7 Best Home Fragrances: Which Is Right for You? (2018)

home fragrance

There’s always that one friend with the best home fragrance that you walk into their place and all you want to do is snoop around their home trying to find out what’s making it smell so amazing. But we also all know that one friend whose house has an overhanging smell of cat litter or yesterday’s dinner, even though you’d never say anything about it. Don’t be that friend.

If you want that enviable, perfect home scent you can either keep your home impeccable and filled with fresh cut flowers, or you can cheat with a home fragrance. I’m not talking about grocery store aerosol sprays that smell like cloyingly fake vanilla or headache-inducing florals. I’ve chosen the highest quality home fragrance products that allow you to give your space the atmosphere you’re looking for without ever smelling like you’re trying to cover something up.

See the end of the article for tips to extend the life of your reed diffuser. Now let’s get into these best home fragrance products that will have your guests jealous.

What Are the Best Home Fragrances?

0000 Amazon Customer Reviews
  • My top pick
  • Gorgeous hand-blown glass vessel
  • Lasts a whole year
Price: $115.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Glass bottle with silver cap with prosecco fragrance Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Maybe interesting fragrances
  • Can be used on fabric
  • Supports American business
Price: $28.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
0000 Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Smart device controlled by app
  • Can adjust scent strength
  • Many scents to choose from
Price: $150.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
home fragrance products, room spray, home fragrance, room fragrance Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Cute bottle designs
  • Bright, fresh scents
  • Supports America business
Price: $60.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
000 Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Easy to use in several rooms
  • Frosted glass bottle
  • Trusted brand
Price: No price available Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
home fragrance products, room spray, home fragrance, room fragrance Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Elegant glass vessel
  • Affordable
  • Trusted brand
Price: $19.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
glass reed diffuser with yellow label Amazon Customer Reviews
  • White birch reeds
  • Complex layered fragrances
  • Size options
Price: $26.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. Lafco House & Home Diffuser in Beach House

    Pros:
    • Each scent tailored to a room
    • Hand-blown glass
    • Choice of many fragrances
    • Each bottle lasts one year
    • Gift-ready box
    • Refills are available
    Cons:
    • Reeds need to be rotated and flipped periodically
    • Too strong for some
    • You have to pour the oil into the vessel

    This reed diffuser in the scent Beach House is part of Lafco’s House & Home Collection which is a set of fragrances that where designed with a room of the house in mind. LAFCO built each scent around how you want to feel when you’re in those room with scents like Guest Room (bright and uplifting) and Meditation Room (calm and spa-like).

    I’m featuring Beach House which has top notes of salt air and dune grass, like the sea breeze the whips the coast on a bright day. This is balanced by a foundation of sun-warmed amber and gingery blue lotus.

    The hand blown glass vessel comes with reeds and enough of the fragrance to last you a year. After that, scent refills are available so you don’t have to repurchase the diffuser. It comes in a gift-ready box, making it a great housewarming gift.

    Lafco has diffuser scents for basically any room you can think of from Bathroom (water lily, rhubarb, and sea spray) to Library (sage and walnut.)

  2. Antica Farmacista Room Spray in Prosecco

    Pros:
    • Complex, layered fragrances
    • Choice of scent
    • Elegant glass bottle
    • Can be used on linens and fabrics
    • Comes in gift-ready box
    Cons:
    • Sprays don’t last as long as diffusers
    • Not passive so you have to spray it
    • Can't get refills

    Anitca Farmacista is a Seattle-based company founded by two best friends with a passion for creating designer scents. Their fragrances are potent but never overwhelming. Antica Farmacista provides the sort of depth of scent and welcoming atmosphere that you’d expect from a luxury hotel suite.

    This high end room spray comes in a thick glass bottle and the scent Manhattan has a matte black label and whiskey-colored liquid giving the whole bottle a look of expensive liquor. And that’s appropriate with a fragrance inspired by the bubbly prosecco.

