Aromatherapy is the new buzzword for bedroom luxury. It is claimed that having aromatherapy diffusers and humidifiers will help with everything from breathing easier to sleeping soundly. They even come in fancy shapes and colors to help you customize your room.
But does using a humidifier for aromatherapy actually work? And can you add essential oils to your humidifier to save yourself some time and money?
Spoiler alert: adding essential oils to regular humidifiers will only cost you more.
Especially when diffusers are becoming so popular, you need to know the main differences between the two devices. This article can help you see which device is best for your needs.
We’ve even included a handy table, so you can directly compare.
What is an Aromatherapy Humidifier?
To answer this question, we first need to look at a different one. What is aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is a holistic treatment where essential oils are mixed with water, heated, and the vapor is inhaled for medicinal purposes. Essential oils are the oils extracted from natural materials, such as lavender, the eucalyptus leaf, and rose. They can be mixed to create different aroma combinations.
Essential oils are considered beneficial. Different oils you use are supposed to have different healing properties and to help with different ailments. With over 100 different essential oils available, aromatherapy is said to ease pain, improve sleep quality, and even help your digestion.
An aromatherapy humidifier is a humidifier that allows you to humidify your room whilst infusing the air with essential oils.
In this device, the essential oils will be diffused into the mist that is created by the humidifier. This means you get the best of both worlds; you can increase the moisture in the air and create your own aromatherapy treatment!
Sometimes these can be called ultrasonic aroma humidifiers. They are perfect for people who think that they want to improve and infuse the dry air in their house, but do not want to purchase two different devices.
Moreover, it can be a great present if someone needs a humidifier. Rather than going for something average, you can give them the option of adding aromatherapy into their lives.
It is important to make sure you are buying the right kind of humidifier. Ultrasonic aroma humidifiers and humidifiers for aromatherapy are quite rare to find. Remember to check that the humidifier you want to buy specifically allows you to use essential oils before you purchase.
Aroma Essential Oil Diffuser vs Humidifier
Diffusers and humidifiers are often confused. This is because smaller humidifiers can look quite like diffusers. They also both offer a stream of mist, which seems at first glance like it does the same job.
However, diffusers have a different function to humidifiers. Knowing the difference between these will make all the difference when figuring out which one is perfect for your situation.
The way diffusers most commonly work is by using an ultrasonic technique, where plates inside the device vibrate to mix and vaporize the essential oil and water. With the exception of a few ultrasonic aroma humidifiers, humidifiers do not have this function.
Instead, humidifiers increase the humidity in the air to a set amount and control the levels through the day. Diffusers are unable to do this.
This is partially because of their small size, and partially because of the essential oils. Only a small amount of essential oils should be released at any one time. If you increased the mist spray of a diffuser dramatically then the amount of essential oils in the air would also increase. You need a specialized machine to control this.
More key differences between aromatherapy diffusers and humidifiers include:
|Purpose||For aroma therapy or adding a fragrance to a room; some can humidify the air||For adding moisture to the air, increasing the humidity; some can be used as a diffuser|
|Tank Size||Up to 500ml||Up to 6L|
|Using water||Not every diffuser uses water||Yes; distilled is considered best|
|Operational Methods||Ultrasonic vibrations and dispersion||Mist|
|Noise and Sound Production||Can create distracting noises||Quiet if built with precision designed technology|
|Cost||Varies; involves maintenance costs including buying essential oils||Varies; involves maintenance costs including distilled water|
|Health Effects||Is supposed to help ease breathing, soothe you to sleep, and other health benefits||Increasing the humidity can help ease dry coughs, noses, and skin, and is said to help to ease the symptoms of raspatory illnesses such as asthma|
|Pros||1. Built to work with essential oils|
2. Several variations, shapes and styles
3. Breaks down essential oils for inhalation
4. Can work as humidifier depending on the type
|1. Can spray mist for up to 36 hours for easy breathing all-night|
2. Several variations, shapes and styles
3. Does not work with essential oils unless it is a multifunctional device
4. Can use a diffuser together with a humidifier for aromatherapy, for ultimate flexibility
|Cons||1. Unsafe to use around certain pets|
2. Some may not humidify the air
3. LED lights and noises can disturb your night’s sleep
4. Requires regular purchase of essential oils
|1. Not all models work with essential oils|
2. Can be large and take up more room
3. Warm mist humidifiers can contain boiling water, a hazard for young children and pets
4. Too much humidification can increase the likelihood of mold
You should note that you can use the two different devices at one. Owning and using both a diffuser and a humidifier might actually be more beneficial if your air is dry and you want to try aromatherapy. Alternating between them can keep your room at optimal humidity levels whilst smelling great.
Can You Put Essential Oil in a Humidifier?
You can put essential oils into some humidifiers. But generally, the answer is no.
Humidifiers are not built to break down essential oils and make them easy and safe to breathe in. This is not just a filtration issue. If you put essential oils into your humidifiers water tank it can cause erosion, which can lead to leakages and potentially damage the humidifiers electrics.
Essential oils will also sit at the top of your water, rather than being dispersed. Regular humidifiers do not have the ability to break the oils down. This means it would take hours before the last of the oils were out.
If your humidifier is a multifunctional device that is specifically built to incorporate essential oils, like TaoTronics Whale Shaped Humidifier (TT-AH038, 2.5L), then its fine to add a few drops to the tank.
These might be known as aromatherapy diffusers/humidifiers, but more often they will probably just say that you can add essential oils.
Can You Use a Diffuser as a Humidifier?
By their nature, diffusers add humidity to the air. But they are not purpose-built humidifiers, and this really makes a difference.
Diffusers typically do not have the tank capacity or power to make a big difference to the humidity in your room. Thanks to smaller tanks, the mist stream from a diffuser is far, far less than an average humidifier – and tiny compared to a humidifier with a 6L tank!
Humidifiers can also be built with special 360° nozzles that make sure the whole room receives mist. Diffusers often do not have this feature.
We talked before about how important humidifiers are for people who feel affected by dry air. It is important to know that if this is why you are buying a device, a humidifier is the one that will work best for you.
Is There a Combination of Diffuser and Humidifier?
Yes! It might take some time to search the internet for one as they are not so common. But there are a few out there to choose from, particularly if you check Amazon.
At TaoTronics, we supply a huge range of powerful humidifiers. One of our most popular is our whale shaped humidifier, code TT-AH038. This device doesn’t just look great – you can use it as a diffuser as well as a humidifier by adding a few drops of essential oils to the tank.
Some more amazing features of this humidifier include:
- Night light
- Small, tabletop sized tank
- Whale shape, perfect for growing (or grown up!) kids
- BPA free
It is available on Amazon or at our website!
So, Do You Need a Humidifier for Aromatherapy?
If you are thinking about starting aromatherapy, an aromatherapy humidifier might be an excellent choice. Not only will it increase the humidity of your room more than a standard diffuser, but you will only need one device instead of two. In this way, it is a more exciting pick for your house – and, with maintenance, is worth investing in for many years of use!
Check out the whole of TaoTronics humidifiers range today!
- The Insider’s Guide to Essential Oil Diffusers - January 21, 2022
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- How Humidifiers Can Help with Asthma Symptoms - November 6, 2020