Types of Essential Oil Diffusers

Different types of essential oil diffusers are available to help you enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy.

Essential oils are volatile, meaning the oils evaporate into the air at room temperature. A diffuser is merely a device that helps the essential oil molecules move into the air more rapidly than they otherwise would in an open bottle.

Reed Diffuser photo
Photo by Valerie Everett

Diffusing essential oils in the air is a popular way to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of aromatherapy. Massage with essential oils added to a carrier oil is also a way to enjoy aromatherapy.

There are several ways of diffusing essential oils into the air. Some are very simple and inexpensive. Some diffusers can cost well over $100.

Electronic diffusers often have lights which make the diffuser look pretty while it is working. They also often have timers and speed controls. The timers allow you to determine the duty cycle, that is, how long the diffuser is “on” and “off”. Speed controls determine how quickly oil vapor is disbursed into your room.

Most electronic diffusers also need to be cleaned periodically because of oil buildup. Look at your operations manual that comes with your diffuser for specific instructions.

Let’s take a look as some of the options.

Rubbing Oil on Your Hands

Simply put a drop or two of essential oil on your hands and rub them together. This distributes the oil over a relatively large area so the oil evaporates quickly. Rubbing your hands together helps warm the oil and further encourage evaporation.

Then cup your hands over your mouth and nose and breathe in. Take several deep breaths. Don’t get the oil on or near your eyes.

This is a quick way to get the oil absorbed by your skin and the vapors into your lungs. And, this is a great technique for personal use.

Adding Oils to Warm Water

You can encourage essential oil evaporation into the air by adding a few drops of essential oils to warm water.

This is often used in a bath. You can breathe in the vapors while enjoying a relaxing bath.

You can also pour warm water in a bowl and add a few drops of oil. You typically cover your head with a towel and bend over the bowl to concentrate the vapors to the small area around your face.

Either way helps you get the benefits of the oil.

Reed Diffuser to Speed Evaporation

The basic idea of the reed diffuser is to increase the surface area of the essential oil to speed its evaporation into the air. It is very simple and inexpensive to make. But, be aware that some reed diffuser kits you can buy will come with synthetic fragrances which may contain harsh chemicals.

You can make a reed diffuser easily. Simply fill a small bottle with the essential oil mixture you want to diffuse and insert some porous rattan reeds into the bottle. The oil will “wick” up into the reeds and evaporate into the surrounding air.

This type of diffuser is always “on”, evaporating oil into the room. It is good for small areas like a bedroom or kitchen. But, since it is always helping oil evaporate, it can use up your oil faster than an electrical diffuser you can turn off.

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Essential Oil Burners

The essential oil burner uses heat to help speed evaporation the oils into the air. Several types are common.

One example involves putting some oil in a ceramic container and suspending this over a candle flame. Another way is to put oil onto an ornamental terracotta ring and placing this on an incandescent light bulb. Yet another example is a candle scented with an essential oil. These tend to use high levels of heat to speed evaporation of the oil.

Other units use lower levels of heat, often below 200oF. This is below the boiling point of water and is better than a hotter unit.

There is the obvious danger of using a open flame around flammable essential oils. The other drawback is that each essential oil is composed of numerous natural and sometime delicate organic compounds. Some of these compounds can be chemically changed when they are exposed to higher temperatures. This alters their nature and can reduce their therapeutic value.

Electric Fan Evaporative Diffusers

Another way to speed the evaporation of essential oils is to increase the air flow across the oil. This is how the electric fan diffuser works. You add drops of an essential oil to an absorbent pad. The fan blows air across the pad causing more evaporation of the oil. And the air goes into the room. Depending on the size of the unit, this can be effective for one or more rooms.

How To Use The Aromatherapy Fan Diffuser

Nebulizer or Atomiing Diffuser

This diffuser uses the Bernoulli Effect. A thin tube is inserted into a small pool of oil. An air pump blows air across the top of the tube. This creates a partial vacuum in the tube which draws oil up the tube. When the oil reaches the top of the tube the air stream atomizes the oil, dispersing molecules of the oil into the stream of air. The air stream with the oil molecules goes into the room.

Here, the mist you see is the result of the atomized essential oil. This means that you are using oil at a rapid pace. So, you typically turn on the nebulizer for short periods of time.

Some nebulizer diffusers require you to remove the dropper nozzle and screw the essential oil bottle onto the diffuser. So, if you want to diffuse an oil blend, you will need to create the blend and put it into a bottle. Other diffusers require you to add oil drops to a reservoir which makes blending oils easy.

The size and power of the air pump will determine how quickly oil gets diffused. It will also affect the level of noise the diffuser makes.

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Ultrasonic Cool Mist Diffuser

Perhaps the most popular diffusers are the ultrasonic mist diffusers. You add water and a few drops of your essential oils to a reservoir. Below this is a flexible membrane which vibrates at ultrasonic frequencies. This causes the liquid water and oil to break up into a vapor which then goes into your room.

This cool mist (comprising water and oil vapors) disburses into the room. So this type of diffuser acts as a humidifier because it adds water vapor to a room. So, it’s best not to use this type of diffuser in rooms with a mold problem.

And, because the mist is mostly water vapor, not much oil gets disbursed. You typically run these diffusers for long periods of time to get enough oil in the air to be effective.

Ultrasonic Aroma Diffuser Instructions

Types of Essential Oil Diffusers Summary

You’ve seen examples of the major types of essential oil diffusers. For personal use, rubbing some oil on your hands and breathing in may be adequate. For more long lasting effects and for making a room smell nice you will need an electronic diffuser.

Examine feedback about each diffuser to gauge the user experience before you buy.

