Best Humidifiers

UPDATED OCTOBER 2018​

You can use a humidifier to make your home feel more comfortable for your whole family.

BEST
HUMIDIFIER 2018

Pure Enrichment HumeXL Pro

BOTTOM LINE

Adjust the humidity level in your home and change other settings with the remote control that comes with this model. It has two mist nozzles that rotate in a 360-pattern to
increase the humidity all around your home.

PROS

A built-in system lets you set the humidity level in the room and allows the machine to adjust the water used to reach that level. Not only does it feature easy to use push button controls, but it also comes with its own remote control.

CONS

This model uses water droplets instead of the steam that some shoppers prefer. Some found that filling this humidifier was harder than they expected.

Honeywell Cool Moisture Console Humidifier

BOTTOM LINE

To increase the humidity of a whole home, you need a larger humidifier like this one from Honeywell. It comes with removable tanks that you fill with water and a wicking filter that pulls toxins out of that water. You can use different settings based on your home.

PROS

As one of the largest humidifiers on the market, this one will work in larger rooms and in entire homes. It has a wicking filter that removes impurities and toxins from the water you use and adjustable moisture and humidity settings.

CONS

This Honeywell humidifier requires more maintenance than other models do. It’s also hard to refill it because the two water tanks have a curved bottom rather than a flat bottom.

Aircare Whole House Console Humidifier

BOTTOM LINE

Designed for use in homes of up to 3,600 square feet, this Aircare model is easy to use. It has wheels on the base for moving the heavy humidifier to any room of your home. Once you set the humidistat, this model will keep track of the humidity level and shut itself down when needed.

PROS

Provide enough humidity for a home of up to 3,600 square feet in size with this Aircaire humidifier, which is large enough for most homes. Its digital display shows you the current humidity level, and it will shut itself off when it reaches the level you desire.

CONS

Some units may not properly detect the humidity level in a room after a few years. This model is also much heavier than others and can stick out in a room.

Vicks Germ Free Humidifier

BOTTOM LINE

Suitable for homes with kids, this humidifier comes from Vicks, the same company that makes cough and cold products. It has an easy to use knob on the front and a tank that holds enough water to keep the humidifier running for up to 24 hours.

PROS

Once you fill the water tank on this humidifier, you’ll get up to 24 hours of continuous use. It runs fairly quietly and won’t disrupt your sleep, and you can use it on different speeds.

CONS

This model requires that you use specific pads and products made and sold by Vicks. When you use it on a higher setting, you’ll need to refill the tank more often.

Air Innovations Cool Mist Digital Humidifier

BOTTOM LINE

A digital display on the front of this humidifier shows you the current humidity level and the setting that you selected. It will work for up to 96 hours on a single fill and kills microbes and bacteria living in your home.

PROS

The unique shape and design of this humidifier makes it a hit with fans of contemporary designs. It comes in multiple colors and features a permanent filter that you’ll never need to replace.

CONS

Those with hard water may find that the humidifier leaves behind a white film as it uses that water. Some people complained that this model ran too loudly or made a grinding sound.

Shopping Guide for Humidifiers

When the air in your home is too dry, you risk waking up in the morning with a tickle in the back of your throat that gets worse as the day progresses. The lack of moisture in your home can also make you suffer from nosebleeds and breathing troubles that can also affect anyone who lives in your home. Setting up one of the best humidifiers can help you feel better every day. The best humidifiers 2018 models are both easy to set up and easy to use. You can let one of the top humidifiers 2018 run while you sleep, while you’re at work or while you clean around your home.

Humidifiers increase the amount of moisture and humidity in your home. You may not know that experts recommend a 45% ratio of moisture to dry air. That moisture will not only help you breathe easier, but it may also make your home feel cooler on a hot day. The products that we found and ranked are suitable for all homes. You can use one in the middle of the winter, the middle of the summer or any other day of the year to feel more comfortable.

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Selection Criteria​

We would never recommend a product to any of our readers without testing those products ourselves. When it comes to humidifiers, we started our search online. Not only did we look at those that cost hundreds of dollars and those that cost less than $100, but we also looked at the reviews that came from former customers. Looking at both the highest and lowest reviews as well as the average ratings helped us identify the top humidifiers that most customers liked. We weeded out reviews from those who complained about things unrelated to the products like how long shipping took.

After finding more than 30 humidifiers with solid reviews, we narrowed that list down to just 12 models. Our testers spent nearly 50 hours in the lab and checked on everything from ease of use and sounds produced to top features and weight. They gave us their findings, which we used to identify the top five models and to rank those models. We recommend looking at the top five humidifiers on the market for 2018 first and then reading through our shopping guide to see which features are the most important.