    Prosecco begins with satsuma orange and sugared currant with a heart of fruity passion fruit and apricot. The base of the scent has the bright pop of champange without coming across as boozy.

    I have this scent in a body butter and it’s lively and inviting fragrance that makes me think of late night gatherings and soft murmur of party guests. The Antica Farmacista sprays are great as room sprays or as a spritz for linens. Prosecco is also available as a reed diffuser and candle.

    If Prosecco doesn’t appeal to you, Antica Farmacista offers over 15 scents including Manhattan which has a matte black label and whiskey-colored liquid giving the whole bottle a look of expensive liquor. And that's appropriate with a fragrance inspired by the classic drink the Manhattan.

    Manhattan begins with satsuma orange and bergamot with a heart of spice, touched with black pepper. There are notes of sweet, boozy cherry and smokey vetiver. The base of the scent has the warm hum of amber, cognac, and bourbon.

  3. Aera Smart Home Fragrance Diffuser

    Pros:
    • Controllable by app or manual buttons
    • Precise control of scent strength
    • Wide range of scents to choose from
    • Long-lasting
    • Can create fragrance schedules
    • Gift ready box
    • Complex fragrance profiles
    Cons:
    • Needs to be plugged in
    • Makes a small sound when fragrance is dispensing
    • Pricier than others

    This is the only electronic fragrance diffuser that I’m including on the list. I’ve had lots of mist diffusers in my life and while I’ve enjoyed them, they always left the air feeling a little stale and they easily overwhelm a space which can give some folks headaches.

    The Aera is in a completely different league. This smart diffuser doesn’t require water refills, and instead comes with fragrance capsules that you slot into the top of your diffuser. The device releases a burst of scent every few minutes keeping the fragrance steady.

    You can control how often and how strong the scent will be by choosing a setting between one and 10, which is a huge range. Each capsule is good for at least 60 days of continuous use on a middle setting, but I can tell you that for a small apartment, I rarely keep mine at over the second setting and after several months my capsule is still at over 90% full.

    How do I know that? The Aera has an app because this is a smart diffuser. I have an app on my phone that lets me name my device and senses what fragrance I have inserted and lets me know how full the capsule is.

    It also lets me turn my device on and off, set and change the fragrance strength, and create schedules so I can have the device turn on and off at certain times of the day, certain days of the week. I love being able to turn my Aera on from my phone on my way back home after being away on a trip and knowing that when I get there it will smell fresh and clean even after being shut up for a week–without having to waste fragrance on a place I’m not in like if I had a reed diffuser going.

    I absolutely love that these scents aren’t perfumey. I tend to get headaches when scents are very artificial and this has never been an issue with any Aera scents. There are a wide range of fragrance pods that you can buy with a device or separately including Indigo (citrus and sandalwood) which I’m using now and Moondance (bergamot and amber).

    Aera recently sent me the pods from their Simplicity Collection with fragrances like Cherry Blossom and Sandalwood. Aera has really elevated these classic scents. They’re bright but still create a soothing, spa-like atmosphere.

    It’s good for up to 2000 square feet, but the strength levels means you can dial it back to whatever size you’re in. It’s a small, unobtrusive device and the packaging is high end looking, making it a really great gift.

    I was sent a sample Aera device along with some fragrance samples to try out, and I’m still using it over a year later.

  4. Alora Ambiance Reed Diffuser in Verde

    Pros:
    • Original diffuser brand in America
    • Italian inspired scents
    • 16 scents to choose from
    • Playful bottle designs
    • Gift-ready box
    Cons:
    • More casual than some
    • Not as long-lasting as others
    • Not as strong as others

    Alora is the brand that introduced America to the reed diffuser back in 2000, when two sisters brought the concept of wicking scented oil back from Italy. The Italian heritage is evident in both their scent names and the fragrances themselves.

