Are Reed Diffusers Better Than Candles? Here’s The Answer


We all love the soft glow of candles in our bathroom or snug for a relaxing spa-like feel at the end of a busy day with a glass of wine or the aroma of uplifting essential oils as we walk into our hallway from a pretty reed diffuser. 

But which one is best? Are reed diffusers better than candles? Is there an answer? Or does it just depend on your mood? 

In this article, we are going to find the definitive answer as to whether reed diffusers are better than candles and make sure you know the answer once and for all! 

So let’s start with the quick takeaway answer before we head right into the details.

Are reed diffusers better than candles? 

As far as fragrance is concerned, reed diffusers are safer, give off a lasting and continuous fragrance while being less toxic. The heat from candles will also minimize the therapeutic qualities of essential oils through fractioning. However, there is nothing like the soft glow from candlelight. 

Before we dive into it further, here’s a table showing the main points of the comparison between reed diffusers and candles.

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FeatureCandlesReed Diffusers
Ambiance
Intensity of Frangrance
Duration
Cost
Safety
Placement Options
Promotes Focus
Smoke Allergy
Home Decor
Energy Saving
Mood Booster
Sensory
Experience
Willowyard Score7/1210/12
comparison table: reed diffuser vs candle

Now we’ve got the mini takeaway, you can get started straight away and enjoy a blissful evening of aromatherapy candles or your favorite reed diffuser! 

So, let’s start by exploring how both of these aromatherapy diffusers work, so we can better understand whether reed diffusers or candles are best! 

How does an aromatherapy scented candle work? 

  • The aroma and other properties of essential oils are released in a candle mainly by the heat. 
  • When you light the wick of an aromatherapy scented candle, the heat from the flame melts the wax. 
  • More of the essential oils will be diffused as the wax continues to melt. 

To find out my curated list of oils perfect to add your candles for calm and relaxation, check out my other helpful article!

  • In this respect, larger candles will create a greater pool of wax and will diffuse more fragrance, creating a more intense sensory experience than smaller candles. 

How does a reed diffuser work? 

  • A reed diffuser works mainly by the evaporation of the essential oils on the reeds. 
  • By placing the reeds in a bottle of fragrant oil, over time, each of the reeds will absorb the oil while releasing the scent into the air.
  • To make sure the reed diffuser continues to release its aroma, it’s important to periodically flip the reeds over so that the ends which stand proud of the bottle are then immersed in the essential oil. 
  • The more you alternate and flip your reeds, the more fragrance will be evaporated. 
  • However, it’s worth noting that if you turn your reeds too frequently, this will cause the essential oils to more quickly need replacing. 
  • When your reed diffuser is fading or when you can no longer smell the aroma, then it’s the perfect time to flip the diffuser reeds over.

Ok so now we’ve got a better understanding of how both reed diffusers and aromatherapy candles, let’s get right into the differences! 

“If you turn your reeds too frequently, this will cause the essential oils to more quickly need replacing.”

How are candles and reed diffusers similar? 

As you can probably guess, enjoying the soft glow of a candle or the constant gentle aroma of a reed diffuser will have similar benefits. 

Both reed diffusers and candles share some similar qualities. 

Let’s start by looking at one important aspect both candles and reed diffusers share. 

Energy saving 

Both of these ways of enjoying your favorite essential oil blends have a wealth of eco-benefits. 

One of the most obvious comes from the fact that neither uses energy such as electricity (unlike vapor type, which helps in conserving energy and the planet. 

Candles and reed diffusers allow a sensory experience 

Both candles and reed diffusers allow you to enjoy the sensory benefits of your favorite essential oils such as lavender, geranium, and rosemary along with many others.  

To find out more about how orange oil blends beautifully with some of your favorite oils, head over to discover more. Why not find out the benefits of mixing lavender with tea tree and also the beautifully floral ylang ylang!

Don’t forget to check out my other blogs for some beautiful blends to use in your reed diffuser! 

candle and diffuser
are candles better than diffusers?

Mood booster 

If you’re looking for a mood enhancer through fragrance, then both reed diffusers and candles are a perfect choice. 

For example, both lavender and rose-scented candles or reed diffusers may help with easing anxiety and stress, while lemon and bergamot candles or reed diffusers will give you a citrus uplift! 

An Ideal Home Accessory 

Apart from releasing an amazing fragrance, candles and reed diffusers are a perfect home accessories to add a finishing touch to any room in your home. 

As they come in many sizes, colors, and shapes, they are a perfect home accessory to compliment your themes and interiors. 

This means that they can make your home not only smell great but look great too! 

So let’s start to look at some situations we think that candles or reed diffusers might be best. 

ylang ylang candle
ylang ylang aromatherapy candle

Ambiance 

It goes without saying that a candle is able to bring a soft glow and a relaxing ambiance once lit, not to mention any fragrance benefits from essential oils. 

On the other hand, A reed diffuser, although won’t give you a flickering glimmer, will give the sensory experience you would get from a candle and help to add to any atmosphere in a room you want to create. 

For example, a lavender diffuser by your bedside will give you the relaxing benefits of lavender essential oil along with a soft diffuser fragrance, in the same way, a lavender candle will. 

From a candlelight dinner to anniversary celebrations, birthdays, weddings, and graduations to even a bath, candles are a perfect fragrant and glowing option. 

They also create a perfectly cozy, intimate, warm, and welcoming atmosphere that cannot be replicated by a reed diffuser.

So with regards to the ambiance, I have to say, I think that candles do have the edge over reed diffusers.

