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Best of the Best
InnoGear Oil Diffuser
Oil Diffuser
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A multipurpose scent diffuser that makes it easy to improve the aroma in the car or around the office or house.


Simple operation with clear, durable controls for different mist modes. Can be used on a continuous or intermittent basis. Comes with color-changing LED lights for mood lighting in the vehicle.


Changing angles while in motion (driving down or uphill, tight curves) can trigger auto shutoff.

Best Bang for the Buck
InnoGear Aromatherapy Oil Diffuser
Aromatherapy Oil Diffuser
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A good, economical car diffuser you can also use in the home or office. Unique features for the price.


LED lights change colors for mood lighting. You can set the color, have them cycle, or turn it off for safer driving if necessary. The diffuser will automatically shut off when oil or water starts to run low.


Smaller volume of oil does not last as long as other options.

OminiHome Portable USB Humidifier & Diffuser
Portable USB Humidifier & Diffuser
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Makes a long commute more relaxing thanks to a steady diffuser rate.


Features two-in-one function as either a diffuser or a humidifier. Good diffuser pulse rate that disperses aroma throughout car cabin. Tank holds enough water to last eight hours.


Erratic operation when frequently used in vehicle.

Color You Oil Diffuser
Color You
Oil Diffuser
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A diffuser specifically made to fit in the car so oils won’t spill all over the interior while driving.


Diffuser has a design made specifically for the average vehicle cup holder. Sits securely in the holder during tight turns. Provides around five hours of scented use before needing more oil.


The included USB cord will need to be secured for use while driving.

MFEEL Mini USB Essential Oil Diffuser
Mini USB Essential Oil Diffuser
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Easy to carry from car to office or hotel room, making this a go-to travel item.


Steady essential oil diffusion for six hours with a half-cup of water. Relaxing light mode that can be switched off if desired. Rubber feet provide good grip on flat surfaces.


Reservoir can leak if not kept stable and upright. Too wide for most car cupholders.


We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for best usb car essential oil diffusers

There are many reasons why an essential oil diffuser for your car is a good idea. It can help eliminate unpleasant odors, add moisture to the air, and help calm and focus you in stressful situations. Some essential oils might even be able to help you overcome motion sickness. You're going to be in your car for your commute anyway, so why not use that time to help you get to the best version of you?

But not all essential oil diffusers are appropriate for the car. Some are better suited for home or office use.

Reading through this article will provide you with the information you need to pick the best essential oil diffuser for your car. It will also answer your questions, offer some usage tips, and list the essential oils that may be better for use while driving.

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Essential oils are not fragrance oils. Any oil that is labeled with the word

What is aromatherapy?

The sense of smell has been called our most powerful sense. Perhaps that is why aromatherapy has been in use for thousands of years. It is the practice of using natural plant extracts to improve the mind, body, and spirit.

Essential oils are potent because they work on an emotional and a physical level at the same time. Proponents of aromatherapy often profess that it's as much of an art as it is a science.

The four types of essential oil diffusers

The best way to reap the benefits from essential oils is by inhalation. There are four types of essential oil diffusers: nebulizing diffusers, ultrasonic diffusers, evaporative diffusers, and heat diffusers.

Nebulizing diffusers

This type of diffuser uses pressurized air to disperse the oil in a fine mist. This method tends to dispense the oil more evenly than other types of diffusers. These models cost considerably more than other types of diffusers.

Ultrasonic diffusers

This type of diffuser uses water and ultrasonic vibrations to dilute and dispense the essential oil into the air as a mist. This method also functions as a humidifier. In most instances, this is the type of diffuser that is used in vehicles.

Evaporative diffusers

With an evaporative diffuser, the oil slowly evaporates into the air. Often, a fan is used to help hasten evaporation. This method of diffusion is not as effective as the other methods.

Heat diffusers

Heat diffusers speed up the evaporation process using heat. Unfortunately, higher levels of heat can change the chemical composition of the essential oils, making them less effective. Lower heat models work best.

Key features

Now that you have a better understanding of what aromatherapy is and how diffusers work, there are a few key features you will want your essential oil diffuser to have.

Appealing design

Essential oil diffusers come in a variety of shapes and styles. You can find one with a wood grain finish, one that looks like a cactus, and you can even find one that looks like a cup of coffee. Look for the diffuser that best meets your aesthetic needs.