    Many fragrance designers are coming from a background of studying under master French perfumers who have a certain aesthetic. The Alora scents have a more Mediterranean feel to them. They are fresh, and breezy, and more casual.

    This diffuser is in the fragrance Verde which is Italian for “citrus.” It starts with melon and tonka bean, with jasmine and green notes. It’s great for any room of the house and the eight ounce glass bottle provides fragrance for around three months.

    Alora diffusers come packaged in these tall brown boxes which I’m really keen on. Alora has 16 scents to choose from including Agrume (grapefruit and eucalyptus) and Cedro (cedar and lime.)

  5. Lafco Home Fragrance Mist in Ski House

    Pros:
    • Attractive colored-glass bottle
    • Choice of scents
    • Fragrances designed for different rooms
    Cons:
    • Not for use on fabrics
    • Not passive so you have to spray it
    • Can be strong if you spray too much

    If the concept of fragrances inspired by rooms of your house interests you, but you’re not into reed diffusers, Lafco offers a room spray in all their signature scents.

    This four ounce glass bottle produces a fine mist of concentrated fragrance to fill your home with the smell of Lafco’s House & Home Collection. This one isn’t for your linens though, so try not to spray it directly on fabrics.

    Ski House is a woodsy, fireplace-warmed lodge scent with Virginia cedar, leather, and sandalwood at its heart and the brightness of winter pine. If that’s not your thing, try Office (sage, eucalyptus, and juniper berry) or Sun Room (pink grapefruit, apricot nectar, and musk.)

  6. L’Occitane Home Perfume Diffuser Kit

    Pros:
    • Lower price
    • Classic L’Occitane scents
    • Heavy, elegant glass vessel
    Cons:
    • Fragrance sold separately
    • Limited scent choices
    • "Kit" label is a little misleading

    I want to say right off the bat, this diffuser kit doesn’t include fragrance oils, so I’m not sure kit is the best word to describe it. However, it is a beautiful hexagonal glass diffuser vessel with the L’Occitane name set on the bottom edge of the glass.

    Together with the sold separately L’Occitane diffuser oils, this diffuser and oil still comes to less than most of the other diffusers on this list in price. L’Occitane’s two most famous scents, Lavender and Verbena, are available as 3.3 ounce bottles of diffuser oil.

    These are the two L’Occitane fragrances are bright, airy, and complexly floral. If you’re thinking of dipping a toe into luxury home fragrances, this may be a good starting point.

  7. Antica Farmacista Home Ambiance Diffuser in Pompelmo

    Pros:
    • Choice of fragrance and size
    • Reeds made of white birch
    • Clean bottle design
    • Gift-ready box
    • No animal testing
    • Long-lasting
    Cons:
    • More subtle than others
    • Best in small spaces
    • Scents go out of stock fast

    In addition to the room spray at the top of the list, the very diverse library of Antica Farmacista fragrances are also available as a more constant flow of scent in these glass diffusers, inspired by turn of the century apothecary bottles. The included white birch reeds disperse the scent and work best if carefully flipped every week or so.

    Their Pompelmo is a pure, true grapefruit scent. I have a sample of this spray from Antica Farmacista and it smells exactly like cutting through a ripe grapefruit. It’s bright, refreshing and would be perfect for an entryway or kitchen.

    All Antica Farmacista diffusers come in a tall, cream colored boxed that make them an elegant gift, especially for a housewarming. Antica Farmacista sent me a White Cedar diffuser (limited scent) last year and it’s still going strong. I will say that it’s more subtle in its fragrance than other diffusers. If you’re looking for something softer, this may be a good choice.

    This 100 milliliter bottle is perfect for small spaces that need a boost of fragrance like bathrooms and dorm rooms. For larger spaces, Antica Farmacista offers a 250 milliliter bottle and a 500 milliliter bottle. Many of Antica Farmacista’s more complex scents are available in these sizes including Fig Leaf (Meyer lemon, fig sap, and amber) and Manhattan (vetiver, cognac, satsuma, and bergamot).

