A good night’s sleep is no longer underrated. From taking the advice of limiting pre-sleep screen time to outfitting our beds with weighted blankets and drifting off to meditation podcasts, there’s a lot to creating the perfect “clean sleeping” space. Often overlooked is air quality, specifically dry air.
If the air in your home lacks the right amount of moisture, you’ll feel it. Thankfully, dry air is also one of the easiest problems you can fix by simply running a humidifier.
By controlling moisture in the air you and your family will get a better night’s sleep. Also, you’ll likely notice less dry skin issues, and breath easier.
Humidifiers are a relatively inexpensive way to introduce more moisture into the air, and, therefore, they’re great to have around. They’re also low maintenance, only requiring refilling and periodic cleaning (much like emptying or cleaning a vacuum).
How Do I Know If I Need a Humidifier?
You may find that it’s time to invest in a humidifier if you suspect that the air is dry in your home, especially in your bedroom. Dryness usually becomes prevalent during the winter months. It is the time of the year when forced air heating systems promote less than ideal conditions in your home.
Generally, during summer months, even when you are blasting your window air conditioner, you will not need to run your humidifier. Also, most people mix up humidifiers with an air purifier. Please keep in mind that an air purifier absorbs pollutants from the air and help fight allergens.
Measuring the humidity level, however, is super simple. Just get a hygrometer from your favorite retailer for about $10. It will tell you if humidity falls below the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommended indoor levels of 30% – 50%.
Some of the most common signs that your room has low humidity are dry skin, irritated throat and nasal canal, and itchy eyes. Proper humidity eases nighttime congestion with newborns, so the whole family can catch a good night’s sleep.
Adults who suffer from respiratory discomfort, from minor complications such as congestion as a result of seasonal allergies to more chronic issues such as asthma, can benefit from a humidifier. If you notice you are snoring, you may want to test and see if higher humidity helps.
How About Safety & Maintenance?
Humidifiers are a great investment for your home. However, as a device that holds water they can also be a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. Therefore, we highly recommend that you set aside the time to clean them often, at least once or twice a week.
As an example Environmental Protection Agency EPA guidelines recommend a good clean every thrid day of use.
Water and electricity are already a dangerous pair, but certain types of humidifiers, such as warm mist, can also introduce burn risks. Usually this is not a problem as parents typically fire up the humidifier when kids are in bed. Still, make sure that you do not leave children unsupervised if it’s in an area they can reach.
One last element that might need attention is the filter. If your humidifier has a filter, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on replacements. The same goes for the wick. Make sure to follow the product manual for regular maintenance.
Outside of these exceptions, however, humidifiers can be a great investment for your home.
Are There Any Medical Benefits to Humidifiers?
While humidifiers won’t cure any diseases, they can be beneficial in creating the conditions to make you feel better.
According to one National Institute of Health (NIH) study, dry conditions, though with less than 35% humidity, are more likely to contain harmful bacteria than air with higher humidity. As a result, utilizing a humidifier is a great way to help prevent seasonal sniffles for more than one reason.
Humidifiers can also help alleviate the symptoms of certain illnesses. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) states that humidifiers, especially cool mist humidifiers, can help to relieve discomfort while healing from certain respiratory conditions such as acute bronchitis.
During our research, we came across NIH publications that cite how the use of humidifiers can help alleviate the discomfort associated with symptoms of viruses, such as the flu or common cold.
Important Features to Look Out for When Buying a Humidifier
A humidifier is a device that releases moisture into the air in order to raise the humidity. It can be a small, portable model which we will cover in this article, but it can also be a unit designed to add humidity to your entire house.
We don’t recommend that you to install a new whole house humidifier (unless it already comes with your house). These large devices typically reside in the basement and are easy to forget about. Lack of proper maintenance and cleaning can lead to mold growth.
Select the Type: Warm Mist vs Cool Mist vs Dual Mist Humidifier
There’s a large industry for humidifiers and, as a result, many different designs. There are two main types of humidifiers, though: the cool mist humidifier and the warm mist humidifier. Both of these function the same way: a tank, usually easy to carry at around 0.5 gallons, provides water for a device which then turns the water into vapor to add moisture into the air.
There are a few differences between cool mist humidifiers and warm mist humidifiers, though, and we’ll discuss these further below.
