Diffuser vs Humidifier – What’s the Difference?

Humidifier vs Diffuser: Why you should know the difference?

Low humidity in the air causes several problems, including an increased chance of getting infected. Various infection-causing organisms thrive in low humidity, putting everyone in the home at risk. To combat this issue, humanity developed humidifiers and diffusers as a solution. These devices actively increase the humidity in the air, reducing the risk of infection and improving overall air quality.

People tend to confuse the two devices for each other due to their similar mode of operation and desired outcomes. However, they are not the same. Diffuser vs. Humidifier: They differ in minute detail, precisely in their compatibility with essential oils.

Humidifiers add moisture to the air by converting water into mist, while some contain essential oils. However, they cannot mix oil and water in their tanks. Diffusers, on the contrary, actively distribute essential oils into the air, making them a popular choice for aromatherapy and relaxation.

Read: Whole House Steam Humidifier Reviews

What should you use? Humidifier VS Diffuser

The question of picking between a humidifier and a diffuser solely depends on your specific aim in purchasing a product.

Suppose you primarily want something that can grab low moisture by the neck and kick it out the window. In that case, a humidifier is your best shot at doing that because a diffuser cannot effectively increase humidity. However, we recommend you purchase a diffuser for purely soothing and maximizing the medicinal value of essential oils.

Should you use a Humidifier like a Diffuser?

Examining closely, humidifiers contain an aromatherapy chamber for essential oils, while some diffusers mix oils with water for joint evaporation. Essentially, each device has some capability of the other.

However, each one is only efficient in one of the two functions. Picking the best for you simply depends on what your immediate need is. For primarily low moisture problems, grab a humidifier, and get a diffuser for essential oil aromatherapy.

However, you should know that though they can be interchanged, they cannot adequately substitute. Therefore using a humidifier as a diffuser would get that little bit of essential oil into the air, but not nearly enough as a proper diffuser. We would recommend you purchase a diffuser instead of using a humidifier to substitute one.

The different diffuser vs humidifier

What are the Diffusers and their types?

Diffusers exist for one task, and that alone, which is to evaporate and release essential oils into the air, although there are several types that achieve the same endpoints through different means.

The types of diffusers are; ultrasonic diffusers, evaporative or electric heat diffusers, nebulizing diffusers, reed diffusers, fan-style diffusers, candle diffusers, and terracotta diffusers.

Ultrasonic diffusers:

Ultrasonic humidifiers use the principle of breaking down a solution of water and essential oils into a fine mist.

They mostly come with several automated features like the timer, auto shutoff, and auto mode, which can last really long.

Evaporative/ electric heat diffusers:

The device uses electricity to heat essential oil in a small cup, spreading the scent around the room. Cleaning them is easy and requires only mild soap and water, while refilling is also simple.

Nebulizing diffuser:

With this diffuser, the effect of essential oils would be efficiently felt in the atmosphere within a short period of time. It breaks down the oil into separate molecules dispersed easily throughout the environs. Cleaning this device, though could be really stressful and time-consuming, depending on their sizes.

Reed diffuser:

This type works by placing wooden sticks or reeds into a bottle of the desired essential oil. The reed absorbs the oil from the bottom, then travels to the top, eventually entering the atmosphere as a soothing smell.

They can run as long as oil is in the bottle and do not produce mist, therefore requiring the least maintenance compared to others.

Fan-style diffusers:

Unlike some other types, this device does not use water. Instead, the oil is placed in a fan diffuser unit or absorbent pad, with the fan gently blowing across to disperse the scent throughout the room.

They are easy to clean and have an excellent runtime depending on the availability of essential oil, as well as the size of the pad used.

Candle diffusers:

The candle diffusers operate very similarly to the electric type, except that the heat source is candlelight rather than electricity.

This flame heats up the oil, diffusing the scent into the room. They are very fancy and come in different styles, though in need of frequent monitoring in order to replace the candle as soon as it runs out.

Terracotta diffusers:

These are beautifully designed clay pots, completely closed at the top to keep them tightly within. Over time, the oil permeates the clay pot, and consequentially, their smell slowly spreads around the room.

Using this device is very slow to get the desired scent into the air, though once it kicks in, the smell follows strongly but fades over time. Cleaning must be done carefully because it is a clay pot, especially when using a different essential oil from the last one.

Also Read: Best Humidifiers with UV Light

There are several benefits as well as disadvantages to using diffusers. They are:

Pros of Diffusers

The benefits of a diffuser

Improves respiratory health

Essential oils used in diffusers have been proven to benefit respiratory health, alleviating common symptoms like inflammation in the respiratory tract and reducing the impact of colds and coughs.

Removes odor

the smell of essential oils is very pleasant to man’s nostrils, adding a sweet fragrance to the air and removing common dry, stuffy odors associated with homes.

Acts as insect impeller

Diffused essential oils have a fatal effect on many common household insects, including mosquitoes, gnats, and others, as they cannot stand their aroma.

Boost the immune system

Some health benefits of using diffusers include their antibacterial and antiviral effects when inhaled into the body.

Gives relieves

some medical professionals recommend using diffusers for already infected individuals, such as people with coughs. Inhaling diffused essential oil will relieve the nasal passages, helping one cope with the drips.

Saves money

Using a diffuser with the proper oils could spare cash you would have otherwise spent on antiviral or bug-repelling products. Additionally, its health benefits can prevent contaminations that may have required a doctor’s visit, saving you a little or a significant amount of money.

Cons of Diffusers

Allergy problems

Though a diffuser cannot primarily cause allergic reactions, there is no guarantee on the oils used. Diffident individuals could have different reactions to a particular type of oil. Therefore, looking up your reaction to the oil before the purchase is necessary to avoid complications.

