Oil Diffusers Vs Scented Candles (Which Is Better?)

There are many options when it comes to adding a scent to your home. In the past, you didn’t have much choice between a scented candle and potpourri. Nowadays, thankfully, there are lots more options and the ranges are increasing year on year. When you have so many different options, it can be hard to choose what’s best. A lot of the time, it’s simply down to your own preference. But, which is better between an oil diffuser and a candle?

The short answer is that both have their benefits depending on what you want and who is using them. An oil diffuser is great if you have pets or children and want to avoid naked flames, and it can also be used to help when you’ve got the sniffles. A scented candle, on the other hand, is great for creating a romantic atmosphere as well as a delicious scent and relaxational enviroment. 

Let’s compare them both in more detail. 

A photo of 4 scented candles with an oil diffuser next to them
Choosing which is the best between an oil diffuser and a scented candle is difficult when both have benefits and negatives.

What is an oil diffuser?

This is a broad term used to describe a few different types of devices. Essentially, they all have the same purpose – to emit particles of essential oil into the air, but they all work in different ways. Most oil diffusers don’t work on heat because it is widely believed that heating an essential oil can change its chemical composition. Let’s look at the different oil diffuser types.

If you would like to see what an oil diffuser looks like check out this one on Amazon.

Evaporate Diffusers

These oil diffusers work by evaporation, as the name suggests. Some devices use a fan that helps to speed up the process of evaporation. Other evaporate diffusers use reeds with a little water to help the oils evaporate.

Ultrasonic Diffusers

With this type of oil diffuser, there is a small basin containing essential oils and water. There is a metal disc at the bottom, which sends ultrasonic waves through the water. This causes a mist of oils and water to go into the room and fragrance it. 

Heat Diffusers

This is the only type of diffuser to use heat. The oil’s scent will rise into the air as it is carried by steam. Though head can offset oil’s advantages, it does help to spread to scent wider more quickly.

Nebulizer Diffuser

These are often thought to be the best types of oil diffusers because they don’t need water or heat. Instead, pressurized air creates a mist as it’s pushed through a tube and the oil is dispersed in the mist.

Benefits of oil diffusers

There are many advantages of oil diffusers. The biggest advantage is that an oil diffuser is designed to be used with an essential oil. Because of this, you can choose essential oils that are known to help with problems like insomnia, poor concentration, congestion, headaches, colds, and flu. 

Other benefits of oil diffusers:- Battery or electrically operated – no naked flames- They’re a vehicle for essential oils and their benefits- You can get them with lighting options – There is no waste (like wax or glass jars)- They are aesthetically pleasing – They smell good

What are scented candles?

Most people are more familiar with scented candles than they are oil diffusers. That said, for those who don’t know, a scented candle is made from wax and has fragrance oils or essential oils within the wax to create a scent. Typically, scented candles are made from paraffin wax but more and more people are searching for more natural alternatives and so soy wax, beeswax, and palm wax candles are becoming increasingly popular.  To learn why we are better off using the latter waxes have a read of this guide.

When candles are scented with essential oils, they have all of the benefits that essential oils bring. However, fragrance oils are synthetic compounds that simply smell good and don’t have any extra properties like essential oils. Scented candles are typically sold in glass jars. To learn more about the difference between the two oil types check out this article that I wrote

Benefits of scented candles- There is no need for an electrical outlet to be nearby- You don’t need to replace the batteries- They create a romantic, cozy atmosphere- The gentle flickering is mesmerizing- They make your room smell great

Check out these scented candles if you crave some ultimate relaxation time or a romantic meal.

Negatives of oil diffusers

The different types of oil diffusers will have different downsides. Firstly, oil diffusers often have a fragrance that is less intense and it’s rare for them to scent a large room fully. What’s more, if you’re using an oil diffuser that requires water, this can be a chore to remember to fill up. 

Even though the lack of naked flame makes them safer for children and pets, they can still be dangerous if their oils are ingested or if they use heat to diffuse the oil. 

Negatives of scented candles

With a scented candle, the result you get really depends on the candle’s ingredients and how it’s made. Synthetic fragrances in paraffin candles often smell stronger but they’re not nearly as good for you or the environment. 

If you use a paraffin wax candle, you’re also risking your exposure to carcinogens, especially if you light a scented candle for a prolonged period of time each day. 

What’s more, having a naked flame automatically makes a scented candle much more dangerous if you have pets or children at home, or if you leave a candle unattended by accident if say, you fall asleep on the sofa. 

Which is better for your home oil diffuser or scented candle?

Deciding which is better really depends on what you like and your situation. If you want to avoid naked flames, an oil diffuser is a no-brainer. Even if it gets knocked over, you won’t have broken glass or hot wax everywhere. But if you don’t have pets or children and don’t burn paraffin candles all day long, you’ll probably prefer a scented candle.

In the majority of cases, a scented candle might not be as practical as a diffuser. For someone wanting to have essential oils to help them sleep, it would be dangerous to burn a scented candle in case you did fall asleep before blowing it out. An oil diffuser, on the other hand, is a safe way to get all the benefits of essential oils – especially ones that you use to help with sleep problems like insomnia – and you don’t have to worry about naked flames. 

In terms of costs, you’ll likely pay more for an oil diffuser, which is something to bear in mind. Candles are often much cheaper but they will be more expensive if you choose a natural wax candle that has been scented with pure essential oils. 


When you look at scenting your home, you have so many choices and oil diffusers and scented candles are just two of them. For someone wanting the benefits of pure essential oils dispersing in the air, an oil diffuser is certainly the best choice. If you think you’d miss the romantic glow of a scented candle, you know which choice to make. 

Andrew Scents and Aroma