Selection Criteria 8

Expert Tip

Checking the weight of the humidifier is important because you may want to move it around your home and into different rooms.

In our opinion, the best humidifier on the market is the HumeXL Pro from Pure Enrichment. Though this isn’t the most expensive model on the market, it gets great reviews from those who used it. It lets you choose between using a cool mist or a warm mist setting, and it has two 360-degree nozzles that send that mist out into the room. Those nozzles help the mist spread throughout the room to increase the overall humidity level beyond the area directly in front of the machine. This is one of the only humidifiers we found that will use both cool and warm water too.

The tank inside holds up to five liters of water, which lets you run the humidifier for longer. It comes with its own remote control that features individual buttons on the front that correspond to different settings and features. You can use the remote or run the humidifier from the buttons on the front of the machine. It also comes with a night mode setting that dims all the lights on the front to keep that light from interfering with your sleep. Pressing any button will turn the lights back on to full strength, which gives you full access to all its settings.

Best Humidifier

Expert Tip

This model has a see through design that lets you keep an eye on the water yank and know when it needs filling.

Honeywell is one of the top manufacturers of home equipment and accessories like thermostats and furnaces, but the company also makes products that you can use independently of those systems. We highly recommend its Cool Moisture Console Humidifier, which we think offers the best value. This model costs a fraction of what other whole home units do and will work in most homes. It has a wicking filter that lets you use hard water inside without that water leaving behind a film. The wick removes mineral deposits and other impurities before the water comes out.

Suitable for using in a single room or multiple rooms, this model has a console design that features wheels on the bottoms and rotating knobs on the top. The wheels help you move the humidifier to a new location anytime you want to use it in a specific room. You can get up to 24 hours of use on a single fill, though you may get less use when you use a higher setting. It also features three speed settings that control how quickly the humidifier operates.

Expert Tip

Look for antimicrobial cleaning products when you need to clean your humidifier. These Products kill and remove microbes and bacteria inside your machine.

Best for the Money 1

Once you look at a few humidifiers, you might think that all look alike. The Air Innovations Cool Mist Digital Humidifier is one of the most unique models around and one that will fit with both contemporary and modern homes. Available in different colors like purple and platinum, this humidifier lets you pick a color that matches both the style and design of your home or any room. Its design features a thin base with sides that curve in and a small piece that rises from the top to release the moisture that you need. The base also features a digital display that shows you the current humidity level. You can use the buttons around that display to adjust the speed and increase or decrease the humidity level.

The mist nozzle on the top of this humidifier rotates in all directions to ensure that the mist reaches all areas of the room. It has five mist settings that you can choose from to adjust both the direction and speed of the spray. You’ll like how quietly this humidifier runs as you sleep, but you’ll also like that it can run for up to 96 hours on a single tank of water.

Expert Tip

Best Contemporary Model-1
Best Contemporary Model-2

Air Innovations includes a ceramic cartridge filter with this humidifier, which will remove impurities and toxins from the water that you use.

Types of Humidifiers

Though it may seem like all humidifiers are exactly the same or fairly similar, there are a few different types you should look at and consider. Some divide these products into those that use a cool mist and those that use a warm mist. While you should look at those models, you’ll also want to consider other types too.

  • Cool Mist Humidifiers: Cool mist humidifiers are suitable for use on a hot or a cool day. Many like using these models in the summer because the mist produced has a cooling effect. You may notice that the temperature in your home drops as you use one. Cool mist units have some type of filter inside that collects the impurities in your water. That water then moves into a separate area that turns it into a mist or water vapor. Not everyone likes cool mist models though because these machines are usually louder than warm mist models.
  • Warm Mist Humidifiers: The next time that you find yourself dealing with the flu or a virus, consider using a warm mist humidifier in your bedroom. These machines heat up the water that you use and produce a light mist that comes out at a higher temperature. That warm moisture provides almost immediate relief. It can help you breathe easier, clear out your sinuses and help you catch your breath. Warm mist models can usually cover a greater area than cool mist models can. Though these models run quietly, they require more maintenance than other models do.
  • Whole House Humidifiers: Some of the top models on our list are whole house humidifiers. Instead of using smaller models in each room or in multiple rooms, you can use one of these units in a central/shared location like your living room or kitchen. These units produce more water vapors that move through the air and rise to reach other rooms, including those on your second floor. Though whole house units are quite large and heavy, most come with casters or wheels on the bottom that help you move the humidifier into the right room or position based on your needs.
  • Ultrasonic Humidifiers: Though we did not include any ultrasonic models on our list of the best humidifiers 2018 models, some people swear by these units. This type of humidifier has a part inside that works like a diaphragm. As the water moves over this part, it vibrates and shakes the water to produce larger water droplets. Those droplets move across a fan that forces the droplets across the room. These units work best when filled with distilled or bottled water. If you use ordinary tap water, you’ll find a white powder or residue left behind on your walls and on other surfaces. 
Ultrasonic-Humidifiers-baby

