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Using Your Essential Oil Diffuser: How Many Drops?

Using an essential oil diffuser is one of the best ways to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of essential oils. But how many drops of essential oil should you add to your diffuser?

How much essential oil you should diffuse depends on a number of different factors, which we’re exploring in this post. 

How Many Drops of Essential Oil Should You Add?

There are certain rules of thumb you can follow and remember when diffusing essential oils. In general, you’ll want to add 3 – 5 drops per 100mL of water.

But let’s look into the several considerations you need to make when deciding how many drops of essential oil to add to your diffuser.

Type & Size of Diffuser

Essential oil diffusers come in all shapes and sizes, but they are classified into four major types: ultrasonic, heat, nebulizer, and evaporative. 

Ultrasonic Essential Oil Diffuser

Ultrasonic diffusers are the most popular type of essential oil diffusers. In fact, when talking about essential oil diffusers, this is usually the type most people refer to. 

Ultrasonic diffusers use electronic frequencies made from metal plates in the device to diffuse the essential oil solution in its reservoir. This creates a mist which effectively and efficiently diffuses the essential oil to the air. Through this method, these diffusers actually double as humidifiers. 

These diffusers come in variations with tanks or reservoirs in increments of 100mL. There are 100 mL, 200 mL, 300 mL, 500 mL, and even 1 Liter or 1000 mL variations, depending on the brand. 

A rule of thumb for these diffusers is to put 3-5 drops of essential oil for every 100 mL of water. With this formula in mind, 200 mL of water would require 6-10 drops of essential oil, and 500 mL would need 15-25 drops; 1000 mL (1 L) would be 30-50 drops.

You can increase or decrease the amount of oil depending on your preference and considering other factors which will be discussed further. 

Heat Diffusers

Heat diffusers are exactly what you think they are: they use heat to break down the oil and diffuse it to the air. Sometimes the oil is diluted in water in these types of diffusers. It’s a fast and easy way to diffuse essential oils, but using heat generally changes the oils’ chemistry. So you might not enjoy the full aromatherapeutic benefits of your essential oils. 

With heat diffusers, you really only need very few drops of essential oil to enjoy its scent. Again, since these types of diffusers use heat, the oils evaporate much faster. You don’t need to add water with heat diffusers but you can dilute it if you want to lessen the strength of the oils you’re diffusing. 5-10 drops of pure essential oil are more than enough to fill your living spaces with the scents of the oils of your choice; 10-15 drops of oil if you dilute with a similar number of drops of water. 


Nebulizing Essential Oil Diffusers

Nebulizer diffusers basically break down the essential oil into very tiny particles via a pressurized air stream. The oils are usually diffused and let out into the air in a mist. Unlike heat diffusers, nebulizers don’t change the oils’ composition. 

Like heat diffusers, you don’t need water to diffuse essential oils in nebulizer diffusers. Most nebulizer diffusers call for 20-30 drops of pure essential oil to be placed in its reservoir.  

Evaporative Essential Oil Diffuser

These types of diffusers basically use air flow to diffuse essential oils. An absorbent pad, filter, or tissue is placed inside and a fan inside blows the essential oil to the air. 

How many drops you need to use really depends on your preference and how strong you like the scent to be blown around your space. However, compared to other types of diffusers, evaporative diffusers aren’t really popular and are not as efficient in doing the job of diffusing oils.

Size and Ventilation of Room

When diffusing essential oils, the size and the ventilation of the room or space where you will be diffusing is another crucial factor to consider. 

A closed space like a bedroom or comfort rooms won’t take much to fill with the scent of diffused essential oil. You might want to limit how long you diffuse to just 30 minutes to an hour, or else the smell might become too concentrated or strong. 

Larger spaces with better air circulation, like living rooms or offices, will take a bit more for your essential oils to take effect. Try either doing longer diffusion cycles, or putting in more oil to diffuse so you can get the full benefits of your oil. 

Quality of Essential Oil

The quality of essential oil you use is also very important in how your experience with diffusing oils will turn out. 

Of course, we recommend that you use the best essential oils brands to ensure the best results. These companies and organizations have taken the time to study and put out high-quality, pure, and potent essential oils to make sure that you get the most out of using them. 

Creating Your Own Diffuser Blends

Using a diffuser is an easy way to get creative and try creating your own diffuser blends. You can mix several drops of 2-5 different essential oils, while making sure you use and stay within the recommended amount of drops for each type of diffuser. 

Here are a few diffuser blends you can try, or try creating your own. There are tons of  diffuser blend ideas  you can find with a quick Google or Pinterest search. Here are several popular recipes blend you can try out:

Sleep Blend

Spring Mood Blend

Soothing and Bubbly Blend

Adjust and work around the blends according to the recommended number of drops for each of the diffuser types. 

Can You Add Too Much?

There are several precautions you need to take when you’re looking into essential oil diffusion. There is a learning curve and a phase where you need to experiment around what diffusers and/or recipes work best for you. 

When diffusing essential oils, it’s a good idea to use them sparingly, start small, and stay within the recommended limits. Especially if you’re new to diffusing, and you’re still figuring out what you want to get out of diffusing them. 

Adding too much oil to diffuse might cause adverse effects such as headaches, dizziness, feelings of nausea, skin and/or eye irritations. In these cases, you should discontinue using essential oils diffusers, reduce the amount of drops you’re adding, or switch up your recipes. 


Using a diffuser is one of the most easy and popular ways to enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy and essential oils. As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to add 3 – 5 drops off essential oil per 100mL of water. Once you get the hang of diffusing, you can definitely be creative and experiment with how you diffuse essential oils. 

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