Is a diffuser the same as a humidifier?
Probably more often than not I get asked the question what is the difference between an essential oil diffuser and a humidifier? and can I save money buy just using my humidifier as an aromatherapy diffuser?
I understand asking these questions about humidifiers vs diffusers because I'm thrifty and if I can save some money I want to do that.
Plus one more thing to take up space and clutter my home is not what I need.
So in this post, I'm going to cover:
- The differences between humidifiers and diffusers.
- Do essential oil diffusers increase humidity.
- Can you use essential oils in a cool mist humidifier?
- How you can save money by picking the best humidifier diffuser for your needs.
*This post contains affiliate links to the essential oils and other products I talk about in the post. Purchasing them here from my blog is no extra cost to you but I do earn a commission that helps in the cost of running this blog. Thanks for your support!
If your curious (or in a hurry):
Humidifier vs Diffuser
So let's first talk about how humidifiers and diffusers are the same.
- They both add moisture to the air.
Beyond this, they are completely different.
Let me explain why.
- typically smaller devices that hold less water (usually around 150ml – 300ml)
- A diffuser's purpose is to create a small stream of mist that carries essential oils into the air.
- The most popular type of diffuser is an ultrasonic diffuser that has a vibrating plate that mixes and vaporizes the water and oils by shaking. this makes it easier to breathe in the essential oils.
- Cleaning and maintenance are typically easy as there are no tubes or enclosed areas where water sits
- Typically are a larger device that holds around 1 gallon of water.
- A humidifier's purpose is to help control a set level of moisture in an area.
- They do not have the ability to mix essential oils and water.
- Can be difficult to keep clean and maintain.
Do essential oil diffusers add moisture to the air and increase humidity?
Yes, Essential oil diffusers do put moisture in the air but, most essential oil diffusers will only add a small amount of humidity to the room.
An essential oil diffuser's purpose is to disperse a small amount of essential oil into the air by allowing the oil to “ride” the water droplets.
So typically only a small stream of moisture is actually released into the air.
There are a few essential oil diffusers that add moisture to the air in a large enough amount to be thought of as a humidifier. I actually own one of these diffuser humidifier combos and it's the one I use in my girls' bedrooms.
We heat our home with a wood burning stove so our house can get pretty dry if I'm not running a mix of diffusers and humidifiers.
I find that the Young Living Desert Mist diffuser is just the perfect size diffuser humidifier combo to run in their bedrooms.
The Desert Mist is recommended for use in a 330sq ft room and its output is the perfect amount of humidity for when they are sick and I want them able to breathe in moisture-filled air.
Can you use essential oils in a cool-mist humidifier?
I personally suggest not using essential oils in a cool-mist humidifier because of 2 reasons.
Cool mist humidifiers like the one I use for my family are an investment. They are made to disperse lots of moisture to large areas quickly.
Essential oils are so strong that you risk the chance of the essential oils breaking down the non-hospital grade plastic in your cool mist humidifier causing it to break or not last as long.
Cool mist humidifiers work by pulling water from the bottom of a water tank and then spraying it out.
If you will remember, oil and water don't mix and cool mist humidifiers do not have a way of mixing them.
This means that your essential oils will sit at the top of the humidifier not being dispersed until the water drops to almost empty. If your cool mist humidifier is like mine that would take hours for it to empty out and for you to see any benefits of the essential oils.
Here’s the bottom line…
Do essential oil diffusers humidify?
Yes, essential oil diffusers do humidify a room. But the amount may not be as much moisture added to the air as you want.
My favorite essential oil diffuser and humidifier combo
Like I talked about earlier, there are diffusers on the market that are both a diffuser and a humidifier. This is the way to go especially if you are looking to keep the number of appliances down in your space and adding moisture is important.
Diffuser and humidifier combos will have a larger water well than other diffusers and the output is generally a nice strong mist that will last for a few hours.
My suggestion is to purchase an essential oil diffuser and humidifier combo called the Desert Mist and it is made by Young Living.
I like the Young Living Desert Mist because it's perfect for a bedroom and is super quiet.
The Desert Mist is also my favorite baby humidifier diffuser to use for baby rooms. It keeps the room humidity not overly wet and you can safely use Lavender and other safe essential diffuser blends for babies.
Can you use an Essential Oil diffuser without Essential Oils?
Another great question is can you use a diffuser as a humidifier?
Yes! If all you need is a little extra humidity for a room, running an essential oil diffuser without including essential oils to the water is perfectly okay.
Of course, a diffuser will not run as long or put as much water in the air as a humidifier but the diffuser adds moisture to the air.
Where can you buy a Desert Mist diffuser?
Don't worry I can totally help you get your hands on this super popular Diffuser! and I can save you money too!
You can get the Desert Mist for FREE when you buy the Young Living premium starter kit. (trust me this is the way to go as you get 11 oils and a diffuser for an amazing Wholesale price.)
You can also buy the Desert Mist at retail price but you will pay about 24% more. (retail link is at the bottom of the linked price page.)
Still not sure about a diffuser and need more in-depth help selecting the best aromatherapy diffuser for your home? plus you want more options for great humidifying diffusers?
I created a post that breaks down the most popular features of the leading essential oil diffusers and it shares our readers top 10 best essential oil diffusers on the market.
Once you get diffusing the right way in your home check out my favorite diffuser blends and recipes. I have 100s of the most popular diffuser recipes that you can download in a quick reference pdf.