want a rainbow of color options or a plethora of timers and mist settings, the Vitruvi will likely disappoint. It has just one color (a peachy orange shade) of a single brightness in its narrow band of light. And it offers just two usage settings with no option to just turn it ON and walk away. The ceramic stone top is also much easier to break, scratch, or even get fingerprinted than the plastic tops of most other diffusers we tested. And the cap on the reservoir has a pointy top where the mist escapes that needs to be carefully lined up with the hole in the ceramic cover. Still, if you love the looks of this alluring and compact diffuser, we think it's a great addition to a single room where you can WOW your friends and family with its fresh looks and bouquet.Timer Settings: 3 hours (continuous mist) or 7.5 hours (intermittent mist)
Mist Settings: Intermittent (30 seconds on, 30 seconds off; 3 hours only) or continuous (7.5 hours only)
Includes: Diffuser, adapter, directions, 200 ml measuring cup
The InnoGear 5-in-1 is another offering from InnoGear that offers solid coverage and a good-sized capacity. This 500ml aromatherapy diffuser is a tried and true design that just works. It's a bit large, but far from the largest we tested. It's simple and easy to clean and handily covers even larger rooms in your home. With standard high and low mist functions, several timer options, and 7 different light colors that can be bright or dim, the 5-in-1 has plenty of ways to use it.
However, it doesn't really stand out from the crowd in any way. It also has timer settings that are on the short end of the spectrum, though you can just turn it ON if you want it to run longer than 3 hours. The directions caution you not to let it run for longer than 10 hours at a time, though we pushed ours to 18 just to see what it could do. In doing so, we discovered this diffuser is by far the loudest of the bunch — and not with the pleasant gurgling and blurping noises of water splashing around, but instead the incessant hum of a fan. It does have a pretty low comparative price tag, though, which may be its biggest selling point. At the end of the day, the InnoGear 5-in-1 is an adequate diffuser that gets the job done, as long as you don't mind some extra noise.Timer Settings: 1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hours, ON (auto shut off when empty)
Mist Settings: Low, high
Includes: Diffuser, adapter, directions, 150 ml measuring cup
If you're searching for the perfect starter kit to gift your favorite budding essential oil enthusiast, the Pure Daily Care Ultrasonic is a great gift set. For one reasonable price, you get this pretty, woodgrain diffuser AND 10 different 10ml bottles of common essential oils. Also included is a brief description of each oil and some of its common and preferred uses. An average-sized reservoir and ample run-time help the Pure Daily Care to be a user-friendly choice. Additionally, its buttons and settings are simple to comprehend and easy to use.
But if your friend (or you!) is a tech hound, this simplicity may be underwhelming. The Pure Daily Care has just one single mist setting, and during our testing, the light was inconsistent in regards to whether it turned off when the unit shut off or remained on. The thin neck is also more difficult to clean than most of the flat-topped models we tested. And the essential oils don't actually say if they're 100% pure or not — which is something you definitely want when putting them into your diffuser. For a hardcore essential oil aficionado, the Pure Daily Care might not be elite enough, but as a starter kit or gift, it's a great value package.Timer Settings: 1 hour, 3 hours, 6 hours, ON (auto shut off when empty)
Mist Settings: Continuous/one level only
Includes: Diffuser, adapter, directions, ten different 10ml bottles of essential oils
One of several lookalikes on the internet, the URPOWER 2 is a minimalistic aromatherapy diffuser that's uncomplicated to use and inexpensive. Though many claim to be "whisper quiet," the URPOWER is truly an exceptionally quiet device. It has extremely limited options that are perfect for the essentialist: ON or OFF, and continuous or intermittent mist. Lacking any timers, this little machine simply runs until it's empty, which is around 6 hours using the intermittent setting. The entire translucent device lights up brightly or "dimly" in seven colors, or it cycles through the rainbow, making it a solid choice for those who suffer from nyctophobia, or fear of the darkness.