Auto shutoff

If you don't shut off your ultrasonic essential oil diffuser when the water gets low, you run the risk of damaging it. The best models have an automatic shutoff feature so you don't have to worry.


The current stance on BPA is that it is bad. Until conclusive evidence is found that reveals otherwise, BPA-free items are the desired option.

Ease of operation

There are already enough things going on while you're driving that can distract you. You do not want to be fumbling for a control switch and be forced to take your eyes off the road just to adjust your diffuser. Look for a model that has easily accessible controls, preferably on the top of the unit.


While it doesn't affect the way a diffuser works, many people enjoy the soothing lights of a color-changing model. If this sounds like something you'd enjoy, look for an essential oil diffuser that can light up and change colors.

Misting modes

The best ultrasonic diffusers have two operating modes: continuous and intermittent. In the confined space of a vehicle, continuous mode might be a little too much for some users, so having an intermittent option is usually preferable.

Quiet operation

Look for a model that is quiet. You don't want to miss important sounds, such as car horns and sirens, because your diffuser is too loud.


A timer is not essential, but it can be nice to have. This feature will make sure you don't inadvertently leave the diffuser on for extended periods of time when you're on a long road trip.

Expert Tip

The best essential oils for driving

Each essential oil can be used to treat a variety of ailments and conditions. We've created a list to help you decide which essential oils might be best for driving.

To help you stay calm

  • Allspice

  • Amyris

  • Angelica Root

  • Basil

  • Bergamot

  • Blue Tansy

  • Frankincense

  • Pine

  • Rose

  • Rosewood

  • Vetiver

  • Ylang Ylang

To help you stay alert and focused

  • Basil

  • Bergamot

  • Cinnamon

  • Clary sage

  • Coffee

  • Douglas Fir

  • Lemon

  • Patchouli

  • Rosemary

  • Sage

To help you stay awake

  • Cinnamon

  • Eucalyptus

  • Grapefruit

  • Lemongrass

  • Orange

  • Peppermint

  • Pine

  • Rosemary

To help combat motion sickness

  • Basil

  • Cardamom

  • Cassia

  • Clove Bud

  • Coffee

  • Fennel

  • Ginger

  • Nutmeg

  • Orange

  • Peppermint

  • Spearmint

  • Vanilla Absolute

Note: Certain essential oils, such as lavender and chamomile, may make you feel drowsy. If any of the essential oils listed above make you feel tired or in any way adversely affect your driving, stop using immediately.

USB car essential oil diffuser prices

The pricing corridor of USB car essential oil diffusers is very narrow. As a matter of fact, there is only about a $6 difference between the low end and the high end of most models.

Decent units start at $14 and can cost up to $23. As with any product, there are outliers, but the sweet spot to look for the best value is $15 to $20. In that range, you should be able to find everything you need.

Other products we considered

There are two essential oil diffusers that we haven't mentioned yet that might fit your needs. These two models are both outliers, with one residing below the average price and one residing above. If budget is your primary concern, one of the lowest priced models that still has favorable reviews is GenLed's Portable Car Essential Oil Diffuser. This tiny, positionable fan unit might just be your best budget-conscious choice. On the other end of the price spectrum, you’ll find Organic Aromas' Rechargeable Nebulizing Diffuser. This diffuser uses no heat, no water, and no plastic. It is also not a USB device. Rather, it uses two rechargeable lithium batteries that can last up to 18 hours per charge.

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Essential oils do not last forever. Factors like oxygen, heat, and light can reduce the shelf life of some more volatile oils to as little as one or two years.


Q. How long should I run my diffuser?

A. Moderation is the key. Users can develop sensitivity if they are overexposed to essential oils. There are no set times, but around 15 to 20 minutes is currently the agreed upon average time to let your diffuser run.

Q. My car is a little older and doesn't have a USB port in it. What do I do?

A. You have two options. The first is to get a USB charger for your car. This will convert the lighter to a USB port so you can power your diffuser. The other option is to get a model that can hold a charge or run off of batteries.

Q: Do I need to clean my essential oil diffuser?

A: Yes, you do. Often, it only requires a wipedown or a gentle cleaning with a dab of dish detergent or white vinegar once or twice a month. However, to be sure you do not accidentally damage your essential oil diffuser, always consult your owner's manual for the recommended cleaning practices.

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