Best reed diffusers: 12 approved scents for a luxury home

Searching for a new home scent for autumn and winter? We’re way ahead of you with our guide to the best reed diffusers to buy right now. Yes, we’ve already tried and tested a bunch of warm, spicy and woody fragrances so that you can buy online with peace of mind. And they come from the likes of The White Company, Rituals and Neom, who are pros in fragrancing.

A reed diffuser is a brilliant way to scent your home, with little to no effort required from you to do so. Simply pop the reeds into the oil and place the diffuser in the middle of a room. Add more reeds for a stronger fragrance, and flip them for a boost if you’ve got guests coming over or if you feel you can’t smell it anymore. Otherwise, they’re much safer to use around pets and kids than a scented candle. Plus, they emit fragrance all day long to ensure your rooms smell lovely day in and day out.

Our reed diffuser tester, Annie, has taken her time to use each of the diffusers listed below in her home. Afterwards, if you’re struggling to choose, then some of these fragrances come in candle form as well as room sprays and wax melts, too. See all the best home fragrances in our buyer’s guide.

The best reed diffusers to buy for your home in 2022

  • Read our best candles guide for our top favourite buys for scenting and adding ambience

Real Homes review process

Reed diffusers from this guide in Annie's bedroom on chest of drawers with plant

(Image credit: Future)

All of these reed diffusers have been tested by our home fragrance expert and Deputy Ecommerce Editor, Annie Collyer. Annie has had hands-on experience with each and every reed diffuser in this list, in order to form her opinion and compare these fragrances by strength and fragrance.

Annie tested these reed diffusers in her two-bedroom flat in London, which she shares with her husband-to-be, her dog and her house rabbit. Whilst testing these reed diffusers, Annie makes sure to move them around her home before finding a space in which they are most suitable for sitting. Annie usually tests reed diffusers until they are fully empty, otherwise, she will make her decision after a few weeks of use.

See our dedicated page for more information on how we test products at Real Homes.

What is the best smelling reed diffuser?

There’s no one size fits all when it comes to the best reed diffuser, simply because everyone in the world has different scent preferences. There’s also the added factor of the time of the year as some fragrances are deemed more suitable for use in colder weather, and other scents are more fitting for spring and summer.

Our top pick for when the weather is getting colder in autumn and winter has to be The White Company’s Fireside Diffuser (opens in new tab). It’s impressively powerful yet never OTT, and it’s perfect for scenting living rooms or bedrooms. It mimics the smell of a roaring fireplace, minus the effort.

If you are searching for a great all-rounder, then the Rituals The Ritual of Sakura Reed Diffuser is our top option. It’s powerful and oriental to wow your senses.

For spring and summer, we would suggest opting for a floral or sweet fragrance such as NEOM’s Real Luxury Reed Diffuser or Noble Isle’s Rhubarb Rhubarb! Reed Diffuser.

What are the benefits of reed diffusers?

A reed diffuser is a great alternative to a candle, and it’s much safer with no flame or heat involved. They offer peace of mind when used around pets and children, though you’ll still want to put them out of reach. Reed diffusers are also, the majority of the time, longer lasting than candles. A reed diffuser emits an aroma 24/7 and some can last for months of use. Let’s not forget that some reed diffusers, unlike candles or room sprays, are refillable. This means you need only invest in the vessel once then you can buy a fragrance refill for a cheaper price. You can find 100 per cent natural reed diffusers, scented with only essential oils if that’s important to you. Also, let’s not forget that reed diffusers in general offer a more subtle and gentle release of fragrance. So, if you’re not a fan of heavy fragrances then opting for a reed diffuser might be your best bet.

6 things to consider when choosing a reed diffuser

1. Is your reed diffuser 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’s run out. Just make sure that when you buy a diffuser refill you discard your old reeds, as they’ll be saturated with all the scent they’ve soaked up from the first round of oil and won’t soak up any more. 

2. Consider scents you normally like
So now you know why to buy a diffuser, which one should you buy? If you don’t know what you like, choosing a fragrance can be the hardest part of shopping for a scent diffuser, but looking for individual scent families is a good place to start. Florals are fairly self-explanatory, and while some of them might get a bad rap for being overdone or cloying, our floral picks are all combined with fruity and fresh notes to keep things modern. 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. Size and lifespan
We’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. Look at its vessel
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 centre of a room. Also be sure to consider if this vessel is recyclable after use and if not then you might want to ensure refills are available so that you needn’t throw away the vessel after use.

5. Does it come in other forms?
If you like your home to smell the same, from one room to the other, then be sure to check whether the reed diffuser you have picked comes in other forms. Think candles, wax melts, room sprays…

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: dogs and cats have a much stronger sense of smell than us and can be overwhelmed by strong scents. Moreover, if they are exposed to strong perfume over long periods of time, it can make them ill by damaging their livers. Here are some solutions:

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. 

2. If you do want to keep using a reed diffuser in the main room, keep the space well ventilated and allow your pet access to the outdoors. Consider putting the diffuser away 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. For more information and safety advice read whether diffusers are bad for dogs.

As far as fire safety is concerned otherwise, reed diffusers are a better bet than candles that mustn’t be left burning unattended.

Otherwise, if you’re into DIY, then see our guide on how to make a reed diffuser using essential oils, to create your very own concoction.

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 The White Company’s Fireside Diffuser for autumn, then there’s a way that you can preserve the fragrance for next year, if you haven’t used it all in the time it’s most fitting for.

We often do this with our reed diffusers to save them for next use, and so that we can switch up the scent of our home every few months. All you need is some cling film (preferrably recyclable cling film to be kinder to the environment) and also a sealable sandwich bag.

It’s worth us noting that this only works with reed diffuers that have collars. Here’s what to do to preserve your reed diffusers:

1. Remove your reeds, run them under water and dry them with kitchen roll. Place them in a sealable sandwich bag and pop them somewhere safe. You might want to label this bag with the fragrance name if you are doing this with several reed diffusers.
2. Cut off a generous amount of cling film 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 cling film.
4. Screw back on the collar and make sure that the cling film is held on.
5. Store with the reeds, ready for use next year. 

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