Let's clear one thing up: I am a firm believer that the scent your space gives off is just as important as how it looks. So, you can figure out which new rug you want to buy for your floors, but then you need to get to the equally important question of which scent best suits your space. And a reed diffuser is an easy way to keep your home smelling nice without having to compromise on safety or worry about your landlord moaning about black marks on your walls that you might discover shortly after burning your favorite candle.
I'm your go-to gal for home fragrance. I've been testing reed diffusers, scented candles, essential oil diffusers, and more since 2018. The home fragrance industry is massive, and there's nothing worse than buying a new reed diffuser and not being able to smell it — or worse, not enjoying what it smells like. Let me be your nose on this one. I promise you won't regret it.
At this time of the year, I'll go for slightly warm yet nice and noticeably fresh fragrances to welcome the start of spring. Avoid buying anything that's a better fit for winter, as it'll feel out of place by the time April rolls around. From Nest New York to P.F. Candle Co., here are my favorite fragrances for a luxurious-smelling home this side of 2023.
In this reed diffusers guide:
Introducing the best reed diffusers to buy for your home in 2023
Why you can trust Real Homes Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
The best reed diffuser you can buy for your home
Size: 1.6 oz./7.7 oz.
Refill available? Yes
I've been obsessed with this Rituals reed diffuser for almost a year now, and its strong oriental notes of rice milk and cherry blossom always wow me. Plus, it makes a pretty good year-round fragrance and you can buy refills for it so you need only buy the ceramic vessel once. There's no need to flip your reeds regularly as the diffuser will stretch its aroma from one side of your room to the other. Plus, the smallest size lasted me way longer than the recommended five weeks and the fragrance sits inside a luxurious white ribbed container that looks so luxurious on display. The smaller size is nice and affordable though the larger option really makes a statement.
The best reed diffuser for heading into spring
Size: 5.07 fl. oz.
I currently have this diffuser sitting in my entryway and its serious yet still luxurious fragrance always impresses my guests. It's a little warm, a little fresh, and a little woody. In fact, I think it's the perfect scent to slowly take your home from winter to spring. For when the sun is making an appearance but temperatures are still freezing. It came with a bottle stopper and it sits in a subtle green glass vessel that's recyclable. In fact, the brand's ethos is sustainability and it arrived in eco-friendly packaging. The only annoying thing is you can't refill the vessel once it's finished.
The best reed diffuser for spring and summer
Size: 5.9 oz.
Refill available? No
Impressively scented to be floral and fresh, this is one of my favorite candles that also happens to come as a reed diffuser. I really rate it for using throughout spring and summer and honestly, when I say that I cannot get enough of this scent, I truly mean it. This blend of rosewater, geranium, and salted amber is perfect for enjoying in an entryway or a bedroom, and its striped frosted glass bottle screams luxury. It's cruelty-free and it comes in recyclable packaging, though bear in mind it's not refillable *cries*.
The best floral reed diffuser
Size: 3.38 oz.
Scent: Sweet, floral
Refill available? No
If you love a sweet fragrance then I can recommend this incredible long-lasting diffuser that has a gorgeous floral yet slightly sweet aroma, fueled by rhubarb, sour juniper berry, and fresh muddled rosemary. It's the perfect non-invasive floral scent that never smells cheap. I really love it for use in my entryway or living room, and its cruelty-free and vegan fragrance ticks all the boxes. It's simply the perfect reed diffuser for your home for spring and summer, plus it's housed in an elegant black glass vessel with black silk reeds you'll rarely need to flip. The only thing is you can't recycle the vessel, and it's not refillable.
The best fruity diffuser
Size: 7.85 oz.
Refill available? Yes
As approved by a previous member of the Real Homes team, this powerful diffuser is long-lasting, sweet, and refreshing without being overwhelming. It's scented with everything you love to eat in the summer, including mango, tangerine, passion fruit, and pomegranate. Its aroma manages to reach each corner of a room, and we think that its minimal bottle lends itself to the fragrance. Oh, and it's recyclable and refillable. I'd avoid it in colder months, but it's really great for scenting a bedroom or dorm room as it's super uplifting.
The best reed diffuser for bedrooms
Size: 3.38 oz.
Refill available: Yes
Subtle enough for your bedroom, I love using this reed diffuser to help lull me to sleep. Though I do move it out of my room before I sleep if the reeds have recently been flipped as our dog sleeps on our bedroom floor. It's scented with lavender and balanced with jasmine and rosewood and I like to think of it as a low-key fragrance that's never too in your face. It's 100% natural if that's your thing, and its fragrance is pretty much a year-round scent. I recommend placing it somewhere your guests can see its classic yet luxe-looking container, and maybe sticking to smaller rooms if you want its scent to be noticeable. Its vessel isn't recyclable, but refills are available — yasss.
The best reed diffuser for bathrooms
Size: 5.9 oz.
