Ultrasonic and Nebulizer Diffusers Compared – What is Your Choice?

Last Updated on November 11, 2022 by Brenda

Essential Oil DiffusersAre you interested in purchasing an essential oil diffuser for your favorite essential oils but don’t know which type of diffuser you should buy? Do you want to know how they work, and the pros and cons of each type, so that you can make the right choice? When you read this, you will be informed with data and information, pictures and graphics, to help you understand better. You will be able to save money and time by having us do the research for you!

What is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is when the diffuser sends the aroma and healing properties of the 100% pure essential oils into the air you breathe. Inhaling the oils connect you to the life force or the essence of the plant, and that connects to the life force within you—your essence, your spirit energy. The diffuser is the method for dispersing the mist into the air to permeate and balance your energies.

What Is an Essential Oil Diffuser and How Does it Work?

Essential oil diffusers used for aromatherapy are small devices for sending the mist of the pure oils into your environment. They can also be used without oils as a small humidifier for a sick baby or child, or maybe yourself. Electric diffusers are easy to use and maintain, being valuable for misting the healing elements of essential oils. You need an essential oil diffuser to put the aroma or scent and the properties of the oils into the air you breathe in. Sometimes you might not want a scent, just a little humidity only, and these units do that too.

The two main types of cool-mist diffusers are: Nebulizer and ultrasonic.

How an Ultrasonic Diffuser Works

Ultrasonic diffusers use electrical current that causes the ceramic disc inside the tank to vibrate. This will create micro-particles of the essential oils into the air that you breathe. No heat is used and you add 6 to 10 drops of your essential oils on top of the water. It is the most popular type of essential oil diffuser used today. Nebulizer diffusers use no water and only pure essential oils.

Using high frequencies, the unit separates the essential oils into small particles producing a micro-mist that is circulated into the atmosphere in your room area. Negative ions are released that give you a sense of well-being, mood is uplifted, and stress is lessened. The mist stays in the room environment for many hours depending on how long you set the timer for on the unit.

The inside components are the ceramic disc, the water reservoir tank, circuit board, cover, air intake tube and nozzle releasing the mist; the outside has the LED lights button for different colors and button to control the mist level. Plug in the power cord, turn on, and enjoy.

The Process for How an Ultrasonic Diffuser Works

  1. By using the electrical frequencies, the small disk under the water creates ultrasonic sound waves that gently shakes the water to vibrate at a fast speed.
  2. The vibrations break up the essential oils into micro-particles sending the oil with the water into a fine mist that are negatively charged.
  3. The water with oil particles are the mist you see for aromatherapy and health benefits.
  4. The misting cycle will repeat until the water with oil has been used up completely.
How does an ultrasonic diffuser work?

Ultrasonic diffusers double up as small humidifiers in wintertime. This is a great advantage for this type of diffuser.

How a Nebulizer Diffuser Works ?

The nebulizer diffusers typically have a wood base to hold the glass components on top where the essential oils are placed. Some units have a space in the base to attach a screw-on bottle for the oils.

Both are wonderful having a tube and fan to mist the oil into the air. If you want to change your oil flavor, simply remove the oil bottle, if you have that style, or clean the glass parts then add your new fragrance. If you want a mild blend, don’t clean the glass and just add the new oil.

Components of Nebulizer Diffuser

As pictured above, going from the top to the bottom of the base, the nebulizer diffuser components are:

  • The glass cap where the mist comes out;
  • The glass reservoir when you pour your oil;
  • The micro-tube providing the pressurized air flow;
  • The micro-tube taking up the essential oil;
  • The air pump tube;
  • The base housing the electronics circuit board for input power, touchable light switch, and misting amount output control;
  • The base is typically made of natural hardwood; ceramic, porcelain, or stainless-steel;
  • The air pump for pushing the essential oil up the tubes and into the air; and
  • Silencing foam for the fan to run whisper-quiet at the base bottom.

With a nebulizer diffuser, it will atomize and mist aroma into the air without water added to the tank as with an ultrasonic diffuser. You will have the concentrated pure essential oils not diluted with water using a nebulizer.

For your enjoyment with oils from Mother Nature, use a no watered-down version of the plant essence for health and a heavenly fragrance. When you don’t use water, you will never have condensation or white flakes.

This might be scientifically boring and interesting, but here goes.

Silently working, the nebulizers use the Bernoulli Principle meaning the unit uses an air pump for delivering compressed air through its air pump tube on to the nozzle tube at the top. A spurt of air blows across the nozzle tube creating a vacuum that sucks up the essential oil from the bottom of the essential oil feed tub to the top of the oil feed tube. The oil hits the inner surface of the glass in the nebulizer, and voila, you have a mist.

How does a nebulizer diffuser work?

Nebulizer and Ultrasonic Diffusers Compared: ?

The Shared Points

  • Both types of diffusers are cool-mist and do not put out heat.
  • Both types of diffusers use the same amount of energy, less than a 20-Watt light bulb. That’s about 10-cents a month!

The Differences

Which Type of Essential Oil Diffuser Is Right for Your Needs?

What Ultrasonic Diffusers are Best for

  • When you have a tight budget and have just started using essential oils.
  • Saving money on buying essential oils.
  • You if you are only interested in scenting your home naturally, and as a humidifier, adding moisture to the room, use this ultrasonic type.
  • When you have young children, an elderly person, or pets in your home when a strong concentration may not be suitable.

What Nebulizer Diffusers are Best for

  • People who use essential oils for their health and well-being, whether physical or mental, or for those who practice aromatherapy.
  • People who don’t want their essential oils to contact plastic.
  • People who don’t mind using extra oils to address their complaints.

The nebulizer type is the kind of diffuser to purchase, because it can put a large amount and concentration of undiluted pure essential oil into the air immediately.

A nebulizer diffuser may be right for you if you are trying to prevent, reduce or eliminate colds, sinusitis, the flu, as well as stress, anxiety, emotional imbalance and more. Ultrasonic diffusers can do the job too, but since nebulizer diffusers use pure, undiluted essential oil, they are usually considered the best choice for the more acute conditions.

What’s My Choice?

My general rule of thumb is to use an ultrasonic diffuser most of the time, and the nebulizer diffuser when I am trying to address a specific concern, like an illness or headache.

If you have just started to use essential oils in your life, you can purchase and use the affordable ultrasonic diffuser first. You can apply a few drops of essential oils for illness or headache purposes, topically or by inhalation, without using a diffuser.

When you are ready to purchase a more expensive nebulizer diffuser, you can then purchase the one that you want because there are so many beautiful styles, shapes, colors, sizes, and materials to choose from.


Welcome to my blog! I am Brenda Star and I am a true believer that Nature is fascinating and enchanting. The history of herbs and their uses are captivating. I have always wondered how did the ancient people know—how did they come to understand what a plant would do. They did not experiment in a lab because those technologies did not exist. That wisdom will always be a mystery to me. More about me...

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