All of the best reed diffusers to upgrade your space in an instant

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

If like me you are obsessed with making sure your space smells nice, whether that's a bedroom or a studio apartment, then I am your go-to gal. I've tested a bunch of the best-rated reed diffusers from the likes of Nest New York, Rituals, and even P.F. Candle Co. to bring you my favorites. At this time of year, I tend to go for warmer, woody, vanilla, or musky scents. When the end of February and the start of March roll around, I will switch to fresh fragrances to welcome the new season.

In my eyes, home fragrance is arguably one of the most important things to consider when redecorating or making a space feel like home. And a reed diffuser is favored by most over a candle because they do their job with hardly any effort required. Plus, some reed diffusers can be refilled so that you only need to buy the vessel once, making them better for the environment. A reed diffuser can also make the perfect addition to a table⁠ — coffee, accent, end, or console. That's a triple win.

Here are 10 options that make for a perfect treat yourself buy or Galentine's Day gift idea for your bestie.

Introducing the 10 best reed diffusers to buy for your home in 2023

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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)
Annie Collyer illustration
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?

There's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to the best reed diffuser, simply because everyone has different scent preferences. The time of year will make a difference, too, as some fragrances are deemed more suitable for use in colder seasons while other scents are more fitting for spring and summer.

If you are searching for a great all-around pick, then the Rituals The Ritual of Sakura Reed Diffuser (opens in new tab) 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!

How to use a reed diffuser

Reed diffusers are easy and safe to use to scent your home. 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 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.

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.

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.

Are reed diffusers safe for pets?

Love a reed diffuser, but heard about the potentially toxic effects on your pet? It's not just scaremongering: 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 using a reed diffuser I am always sure to crack open a window. 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. Consider putting the diffuser away into a cupboard or cabinet for the night. 

3. Some natural fragrances are safe for pets, notably the oils of rose, jasmine, and lavender (we mean only to inhale, of course, never to ingest). 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, 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 with our reed diffusers 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).

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 the 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 our 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.

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