With its limited capacity, the URPOWER is best used in smaller spaces and can be a great fit for a child's bedroom or even your office at work. However, if you're hoping for a diffuser that can last all night or the whole workday, this isn't it. It's also not the best choice for keeping your entire 4 bedroom house smelling fresh, and its limited options may be too limited for some. Additionally, it isn't the most elegant in appearance and has a surprisingly short cord — just 4 feet long. But for an undersized, elementary option to fit a modest space, the URPOWER is a solid option with an appealing price tag.Timer Settings: ON (auto shut off when empty)
Mist Settings: Intermittent (30 seconds on, 30 seconds off) or continuous
Includes: Diffuser, adapter, directions
We love the way the EQUSUPRO Ultrasonic Cool Mist seems to dance in the dark. Unfortunately, when it comes to actual diffusing performance, we found ourselves wanting more. The colors of lights in the EQUSUPRO are more vibrant than any other model we tested, giving this blackened metal unit a rich, striking appearance with the lights on or off. Five different possible patterns let you choose a design you love to look at. And for a small 100ml diffuser, we're pleased to report it kept running longer than we expected it to.
Unfortunately, this long run time was largely due to the wild inconsistency of how much mist the EQUSUPRO was actually putting out. While at first, it was a veritable smokestack, filling the room with sweet-smelling scents, after several uses, it started unpredictably oscillating between working exactly as promised and putting out so little mist that it could barely be seen. The design could also be cleaned up a bit. You can plainly see the end of the white reservoir funnel poking through the black metal top, ruining its sleek appearance. However, if you're more interested in a cool light and only mildly interested in its diffusing capabilities, you may find a use for the EQUSUPRO.Timer Settings: ON (auto shut off when empty)
Mist Settings: Intermittent (30 seconds on, 30 seconds off) or continuous
Includes: Diffuser, adapter, directions, 150 ml measuring cup
Why You Should Trust Us
This review is spearheaded by a two-headed team of testers, Maggie Brandenburg and Penney Garrett. Maggie is a Grade A gadget fiddler, always tinkering with settings and pushing the limits of every piece of tech she owns. Living with a perpetually dirty adventure dog (and partner!), she appreciates the value of a clean-smelling home and is always trying new methods of making it so. Penney studied botany and clinical herbalism and has worked in several apothecaries, selling and experimenting with a wide variety of oils. The two of these ladies have been testing products for GearLab for many years and put their heads together to prod these diffusers and find their limits.
After spending hours researching dozens of the most interesting and promising models on the market, we narrowed it down to the top 10 aromatherapy diffusers. We enthusiastically purchased them all and pit them head to head — or nose to nose — to see which ones would come out on top. We filled them to their limits, challenged them to infuse large spaces, and ran them for days at a time. We put them all around our homes in the day and during the night to figure out where each fits best. If you've been feeling like every diffuser sounds the same as the last, read on! We're here to illuminate their differences and help you decide which one is the right choice for you.
Analysis and Test Results
To test this line-up, we didn't simply plug all the diffusers in, turn them on, and walk away. We broke down exactly what we want from an ideal diffuser and tested every aspect in detail. Our process ranged across five comprehensive and mutually exclusive metrics to provide a precise and accurate picture of the strengths and weaknesses of each model. Below, we discuss how we did it and which ones excelled where.
The most important aspect of an aromatherapy diffuser is how well it works. We considered each unit's coverage, intensity, and humidifying properties to understand their effectiveness. We scientifically tested each diffuser with identical dilutions in the same sized space to see how quickly they filled the area and if they became overpowering or were too subtle. We measured humidity changes and scrutinized the many different mist intensity settings.
When it comes to getting the scent you want, purity matters. Choose only 100% pure essential oils to get clean, consistent fragrances from your diffuser and elongate its life. In general, pure oils tend to cost more (especially for the less common and harder to distill oils like rose), and an unusually low price is often indicative of diluted oils or man-made "fragrances" — a very different thing than actual distilled oils from plant material. At the very least, pure oils will say 100% pure somewhere on their label and should not say "fragrance."
The Anjou 500ml provides the most consistent coverage of any model we tested. It alone has an oil reservoir on one side of the water reservoir that evenly dispenses oil as the water level goes down. This provides a steady level of fragrance for as long as the water and oil supplies last, rather than running through all the oil floating on top of the water first, as most others tend to do. It's also one of the only models we tested that where we could actually see the difference between high and low mist settings.
