The 7 Best Oil Diffusers of 2022

Our top choice is the Whole Foods Tai Chi Diffuser

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The 8 Best Essential Oil Diffusers of 2022

The Spruce / Chloe Jeong

The once-humble oil diffuser, which has been credited with aiding relaxation, now has myriad colors, materials, and technological upgrades to consider, such as remote controls, Bluetooth speakers, and USB compatibility. But when selecting a diffuser, there really is only one must-have. “A lot of people buy a diffuser for the simple reason that they want their environment to smell good,” said Lynnette Crouse, a certified aromatherapist for Nature’s Gift, a woman-owned aromatherapy company in Madison, Tennessee. 

We researched diffusers from several brands to find the best for a variety of personal preferences, paying close attention to ease of use, area covered, noise level, and more—with price points that cover the thrifty to the extravagant. Our top pick is the versatile Whole Foods Tai Chi Diffuser.

Here are our choices for the best oil diffusers.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Whole Foods Tai Chi Diffuser

4.7
Whole Foods Tai Chi Diffuser

Whole Foods

What We Like
  • Steady mist stream

  • Design complements various styles

  • Favorable price point

  • Soothing multiple light settings

  • Intermittent settings + auto shutoff

What We Don't Like
  • Lacks standard electric outlet plug

  • Difficult to acquire

The art of tai chi is meant to bring harmony and relieve stress, and this product’s name fits its aesthetic. The plastic and faux wood grain materials pair well and look like something you’d find at West Elm or Crate & Barrel. The bowl resembles a wooden honey dipper, and its squat stature should be difficult to tip over, especially with the charming feet that perfectly channel a midcentury modern vibe. 

But the Tai Chi earns our overall pick because it does everything well: It’s stylish, affordable, easy to operate, and has a rainbow of optional mood lighting. The diffuser also has a 60-inch USB cord, so you can take your diffuser pretty much anywhere you can take your USB-compatible computer or portable charger. 

We like that the Tai Chi has an intermittent setting, which we consider a diffuser’s most important feature, so the aroma doesn’t overwhelm you. Don’t let the fill capacity of less than a half cup scare you off. When you pour in the water the first time, the maximum line will seem very low. But fight your urge to overpour—the diffuser keeps providing an aromatic experience for hours, whether you choose a continuous stream or mist or operate the machine at intermittent mode.

Other perks include seven color options that provide a relaxing but not overpowering glow, should you decide to use it in your bedroom or as mood lighting. Also, the lid is easy to remove and replace with one hand, unlike some models that require twisting and wrenching. 

Our main gripe is that unless you have a Whole Foods nearby, you may have difficulty procuring a Tai Chi. Although Amazon owns Whole Foods, the diffuser does not appear to be sold on Amazon under the Whole Foods brand. Some Amazon vendors appear to sell nearly identical diffusers under different names with their brand name printed on the lids. For aesthetics, we prefer the Whole Foods version with a plain, unmarked lid. 

Price at time of publish: $25

Material: Plastic | Size: Slightly more than 4.5 inches each direction | Capacity: 90 ml (less than ½ cup) | Power: 60-inch USB cord | Intermittent setting: Yes | Automatic shutoff: Yes | Optional lighting: Yes

Best Splurge: Vitruvi Move Diffuser

4.8
Move Diffuser

Courtesy of Vitruvi

What We Like
  • Lifetime warranty

  • Sleek, contemporary design

  • Intermittent settings

  • Numerous colors

  • Auto shutoff

What We Don't Like
  • Charges with USB cord only

If you want one of the best-looking untethered diffusers, the Vitruvi Move is our recommendation. Vitruvi has a stellar reputation for producing a reliable product that’s backed by a lifetime warranty, which makes it a favorite among boutiques, as well as chic department stores. The color choices are fun and can match your vibe: traditional (black, white) or look-at-me (Gold! Candy! Citron!). 

Similar to its less-costly Vetruvi Stone cousin, the Move is made to scent a space about 500 square feet, about the size of a two-car garage; that’s the kind of coverage you don’t get from most devices of similar size. Because it’s portable, you can use the diffuser beyond your home. The cylindrical shape makes it ideal to carry in a vehicle’s beverage holder.

Price at time of publish: $182

Material: Matte metal, BPA-free plastic | Size: About 3 x 7.4 inches | Capacity: 65 ml | Power: USB-C power cord and charging plate (additional kits sold for $20) | Intermittent setting: Yes | Automatic shutoff: Yes | Optional lighting: Yes

Best Portable (cord required): SOICARE USB Aroma Diffuser

SOICARE USB Aroma Diffuser

Amazon

What We Like
  • On/off button on housing and cord

  • Fits in most car drink holders

  • Available in several colors

  • Snap-in USB cord storage

What We Don't Like
  • No intermittent settings

  • USB cord is hardwired

If price is a major consideration when purchasing a diffuser, be prepared to sacrifice with the otherwise capable SOICARE USB Aroma Diffuser, particularly its lack of intermittent settings. But you still get the convenience of taking your diffuser wherever you can insert a USB plug. Be careful with that cord, because unlike most USB-operated diffusers, it is permanently attached. Luckily, a snap-in storage area underneath the diffuser body can protect the plug. 