Asthmatic reactions

The body could react adversely to compounds in the air when diffusers are used to a certain extent, leading to asthma triggers in patients.

Skin irritation

using diffusers in excess quantity over time would accumulate on the skin, and depending on the person in question, it could cause skin irritations.

Not suitable for pregnant women

The potential effects of using diffusers when carrying a baby are quite broad, starting from affecting the mother and baby’s skin. Ensure you see a medical professional should you use a diffuser.

What are Humidifiers and their types?

Humidifiers are devices that exist for the fundamental purpose of getting mist into the air in order to increase its relative humidity.

Unlike the diffuser, which disperses essential oils, it exists primarily for that purpose. Today, several types of humidifiers exist, with how they accomplish the task being the significant difference between them. These types include central humidifiers, evaporators, impeller humidifiers, ultrasonic humidifiers, and steam vaporizers.

Central humidifiers:

This product type is installed directly into the home’s HVAC system, such as an air conditioning or heating unit. They are the most expensive products to add humidity to the home and are the most effective, though they pose a risk of burns from producing excessive steam.


As the name implies, they heat water until evaporation and then blow the vapor (or moisture) through a filter, expelling it into the air to increase humidity. They produce a very high amount of moisture, raise the tendency of mold growth around the home, and require a high amount of cleaning.

Impellers humidifiers:

They use rotating discs that spin at very high speeds, breaking water into mist and releasing them into the atmosphere. The mist output of this type is always cool, posing a zero-harm risk and making them friendly around kids and pets.

Steam vaporizers:

This type of humidifier uses electricity to heat water and cool it to a certain extent based on its design, which then releases mist into the air. Although they are pretty affordable and can be moved easily due to their portability, they can cause skin burns when used improperly.

Ultrasonic humidifiers

the ultrasonic product uses vibrations, which break down water into tiny droplets called mists and then blow it out into the atmosphere. Depending on their size, they vary in price and are available in cool and warm mist options.

Pros of Humidifiers

Benefits of a humidifier

Heath benefits

The health benefits of a humidifier literally cannot be quantified, as it is able to prevent you from known and unknown possible infections by eradicating low moisture from the environment.

Suitable for furniture

Low moisture levels adversely affect home furniture, causing it to crack and become brittle quickly. Using a humidifier, however, increase their life span.

Increases overall comfort

From the problem of static electricity plaguing clothing as well as the hair to dry nose and blocked nostrils, the symptoms which have a humidifier alleviates are endless and are sure to increase the overall comfort of people in the home.

Cons of Humidifiers

Requires frequent maintenance

part of the discomforts of owning and running a humidifier is the frequent attention it requires in maintenance. it is essential you clean the tank and other parts of the units to avoid mold buildup and change the filter if it has one.


Though using a humidifier could be very beneficial, it could become even more harmful when not maintained in the best possible manner. Running a dirty and contaminated humidifier harms the body, especially when inhaling this mist deep into the lungs.


Clearing the air once and for all, all humidifiers produce a certain level of noise, and as a result, it becomes a question of the one with the most tolerable amount to a man. The noise could be irritating to light sleepers, as well as cause an abysmal overall user experience

Over humidification/ condensation problem

when not appropriately set, the device can increase the amount of moisture to an unsafe level, causing mold and bacteria to grow around the home. It actively transforms invisible airborne infections into visible particles that appear on walls, tabletops, and corners.

Humidifier vs. Diffuser for Sinus

  • Relief from Moisture and Mucus:

A humidifier is preferable if your main concerns are dry nasal passages and thin mucus discharges. It gives the air constant dampness, which can help with these symptoms.

  • For decongestant effects:

An aroma diffuser with sinus-clearing essential oils, like eucalyptus, might be an excellent choice to concentrate on decongesting your sinuses while using the possible advantages of essential oils. This is highly beneficial if you have congestion due to allergies or a cold.

  • Combining the two:

Some individuals discover alleviation from utilizing both an aroma diffuser and a humidifier. By doing this, you may take advantage of the advantages of higher humidity and any possible calming and decongestant effects of essential oils.

Aroma Diffuser vs. Humidifier

  • Purpose

The main purpose of humidifiers is to enhance the humidity levels in a space by moistening the air. The symptoms of dry air, such as dry skin, dry mouth, nasal congestion, and static electricity, are treated with them. In arid areas or during the winter, when interior heating systems may dry up the air, they are very helpful.

The main purpose of aroma diffusers is to release calming aromas and essential oils into the air. They are frequently used for aromatherapy, relaxation, and to improve the mood in a space. Their main job is to spread fragrant oils throughout the air, however they could also provide a little moisture.

  • Operation

To raise humidity levels, humidifiers spray warm or cold mist into the air. They produce mist by evaporating water and releasing it. To regulate the production of moisture, certain humidifiers additionally include adjustable humidity levels.

Aroma diffusers generally employ ultrasonic technology to create a fine mist that disperses the scent into the air by dissolving a combination of water and essential oils into small particles. Some devices combine fragrance diffusion and humidification.

  • Health Benefits

With dry air come health problems including dry skin, dry eyes, sore throats, and respiratory discomfort. Humidifiers can assist. For those who suffer from allergies or asthma, they can be extremely beneficial.

A lot of people utilize fragrance diffusers for their aromatherapeutic properties. On mood and wellbeing, various essential oils can have a variety of impacts. For instance, eucalyptus oil helps relieve congestion and respiratory problems, while lavender oil is well recognized for its relaxing effects.

Finally: Difference Between Humidifier & Diffuser

humidifier vs diffuser

Companies produce diffusers and humidifiers as distinct items suited to their specific uses, and some people even use both devices together when necessary.

However, they would both come in handy several times in the home and having them at your disposal can be handy. Also, remember, they are pretty useful and harmless to the extent they are correctly used.

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