And, then enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy.

Benefits Of Geranium Essential Oil

Benefits Of Geranium Essential Oil include reducing inflammation and muscle pain, uplifts mood and balances hormones, reduces anxiety, antiseptic for wound healing, reduces blemishes and acne, increases urination to help flush out toxins, and repels bugs.

Geranium essential oil is extracted by steam distillation from the stems, leaves and flowers of the perennial geranium plant. There are 200 species, often called geraniums, pelargoniums, or storksbills. But the species pelargonium graveolens, also called Rose Geranium, is the primary species used for geranium essential oil. The oil produced has a sweet, fresh lemon scent. When obtained from older leaves that have changed color the scent changes slightly to include a rose fragrance.

The oil has been used for millennia. Records show the upper class in ancient Egypt to enhance and beautify their skin and to reduce anxiety. Ancient ruins in Rome showed tubs of geraniums. Dutch traders brought rose geranium to Europeans from Africa in the 1600s.

The medicinal benefits of geranium essential oil come from the organic compounds that make up the essential oil. Several studies have examined the oil to identify these compounds. Here is one:

An article (Biomass yield, essential oil yield and essential oil composition of rose-scented geranium (Pelargonium species) as influenced by row spacings and intercropping with cornmint) appearing in the journal Industrial Crops and Products described experiments to determine how crop yield varied with geranium plant spacing and planting other crops between geranium plants. The results showed that closer spacing of geranium plants produced taller plants (they grew tall to compete for sunlight) and significantly higher yields of biomas and essential oil.

The composition of the geranium essential oil samples was analysed with a gas chromatograph and mass spectrometer and found not to differ significantly between the various crop spacings nor the use of intercrops. The major (presence < 1%) organic compounds found in the geranium essential oils and their percent composition ranges are as follows:

  • Geraniol (27.3 – 28.0%)
  • Citronellol (24.4 – 25.6%)
  • Linalool (13.0 – 13.3%)
  • 10-epi-γ-Eudesmol (5.6 – 5.9%)
  • Citronellyl formate (4.0 – 4.8%)
  • Geranyl formate (3.1 – 3.5%)
  • Geranyl tiglate (2.1 – 1.7%)
  • Citronellyl tiglate (1.9 – 2.0%)


As with all oils, geranium essential oil should be diluted with a carrier oil (like jojaba, oilive or sweet almond oil) before being applied to the skin. Its always best to test the oil on a small patch of skin to make sure you are not allergic to the oil.

Since the oil has not been clinically tested with pregnant and nursing women, pregnant or nursing women should avoid this essential oil. Also, do not use with babies or young children.

Do not take geranium essential oil internally without the supervision of a health professional.

Benefits Of Geranium Essential Oil

Not surprisingly, Geranium-oil is very popular in aromatherapy and herbal medicine for its health benefits, especially concerning skin health and emotional well-being.

Check out these 5 Reasons You Need a Bottle of Geranium Essential Oil in Your Home.

Benefits Of Geranium Essential Oil: Relieve Stress and Fatigue

Inhaling the sweet aroma of Geranium-oil can uplift your spirits, reduce fatigue, and provide a sense of happiness and wellbeing. It has a positive effect on the body and mind, and you can enjoy this feeling with just a drop or two of this powerful-oil.
Whenever you feel stressed or depressed, or simply need a pick-me-up, take a drop of oil in one palm and rub the palms together. Open the palms over your nose and inhale deeply. It will instantly energize you and put you in a happy-mood. You can also diffuse 2-3 drops of the oil in an essential-oil-diffuser. 

Benefits Of Geranium Essential Oil: Stem Bleeding from Wounds

Geranium-oil can be used to stop bleeding from cuts and wounds. When applied topically diluted in a carrier-oil, the oil contracts the blood vessels and promotes blood-clot formation to seal them off. This helps control blood-loss not only from wounds but from bleeding hemorrhoids. The strong antimicrobial property of the essential-oil of Geranium can protect you from pathogens and infectious diseases. It is particularly effective as an antiseptic for disinfecting cuts and wounds on the skin. When applied to scrapes and cuts, it stops the bleeding quickly.

Benefits Of Geranium Essential Oil: Excellent for Skin Care

Your skin cells are continually shed and replaced with new-cells, but age and certain disease conditions slow down this process. Geranium-oil promotes cell-regeneration, ensuring the skin gets renewed regularly. By increasing collagen, the connective tissue protein underlying the skin, it helps maintain the smoothness and elasticity of the skin.
Add a few drops of the oil to your regular skin lotion or a carrier oil. Apply it regularly as part of your skin care regimen.

Benefits Of Geranium Essential Oil: Hormone Balancing Effect

Geranium-oil has a tonic effect on the body, regulating endocrine function and improving overall well-being in general. Because of this, the essential-oil has a positive-effect on several organ systems, including the respiratory and circulatory-systems. Inhaling the aromatic vapors can provide relief from physical and mental exhaustion. It also regulates the production of stomach-acids and other digestive enzymes, improving digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Benefits Of Geranium Essential Oil: Increase Mental Function

Along with the stress-busting action of Geranium oil, it can improve your mental functioning, and may help prevent neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. The presence of a toxic deposit called amyloid plaques in the brain tissue is a marker of the neurodegenerative Alzheimer’s disease. Chronic inflammation resulting from its presence inflicts further damage on the brain tissue and drives the rapid progression of the disease.

Geranium oil is capable of reducing inflammation in the brain by interfering with the production of pro-inflammatory substances. Inhaling Geranium oil vapors have been found to be beneficial for increasing cognitive function and slowing down cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s patients.

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