Reed diffusers are liquid air fresheners that come in short, narrow-necked bottles with long “rattan” sticks, which are inserted into the liquids. The rattan sticks have small channels that allow the essential and fragrance oils to travel up the stick and scent the room. Each of these “rattan” sticks contains about 20 different channels that run the entire length of the reed. The reeds pull the liquid from the bottom to the top in an example of capillary action. Much like straws, these rattan sticks will suck the oil to the top of the reeds, where the scent is then dispersed. Wax melts, on the other hand, are made by mixing fragrance or essential oils with wax and binding them together naturally. The fragrance is released only when the wax melts are paired with a wax melt warmer. The wax warmer usually utilizes a small light bulb or dimly lit candle, which then warms the wax and releases the fragrance oil. Once the wax melts have cooled, you are able to change scents by removing the wax melts from the warmer and replacing the wax with a fresh batch. The wax melts generally come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and scents, and they may also vary based on type of wax or fragrance oil. Some wax melts are even infused with essential oils, yielding a complete aromatherapy experience!
#1. Reed diffusers go through scent more quickly than wax melts.
Some reed diffusers include a binding agent to help mix the fragrance or essential oils with the water. Reed diffusers need this binding/mixing agent in order to allow the fragrance oils to travel up the reeds; otherwise, the fragrance oil would just sit at the bottom of the reed diffuser and get “stuck.” Oftentimes, the element that cuts the fragrance oil and the other base liquid mixture is an alcohol, such as dipropylene glycol or isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol). The National Capital Poison Control Center even reports that most reed diffusers contain up to 70% isopropyl alcohol. Because alcohol evaporates into the air much quicker than normal fragrance oils, many people will then report that the fragrance in their reed diffuser actually dissipates much quicker than your standard candle or wax melt. We recommend choosing wax melts over reed diffusers because the scent lasts longer. In addition, reeds can also become oversaturated, soaking up the fragrance quickly and leading to short scent burnout. On the other hand, wax melts are made using a mixture of paraffin or all-natural soy wax, which requires no alcohol to bind the fragrance oil to the wax. Because wax melts tend to last longer than reed diffusers, we recommend choosing wax melts.
Reed diffusers may go through scent quickly due to alcohol content.
#2. Reed diffusers take longer to release scent.
When testing and formulating reed diffusers, candle science actually found that some fragrance oils take days to reach the top, causing many people to have take shortcuts such as flipping the reeds quickly to wet both sides and release their fragrance. This is once again due to the fragrance-oil-to-diffuser-base ratio that the reed diffuser bottles contain. Some formulas do not contain oils that are viscous enough, so the fragrance oil may get stuck halfway up the reed. On the other hand, wax melts disperse scents instantaneously—most release scent within the first 5–10 minutes of the wax melts being warmed! Once the wax melts are warmed, they will usually last anywhere from 5–8 hours, with options to reuse the scent for up to 3 days!
#3. Wax melts come in a greater variety than reed diffusers.
One reason to choose wax melts over reed diffusers is that wax melts generally come in a greater variety of scents and options than reed diffusers do. Because wax melts are encouraged to be mixed and matched, they are typically offered in a greater variety of both scent and vessel by which they deliver the scent. As far as wax melt variety goes, you can get wax melts in outlet plug-in versions or tabletop versions, depending on how much space you have. You can also choose wax melt warmers that glow like a candle or don’t glow at all, and there are even some that include a tealight to warm the wax melts from underneath. Wax melt warmers also come in a variety of print options and design types, depending on manufacturer. Reed diffusers, on the other hand, only generally come in the same design for both the fragrance oil and the rattan sticks because of the restricting way that the sticks soak up and deliver fragrance oil.
#4. Wax melts give off a candle ambiance.
With the self-care market still on the rise, more people are investing in the ritualistic experience of wax melting and using candles. Wax melts work very similar to a candle; the melts are warmed in wax warmer vessel much like the exterior of a candle. They are usually warmed from a light underneath, which makes the entire wax warmer vessel look like it’s “glowing.” With wax melts, you can still get the warm glow and the ambiance of a candle while enjoying the benefits of a flame-free home fragrance product! Reed diffusers, on the other hand, give off no additional ambiance other than the rattan sticks. We think that wax melts make a great aromatherapy tool, and so for that reason we recommend choosing wax melts over reed diffusers.
#5. Reed Diffusers are not suitable for children.
