Buying the best essential oil diffuser

thrive primal essential oil diffuser guide

So, you’ve seen the amazing health and wellness benefits that essential oils can bring into your life. Excellent. You’ve signed up as a wellness advocate with the likes of doTERRA or Young Living, are buying oils on a regular basis, and use them daily. Awesome. Perhaps you’re just buying oils occasionally, when you’re favorites run out. That’s cool too!

But what about diffusers? They’re typically a larger investment than single oils, and you’ve heard that a lot of diffusers don’t really cut the mustard. You want a diffuser that’ll stand the test of time, fill your home with wonderful aromatics, and above all not break the budget. It’s a hard bargain you drive, but a commendable one.

This post is all about helping you reach an informed decision about which diffuser is best for your needs. While I’ll admit up front that I’m a doTERRA advocate (because they’re so darn awesome!), I’m making a point of being as impartial as possible and reviewing a wide range of diffusers from different companies.

Common types of diffusers

There’s plenty of confusion out there when it comes to diffusers, and part of that is because of the wide range of types that are available on the market. Ultimately, however, there’s 4 main varieties of essential oil diffuser:

  • ultrasonic diffusers
  • nebulizing diffusers
  • heat diffusers
  • evaporative diffusers

From the experiences we’ve had and the preliminary research I’ve conducted, I personally wouldn’t recommend using heat diffusers or evaporative diffusers. From most accounts, they aren’t as effective at spreading the essential oils throughout a space, and in some cases (as with the heat diffusers) the essential oil may be denatured by the process. Feel free to make your own conclusions on this one, however.

Whether you choose to invest in nebulizing or ultrasonic diffusers is up to you. Here’s a few pros and cons for each:

  • nebulizing diffusers are perhaps the most effective diffusers at covering a large area. The essential oils attach directly to the unit, so there’s no water required, and they can fill a room much more quickly than ultrasonic diffusers. However, they do tend to cost a little more than ultrasonic diffusers, and you’ll go through your oils quicker.
  • ultrasonic diffusers are generally cheaper than nebulizing diffusers and double as a humidifier, which is useful for those cold, dry winter months or if you’re sleeping in a room with low relative humidity. Many of them do tend to have lights that you can’t turn off, which isn’t great for melatonin, and they’re not quite as strong as the nebulizing diffusers.

Purespa ultrasonic essential oil diffuser

This is one classy ultrasonic diffuser. It’s relatively compact, looks good, and is BPA free. Here’s the pros and cons of the Purespa Deluxe Ultrasonic Diffuser:


  • Large 120 ml tank, which means it can be left on for up to 10 hours. That’s considerably longer than most other diffusers, which typically range between 2 and 6 hours.
  • The LED lights can be completely switched off! This makes it a great choice for having in your bedroom as you sleep.
  • Easy to clean and refill 
  • It looks pretty darn sexy, if I’m honest.


  • Many people have reported that the diffuser went downhill after a month. Some have said that it becomes noisy or inefficient after that time, but it’s worth noting that the company who makes them seems to have good customer service, and they typically replace the unit no questions asked.
  • The touch-sensitive on/off switch can be difficult to operate for some people.
  • It’s a little noisier than some other ultrasonic humidifiers. Not super noisy, but the slight whirr may annoy some people.
  • The lights continuously toggle through a series of colors rather than remaining on one, which might put off some people.

Overall, the Purespa Deluxe diffuser deserves much of the hype it receives. The fact that the some of the units degraded after a month might worry me, but that was only for a very small minority of the purchasers and that’s likely to happen to many diffusers, no matter how good the quality is. I really like that it can go completely dark, which to me makes it a great diffuser+humidifier combo at night.

Cost: $40-$50 on Amazon (there’s a less fancy, but equally effective, version of the Purespa diffuser for $10 less than the deluxe version)

Trillia MINA III Aromatherapy Nebulizer diffuser

The future is here, and it looks like the Trillia Mina III Nebulizing essential oil diffuser. It’s a ridiculously long name for a super-sleek yet down-to-earth diffuser that packs a serious punch. If you’re ok with spending a bit more money, this could be the right diffuser for you.


  • Looks fantastic, either in the natural wood finish or the sleek white version
  • For a nebulizing diffuser, it’s one of the most quiet I’ve found. The pump is rated at a super low 5 db noise level, so it’s almost as quiet as an ultrasonic diffuser
  • The nebulizer and high performance air pump mean it can service up to 800 square feet of your home! That’s actually pretty impressive. 
  • Your essential oils are completely encased in glass, meaning there’s no potential for plastic degradation as with some ultrasonic diffusers


  • It’s a whole lot more expensive than your average diffuser
  • It’s still a little noisier than some of the higher quality ultrasonic diffusers
  • Shuts off automatically when the oil runs out, but the light stays on until it is manually switched off. Kind of unnecessary.

I’m actually hard-pressed to find much wrong with the Trillia Mina III. I love that the essential oil is completely encased in glass, because I simply can’t bring myself to fully trust plastic diffusers. This means that you can diffuse citrus essential oils without any concern of plastic breakdown, as is the case with some other diffusers. I’m also impressed with how much coverage this thing has – some people have even reported that it can diffuse effectively over 1000 square feet. This means that, while it’s more expensive than other diffusers, it does the job of 3 or 4 cheaper diffusers. Kind of a no-brainer, really.

