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Using Essential Oils: Diffusers v Oil Burners

Posted on 17 August 2020

Essential oils can have a huge impact on our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. Essential oils reach our brain via the olfactory nervous system, and can provide many different therapeutic benefits, they can be relaxing, uplifting or energising, depending on your chosen oil or essential oil blend. The limbic system which is the emotional centre of the brain has a powerful connection to scent, emotions and memories. That’s why when we smell certain scents we are immediately transported in time – hopefully to a good place. Using pure essential oils is a very effective way to build new and positive memories and experiences.

Ultrasonic Diffuser

Essential oils can be used in many different ways in the home or work place. In this article we compare old fashioned essential oil burners with a variety of essential oil diffusers:

Essential Oil Burners

Essential oil burners generally comprise of a small bowl to hold water and your essential oils with a tea-light candle beneath it to heat the oil. The water and essential oil heats up and disperses into the room as vapour. They look good and can create a great ambience, however you may get very little therapeutic benefit from using essential oils in this way.

Oil burners are believed to only give out the aroma of the oil without the therapeutic benefits of the essential oil as the compounds in the oil can be damaged by heat. Oil burners are cheap and easily transported, and can even be very romantic however, essential oils are flammable which can lead to them catching fire if accidental tipped over.

Essential Oil Diffusers

Diffusing essential oils has become very popular over the last couple of decades. A diffuser turns the essential oil into tiny droplets without any change to the molecular structure and then distributes it into the air. The smaller droplets are more easily and evenly dispersed making this an excellent way to maximise the health benefits of the oil. It is important that the essential oils are not overheated as this can lessen the benefit.

There are different types of diffusers available and they each differ in the way they get the essential oils into the atmosphere.

Nebulizing Diffusers

A nebulizing diffuser – sometimes called an atomiser – has a jet of air blowing across a small tube which creates a vacuum to pull the oil to the top of the tube. This type of diffusion puts a continuous stream of the whole oil into the air in the form of a fine spray or mist. It is considered to be the most powerful type of diffuser and the best choice for quick diffusion of therapeutic essential oils to purify the air and remove airborne pathogens. Nebulizing diffusers often attach directly to a small bottle of essential oil.

They generally tend to use essential oil at a higher rate than other diffusers so you may want to look for one that has a timer and settings to allow control of the air flow. This allows you to quickly saturate the surrounding air at the same time conserving oil. These diffusers sometimes have a slight hissing sound. They generally have no light so can be used at night without bothering you.

Ultrasonic or Humidifying Diffusers

An ultrasonic diffuser also creates a fine mist by a different method. Ultrasonic diffusers use water into which the essential oil is dripped. Electronic frequencies then vibrate the water and the whole essential oil into micro-particles which are more easily absorbed. This transformation is made without any heat being used and creates a fine mist that also humidifies the air. This type of diffuser uses the airs own current to disperse throughout the room and usually has a timer to allow the diffuser to turn off and on for hours making it easy and economical to use.

Ultrasonic diffusers are less expensive than nebulizing diffusers, but they do need to be cleaned occasionally. Some have different coloured lights that you can change or turn off completely but others have lights that can’t be switched off. Ultrasonic diffusers generally have a pleasant bubbling sound.

Evaporative Diffusers

Evaporative diffusers use a fan to blow air through a pad or a filter that has had essential oils dripped onto it. The air causes the oils to evaporate and blow into the room. This method works well to get the scent into the room, but some of the lighter components of the oil can evaporate faster than the heavier components so you may not get the full therapeutic benefits of the whole oil. The operation of this type of diffuser is very basic and relatively quiet.

Heat Diffusers

Heat diffusers also cause the essential oils to evaporate quicker than normal but use heat instead of blowing air to accomplish diffusion. Low levels of heat produce a subtle aroma and are believed to be better for getting the whole oil into the air. High levels of heat can be a problem though, it will produce a stronger aroma but it can also change the oil’s chemical constituents making the components evaporate at different rates the same way evaporative diffusers do. However, heat diffusers are very economical and totally silent.

So which is better — an Oil Burner or a Diffuser?

When comparing oil burners with essential oil diffusers, diffusers win hands down when it comes to therapeutic value. Using an essential oil diffuser in your home or work space can be one of the most pleasant ways to encourage clean air and a relaxing environment. Using essential oils in a diffuser can also support your immune system, relieve tension, improve concentration and stimulate the secretion of neurotransmitters. For example you could diffuse lavender essential oil for a relaxing calming effect or peppermint essential oil in a learning environment to stimulate alertness. Diffusing certain essential oils can also help to reduce food cravings and promote better sleep.

Ultrasonic diffusers and nebulizing diffusers are the most environmentally friendly and the most effective for getting the components of the whole essential oil into the air, but in the end it comes down to personal preference. Of course, it is important to use only quality essential oils or oil blends, and ones that are 100% pure essential oil, preferably certified organic, and definitely not a fragrance oil. At Down To Earth Organics we choose to use and stock only ultrasonic diffusers as these are an effective and affordable way for diffusing our certified organic essential oils.


About The Author

Vanessa KingVanessa is a mum and a nanna with a keen interest in natural and organic products, healthy eating and alternative medicines. Her mission is to convert her family and she’s already having some success with her grandchildren who love to use her organic essential oils and homeopathic remedies. When she’s not working, Vanessa is often in the kitchen cooking up bulk quantities of favourite healthy foods or trying out new recipes. She spends some time every day in the garden and loves reading crime thrillers and listening to music.


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