Due to their long, slender rattan wood sticks, many people blindly confuse reed diffusers as an “all-natural” or safe product. However, unless the reed diffusers specify that they are made with 100% essential oils, the oils are fragrance oils mixed with a reed diffuser “base” oil that usually constitutes 75% of the reed diffuser’s entire scent makeup. The United Kingdom National Poison Information Service found that there were over 700+ cases of children ingesting the “drinkable” appearance of reed diffuser oil bottles. Because of the similarity that a glass bottle has to a regular drinking bottle, we recommend choosing wax melts over reed diffusers.
Reed Diffusers are not suitable for people with children.
#6. Reed diffusers are not suitable for people with allergies.
Another reason to choose wax melts over reed diffusers is that reed diffusers have been classified as unsuitable for those with allergies. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, reed diffusers are not suitable for people with allergies because the diffuser base that is mixed with the fragrance oil can trigger or exacerbate existing allergies and even lead to asthma attacks. All-natural soy wax melts, on the other hand, have been praised as the flame-free solution to using your favorite home fragrance scents. All-natural soy wax melts are not made with paraffins or phthalates and are suitable (and even encouraged!) for people to use with allergies! Many Happy Wax customers have noted that when they switched wax melt companies, they saw a dramatic difference in allergic reactions!
#7. Reed diffusers are not discreet.
In addition to the limited options of reed diffusers, the setup and display of a reed diffuser is typically not discreet. When you need a home fragrance accessory to blend in with your setting—for example, in an office or classroom—reed diffusers aren’t the best choice. Wax melt warmers can be much more discreet; many warmers are available in outlet plug-in sizes so that you can easily tuck them away in different parts of your office or home. That way, you can still get the desired home fragrance delivery without bulky or obnoxious rattan reeds sticking out everywhere, ready to be pulled out or knocked over.
#8. Reed diffusers are more high maintenance.
The rattan reeds that are included in reed diffusers have to be “flipped” periodically. This is so the “wet” ends of the rattan reeds that have been soaked with fragrance oil can become exposed to the air and help the fragrance release its scent. Unfortunately, this can mean that there may be times where the scent dissipates from your reed diffuser and you are not even aware of it. One Instagrammer even noted that she was so disappointed with a reed diffuser because she set up her reed diffuser in her bathroom for when she had guests over, and she was horrified to see that diffuser had stopped working without her even noticing—how embarrassing! On top of that common issue, some reed diffuser experts even note that you may have to put a reed diffuser near a window in order to help spread the fragrance farther. On the other hand, wax melts do not need as much assistance as reed diffusers in order to spread the scent! Wax melts, cubes, or tarts merely need to be placed in the warmer and they will instantly start releasing scent. This is because the fragrance oil is mixed into the wax and is released when warmed. The fragrance oil from the wax melts will be delivered consistently and continuously with no extra flip or maintenance! For this reason, we recommend choosing wax melts over reed diffusers if you are looking for a more low-maintenance, flame-free candle alternative.
#9. With wax melts you can customize your own scent.
Many reed diffuser experts note that you cannot mix your reed diffuser scent due to the reed diffuser oil “base.” Wax melts, on the other hand, are designed for mixing due to their signature breakable clamshell shapes or chunks that they come in! For instance, one Happy Wax user notes that she enjoys mixing her Vanilla Sandalwood with her Espresso Italiano melts to create a scent that she cannot find anywhere else on the market! Because each reed diffuser “base” liquid varies on the fragrance oil used, we recommend choosing wax melts over reed diffusers if you want to customize or make your own scent!
#10. Wax melts are not as messy as reed diffusers.
Let's face it: reed diffusers are high maintenance. One reason we recommend choosing wax melts over reed diffusers is that if you get a wax melt warmer with a silicone dish, wax melts are not as messy as reed diffusers. When you are ready to flip the rattan sticks in a reed diffuser in order to continue delivering the fragrance oil, it can be a messy experience just turning them over. Or if you want to switch the oil to a new fragrance, your fragrance oil often gets all over your countertops, clothes, and surfaces in the process, leading to a very messy exchange of scent. One blogger even writes that when she tries to tip the fragrance oil out of the diffuser bottle to change out the scent, she often may tip too far and spill it all out, leading to a “greasy mess.” On the other hand, when you change the scent with wax melts, you have a solid product to work with versus a messy oil. You simply allow the wax to cool in the warmer (usually 15–20 minutes) and then “pop” the wax melts out of your silicone melting top. However, the process may still be cumbersome and messy if you do not have a silicone wax melting dish for your wax melts to pop out of.
So there you have many reasons wax melts are easier, safer, and more convenient than reed diffusers for delivering fragrance to your home or workplace. Give wax melting a try today and see for yourself just how simple it can be!