Whether it’s to disguise the whiff of your flatmate’s ‘gourmet’ cooking experiments or to level up your living room, the right diffuser can be truly transformational, giving even the most un-Pinterest-worthy space a luxe-over.
If you’re prepared for an initial investment, electronic diffusers are a smart choice in the long run as they offer the most far-reaching of aromas and their efficient switch-off function mean there’s no need to leave them dispersing when you’re not around. You can also cherry-pick your oils to suit your mood, room, season or even house guests.
More on fragrance:
- 6 best Christmas candles to fill any space with festive joy
- The smart shopper’s guide to finding the best scented candles
- Gorgeous gift ideas for the house proud (and everyone else)
Ultrasonic diffuser vs. nebuliser diffuser
There are two types of electric diffuser – ultrasonic diffusers use vibrations to turn water and essential oils into a scented vapour. An extra benefit of this type is that they can add moisture to dry rooms, almost like a mini humidifier.
Nebulisers, on the other hand, are waterless, using pressurised air to break essential oils into small particles before pumping them out as a fine mist. They can be a little noisier and use up more essential oil in one hit, however they are often more potent, too.
What about reed diffusers?
That’s not to say there’s no place for classic reed diffusers. Give yours extra mileage by popping in just a few sticks at a time and remember to turn them upside down every so often.
I’ve scoured the shelves to sniff out both the reed and electric diffusers that really deliver on fragrance, striking that fine line between ‘plush hotel vibes’, but never headache-inducing.
The best diffusers
Starting at just £12.50, these diffuser options are perfect for all budgets.
Neom Wellbeing Pod Mini, £50
Consider Neom Wellbeing Pods the OGs of electric diffusers. With three versions to choose from, they’re bestsellers for good reason.
The larger high-tech options are impressive, offering up to 12 hours of continuous fragrance, custom light, sound and timer settings and even a guided meditation mode. The catch? It will set you back upwards of £95.
At almost half the price, the Neom Wellbeing Pod Mini is a great way to get a slice of the brand’s dreamy aromas without such a hefty investment.
Charged via a USB, the portable nebuliser design lets you screw in an entire bottle of essential oils, which is released in short bursts for two hours at a time.
While the Mini is recommended for smaller spaces, it’s surprisingly powerful and still beautifully scents all the rooms in my house, especially when set at the highest of its three intensities. The cordless aspect is also useful if you’re short on plug sockets in your home – aren’t we all!?
The White Company Electronic Diffuser, £70
From bedding to candles, The White Company just *gets* how to make a space feel special and its electronic diffusers are no exception.
There’s an even fancier textured ceramic version, but this ultrasonic diffuser is the most popular, boasting an ambient light and three timer options.
The timeless aesthetic means it will sit pretty in any home while the cloud of vapour it releases is perfectly impactful yet not too heady. Minimalistic but oh-so-classy… it’s just as you’d expect from The White Company.
Quiet and easy to refill and clean, this is a solid all-round choice if you’re in the market for some sophisticated home-scenting.
Rituals The Ritual of Jing Sleep Aroma Diffuser, £42.50
Electric diffusers can make for calming sleep aids although most will run for at least two hours, if not shut off, which can be wasteful. If snooze-inducing is your aim, opt for this innovative device instead.
The ultrasonic design emits a fragrant mist and gentle light for just ten minutes, perfect for unwinding as you hit the hay. It even includes a QR code for a guided bedtime meditation.
It’s not bad value considering it comes with a cartridge, each of which has enough oil for at least 50 ten-minute cycles (these are also available to buy separately, £13.50 for 40ml). Expect notes of lavender and sandalwood that are irresistibly soothing but not sickly so.
Oliver Bonas Essential Oil Electric Aroma Diffuser, £45
If you’re after an electric diffuser that makes a design statement, look no further than Oliver Bonas’ sell-out collection. These much-loved ceramic diffusers look more like stylish vases than home gadgets and come in a medley of different colours and prints.
Gorgeous they may be but they’re effective, too. The ultrasonic tech infuses any room with a scented vapour and offers six coloured light settings and four timer options (including a 30-minute session which is shorter than most and surprisingly useful).
They’re compatible with other brands’ essential oils (in fact, most ultrasonic diffusers are, although they might not be marketed as such). But Oliver Bonas’ own line-up of fragrance oils, £6.50 for 10ml, are just as lovely as the diffusers themselves.
John Lewis Reed Diffuser, £13 for 100ml
Is there anything more disappointing than watching – day by day – as the liquid diminishes on your reed diffuser while it emits only the faintest of aromas?
Annoyingly, that’s so often the case with more inexpensive options, but not for John Lewis’ budget-friendly own-brand line.
Its diffusers are petite but perfect for popping onto bookcases or dressing tables, and really effectively fragrance a room for a couple of months.
I love the artsy outer boxes, that make for thoughtful gifts, but the glass bottles themselves are classy and understated. There’s a huge variety of scents to choose from and refills are cost-effective too at £13 for 100ml.
Molton Brown Aroma Reeds, £48 for 150ml
Molton Brown is one of the best in the business when it comes to all things scent. Whether it’s a candle or shower gel, you can be sure you’ll get plenty of bang for your buck with a decadent smell and a shedload of longevity.
In the case of the brand’s popular diffusers, this means you only need one or two reeds at a time to envelop a room.
There are three uplifting blends to pick from – I find all are especially suited to kitchen areas. They use notes of pepper and citrus to cut through the punchiest smells without being cloying or distracting. Think a divine veil rather than a punch of scent that’s obviously attempting to mask something.
Refills are also available, at £35 for 150ml.