You’re thinking the air in your home could use a little something but you’re not sure whether what you need is a humidifier or diffuser? Fret no more, we got you. Here’s how to know which one you need and some tips to keep in mind when shopping for it.
Humidifier vs diffuser
A humidifier uses water to increase the moisture in the room. A diffuser is more therapeutic and is used to spread essential oils throughout the room. It is possible to get the best of both worlds with diffusers and humidifiers that humidify the air as they diffuse essential oil. These specific ones that do both are called ultrasonic humidifiers or ultrasonic diffusers.
Benefits of diffuser
- Aromatherapy aka essential oil therapy.
- Promotes relaxation.
- Helps you sleep.
- Can fight bacteria and viruses.
- Allows for better focus.
Benefits of humidifier
- Add moisture to the room’s air.
- Can combat allergies like pet, mould, and dust allergies.
- Helps ward off respiratory issues.
- Can combat skin irritation and other skin issues related to dry air.
- Prevent static from building up in your home.
- Helps you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Things to consider before buying a humidifier or diffuser
Type of humidifiers and diffusers
There are two major types of humidifiers, warm mist, and cool mist humidifiers. Warm mist humidifiers are suitable for cold areas. They work by heating up the water then releasing the moisture. They consume more energy and are unsafe around children and pets. Cool mist humidifiers are best for warm climates and add moisture to the air at room temperature. They are noisier but easier to clean with low operational costs. It is advised that you use distilled water to prevent the spread of germs with the mist. For people with asthma, cool mist reportedly works better. You can get a dual mist humidifier for use in any environment.
There are four main types of diffusers, evaporative, heat, ultrasonic, and nebulizer. Evaporative diffusers involve a fan blowing through some sort of pad or filter that has essential oils on it and are fairly inexpensive to buy. Heat diffusers are also referred to as oil burners and typically include a holding dish where the oil is heated, and the vapour dispersed into the air. They are relatively inexpensive but are not recommended because of the risk that the heat may damage the essential oils. They are also a fire risk and are easily breakable.
Ultrasonic diffusers function as both a humidifier and diffuser. They are safe, easy to use, and preserve the therapeutic benefits of essential oils. The main criticism they face is they don’t disperse as intense concentrations of essential oils as other diffusers because the water dilutes the oils. Nebuliser diffusers, also called atomic diffusers use compressed air to create airborne particles of essential oils. They are considered the most powerful and effective at diffusing essential oils.
Coverage and water tank size
Coverage capacity refers to how much area the humidifier can easily humidify and is determined by the manufacturer. Capacity refers to the maximum volume of water the tank can hold. Runtime refers to the number of hours it can run after each refill.
The size of the room is a huge factor when it comes to coverage. The last thing you want it to purchase a humidifier that can’t serve your whole room. Humidifiers with a higher moisture output will tend to humidify larger spaces. Avoid using a humidify that is not able to serve a room because it will take longer to humidify it and will struggle to maintain the humidity levels. The larger the tank the longer the runtime and in general the bigger the humidifier, the bigger the area it can efficiently serve. There are whole-house humidifiers that are designed to, as the name suggests, serve the entire house.
Smaller diffusers are portable for people who need to move them from room to room. If you want a diffuser that you can run overnight, you should go for one with a larger capacity and runtime. There are also travel fan diffusers for you to create your personal oasis wherever you go. You should opt for a powerful diffuser such as a nebulizer or evaporative diffuser if you want it to serve a big room. An ultrasonic diffuser would do as well. If you already have a smaller diffuser, you can increase the concentration of the oils to better serve a bigger area.
Ease of use, cleaning, and maintenance
Keeping your humidifier or diffuser clean is critical to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria in your home. You want one that is easy to clean and doesn’t become one more cleaning stressor. If the filter needs to be cleaned frequently, that may become a problem. This is where reviews come in handy. Find out what people are saying about the ease of cleaning. Ease of use is also crucial. Smaller humidifiers are more portable for people who need to move to around the house, from one room to another. Humidifiers with large openings are easier to refill while those that need to be detached for refilling can be tricky. A detachable water tank is easier to clean overall.
Diffusers require more cleaning because of the oil residue left as it runs. You also need to read the manufacturer’s instructions on cleaning it to prevent the risk of using harmful materials to clean it.
Some humidifiers come with hygrometers and humidistats that allow you to control the level of humidity released to your comfort level. The common humidifier settings are low, medium, and high. Some have auto-shut-off features and night mode which sets the humidifier to the lowest noise level.
There are diffusers that can be run on intermittent mode which extends their runtime. Some have added functionalities like Bluetooth speakers, digital clock, timer, customizable LED lights, and auto-shutdown.
Pick a diffuser or humidifier that enhances and compliments your existing décor. If you don’t like how it looks, you may use it less than you want to or need to.
Cost and warranty
Humidifiers and diffusers are becoming increasingly affordable, so you don’t need to break the bank. You don’t need to buy the most expensive options but should also avoid the cheap ones, instead go for moderately priced options. If you choose to buy a diffuser, you need to factor in the running cost of essential oils while for a humidifier, that is not a concern unless you opt for an ultrasonic humidifier. Consider buying only from sellers who offer a warranty for your peace of mind if nothing else.
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