Nebulizer vs Ultrasonic Diffuser – What’s The Difference?

February 13, 2018 Anna 6 Comments

Essential oil diffusers are great for the home, office, or any other space for the matter. Evaporating essential oils help to purify the surrounding air, reduce dust and allergens, boosts the mood, and creates an aromatic and therapeutic environment that makes a difference for one’s health and well-being.

Those of you that have an essential oil diffuser, probably love using it, and will never go back to those unnatural, chemically – based air fresheners. For those of you that are looking into getting your first (or even second) diffuser, are probably looking at different types/brands of diffusers. Aside from evaporative or heat diffusers (which usually use candle burners), one of the most common diffuser out there today, is the essential oil ultrasonic diffuser. But, have you heard of nebulizing essential oil diffusers? So what’s the difference between the nebulizer and the ultrasonic diffuser? We are going to take a look at how each one works, and which one may be more effective/ideal for your space.

How The Nebulizer works

The essential oil nebulizer diffuser is quite an innovative device that uses the Bernoulli principle, a theorem of fluid dynamics, which atomizes (forces the breakdown of essential oils into very tiny particles), blowing/diffusing them into the air, by high velocity air pressure. Nebulizing diffusers are considered to be the most effective diffusers. They release a much more potent vapor than the ultrasonic diffusers, since they diffuse oils in their purest form (without dilution), thus creating a more intense aromatic experience, dispersing the scent over a larger area. Even though the essential oils are used up quicker (since they are not being diluted) you only need to run the nebulizer for about 30 minutes at a time. The vapor that is released, is enough to concentrate the space very quickly in that time (also purifying the air), as well as create a lingering aroma for quite a while after shut-off.

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Pros for the nebulizer diffuser

  • No water used
  • Does not use heat
  • Maximum output of pure essential oils
  • Disperses oils quickly and effectively
  • Aroma can cover a large square footage
  • Uses the same amount of energy as ultrasonic diffusers
  • Oils do not come in contact with plastic – the reservoir is glass



  • Some brands are louder than the ultrasonic diffusers
  • A bit pricier than ultrasonic diffusers
  • Does not humidify or ionize
  • May use up your oils quicker with no dilution

The Ultrasonic Diffuser

The most common diffuser – ultrasonic diffuser, uses water, with the addition of the essential oils. The vibrations from the ultrasonic waves of energy cause the water molecules to separate, creating a water vapor that is released from the diffuser. The diffuser functions as an ionizer which releases negative ions in the air, that combat the harmful positive ions. Alongside of purifying the air and creating aroma, the ultrasonic diffuser also acts as a humidifier, bringing more moisture to the surrounding air which can be beneficial for cold winter months, or dry climates, respiratory issues or skin conditions. Since the essential oils are diluted with water, the released fragrance is not a strong (and this may be preferred for some), although you can leave the diffuser running for up to a few hours (in the appropriate space).

Pros for the ultrasonic diffuser

  • Does not use heat
  • Humidifies and ionizes the air
  • Essential oils last longer since they are diluted with water
  • Uses same amount of energy as nebulizers
  • Disperses oils quickly
  • Aroma is less intense (for those that prefer)
  • More “night-light” options with some



  • Some ultrasonic diffusers are noisier than other brands/some nebulizers
  • Some brands are expensive
  • Oils are diluted with water
  • Does not always put out sufficient fragrance, depending on the space



Whether this has helped you decide what kind of diffuser you want to get or not, the nebulizer essential oil diffuser or the ultrasonic diffuser are both good options that will give therapeutic benefit, purify the air and uplift your mood. Although the nebulizer is considered to be the better option since it outputs straight, pure essential oils with maximized benefits. Although, it also depends on what a person is looking for, and what they want out of a diffuser. You can also check out a few different  nebulizing diffuser reviews and ultrasonic diffuser reviews.

Please leave any comments or questions down below.






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6 People reacted on this

    1. Hi Vishwanath,

      Yes most of them have a power supply, although some are wireless and run off battery, which can be convenient if you want to take travelling with you, or easily move to a different space.

  1. Hi Anna!
    I had no idea such thing as a nebulizer even existed. There are many days throughout my week that I can think I’d want to use one to better emit an essential oil aroma. I have several ultrasonic diffusers myself; I never go to bed without it on because it helps me breathe better when I sleep (because of the humidity) and the aromatherapy is a plus.

    I am curious about the nebulizer, though. In theory, you could probably dilute the oils in it with a dilutant oil, like jojoba or grapeseed oil, and it wouldn’t harm it, right? I am only wondering because certain essential oils are stronger than others, and I am also wondering if it would help prolong the output of the oil and obviously conserve my oils for longer. What do you think?

    1. Hi Kelsey!

      I didn’t really know about nebulizers either, until recently..they are quite interesting! I have a couple ultrasonic diffusers and enjoy using them, although now i’m possibly considering the nebulizer 🙂

      And as for mixing carrier oils with the pure oils – it should never be done, because those thicker oils can’t atomize
      and they may clog up or damage the inside of the diffuser. Pure, straight essential oils can only be used. I’m thinking maybe put less drops of oil…Then again the nebulizer only should run for a short amount of time, so with that, the oils will not be used as quickly. Hope that helps!

  2. Anna, thank you for this article, it certainly helps me understand the difference between the diffusers. I have the ultrasonic one from Young Living and do enjoy it. – Shirley

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