Before we talk about the essential oil burner, we have to talk about essential oils. What actually are essential oils? Well, an essential oil is a concentrated hydrophobic liquid containing volatile chemical compounds from plants, or the “essence of” the plant’s fragrance, according to Wikipedia.
Essential oils help kill infectious bacteria and airborne microbes and purify the air around us, improving respiration and clearing our breathing paths. It also stimulate, sedate or help balance our nerves, hormones and boost focus, concentration and memory.
Most common essential oils include lavender, peppermint, tea tree oil, eucalyptus, or they could be raw plant materials consisting of the flowers, leaves, wood, bark, roots, seeds or peels. Used in cosmetics, perfumes, soaps, food flavourings, incenses and household cleaning products, essential oils are often used for aromatherapy, a form of alternative medicine, to induce relaxation, though there is still insufficient evidence of its effectiveness.
The History of Essential Oils and Essential Oil Burners
Egypt has been said to be the birthplace of essential oils. In the 3500 BC, ancient Egypt and the Roman Empire recognised the healing powers of fragrances from plants, spices, fruits and herbs such as lemon, cumin, coriander, cedar, rose, lavender, peppermint, myrrh and thyme. The Egyptians used essential oils as part of the mummification process of the deceased, as their natural antimicrobial properties helped to preserve the body, and they also believed that the fragrance of the essential oils would make their souls more appeasing to the gods in the afterlife.
In the 11th century, a Persian scientist Ibn Sina, or Avicenna, created a condensing coiled cooling pipe for steam distillation, and this allowed plant vapour and steam to be cooled and isolated more effectively (“Canon of Medicine”), leading to the discovery of aromatherapy and the usage of new essential oils. Then in 1928, lavender oil was then accidentally discovered by the French chemist Gattefosse. He went on to coin the term “aromatherapy” and wrote the first book on aromatherapy, essential oils, and their health benefits.
Shortly after, modern chemistry allowed scientists to develop a better understanding of the composition of essential oils. As a result, scientists developed the technology to separate out the ingredients of the oils, and so setting the stage for the rapid development in the cosmetics and pharmaceuticals industries.
So, What Is An Essential Oil Burner?
Essential oils need to be placed into an essential oil ceramic burner in order for it to work. An essential oil burner, usually made of copper, ceramic or soapstone, consists of a little dish on top for putting in your essential oils, while a small tea light candle sits below. It then evaporates the oil and fills the scent in your entire room by heating up the essential oils, inducing relaxation, improving moods, emotions and sleep.
Sometimes, your therapist might use an electric essential oil diffuser, which uses ultrasonic or movement to disperse the essential oils into the environment. But at this stage you may ask, what are the differences between an essential oil diffuser and an essential oil burner?
Differences Between An Essential Oil Burner and An Electric Oil Diffuser
An essential ceramic oil burner and an electric oil diffuser, or electric oil burner, can both be used to extract the benefits of essential oils. The core difference is that an essential oil burner uses a direct fire in terms of the small tea light candle in order to vapourize the essential oil with the heat. Do not ever leave an essential oil burner unattended, especially with kids around, as there’s an open fire, and it could well dry up the essential oils rapidly.
Powered by electricity and ultrasonic waves, an electric oil diffuser has a small compartment where the water is placed and a few drops of oils are added. The particles are then diffused into the air by the power of ultrasonic vibrations or movement methods without the need for any heat, which means you get a higher quality aroma. There is no naked flame, so you do not need to worry about the risk of a fire if you leave it alone.
There are basically four main types of diffusers, including ultrasonic, heat, evaporative and nebulizing diffusers, and each has its own unique method for dispensing essential oils into the environment.
Electric burners are much more expensive, retailing at between $30 to $150 than essential oil burners and are not easy to find. Although more expensive, such diffusers can bring life to larger living areas. Essential oil burners are more affordable, and you can get one for as little as $15 – $50 each but its ability to diffuse the oil is quite limited.
Some have said that using an essential oil burner will damage the molecules of your essential oils and your treatment could be ineffective in this case. But famed aromatherapist Cristina Proano-Carrion explained that what really happens is that the “diffuser takes a liquid that’s full of essential oils and turns it into tiny droplets so that it has an easier time floating through the air in your room. But just because the droplets are physically smaller doesn’t mean that the molecules inside of them
are smaller. The truth is, their molecular structure doesn’t change one bit!” There is also no scientific proof or research that shows that an essential oil burner really causes damage to essential oils and cannot provide as well a treatment as an essential oil diffuser.
