Why Choose A Diffuser Over A Candle?

Aromatherapy has become an increasingly popular way to promote wellness by using natural plant extracts and essential oils. Two common methods of aromatherapy are diffusers and candles. While both can provide benefits through aroma, there are some key differences between these two approaches that are worth considering.

Diffusers work by dispersing essential oils into the air through misting or heat. The tiny oil particles aresmall enough to be inhaled, providing aromatherapy benefits. Candles rely on heating wax infused with essential oils so the scent is emitted into the air through the melting wax.

When comparing these two methods, diffusers tend to provide more benefits related to air quality, health, and customization, while candles can have drawbacks around safety and effectiveness. Understanding the pros and cons of each can help determine if a diffuser may be a better choice over candles for aromatherapy.

Aromatherapy Benefits

Unlike candles, diffusers maximize essential oil scent dispersal for aromatherapy. Diffusers utilize air, water, heat, or ultrasonic waves to disperse essential oils into the air we breathe. This allows the aromatic compounds to reach smell receptors directly for enhanced therapeutic effects (Source).

Inhaling diffused essential oils stimulates the limbic system, the emotional center of the brain. This can have immediate effects like elevating mood, reducing stress and anxiety, boosting energy, clarifying focus, and promoting relaxation (Source). Diffusers spread essential oils further than candles, perfumes or heated oils, ensuring maximum inhalation for aromatherapy benefits.

Air Purifying

Many essential oil diffusers can help purify the air by eliminating airborne allergens and pollutants. When essential oils are diffused into the air, the tiny molecules of the oils can attach to things like dust, pet dander, mold spores, and other particles floating in the air. This causes these particles to gain weight and fall out of the air more quickly. Certain essential oils like cedarwood, rosemary, citrus, and bergamot are especially effective for this purifying effect.

woman using essential oil diffuser

Some diffusers also use cold air diffusion or ultrasonic technology to create microparticles of water that attach to pollutants. As these heavier particles fall to the ground, they take the pollutants with them, leaving cleaner air behind. Purifying the air in this way can be beneficial for those with allergies or asthma, and studies show diffusing certain oils like lemon, eucalyptus, and tea tree can reduce airborne bacteria and mold by up to 90%.

While candles emit compounds into the air as they burn, they do not actively eliminate allergens like diffusers can. Diffusing is a simple way to get the benefits of aromatherapy while also purifying the air in your home.

Source: https://www.airoasis.com/blogs/articles/benefits-essential-oil-diffusers


Candles pose a much greater fire and burn risk compared to diffusers. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), candles were the cause of 4% of reported home fires, 3% of home fire deaths, 6% of home fire injuries, and 4% of property damage from home fires in the US.

Candles are an open flame and require constant monitoring to prevent accidental fires. It’s easy to forget a burning candle, leave it too close to flammable materials, or have it get knocked over by children or pets. The NFPA recommends always keeping a burning candle within sight and blowing it out when leaving a room. They also advise keeping candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn.

In contrast, diffusers do not utilize flames or heat. They use cool mist or ultrasonic technology to disperse essential oils into the air. This makes diffusers much safer as there is no fire risk if you forget to turn it off or knock it over. Diffusers pose little risk of burns or fire damage to your home.

For safety reasons, diffusers are undoubtedly a better option than candles in homes with children, pets, forgetful owners, or flammable surroundings.





One of the biggest advantages of using a diffuser over candles is convenience. With a diffuser, you don’t need to repeatedly relight candles to keep enjoying the fragrance. Diffusers provide continuous fragrance without the need to constantly relight. Once you add your preferred essential oil and turn on the diffuser, it will run automatically for hours, dispersing a consistent scent into the air. This hands-off operation is much easier than having to light candle after candle. Diffusers allow you to fill them up, turn them on, and benefit from aromatherapy for extended periods of time with no effort required. You can conveniently keep the diffuser running all day or night long. The convenience factor makes diffusers an excellent option for set-it-and-forget-it aromatic experiences.

Cost Efficiency

Diffusers provide more value for your money compared to candles when using essential oils. According to research, diffusers make oils last significantly longer than burning oils in a candle. This is because diffusers only use a few drops of oil at a time, whereas candles continuously burn through the oil blend (Diffuser Wattage, Amps & Running Costs).

