How Much Do Diffusers Cost To Buy And Run

Diffusers can cost anywhere from $3 to over $1100. The price range varies by type of diffuser. Nebulizing diffusers are the most expensive, while evaporative and reed diffusers are the cheapest. Ultrasonic and electrical heat diffusers fall in the mid-range. A diffuser will cost approximately $0.0018 per hour to run, or around 15 to 20 cents per month.

The global diffusers market is currently valued at more than 1.6 billion dollars and only continues to grow. So when it comes to buying and using a diffuser, it is essential to talk about both the type and cost of the diffuser. 

This article talks about diffusers and their costs. We discuss the popular and reliable manufacturers of the appliance, compare the costs of their products, and provide an illustrative chart of the cheapest and most expensive diffusers in different categories. We also recommend some of the best diffusers you can consider buying. 

Types Of Diffusers 

Essential oils are fragrant plant extracts traditionally believed to have healing and relaxing effects. Although aromatherapy using oils has been practiced for centuries, it has only become mainstream in the past few years. This led to the invention of a diffuser, the machine that dispenses essential oil into the room.  

Diffusers break oil molecules into finer particles before dissipating them in the atmosphere. It sprays the solution periodically, ensuring the room always smells good. 

There are four main types of diffusers, based on how they disperse essential oils:

1. Nebulizing Diffuser 

Nebulizing diffusers use pressurized air steam to break essential oils into a fine mist before distributing it into the room.  

This is one of the most expensive categories of diffusers. Since no water is used, this diffuser does not dilute the oil, and all of it is dispersed into the air. It also defuses the oil more quickly in comparison to other diffusers.  

Plentiful Air has a comprehensive guide to waterless diffusers available here.

2. Ultrasonic Diffuser 

Ultrasonic diffusers have a water tank in which a few drops of essential oil are added. The unit has a disc that vibrates at an ultrasonic frequency, converting water into mist. This aromatic mist is then propelled into the room.  

Ultrasonic models do not require a lot of oil, as they use water. 

3. Heat Essential Oil Diffuser 

Heat diffusers have a heating element that vaporizes essential oils. They may or may not use a water-oil mixture.

Although cost-effective and silent, heating oils can alter their chemical properties, reducing their benefits. The change in chemical makeup might even make the oil harmful. 

4. Evaporative Oil Diffuser 

Evaporative oil diffusers use a scent pad or tissue that has essential oil absorbed in it. A fan draws air inside the unit, which evaporates the oil from the scent pad, and spreads it through the room.  These diffusers are often considered ‘noisy’ because of the fan, and are not always suitable for bedrooms.

Another type of evaporative diffuser is the reed diffuser. Wooden sticks called reeds are left fully dipped into a jar of essential oil. Reeds soak up the scent, which is then diffused by the circulating air into the room.  

Through this method, the lighter oil components are diffused first, while the heavier parts evaporate later.  

Cost Of Diffusers 

Now that we know the various types of diffusers let’s look at their buying and running costs. 

Cost of diffusers by type. Nebulizing diffusers are the most expensive. Evaporative and reed diffusers are the cheapest. The price of diffusers ranges from $3 to $1100
The Cost of Diffusers, by Type. Data sourced from around the web. Image created for

Buying Cost 

It’s obvious from the graph, but nebulizing diffusers are the most expensive overall – although not without good reason, the fact they are waterless makes for an easy to use and clean diffuser that doesn’t dilute the fragrance,

Ultrasonic are the next most expensive, and are the most common. These are available in both cool and warm mist.

Heating and evaporative diffusers are by far, the cheapest diffusers available. Although, many find the fragrance they disperse to be fairly weak.

To give you a better idea on how much diffusers cost, we have compiled the cheapest and most expensive model of each type of diffuser from across the web. This way you can see what the different cost levels can get you, for the diffuser type that you like.

Diffuser Type Cheapest Model Expensive Model 
Nebulizing Diffuser Utama Spice Danau Satu Essential Oil Diffuser for $70 AromaTech AromaPro Essential Oil Diffuser With Santal Aroma Oil for $1100 
Ultrasonic Diffuser Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser 300 ml Wood Grain for $3 WENMENG Ultrasonic waterless diffuser for $332
Heating Diffuser Car Aroma Diffuser for $10 Bora Bora Gentle Heat Diffuser for $35 
Evaporative Oil Diffuser HOSSAIN Reed Diffuser Sticks for $5 (can be used with any jar of essential oil) AromaAllure Portable Mini Oil Diffuser for $24 

Apart from the initial outlay, there is also the ongoing costs of running and maintaining the diffuser.