Both methods of dispersing essential oils offer equal therapeutic advantages, and you can customize the scent by using different essential oil blend recipes.
How about reed diffusers? What are reed diffusers, anyway? Well, they are not electrical appliances, and are non-electronic diffusers – you just have to insert the reeds into a glass bottle or jar of scented diffuser oil, and the reeds will then soak up the scent and emit a pleasant aroma around the environment. These diffusers are good for busy people, as they are almost maintenance-free, and easy to just replace the reeds and oil inside.
Using Your Essential Oil Burner Safely
How do you properly use an essential oil burner? Well, you need a pour in a little bit of water in its small curved water tank, perhaps to fill it to the ¾, into the top dish of the essential oil burner. Next, just place between 3 to 5 drops of essential oils (or 5 to 8 drops for a medium-sized burner and 7 – 10 drops for a large-sized burner). If you’re unsure, just add the minimum as you can always top up later.
Do also take note of safety issues, keeping your active essential oil burner out of reach of children and pets, and it’s better to put them on a elevated surface such as a dining table, coffee table, mantelpiece or your work desk. It is also very important that you keep it away from flammable objects, children and pets, and do not leave an essential oil burner unattended – remember to blow out the candle if you are going away.
Ensure that you periodically top up the water or blow out the candle so that the burner do not get charred when the water dries up and the candle is still burning hot. It can give the room an especially bad smell. We recommend that you put some water in a bottle next to your burner to top it up when the water is low.
How to Get the Most Out Of Your Essential Oil Burner
Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your essential oil burner.
- Choose the correct essential oil for the right kind of mood that you want to create for that day and enhance your entire space with candles, crystals, plants and add on music to add to the atmosphere.
- Close the door to let the aroma concentrate inside the room.
- How about some self-care while you’re at it? Prepare a spa, a meditation session or a calming foot soak while enjoying the soothing aroma of your fragrance warmer.
- While taking a bath with essential oils, use the same oils on the essential oil burner at the same time to enjoy the full benefit of the oils, allowing your skin to absorb the oils while enjoying the aroma at the same time.
- Prepare the essential oil mixture by adding in water to essential oil at a proportion of about ½ or ¾ water to oil.
- Use your essential oil burner with essential oils for up to a maximum of 30 to 40 minutes per time, at one to three times a day. Remember not to use it for more than 50 minutes as it might give you a headache.
Things to Look Out For When Buying An Essential Oil Burner
There are many beautiful designs of these traditional oil burners, but before buying an essential oil burner, check the advice from suppliers or shops. Get an essential oil burner with a dish or bowl that’s at least 8cm from the unlit candle to the dish’s bottom, so that the candle does not burn out the water too quickly.
It’s also advisable to buy a medium-sized one as small ones do not always provide enough fragrance for average or large-sized rooms. But if you just need the aroma for yourself while you are working at your own desk, then a small one will probably suffice. In general, use small to medium-sized ones for homes and large ones for large office spaces, office front desks, seminar rooms or spas.
Types of Essential Oil Burners
The simple essential oil burner made of ceramic is the top seller among all the essential oil burners worldwide because it is affordable and simple to setup. Its ease-of-use has make everyone’s life much easier and healthier.
Made of unglazed ceramic, every hole in such a scented essential oil burner is usually meticulously hand-carved to ensure that the light will softly spread out and cast beautiful patterns on your wall or table, with the fragrance and aroma helping you to reduce stress and relax. You can choose to place it in the living room, yoga or meditation room, balcony, patio, porch or garden, and it will help in calming you daily.
All you need to do is scoop a spoonful of water and add in 2 to 5 drops of your chosen essential oils and light a small tea light candle below the burner. Be careful, keep your kids and animals away from that burner with water.
(2) Electric Essential Oil Burner/Diffuser
Another type of essential oil burner is the type that runs on electricity. For instance, an essential oil diffuser or burner that can also be used for aromatherapy. By diffusing a pleasant fragrance, this type of burner or diffuser can instantly lift your stress at the end of a hectic day, and it’s also perfect for masking the smoke and smells from your pets.
