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Choosing An Aromatherapy Diffuser
"The Variables"

by Penny Keay

There are dozens of ways to use essential oils and the most common method is to diffuse them into the air. But this is where the dilemma begins.

How do you know what diffuser will work best for your situation?

There are several things you must look at – we call them the “Variables”.

Included in this list are the following factors and variables:

  • The size of the room
  • Your desired effects –why are you diffusing
  • The noise
  • The air flow
  • The area you are scenting
  • The type of diffuser you wish to use or can use
  • The time factor
  • Olfactory fatigue
  • The saturation level

Now lets look at each variable and ask some more questions.

The size of the room

- you will need to get a tape measure out and measure the room floor size. Length times width will tell you the square footage. So a 10 X 12 room is 120 square feet of floor.

BUT you must also consider the height of the room. Does it have 7, 8, 9, 10 or higher ceilings? This can increase the volume of the room considerably and may alter the type of diffuser you should consider to use.

The desired effects

- are you diffusing for general scenting, for relaxing effects, energizing or disinfecting.

The noise factor

- passive diffusers and Oil and Tart warmers either Tealight or electric are completely silent. Any diffuser that uses a fan will produce noise to varying degrees.

If you are trying to sleep – fans can be a nice source of ‘white noise’ for others it can be annoying.

For use while sleeping – if fan noise bothers you, then use a passive diffuser or place the fan diffuser on a towel or other sound absorbing cloth. Do not use a heat source diffuser while sleeping.

Air Flow

- This can be a very important variable. Are doors opening and closing constantly, or is there an over head venting system for constant air flow in place. New air quality standards may make many types of essential oil diffusers ineffective in office settings.

The type of room or area

- Kitchen, living room, bathroom - Is the room a closed room. Or is it in a busy office waiting room. Or do you just want some scenting near where you are sitting – watching TV or working on at a computer.

The type of diffuser

- Do you want electric, if so, a heating type ? a fan type?

If used in an office, can you use a glass or ceramic product or does it have to have unbreakable parts?

Are you allowed open flames? If not, a tea light type diffuser would be out of the question.

Do you have children or pets, the elderly or infirm? You especially don’t want them to touch, bump or play with the diffuser.

The Time factor -

You will have to apply essential oils every few hours no matter what type of diffuser. Some may require less attending then others.

Essential oils are not like Fragrance oils. Essential oils, unless you are using a blend containing a lot of heavy base notes, will need to add more essential oils to your diffuser every 2-4 hours.

Fragrance oils have extenders or chemicals to make them last – but they are not good for your health. Fragrance oils cannot be used in many of the essential oil diffusers as it will void their warranties.

The second part of the time factor is how long to diffuse the oils. All day, just a few minutes, every couple hours. You may need to find a timer.

The Saturation level

- Remember in aromatherapy and the use of essential oils – more is NOT better. Some folks have asked how to get a scent so strong so they can smell it ALL the time. Well, unfortunately this is not possible.

Our suggestion is to use different scents in different rooms or areas. But even then you may be accustomed to the smell or scents within a few minutes.

You’ll probably smell the oils when you first walk into a room but normally your body will become accustomed to the smell quickly.

This is called Olfactory fatigue-

It is part of the primal (basic) defense system of our bodies. When a scent is not considered a threat to our survival, our bodies will automatically block it out while searching and being alert for the next threat via smell.

Thank goodness for most of us we can quickly reset it as we walk from room to room that have various scents. Or stepping outdoors can reset it – what do you smell outside?

If you no longer smell any essential oils that are diffusing – you may need to add more.

Learn how to use your diffuser that will suit you and your family or office companions to give everyone the level that is satisfactory to all.

Now onto a list of suggestions:

Room size

- small areas to large areas – Passive diffusers, Scentball, Tru Melange, Spa Scenter’s, tealight diffusers, Oil/Tart warmers.

Desired effect

- This is a large category and general guidelines are again – More essential oils in the air is not necessarily better. You can put too much in the air and have undesirable results.

Noise Factor

- If you need a quiet diffuser – use passive, scent ball or oil and tart warmers. Fan diffusers motors are quiet but not all are. There are quieter types of diffusers.

Air Flow

- Little or no air movement in the room or area – use a passive, scent ball or fan diffusers.

Moderate air movements you can use Scentball, tealight diffusers and oil /tart warmers, fan diffusers.

A lot of traffic or opening and closing doors – place several Scentballs, use several fan diffusers,or oil-tart warmers).

Type of Room or Space-

small areas – personal areas like at your desk or while reading – Jewelry, passive diffusers, Scentball.

As space increases, you can use Scentball and Fan diffusers.

Larger areas Oil and Tart warmers either Tealight warmed or electric warmed. Large rooms Oil/tart warmers that use electricity and soy tarts.

Type of Diffuser

- More questions - Breakage factor – Scentball are pretty much indestructible.

The SpaScenter can take pretty rough handling but plastic can still break and there is the factor of electricity involved.

If you can’t use electricity your only option may be a passive diffuser, but they can be dropped and break too, but normally do not shatter.

Another option would be a battery operated fan diffuser.

Safest diffuser

- around pets and children are Fan diffusers such as the SpaScenter and TruMelange.

Heat style – Oil and Tart warmers can produce very warm wax or hot water and if there is a possibility the diffuser can be bumped or knocked by a child or pet – you should reconsider using such a unit.

Open flames

- cannot typically be used in public settings or office buildings – check with your local fire marshall.

Time factor

- you are looking for all day diffusion – you will have to remember to add more essential oils throughout the day. If you just need an hour or two – just add a few drops to any of the diffuser types.

If you want several hours of diffusion - you can try an oil or tart warmer as they can hold more essential oils and may give you the appropriate scent for your needs. These units can also be put on timers.

If you work in a busy office - and can use a tart warmer – putting them on a timer with 2 hours on and 2 hours off may provide the best solution for your office.

Saturation level

- This is a personal preference but again, more essential oils is not better. You will want to experiment with different types of essential oils in different types of diffusers to see what one will give you the scenting level you prefer.

Smaller diffusers in a large room probably won’t provide you with adequate saturation and a large oil or tart warmer in a tiny bathroom would be over saturation.

See the room size guidelines to help with the saturation factor.

We hope this helps to decide what might be the right diffuser for you.

For complete descriptions of all the different types of diffusers we have available please visit our product pages - click on a link below to visit the items we have available.

Terra cotta discs
Jewelry, Sterling Silver,
Brass & Pewter Jewelry,
Terra Cotta Pendants
Scentballs (electric) and Plugins and Car diffusers
Tru Melange – both electric and battery fan diffuser
SpaScenters - variable speed electric fan diffuser
Tealight oil and tart warmers in Glass or Ceramic or Soapstone
Oil and Tart warmers that are electric heat source
Ambience Lighting Oil and Tart warmers that are electric heat source

© 2008, 2013, 2021 Penny Keay All rights reserved Worldwide.
Please do not use my information without my permission.

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