15 Best Smelling Essential Oils Within Each Scent Family

We may earn a commission from links on our website, but this doesn't influence the opinions of our editors.

Last Updated: April 24, 2021

There are a few things that are certain in this world, and sadly, one of those is stress. Whether it’s school, work, home, or just life in general, we all reach a point where we lose control of things and need some time to ourselves to reset. 

A great way to do this is aromatherapy, a good scent can do wonders to ease your mind and create a more relaxing space. 

The only problem, how do you pick a good scent out of the hundreds of essential oils out there? How do you know if you’ll like a certain scent?

If you are looking for one essential oil to start with or just wanting to find something new, here are some of the best smelling essential oils within the most common scent families. 

Best Smelling Floral Essential Oils

When you think florals, sweet-smelling body mists may come to mind, but essential oils are a bit different. While they certainly smell nice, floral essential oils can have a great effect on your state of mind. From relaxing you to potentially helping with your mental health, these aren’t just simple flowers. 


If you look up the best essential oils, chances are that lavender will pop up almost every time, and for good reason. This is a good option to unwind with since lavender is often used to relieve stress and improve sleep. It’s a calming scent and one that everyone could use. 


You might grab this one for the smell, but take a look at the benefits. Rose is a lovely smell, but it has also been shown to help relieve some stress, especially during times of grief. What can I say, sometimes you have to stop and smell the roses. 


Here is a floral for those who want a rich and exotic scent. It can get a bit expensive, but it’s worth it. It has an uplifting quality meaning that a small drop can really improve your mood. I do warn you, it’s strong so be sure to use it sparingly. 

Best Smelling Citrus Essential Oils

From floral to fruity, citrus scents tend to be bright and fresh. Overall, they are a pretty good choice if you are looking for something clean and sharp, maybe even sweet if you’d like. These scents also tend to be quite energizing to give you that extra pick-me-up.  


Lemon is a sure-fire way to freshen up a room. Most cleaning supplies are lemon-scented meaning that lemon is a tried and true favorite to diffuse any unwanted smells. It’s also a very energizing scent. If you feel a bit sluggish, just a few drops of this will change that. 

Sweet Orange

Curious as to what this smells like? Just peel a fresh orange and you’ll get a good idea. Some citrus scents can be a bit much for some people, but this one certainly has its fans, especially when you use it on a cold winter day.  


Here’s one if you like a little tang with your sweet scents. Like any citrus scents, it’s very energizing without being too strong.

Note: If you try this one out and were hoping for something sweeter, try finding specifically pink grapefruit essential oil, it’s typically sweeter than white grapefruit.

Best Smelling Woody Essential Oils

Here you’ll find more earthy scents. They can be sweet or spicy depending on what you find, but they all do offer a nice warm smell, like bringing a bit of nature indoors.


Cedarwood is one of the sweeter wood scents. It has a deep and rich scent to it. If you have a nostalgia for cedar chests or closets, this is an essential oil that will do you well. You also have the option of different cedars like Atlas or Virginian. 


If you want something fresher, Juniper might be the one for you. This essential oil has a pine scent to it with its leaves and stems being used in the distilling process. If you want something to help calm with, this is the one you need. 


Here’s something fresh and a little smoky. Cypress has a fresh, pine-like scent with some sweet and smoky undertones. It’s great for setting up a nice refreshing ambiance. 

Best Smelling Camphoraceous Essential Oils

Don’t let the name intimidate you, this only refers to essential oils with a scent that is almost medicinal. These oils have quite sharp smells that will really clear the airways in the best possible way. 


You’re gonna love this one during the cold and flu season. While it may be too strong for some, others (like me) who grew up with the cure all that is vaporub, this is a great oil to have. It’s a fresh scent that gives up that nostalgia while clearing the airways. Definitely, one to pick up. 


With this one, you have your pick of a few varieties. There are different types of sage essential oils and the scent changes between them. Some are a bit fruity and fresh, others are more earthy and floral. Regardless, they can calm you down and help you relax.


This one surely has a minty kick to it. Peppermint is a strong scent, but it helps with alertness and concentration. That’s why some schools gave you peppermint-scented pencils for certain tests (or maybe that was just my school). 

Best Smelling Spicy Essential Oils

Here is one of my favorite types of scents, the spicy scents. This group usually means warm and sweet scents that remind you of colder seasons and baked goods. To me, these are the embodiment of comfort and a great way to relax. 


This one gets really popular when the temperatures go down and for good reason. This peppery scent can be quite strong so use it sparingly, a little goes a long way. One drop is enough to take you back to those cold, but cozy days. 


Here’s one that will surely make you hungry for sweets. Nutmeg is known as a cooking spice, while the essential oil is more fragrant than the spic itself, it’s still bound to bring back memories of pumpkin pies and snickerdoodles. 


If you want something woody as well as spicy, clove is the essential oil for you. Clove is among some of the popular spice scents and like the others, it is associated with the holidays. It can also get pretty strong so be careful. 

Bottom Line

These are the overall best smelling essential oils! Your environment has the ability to calm you down or stress you out. To avoid the latter, it helps to change things up and a great way to start is playing around with essential oil scents. 

Whether you want something strong and spicy or floral and fresh, look into the world of essential oils and see what’s out there. You never know what you might find!