The Best Essential Oil Diffuser

Or how to create a zen-like spa vibe at home.

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November 12, 2019
Best essential oil diffusers

Essential Oil Diffusers

Whether you’re trying to mask the smells of a busy household; are a believer in the benefits of aromatherapy; or simply love fragrance filling your home, an essential oil diffuser could be a good buy. 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 top essential oil diffusers in Australia, drawn from hours of research which includes thorough testing.

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Our top picks

ASAKUKI 500ml
Best Overall

ASAKUKI 500ml

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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 under $40.
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Urpower 300ml Aroma
Also Great

Urpower 300ml Aroma

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The Urpower 300ml Aroma Essential Oil Diffuser is very similar to our ASAKUKI winner, offering similar features plus a similar price tag. Lacking mist options, it also has a smaller tank which means shorter runtime and more frequent refilling. It looks completely different too, opting for a simple white tube.
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Essential Oil Diffusers

Whether you’re trying to mask the smells of a busy household; are a believer in the benefits of aromatherapy; or simply love fragrance filling your home, an essential oil diffuser could be a good buy. 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 top essential oil diffusers in Australia, drawn from hours of research which includes thorough testing.

Essential Oil Diffusers
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How we picked

Picking Australia’s top 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 also considered ultrasonic diffusers versus nebulisers. 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. 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. Our guide covers both types. Unintentionally, all the diffusers we reviewed are ultrasonic, except 1. We haven’t found conclusive proof that 1 type is better than the other.

A claim we have taken with a pinch of salt is 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. So, we haven’t commented on any product’s perceived use as a humidifier. We think if you need a humidifier, you should buy a humidifier, not an oil diffuser.

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 a list of the top rated essential oil diffusers in Australia.

Important 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. 

Tank size

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. 

Power

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. 

Material

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. 

Timer

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.

Auto shut-off

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.

Material

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.

A nebuliser

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.

Multiple lids

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.

Intermittent diffusing

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. 

Lights

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.

Smaller size

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.

Best Overall: ASAKUKI 500ml Essential Oil Diffuser

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ASAKUKI 500ml
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 under $40.
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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 a less than $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. 

Why buy the ASAKUKI 500mL Essential Oil Diffuser

Flexibility – 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.

Time – it’ll run for up to 16 hours on weak mist mode. This is backed up by Amazon reviews.

Coverage – at 25-30m2 coverage, a lot of your home is going to smell beautiful.

Safety – 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.

Price – it’s less than $40 which we think is a great price for all these features.

Warranty – 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

Instruction manual – 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.

Space – 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.

In summary

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 under $40, making it our top pick for Australia’s best essential oil diffuser.

Also Great: Urpower 300ml Aroma Essential Oil Diffuser

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ASAKUKI 500ml
The Urpower 300ml Aroma Essential Oil Diffuser is very similar to our ASAKUKI winner, offering similar features plus a similar price tag. Lacking mist options, it also has a smaller tank which means shorter runtime and more frequent refilling. It looks completely different too, opting for a simple white tube.
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The Urpower 300ml Aroma Essential Oil Diffuser is very similar to our ASAKUKI winner, offering similar features plus a similar price tag. The downside? The smaller tank (300ml to our 500ml winner) which means more frequent refilling.

Urpower reckons this will run for up to 8 hours, which is half the time of the ASAKUKI. It also has an auto shut-off feature and offers 4 timer options, including continuously on or 60, 180 or 360 minutes. It too has 7 changing LED lights. These can automatically change, or you can pick the colour you want, or turn off the lights.

It covers around 20m2  and CHOICE / Wirecutter reckons it produces a strong stream of mist. At 11cm W x 15.4cm H it’s around 5cm narrower than our winner, making it a good compact option. It comes with an 18-month warranty, compared to our winner’s 12-month, and a 45-day money-back guarantee, compared to our winner’s 6-month.

Although the Urpower packs slightly less features than the ASAKUKI, like no mist options, it’s a worthy contender. It’s very similarly priced and offers a different aesthetic; there’s no faux wood. It opts instead for a simple white tube. Your choice will come down to what you prefer looks-wise and how long you want your diffuser to run for.

Why the Urpower 300ml Aroma Essential Oil Diffuser is worth considering

Compact size – at 11cm W x 15.4cm H, this will easily fit discreetly into your home. 

Runtime – the 300ml water tank allows up to 8 hours of use. Which is still impressive, even if it’s half the length of time our winner can run for.

Mist – Wirecutter reckons it produces a consistently strong steady stream of mist that outperforms other essential oil diffusers they tested. 

