Is A Diffuser Also A Humidifier?

You might be interested in getting a small diffuser, designed to diffuse essential oils into the air. They are great because when certain essential oils are released into the air they can have quite a few benefits.

These diffusers are known for helping to relax the body and mind, to aid in sleep, and even to relieve respiratory issues.

However, there seems to be a bit of confusion in terms of what a diffuser is and what it does. Is a diffuser also a humidifier? Do they also release steam into a home and humidify the air? Are there notable similarities and differences between the two? These are all questions we are here to discuss.

What is a Diffuser?

A diffuser is a device designed to hold essential oils. Essential oils, just small amounts, are usually mixed with water. That water and oil is then sent airborne and is allowed to disperse into the air.

Essential oils are known to have various benefits, with some oils having specific benefits, such as calming and relaxing effects on the mind and body. Diffusers tend to be extremely small and portable, small enough to fit on a nightstand, and they are usually quite silent and energy-efficient.

What is interesting to note about diffusers is that just like humidifiers, they come in various types, 4 to be exact. There are evaporative diffusers, heat diffusers, nebulizing diffusers, and ultrasonic diffusers. Some of these use heat, and some do not. We will touch more on this later on when we look at the main similarities and differences between diffusers and humidifiers.

What is a Humidifier?

A humidifier, as the name implies, is designed solely for humidification purposes. These use special methods to create mist, which is then dispersed into a room.

This is their sole purpose, with the aim of increasing the humidity level in a given space. The purpose of these is to help relieve dry eyes, dry throats, dry coughs, various respiratory issues, and dry skin too.

Humidifiers can also come in different types —warm mist and cool mist humidifiers. Cool mist humidifiers also come as ultrasonic cool mist humidifiers and evaporative humidifiers.

Diffusers and Humidifiers: Similarities and Differences


At the very least, both of these devices need a power source. They may use AC power right from a plug or they might use batteries.

Both humidifiers and diffusers are designed to release a certain substance into the air, whether it be pure moisture, essential oils, or a mixture of both.

You can find diffusers that use heat to disperse their essential oils and you can also find warm or steam humidifiers. Moreover, there are also cool air diffusers and cool humidifiers, and they can be evaporative or ultrasonic. Although the devices have different main purposes, they can still work using the same methods.

There are some humidifiers which allow for essential oils to be mixed in with the water, although these are quite rare and can be costly as well.


The main purpose of these two devices is different. Humidifiers are designed solely to increase and regulate humidity levels in a given space. On the other hand, diffusers are designed primarily to diffuse essential oils into the air.

The diffusion of essential oils, while the oils can have some physical benefits, particularly for respiratory issues, are primarily designed for mental well-being, to produce a sensation of calm and relaxation. However, the purpose of a humidifier is much more physical than it is mental, such as with a diffuser. Humidifiers are all about regulating humidity and relieving respiratory issues, dry skin, dry eyes, sinus congestion, and more.

Although there are some humidifiers which allow for essential oils to be mixed in, this is usually not the case. On that same note, while some diffusers can double as humidifiers, they do not release nearly as much moisture into the air, only being ideal for fairly small spaces.

There are both larger and smaller humidifiers and diffusers, but humidifiers are usually always larger. Simply put, they tend to use a lot more energy than diffusers. Moreover, humidifiers take up a lot more space; they can be quite large and chunky, especially if you get one with a large water tank, whereas diffusers are usually small enough to fit on a nightstand or similar space.

Keep in mind that nebulizing diffusers don’t actually use water at all. This is the only type of diffuser that does not use water, so it is a notable point.

Although some diffusers use air fans to disperse their essential oils, and while some humidifiers use a fan to disperse the moisture, due to the size difference between the two, a humidifier will usually always be the noisier one.


If you want something small and practical that does not make much noise or use lots of energy, and you want something that has aromatherapy benefits, a diffuser is your best choice. However, if humidity regulation is your primary goal, a humidifier is what you want to go for.

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