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In this guide
Sure, the pristine white robes, the flickering candles, and the gentle wafts of pan pipes on the air make a spa experience pretty dreamy. However, if you can’t afford daily spa visits, there is a way to bring that spa-like feel to your home: an essential oil diffuser. As well as helping you create a zen vibe in your home, they can help mask the smells of a busy household. They can also provide a bit of sensory delight when you’re stuck in your home office for hours. They’re also great if you’re a believer in the benefits of aromatherapy.
The best essential oil diffuser is easy to use and clean. It quickly and effectively disperses scent throughout a wide area. It gets bonus points for auto shut-off and offering multiple light options to increase its use beyond just being a diffuser. This is a guide to the best essential oil diffusers in Australia, drawn from hours of research which includes thorough testing.
How we picked
Picking Australia’s best essential oil diffuser was hard because not a lot of independent testing and reviewing has been done. We turned to CHOICE, Australia’s leading consumer advocacy group, first, who we like for their impartial, thorough testing. Their guide to the best essential oil diffusers was written by the Wirecutter, a New York Times group company.
The Wirecutter independently selects the products they review, and it gave us a good starting point, especially when we narrowed the products down to the ones available in Australia.
So, we headed to ProductReview.com.au Australia's first consumer opinion site to find out what essential oil diffusers Aussies love. This guide is informed by all these sources, plus our own research.
We were looking for essential oil diffusers that were easy to use and clean, that effectively dispersed scent quickly for a long period of time, and offered extra features, like multiple changing lights, to represent good value for money. This gave us the best 8 essential oil diffusers in Australia.
The best essential oil diffuser for most
Choose this if
A great-sized tank, a long run time, plenty of options for colour, time and mist, plus a strong stream of beautifully scented mist that covers a good area, the ASAKUKI 500ml Essential Oil Diffuser offers it all. It even comes in around $40.
What we love
This offers a great range of flexibility to suit you and your home. There are 2 different mist modes, 7 different colour options, adjustable brightness, the option to turn off the light altogether or stick with just 1 colour, plus 4 different timers. Phew.
It’ll run for up to 16 hours on weak mist mode. This is backed up by Amazon reviews.
At 25-30m2 coverage, a lot of your home is going to smell beautiful.
An auto shut-off feature for when the water tank runs dry means even if you fall asleep with it on, it’s going to stay safe.
It’s around $40 which we think is a great price for all these features.
Although the warranty is only 1-year, we think that’s reasonable for the price. It does also come with a 6-month money-back guarantee.
The not so good bits
Reviewers on Amazon note that the instruction manual isn’t that easy to read and understand. Expect some trial and error in learning what each button does.
It measures 16.8cm W x 12cm H which means it takes up a fair bit of space. You’ll need to be ok with how it looks, faux wood and all, because it may become a feature in whichever room it’s placed.
If what you’re looking for in an essential oil diffuser is a strong stream of mist combined with the convenience of not having to refill it constantly, we think you’ll love the ASAKUKI 500ml Essential Oil Diffuser.
For starters it has a well-sized 500ml water tank that’s easy to clean. It offers 2 levels of mist – weak and strong, depending on your room size; 4 different timer options, including continuously on or 60, 120 or 180 minutes; and 7 different LED colours. These colours can auto change, or you can stick with the colour you like best. You can also adjust the brightness and use the LED and mist mode separately – which means you can turn the light off altogether.
If it runs out of water, it’ll auto shut-off for safety. On weak mist mode, it reckons it lasts up to 16 hours and it covers 25-30m2, which should filter throughout your home.
If you’re not convinced, it comes with a 1-year warranty plus a 6-month money-back guarantee making this a low-risk investment. With an around $40 price tag (there’s only 1 in this guide that’s considerably cheaper than this), this is an excellently priced essential oil diffuser.
The CHOICE / Wirecutter guide loves the ASAKUKI 500ml and it’s popular on Amazon.com.au too.