LED lights – with 7 colour choices plus the ability to automatically change, stick to 1 or turn off altogether, you have flexibility with what suits you best.

Timer function – you don’t have to keep turning it on and off. Set the timer, or turn to continuously on, and it’s done for you.

Safety – the auto shut-off feature kicks in when the water tank is empty.

Warranty – it has an impressive 18-month warranty, especially good for the under $40 price tag.

The not-so-good bits

Noisy – there’s only 1 review on Amazon.com.au and it’s a 1-star complaint about how noisy it is. Wirecutter didn’t mention noise when they were testing it, which could mean that all diffusers are noisy so this one didn’t stand out. Or it could be that the reviewer is sensitive to noise. 

Only 1 mist mode – the 2 mist modes of our winner means it can run longer. It also means it can produce less strong scent, which can get overwhelming. You don’t get that flexibility with the Urpower.

In summary

There’s not much between the Urpower 300ml Aroma Essential Oil Diffuser and the ASAKUKI 500ml Essential Oil Diffuser. The Urpower offers slightly less functionality, in that there’s only 1 mist mode. It also runs for up to 8 hours, rather than the ASAKUKI’s 16, and has a slightly smaller water tank which means less coverage. It looks more sleekly modern than the ASAKUKI and it’s also much narrower. You’ll probably choose the Urpower for its looks and be happy with a reduced water tank capacity and shorter runtime.

The Competition

Here are the rest of the essential oil diffusers we reviewed, that didn’t quite compare to our 2 top picks.

Vitruvi Stone Diffuser

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.

Choose this if – you want a diffuser that looks luxe, is easy to use and produces a strong mist. You won’t be bothered by a reduced runtime and a steep price tag – it’s the most expensive one we reviewed.

Organic Aromas Raindrop 2.0

This is the only nebuliser in our guide. Which basically means it uses pure essential oils – no water – to produce a strong scent, with no mist. It has LED rainbow-carousel lighting, which you can turn off. It diffuses for 2 minutes, then off for 2 minutes in a continuous cycle. After 2 hours, it automatically turns off. 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. Its looks and its nebuliser function explain the high price point. At $128, it’s the second most expensive diffuser we reviewed.

Choose this if – you want a nebuliser, not an ultrasonic diffuser. Or you want a beautiful diffuser that offers a strong scent for a short period of time and you’re not scared by price.

Natio Ultrasonic

At around $60, the Natio Ultrasonic Essential Oil Diffuser is more expensive than our 2 top picks. 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. 

Choose this if – you’d like to pay more for a known Aussie wellness brand, in return for a simple and easy to use diffuser. 

dōTERRA Petal Diffuser

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.

Choose this if – you want a minimal, easy to use diffuser that disperses scent well for a short period of time, with no extensive lighting options.

Urpower 500ml Aromatherapy

This is the bigger sister to our Urpower runner-up. Which means it offers up to 10 hours of use. The runner-up Urpower reckons it lasts up to 8, so you’re only getting 2 more hours. Although CHOICE / Wirecutter testing revealed it can last up to 16 hours (the same as our winner) on the weak mist mode. Unlike our Urpower runner-up, this version does offer 2 mist modes, like our winner.

Like our Urpower runner-up, it has an auto shut-off feature and 4 timer options, although they’re continuously on or 60, 120 or 180 minutes. It also has 7 changing LED lights. At 16.8cm W x 12.1cm H, it’s around 5cm wider than the runner-up but 3cm shorter.  It comes with a 1-year warranty (our runner-up is 18-month) and a 90-day money-back guarantee, compared to our runner-up’s 45-day.

In comparison to our Urpower runner-up, it has a bigger tank for longer use and 2 mist modes for the same price. But it’s not as compact and the warranty isn’t as long.

Choose this if – you want longer use and you’re happy to compromise on looks – the all-plastic appearance does make it look like a UFO.

Kmart Aroma Diffuser

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.

Choose this if – you want a no-frills intro to the world of essential oil diffusers and you’re happy to take a risk on quality and longevity in return for a rock-bottom price.

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 under $40. 

A worthy alternative is the Urpower 300ml Aroma Essential Oil Diffuser. It’s very similar to our winner, including its price and features, although it lacks the 2 mist modes. However, its tank is 200ml smaller, which means more frequent refilling. Rather than the faux wood of our winner, it’s a sleek and simple white tube. This means which you choose probably depends on looks and runtime.

Sarah Idle
Words by Sarah Idle

Sources

1. "The Best Essential Oil Diffusers", Wirecutter

2. "Natio Ultrasonic Essential Oil Diffuser", ProductReview.com.au