Intensity of fragrance 

Now we’ve got onto the subject of fragrance, let’s find out how candles and reed diffusers fare! 

Candles, essentials oils, and heat 

Of course, the fragrance from any candle will benefit from the added heat to more quickly evaporate the oils than using the more natural reed diffusing method.

However, it’s interesting to find out that although heat is one element of diffusion, it does have the drawback of fractioning the oil. 

So, this could result in the properties of the essential oils being broken down, resulting in the oils may becoming less effective in their therapeutic qualities.

Heat can cause essential oils to separate 

That said, although with a scented candle, the true benefits of the oils may be altered due to the heat, it’s true to say that the aroma will still be successfully diffused and you will still be able to enjoy the fragrance from a scented candle. 

In fact, the scent from a candle given the heat application will make for a more intense fragrance experience than using a reed diffuser. 

The reed diffuser will, however, more likely release a continuous fragrance more steadily during the day, providing you remember to flip the reeds often. 

So it’s the first point for reed diffusers over candles on fragrance. 

With reed diffusers, you can adjust the intensity of the fragrance 

Another unique feature about reed diffusers is that you can adjust the intensity of the scent or fragrance. 

This will happen simply by adding or reducing the number of reeds. 

So depending on your mood, you can keep fragrances light or stronger. 

There is less adjustability with candles, however of course it will make sense that larger candles and a larger number will give much more fragrance than fewer candles or smaller ones.

“The reed diffuser will, however, more likely release a continuous fragrance more steadily during the day, providing you remember to flip the reeds often.”

So for the ability to adjust the fragrance levels. Both candles and reed diffusers work equally as well. 

aromatherapy candle and diffuser
candle vs reed diffuser

Long-lasting and pocket friendly 

So how do candles and reed diffusers stack up on cost and longevity? Let’s find out 

Cost of reed diffusers 

Reed diffusers on average last between 3-6 months. 

While this will depend on the quality of your reed diffusers, it’s likely they will last longer than a candle if you burn it regularly. 

During this period of lasting, the reed diffusers will not lose any of their aromas,  so you don’t have to worry about losing the fragrance as time wears on. 

Cost of candles 

Of course, this will also depend on the burning times of the candle, but most good quality candles will burn for around 20-25 for a 4 oz candle, and 40 hours for 8oz. 

Aromatherapy candles and other types can vary hugely on cost. It does all depend on the brand. 

For instance, the luxury brand Cire Trumon could set you back anything between $250 to a whopping $550! 

For those in handmade marketplaces such as Etsy, according to their figures at the time of writing they had 21419 candles for sale with an average cost of $14.47. 

So although both candles and reed diffusers share many benefits, reed diffusers almost certainly win on cost-effectiveness. 

Safe and risk-free 

One of the obvious safety aspects between reed diffusers and candles is that reed diffusers don’t emit smoke, a naked flame, or heat, which makes them a safer and more risk-free option than candles. 

It’s fairly safe to leave a diffuser in your house if you are on vacation for instance, and will return to a fragrant home without the worry of a fire risk as you would with a candle. 

This makes reed diffusers the perfect choice if you have pets or children for instance and of course, even if you don’t! 

So once again, we are pretty sure reed diffusers win hands down over candles for safety and other risks. 

“reed diffusers don’t emit smoke, a naked flame or heat, which makes them a safer and more risk-free option than candles.” 

Placement options candles vs diffusers 

So can even keep reed diffusers in your pantry, closet, or any other enclosed space which is an extra point for reed diffusers over candles. 

Reed diffusers can be placed literally anywhere you would like to enjoy the fragrance of essential oils. 

Reed diffusers work well in settings with high foot traffic such as entrances and hallways. The naturally higher air circulation in these areas will help to disperse the fragrance too.

Of course, a candle has limited placements given mainly due to its naked flame and the fact it needs monitoring and can’t be left. 

Placement options for diffusers are endless as opposed to candles, which have a limited placement, although of course, nothing beats a candle burning in your snug or bathroom to create a perfect spa ambiance. 

So once again we think reed diffusers are better for a longer-lasting and cheaper experience than candles in general. 

Promote Focus with fragrance 

Unlike the traditionally powerful and harsh lighting, candle lights are gentle and soft. This helps you better concentrate and focus, without letting your eyes struggle with overwhelming light. 

So if you are looking for something that will help you focus in your home office, studio or college work, along with a beautiful fragrance, then candlelight is a better option than a reed diffuser. 

Free from candle smoke allergy 

This is an unusual allergy but is caused by inhaling the fine soot from candles. Apart from this, these soot particles also remain for hours in the air after being burned, which may not be safe or healthy depending on its intensity. 

But there is a non-toxic version of candles that you can still opt for. However, if you prefer to avoid these features that come with candles, then reed diffusers are a better option. 

As such reed diffusers may be a better option for you if you are a candle soot allergy sufferer. 

And finally…

So there you have it! Everything you needed to know about whether the flicker of a candle or the long-lasting scent of a reed diffuser is best! 

We hope it’s given you the information you need and our handy table lets you see at a glance whether reed diffusers or candles win the race! 

Although up against reed diffusers, candles have quite made it this time, we still love that beautiful soft glow you get from a fragranced candle! 

If you love a diffuser of all kinds, don’t forget to check out my helpful article Essential Oil Burners Vs Diffusers, or if you love a diffuser bracelet, check out the Top 10 Benefits of Lava Stones, Lava Bracelets and Why you Need One!

This content has been checked and verified by a medical professional or aromatherapist The article has been reviewed by our editorial board and has been approved for publication by our editorial policy.

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