Essential Oil Burners vs Essential Oil Diffusers – Pros and Cons

Which is better to use for aromatherapy – an essential oil burner, essential oil inhaler, or an essential oil diffuser? What’s the pros and cons of each? Here we compare oil burners and diffusers.

Essential oil burners and how to utilize one

Here you have a bowl, made of either copper or porcelain, and in it you place water. On the water, add drops of your favorite essential oil.

Under the bowl is a tiny candle that you light to heat the mixture above. That will produce within minutes and send the relaxing scent you need to the surrounding.


Good points:

  • Essential oil burners are easy to use

  • They are cheaper than diffusers

  • Last longer (if well-taken care of)

  • Oil burners are available in different styles and patterns, get one that matches your room’s design


Bad points:

  • There are unfavorable claims about burners; most damaging is they destroy the chemical composition of oils and therefore might be hazardous to health, especially respiratory health. These assumptions need proof though.

  • Possibility of burning the burner

  • The need to replace or trim the candle’s wick

Essential oil diffusers

Essential oil diffusers look fairly the same with their burner counterparts and spread oil particles into the air as well, but not through a candle-burning function.

They come in 4 types:

  • Humidifying diffusers – This device works using vibration to break the components of the mixture, releasing them into air. This type is good only for smaller spaces as it requires air to spread particles.

  • Heat diffusers – This uses heat for breaking components, but the amount of emitted heat is very low, causing non-drastic change of oil composition.

  • Nebulizing diffusers – also called cold air diffuser. This diffuser doesn’t use water or heat and only works the way a perfume atomizer works.

The atomizer breaks down oil into smaller particles without heating, and thus the basic chemical composition of the essential remains unaltered.

  • Evaporative diffusers – This type uses air to spread scent particles with the use of a built-in fan. Moving air functions as oil evaporator.


Good points:

  • Since they don’t use candles, you will not have additional cleaning time for that. In addition you can conveniently move them to another place without putting extra care that it might cause the liquefied candle to splash.

  • The heat can be controlled easily, and in other types, there is no heat used so there is no possibility of overheating the device.

  • Using a diffuser allows you to feel confident that you are inhaling natural oils and not some harmful chemicals resulting from burning.


Bad point:

  • Some of these devices use electricity, so you need to be careful about water overflowing or splashing and damaging the electrical parts.

Generally, diffusers last for about 4000 hours of use and have to be replaced with a new one at end of their life.

You might try repairs but that might cost you more money than using a burner that does not use electricity to run.

Basically, your choice depends on convenience, or ease of use, or concerns about toxicity.

Whatever option you end up with, enjoy the soothing time and the thought that you’re doing yourself something really good out of using aromatherapy.

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