The best humidifiers
- An excellent humidifier can make your home's air much more comfortable to breathe, particularly when the air becomes too dry.
- There are a number of great humidifiers to choose from, but our top pick is the Pure Enrichment Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier because it's stylish, inexpensive, and versatile enough to suit most people's needs.
When the air gets too dry, it could lead to health issues like bloody noses, cracked lips, itchy skin, and more. Not only that, it can be uncomfortable to breathe in dry air. This is common during cold weather when a home is heated, and besides making our bodies feel discomfort, low humidity could also damage porous things like wooden furniture and framed art. Which is why an air humidifier can help.
A humidifier is an electrical appliance that uses water to humidify the air. Humidifiers come in different shapes and sizes, but for this guide, we focused on portable units that are affordable and can be easily purchased. Still, there are various types of portable humidifiers.
Hot or cold?
In general, humidifiers are divided into "warm mist" and "cool mist." Warm-mist humidifiers release moisture into the air by heating it, which kills bacteria in the water. But, if there are children or animals in the house, warm-mist humidifiers can be hazardous because of how hot the appliance gets, as well as the potential for accidentally spilled hot water.
Within the cool-mist humidifier segment, there are three types:
- Ultrasonic humidifiers use high-frequency waves to split water drops into particles, which are then released into the room.
- Evaporative humidifiers take the room's air and pass it through a filter with water in it, creating a mist. That mist is then blown out the other end of the humidifier.
- Impeller humidifiers are similar to ultrasonic humidifiers, but instead of using ultrasonic waves, they break-up water drops using a rotating disc. These humidifiers operate louder than the others.
Which option you choose depends on your environment. The Mayo Clinic recommends cool-mist humidifiers if you have children, because of the aforementioned safety concerns. It also said both cool-mist and warm-mist humidifiers are equally effective. However, cool-mist humidifiers require more cleaning because they have a higher chance of bacteria and mold growth. It's also recommended that distilled or purified water be used instead of tap water.
As mentioned, warm-mist humidifiers disperse steam by heating water, rather than using a fan. They're quieter and they can heat up small rooms, according to appliance maker, Luma Comfort. However, they also require more energy to operate. There are pros and cons to both, and the best option will depend on your needs.
We looked at a variety of humidifiers to find the best ones, at a variety of price points.
Here are the best humidifiers you can buy:
- Best humidifier overall: Pure Enrichment Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier
- Best warm mist humidifier: Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier
- Best humidifier for large rooms: Sunpentown SPT SU-4010 Humidifier
- Best germ-free humidifier: Honeywell HCM350W Humidifier
Updated on 12/11/2019: Updated pricing, links, and formatting. We are currently researching and testing new options for a future update.
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The best humidifier overall
The best warm-mist humidifier
The best humidifier for large rooms
The best germ-free humidifier
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