10 of the best reed diffusers

Fruity, fresh, floral or green — whatever floats your home fragrance boat, we’ve found a reed diffuser to suit

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In the battle for home fragrance dominance it’s reed diffusers or candles, and while all of us here at Real Homes have a soft spot for the flickering flame of a beautifully scented candle, especially on a chilly winter afternoon, reeds have the edge on wicks in a number of ways.

With candles, once they’re gone, they’re gone. Not so with reed diffusers, which can be topped up with new fragrance oil when the existing lot has done its part. Just make sure that when you buy a diffuser refill you discard your old reeds, as they’ll be saturated with all the scent they’ve soaked up from the first round of oil and won’t soak up any more. They’re also a better bet if you have safety concerns — candles mustn’t be left burning unattended, or around children or pets who could potentially get into sticky situations with them, while fragrance diffusers can be left to do their own thing. They also don’t ‘tunnel’, the frustrating phenomenon where candles burn in a hole down the centre, leaving loads of unused wax along the sides.

So now you know why to buy a diffuser, which one do you buy? If you don’t know what you like — or even if you do! — choosing a fragrance can be the hardest part of shopping for a scent diffuser, so looking for individual scent families is a good place to start if you’re unsure. Florals are fairly self-explanatory, and while some of them might get a bad rap for being overdone or cloying, our floral picks are all combined with fruity and fresh notes to keep things modern. For a more unexpected or masculine home fragrance, consider something from the woody or spicy families, or on the other end of the spectrum, if you prefer a lighter, fresher scent, something green and herbaceous.

1. Jo Malone London English Pear & Freesia Scent Surround Diffuser 165ml

Our best-of-the-bunch diffuser is fruity, fresh and floral all at once

Specifications
Best for: A luxurious fresh scent
Size: 165ml
Notes: Pear, freesia, amber, patchouli
Reasons to buy
+ Cult favourite perfume in diffuser form + Delightfully fresh and fruity 
Reasons to avoid
- Not the strongest scent 

Take up Jo Malone’s invitation to “decorate with scent” with the perfumiere’s best-selling English Pear & Freesia, a fruity-floral scent that encapsulates early autumn beautifully. The combination of juicy King William pear with the delicate white flower scent of the freesia and a base of earthy, woody patchouli is a real winner, unusual, but subtle enough that it won’t give you a headache or overpower the room. A real cult favourite, we think this makes a wonderful first foray to the world of home fragrance. 

2. Stoneglow Nature's Gift English Country Garden Diffuser 200ml

Bring the outdoors in with this botanical-packed, floral reed diffuser

Specifications
Best for: Beautiful bottle
Size: 200ml
Notes: Lily, rose, hyacinth, green leaves
Reasons to buy
+ Lovely decorative jar + Light floral scent 
Reasons to avoid
- Not enough “fresh” notes for some 

If you’ve ever fallen in love with Stoneglow’s botanicals-packed gel candles (we know we have) then this decorative reed diffuser is for you, although we have it on good authority from happy reviewers that it makes a great gift, too. The delicate blooms adorning the jar and the exquisite scent of lily, rose and hyacinth with a fresh green base give this floral scented diffuser an air of an English country garden — hence the name, we suppose! A light, airy scent with just a touch of sweetness that’s not overpowering for communal spaces.  

3. Molton Brown Dewy Lily of the Valley And Star Anise Aroma Reeds

This Molton Brown diffuser marries light florals with a spicy base for scent perfection

Specifications
Best for: Spring
Size: 150ml
Notes: Lily of the valley, magnolia, star anise, peony, white tea, ylang-ylang
Reasons to buy
+ Unusual depth for a floral scent + Makes a great gift 
Reasons to avoid
- Reviewers say new version doesn’t last long 

Carrying the same distinctive design as the brand’s high-end shower gels and soaps, this Molton Brown reed diffuser is instantly recognisable, so if you’re thinking of buying a diffuser as a gift this is a great choice for instant wow-factor. Effervescent lily of the valley and warming, spicy star anise might seem at odds with each other, but according to reviewers it gives the otherwise light scent some unexpected musky depth. For a delightfully different scent, why not give this a try? 

4. Tom Dixon London Scented Diffuser

It might sound odd, but this scent of London is thoroughly modern and a little pastoral

Specifications
Best for: An unusual fragrance
Size: 200ml
Notes: Crocus, nettle, salt air
Reasons to buy
+ Beautiful design + Unusual scent 
Reasons to avoid
- May be too medicinal for some 

When it comes to Tom Dixon’s decadent home fragrance, we’d all do well to take what we think we know about diffusers and disregard it completely. Moving away from the beloved but admittedly common glass-jar-plus-reeds model, the mirror-shine copper vessel and deep, dark rattan reeds give this designer diffuser a look that’s more industrial loft than country house spa. The scent is unusual too, claiming notes of “red brick and London parks with crocuses and nettles, and the salty smell of the Thames at Dagenham”. Definitely one to go for if you’re after something that strays from the usual. 