How to get the most out of your reed diffuser.

If you think there's no right or wrong way to use a reed diffuser, you're probably not getting the most out of your money.

Place your reed diffuser where it's in no danger of being knocked over, but preferable in an area with a draft, such as near a window, ceiling fan, or heating vent. This will move the scent around the room more efficiently.

Fill your diffuser vessel only about half full. That's all the reeds need to start releasing the scent. Save the rest for when you need to change your reeds.

The more reeds in your diffuser, the stronger the fragrance will be. Start with two or three reeds and slowly increase until you have the desired level of fragrance.

Flip your reeds every week so that the dry side is inserted in the oil. This will help jumpstart the fragrance. If you can, do this over a sink in case of drips since fragrance oils can damage fabrics and finished surfaces.

Use fresh reeds. After a while, your reeds will be dusty, worn out, and unable to absorb and diffuse your oil properly. You can buy fresh reeds pretty cheaply and the difference is very noticable. 

What's the difference between a good and a bad home fragrance?

Ignoring the fact that cheap home fragrances smell artificial, when you smell a cheap home fragrance, whether it's a spray or diffuser, you can generally name the scent. If it's apple cinnamon, your guests can walk in and identify apple and cinnamon.

That doesn't sound bad and yes, you want your fragrances to smell like what they say they are, but when they are so one or two note like cheap fragrances are, your guests know exactly what it is. They can tell you're covering up something with a spray.

Think of it this way, when you get into a friend's car and it reeks of vanilla, you don't assume that space naturally smells like vanilla, but that someone has doused it in spray to cover up some funky odors. That's what we're trying to avoid.

High quality home fragrances are complex, layered, and balanced by trusted perfume houses. When someone walks into a home and the scent is clean and warm, and they can pick out hints of citrus, something green, and something woodsy, they don't assume its a spray--they assume your house smells like that. That's the goal and something that cheap home fragrances can't do.

See Also:

Heavy, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. Our product recommendations are guided solely by our editors. We have no relationship with manufacturers.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

Anna Kardashian

Our experience with Aera so far has been pretty underwhelming, to say the least.
– We purchased a “Glow” set which was supposed to come with a Diffuser and a Glow fragrance. When the order was shipped to us, there was only the diffuser and no “glow” fragrance. We had additionally purchased “Poetry” – which was included. 
- Upon following up with customer support, Glow was shipped out
- Poetry was very unimpressive and at around 6-7 intensity, was hardly noticeable in our medium-sized bedroom. No one even noticed the fragrance, we tried placing it at various places with no success. 
- Glow, on the other hand, was better, we liked it. But this did not last long. 
- It’s been about a week of using our diffuser and it seems to have stopped working. The LED lights on top of the unit are cycling from 1-10 rapidly. 
- We switched off and switched it back on; we pulled the power cord and plugged it back. We reset the device by simultaneously pressing + and – buttons – nothing helps.
The unit is no longer diffusing! Upon pressing the eject button, nothing happens. I pulled out the capsule in any case and plugged it back in. Whether the capsule is plugged in or pulled out, the LED lights keep toggling. My App indicates that the device is reachable, functioning ok – but that is not the case.
With a week’s run, this device has already tanked.

None of the troubleshooting tips worked. They sent us a Fedex return label. And I am told they will replace the faulty unity once their QA gets the returned equipment. We shipped it back 2 days ago, it won’t reach them till next Friday, so I am guessing, if at all we do get a replacement, it will not be till mid January. This was a Christmas present, and we ended up relying on good old Yankee candles. This left a sour taste in the mouth, the quality of the equipment as well as their unsympathetic Customer Support. Anyway, we are kind of stuck with this as I was over enthusiastic and also bought two additional fragrances – now I have no choice but to wait and hope they send me back a replacement, whenever they do.

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