With most diffusers, you have to avoid tipping over the body while there’s still water in it, because getting the motor wet can ruin the device. With portable diffusers, that can be difficult to remember when you’re on the go, as tipping is a natural thing to do when you try to store the USB plug.

Price at time of publish: $40

Material: Plastic | Size: About 3 x 5 x 3 inches | Capacity: 60 ml | Power: USB power cord | Intermittent setting: No | Automatic shutoff: Yes | Optional lighting: Yes

Best for Small Room: Innogear 100 ml Aromatherapy Diffuser

Innogear 100 ml aromatherapy diffuser

Amazon

What We Like
  • Resists abuse

  • Small footprint

  • At least five colors

  • Side-streaming, for better aim

  • Mode indicator light

What We Don't Like
  • Standard plug restricts location

  • Noise can be annoying

Since receiving this simple plastic diffuser as a gift from my mother-in-law in 2018, it has been handled roughly by kids, tossed in cupboards, and pulled off tables (mostly by tripping over misplaced cords) and still works just fine. Because the stream diffuses from the side of the lid rather than its center, you can aim the stream toward you, which is especially helpful at night, if you want to better direct the scent across your pillow. 

While the diffuser wouldn’t be classified as portable, it is lightweight and easy to move around; we’ve transported it from bedroom to bathroom in lieu of candles or air freshener when we have guests. For less than $20, you get a choice of colored lights, exterior design (plain, faux wood grain, or “white grey”), and confidence that the machine holds up despite typical household chaos.

Price at time of publish: $19

Material: Plastic | Size: About 6 x 4 inches | Capacity: 100 ml | Power: AC power adapter | Intermittent setting: Yes | Automatic shutoff: Yes | Optional lighting: Yes

Best With Light: ASAKUKI Essential Oil Diffuser with Remote Control

Essential Oil Diffuser

Amazon

What We Like
  • Colors galore in bright, dim modes

  • Lots of gadgets, plus remote

  • Extra longevity as night light

What We Don't Like
  • Not daytime attractive

  • Traditional power cord

Where the ASAKUKI 500 ml literally shines is in having more light options than most of its competitors, plus fun gadgets, so you can easily play with all the colors. While most comparable diffusers have seven light options, this ASAKUKI technically has double that, because you can choose bright or dim modes. You can also leave the device on auto, so it cycles through the rainbow of colors.  

The ASAKUKI’s white plastic exterior isn’t a showpiece, but you can opt for various faux wood grain bases; the white option is the most low-key if a more traditional wood grain doesn’t match your decor. On the downside, this lacks a USB cord, but if loads of light options are your thing, go big for your home.

Price at time of publish: $37

Material: Plastic | Size: Roughly 6 x 6 x 5 inches | Capacity: 500 ml | Power: AC power adapter | Intermittent setting: Yes | Automatic shutoff: Yes | Optional lighting: Yes

Best Ceramic Diffuser: Opalhouse 300ml Cutout Ceramic Color-Changing Oil Diffuser

300ml Cutout Ceramic Color-Changing Oil Diffuser White

Opalhouse™

What We Like
  • Ceramic cover hides plastic cover

  • Classic design with broad appeal

  • Large-capacity bowl

What We Don't Like
  • Difficult-to-see fill line

Choosing a ceramic diffuser, including this Opalhouse Cut-Out Ceramic, is tricky because of the potential for breakage: Every time you fill the diffuser, you have to remove a fragile cover. Target’s Opalhouse ceramic diffuser is substantial for the $30 price, and the white, classic eyelet design has broad appeal. 

When choosing a ceramic diffuser, you also have to consider that most ceramic covers are decorative and hide plastic, funnel-shaped covers inside that route the mist through holes at the tops of the diffusers. (We eliminated any diffusers where the ceramic and plastic covers didn’t align correctly.) Being able to examine your diffuser in person before you commit is helpful in ferreting out these design flaws, such as plastic covers inelegantly poking through the ceramic spout. 

One attribute that puts the Opalhouse ahead of its competitors is the slick finish on the exterior. Some ceramic diffusers are easily scratched by fingernails, which is not ideal, since you have to handle the covers every time you want to refill the diffuser.

Finally, the Opalhouse has a surprisingly large capacity (300 ml) for its size, and optional colored lights that look lovely through the cutouts.