Now that you know more about why a humidifier may be the right choice for you, here are some factors to consider while shopping.
There are three different types of humidifiers: warm, cool, and dual mist. Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages.
- One of the most popular options
- Provides the most restful sleep
- Safer for children due to lack of burn issues
- Lacks option for warm mist
Most recently, multiple companies such as Molekule and Pure Enrichment introduced ultrasonic humidifiers to the market. This technology is markedly different than regular humidifiers based on evaporation using a ventilator. Ultrasonic humidifiers use sonic vibrations (think of a loudspeaker without the sound) to distribute tiny water droplets to the air. While the ultrasonic technology is quieter than the regular humidifiers, you might get tired of feeding it with distilled water.
- Can be used with medicine (such as Vicks)
- Can help reduce the chance of bacteria growth or allergens between cleanings
- Can pose burn or fire issues due to heating element
- Can raise the temperature in the room
- Lacks option for cool mist
- Can produce cool or warm mist
- High-end option
Is it Easy to Clean?
In order to help prevent the growth of bacteria, mold, or allergens, it’s important to clean your humidifier often. However, how easy the cleaning is, and how often you need to do it, depends on the type of humidifier you buy. As an example, make sure that the tub has a large opening for you to scrub the interior.
Warm mist humidifiers will require the least amount of cleaning due to their heating aspect, but they will still require cleaning. Thus, no matter what type you purchase, you want to make sure it’s designed in a way that will be easy to clean by reading the online user manual before purchasing to see the instructions for cleaning. If possible, inspect the humidifier you’re considering in the store or read the customer feedback online.
Is It Convenient to Use?
Many humidifiers also come with additional features. Not all of these may be beneficial for your lifestyle and needs, and they can cause an increase in price that may exceed your budget. As a result, it’s important to think about what you want to get out of your humidifier. Here are some of the more common features:
- Built-in hygrometer to measure humidity in the air
- Lights and turn off switch to prevent sleep disturbance
- Safety features, such as automatic turn off to help prevent the risk of fires
How Much Does a Good Humidifier Cost?
The type of humidifier you purchase will also impact the price. Here is a range of the usual costs to help you prepare your budget in advance:
- Cool mist: range from $30-$500+
- Warm mist: range from $15 to $250+
- Dual mist: range from $50 to $500+
7 Best Humidifiers
Now that you know what to look for when shopping for the best humidifier on your own, we’ve created a list of what we consider to be the 7 best humidifiers based on the factors above to help you get started.
1) Best for Small to Medium Size Rooms: Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier V745
Produced by the popular Vicks, we consider this to be the best warm mist humidifier. It’s a budget-friendly option designed to be able to be used with Vicks products when needed.
Since the Vicks warm mist humidifier is filter-free, the need for maintenance is low. It has a 1-gallon tank, which allows it to be filled with enough water to run for up to 24 hours. To make maintenance even easier, it has a large opening for cleaning, as well as dishwasher-safe parts.
For additional features you may find beneficial, the Vicks warm mist humidifier has an automatic shut-off feature for when it’s empty. It also has two modes of output and a whisper option to allow for a restful sleep without dry conditions. As long as it is secure and out of reach, it’s a great option for children’s rooms.
Pro Tip! If you have a large room, simply double up on this model.
On a side note, Vicks is targeting a low price point with this humidifier with the hopes of getting add-on sales with their immensly popular soothing menthol “VapoPads” products.
2) Best of Large Rooms: TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier TT-AH001B
There are many reasons we’ve chosen the Taotronics humidifier as the best cool mist humidifier on this list.
First, it’s designed to be as inconspicuous as possible. It features a 4-liter tank that lasts up to 30 hours, saving you from constant refills. It’s also designed to be quiet, with less than 38 dB of noise during operation. This makes it great for running the bedroom as you sleep.
To help boost its role as a bedroom humidifier, it has an automatic shut-off that will turn off the device whenever it is empty. This can help prevent energy waste and any hazards that could occur otherwise. Since it’s a cool-mist humidifier, it’s also a good choice for children’s rooms.
As a budget-friendly option, it is lacking many extra bells and whistles, but it’s a good option if all you need is a simple device to help restore moisture to your air.