5. Esteban Neroli Decorative Scent Diffuser 250ml

Relaxing neroli and sensuous jasmine come together to form a boudoir-ready scent

Specifications
Best for: Bedrooms
Size: 250ml
Notes: Blackcurrant, bergamot, neroli, jasmine, patchouli
Reasons to buy
+ Good-looking bottle + Lovely balanced scent 
Reasons to avoid
- Quite quick to evaporate 

With its statement jar and relaxing scent, this decorative diffuser from Esteban is definitely one for the bedroom, or lazy languorous afternoons in the living room. Beginning with zesty top notes of cassis and bergamot orange before relaxing into a neroli and jasmine heart, and finally to a woody patchouli base, it’s a beautifully balanced scent that’s sure to delight no matter your mood, and its triple reed design and elegant glass pearl details look fabulous. 

6. True Grace Manor Orangery Diffuser 250ml

A layered citrusy scent in stylish smoked glass? Now that’s a diffuser that ticks all the boxes

Specifications
Best for: A refreshing scent
Size: 250ml
Notes: Citrus fruits, geranium, rose, jasmine
Reasons to buy
+ Bright, refreshing citrus scent + Elegant smoked glass jar 
Reasons to avoid
- On the pricier side 

With its smoked glass jar and understated but recognisable branding, this True Grace diffuser is already a beauty before you’ve experienced the scent it gives off — but what a scent it is. A floral-fresh bouquet of citrusy notes, geranium, rose and sensuous jasmine, one reviewer likened it to “the smell of spring in the Mediterranean”, which is definitely something we can get on board with! Others, meanwhile, have commended its high quality oil and long-lasting, clean, non-chemical fragrance, so while it’s one of the more expensive options on our list, it looks to provide excellent value. 

7. Ralph Lauren Home Amalfi Coast Diffuser

Capture a sense of la dolce vita in your very own home

Specifications
Best for: Best oil diffuser
Size: 124ml
Notes: Fig leaf, blackcurrant, blonde woods
Reasons to buy
+ Really good-looking bottle + Combination of green and fruity notes 
Reasons to avoid
- Glass stopper isn’t a proper closure 

With its high-end look, grosgrain ribbon trim and faceted crystal stopper, the jar is the star when it comes to this Ralph Lauren diffuser. It’s the closest thing to a perfume bottle on our list, so if you want the scent of a diffuser, but aren’t a huge fan of the aesthetic, this is a good choice. Modelling itself on the flora of the stunning Amalfi coast, it combines fruity notes and fresh greenery to create the impression of botanicals under the warm Italian sun: fig leaf, blackcurrant and blonde woods, to be specific. For a touch of the balmy Mediterranean on a rainy day, and a touch of elegant refinement on the coffee table, this is what you need. 

8. Ecoya Lotus Flower Diffuser 200ml

A spa-ready diffuser that’s light and airy with a warm, sweet heart

Specifications
Best for: Sensual and relaxing
Size: 200ml
Notes: Lotus, vanilla, patchouli
Reasons to buy
+ Really long-lasting + Elegant silver-accented bottle 
Reasons to avoid
- Vanilla can be a bit sickly for some 

Described as “divine” by homeowners who’ve already found their signature scent in Ecoya’s Lotus Flower diffuser, this light floral scent, with warming, relaxing base notes of vanilla and patchouli, ticks all the boxes for small to medium rooms. Said to last around six months (according to John Lewis sales advisers) it’s among the longest lasting reed diffusers on our list, but even when it’s finished, it’s a lovely decorative feature, with its subtly branded squat glass bottle and engraved silver lid. A really lovely all-rounder.  

9. Tom Dixon Earth Scented Diffuser

Treat yourself to this opulent and unusual diffuser, and watch guests try and figure out what it is!

Specifications
Best for: A sophisticated look
Size: 200ml
Notes: Mint, cedar, guaiac wood
Reasons to buy
+ Amazing unique design + Unusual green scent 
Reasons to avoid
- Very pricey 

When is a reed diffuser not a reed diffuser? When it’s Tom Dixon’s unique charcoal stick version, of course. Part of a series on the four elements, this Earth diffuser is our favourite, with its opaque black jar and matching charcoal “reed” making it the perfect buy for people who don’t ordinarily like the look of the traditional reed diffuser. The scent, as well as the design, is designed in a way that’s beautifully masculine, with mint and cedar mingling to create a fresh, green scent. If you want to fragrance your home but are reluctant about diffusers, this luxury buy may well change your mind. 

10. The White Company Spa Restore Diffuser

Set off your next at-home pamper day with this heavenly scented diffuser

Specifications
Best for: Spa days
Size: 200ml
Scent family: Neroli, geranium and eucalyptus
Notes: Neroli, geranium, eucalyptus
Reasons to buy
+ Relaxing and refreshing + Naturally derived ingredients 
Reasons to avoid
- Some commented it was too subtle 

With notes of neroli, geranium and eucalyptus, the White Company’s Spa fragrance is at once relaxing and rejuvenating - well, just like a spa! Made with a pure natural base and naturally derived essential oils, this is a great pick if you have children or pets running around and you’re worried about chemicals in fragrance, especially in open containers. Everything about this diffuser is thoroughly grown-up though, from the elegant, borderline medicinal notes to the delicately frosted glass bottle.