Using quiet, ultrasonic waves, this type of essential oil burner also act as a humidifier to humidifies your living space to prevent dry, stuffy air and flu from infecting your family members and helps to prevent dry and chapped skin in dry winter months or in an air-conditioned room. This type of burner usually has more customisable functions, such as changing mood lights of green, blue, red, etc., adjustable between bright and dim modes, very suitable for kids who are scared of the dark. Would you like to enjoy the aroma of such a burner and relax, rejuvenate and de-stress in the comfort of your own home and but don’t wish to do all the research? Fret not, we’ve chosen the best burner for you! Check out our editors’ reviews below.
5 Best Essential Oil Burners: Reviews and Complete Buying Guide
(1) InnoGear Essential Oil Diffuser – Editors’ Choice
The Safest Compact Essential Oil Diffuser For Your Home
Creating a relaxing home environment is essential in these stay-at-home times. The best way to change the mood of any room is by introducing aromatherapy equipment, including diffusers. Ditch the traditional stick diffusers and opt for a modem, compact solution that doubles up as a humidifier from InnoGear. With two misting modes and all-around multifunctionality, you can safely diffuse your favorite essential oils in any temperature and environment.
This all-in-one solution helps congestion and sleep, is design-friendly, and is small enough to sit on any surface. It is a child-safe device that connects to a power outlet and automatically turns off when waterless, so it is great for 24-7 use in babies’ rooms.
What We Like
- Adjustable mist mode
- No worry about overheating with its auto-off function
- Sturdy built
What We Don’t Like
- Prominent operation light that’s always on
- Some units have been reported to leak, though you can easily contact InnoGear for a replacement set as customer service is excellent
Burn Tealights In Style With A Ceramic Holder
Burning candles is a great way to spice up your home with your favorite scents. Ivenf’s ceramic tealight candle holder comes with an oil burner and a candle spoon, so you can safely light any candles without touching a hot surface. The burner comes with a floral cutout pattern — a lovely design for any home. It is 3.75 by 4.5 inches and can hold a 3oz tealight.
The holder’s scooped design extends the burning time of your candle, and the floral cutouts create beautiful patterns when the candle is lit while providing ventilation. It is small enough to fit on nightstands and a perfect present for loved ones.
What We Like
- Beautiful floral cut-outs cast spectacular patterns over your room and ceiling
- Easy to use
- Sturdy built
- No electricity is required
What We Don’t Like
- Surface is hot when the candle is lit
- You need to have good indoor ventilation when you are using it
- When the water evaporates, it sometimes leaves behind burnt oil stains
(3) Pure Daily Care’s Ultimate Aromatherapy Diffuser – Editors’ Choice
The Ultimate Ultrasonic Diffuser For Aromatherapy Enthusiasts
Finding aromatherapy solutions for your home, office, or clinic can be a challenge, but look no further as the ultimate solution is a plug-in ultrasonic diffuser from Pure Daily Care, with seven ambient light modes and customizable light and intensity settings. It is 7.04 x 6.85 x 6.73 inches and 2.05 pounds so it can fit on almost any surface.
The diffuser has a wood-like finish, doubles up as a humidifier, and comes with a 300mL water capacity. Each refill lasts about 8 hours. It comes with ten filler-free, plant-based essential oils to help you start setting up the most relaxing ambiance for any space.
What We Like
- Value for money as it comes bundled with their top 10 essential oils
- Beautiful wood grain design
- Auto turn-off feature when there’s no more water inside
- Easy to operate and clean
What We Don’t Like
- Some people don’t like the noise of the water bubbling inside
- Smell might be a bit strong for certain people
- It leaks a little when you put too much water in it
The Best Multifunctional Ceramic Tealight Holder For Any Room
There are very few tea light holders that act as more than just containers. With a multifunctional ceramic tealight holder from Ivenf, your tea light can burn essential oils or scented waxes on the upper dish for about 2-2.5 hours. The ceramic material is safe, fire-proof, and long-lasting, while hand-cut floral patterns make it a stylish decor for any room in the home. At 4 x 4 x 4.5 inches, it is a compact aromatherapy companion for moms, tea light lovers, and essential oil enthusiasts.