The essential oil diffuser with the best nebuliser
Choose this if
The Organic Aromas Raindrop 2.0 is a nebuliser, not an ultrasonic diffuser. Which means it uses pure essential oils to create a strong scent, for a short period of time. Beautiful to look at, thanks to its raindrop shape, wood and glass, it also offers optional LED rainbow lighting.
What we love
If you want strong scent for a short period, a nebuliser could be the way to go.
Raindrop shape, 100% hardwood, handblown glass reservoir - it’s almost an art gallery piece.
LED rainbow lighting
Want to brighten things up? There’s optional LED rainbow-carousel lighting.
Switch it on and the Raindrop will do all the work for you: 2 mins on, 2 mins off for 2 hours.
Auto switch off
There’s no need to worry about accidentally leaving it running 24/7. It switches off after 2 hours.
Simply remove the reservoir, give it a once over with some rubbing alcohol weekly and you’re done.
No water tank
Which means no refilling. It also means no water hanging around, getting stale and growing bugs.
The not so good bits
At around $150, it’s not cheap.
We reckon the Organic Aromas Raindrop 2.0 is the best nebuliser - it’s also the only nebuliser in our guide. There are no streams of mist here to ruin the Raindrop’s Insta-worthy looks. At 13cm W x 22cm H and made of 100% hardwood with a handblown glass reservoir, it looks more like a modern piece of art than a diffuser.
If that sounds a little basic to you, there’s also optional LED rainbow-carousel lighting to brighten things up. It diffuses for 2 minutes, then off for 2 minutes in a continuous cycle. Because it doesn’t use water or heat, Organic Aromas reckons you get a strong, concentrated scent. After 2 hours, it automatically turns off.
There’s no water tank to refill or clean, making it easy care. The glass reservoir needs a quick rinse with isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol once a week and that’s it.
Although it’s not on ProductReview.com.au it does rack up an impressive amount of positive reviews on Amazon. At around $150, it’s not cheap. But nebulisers never are. Organic Aromas do back their product though. You get a 1-year parts and service warranty.
Others worth considering
With a 100ml capacity, the Vitruvi Stone Diffuser is the smallest capacity diffuser we reviewed. What you’re getting though is a stylish diffuser that’s only available in 2 muted colours in handcrafted porcelain. Which means it looks spa worthy. It provides up to 3 hours of continuous use and the light feature is optional. It measures 8.6cm W x 18cm H, giving it a very small footprint – again, the smallest one we reviewed. It has 2 lids, making it trickier to clean and fill than our top picks. Thanks to its minimal appearance, it’s easy to use. The 1-year warranty is only valid in the US and Canada, making the $300 price tag hard to justify.
Want an affordable diffuser that looks a little like a UFO thanks to its all-white appearance? Meet the Astivita Essential Oil Diffuser. Coming in around $30, it’s got a large 500ml water tank and 7 different LED colours. It should last you about 8 hours in high mist or 17 hours in low mist mode.
Even at this low price, it has an auto shut off once the water’s gone. It’s got a good number of positive Aussie reviews on Amazon and a glowing 5-star review on ProductReview.com.au.
At around $60, the Natio Ultrasonic Essential Oil Diffuser is more expensive than our top pick. It’s not easy to tell why but we suspect it’s because of the brand. It’s simple to use and look at. It has 7 lighting modes and an auto shut-off function. It offers up to 4 hours of continuous use and has a 1-year warranty. It has 1 positive review on ProductReview.com.au.
The dōTERRA Petal Diffuser is a simple, user-friendly diffuser. It has minimal features: 3 timer settings (1, 2 and 4 hours) and an optional white LED light. This makes it easy to use. Although it can be used for a maximum of 4 hours due to its small water tank, Your Best Digs put it through its paces and found that it disperses scent quickly and effectively. However, it’s over double the price of our 2 top picks.
The Urpower 500ml Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser offers up to 10 hours of use. Although CHOICE / Wirecutter testing revealed it can last up to 16 hours (the same as our ASAKUKI top pick) on the weak mist mode. Also like our top pick, it offers 2 mist modes.
