Image Name Essential Oil Diffuser vs Candle: Which Is The Best Choice?

Essential Oil Diffusers vs Candles: Which Is The Best Choice?

There are many reasons why you would want to use either of the products listed in our title. Diffusers are a great way to generate scents throughout the room you are occupying, and our wax formed friends do the same exact thing. Yet, physically they are as different as the methods they use to get their job done.

In the next few paragraphs, we will discuss both methods of odor diffusion, how they differ, and how they are similar. By the end of this article, I hope to have answered all of your questions.

Essential Oil Diffusers ​and Candles Comparison



  • Are electric or battery operated
  • Might require the use of water
  • Is a vehicle for essential oil benefits
  • Has lighting options
  • Has steam stream options
  • Are aesthetically pleasing to look at
  • Make the room smell good

  • Free from electric or battery source
  • Is made of wax, for the most part
  • Might contain synthetic aromas
  • Can be made with essential oils
  • Is an open flame
  • Has romantic lighting
  • Makes the room smell good


What Are Diffusers?

AOMY Mini Ultrasonic Essential Oil Diffuser

These devices are a vehicle in which you can disperse essential oils into the air. Many people use them in their bedrooms to help sleep, while others use them in their offices when they need to focus. Diffusers come in different styles and have several ways of working.

There are clay diffusers, which can be shaped into a crescent moon, like the one I have hanging in my linen closet. They can also be an actual machine with a reservoir where you place water and a few drops of your favorite scent. Technically, putting a drop or two on a cotton ball and letting the volatile compounds evaporate into the air is a diffuser of sorts.

Still, for this particular comparison, we will take a look at the diffusers you plug in or that run on batteries. There are many different types that fall into two general categories, ultrasonic or nebulizing diffuser. Ultrasonic diffusers use vibrations to break up the water and oil molecules in the reservoir and emit them as a mist into the air. Nebulizers do the same thing only they don’t require any water, and there is no heat involved in the process.

What Are They Used For?

Diffuser. A rectangle box printed with green leaves. A printed bottle with black cap and three black sticks on it in gray background.

One might think, at first glance, that these devices are only meant to make the air around us smell better. This is not the case. Diffusers aid us in a myriad of ways depending on the oil you choose to put in the water. Ylang-ylang will cheer you up, and a mixture of lavender and frankincense, two of my faves, can help you find that focus and concentration you need.

​For the most part, these little machines are used for stress relief and help with sleeping as well as making the room smell great. Most models come with some kind of lighting scheme so they can offer a nice glow in the room somewhat like a candle.

Who Should Buy These?

​If you are looking for something more than just a nice smelling room, then a diffuser is something you should look into. There is a wide array of oils that you can get to go with it or find a nice kit that has a couple for you to start with. Start small and let your collection grow as you find the scents you love.

Young Living Essential Oils with a white diffuser and a rose in the vase.

​It should be noted that not only does the diffusion of essential oils benefit our health and well being more so than a candle, you can also change your scent easily after each use, unlike the restriction of our wax counterpart.

What Are Candles?

Candle lights inside the glass in black background.

You may be thinking, they are wax structures with a wick that are intended to be burned for a variety of reasons. The fact is these creations go back nearly as far as essential oils but who first invented them or how it was achieved is a mystery still. Egyptians get the credit in most circles because of their use of rushlights, which were a form of torch comprised of animal fat and a reed core.

It was also in 3,000 B.C. when Egyptians were putting wicks in fat for burning, and it was at this same time when Romans began to cover rolled papyrus in melted beeswax. They moved their way through the middle ages to colonial times and even made some major advances in the 19th century which includes production machinery and paraffin wax.

Of course, confined flames like these were first created to let light into a room, and they were essential for folks to read, function, or just plain see. As synthetic light was introduced, the wax covered wick system took on a whole new function. It is now emitting pleasant aromas to the rooms of your choice, as well as some giving us a form of romantic lighting.

What Are They Used For?

Candles are still used in some cultures as a lighting source. They are also used to eliminate odors as well as add scents that we love. Wax structures are created to commemorate holidays as well as mark another year around the sun, otherwise known as a birthday.

A yellow candles with red Christmas balls and wreath.

You can purchase handmade wax covered wicks, factory-created products, ones for Christmas, Halloween, and Thanksgiving.

There are products to mark any occasion and the number of scents available are far too numerous to list here.

In short, these age-old lighting tools can be used for all the old reasons and some new, depending on what that is. My favorite use of tea lights is to place them in my newly carved pumpkin in late October.

Who Should Buy These?

Anyone and everyone should get some votives to fill. Of course, there are no great health benefits like the oils we spoke of earlier but that’s okay. Sometimes you just want something that smells good. That said, I am sure there is a way to make your own wax creations with essential oils, which is the best of both worlds.

A candle in a clear glass with purple background. Hand holding a stick with flame, lightning the candle.

The important thing that separates candles for other forms of scenting our rooms is the great flicker of the flame on the wick when we are burning them. This adds a soft light to a room that is hard to duplicate synthetically. If you are planning a romantic dinner for you and your partner, then by all means, get some scented wax.

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Essential oils and candles are two completely different beasts that only have one thing in common. They smell good. If this is your main objective, then, by all means, choose accordingly. But, if you are looking for your scents to do more than just eliminate odors, then check out essential oils, which do much much more.

If you have an opinion about this topic, we would love to hear from you in the comments section below. If you have a friend or friends that might find this helpful, please share it with them so we can all continue our journey toward a better mind, body, and soul.

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