This tealight holder is essential to the 2020 candle decor trend. It is made of high-quality ceramic that will last through the years.
What We Like
- Beautiful floral patterns allow ample light to go through and reflect on your walls
- Simple, one-piece and quick to set up
What We Don’t Like
- Tea lights burn out within 2 – 2.5 hours
- Becomes really hot after burning so be sure not to touch it
(5) VicTsing Essential Oil Diffuser – Editors’ Choice
Create The Most Relaxing Ambiance With An Aromatherapy Diffuser
The VicTsing essential oil diffuser is one of the best ways to create a relaxing ambiance in any space. The minimalist, wood-like design with a subtle light is perfect for the design-conscious and those with urban homes. Its tank can hold 300mL of water and lasts up to 10 hours, with a mist coverage of up 20-30 square meters — larger than average. The auto-off function makes it a safe, power-friendly solution.
This diffuser is great as gifts or to have yourself. Use it for yoga, facials, sleep, or for creating a relaxing environment to control anxiety or help children relax. With no flames, you can feel at ease with a safe diffuser.
What We Like
- Waterless, auto-off function
- Can last for up to 10 hours!
- 2 mist options
- Quiet, robust and sturdy
What We Don’t Like
- Smell can be overpowering at times, though this differs for different users
- Some people might be bothered by a little dripping sound when in use
Can You Make Your Own Essential Oils?
Perhaps you do not like the smells of the essential oils selling in the market. You can then make your own scented oils for your essential oil burner or tea light burner. The possibilities are endless, and it is definitely easier than you think!
The Difference Between Essential Oils and Infused Oils
Before we start, it is important to note that most essential oils recipes are actually ‘infused oils’ recipes. While infused oils are made by soaking herbs or botanicals such as calendula and lavender, in a particular oil to extract its active compounds, essential oils are mostly steam distilled by simmering the plant material to produce steam through a tube, which is then run through cold water. The liquid, part water and part oil, is then created through condensation. The water compound is where floral waters, or more accurately called a hydrolate or hydrosol, such as lavender and rose water, come from. The oils that rise to the top are DIY essential oils.
Let’s now explore some recipes here.
Some Essential Oil Burner Recipes For Relaxation, Sleep and Reducing Stress
Essential Oils Recipe 1: Simple Method
Ingredient: A fragrance oil or an essential oil (or a combination of two or more scented oils) and a carrier oil (you can use any lightweight oil such as grapeseed oil, sunflower oil or a solvent liquid). Alternatively, get a mix of 3 drops of bergamot, 3 drops of frankincense and 3 drops of elevation, or 3 drops of bergamot, 3 drops of patchouli and 3 drops of ylang ylang. Another recipe is 4 drops of lavender, 2 drops of vetiver, 1 drop of clary sage and 1 drop of lemon. All these essential oil blend recipes will help you relax, sleep and reduce your stress.
(1) Mix 50% carrier oil to 50% fragrance oil and mix well by stirring lightly. (if you are using essential oils, you can use 90% carrier oils with 2% to 5% of essential oils.
(2) Pour the scented oil into your essential oil burner or tea light burner and it is ready for use.
Essential Oils Recipe 2: Extraction Method
Ingredients: a covered crockpot or a still, distilled water, fresh botanical or herb such as mint, lavender or basil, to fill the pot (chopped)
(1) Cover the botanical or herb with water in the pot but turn the lid upside down so that the steam will condense back into the pot.
(2) Heat the water till it is hot, then simmer on low heat for 12 to 24 hours. The time depends on the types of botanical or herb you are using.
(3) By now, the botanical or herb should be cooked. Turn off the fire, and let it cool by covering it with a piece of cheesecloth before putting the entire pot into the refrigerator. Leave it there overnight.
(4) Take the pot out the next day – a thin oil film, the essential oils, that is quite hard should form on the top by now. Sieve it off the water quickly before it melts.
(5) Put it into a bottle (preferably amber or blue glass bottle) and cap it tightly, storing it away from light and heat. It is ready for use. If there is any water-based liquid at the bottom, allow the bottle to remain open for another week to evaporate any remaining water. Then seal the bottle tightly and store for not more than 1 year.
Note: You can also use a regular pot on the stove by following the same steps above, but put the plant materials into a porous mesh bag before adding to boiling water. Add more water if needed.