Power Consumption And Electricity Bill  

Typically, diffusers require 12W of power and 0.5A to operate. These power ratings listed by the manufacturer are the maximum energy an electrical appliance consumes, and at this level, a diffuser will cost approx $0.0018 per hour. However, diffusers generally don’t run at max power.  

Most diffusers come with LED lights that add to the visual appeal. Turning on these lights can add about 0.1W to actual power consumption.  

Another factor that can influence your electricity bills is the condition of your diffuser. If the unit is dirty or clogged, the inflow or outflow of air is obstructed. Similarly, if any system component (like ultrasonic disc or heating element) is acting up, the diffuser will go under stress. This will cause the unit to overheat, which adds to the electricity bill. 

Note that, even when diffusers are turned off, they continue to draw electrical power if plugged in. 

If kept well-maintained, a diffuser does not cost more than 15 to 20 cents a month to run.  

Set Up Cost 

Diffusers are not complicated electrical appliances; you don’t need a professional to set them up (implying zero cost). Most diffusers are wired, and you just need to plug them into a power outlet to use.  

In comparison, the wireless diffusers come with batteries that must be charged before use. The charging and runtime of these diffusers vary for different models.  

Keep your diffuser in an open area, a few inches above the ground. This is crucial to ensure the essential oil evenly spreads throughout the room.  

If your diffuser has a water tank, fill it up to just below its max capacity with clean water, and add a few drops (10 to 15 in a 100mm tank) of essential oil to it. You may also blend different oils for an enhanced fragrance. Check if the tank is adequately sealed within the diffuser before turning it on.  

You will also need to adjust the controls of your diffuser. Again, the options vary for each model. Most modern diffusers allow the user to choose if they want a continuous stream of aroma or periodic spray. If the unit has LED lights, you’ll need to turn it on or off, based on your preference.  

Maintenance Cost 

Lastly, let’s talk about the maintenance cost. As we discussed, diffusers are not complex and thus easy to maintain. Regular and thorough cleaning is sufficient to keep your device up and running for a long time. 

Diffusers are placed in an open area, exposed to air containing dust, germs, and VOCs. They accumulate in the unit, forming clogs. During diffusion, some of the oil is also left behind as residue. This is collected over time and creates a hard deposit can be corrosive.  

Mineral scales are also an issue in diffusers that use water. Hard water is rich in minerals and salt; if you add hard water (or even tap water) to the tank, minerals form hardened clogs (scales) as the water is used up.  

Some diffusers (especially evaporative models) use filters to remove dust and debris from the incoming air. The filter pores have a specific capacity beyond which they cannot trap contaminants. These pollutants escape the filter and accumulate in the system if the filter is not cleaned. 

These deposits not only damage the diffuser components, but they interfere with it and stop it form working properly. This may also cause the device to overheat frequently. To prevent these issues, cleaning the diffuser every few days is critical. 

Here’s how to clean a diffuser: 

Water Tank 

  • Turn the appliance off and unplug it. 
  • Now drain the water tank. 
  • Add clean water to the tank, and drain it again.  
  • If you notice any scales or clogs in the tank, prepare a disinfecting white vinegar solution (1:1 parts vinegar and water), and fill half the tank with it. 
  • Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes before draining.  
  • Rinse the tank and then wipe the tank dry with a soft cloth.  
  • Follow the same procedure for the tank base.  

Make sure always to use demineralized, distilled water to prevent scales. Also, before using the vinegar solution, check if your user manual advises against it (as sometimes, vinegar and other acidic solutions can damage the diffuser walls). 

Oil Diffuser 

  • When the diffuser is empty, fill half of it with water. 
  • Drain the water, rinse and repeat a few times.  
  • Pick up a cotton swab or soft cloth and wipe the tank. 


  • Disassemble the diffuser, locate the filter and take it out. 
  • Use a cloth or a vacuum to clean it. 
  • If the filter appears swollen or too clogged, replace it. 


Wipe the external body of the diffuser with a dry cloth.  

Repair Cost 

If your diffuser is not working, the diffusion is slower than usual, or it frequently overheats, cleaning it thoroughly to remove any obstructions, refilling the water tank, and restarting the unit will mostly resolve the issue.  

In case of any internal component breaks, the diffuser wiring is damaged due to electrical issues (like a short circuit), or the battery stops working, you will need to call a technician to help with it. The repair cost depends on the diagnosis. This cost will obviously be reduced if your device has a warranty. 