The ASAKUKI Smart diffuser is also particularly effective, emitting a large, obvious plume of mist for as long as the tank has water in it. It works very well to cover large spaces and adds some humidity to the air when used in smaller rooms. The InnoGear 5-in-1 and Homàsy Ultrasonic also both provide solid coverage for larger spaces. Their low and high mist settings are less obvious to tell the difference between by looking at them, but they're great for a little humidity bump.
Ease of Use
To test ease of use, we considered numerous factors, including capacity, ease and frequency of refilling, and the included directions. We navigated settings while trying to decipher cryptic direction booklets and online informational videos. We tried every combination of features and settings we could just to see what they would do. And we also accounted for the intuitiveness of each, as we're just as guilty as everyone else for throwing the instruction manual away after a few days of ownership.
There are many different ways to diffuse the smell of essential oils into your home and numerous kinds of diffusers to help you. We tested ultrasonic diffusers, which create ultrasonic waves in oil-treated water reservoirs to create a fine, aromatic mist that fills the air. There are also evaporative diffusers, which use various methods to evaporate undiluted essential oils (like electricity or a candle) and nebulizing or waterless diffusers, which atomize essential oils, creating a pure scent that can fill even larger spaces. You can also soak terra cotta in essential oil and hang it or put certain types of wood into small vessels of essential oil for a more subtle evaporative effect.
Several diffusers stand out here for different reasons. The AKASUKI and RENWER are easy to use because of their simple and functional added technologies. The RENWER comes with a small remote that's self-explanatory and does everything you want it to do. The AKASUKI is easily controlled with an app on your smartphone or by voice using your Alexa-enabled device — as long as you have a wifi connection. Using both of these is an absolute breeze.
The InnoGear 200ml Woodgrain is also very easy to use. It has impressively intuitive buttons, and the lid practically closes itself when you set it on the base. It's extremely easy to spin the vent to blow in any direction and remove the lid completely when it's time to add more. The Anjou 500ml and Homàsy Ultrasonic are both similarly easy to open and close and have fairly large capacities that require less frequent filling.
A few of these aromatherapy diffusers are very easy to use because they have a limited range of options to choose from. The URPOWER 2, Vitruvi Stone Diffuser, and EQUSUPRO Ultrasonic Cool Mist are all very simple to operate because they lack many of the timer, mist, and/or light settings of their competitors. Additionally, all three of them have shorter cords on their adapters, forcing them to be closer to an outlet to function.
To score each contender in this metric, we tested and measured every power function they have. From preprogrammed timers to running each until they dried out and shut off, we pushed them to their limits of continuous use. We also considered what options each has available to the consumer and how useful those time intervals and mist options actually are to the average user.
Because ultrasonic diffusers atomize water along with essential oils, they also have a slight humidifying effect. This can be beneficial in smaller spaces - like a bedroom during the dry season. However, it can also sometimes collect on surfaces close by the diffuser, so be careful what you set your machine next to. Try to avoid putting it next to water-sensitive objects like electronics or books.
The ASUKAKI takes home the grand prize in this metric. As the diffuser with the largest capacity in our tests, we expected it to outlast the rest when left to run dry. However, we didn't expect it to pump out a consistent cloud for over 48 straight hours, but that's exactly what it did. That alone is seriously impressive. Additionally, the ASUKAKI has similar timer options to many others we tested, as well as equivalent high/low mist modes. The Homàsy Ultrasonic comes in a close second, with the same timer and mist functions and a 500ml capacity that lasted over 40 continuous hours in our tests.
The Anjou 500ml also pulled an impressive longevity score, continuing to run for over 30 hours in our laboratory experiments. On top of that, it has our favorite timer settings of 1, 4, and 8 hours — enough to get most of us through a full night of sleep or complete workday (or nearly so). The Pure Daily Care is another notable option here for lasting over 20 straight hours, despite having a smaller tank of just 300ml. Similarly, the InnoGear 200ml Woodgrain holds just 200ml, yet lasted over 20 hours in our tests — longer than several of the 500ml diffusers.
