Reed diffusers use essential oils to give your home a fresh, fragrant scent all day long
The best reed diffusers offer all of the advantages of scented candles with none of the drawbacks. You don’t have to light anything to release the aroma, which means the fragrance of a reed diffuser is more continuous than with a scented candle. And, with no flames to worry about, they’re more practical and safe too. They consist of concentrated essential oils in an attractive (usually) glass bottle and rattan reeds that you insert in the jar to soak up the scent, which emits a lovely aroma around your home.
If you get lucky, there are refills available and if you get really lucky, they throw a refill in with your original purchase. With fragrances ranging from invigorating to de-stressing (and everything in between), there’s something for everyone. So we decided to test them out to bring you the best reed diffusers you can buy, as well as a buyer’s guide to show you what to look out for when buying one.
Best reed diffuser: At a glance
How to choose the best reed diffuser for you
What comes in the box?
At the bare minimum, you will get a glass bottle filled with the essential oils, along with a pack of rattan reeds that you pop in the top and spread out. You might get a refill and spare reeds too.
Why are some reed diffusers so much more expensive than others?
It’s the same principle as perfumes. Typically, the pricier ones have rarer or more expensive ingredients. Some fragrances are made from the oils of a rare and delicate flower petal, for instance, while others are made from synthetic ingredients that are easy and cheap to source.
It could also be that the perfumer is much more expert, bringing years of experience to a more expensive blend. But don’t forget the marketing, brand and packaging can all add onto cost too so you’re not always paying more for a superior product.
What features should I look out for?
- Some come with bamboo reeds, but rattan gives the best results.
- Wide openings mean the oil evaporates through the top rather than through the reeds so the aroma may not last as long.
- High-quality essential oils – The oils should be alcohol-free, paraben-free and phthalate-free.
- This is very personal, but the bottom line is that you need to love the mix of oils and the scent it gives off. Look for brands that blend oils for a fragrance that sets off a certain mood – relaxing, invigorating, de-stressing. And make sure it’s subtle and well balanced, never overwhelming.
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How often should I replace the reeds?
If you’ve topped up your diffuser with a refill and the reeds are still not giving off much or any scent, try replacing the reeds. You should get a few months of use from one set.
What if my reed diffuser stops smelling even though there’s lots of oil left in the bottle?
You can turn the reeds upside down to give the diffusion process a boost. But don’t do that too often as the oil will disperse quicker. Alternatively, give the bottle a little swirl around to help blend the ingredients as that can also strengthen the scent.
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The best reed diffusers you can buy in 2023
1. Wax Lyrical English Lavender: Best lavender reed diffuser
Price: £10 | Buy now from Amazon
This delicate, yet distinctive scent is not only ideal for helping you drift off to sleep each night, but it’s also our favourite budget option too. The 100ml bottle is a great choice for small to medium-sized spaces, filling the room with a beautiful lavender aroma all day long. Designed and manufactured in the Lake District, UK, this diffuser both looks and smells quintessentially British.
One downside I found is that this diffuser didn’t last as long as some others on this list, but as it’s not eye-wateringly expensive and you can pick up a 200ml refill for basically the same price, I wouldn’t let this put you off.
Key specs – Volume: 100ml
2. Raft Wild Mint & Bergamot: Longest lasting reed diffuser
Price: £25 | Buy now from Raft
Cool mint and sharp bergamot citrus make up this delightfully refreshing reed diffuser from homeware brand Raft. It’s a simple blend of scents but we think it works incredibly well. The aroma is not at all artificial and it’s both fresh and sweet without being too ‘cool’, making it the perfect homely scent.
What impressed us most about this reed diffuser though, is how long it lasted. We got several months of use out of just 100ml and while the sticks needed rotating and trimming every couple of weeks to keep the scent coming through, this is by far one of the longest-lasting reed diffusers we’ve ever tried. With regular turning, there was no point at which the scent smelt stale or old, which makes this diffuser incredibly good value for money. We also tested the pink rhubarb diffuser and can recommend that too.
Key specs – Volume: 100ml
3. Noble Isle Whisky & Water Fine Fragrance Reed Diffuser: Best reed diffuser for winter
Price: £50 | Buy now from Noble Isle
For winter, you will want something that offers spicy warmth and this offers just those qualities. Noble Isle says it ‘compliments perfectly the ambience of a crackling fire’ and we agree that the top notes of rose and Davana blossom, heart notes of jasmine and orange blossom and base notes of tonka bean and amber are just the ticket for chilly winter days and evenings.
Don’t be panicked by the name – it doesn’t pong of booze, but you do get the malted barley, vanilla and cedarwood coming through to create a gorgeous, masculine aroma.
Key specs – Volume: 100ml
4. Jo Malone Red Roses Scent Surround Diffuser: Best floral reed diffuser
Price: £68 | Buy now from John Lewis
Perfumier Jo Malone’s stunning scents lend themselves perfectly to reed diffusers. And as you don’t get more romantic than red roses, you won’t be surprised to learn that this dreamy scent is both sensual and fresh. But despite the name, you don’t just get the freshly cut dewy roses scent.
There’s also crushed violet leaves and a smidgeon of lemon to stop it becoming overwhelming or sickly. An authentic scent, the dark reeds and minimalist bottle look sophisticated too.
Key specs – Volume: 165ml