What You Need To Know About Using A Diffuser As A Humidifier

Although an essential oil diffuser’s job is nowhere near humidifying a space, it can sometimes be used as one. And surprisingly enough, in certain situations, a diffuser cum humidifier proves to be more helpful than an actual humidifier.    

Well, the First thing that you need to know about using a diffuser as a humidifier is that some diffusers use quite a similar mechanism to humidifiers to disperse essential oils.

And with a little caution, these diffusers can be easily transformed into a mini humidifier. The benefits obviously depend on the purpose of use. So, it’s important you know where you can actually put it to work.

If you’re interested, then good news. I’ve gathered everything you’ll need to know about using diffusers as humidifiers in this article.

Do Essential Oil Diffusers Humidify?  

Oil diffusers are inherently different from humidifiers in the sense of using purpose. People buy diffusers to disperse the mist of aromatic essential oils across the house.

Different sorts of essential oil produce different aromas to set the mood for different environments. The smooth aromatic atmosphere relaxes people, and that’s why the appliance is considered a great step toward self-care.

But does a diffuser add moisture to the air?

It depends on the diffuser, and even if the diffuser moisturizes the air, the amount is very inconsequential.

Some diffusers use a mixture of water and essential oils to make the vapor in the air more breathable. The amount of water vapor discharged in the air will have little to no effect in increasing the room’s humidity.

But there are specific kinds of diffusers in which you can simply fill the tank with water and use it as a humidifier. The amount of moisture dispersed will still be lower than a standard humidifier, but that’s actually a perk if utilized properly.

Humidifier Vs. Diffuser: What Are the Difference and Similarities?

To understand whether the place of a humidifier and a diffuser is fungible, we must understand the differences and similarities between them. First, let’s see how they are different.

  • Size

Standard diffusers are smaller in size compared to humidifiers. They have a smaller tank that holds a small amount of oil. On the other hand, humidifiers have larger tanks that often hold one gallon of water or more.

  • Power Consumption

Humidifiers consume more power than oil diffusers because they provide larger vapor sprays.

  • Variation in Operation

As humidifiers and diffusers have different purposes, their variants often focus on disparate purposes. Humidifiers focus on efficiently generating heat so that more vapors can be produced using less power.

In contrast, diffusers focus on efficiently breaking down the oil into molecules and maintaining a pleasant sense of aroma in the atmosphere.

The differences make it apparent that not all types of diffusers will work as a humidifier. Now let’s take a look at where these two appliances are similar. 

  • Mechanism

Some humidifiers and diffusers work in the same way; they generate heat in some way to evaporate the liquid in their tank. Diffusers with such mechanisms can be used as humidifiers easily.

  • Water Compatible Build

Most diffuser builds allow the use of water. Some variants of diffusers even work with an oil and water mixture to create the aroma. 

What Types of Diffusers Can Work as Humidifiers?

Various types of diffusers are available in the market, but not all of them can add an impactful amount of moisture in the air when used as a humidifier. When it comes to humidifying, these two following variants can actually put out a substantial output –

  • Ultrasonic Diffusers

This type of diffuser creates ultrasonic waves via the vibration of plates inside the machine. The generated waves separate the microscopic particles from the solution and disperse them in the air.

Ultrasonic diffusers are adept at creating water vapor. Drops of essential oil are mixed with water to create the solution.

Besides dispensing the molecules, the generated waves help mix the solution nicely.

Although ultrasonic diffusers spray a nice mist, the moisture output will be lower than standard humidifiers. However, the lower moisture output may be impactful in certain cases.

  • Electric or Heat Diffusers

The mechanism of a heat-based diffuser is quite similar to a standard humidifier. Both of these appliances produce heat via an electric coil or some other means to produce vapor.

As a diffuser, electric diffusers are not much favored because the heat often degrades the quality of the oil. But as a mini humidifier, they can do wonders.

Benefits of Using a Diffuser as a Humidifier

Using a diffuser as a humidifier has its own suitable situations. You can’t expect a diffuser to be the perfect alternative to a humidifier because the moisture output will be much lower for a diffuser.

But you can put this to your advantage if you manage to use it wisely. Let’s take a look at some situations where a diffuser cum humidifier can come in handy.   

  • Control the Moisture

During dry and arid winter days, your skin and lips will beg for moisture. Skin irritation, cracked lips, sinus irritation, and many other conditions are the direct result of a lack of moisture in the air.

While the lack of moisture can be a serious problem, an abundance of it can be problematic too. If you find yourself asking frequently, why is my house so humid? It’s because your humidifier is putting too much moisture in the air.

In such cases, simply using a diffuser can solve your problem, as the moisture output will be significantly lower but adequate.

  • Create Your Personal Zone

Required humidity in the air isn’t always the same for everybody. Some people can be a bit too sensitive to dry air. If you’re one of them, with the small output of a diffuser, you can create your personal moisture zone.

  • Frugality

A diffuser is a smaller appliance compared to a humidifier, so it consumes less power as well. Also, if a diffuser can do both the job of a diffuser and a humidifier for you, then you won’t need to buy a humidifier separately.

  • Prevent Mold and Mildew

Too much moisture can cause a variety of issues in your home. One of the most severe issues among them is the growth of black mold and mildew around the home.

Using a diffuser as a humidifier will keep the moisture output at a controlled level and prevent the growth of mold in your home.   

  • Plant Humidifier

Moisture enlivens houseplants. A diffuser cum mini humidifier can be the perfect tool to provide moisture for your plant corner. It’ll provide the plants with enough moisture without affecting the room’s humidity level much.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I put essential oils in my humidifier?

Putting essential oils in your humidifier isn’t a good idea. This is because humidifier tanks are made of normal-grade plastic. Humidifier oils aren’t forgiving to such material and slowly cause damage and wear.

You can keep putting essential oil mixed with water in your humidifier, but that will significantly decrease the humidifier’s lifetime. 

  • Can you use a diffuser without oil?

If you don’t have essential oil at your disposal, you can substitute various other things in your diffuser. Filling the tank with water will turn it into a mini humidifier. But what type of water you should put in a humidifier is a serious technical concern.  

You can also put in lemon juice for a citrus-infused aroma. Diluting the solution by adding water will make the mixture more breathable. You can also create your own aroma by mixing or boiling various herbs and spices of your preference.

  •  Humidifier vs. Diffuser, which will be better for sinus congestion?

Sinus irritation occurs from dryness of the air, and humidifiers can help you more with that. Diffusers can provide some moisture, but for extremely dry seasons, it won’t be enough.

They do help prevent the growth of some other bacteria and fungi inside your house. But these microbes have very little to do with sinus irritation. So, a humidifier is the better choice for comforting sinus congestion.


In summary, a diffuser can be used as a mini humidifier. In small spaces or spaces where low moisture output is preferred, diffusers can work magic. I hope this article helped you learn everything of what you need to know about using a diffuser as a humidifier.

So, whatever you’re using to maintain the humidity level of your home, make sure it provides the right amount of moisture. Too much moisture or too less can be harmful.     

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Billy J. Weber

Hi. It’s Weber, founder and author of this site Currently you are reading. I am dedicated to provide valuable insights and practical tips to air enthusiasts and anyone interested in improving their indoor air quality.

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