Is a diffuser a humidifier? No! A humidifier and a diffuser are not the same things. Here’s why

“Our goal is not just an environment of clean air and water and scenic beauty. The objective is an environment of decency, quality and mutual respect for all other human beings and all other living creatures.”
Gaylord Nelson

The principle of operation of a humidifier and a diffuser is very similar. But there are some differences that you need to be aware of before buying. Which of these devices is suitable for your comfortable life, find out right now.

What is a diffuser, how it works, and how it differs from a humidifier?

The key function of the diffuser is to aromatize the air in the room. The original device uses essential oils, with which you can change the mood in the house. People using essential oils for aromatherapy have reported soothing benefits.

What are essential oil diffusers?

The essential oil diffuser is designed to effectively diffuse the therapeutic benefits and aromas of essential oils into the air, so you can inhale, enjoy, and reap their benefits. The essential oil diffuser is an easy way to add aromatherapy to your daily routine.

Usually, only a small amount of moisture is emitted into the air thanks to essential oil diffusers. Essential oil diffusers can help to bring some much-needed humidity to a room, but they aren’t as effective as humidifiers. It is very important to clean your essential oil diffuser regularly, as oil can build up and cause clogging.

There are several types of essential oil diffusers: ultrasonic, electric, and reed.

✅ Ultrasonic diffusers

Ultrasonic diffusers distribute essential oils into the air by vibrating the plate. The vibration of the ultrasonic diffuser causes the essential oils to mix with the water vapor and disperse into the air as a very fine mist. You simply fill the container with water, add 10 drops of essential oil and enjoy the invigorating, inspiring, relaxing or soothing aroma.

✅ Electric diffusers

Electric diffusers heat oil with electricity and diffuse it into the air. Essential oil diffusers are equipped with built-in fans for better fragrance distribution. You can buy an essential oil diffuser in different sizes: large models for large areas or miniature ones that can be connected to USB ports.

✅ Reed diffusers

A reed diffuser is a container of scented liquid and rattan sticks that diffuse oils through the air. The reed has microscopic channels that absorb oil and push it to the top of the stick. As soon as the oil reaches the end of the channel, it is thrown into the air, spreading the smell throughout the house. Since reed diffusers do not require electricity, they can be placed almost anywhere in your home.

What is a humidifier, how it works, and what types of humidifiers

The main task of the humidifier is to increase the room’s humidity level, which is especially important in winter when heating devices are working everywhere.

Lack of moisture in the air can create a lot of problems, which is why it’s good to have a humidifier that can improve your home’s humidity levels and indoor air quality.

Why do you need a humidifier?

A dry environment destroys the protective membranes in the upper respiratory tract that prevent viruses and bacteria from entering the body. As a result, you often start to get sick with colds.

Dryness in the nose, irritation of the mucous membrane, regular nosebleeds – all these are the consequences of dry air in the house. With the right humidity, you can breathe deeply without discomfort in your nose.

Dry air means dry skin. During the heating season, our skin actively loses moisture, which makes it dry and flaky.

Dry air is the cause of strong static electricity, due to which things begin to jolt with electricity, and hair sticks out in different directions.

In a dry environment, furniture deteriorates because the air tries to draw moisture from surrounding objects.

A humidifier should be in every children’s room because babies have very sensitive skin and olfactory organs. The child may begin to cough for no reason and get sick with a cold.

There are several types of humidifiers: Evaporative humidifiers, Steam Humidifiers, Ultrasonic Humidifiers, and Impeller Humidifiers.

Evaporative humidifiers

Most mist humidifiers are evaporative. These types of cool mist humidifiers have water basins that are filled with cold water. The filter absorbs water from the pool, then the air passes through the filter, throwing fine water droplets into the air.

It is not recommended to use essential oils in cool mist humidifiers for two reasons:

Reason 1

Essential oils are so strong that you run the risk of the crucial oil destroying the plastic in your cool mist humidifier, causing it to break or shorten its lifespan.

Reason 2

Cool mist humidifiers work by drawing water from the bottom of a water tank and then spraying it. If you remember, essential oil and water don’t mix, and cold mist humidifiers can’t mix them. This means your essential oils will sit at the top of the cool mist humidifier, not dissipating until the water drops to near zero.

Steam Humidifiers

A warm mist humidifier heats water to a boil, creating a warm mist. Note that they can be dangerous for pets and children.

