A Diffuser Vs Humidifier: Which Should You Buy?

Diffusers and humidifiers are constantly confused but in actual fact, they work completely differently. They have very different purposes.

As a result, it is important to understand what exactly a humidifier and diffuser are, the benefits and disadvantages of both products, and their differences.

This allows you to figure out which product would be best suited to you and your needs.

This guide will give you all the information that you need to help you to make the best choice for you.

What Is A Diffuser?

Diffusers come in a variety of types, shapes, and sizes. They are used for distributing essential oils into the air.

A diffuser is specifically designed to take drops of essential oils.

To add essential oils you should follow the instructions provided with your product but in most cases, you add a few drops to the water tank.

The four main types of diffusers are ultrasonic diffusers, nebulizing diffusers, heat diffusers, and evaporative diffusers.

Your aroma diffuser should only be used with distilled water, not with tap water, for the most benefit to your health and wellbeing.

Depending on your needs, you can get a diffuser that operates either as a diffuser and humidifier or as two separate units.

The trend today is to use a multiprocessor diffuser that does both functions, diffusing and humidifying.

Benefits Of Using A Diffuser

There are a lot of great health benefits associated with diffusers.

Diffusers are used for aromatherapy purposes, but only when combined with specific essential oils.

You should take note that you won’t be able to enjoy the benefits of diffusers if you choose essential oils that aren’t associated with sleep and relaxation, such as Lavender.

Diffusers can reduce the amount of bacteria and fungus in a house, which is known to cause illness.

The cool mist emitted by most models can improve breathing, and reduce snoring. Cool mist is also believed to help relax people and make them feel better.

Diffusers often feature lights, which work well for reducing stress and boosting energy.

Disadvantages Of Using A Diffuser

Most of the disadvantages associated with diffusers are linked to the inner workings of the product but not all models would have these issues.

Diffusers usually come with a built-in source of lighting that cannot be altered or turned off, which can be frustrating if you are trying to sleep or relax.

Diffusers can also be very loud when they’re working.

For those with skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, you will need to be aware of the essential oils you are using as essential oils absorb easily onto the skin and can react with previously irritated skin.

What is A Humidifier?

A Diffuser vs Humidifier: Which Should you Buy?

A humidifier keeps the air moist by adding water vapor into the air. Humidifiers are used to treat colds, flu, or sinus congestion.

People who live in dry climates need humidifiers because dry air causes problems such as dry skin, bacterial and virus infections, and makes it harder to sleep.

A humidifier uses a fan to blow air across a heated surface inside the unit. This causes the surface to become hot enough to evaporate moisture out of the water.

As the water changes state from liquid to gas, it turns into mist. The mist then travels up and out of the humidifier through holes in the top.

The mist mixes with the surrounding air and increases the humidity level.

There are two main types of humidifiers, cool mist, and warm mist humidifiers.

  • Warm mist humidifiers – These are ideal for relieving congestion, colds, cold weather, and other ailments.

They use about ten times as much energy when compared to cool mist humidifiers. They also do not allow for the use of essential oils.

  • Cool mist humidifiers and diffusers – These work the same way on the basic level. They often have a gradually adjustable output.

Some models can even be used as diffusers by adding essential oils.

Most humidifiers in today’s markets are made out of plastic, making them incompatible with essential oils because the oils can damage the plastic.

However, some models are designed to be used as both a humidifier and diffuser.

Benefits Of Using A Humidifier

Humidifiers are great for people who have problems with dry air. Dry air causes many problems including dry skin, nose bleeds, and snoring.

A humidifier can help solve these problems by adding moisture back into the air.

A humidifier benefits the lining inside the nose with the added water, relieving sinus issues, sore throat, dry coughing, and dry skin.

Dry air can make your skin crack and itch, but a humidifier can help. You can use a humidifier to make your house more comfortable.

Your home’s ideal humidity level is between 30% to 50%, but most homes need more than this.

Disadvantages Of Using A Humidifier

Humidifiers are devices that help people sleep better by creating an environment that is comfortable for them.

However, some humidifiers are not suitable for use with essential oils because they could cause harm to the plastic components of the unit.

The mist released from humidifiers may also make the room too hot or cold depending on the setting.

Units that release warm mist should never be left unattended as the boiling water inside could be dangerous to children and pets.

Diffuser Vs. Humidifier – Which Should You Buy?

Choosing between a diffuser and humidifier depends on what your needs are and what you hope to achieve by adding either a diffuser or humidifier to your home environment.

Here we look at what a diffuser and humidifier can offer, their power needs, and the maintenance both products require.

A diffuser is great for creating a relaxing atmosphere in your home. It allows you to create a blend of scents to relax you.

These devices are easy to set up and use. Many people select them because they are small and portable.

A humidifier is best for treating symptoms of seasonal allergies and sinusitis. It will keep your nose moist and clear of mucous.

You should consider buying a humidifier if you suffer from allergies or sinus problems.

There is not much of a difference between the electricity used by both products.

A humidifier uses electricity to heat water into steam, which then goes out as a vapor.

Some humidifiers can be operated by batteries but in most cases, you will need to plug in your humidifier to a wall outlet.

A diffuser works by forcing air over essential oils or other scents and often requires it to be plugged into a wall outlet.

If you plan to have a product that you can leave switched on for multiple hours each day there are things to take into consideration.

The water tank in the majority of diffusers is small, so it cannot operate for as many hours as a humidifier may be able to.

Maintenance for both a diffuser and a humidifier is essential to keep your product working to its peak performance.

With diffusers, essential oils can cause dirt to form on the inside of the machine, so it is important to clean your diffuser each time you refill the water tank.

Depending on what type of humidifier you have the maintenance required will differ.


We wish we could tell you which to buy but that decision is down to you.

Now that you understand the differences between diffusers and humidifiers we hope that you can make your decision easier.

If you are still unsure why not look for a hybrid product that can offer both diffusing of essential oils and humidifying settings?

There are a number of these types of products on the market and maybe a good place to start if you want to see how both operate.

Hannah Shiftle
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