Scented Candles, Reed Diffusers & Smart Diffusers. Which works best?

Home fragrances are becoming more mainstream to scent a home or work space. Scented candles, reed diffusers and more recently smart diffusers, provide consumers with a multitude of choices, at a variety of prices. So how do you determine the best home fragrance for your home? We’ve created this guide to help you consider the pros and cons of each.

best way to fragrance your home

Scented Candles

– Best Use of Scented Candles
– Challenges with Scented Candles
Reed diffusers as a home fragrance product

Reed Diffusers

– How do Reed Diffusers Work?
– Best Use for Reed Diffusers
– Challenges with Reed Diffusers

Smart Diffusers

– Best use of Smart Diffusers
– Challenges with Smart Diffusers

Why Scent a space?

Walking into a space that’s scented triggers pleasant emotions for most of us. Indeed, aroma changes our mood, relaxes us, and even takes us back to a specific memory.

It gives any room an instant uplift, whether your favourite scents are floral, woody, or fruity. But gone are the days when home fragrance just means spraying artificial scent around the home to mask odors.

Today, home fragrance is as much a part of home decor as any part of furniture or art.
Home fragrances such as candles & reed diffusers are used to scent a room

Scented Candles

Candles have historically been used for lighting spaces (yes, before there was electric power into homes). Made from solid wax with a central wick, a candle’s flame gives off heat that melts the wax.

Today, candle manufacturers are infusing fragrance oils into the wax, which is given off as a sweet aroma when the candle burns. Candles are available in several wax types
(such as paraffin, beeswax, and vegetable waxes such as coconut and palm oil), and each has unique burn properties. The best scented candles  burn slowly and evenly, and give off their sweet aromas within one hour of lighting.

Scented candles are best for:
  • Creating an ambiance due to the soft flickering flame and aromas
  • Decorative vessels and jars can be used to enhance a home’s decor – see post on what makes a luxury candle?
  • Complex fragrance are available from certain high end candle brands
Challenges with Scented Candles:
  • A burning candle should not be left unattended and must be placed in safe spots around the room. More details on candle care tips & safety on this post.
  • Cheap candle waxes from obscure sources may not be beneficial for health
  • Badly designed candles may show uneven burning, tunneling, and even sooting.
Scented candles scenting your home
decorative scented candles
Scented candles for home ambiance

Reed Diffusers

Reed diffusers release their aromas without the use of heat or flames. Unlike candles, they require little attention and are generally considered safer in the presence of children and pets. Y

How do Reed Diffusers work?

Reed diffusers deliver fragrance using passive diffusion and capillary action. The fragrance oil is absorbed into reed diffuser sticks, which then travels up to the top.

The fragrance then naturally evaporates and disperses into the air around it. The best reed diffusers will take about an hour to release its aromas into the air. They can last between 2-4 months provided the reeds are turned upside down every week or so.

Reed Diffusers are best for:

  • Offering consistent aroma in spaces such as entryway, hallway, or bathroom.
  • Flameless – its a low maintenance product
  • New fragrance oils can be purchased to refill the container once you run out.

Challenges with Reed Diffusers:

  • Generally more costly than candles
  • Some reed diffuser fragrance contains isopropyl alcohol, which can cause poisoning, if accidentally consumed.
  • Reach is not great if there is no draft. Ideal for smaller rooms such as bedrooms.
Reed Diffuser as a home decor object
Reed diffusers in variety of designs and sizes
Reed diffuser scenting a bedroom

Smart Diffusers

With the advent of technology, new smart diffusion systems are designed to be an alternative to candles and diffusers. They require electricity for power and are available in a variety of designs  and prices. 

The fragrance is stored in either cartridges or essential oil bottles . These smart “air fresheners” can be programmed with an app for time scheduling.

Smart diffusers are best for:

  • Essential oils are used in aromatherapy to promote health and well-being
  • Offer even coverage within a short period of time
  • Adjustable scent strength & intensity
Challenges with Smart Devices:
  • Cartridge vials can be costly
  • Proprietary – fragrance options are limited to what the brand offers.
  • Device problems & malfunctions can be costly to repair
Smart diffusers scenting a home
Smart diffusers as atlernative to candle or reed diffuser
Beautifull designed smart diffusers

Are candles or reed diffusers better?

The best scented candles and reed diffusers will emit their wonderful fragrances within a short period of time. But choosing between the two is a personal choice – depending on your circumstances.

For example, if you’re purchasing home fragrance as a gift, and faced with the diffuser vs candle question. Assuming you know their favorite scents,  then you ought to consider whether they will be using it sparingly in their homes. In that case a scented candle is a good choice. For a more persistent application such as in a bedroom or hallway, then a reed diffuser might be best. Other factors to consider is whether they own pets or have small children,
and in this case, a reed diffuser would be the safer of the two.

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