It has an auto shut-off feature and 4 timer options: continuously on or 60, 120 or 180 minutes. It also has 7 changing LED lights. It comes with a 1-year warranty and a 45-day money-back guarantee. It has over 12,000 reviews on Amazon and seems to make international consumers happy.
Want a rock-bottom price diffuser to see if it’s right for you? The Kmart Aroma Diffuser could be a good choice. This is a no-frills diffuser. It offers 1 light option and 30, 60, 120 or 180 minutes of mist. It comes in white only and measures 15cm W x 12cm H. As you’d expect for this price ($20), it doesn’t have an auto shut-off. Limited customer reviews are poor: it clocks up just 2 stars on ProductReview.com.au.
The bottom line
Essential oil diffusers are great additions to hardworking homes. From masking smells to creating an ambience, reaping the benefits of aromatherapy or supporting restful sleep, they’re a modern multitasker.
We think the ASAKUKI 500ml Essential Oil Diffuser is the best essential oil diffuser in Australia. With its great-sized tank, it runs for a long time and gives you lots of options for colour, time and mist. It also quickly delivers lasting scent that covers a wide area – all for around $40.
If you’re after a nebuliser, give the Organic Aromas Raindrop 2.0 a go. Beautiful to behold, with its raindrop shape, handblown glass reservoir and hardwood, Organic Aromas reckons it delivers strong scent which isn’t diluted by water or heat. It also means there’s no water tank to refill or water hanging around, getting stale and growing bugs. The LED rainbow-carousel lighting brightens things up. It’s around $150 and comes with a 1-year warranty.
Features to consider
We found that paying more didn’t necessarily get you more features: the Natio Ultrasonic Essential Oil Diffuser, we’re looking at you. Here’s what to expect when shopping for an oil diffuser.
The bigger the tank, the longer the runtime without needing to refill. But with a bigger tank comes a bigger footprint. Consider how much space you have available and how much you’re willing to dedicate to a diffuser.
There’s no easy way to tell how powerful a diffuser will be, unless you’re in a room with one. Multiple mist modes can be an indication. A strong stream of mist usually means you’re getting quick, effective scent dispersal. Plus, it’s easier on the eye than a pathetically weak stream.
Because they’re ejecting mist into the room, a diffuser isn’t something you’re going to hide in a cupboard. Which means it needs to look good. There’s a range of materials found in diffusers, but most of them are semi-transparent strengthened plastic or polymer for a modern, slightly other worldly look. Bear in mind that essential oils can corrode some plastic. Spending more on better quality materials may result in a longer-lasting diffuser.
Most of the diffusers we reviewed have timers. This means you select the time you want it to run for by pressing a button, and off it goes. As opposed to continuous use, it does mean you can use the diffuser several times without refilling the water. Plus, this is a helpful feature if you forget to turn it off when you leave the house, go to sleep, etc.
Which leads nicely onto our next point: an auto shut-off feature. All the diffusers we reviewed had this feature, apart from 1, which was the cheapest Kmart offering. This is a great safety feature and means when your diffuser has run out of water, it’ll automatically turn off. Ideal if you frequently forget to turn it off or fall asleep with it on.
What you get if you spend more
Spend more and you’ll get more features that may impact on how you use the diffuser, but it probably won’t impact on the performance. There’s only 1 exception to this: multiple mist modes.
Multi mist modes
Our winner is among only a few diffusers that offer more than 1 mist mode. Even then it’s limited to 2: weak or strong. Multiple mist modes mean you have the option of a longer runtime or a less intense scent, if you use the weak mode. For quick, effective scent dispersal that won’t last as long, you can opt for the strong mode. Most of the CHOICE / Wirecutter testing didn’t reveal much of a difference in performance if you opt for a multi mist mode diffuser.
Spend more and you’ll get more fancy material. We’re talking ceramic and handblown glass. Which will make more of a pleasant visual impact but won’t make the diffuser work better.
If you’re really into strong scents, a nebuliser can produce a stronger smell. Which makes sense as they work with just essential oils, without the addition of water. But nebulisers cost more and can be noisier and harder to clean.
