diffusing humidifier next to succulent in small grey pot

Home appliances can be expensive, so it’s wise to choose products that provide multiple functions, like an air fryer and convection oven, or a vacuum that also mops. The possibilities seem endless, but is a diffuser a humidifier? We have the scoop on these possibilities.

Aromatherapy has a long history of use in traditional medicine and modern research even supports its efficacy in some cases. Whether you’re using essential oils for their therapeutic benefits or simply to enjoy the aroma, a diffuser is one of the best ways to do it. Most families find health and comfort benefits from using humidifiers and they’re becoming more and more popular themselves. The concept of both sound similar and it seems like such a perfect duo to combine.

In this guide, we’ll cover the basics of what humidifiers and diffusers do. We’ll talk about how two-in-one products work and provide examples of products we recommend. 

What is a Humidifier? 

The term humidity refers to the amount of moisture in the air. The ideal humidity for your home is between 30% and 50% measured as relative humidity. 

Absolute humidity refers to the amount of water vapor present in the air while relative humidity refers to the density of water vapor relative to the temperature. Higher temperatures reduce the capacity of the air to hold moisture, so relative humidity drops as well. As air gets colder, it holds more moisture which increases the relative humidity.

A humidifier is a device that increases the absolute humidity in your home. It releases water vapor into the air through various means. 

Vaporizers, or warm mist humidifiers, use heat to turn water into steam. Evaporators create vapor by blowing air over evaporating water. An impeller humidifier uses rotating disks to vaporize water while an ultrasonic humidifier uses vibration. 

What is a Diffuser? 

In the same way a humidifier releases water vapor into the air, a diffuser releases molecules broken down from essential oils. Depending on the type of essential oil used, this can provide various benefits. Lavender essential oil, for example, has calming properties and may help to relieve stress and anxiety. 

It’s a diffuser’s job to break down essential oils into smaller particles and disperse them evenly into the air. Diffusers maintain a comfortable concentration of essential oils in the air so you can breathe them easily without the smell becoming overwhelming. 

There are four main types of essential oil diffusers: 

  • Nebulizing Diffusers – This type of diffuser uses pressurized air to turn oil into mist. It pulls oil into a distributing tube to release a burst of essential oil into the air. 
  • Ultrasonic Diffusers – Like ultrasonic humidifiers, these diffusers use vibration to create a mist. Essential oils need to be diluted with water for the device to work properly. 
  • Evaporative Diffusers – This type of humidifier uses a small fan to turn the oil into a gas which can then be dispersed into the air. 
  • Electric Diffusers – These diffusers use heat to disperse the oil. Some use electricity but you can also find candle diffusers and lamp ring diffusers. 

In addition to releasing essential oil into the air, some diffusers have special features. Some offer ambient lighting or sound and, depending on their design, some can double as decoration for your space. Many diffusers are equipped with an automatic shut-of for safety purposes. 

Is a Diffuser a Humidifier? 

A diffuser is not a humidifier but a humidifier can potentially be used as a diffuser. Again, diffusers release essential oil into the air while humidifiers disperse moisture. 

Ultrasonic, evaporative, and heat-based diffusers use water to turn the essential oil into mist, but not to any significant degree. However, they typically have small tanks, so they may only be effective in very small spaces. Humidifiers are much more effective for this purpose. 

Why Do People Ask Is a Diffuser a Humidifier?

That being said, some humidifiers can be used as essential oil diffusers. You can add essential oil to the water tank to disperse the aroma, but doing so could damage your device over time. If you plan to use your humidifier as a diffuser, be sure to choose a compatible model that was designed for that purpose. 

Top Picks

If you’re looking for a solution to low indoor humidity a humidifier can help. While you’re shopping, you may want to consider a model that doubles as a diffuser for essential oils. We recommend the following 3 products: 

raydrop Cool Mist Humidifier Diffuser

Is a Diffuser a Humidifier 

This ultrasonic humidifier has a 2.5 liter capacity capable of humidifying small to medium sized spaces. It has a sleek modern design with a transparent water tank so you can check the water level at a glance. 

The raydrop cool mist humidifier features a top-fill design which makes it easy to maintain and even easier to clean. Simply remove the top then rinse and wipe the tank clean. To enjoy gentle aromatherapy, just add a few drops of essential oil to the water tank. 

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GENIANI Top Fill Cool Mist Humidifier & Essential Oil Diffuser 

Is a Diffuser a Humidifier 

This ultrasonic humidifier comes with a generously sized 4-liter water tank which humidifies spaces up to 220 square feet. It features a top-fill design with two easy ways to fill the tank. Remove the lid entirely or pour water directly into the hole in the lid. 

The GENIANI top-fill humidifier doubles as an essential oil diffuser – all you have to do is add a few drops of your favorite oil to the water tank. This model runs quietly at just 38 dB and has a built-in intelligent sensor that monitors humidity levels and adjusts automatically.

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LEVOIT Humidifier with Essential Oil Diffuser 

Is a Diffuser a Humidifier 

LEVOIT is a well-known name in small home appliances and this humidifier is a great option. It features a 3-liter water tank that runs up to 25 hours but also comes in a larger 4-liter smart model that enables you to set custom schedules or activate Auto Mode. 

This humidifier has a convenient top-fill design and offers simple operation with a knob control. You can direct the mist using the 360-degree nozzle, humidifying spaces up to 290 square feet. This model operates at just 28dB and the cool mist design is safe for babies and children. 

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Is a Diffuser a Humidifier? Bottom Line

To put it simply, a diffuser is designed to release essential oil into the air while a humidifier releases water vapor. While diffusers don’t function as humidifiers, some humidifiers on the market can be used as diffusers. 

If you’re a fan of aromatherapy, you might want to consider one of the four recommended products above when shopping for a humidifier.