3) Best Style: Dyson Pure Humidify+Cool Humidifier
The best high-end humidifier, the Dyson Pure Humidify+Cool Humidifier is an investment that brings high-quality results.
This device has three different functions: it humidifies, cools, and also sanitizes the water. This helps prevent the growth of mold or bacteria without the use of costly filters which can drive up maintenance time.
The Dyson humidifier also functions as an air purifier, targeting and removing a large majority of the allergens floating around your home for better air quality. It features an LCD screen that displays the quality of your air in real-time, helping you to maintain a healthier, happier home. It can also be connected to your home automation devices, such as Alexa or Siri. This gives you more control over the humidity in your home.
Overall, this product is for those who are able to space extra dollars for style. Otherwise, the marketplace has many decent product options for under $99.
4) Most Reliable: Vornado EVDC300
The Vornado Energy Smart humidifier is a budget-friendly smart humidifier that allows you to try out more advanced technological features without the investment.
Available in a 1- and 2-gallon model, this humidifier is designed to use up to 90% less energy than other humidifiers, making it a budget and environmentally friendly choice. It has an automatic cut-off feature that allows you to save energy by preventing dry running.
5) Best Ultrasonic Humidifier: Pure Enrichment PEHUMIDIF
The Pure Enrichment cool mist humidifier is the best ultrasonic humidifier for the money. This means that it utilizes an extra-fine water mist and high-frequency sound waves to efficiently introduce more moisture into your air for better-regulated humidity levels.
It’s a popular choice, with thousands of 5-star reviews to help establish its reputation as one of the best humidifiers. It has a simple and minimalist design that makes it easy to use. It’s also budget-friendly without sacrificing quality, allowing you to indulge in a high-quality experience without a steep investment.
Pro Tip! Use distilled water in ultrasonic humidifiers especially if you live in an area with hard tap water.
6) Best for XL Rooms: Levoit 6L Dual Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier LV600HH
Both warm and cool mist humidifiers offer their own benefits, and, as a result, you may find yourself wanting to invest in a humidifier that includes the advantages of both. That’s where dual mist humidifiers such as this come in.
The Levoit ultrasonic humidifier is the best dual mist humidifier. It’s more budget-friendly than some other high-end options, yet it still offers a wide variety of benefits and qualities. While providing both warm and cool mist, it’s also ultrasonic, making this humidifier more efficient.
Because of its widespread dispersion, it’s great for larger rooms that other humidifiers may struggle to regulate the humidity for. It’s also good for bedrooms because of its whisper-quiet option that helps reduce operation noise.
7) Best Seller: Everlasting Comfort
The Everlasting Comfort cool mist humidifier is considered the best humidifier overall.
At a glance, it features a 1.6-gallon (6-liters) tank capacity that is designed to be easy to clean. It uses filterless ultrasonic technology. A budget-friendly option, it’s a good choice for those willing to spend a little more time on maintenance or cleaning.
As for additional features, this cool mist humidifier has an automatic shut-off switch to help prevent any damage or injuries. It also has an essential oils tray that works to helps fill your home with your favorite aromas.
Overall, the Everlasting Comfort is one of the best humidifiers for all needs and lifestyles. One of its only major disadvantages is maintenance, which involves having enough distilled water, which can drive up operating costs over time.
When shopping for humidifiers, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the jargon and different types of humidifiers to make sure what you need is what you pay for and what you pay for is what you get.
No matter what humidifier you buy, though, it’s also important to take care of your humidifier in-between uses. Unplug and clean your humidifier at least once a week, and make sure that you never leave children unattended, especially with a warm mist humidifier. After only a few days of use, you may be able to notice positive changes in both your sleeping conditions and your respiratory and sinus health.
A humidifier is not a lifetime device. You will notice that the price points are relatively affordable. Therefore, it makes sense to replace them every two to three years.
As afinal word of caution, you should think twice before using a humidifier given to you in a hotel or by a friend. Make sure to inspect it first for mold and other residues. While humidifiers can lead to a better night’s sleep, health and safety should always come first.
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SIDENOTE. This post was last modified on July 28, 2021. However, we regularly update our content as we test more products and new models are released. We also listen to the feedback of our customers and make changes to our product recommendations based on their experiences. So don’t be surprised if you see some old comments below! Since reader comments contribute to the topic, we have decided not to delete them.