Essential Oils Recipe 3: The Commercial Press Method
Ingredients: Plant materials, flowers or fruits, a good press and filtering system
(1) Collect the peels of citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges or grapefruits or some flowers or plants and herbs.
(2) Place them into a good commercial press and slowly squeeze them to remove the volatile oils.
(3) Filter out the essential oils and they are ready for use.
After making the essential oils, you can separate them into different oil bottles so that there is no chance of contamination if you keep screwing off the cap. It is very important to keep your essential oils clean and free of bacteria for optimal health effects. That’s all – enjoy your favorite diffusers, burners and scented candles and their therapeutic benefits!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can certainly burn essential oils in an oil burner, which is a device that releases the scent of essential oils into the air. You can pour a few drops of an essential oil, such as lavender or chamomile, into an essential oil burner, and then place a tea light candle below to light it and heat up the burner. The heat from the candle will cause the essential oil to evaporate and release its aroma into the air. Please remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions at all times when using an essential oil burner.
In general, essential oils are not toxic when heated. But as mentioned above, some essential oils can release harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) when heated, which is not good for us when inhaled. Also, the heat from burning essential oils can cause them to break down and form new, potentially harmful compounds. Hence, you should use essential oils in a diffuser rather than burning them.
There are a few reasons why you should not burn essential oils:
(1) Burning essential oils can potentially release harmful chemicals into the air. What’s more, when heated, certain essential oils release volatile organic compounds (VOCs), industrial solvents which can irritate your eyes, nose and throat and cause difficulty in breathing, and also damage the central nervous system and other organs.
(2) When burnt, some essential oils can change their chemical composition, hence changing their therapeutic effects. The heat from the flame can cause the essential oils to break down and form new, potentially harmful compounds.
(3) If not set up properly, burning essential oils can be a fire hazard. You should follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using an essential oil burner and be careful with the lighted candle.
Hence, burning essential oils will damage the useful compounds in the oils, so it is safer to use essential oils in a diffuser or apply them topically instead.
We do not recommend that you heat essential oils on the stove because the high heat can degrade the quality of the oil and change its chemical composition. Such an action can also be dangerous as the oils can easily cause a fire on the stove.
The choice between using an oil burner or a diffuser to disperse essential oils depends on your personal preferences and the specific situation. Both methods have their own set of benefits and drawbacks.
Should you use an oil burner or an oil diffuser? What’s the difference? Well, both methods have their own advantages and disadvantages and the final decision will depend on your personal preferences and needs.
Essential oil burners use a heat source like a tea light candle to gently heat the essential oils, which help release their aroma into the air. Some of this essential oils may evaporate without being fully released though, and also, using heat to disperse essential oils can alter their chemical composition and affect their effects, potentially harming us.
Oil diffusers, however, use ultrasonic waves and not heat to disperse essential oils into the air. This means that the oils are not subjected to high temperatures which can alter the chemical composition of the essential oils. Diffusers can also atomise the essential oils into very fine particles which can be inhaled easily, hence making it more efficient than the essential oil burner, though some diffusers do have some difficulties in diffusing thicker and heavier essential oils, such as Patchouli oil, Vetiver oil, Sandalwood oil, Myrrh oil and Frankincense oil. Most of these oils are derived from plants with woody or resinous aromas and tend to be thicker and more viscous than other essential oils. However, there is a workaround. You can dilute this kind of oils with a lighter carrier oil, such as fractionated coconut oil, or by using a diffuser that is specifically designed to disperse thicker oils.
Overall, both oil burners and diffusers can be effective in dispersing essential oils and add a pleasant aroma to any room.
An electric burner, which we also referred to as an electric oil warmer or electric tart burner, is a device that uses electricity to heat essential oils and release their aroma into the air. How do you use an electric burner? Well, you just need to get an essential oil of your choice and a small dish or bowl to hold the oil.
Here’s how to use an electric burner, step-by-step:
(1) Fill the dish or bowl with a small amount of the essential oil, or essential oils of your choice.
(2) Place the dish or bowl on top of the electric burner and turn it on. The heat from the electric burner will help the essential oil to evaporate and release its aroma into the air. Turn off the electric burner when not in use. Remember to follow your electric burner’s manufacturer instruction manual carefully.