Essential Oil Diffusers vs Scented Candles: Which is Better and Why?

diffusers or candles

Which one wins the war for fancy smelling room fragrancers?

When most of us think dirty jobs, we think of Mike Rowe. A Discovery Channel host Rowe popularized learning about employment opportunities that existed not just off the beaten path, but down in the mud. Someone like Rowe would inevitably have to deal with the smell of working in these positions. Coming home, that smell doesn’t just go away, but it stays with you. It’s likely the man had stocks in the scented candle industry, which are incredibly popular choices today for overriding lingering smells. But there’s another option!

Today, we’ll be looking at the difference between old style candles and more modern oil diffusers, to decide which product Rowe and others should be using.

Before you read on, take a look at this handy chart:

diffusers vs candles

Safety First!

diffuser is better

Being a parent is probably the hardest job on the planet. Kids and pets are especially magnetic to dirt and smells. Unfortunately, using a scented candle to combat this can be dangerous. Besides the inevitable worry of an open flame, there are concerns about hot wax and broken glass if ever the candle is knocked over.

For another, it’s nice to experiment with other, less flammable ways to perfume the air.

Enter: Diffusers.

Most diffusers don’t require any form of internal heat to disperse their scented oils around a room. There’s no flame, no hot wax, no immediate risk of any kind.

And the best bit? You can put them in any room,on a side table, windowsill, or — for those who prefer a bit of mystery — hidden out of sight.

My Health Matters!

diffuser is better

You go to the gym regularly. You eat healthy. You adhere to the mantra that your body is a temple. But when you light that scented candle, all that may be for nought.

Don’t be fooled by the hype.

Research shows that many popular brands of scented candles are made with paraffin, lead, benzene, and toluene (two known carcinogens) which when burned releases toxins into the air, and into your lungs, causing all sorts of health issues.

Not cool, candle companies.

The good news is: the great alternative to scented candle — oil diffusers don’t create smoke and thus won’t spread toxins in the same way that scented candles do.

Essential oil diffusers pump out billowing, fresh plumes of fragrant water vapor, only occasionally having to be filled with a small amount of water and a few drops of essential oil which help improve your mood. If health matters to you, the right choice is pretty clear.

Say goodbye to toxic candles!

I Love a Strong Smell!

I Love a Strong SmellScore one for scented candles. Yay!

When wax melts, a combined smoke and designated scent is released into your room, leading to a powerful, robust smell that fills a greater area. Feel like you’re in a pine forest or on a tropical vacation without leaving your kitchen.

But candle scent doesn’t tend to last very long, dissipating into the surrounding environment quickly.

To try and remedy this problem with candles, essential oil diffusers work to give off fragrance at a slow but consistent pace. The result is a lighter scent that can fill only a smaller room, but one that lingers for months on end, as it’s constantly being reinforced and rejuvenated.

I Want My House Looking Amazing!

scented candle is beautiful
Home fragrance is a huge market, who doesn’t love a scented candle, right?

If you’re a home décor enthusiast, you know candles can pull a room together. They have been the centerpiece of staging for about as long as there have been rooms to design and decorate. We light these bougie af to add a romantic ambiance to a meal and to make bathtimes more luxurious.

Essential oil diffusers, on the other hand, somehow feel less ‘cool’ than the candle, thanks to loud branding and an industry preference for using cheap plastic housing.

But, because of their size, diffusers can be tucked away into any small nook, quietly making your room smell wonderful. And if you’re willing to splurge a little, there are some pretty beautiful oil diffusers out there.

For these very reasons, we’ll be picking up one of each fragrance for our own homes.

I Don’t Want to Hurt My Wallet!

diffuser is better

So, you want a great smelling house or apartment, but don’t want to break the bank? In this last category, the winner falls squarely in the diffuser camp.

Posh candles are money up in smoke, as you’re buying an “experience.” And, if you actually use your candle, you’ll find yourself replacing them fairly often – about every 40 hours of use or so.

Diffusers on the other hand are ridiculously cheap and last forever. You can always refill the oil bottles, which themselves stay working about three times as long as candles.

If you just want a great scent without all the extra frills, and the extra bills, get yourself an essential oil diffuser.


Ultimately, just like most other consumer products, there are pros and cons to both scented candles and oil diffusers. For that all-important-me-time, luxury scented candles are the way to go. For the budget pick that’s both safe and good for your health, essential oil diffusers are the right choice. But if you had to pick one, we’d suggest popping a few essential oil diffusers in the main social spaces of your home. Just remember, if someone with a dirty job shows up at your home, you may need more than one!

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Amy Blandford is a writer for TaoTronics who specializes in all things humidifier, diffuser and air purifier related. When she’s not advocating the many health benefits of the soothing air courtesy of these products, she’s probably practicing yoga or caring for her many plants.

43 Replies to “Essential Oil Diffusers vs Scented Candles: Which is Better and Why?

  1. I love both! I use Lovespoon Candles which are blended with Essential Oils and have cotton wicks. Candles help me relax 🙂

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