Diffuser vs. Candle: Which One is Perfect for Your Home?
If you’re anything like us, you’re a firm believer in the power of fragrance and its ability to make a space feel like a home. Whether you’re doing it for yourself or to welcome a special guest,, there’s nothing quite like a room that welcomes you with an intoxicating scent.
And it’s no wonder, studies show that scent, emotion, and memory are all inextricably linked and intertwined. Just the smell of warming bread or romantic florals can transport you back in time, to memories of your favorite European adventure.
But what’s the best method to invoke the scent of that warm Parisian night into your home, any time you want?
There are many different ways to fill your home with rich scents and warm aromas. In recent years the diffusing of essential oils has risen in popularity, while candle burning remains timelessly loved. Whether you choose from our beloved reed diffusers or our smart diffusers or from our glass jar candles or boxed candles, your home will embody the aroma that suits your unique taste. There are benefits and disadvantages to both candles and diffusers and in this article, we’ll help you decide which one will pair perfectly with your home.
A Closer Look at Diffusers
Oil diffusers can be found in a variety of models—from electric and evaporative to rattan reeds and nebulizing. Much like the comparison between candle vs diffuser, there are many different variables when considering which essential oil diffuser is best for your specific home and general needs.
Diffusers tend to be more decorative and unobtrusive, and can provide months of continuous fragrance delivery when compared to candles.
Benefits of Diffusers
While candles and diffusers will both keep your home full of those ahh-inducing scents you love, diffusers do bring a few unique advantages to the table. To help you find out where you stand in the diffuser vs candle debate, consider the following benefits:
- Health benefits – While you might naturally find yourself drawn to the cooling aroma of peppermint or to the transportive power of lavender that whisks you back to the fields of Provence, France, the essential oils that power household diffusers may offer a handful of health benefits, too. A few drops of peppermint oil, for example, could help to alleviate headaches after a long day, whereas lavender oil may send you off into dreamland with a bit more finesse.
- Safety and peace of mind – Unlike candles, diffusers don’t have a flame. Therefore they don’t require the same level of close, constant attention. The luxurious aroma of your favorite scent remains while you’re sleeping or while you’re gone for the day, greeting your senses as soon as you walk back in the door. Plus, if you’ve got a little one at home, you can rest assured knowing that an open flame won’t interfere with playtime.
- Customizable scents – Depending on the sort of aromatherapy diffuser you choose for your home, using essential oils vs candles can allow you to make your own scent blends. Tap into your creative side by developing a custom blend yourself. Or, if you’d prefer to leave the mixing to the professionals, stock your shelves with dreamy concoctions like Verbena Basil or Lavender Thyme.
- Long-lasting luxury – When you bring home a new candle, it can be hard not to keep it lit during every waking hour of your day. But with such fervent enthusiasm, you run the risk of depleting the wax in a matter of days. Diffusers, on the other, release their aromas slowly, allowing you to enjoy your fresh-picked scent for months at a time.
Essential oil diffusers offer the scent-enthusiast and homemaker so much to love. But in some ways, they may come up a bit short when compared to their tantalizing alternatives. Some potential drawbacks associated with diffusers include:
- Higher up-front cost – In some cases, scented oil-diffusing devices come with a larger up-front expense than candles. While you could spend anywhere between $50 and $100 for an aromatherapy diffuser that complements your home decor, you may find that it pays dividends in the long run since you’ll only have to factor the costs of diffuser refills into your budget after that.
- Clashing aesthetics – While diffusers can be a tasteful home accent for many, others argue that it simply lacks the timeless warmth and aesthetic quality that a traditional candle brings to a space. For those who prefer the cozy element of an open flame, there is certainly something irreplaceable about the look and feel of a traditional burning candle.
A Closer Look at Candles
Let’s face it—candles require practically no introduction or explanation. You know them, you love them, and chances are, your guests do too.
Historically used purely as a source of light, these poured wax objects are now available in an endless amount of shapes, sizes, colors, and most importantly—scents. Simply light a wick, and you can transform a home.
Benefits of Lighting Candles
Candles are often made with essential oils and, like diffusers, can also keep your space smelling like the Kennebunkport seaside or the citrusy blooms of Tulum for hours at a time. Plus, there are a few advantages that candles may be able to offer that diffusers may not, including:
- Warmth, light, and glow – We’ve already discussed the extremely singular and specific ambiance that candles create in a space, but this aspect of candle burning can’t be overstated. When you light a candle, you set a mood and create an aesthetic that can be challenging to recreate. Especially in a chilly, autumnal setting, the perceived warmth of a flame can do wonders for a home.