We recommend consulting the customer service of your diffuser’s brand to get professional help.  Although depending on your type of diffuser, it may be cheaper to simply purchase a replacement diffuser.

Buying Guide For Diffusers 

Before buying a diffuser, here are the factors you should take into account: 

Type Of Diffuser 

The first and foremost thing you need to decide is the type of diffuser. Here’s a comparison of the pros and cons of each of the four types. 


  • Dissipates almost all the oil. 
  • Highly efficient and diffuses oil faster than other types.
  • Waterless.


  • Requires a lot of essential oil.
  • Can be loud.
  • Most expensive type.


  • It can humidify the room. 
  • It does not consume a lot of oil. 
  • Ideal for large rooms.


  • Not a good choice for humid areas.
  • Loud.
  • Dilutes the oil, diminishing the effects of aromatherapy.


  • Silent.
  • Cost-effective.


  • Heat might change the chemical properties of the essential oils.
  • Models with water tanks dilute the oil.


  • Inexpensive.
  • Does not dilute the oil.


  • Heavy components are dispensed later.
  • Ideal for only small rooms.
  • Loud.


The second factor you need to consider is the cost of the diffuser. Before deciding on a model, compare its features with other diffusers of the same price range, and choose the best of them. 

Room Size 

It is essential to compare the coverage that the diffuser provides to your room size. A diffuser should be able to dispense a high density of essential oil evenly in the room.  

The coverage and related details are usually mentioned in the user manual of each product.  

Type Of Essential Oil 

One of the most critical yet often ignored factors is the type of essential oil you intend to use in the diffuser. Oils vary in their viscosities, and the thicker ones might be more difficult to diffuse for some models. 

You should also check the chemical properties of each oil, as some might not be compatible with all diffusers. For example, citrus oils have acidic elements and can corrode components like the metallic ultrasonic disc. 

Go through the user manual to check any specific instructions for the oils or blends that you can and cannot use. 

Additional Features 

Additional features like LED, night lights, connectivity options, fan speed (for evaporative diffusers), and other versatile controls should be considered. These days, even at the lowest of prices, there are diffusers that allow you to have a personalized experience through various adjustable easy-to-navigate controls, and you don’t need to compromise on comfort.  


The next thing you should look at is the design of the appliance. Diffusers are generally placed in an open, visible area, so they should have an excellent design and color that blends with the room.  


These days we have online reviews posted for all products. Make sure to go through the ratings and customer feedback on the company website as well as other platforms to make an informed decision. 

Best Diffusers To Buy 

Here are the top three diffusers you can invest in: 

Homedics Aroma Diffuser

First, we have the Homedics Aroma Diffuser. This is an ultrasonic diffuser, which means that in addition to diffusing fragrances, it can also humidify the room.  

The reservoir can store up to 130 ml of water, which provides six hours of continuous runtime. Whereas when used intermittently, it can run for 12 hours. The ultrasonic mist can spread wide, making this device a suitable fit for small and mid-sized rooms.  

It comes with LED lights, which enhance the visuals of the room, especially in the dark. They are not very bright and can function as a night light. Once you switch the diffuser on, the LED switches automatically to different calming colors that promote relaxation and help with a good night’s sleep. 

When it comes to design, Homedics Aroma Diffuser has a sleek, symmetrical shape that blends in with all kinds of decor. It is also small, lightweight, and compact, and you can conveniently carry it around and even adjust it inside small luggage bags. 

One of the best things is that the package comes with two packets of essential oil (orange and eucalyptus) which you can blend for a comforting aroma.  

Pure Enrichment PureSpa Portable Car Diffuser

Pure Enrichment is one of the most trusted brands for domestic appliances, and their PureSpa Portable Car Diffuser is the first product on our list. 

It is an ultrasonic diffuser with a 50 ml water tank that not only ensures a fresh smell in your space but also improves the humidity levels for a comfortable environment. The ultrasonic technology creates a fine mist, dispersing the microparticles of essential oil and water evenly into the vehicle.  

This 50 ml tank has a four-hour runtime. What’s more is that once the water is fully consumed, the diffuser automatically shuts off to conserve energy. 

Its sleek, small and compact design perfectly fits in the car cup holders. Since it is lightweight and portable, you can carry it around to use anywhere, be it a room, dorm, or small office space. 

It comes with LEDs that can illuminate in eight different soothing colors. Users can decide if they want to alternate between each color or stick with one solid light. If you wish, you can also use the diffuser without turning on the light. 