Refill available? No
I'll admit that I wasn't immediately sold on this reed diffuser — until I moved it into my bathroom. This fragrance perfectly fits this space and it's strong enough to banish odors as they come. It's super fresh yet anything but boring thanks to the addition of wild mint. The eucalyptus is also noticeable and helps it strike the perfect balance. My bathroom is windowless, so I didn't use all of the reeds, but its luxury-looking vessel definitely looks on point 24/7. I probably wouldn't use it anywhere else, but if you were looking for another room, it would probably be fine in an airy kitchen.
The best reed diffuser for kitchens
Size: 3.38 oz.
Refill available? Yes
This is one citrus-based fragrance I can't get enough of. The Neom diffuser offers a welcoming and uplifting boost that's scented with neroli, mimosa, and lemon essential oils. It's refreshing but not too powerful and works best in smaller spaces (I found that it's perfect for kitchens and bathrooms). Again, its fragrance works all year round but is particularly fitting for spring and summer. Its vessel isn't recyclable, but you can buy refills.
Fall reed diffusers
Size: 3.5 fl. oz.
Our editor-in-chief is obsessed with this reed diffuser. In fact, she says it hits the nail on the head for her. "I am not a floral person and prefer more musky masculine scents. Its scent isn't too overpowering (which is another pet peeve of mine) but it's subtle and earthy." It'll be sure to give your apartment a cozy feel. It lives in a chic amber glass bottle and is a low-maintenance fragrance for the colder months.
Size: 5 fl. oz.
I am obsessed with this woody fragrance from The White Company. So much so that it makes a recurring appearance in my apartment every single fall. It makes your home smell like you have a fireplace, and no matter how large your room is, its scent will reach every corner. It will forever be my favorite reed diffuser for the colder months, and I love it for my living room or bedroom. You can also recycle its glass vessel after use.
Size: 5.9 oz.
Refill available? No
This woody and smoky fragrance offers a pleasantly mysterious scent and fills the air with notes of labdanum, patchouli, cedarwood, charred birchwood, and a hint of black truffle. We can vouch for the fact that it masks unpleasant odors and has a spicy, almost cologne-like aroma. It's also cruelty-free and alcohol-free, though you'll want to use it in a larger room as it's pretty heavy. Its luxurious-looking vessel speaks for itself, and though you can't buy refills, it can be recycled. And it comes with a stopper. You know by now that Nest New York reed diffusers come in eco-friendly packaging.
How we test reed diffusers
That's right: I've (Annie) tested the majority of these reed diffusers at home. I have been testing home fragrances for years now in my spacious two-bedroom apartment that, as you can imagine, smells like a total dream. While using the reed diffusers above, I always move them from room to room, and I like to use them until they are half empty before making my mind up. My favorite ever reed diffuser for year-round use has to be Rituals' The Ritual of Sakura.
Otherwise, a couple of reed diffusers in this guide have been recommended by other members of the Real Homes team.
What is the best reed diffuser?
If you are searching for a great all-around pick, then the Rituals The Ritual of Sakura Reed Diffuser is my favorite option. It's powerful and works in pretty much any room — though it is way too luxurious to leave in a bathroom or kitchen. You can also buy refills, so you only have to buy the vessel once!
Buy this reed diffuser from Amazon (opens in new tab) or direct from Rituals (opens in new tab).
5 things to think about when choosing a reed diffuser
1. Is it refillable?
With candles, once they’re gone, they’re gone. Not so with reed diffusers, which can be topped up with new fragrance oil when it runs out. Just make sure that when you buy a diffuser refill you discard your old reeds and buy new ones as they’ll be saturated with all the scent they’ve soaked up from the first round of oil and won’t soak up anymore.
2. Think about scents you normally like
If you don’t know what you like, choosing a fragrance can be the hardest part of shopping for a diffuser, but looking for individual scent families is a good place to start. Florals are fairly self-explanatory, though some of them might get a bad rap for being too strong. For a more unexpected home fragrance, consider something from the woody or spicy families, or on the other end of the spectrum, a fresher, "greener" scent.
3. Check its size
I've listed the size of each reed diffuser above. The larger the diffuser, the longer it will last. And don't forget that the more reeds in the fragrance, the quicker it will empty. Plus, the more often you flip the reeds the quicker the fragrance will need to be refilled or replaced, too. It's worth bearing this in mind when looking at the price of a reed diffuser — when will you next need to pay to refill or replace it?
4. Consider its design
Make a point to buy a reed diffuser that will fit in with your home decor, because it will have to be placed in the center of a room. Also, be sure to check if its vessel is recyclable after use, and if not, then you might want to ensure refills are available so you won't have to throw away the whole vessel.
5. Does it come as a candle or a room spray too?
If you like your home to smell the same throughout, then be sure to check whether the reed diffuser you have picked comes as a candle, a wax melt, or a room spray, too.