Price at time of publish: $30

Material: Ceramic, plastic | Size: 6.64 x 5.25 x 5.25 inches | Capacity: 300 ml | Power: AC power adapter | Intermittent setting: Yes | Automatic shut off: Yes | Optional lighting: Yes

Best Retro: Project 62 Terrazzo Oil Diffuser

Project 62 Terrazzo Oil Diffuser

Target

What We Like
  • Appealing throwback design

  • Easy-view maximum water level line

What We Don't Like
  • Takes alignment to function well

If Don Draper had an oil diffuser, it might resemble this no-frills, retro-inspired design by Target’s Project 62. The brand is so named because 1962 was the year Target was founded, and also the peak of the popular stone-chip terrazzo and the midcentury modern design movement. 

The black plastic speckled cover is an appealing design that would pair well with gold, retro, or modern furnishings. At times, it looks like a galaxy or an homage to the Hollywood Walk of Fame (which is also made of terrazzo, and a fun fact to pass along if any guests admire your diffuser). Speaking of guests, someone could easily mistake it for a pencil sharpener, because unless it’s turned on and misting, there’s nothing about it that screams, “Diffuser!”

There’s one button, the outer cover slips on and off easily, and the only thing you really need to worry about is making sure the hole in the interior plastic lid aligns with the spout in the base.

Price at time of publish: $15

Material: Plastic | Size: 3.45 x 4.73 x 4.73 inches | Capacity: 100 ml | Power: AC power adapter | Intermittent setting: Yes | Automatic shut off: Yes | Optional lighting: No

Final Verdict

The Whole Foods Tai Chi Diffuser is our top recommendation, because it is one of the few diffusers that combine style, essential functions, and some fun add-ons at an affordable price point. If you prefer function over form and don’t mind a more utilitarian look, the Innogear 100 ml Aromatherapy Diffuser is a great value. Teens and kids may especially like the lights, and you may appreciate the durability and price point.

What to Look for in an Oil Diffuser

Type

There are two main types of oil diffusers: ultrasonic and nebulizing. Both versions create a fine mist, but they work a bit differently. Ultrasonic models—the cheaper option—create vibrations that break the essential oils down and distribute the individual molecules into the air. Nebulizing models distribute more potent, undiluted essential oils into the room by using pressurized air.

Capacity and time

Ultrasonic models require a mixture of water and essential oils, which allows them to run longer—approximately 30 to 60 minutes at a time. Since nebulizing models use only essential oil, they should be run for shorter periods (about 10 minutes at a time).

Cleaning

Both types of models benefit from regular cleaning, but ultrasonic essential oil diffusers are harder to clean, since they use both water and essential oils. Water makes the machine more susceptible to mold, and tap water can leave calcium deposits inside the machine

FAQ
  • Is an oil diffuser right for you?

    Before you bring an oil diffuser into your space or anyone else’s, think about what you want the diffuser to do for you. Aromatherapist Lynnette Crouse, of Nature’s Gift in Madison, Tennessee, calls this “intentional diffusing.” Hannah Krause, the owner of Eden, an apothecary in Des Moines, regularly uses diffusers to create a mood in her home and business. “I think it’s a nice way to set the scene and set the tone in your home,” she says. “It’s just a small thing in our world that we have control over.” 

    However, essential oils are complex, concentrated plant extracts that contain “hundreds of different chemical compounds that work differently in the human body,” according to Rae Ann Kingsley, a pediatric nurse practitioner who specializes in pain management at Children’s Mercy Kansas City Hospital. They are not regulated by the FDA, should never replace standard medical care, and shouldn’t be used around children younger than 6 years old.

  • Where can I check out oil diffusers?

    We recommend looking over a prospective oil diffuser purchase before buying. They’re relatively easy to find at big-box stores, such as Target, Walmart, and Bed, Bath & Beyond. Discount stores, such as TJ Maxx, sell inexpensive, themed diffusers (think seasonal diffusers like those for Halloween and Christmas), as well as popular brands such as Brookstone, Sharper Image, and Tommy Bahama. You can also find upscale brands, such as Vitruvi, at locally owned boutiques and home and department stores. 

Why Trust The Spruce?

This article was written by Laurie Mansfield Reiter, a journalist with years of experience in researching, testing and recommending home and garden products. In preparation for this article, Laurie consulted Lynnette Crouse, a certified aromatherapist for Nature’s Gift, a woman-owned aromatherapy company in Madison, Tennessee, and Rae Ann Kingsley, a pediatric nurse practitioner who specializes in pain management at Children’s Mercy Kansas City Hospital. To find the best options for oil diffusers, Laurie, who has personally used essential oil diffusers in her home since 2018, evaluated hundreds of products from online retailers, discount stores, boutiques, home furnishings stores, pharmacies and big-box stores.