- A Spa-Like Experience - Candles offer an unmatched scene of serenity. Draw yourself a bath, dim the lights, light a few candles, and soak in the therapeutic and calming atmosphere as your bathroom transforms into the luxury spa of your dreams.
- Ceremonial and spiritual feeling – Humans have been lighting candles with purpose and reverence for centuries. Whether to honor lost loved ones, practice a religion, guide us through a darkened path at night, or create a source of light within our home, the act of lighting a candle is simply special. It connects us with the many who came before us and lit their own candles.
Regardless of the many positive associations and opportunities found in lighting up a candle, some may prefer to use diffusers due to a few possible drawbacks, like:
- Safety hazards – Candles take a lot of care and attention to be enjoyed safely. Households with pets or children should be especially cautious, taking care to ensure that burning candles always remain set safely on a flat and clear surface, undisturbed and free of obstacles.
- Your Scent Preference – Candles are great when you're using them and let’s face it, some of them throw a lot of fragrance even when they are not lit – but the reed diffusers deliver continuous fragrance every moment of every day. So if you’re the type that likes uninterrupted fragrance, reed diffusers are a great option. And if you like a lot of fragrance, match your reed diffuser with a burning candle – or experiment by mixing and matching scents at the same time.
- Less burn time – Because candles can’t be left in use when you’re not around to monitor them, there could be significantly less time and opportunity to reap the benefits of the scent in your home. It’s important to also consider how long candles last as opposed to diffusers. Even candles that offer a relatively high number of burn hours could pale in comparison to essential oil diffusers. To ensure a more luxurious experience every time you light your candle, be sure to learn the basics like knowing how long you should burn a candle and how to fix tunneling so you can get the most out of your candle.
The Final Verdict
Now that we’ve explored the highs and lows of both fragrance options, the question may still remain: which is better for your home? But rather than committing yourself to one side or the other, perhaps it’s best to consider the specifics of your home environment and the occasions in which each could truly shine.
When it comes time to choose between a candle and a diffuser - for most, it comes down to a matter of preference. But who can deny that flickering candle light isn’t perfect for most special occasions or dinner gatherings? And most of us know that a good candle can make a good book, better.
And beyond a flickering flame or a decorative diffuser, a carefully chosen scent can transform a house into a home.
Well-balanced gourmand scents can grab the attention of your dinner guests before they even get to the dinner table – with their velvety blends of crushed vanilla bean and notes of coffee and chocolate. Lavender, musk and heady scents are generally ideal for an evening alone, or with friends. And there is nothing quite like a crisp citrus or smooth floral blend to while away the hours on a lazy Sunday morning in bed. All of these candles, or if you prefer, diffusers can and do become an extension of your personality, and a reaffirmation of your own, unique sense of style.
Bring Expertly and Carefully Crafted Fragrance Blends Into Your Home with Archipelago
Scent is powerful. It affects mood, stress levels and the capacity to concentrate and create. It is an extension of your own unique style, and an opportunity to embrace what it is that you choose to cherish. Complex, engaging and truly unique essential oil and fine fragrance blends have been the cornerstone of Archipelago since 1998.
It’s been proven that the scents you surround yourself with largely affect your mood, stress levels, and capacity to successfully complete tasks. That’s why Archipelago has been creating premium botanical and plant-based home fragrance products using essential oils since 1998.
Our candles are hand-poured, set in beautiful glass, and made of premium waxes with safe lead-free wicks. Plus, our reed diffusers feature a garden of scents and refills—all in sleek, minimalist designs.
We want you to cherish the simple, beautiful moments that make up your life—and make your house a home. Whether you’re unwinding in the bath with a glass of wine and a few candles, or laughing in the company of cherished friends with a diffuser on display, don’t forget to experience Archipelago, the art of living well.
The Harvard Gazette. What the Nose Knows. www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2020/02/how-scent-emotion-and-memory-are-intertwined-and-exploited
Flavour and Fragrance Journal. Essential oils in the treatment of respiratory tract diseases highlighting their role in bacterial infections and their anti-inflammatory action: a review. www.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ffj.3252
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Lavender and the Nervous System. www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2013/681304/
National Library of Medicine. Influence of Fragrances on Human Psychophysiological Activity: With Special Reference to Human Electroencephalographic Response. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5198031/
Healthline. Which Essential Oils Promote Better Sleep?. https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sleep/essential-oils-for-sleep
Healthline. 5 Essential Oils for Headaches and Migraine.