All About Clay Essential Oil Diffusers

What are clay diffusers? 

While designs and shapes vary widely, the two most popular clay diffuser types are ultrasonic clay diffusers and terracotta diffuser disks. 

Ultrasonic diffusers vaporize water and essential oils together, continuously releasing a mist of both. These diffusers have external, design elements made of clay, but don't use clay itself for diffusing in any way.  

Terracotta diffuser disks are small, ceramic disks or pendants. These only use clay for diffusing. Specifically, most diffuser disks are made of terracotta: a red-brown ceramic with natural qualities that make it perfect for diffusing oils. 


How do Clay Diffusers Work?

When clay is fired in a kiln, water evaporates and leaves behind tiny little air pockets.

At high temperatures, the water evaporates so quickly that the air pockets are almost microscopic; this yields smooth, sleek surfaces like you see in porcelain.  At lower temperatures, water evaporates more slowly, leaving behind larger air pockets; which is why terracotta can absorb, store, and release water more easily than porcelain.

It's almost like a sponge, except made of clay. 

This sponge-like quality isn't just limited to water. Terracotta can absorb, store, and slowly release oil too, which is why it's used as a natural diffuser.

When essential oils are used on terracotta diffuser disks (like our Terracotta Diffuser Disks), the sponge-like surface collects and temporarily stores the oil.

As time passes, the stored oil evaporates, slowly releasing the essential oil’s aroma into the air. 


What Makes Clay Diffusers Different from Ultrasonic Diffusers? 

The short answer: ultrasonic diffusers use electricity 

While there are definitely energy-efficient ultrasonic diffusers, clay diffusers are a tough act to follow. 

After all, the only mechanism that drives diffusion is the clay itself. This simple difference makes terracotta diffusers the most sustainable diffuser option out there.  


Are clay diffusers eco-friendly? 

Yes! The materials are naturally occurring and abundant

terracotta clay requires a lower kiln temperature to bake than most other clays.

While most clay diffusers have a fairly energy-efficient manufacturing process,  terracotta disks have  carbon footprint. 

Basically, terracotta diffuser disks are made with 100% biodegradable materials and use a fraction of the energy used to create ultrasonic diffusers. 



What is the Best Essential Oil Diffuser?

While it's pretty clear why we love clay diffusers, sustainability isn’t everything for everyone. It's certainly not the only thing to consider when choosing the best essential oil diffuser for you.

The zero-waste possibility of a terracotta diffuser disk may be appealing to some people (Ten Leaves diffuser disks come in 100% recyclable paper packaging).

But honestly, ultrasonic diffusers are much stronger than terracotta diffusers.

While this makes clay diffusers great for places like the car, shared spaces or your bedside table, they often aren’t the most effective choice for larger rooms. 

Feel free to check out our blog on ultrasonic diffusers and their benefits for more info. 



How Do We Make Clay Diffusers?

Here at Ten Leaves, each handmade clay pendant and diffuser disk is carefully air-dried and then kiln-fired over the course of several weeks. 

Trust us, we struggled for a long time and tested countless methods to make our diffusers. So we hope you understand if we can't give away all our trade secrets. 

And while we're not fans of vanity, we are proud of the hard work, time and artistry that goes into making our terracotta clay diffusers. 

We'd love for you to try one of our clay diffuser disks or clay diffuser pendants and see the results yourself! Shop our full collection of diffusers here


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