Essential Oil Nebulizer vs Diffuser

People use essential oils for a variety of reasons like relief from cold and flu symptoms and relaxing before they fall asleep. There are also a number of ways to infuse the air in your space with your essential oil of choice. Here in this article we write compare the differences and similarities between using a nebulizer or a diffuser. Toward the end of the article we highlight important reasons an ultrasonic diffuser is a better choice than a warm mist diffuser.


Nebulizers use a few different methods to get oils suspended in the air so they can more easily diffuse into the room. The majority of nebulizers designed for use with essential oils use air pumps to turn essential oils into a mist. This process is called atomization.

While the nebulizer is compressing the air, some people will notice a buzzing or humming sound. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s statement and see how noisy you should expect the air compressor to be. Almost all manufacturers will advertise silent or nearly silent operation. We recommend checking the comments section to make sure that matches what users are experiencing.

Diffusers on the other hand, are almost entirely silent. There may be the occasional sound of water moving through the appliance but this is rare. This is because diffusers suspend the essential oil in water and then agitate the water the same way humidifiers do. The next section of this article explains this in more detail.

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Since nebulizers do not use water to get their essential oils into the air, they will not change the humidity. Diffusers always use water to help move essential oils into the surrounding air. If you plan to use essential oils in your home during the winter or live in a dry climate a diffuser is the best choice you can make. On the other hand, if you are already using a dehumidifier or live in a humid climate an essential oil nebulizer makes the most sense for you.

Ultrasonic vs Warm Mist Diffuser

Warm mist diffusers heat the water in order to turn it into a mist while an ultrasonic diffuser uses tiny, unobtrusive vibrations to produce mist. This is an important difference to be aware of because some essential oils are very sensitive to heat. Warm mist humidifiers have the potential to alter the essential oils and reduce the benefits you were expecting.

Nebulizers do not heat the oil during the atomization process. Keeping the oils at room temperature ensures that their physical and chemical properties will remain unchanged by heat. To compare methods for using essential oils it is only fair to match ultrasonic diffusers and nebulizers. Warm mist diffusers may not be appropriate for all types of essential oils. However, some oils have high tolerances to heat and this is not an issue.

Essential Oil Nebulizer vs Diffuser

Further reading and other comparisons

Check out our other article here where we do an in depth comparison between essential oil diffusers and humidifiers.

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