Best reed diffusers: 11 scents you'll want to buy for spring and summer 2023

Your place will smell like luxury

The best reed diffusers as reviewed by Annie in her bedroom on her chest of drawers with plant beside them
(Image credit: Future/Annie Collyer)

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.

Fall reed diffusers

How we test reed diffusers

The best reed diffusers as reviewed by Annie in her bedroom on her chest of drawers with plant beside them

(Image credit: Future/Annie Collyer)
Home fragrance expert
Annie Collyer illustration
Home fragrance expert
Annie Collyer

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

The White Company reed diffuser covered in cling film with reeds in bag beside it

(Image credit: Future)

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.

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.

Annie Collyer
Head Ecommerce Editor

Hi! I'm Annie, and I'm the Head Ecommerce Editor at Real Homes. Along with my team, I'm here to review all of the products you might be considering buying for your home. As someone who lives in a flat with a small amount of storage space to work with, and with two indoor pets to clean up after, I am forever searching for stylish yet functional appliances that won't blemish my decor if I can't fit them in a cupboard. I love decorating my living room for each season, while my other hobbies include drinking a decent cup of coffee, going on park walks with my dog and enjoying an Instagrammable brunch with my husband.