Cost: $99 on Amazon.

Urpower ultrasonic essential oil diffuser

Easily one of the most popular diffusers available, the Urpower Essential Oil Diffuser has an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 from a whopping 12,000 reviews on Amazon. It’s hard to argue with those statistics. At the time of writing this post, it’s also one of the cheapest diffusers we’ve come across, at a measly $20.


  • Two mist settings, meaning you can up the ante when you need more essential oil action around the home or if you’re using it in different-sized rooms  
  • Super quiet, perhaps the most quiet ultrasonic unit I’ve come across
  • Small and compact, making it a good travel companion
  • Considerably more affordable than most other high-quality diffusers.


  • It can be hard to twist off the top of the unit to fill up the reservoir.
  • Only operates for up to 6 hours
  • While the LED lights can be turned off at night, the small “on” indicator light can’t. Not great for sleeping.

If you’re looking for a solid choice at a low price, you could do worse than the Urpower Essential Oil Diffuser. You’re not going to get as much coverage as the Trillia Mina III, nor as long an operation time (like the Purespa Deluxe), but I definitely wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to any first time essential oil users.

Cost: $20 on Amazon (currently on special)

Innogear ultrasonic essential oil diffuser

Look the same as the Urpower diffuser? That’s because it is! Exact same product, different name. The Innogear essential oil diffuser is also going for $20 right now, so it’s really just down to the name.

doTERRA ultrasonic petal diffuser

The doTERRA petal diffuser is simple and straightforward. It lacks many of the finer points that other diffusers offer, and is admittedly a lot less aesthetically pleasing, but I don’t mind that – not every diffuser needs to be a work of art! This was my very first diffuser, and it continues to work without a hitch 3 years later – it’s even travelled with me across several continents, so that’s saying something!


  • Simple and reliable. I’ve never had any issues with this product  
  • Reasonably quiet, although does have a slight tinkling sound occasionally
  • Mist reach of up to 330 square feet, which is more than many other ultrasonic diffusers


  • The LED light can be switched off, but there’s still a small light behind the “on” indicator that can’t be switched off. This does create some light, which can be annoying for sleeping.
  • A bit “uglier” than some other ultrasonic units
  • Could do with a slightly longer operation time

Ultimately, the doTERRA petal diffuser is still a good first choice for those starting out with essential oils. I can personally say that these things just keep on going, so there’s no doubt to its quality. It is, however, a bit more expensive than many of the other ultrasonic contenders.

Cost: Currently $58.60 on Amazon. Note that it can be bought wholesale for $47 if you’re a doTERRA Wellness Advocate.

doTERRA ultrasonic lotus diffuser

I haven’t tried the doTERRA lotus essential oil diffuser yet but based on preliminary reviews wouldn’t recommend it. It’s horribly overpriced, and as far as effectiveness it’s about the same as most other standard diffusers. You’re better off investing in the Trillia Mina III, which is still $20 cheaper and works far more effectively. 


  • Looks nice, and has a relatively unique design
  • Doesn’t take up much surface area


  • Ridiculously overpriced for what it is: a standard essential oil diffuser.

Cost: $120 on Amazon.

Young Living ultrasonic diffuser

The Young Living Rose Home Diffuser is essentially just a more expensive version of the doTERRA petal diffuser. It has all the usual features that most ultrasonic units provide, and is a solid yet unexciting choice for your first diffuser.


  • Looks nice-ish, if you like roses!


  • Super expensive, for what you get: a standard ultrasonic diffuser
  • Has been known to break down after 6 months
  • Has a smaller coverage than the doTERRA petal diffuser

Overall, it doesn’t really make sense to buy this unit (or the Young Living “Dewdrop” diffuser, for that matter) when you have so many other, more reasonably-priced diffusers available.

Cost: $75 on Amazon.

Which essential oil diffuser is best?

It’s difficult to say which is the king (or queen) of diffusers, as there’s just so many different kinds out there. I have, however, reviewed a good range of diffuser types over varying price ranges, so this gives you a good idea of how the market is segmented. Based on my own experiences with these diffusers and other people’s reviews, here’s my two picks.

Best ultrasonic essential oil diffuser: the Purespa Deluxe Ultrasonic Diffuser. For what is still a reasonable price of around $40, you get a top-quality diffuser that has an impressive operation time of 10 hours and with lights that can be completely turned off to help you sleep. It’s only shortcoming is a slightly smaller coverage than the doTERRA petal diffuser.

Best nebulizing essential oil diffuser: while I only reviewed one nebulizing diffuser, the Trillia Mina III Nebulizing diffuser is the obvious choice for top-quality essential oil aromatherapy. I love that it’s made from hand-blown glass, that it doesn’t contain any nasty plastic, and that it can diffuse over a huge area. In this way, it replaces up to 4 ultrasonic essential oil diffusers. The price may deter some buyers, but if you’re looking for quality, this is a great choice.

What essential oil diffuser to you use? Would you recommend any specific diffuser to the team here at Thrive Primal? We’d love to know how you got on with your diffuser purchasing experience!

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