Essential Oil Burner VS. Diffuser Explained: Which is Right for You?

  • By: Kevin
  • Date: May 26, 2023
  • Time to read: 8 min.
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Essential oil burner vs. diffuser is a regular question I get as an aromatherapy expert. Many people find that using a burner or diffuser to disperse essential oils into the air creates a more relaxing ambiance. Which of these two should you buy, and what’s the difference between them?

In terms of functionality, an essential oil burner stands in stark contrast to a diffuser. The oil is evaporated by the burner’s heat, and the fragrance is dispersed through the air by the diffuser’s ultrasonic energy. Other distinctions include issues of security, durability, attractiveness, serviceability, price, and breadth of protection.

Here, I’ll break down the main distinctions between diffusers and essential oil burners so you can make an informed decision.

What is an Essential Oil Burner?

It is prudent to know what each is before examining the distinctions between them. Using an essential oil burner is the simplest and least time-consuming method for diffusing essential oils in the home.

Evaporating essential oils is what oil burners are for, as the name says. Essential oils are typically heated with a candle, which is the most frequent method.

A small bowl or dish serves as the burner in this setup. A few drops of essential oil will be placed in the bowl, and the candle will be used to gently heat the oil until it evaporates. It will leave the room smelling like the essential oil you choose as it evaporates.

What is an Essential Oil Diffuser?

A diffuser is a machine that reduces the oil’s molecules in size. Then, it releases these molecules into the air to produce a soothing or pleasant aroma. Diffusers are used to scatter particles into the air so that they form a concentration that is gentle on the lungs.

Fill the tank with water as directed by the manufacturer for optimal diffuser performance. The next step is to add two to five drops of your preferred essential oil.

The diffuser will release the oils into the air using ultrasonic waves generated by the vibration of a plate. Micron-sized oil particles are formed by the waves and then released into the atmosphere.

Key Differences Between Essential Oil Burners and Diffusers

Assuming you are aware of what they are, the following is a thorough explanation of how they differ:

Mode of Operation

That right there is the most glaring distinction between the two. Diffusers atomize the oil into tiny enough droplets to float through the air, further dispersing the aroma.

When utilizing the burner, the oil must be heated with a candle. The oil won’t burn. It’ll just evaporate, leaving behind the scent of your choice.


The different approaches also range in terms of their level of safety. The effectiveness of these procedures is what needs to be examined when evaluating their security. Diffusers are preferable to burners since they don’t employ fire or heat to disperse the particles.

But candles are what are used in oil burners. Ceramic burners present a fire hazard and should not be left unattended. Though the risk of fire is low, it is nevertheless important to use caution when using burners in a home with children or pets.

Length Of Use

The burners use candles. Thus, they will operate for the duration of the candle. These candles often only last a short time because they burn out so quickly.

Diffusers last longer because they don’t need candles or fuel to operate. You must constantly be filling the tank with water and essential oil drops.


To ensure your burner or diffuser serves you for a long time, you should ensure it is properly maintained. However, maintaining diffusers is easier than the burner. For diffusers, you need to change the water and essential oil. 

This is not too much work when you compare it with the burner, where you will need to regularly change the candle and clean it because of the molten wax and soot build-up.

Ease Of Use

Both techniques are simple to use, but diffusers are the simplest because all you have to do is put water and oil in the diffuser and turn it on. You will need to monitor the burner and replace the candle as needed on a frequent basis.


Diffusers cover a broader area than burners and have a tendency to distribute essential oils more evenly. They are, therefore, perfect for filling rooms like your living room and bedroom with aroma. On the other hand, larger spaces are not appropriate for oil burners. They are perfect for a bathroom or office setup.


Ceramic burners are the most common to find. They are easily available and at a lower price. However, recently diffusers have dissected the market, and you can now find them in major home improvement stores and online retailers.


As discussed earlier, diffusers last longer and are more effective than oil burners. These features make them more expensive than burners.

The initial cost of the burners is less than that of diffusers, but maintenance costs may make it spike, for example, when you have to keep replacing the candles regularly.


This is another factor to think about when contrasting the two methods. Candles in the burners make for a romantic setting. Particularly true when the light level is low and the warmth of the flame may be felt.

Similarities Between Oil Burners and Diffusers

Now that you know the differences between these two, let me go through some similarities they offer:

  • They are easy to use.
  • Easily available.
  • There are many decors and styles to choose from.
  • In both, you use water and essential oil.
  • They are used to freshen the air.
  • They diffuse essential oils.

Tips For Using Oil Burners Safely

Oil burners are dangerous, and I stress this throughout the article. Do not leave it alone, especially in the presence of kids or dogs. Some safety precautions for using these burners are listed below.

  • Maintain a low temperature.
  • Make sure you sniff out the candle on time.
  • Do not use it for more than 40 minutes.
  • Clean the burner after use.

Which One Should You Buy

In the end, it will come down to what you prefer. There are good points and bad points to both options. Several things should be kept in mind while making that choice:


Oil burners are a better choice if you’re trying to save money. Remember, though, that the burners require monthly maintenance, so you won’t simply be paying for the units themselves.

Candles are a necessary expense because they burn out quickly and must be replaced frequently.


If you have children and pets, diffusers are the best option for you. They’re safer than when you’re using burners.


To effectively cover a big area, a diffuser is your best bet. Burners will function, though, if the region is quite limited.

Diffusers are a better option than burners because of their efficiency and other benefits. Before settling on a final option, you should give careful thought to all of your available options.

Essential Oil Burner vs. Diffuser FAQs

Final Thoughts

There are significant functional, safety, efficiency, and upkeep distinctions between a diffuser and an oil burner. Essential oils can be used in a variety of ways, but diffusers are the best option if you’re looking for a safe and efficient method.

Oil burners, however, are more readily available and inexpensive. I’m glad you took the time to read this. Thank you.

Please be careful and use at your own risk
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