More expensive, attractive diffusers made from something other than plastic usually have 2 lids: 1 is functional, and 1 is decorative. This means they can be more difficult to clean. If you’re into looks and occasional, not constant use, this isn’t a dealbreaker.
Rather than diffusing constantly, a diffuser might mist oil for a set amount of time, then rest and then mist again. This keeps the diffuser going longer on a single fill. We only reviewed one product with this feature: the Organic Aromas Raindrop 2.0 Nebulising Essential Oil Diffuser. It’s also the second-most expensive diffuser we reviewed, and it’s a nebuliser.
The most basic diffuser probably only offers 1 white light which is either on or off. Upgrade a little (to around $40) and you’ll get multiple light options. Which doesn’t improve the performance of the diffusing, but it does make the diffuser more multi-functional. It could be used as a nightlight or to create a soothing bedtime atmosphere.
Diffusers aren’t exactly massive, the biggest we reviewed is around 16cm W. If space is a concern, you can get far smaller and narrower diffusers, but you’ll probably pay a bit extra for this.
Ultrasonic diffusers versus nebulisers - what's the difference?
Ultrasonic diffusers vibrate a solution of water and essential oils into fine, cool mist without any heat. This helps to preserve the essential oil. They’re usually cheaper, quieter and easier to clean than nebulisers.
While nebulisers diffuse essential oils by blowing air through them to turn it to mist. This means they don’t use water and can produce a stronger smell.
We haven’t found conclusive proof that 1 type is better than the other.
Can you use an essential oil diffuser as a humidifier?
You might see in marketing blurb that essential oil diffusers can be used as humidifiers. Which, given they produce mist, is technically true. But as CHOICE / Wirecutter explains:
“If you were to run (and refill) an oil diffuser continuously, it would distribute around 1,000ml of water over 24 hours. In contrast, Wirecutter's pick for the best humidifier puts at least … 3,785ml of water in the air over the same amount of time.”
Which means a humidifier is far more effective than an essential oil diffuser. If you need a humidifier, you should buy a humidifier, not an oil diffuser.
Are essential oil diffusers safe for kids and pets?
We’ve researched this, a lot. Unfortunately, we can’t find a definite answer.
A diffuser, with its stream of mist and changing colours, can look fun to little people and possibly pets. To keep them safe, keep diffusers well away from little hands (and paws). Put them on stable surfaces, high up. Ensure there are no dangling cables to yank on either.
It’s the essential oils that might pose the biggest risk to children and pets. According to the Government of Western Australia’s Department of Health, “Essential oils are not safe to consume and can cause significant poisoning even if small amounts are ingested”.
What does that look like for children? “In children as little as 2-3ml of eucalyptus, clove or peppermint oil can lead to sedation or drowsiness; with more than 5ml potentially resulting in coma.”
Additionally, they say “There’s also a risk of aspirating (breathing in) the product into the lungs, where it can cause a serious lung infection known as chemical pneumonitis”. Given your child will breathe in essential oils when you’re using a diffuser, it’s good to be aware of this.
To keep children safe:
- Store essential oils out of reach and sight of children.
- Put them away immediately when you’ve finished using them.
- Don’t transfer them into other containers, like food or drink ones.
- Try to buy essential oils that have a child-proof cap.
- Avoid storing them in the kitchen when they’re more accessible to children.
Pets can also be at risk of poisoning if they ingest essential oils. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center says that diffusing can be dangerous to pets too: "The most common symptoms for cats and dogs exposed to diffused essential oils are drooling, vomiting, coughing and sneezing. Diffusing oils can be fatal to cats and dogs that have asthma or other respiratory issues."
They advise to keep your running diffuser in a separate room to your pet and avoid using it for long periods of time.
- "The Best Essential Oil Diffusers", Wirecutter
- "Natio Ultrasonic Essential Oil Diffuser", ProductReview.com.au
- "Essential oils – Health warning", Department of Health, Government of Western Australia
- "Your Essential Oil Diffuser Could Make Your Pets Sick", Lifehacker