Cost of an oil diffuser vs. scented candle

2 min read

I’m pretty partial to running a candle in the house from time to time. Who doesn’t like having a good scent in the house? They do get pretty expensive, though. For about $15, you can get one of the typical, large Yankee candles from Amazon.

How much will this cost? Well, like I said, $15 is the price for the candle. Its advertised lifespan is 110-150 hours of burn time, so let’s take the higher number and figure out a price per hour.

$15 / 150 hours = $0.10/hour to run a candle

Well, that’s not bad! Let’s take a look at an oil diffuser. The math here is a little more complicated, since the oil is dropped into distilled water, and then diffused into the air. First, let’s figure out the cost of the oil. Since we know we’re going to need a price per drop, let’s figure that out.

You can buy a set of essential oils for $12.95. This totals 60mL of oil. There are 0.05mL in a drop of oil.

$12.95 / (60mL / 0.05mL drops) = $0.0108 per drop of essential oil

Now, it’s generally advised to use 3 drops of oil per 100mL of distilled water, so, in a popular 500mL tank, you’ll use 15 drops. We’re also using the high end of the advertised lifespan, which is 10 hours.

($0.0108 drop of oil * 15 drops) / 10 hours = $0.016 worth of oil per hour

To be a bit more fair, most people recommend to use distilled water. You can buy 3785.41mL of distilled water for about $0.89, or $0.18 per diffuser fill. Also, at 10 watts of power and $0.15/kWh, you’re looking at about $0.01 of electricity per 10 hour usage.

(($0.0108 drop of oil * 15 drops) + $0.18 water + $0.01 electricity) / 10 hours = $0.0352 per hour to run and maintain an oil diffuser

Putting this all together…

$0.0352 oil diffuser cost per hour / $0.10 candle cost hour… drumroll please …

A candle is 35.2% more expensive than an oil diffuser.

This obviously isn’t going to break any banks, but I just like doing the math!

And with that, I’m going to patiently wait for my new oil diffuser and starter oils to get to me and maybe even mix and match different scents together!