Since this is a wireless device, it comes with a USB cable that you can plug in anywhere to charge the diffuser quickly. The package comes with a 5-year warranty, and along with the excellent customer service of the brand, this ensures that you are investing in the right thing.  

InnoGear Ultrasonic Essential Oil Diffuser 

InnoGear Essential Oil Diffuser has a huge customer base, thanks to its wonderful features and beautiful design. This is a palm-sized diffuser that can be placed in any small corner for long-lasting fragrance.  

It uses PP material to disperse a stream of cool mist. In a continuous mode, it can keep diffusing for about three to four hours or until the water runs out. Whereas, when set at an intermittent mode, it pauses every 30 seconds and lasts for six to eight hours. 

Once it runs out of water, it automatically shuts off to save energy. The LED lights can switch between seven pretty colors and can go from dim to bright, allowing you to have a relaxing environment of your liking.  

All-in-all, if you’re looking for a diffuser for mid-sized rooms, the InnoGear Ultrasonic Essential Oil Diffuser is definitely worth considering.  

Related Questions

What Are The Benefits Of A Diffuser? 

Diffusers are one of the most effective machines to help with aromatherapy. While other options like scent pads and air fresheners exist, diffusers last longer than either of them and often add to the room’s aesthetic appeal.  

Here are some of the benefits of essential oils that you can reap with the help of diffusers: 

Stress Relief: Aromatherapy is an excellent remedy for stress. Imaging studies show that olfaction (smell) and emotions are processed in the same centers of the brain. Essential oil fragrance manipulates the scientifically established connection between smell and mood to relieve stress.

Scents like chamomile, orange, and sandalwood can help with anxiety and depression.

Skin Rejuvenation: Essential oils like lavender have antibiotic and antiseptic properties that promote skin tissue repair, reduce wrinkles and fine lines, and rejuvenate skin. According to research, lavender also has wound healing properties. 

Help With Nausea and Vomiting: A recent study suggests that peppermint oil relaxes gastric muscles and prevents cramping, and improves the symptoms of nausea and vomiting.  

Antimicrobial Activity: Some essential oils like tea tree, rosemary, thyme, and white fir, have antimicrobial activity that enables them to kill germs like bacteria, viruses, and molds. This also allows them to prevent various infections.

Plentiful Air has a complete guide to essential oils with antibacterial and antifungal properties available here.

Are Diffusers Better Than Candles? 

If you are an aromatherapy enthusiast, you would know about scented candles. These candles use wax mixed with aromatic essential oils, and offer fresh fragrance when burned.  

Although diffusers and candles have the same function, the diffusers are a more cost-effective, safer, and long-lasting choice.  

Here are some of the reasons why diffusers are better than candles: 


While the bright orange candle flame is aesthetically appealing, it is a severe safety hazard. Candles cost approximately 15,600 accidents. A lot of materials around the house, like curtains and sofas, are combustible, which increases the risk of fire accidents. This becomes even more dangerous if you have kids or pets in the house.  

Other than this, candles can also release VOCs like formaldehyde, which can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat. 

In contrast, diffusers do not pose any safety risk. There is no open flame, or hot wax, which is why you can place them anywhere in the house.  

Cost Effective 

An average price range for scented candles ranges from $2 to $50. It can burn for about five to eight hours per ounce. Based on this, a mid-sized, 8-ounce candle used for three hours a day will last you less than a month. 

On the other hand, diffusers, at the same or a slightly higher price, can be used for months if kept well.  

Adjustable Controls 

Once you light up a candle wick, you cannot control how much fragrance it dissipates in the room. On the other hand, most diffusers allow the user to set a timer for a periodic spray of essential oil.  

Diffusers also have many additional features like illumination. The LED lights can light up in various blinking or solid colors. Some devices also offer Bluetooth connectivity and are compatible with WiFi /Alexa, which allows you to play music on it. WiFi connection may also enable you to control the diffuser remotely via smart devices.  

Extensive Coverage 

Diffusers provide more extensive coverage than candles. By creating mist/vapors, diffusers evenly spread the scent into the room and beyond. In contrast, a candle may not even cover the whole room.  

Long Lasting Fragrance 

Diffusers emit a constant, continuous stream of scent, whereas candles cannot maintain a steady fragrant flow all day long.  

Theresa Orr

Theresa Orr holds a PhD in Earth Science and specializes in determining past climates from rocks using geochemistry. Her passion for clean water, soil and air drives her to provide easy to understand information for everyone to read.

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