Difference Between a Humidifier and a Diffuser

It is very essential in life to keep our surroundings and the atmosphere calm and composed. People often get confused between a humidifier and a diffuser. Which one to use and when to use it. Both have different purposes. It is easy to get confused between the two. Because both have a lot of similarities, and sometimes a humidifier is very similar to a diffuser. For therapeutic purposes, the diffuser is used. Both are different in their design, making them distinguishable from each other.

Humidifier vs Diffuser

The main difference between a humidifier and a diffuser is that humidifiers are large devices that are used for maintaining and increasing the humidity in the air. While diffuser are small devices that are used with essential oil and it adds fragrance to the room. A water tank of the humidifier is larger, and it can store 1 gallon of water, while the water tank of a diffuser is very small.

Humidifier vs Diffuser 1

A Humidifier is an electrical device that is used to increase humidity either in a building or in a room. Humidifiers are very common in medical facilities like ventilators to increase the comfort of a patient. They are very large. In a house or building, they may be connected to an HVAC system. Humidifiers are used in areas where humidity is very low, like in a hot, dry climate. During winters, when there is cold air outside, the humidity level can drop up to 10 to 20%. It can adversely affect health.

A Diffuser, also called Aroma Lamps, are used with essential oil to dispense the fragrance or aroma in the air. It is used for esoterics and aromatherapy. Diffusers heat the oil by projecting it in air, then oil evaporates naturally, or it is nebulized or compressed using ultrasonics. There is a lot of diffusers like Nebulizer, evaporative diffuser, heat diffuser and ultrasonic diffuser. Depending on the oil used in a diffuser, the mist which gets absorbed in the skin provides a soothing effect to the mind and body.

Comparison Table Between a Humidifier and a Diffuser

Parameters of ComparisonHumidifierDiffuser
PurposeAdds humidity in the airAdds aroma in the air
TypesCentral, steam, Ultrasonic, Evaporators, etc.Reed, Fan-style, Heat, Evaporative, Electrical, ultrasonic, etc. 
SizeIts water tank holds 1 gallon of water.Its water tank holds a cup of water.
MethodUses water to raise humidity.Uses water to diffuse the oil.
BenefitRelieves dry air discomforts.Provides esoterics and aromatherapy. 

What is a Humidifier?

A Humidifier is used by people who live in a dry climate and cold weather and where the humidity level is very low. It also helps to maintain the moisture in the room. Humidifiers are very essential for those individuals who suffer from various problems during dry weather like nosebleeding, dry skin, snoring etc. all these can be resolved with the help of a humidifier. During cold weather, it is used for the treatment of sinus congestion, flu and cold.

According to research, the humidity level of your home should be within 30 to 50%. There are some disadvantages also of a humidifier, like every humidifier is not suited for the essential oil because it may damage the plastic components of a device. To get better results from a humidifier, it should be cleaned constantly, and maintenance is a must. Settings of a humidifier should be correct because incorrect settings may increase the level of humidity of the room. While using warm mist humidifiers, it should be kept out of reach of pets and children.

Humidifiers are very large and used in many places like commercially, industrially, in institutions, in medical etc. Industrial humidifiers are used to maintain a certain amount of moisture to preserve material properties, static electricity buildup and ensure a comfortable and healthy environment for workers. A portable humidifier can range from a small tabletop appliance to a large mounted device. It consists of a water tank, and water is filled manually periodically. Four popular types of humidifiers include warm mist, evaporative, impeller, and ultrasonic.

What is a Diffuser?

A Diffuser is used with essential oil. It is used to fresh the atmosphere by diffusing an aroma in the room. People who love to live alone and doesn’t have any problem with the smell of oil can easily use a diffuser in their homes. The main purpose of using a diffuser with oil is that it is used for aromatherapy. Depending upon the various oil, it gets absorbed in your skin and gives a soothing and relaxing effect. It also helps to remove the fungus and bacteria from the room.

It helps to purify and cleanse the room with its fragrance. A Diffuser will work well if you know that you are using the right essential oil. There are various types of diffusers like ultrasonic, nebulising, heat, and evaporative. Each has its way of working. Like in evaporative diffusers, few drops of oil are needed in its filter, then with the help of a fan, it blows the air and spreads aroma. The heat diffuser is very similar, but here, oil is heated. The most effective kind of diffuser is Nebulizer.

The nebuliser diffuser contains a tube where oil is added. With the help of an air jet, a vacuum is created to suck the oil at the top of the tube, and tiny droplets of oil are diffused in the air. Few disadvantages of a diffuser include that it can be expensive at times. It may come with the built-in facility of a light that can’t be turned off. It may produce some sounds that may be irritating and disturbing to some people. Ultrasonic diffusers also act as a humidifier by providing humidity and diffusing essential oil into the air.

Main Differences Between a Humidifier and a Diffuser

  1. The main purpose of a humidifier is to add humidity to the air. The main purpose of a diffuser is to add an aroma to the air.
  2. Typoes of Humidifiers include central, steam, Ultrasonic, Evaporators etc. Types of diffuser include Reed, Fan-style, Heat, Evaporative, Electrical, ultrasonic etc. 
  3. A humidifier water tank can hold half a gallon to 1 gallon of water. A diffuser water tank can hold a cup of water.
  4. The method of a humidifier is that it uses water to raise and then disperse into the air. The method of the diffuser is that it uses water to diffuse the oil.
  5. The benefits of a humidifier include it provides relief from dry and cold air comforts like snoring, sinus, cold etc. The benefits of a diffuser include it provides aromatherapy and removes fungus and bacteria from the room.


Both humidifier and diffuser have their advantages and disadvantages. Both the products often look similar and even sometimes perform the functions of each other. If a person wants both moisture and aroma in their room, then some of the humidifiers containing the property of a diffuser as well can be used. Humidifiers have several health benefits, increases overall comfort, is suited for furniture etc. Diffusers improve the respiratory system, acts as an insect repeller, removes odour, boost the immune system, provides relief and saves money. Depending upon the use, a humidifier and diffuser can be brought. If you want to relax and are alone, a diffuser can be used. But if you have allergies and are living with kids and pets, then humidifiers can be used.


  1. http://banseuk.co.kr/ebfgpvyjql/xqg-aroma-diffuser-cnmanufactures-32722993.html
  2. https://europepmc.org/article/med/10315156
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