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- There aren’t many essential oil diffusers that work with smart home devices, but there are a few like the VOCOlinc Flowerbud ($59.99 on Amazon).
- The Flowerbud works with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant, making it super versatile with many smart home ecosystems.
- The app isn’t great, but ultimately, we found the device a breeze to use so it wasn’t a big deal.
Essential oil diffusers are a great way to give your home a nice scent while managing the relative humidity of your home, and there are a lot of great ones out there, but only a few are smart home-compatible. After using the VOCOlinc Flowerbud ($59.99 on Amazon) in my apartment for a few weeks, my partner and I would say it’s a solid option.
It works like a tradition oil diffuser but this one is touted to work with Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa so you can control the device with your voice or phone, and has a built-in mood lighting too.
But considering it’s one of the few smart diffuser options out there, you might be wondering if it’s worth buying — or if you should steer clear entirely and use a traditional diffuser instead. Here’s what we think.
The first thing you’ll notice about the VOCOlinc Flowerbud is its design — which looks exactly how you’d imagine with a name like that.
The Flowerbud measures around 10 inches tall and around 6 inches wide, so it’s definitely something that will be noticed too. The semi-transparent tapered section at the top emits the diffused oil and can change colors — up to 16 million, in fact. The base of the device is a white plastic. When it’s turned off, the device looks a little boring and arguably cheap, but when the light is on, it looks much more inviting and interesting.
The entire top section of the device can be easily taken off, which is how you’ll refill the water and oil for the diffuser. The tank can hold up to 300 mL of water, which VOCOlinc says will last all night without issue. When it does run out of water, you’ll get a notification telling you as such.
The design of the app (available on iOS and Android) is unfortunately not well designed at all. It’s difficult to use and not the best-looking app out there either. The good thing is that you don’t really need to use the app after you’ve set up the device, you can just control the device through HomeKit or by your voice via Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.
- 10 inches x 6 inches x 6 inches
- Works with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
- Supports 16 million colors
- 12-hour run time
- Can control humidity and diffuser strength
Setting up the VOCOlinc Flowerbud is very simple, especially if you plan on using it with HomeKit. If you’re using it with HomeKit, you technically don’t need to install the LinkWise app at all – just open up HomeKit and scan the code on the instruction manual.
For others, however, the set-up process is a little more involved.
To set up the device with Assistant or Alexa, you’ll need to download the LinkWise app, create an account, connect the Flowerbud, and then log into Google or Alexa through the LinkWise app itself. Once that’s done, you should be able to control your Flowerbud using your voice. It’s not difficult, but it’s not quite as seamless as connecting the device with HomeKit since you don’t have to create an account with VOCOlinc in the first place.
Using the app either isn’t difficult, but it does crash often and sometimes won’t stay connected with the device, which reviewers both on iOS and Android also echo. It was definitely frustrating, but ultimately not a big deal as you can still control the Flowerbud with your voice, and for us, we used HomeKit more often.
Once everything is set up, just fill the tank with water and put your favorite essential oils in the water. We used around four or five drops per 100 mL of water, though the amount of oil you use might vary depending on how strong you want the scent to be. The diffuser doesn’t come with any oil, so you’ll need to buy it separately.
You’ll also want to think about where you put the diffuser in your home. It’s technically built to be used in rooms no larger than 323 square feet, so it should be fine in most small to medium sized areas like a bedroom. That said, if you want a diffuser for a really large space like a living room, you might need more than one, or you might need something a little more powerful.
What makes it stand out
Despite the slightly boring design and frustrating app, the VOCOlinc Flowerbud is super smart and easy to automate. We mostly used the device within HomeKit, where we could set the device to a target humidity straight from the Apple Home app. We also ended up including the device in automations, so for example, we were able to tell the device to automatically switch on at certain times as long as someone was home.
While most HomeKit users will be perfectly fine with the functionality in the Home app, non-HomeKit users will appreciate the extra control you get in the LinkWise app, like the ability to set up different speeds for the diffuser. It goes from 1 to 5, with 5 being the strongest. We ended up setting it at 3 and leaving it there. The app also notifies you when the tank is out of water — a feature that you won’t get through any of the other apps.
The fact that the device works with Alexa and Assistant too is a nice touch, though it doesn’t have the same features as LinkWise or HomeKit like we just mentioned. With all three smart ecosystems, you can change the brightness and color of the light, and set the device to turn on and off. It’s not uncommon to have and use multiple digital assistants in the same household, so the ability to work with the three biggest smart ecosystems is very handy.
But despite the app compatibility, the diffuser is so easy to use that you don’t necessarily need the app. Using the buttons on the front of the diffuser are intuitive, so if you prefer using the device manually, it’ll work just as fine.
Cons to consider
The VOCOlinc is smart and intuitive to use, but there are a few compromises.
As mentioned, the design of the Flowerbud isn’t the nicest, but it’s not awful either. It looks cheap when it’s turned off because of the white plastic basic, but does look a little better when powered on and set to one of the 16 million colors.
But then there’s the app, which is a bit of a mess.
For most people, having the app simply there to alert you when the water is low will be enough since you can control most of the features through Apple Home, Google Assistant, or Amazon Alexa. Controlling the device through your existing smart home setup may be what you’ll wind up doing anyway, so it’s not too much of a drawback for the app to be badly designed — though it’s definitely not a good business practice to rely on. Plus, while the app isn’t well-designed, it technically works fine — the Flowerbud reacted relatively quickly to our control and that’s all we really wanted.
The bottom line
The VOCOlinc Flowerbud may have an annoying app, but ultimately, it’s still well worth buying.
We found it very easy to use both manually and through Apple Home, Google Assistant, or Amazon Alexa, and the built-in light helps ensure that it looks good despite the boring plastic design. Most importantly, the device is great at diffusing essential oils throughout a room, and the fact that it can be integrated with the rest of your smart home is awesome.
Compared to a traditional manual diffuser, I didn’t think that the Flowerbud diffused the scent any better, but the added control is a huge bonus for those rounding out their smart home system, so we’d recommend the VOCOlinc Flowerbud to anyone who wants a smart essential oil diffuser.
Pros: Relatively inexpensive, works with HomeKit, Alexa, and Assistant, built-in light supports 16 million colors
Cons: App constantly crashes, oil diffuser has slightly boring look
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