Both cool and warm mist humidifiers can neutralize the dry air that causes skin dryness and help you feel fresher and more comfortable throughout the day.

Ultrasonic Humidifiers

Ultrasonic humidifiers contain a small plate at the base of the humidifier that vibrates rapidly (also known as ultrasonic vibration) to create a quiet, fine mist. In an ultrasonic humidifier, the water should be changed frequently to prevent bacterial growth.

Impeller Humidifier

The impeller humidifier uses a moving disk that releases water through a comb structure, creating a cool mist. As with an ultrasonic diffuser, the water should be changed frequently to prevent bacterial growth. Distilled water is also recommended.

Which is better: cool mist or warm mist humidifier?

Deciding which is better between a cool mist humidifier and a warm mist humidifier is a matter of personal choice. However, warm mist humidifiers are quieter because they do not use a fan to disperse the mist and are better suited for dosing medicinal supplements that help with seasonal illnesses. They also humidify the air more effectively and reduce bacteria and germs.

What level of humidity should be in the house?

The main thing here is not to overdo it because high humidity leads to fungus and mold. The critical minimum humidity for a home is 30%. The normal level of air humidity in a residential area is 40-60%.

It is this indicator that can neutralize up to 85% of influenza viruses. The most useful humidifier is ultrasonic. This gadget creates a cold mist from microscopic drops of water and evenly distributes them over the surrounding space.

Humidifier or aromatherapy diffuser – what’s the difference and what suits you?

Now you know what a humidifier and aromatherapy diffuser is. So, what should you buy – a humidifier or an aroma diffuser?

The main difference between a humidifier and an oil diffuser is their power: humidifiers release water vapor into the air, while diffusers release essential oils containing droplets.

Size and volume of water tanks in the diffuser and humidifier

Humidifiers are equipped with a larger tank (on average – about 3,700 ml), as this is required to release the appropriate amount of moisture into the air to achieve the specified regulatory indicators. Very little fragrance is needed, therefore, a small amount of liquid capacity is used in aroma diffusers (from 350 to 550 ml).

The principle of operation of the devices

Moisture or flavoring components are distributed throughout the space of the room in various ways. Humidifiers have a special spray nozzle to achieve the required humidity index in the apartment.

The functioning of aroma diffusers is ensured by the action of electricity, ultrasound, or the properties of reed sticks. Some of these devices do not use water at all during operation; therefore they do not affect the humidity of the air.

Noise and sound production for diffusers and humidifiers

Diffusers are much louder than humidifiers. This is especially true for ultrasonic devices. Therefore, many refuse to use them at night, so as not to disturb sleep.

Diffuser and humidifier cost

Flavoring devices are more complex in design, with the need to use electrical or ultrasonic units, which leads to an increase in price. Also, aroma diffusers are more expensive to use because humidifiers are filled with ordinary water, and for flavoring devices, you need to buy expensive essential oils.

Health effects of a diffuser and humidifier

Both types of devices affect the state of health. Aroma diffusers allow you to enjoy a pleasant smell. But built-in LED indicators can create problems for sleep.

If you want to increase the humidity in your home to reduce the risk of irritation and sore throats, opt for a humidifier. Increasing the humidity in the air can also help you feel more comfortable, which helps you sleep better.


Is it OK to sleep with a diffuser on?

Yes, you can sleep with a diffuser for numerous reasons:

  • Moisture added to the air will promote the health of the mucous tissues in the nose, sinuses, and other airways.
  • Essential oils relieve headaches and improve sleep.
  • The diffusers are very quiet.
  • Many models automatically turn off when the tank runs out of water, so there’s nothing to worry about.
  • Some models offer a nice colored light or a night light that is great for kids.

Does a diffuser clean the air?

Yes, thanks to essential oils, diffusers purify the air.

Can you use a diffuser without essential oils?

Yes, you can use a diffuser without adding essential oils. For example, an aroma diffuser with sticks. The principle of operation of the diffuser is that the fragrant liquid rises to the porous sticks and evaporates at their other end. The longer the sticks are, the more intense the aroma you will smell in the house.

Is a diffuser good for health?

Yes, diffusers help relieve stress and unload your head. There are blends of essential oils that fill you with energy, and there are those that help you relax. The ability to help us relax is one of the main benefits of using a diffuser, which is why diffusers are so popular in many spas.


Now you know the difference between a diffuser and a humidifier. If you want to relax with aromatherapy at home, an essential oil diffuser is for you.


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