If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, Rolling Stone may receive an affiliate commission.
Reed diffusers are a low-maintenance and refillable method of infusing your home with scent — an advantage over air fresheners or candles that run out — as long as you’re buying the right kind. Poor quality sticks and essential oils simply won’t work as well, not to mention the environmental impact of using a lot of synthetic materials.
The best reed diffusers help to inject a subtle hit of fragrance to your space while adding a touch of home decor as well. Sleek and stylish, a good reed diffuser looks better than a cheap air freshener — and lasts a lot longer too. Many people also use reed diffusers for aromatherapy, releasing essential oils into the air to help calm and soothe (our tip: keep some lavender oil and a good diffuser by your bed to help you relax at night).
When you have the basics of what makes a high-quality reed diffuser, you can buy each of the elements separately and create your own. However if you’re slightly less crafty, there are of course plenty of pre-assembled diffusers that work just as well.
How Does a Reed Diffuser Work?
There are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for the best reed diffusers, including the type of reed used, the appearance of the diffuser itself, and the essential oils.
Reed: Rattan, bamboo, and synthetic reed sticks are common in reed diffusers, but we prefer rattan reeds whenever possible. Unlike bamboo, rattan reeds have clear channels within them for the oil to travel naturally. However synthetic reeds can be more effective in absorbing and diffusing scent. The next thing to consider is the number and size of reed. The more reeds used and the thicker the stick, the stronger the fragrance will be, but larger sticks don’t last as long as thinner versions.
Bottle: The narrower the neck of the bottle, the more effective the diffuser, because it allows less room for the aromas to escape.
Scent: As a general rule, the purer and thicker the essential oil used, the more powerful the aroma produced will be. Most oils will include some other ingredient as a binding agent, such as alcohol, but in too high of quantities, the scent will evaporate and run out more quickly. Feeling ambitious? Many people like to mix essential oils to create their own scent as well.
1. NEST Fragrances Reed Diffuser
The NEST brand is well-known for the quality of its fragrances, and this alcohol-free apricot tea and bergamot formula is no different. The scent is bright and powerful enough to fill the bathroom with continuous fragrance without ever becoming overpowering. The NEST diffuser is also our favorite style-wise, with crisp frosted glass stripes that give it a sophisticated, preppy look.
2. Cocod’or Signature Reed Diffuser
While bigger than it looks in pictures, the Cocod’or diffuser is still quite small and minimal in appearance, perfect for pretty much any space (think everywhere from a desk or bedside table, to your bathroom counter). We also like the fresh lemon and eucalyptus scent, which is boosted with a touch of mint for a very clean fragrance. If you’re sensitive to smells, you’ll appreciate that the scent is actually quite subtle and not overpowering at all.
3. Urban Naturals Sandalwood and Vanilla Reed Diffuser
The blend of Tahitian vanilla and sandalwood produces a scent resembling Southern bourbon in this set, which is a warm and welcome change from more common fruity and floral scents. This diffuser set is on the larger side, which, though taking up a bit more space, also allows for it to disperse more scent across a larger area.
4. Paddywax Relish Collection Reed Oil Diffuser Set
Rather than stick to a sleek, modern design style, the Paddywack diffusers come in vintage-style colored jars, which we actually think is pretty fun. Plus, once the diffuser’s oil runs out, they are easily repurposed for other uses or decoration. We like the pleasant, long-lasting scent from the essential oil formula which, according to the manufacturer, is hand-blended and poured in the USA.