An oil diffuser is a great way to add some ambience to your home without using chemical-laden air fresheners or worrying about the fire hazard of scented candles. Oil diffusers can be used simply to scent the air in a room, or you can use them for specific aromatherapy purposes – to relax or energise yourself and your family. There are a number of different types of oil diffusers available.
These are about as low-tech as you can get, and they provide a slow, even release of scent over a few weeks. Reed diffusers typically consist of a bottle containing oil, a cork or wax plug, and multiple wooden or bamboo sticks stuck through the seal. The sticks soak up the oil, transporting it upwards into the air of the room, where it slowly diffuses into gaseous form. These can be great for areas where you want one specific fragrance to dominate for a long time. They're not as good for aromatherapy purposes, though, as you can't easily change the scent as needed.
Humidifiers and diffusers
At the other end of the scale, units that add humidity and fragrance to the air have become quite popular recently. These oil diffusers are usually battery-powered – although you might also come across USB-chargeable versions that can be operated while plugged in to your computer or your mobile charger. They're often ultrasonic, using waves of inaudible sound to break up and disperse water and oils into the air. These tend to work well in places where dry air can cause skin and health issues.
Most heat diffusers work by gently heating essential oils so that they slowly break down and diffuse into the air. These tend to work well for aromatherapy purposes, because you can easily change the oil used to modify the fragrance's effects on you. Some are powered by electricity or batteries; others use candles. Keep in mind that heat diffusers shouldn't be left unattended if there's any risk of them overheating.