Ease of Cleaning
As much as we all wish we'd never have to clean anything again for the rest of our lives, that, unfortunately, is not the case. Especially for a machine that you're jamming oil into over and over again, the ability to clean it is very important. We tested each one's ease of cleaning by, well, cleaning them. We did our best to scrub every nook and cranny according to their directions. We also evaluated those directions (if they existed) against our own expansive knowledge of diffuser care. And we assessed how easy or challenging each one is to take apart and put back together.
Over the span of even just a single use of your aromatherapy diffuser, the oil will start to build up on the inside of your device. This can not only change the aroma of subsequent essential oils you put in the unit but can also clog up the atomizer that makes it function. While every diffuser comes with different directions for cleaning, at the very least, you should expect to carefully rinse and wipe down the entire inside of your machine after every 2-3 uses or weekly. And always dry it completely before even short term storage.
The Vitruvi is the easiest diffuser to clean, according to its instructions, and assuming you have white vinegar on hand. Its manual simply directs you to make a solution of water and vinegar and run through the machine for 30 minutes. Even cleaning it with a cloth by hand is fairly easy — though the small neck at the top of the water chamber can be a little tricky without a cotton swab or tightly twisted paper towel. The RENWER and InnoGear 200ml Woodgrain are also easy to clean, with some of the simplest insides to wipe down with a wet cloth.
Not far behind are the InnoGear 5-in-1 and AKASUKI, which both feature large, easily wiped down bases. They do, however, suffer from more complicated lids that have small spaces that are very difficult to cram a cloth into. A few of the models we tested have easy to clean bases but busy lids with many small crevices and slots that help create mist but are extremely difficult to clean. Those challenging models include the Homàsy and Anjou. However, cleaning the bases is far more important than cleaning the lids - though you should strive to cleanse both regularly.
Features and Aesthetics
Assessing the aesthetic appeal of any product is a very subjective matter. However, we included some baseline characteristics of each to be able to create an accurate assessment of both looks and exceptional features. We considered the number of colors and patterns each is offered in, particularly favoring woodgrains and other natural-looking exteriors. We compared how noisy they are relative to one another and other household noises, and paid attention to if those noises were sounds of the motor or of the bubbling water. We took note of the lights — colors, brightness options, and available settings — as well as noting what additional materials they all come with.
Every single diffuser we tested comes with different recommendations for how many drops of essential oil to add to the unit. No matter which one you ultimately choose, start with the recommended dose, and see if you like its strength. If you tend to like subtle fragrances, just a few drops in 500ml of water may be enough. If you prefer stronger aromas or are covering the scent of something else (like a litter box or smoke), you may end up using half a teaspoon or more. Experiment with how much oil you use and be patient - you can always add more oil to your diffuser but the only way to take some out is to dump it all and start again.
When it comes to sheer looks, the Vitruvi is the hands-down favorite among our testers. This ceramic stone diffuser looks classy and classic. Available in four colors, it easily fits into just about any home decor. It's also exceptionally quiet, and though it has just a single light color and brightness, we find the peachy glow is pleasant and easy to appreciate. The EQUSUPRO also stands out in this category for its unique metal cover and exceptionally vivid light colors. We frequently found ourselves just watching them scroll through a full spectrum of vibrant hues for minutes at a time.
The ASAKUKI and RENWER both score well here also, with their extra features like wifi compatibility (ASAKUKI) and a remote (RENWER). They both have woodgrain accents and pleasant shapes (the ASAKUKI's cube) or sizes (the RENWER's compactness) that make them a good fit in a variety of rooms and workspaces. Also notable is the Pure Daily Care, which is the only one we tested to come with essential oils — though those oils don't claim 100% purity, which we advise using.
While each of the diffusers we tested are fully capable of spreading the scent of your favorite essential oil through the air, they are all different from one another and have unique qualities that make some better suited for large areas, some ideal for a work cubicle, and others a great nightlight or a thoughtful gift. No matter what aromatherapy diffuser you ultimately decide is the best choice for you, treating it kindly with 100% pure oils and regular cleaning will help it to be more effective and last longer.
— Maggie Brandenburg