Sunday, June 16

It Answers the Question, ‘Why Would Anyone Need a Smart Diffuser?’

There was a time, not long ago, when I thought the concept of a smart diffuser was like giving a fish a bicycle. Why does a diffuser need to be smart? Well, after trying out the Pura 4 Smart Diffuser, now I know. (But if you read this review and still prefer your scents “dumb,” go ahead, get a candle.)

The Pura 4 turns out to be pretty useful gadget, and a lot of fun. The basic functions are what you’d expect from any plug-in diffuser—you start with a scent cartridge and the wall plug, which is larger than a drugstore plug-in, but still pretty compact. The difference is that while it’s plugged in, it only releases scent when you activate it via the app. As with other smart apps, you can turn it on indefinitely, or set a schedule: an hour each morning, or for four hours at sunset.

The unit and app interface using bluetooth, and work with both Google Home and Alexa, so you can ask to fill the air with lavender on command. It has a nightlight you can schedule to turn on at night. And you can rotate the plug 90 degrees so it will always be upright, no matter your outlet’s orientation.

The app has other features that I didn’t know I was missing with regular diffusers. Most importantly, you have granular control over how much scent is released, on a scale from one to ten. For me, keeping it on one proved to be the perfect amount; each time a fan swept air across the room, I got a lovely breeze of citrus and cedar. Like any diffuser, where you place it is a big part of how much you’ll get out of it. Pura recommends placement in the kitchen, an entryway or living room, or, you guessed it, the bathroom.

At $49.99, it is priced in the middle of the market for diffusers, but the base is really just the start, as you’ll need to keep it stocked with scents. There is a subscription service you can join, with flexible terms allowing deliveries anywhere from monthly to every three months, and you get a discount and can earn points toward free products. Otherwise, most scents average around $15 for a capsule. While the length of time one capsule will last depends entirely on your usage, thanks to what they call Puralast™, Pura says scents should last for around 120 hours.

Order direct from Pura and sign up to save 20% on scents, or buy on Amazon:

My complaints are few, though to be fair, it’s hard to mess up a diffuser. I’d love the ability to cycle it on and off throughout the day, which you can’t currently do easily—I can schedule it to come on for an hour at 9 a.m., but I can’t ask it to turn on for a few minutes every two hours.

The scents feel expensive to me, but having been a subscriber of Brooklyn Candle in the past, I can confirm that you’re getting more scent for less money by using the diffuser instead of a candle, so the pricing makes sense.

For me, the primary selling point is the ability to turn the diffuser on and off from the comfort of my desk, located on the other side of the room. In the end, the utility of turning my diffuser smart was what won me over.

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