Diffusers utilize ultrasonic technology and cool mist to disperse essential oils into the air without burning the oils directly. This maximizes the lifespan of expensive essential oil blends. With a diffuser, just a few drops can last hours and provide aroma for large spaces. Candles use up more oil more quickly as it burns (The Best Essential Oil Diffusers).

In addition, diffusers are very energy efficient, using less than $0.20 of electricity per day. Diffusers allow you to experience the benefits and fragrance of essential oils far more economically than candles (Diffuser Wattage, Amps & Running Costs).


One of the biggest advantages of using a diffuser instead of a candle is the ability to customize scent blends. With a diffuser, you can mix and match multiple essential oils to create unique aromatherapy experiences. Candles, on the other hand, offer a fixed scent that cannot be altered.

Diffusers allow you to tailor your scent environment to your mood or activity. For example, you can create an invigorating blend to boost energy in the morning with citrus oils like lemon, grapefruit or bergamot. Or make a relaxing blend to unwind at night with lavender, Roman chamomile and clary sage (https://www.youngliving.com/blog/essential-oil-diffuser-recipe-blends/). The possibilities are endless when blending with a diffuser.

You can also rotate through different oil blends to prevent olfactory fatigue from smelling the same scent constantly. Diffuser blending charts provide suggested combinations for different effects like focus, calm, immunity boost, etc. (https://media.doterra.com/us/en/ebooks/100-diffuser-blend-ideas-web.pdf). With some basic blending knowledge, you can create an endless array of personalized diffuser aromas.

Health Benefits

Diffusing essential oils provides numerous health benefits beyond just adding a pleasant aroma to a room. According to research from WebMD, essential oils have many therapeutic effects when inhaled including reducing stress, treating fungal infections, and improving sleep. Specific oils like peppermint and lavender have been shown to aid with digestive issues, headaches, and anxiety.

Candles on the other hand do not provide the same health benefits as essential oils. While candles add fragrance to a room, the scented wax does not contain the concentrated plant compounds that make essential oils so beneficial. As noted by Johns Hopkins Medicine, essential oils can be absorbed into the bloodstream when inhaled to provide direct physiological effects. Candle fragrances do not have this therapeutic effect.

Overall, diffusing essential oils has been shown to directly benefit health in numerous ways that candles cannot match. The concentrated plant essences in essential oils deliver therapeutic effects when diffused that candles lack.

Environmental Benefits

One of the key benefits of choosing a diffuser over a candle is the reduced environmental impact. Unlike candles, diffusers do not release smoke or soot into the air when in use. The smoke released from burning candles contains fine particulate matter that can be harmful if inhaled. The soot released can also dirty surfaces in your home.

Candles made from paraffin wax are derived from petroleum, a non-renewable resource. The process of extracting and refining paraffin wax to make candles generates pollution. Some candles also contain synthetic fragrances and dyes that can release volatile organic compounds into the air when burned. VOCs contribute to air pollution and are potentially hazardous.

In contrast, diffusers utilize natural essential oils and water. High quality essential oils are derived from renewable plant sources grown using sustainable practices. Diffusers atomize and disperse essential oils into the air without combusting anything. This makes diffusers an eco-friendly alternative for home fragrance and aromatherapy.

According to a source, the chemicals released from burning candles can be harmful to fish and aquatic life by disrupting reproductive cycles, behavior, and growth (source). Diffusers avoid this aquatic toxicity risk by not emitting any chemicals or smoke into the environment.


In summary, there are several key reasons why choosing an essential oil diffuser is better than traditional candles:

  • Diffusers allow you to fully customize your aromatic experience by mixing and matching different essential oils and fragrances.
  • Diffusers provide the health benefits of aromatherapy without the safety risks of open flames.
  • Diffusers are more convenient, as there are no wicks to trim or melted wax to clean up.
  • In the long run, diffusers are more cost-efficient than frequently replacing candles.
  • Diffusers purify the air while scenting it, helping you breathe easier.
  • Diffusers are better for the environment, as essential oils are natural and reusable.

With the safety, health, convenience, and cost benefits, a diffuser is clearly the better choice over candles for home fragrance.

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