Candles Versus Diffusers

From candles to reed diffusers, to the more recent smart diffusers, there are many ways to add fragrances to your home and to add a sense of calm, comfort, and warmth.

Scented Candles 

Though historically used as a light source, candles are now more associated with creating, ambient lighting and emitting pleasant scents. Today, they are made of a variety of waxes, including paraffin, coconut, and soy wax, and infused with a wide range of fragrance oils. 


Positives of candles

  • Their soft, flickering light and gentle fragrances can encourage relaxation and meditation.
  • Floral herb aromas often used in candles calm the mind and create ambience.
  • Specific scents can be effective in stimulating memory.
  • They are decorative and come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colours.
  • They come in a variety of scents, meaning that there is something for everyone.
  • They can help maintain your natural sleep rhythms 
  • You can pair candles with other wellness activities such as yoga and meditation to create a personal routine of reflection and relaxation. 


Negatives of candles

  • Candles cannot be left unattended, meaning they can only be lit while you are in the same room.
  • They can be a fire hazard and are not suitable for houses with pets or young children.
  • They can only be lit for a certain amount of time before they need to be extinguished.
  • A candle’s scent fades quickly after it is extinguished. 



Diffusers encompass two types - Reed and Smart diffusers. Reed diffusers consist of porous reed sticks that are placed in a container filled with fragrance oil. The reed sticks absorb the fragrance oil and diffuse it into the air, creating a long-lasting scent. Reed diffusers provide your home with a continuous scent, rather than simply diffusing a fragrance when lit. 

Meanwhile, Smart diffusers are a more recent innovation and they require electricity. Essential oil bottles or carriages are placed in the diffuser and diffused when the device is turned on. Many smart diffusers have an app that allows you to turn the scent on and off from wherever you are.

Positives of diffusers

  • They are longer lasting and are more constant than candles.
  • They can be left unattended without becoming a hazard.
  • They are low maintenance.
  • You can replace separate components, such as purchasing new reed sticks or a fragrance refill. 


Negatives of diffusers

  • They are generally more expensive than candles.
  • You need to pay attention to their ingredients, as some fragrances contain isopropyl alcohol, which is poisonous if ingested. 
  • They are slow acting.
  • Ultrasonic diffusers with a water reservoir can grow microbes that may cause infections if not cleaned properly.
  • Some people may have a negative reaction to the fumes and possibly have an asthma attack.
  • Overexposure to essential oils may cause headaches in some people.

Which is right for you?

Whether you choose a candle or diffuser for your home will depend on a variety of factors. If you value safety and are seeking a consistent and low-maintenance source of fragrance, a diffuser, especially a reed diffuser, is the ideal option for your home. This is also the case if you have pets or young children around, as it eradicates the risk of them burning themselves or causing a fire.


On the other hand, if you’re seeking a calm experience and want to add a relaxing ambience to your home, a candle is your best bet.  Candles are also less finicky - there’s no need for refilling the diffuser, plugging it into the outlet and all that jazz - you just have to light the candle and you’re ready to go. Similarly, reed diffusers need to be flipped every 3 days for optimum performance while you don’t have to adjust a candle once it’s lit. 


If you’re looking for a stronger scent, candles are the way to go. While diffusers can work in a larger area, their scent will be less potent.  If you prefer an instant boost of fragrances, candles may be the better solution. Candles also add a specific, cosy atmosphere to a room that is difficult to replicate with a diffuser. After all, the warm, flickering light of a candle is unmatched. Since candles come in a wide variety of shapes, colours and designs, they can be the perfect finishing touch to any space. 


Overall, whether you choose diffusers or candles is a matter of personal preference. However, when it comes to which of the two creates a more relaxing environment and is the perfect decorative addition to your home, candles have the upper hand.