How to use a reed diffuser
All you need to do is take your reed diffuser out of its packaging and remove its cork or unscrew its lid. In some cases, you might have to pour the liquid into the vessel. Add half of the reeds to the fragrance oil and place it in the center of your room. Add more reeds as necessary, depending on how strong you would like the scent to be. The more reeds you add, the faster you'll use up the fragrance oil but the stronger the scent will be. Larger rooms will require more reeds, smaller spaces you'll only want a few or you might risk your reed diffuser becoming too overpowering.
You'll want to flip your reeds every now and then for a fragrance boost. Time-wise, this completely depends on the reed diffuser — some need their reeds flipped every few days, others only once a week.
How does a reed diffuser work?
You probably already guessed, but the reeds are an integral part of your reed diffuser. They sit in the fragrance oil and soak it up, which explains why when you flip them, you get a fragrance boost. This smell works its way around your home through the air, and when the reeds have been used for too long and have done all of the soaking up they possibly can, you'll realize your diffuser no longer smells but still has oil left in it. You'll need to buy new reeds and everything will be good as new.
How often should you flip reed diffuser sticks?
There's no one set answer for this, instead it will depend on how powerful the fragrance is and how small or large the room is that it sits inside. Plus, you need to factor in how many reeds are currently in the fragrance to the mix, too. If you're working with a smaller space, you shouldn't really have to flip the reeds that often though if you only have two reeds in your diffuser then you can prepare to flip them probably once every two days. Larger spaces you'll need to flip the reeds more often or the room drowns out the scent. You can tackle this by using more reeds, though you will still have to flip them frequently in a larger space. Narrow spaces such as entryways, you might get away with flipping your reeds once every week or two weeks. From here, it's all dependant on the fragrance and how powerful it is.
Are reed diffusers safe for pets?
Animals have a much stronger sense of smell than us and can be overwhelmed by strong scents. Diffusers can be particularly bad for dogs if they contain certain oils. Moreover, if they are exposed to strong perfume over long periods of time, it can make them ill by damaging their livers. I have a dog at home and when flipping the reeds in my diffuser, I am always sure to crack open a window — especially if he's in the same room. Here are some more tips to follow to help protect your four-legged friend:
1. Limit the use of your reed diffuser to parts of the house your pet doesn't spend much time in, for example, your home office or bathroom. If your pet sleeps in your room (guilty) then don't keep a reed diffuser in there overnight.
2. If you do want to use a reed diffuser in your living room, then keep this space well-ventilated and allow your pet access to the outdoors. Think carefully before flipping the reeds and whether it really needs a scent boost. Remove reeds as necessary to tone down the fragrance.
3. Some natural fragrances are safe for pets to inhale, notably the oils of rose, jasmine, and lavender. Look out for natural and organic reed diffusers that use these calm florals, and avoid anything citrus or pine fragranced.
As far as safety is concerned otherwise, reed diffusers are a better bet than candles that you might accidentally leave burning unattended.
How to preserve a reed diffuser for later
If you've bought a reed diffuser to be used at a certain time of the year (for example a Christmas reed diffuser), then there's a way that you can preserve the fragrance for next year if you haven't used it up.
I often do this so that I can switch up the scent of our home every few months. All you need is some plastic wrap (preferably recyclable to be kinder to the environment). If your reed diffuser came with a stopper, then you can alternatively keep this so that you can make use of it. I know that Nest New York ones come with stoppers, for instance.
With this in mind, it's worth us noting that this only works with reed diffusers that have collars. Here's what to do to preserve your reed diffuser:
1. Remove your reeds and dispose of them.
2. Cut off a generous amount of plastic wrap to cover the hole of the reed diffuser that the reeds usually sit inside.
3. Screw off the reed diffuser's collar and cover the hole with saran wrap.
4. Screw back on the collar and make sure that the cling film is tightly attached.
5. Store somewhere dark, cool, and out of the way.
You'll need to buy new reeds when you next want to use your diffuser, but this is a great way to prevent waste and make the most of this scent.
Where to buy a reed diffuser?
Still searching for the perfect reed diffuser to gift or use in your own home? Click through below and browse more buys online from some Real Homes favorite brands.
- Amazon reed diffusers (opens in new tab)
- Bed Bath & Beyond reed diffusers (opens in new tab)
- Diptyque reed diffusers (opens in new tab)
- Homesick reed diffusers (opens in new tab)
- Kohl's reed diffusers (opens in new tab)
- LAFCO reed diffusers (opens in new tab)
- Nest New York reed diffusers (opens in new tab)
- Nordstrom reed diffusers (opens in new tab)
- P.F. Candle Co. reed diffusers (opens in new tab)
- Sephora reed diffusers (opens in new tab)
- Space NK reed diffusers (opens in new tab)
- Target reed diffusers (opens in new tab)
- Voluspa reed diffusers (opens in new tab)
Otherwise, if you're into DIY, then see our guide on how to make a reed diffuser to create your very own concoction with essential oils.