Expert Tip

Use caution when picking a warm mist humidifier to use in a home with kids. These units run hotter and release hot water that can potentially burn those it touches.

How to Clean Humidifiers

To keep your humidifier working, you need to practice regular maintenance and do some routine cleaning. All you need to clean one of these units is some distilled white vinegar. Using a brush and water is helpful too. Check out our list of steps to see what you need to do to clean yours.

  • Take the humidifier apart before you do anything else. You’ll want to remove the tank and any other parts that come out before taking apart the unit.
  • Pour a small amount of the vinegar inside all areas of the humidifier that you can see. You can also pour the vinegar on a rag and rub the rag across the unit.
  • Use a scrub brush or a bottle brush to remove as much residue as you can see inside the unit. Simply dip the brush in the vinegar before rubbing it on the machine.
  • Wipe down the inside of the humidifier and any areas that you can reach with a cloth or rag dipped in fresh water. This helps you remove any stuck-on residue.
  • Rinse the entire unit with fresh water before you put the parts back together. If you leave behind any vinegar, the mist that comes out later will smell like vinegar.
How to Clean a Humidifier

Expert Tip

You can use bleach in place of distilled white vinegar to clean out your humidifier. Bleach will kill any bactria or germs inside the unit.

Top Humidifier Considerations and Features

Now that you know more about the top humidifiers and the different types that you can buy, it’s time to take a look at some of the individual features and the top things to consider as you shop.

Room Size

One of the most important things to consider as you shop for a humidifier is how much square footage it can cover. Small models will generally work in a single room of no more than 300 square feet. Medium humidifiers can provide enough humidity for a room of up to 500 square feet. You’ll find larger units capable of increasing the humidity level in a single room that measures nearly 1,000 square feet in size. If you want a unit that will work in multiple rooms or a larger space, you’ll need to look at extra large and whole home models.

Water Tank

Looking at the water tank and reading what shoppers thought about that reservoir lets you know what to expect when you bring one home. A larger tank provides a steady stream of water that allows the humidifier to run for up to a full day or longer. These larger tanks weigh a lot when full and are hard to carry on your own. Smaller tanks are easier to fill but provide you with less water mist. You should also check on how easily you can remove the tank from the humidifier.

Tank Features

You may want to check the tank for other features too. Some units feature clear sides that let you see straight though. You can glance over at the machine to see how much water is left in the tank and to find out whether you need to fill it. Many people like the units that come with an indicator warning light. This light comes on automatically when the tank drops down to a low level. You may prefer a machine that automatically shuts down when the water tank runs dry, which keeps the unit from burning out.

Warranty

Don’t forget about the warranty that comes with each humidifier either. The manufacturer’s warranty comes directly from the manufacturer of that humidifier and lets you contact the company for help. The warranty can last for as little as a few months or last for a year or more. You may have the option of purchasing an extended warranty for a little more, which will extend the original warranty by six months or more. The warranty should cover all the included parts and any repairs that you may need. It’s important that you learn whether the company will replace the entire unit. Some companies will require that you send the whole humidifier in for a simple repair.

Ease of Use

Whether you want a small humidifier that you can use in your child’s bedroom or nursery or one you can put in your own bedroom, you’ll want to look for one that you can easily use. Though some models come with a number of new tech features and plenty of bells and whistles, you may find that you have a difficult time changing the humidity level, adjusting the speed or even taking the unit apart for cleaning. You should make sure that you understand how to use all the features and that the humidifier comes with an instructional booklet that includes troubleshooting tips.

Expert Tip

A humidity level of 50% or higher leaves your home at risk of developing mold and leaves it susceptible to dust mite infestations.

Ease of Use

Benefits of Humidifiers

Before investing in a new humidifier, you may want to take a look at some of the benefits of using one. Using a humidifier can actually protect your wood furniture and keep it from cracking or breaking due to dry air. Other benefits include:

  • Stop germs: Anyone living in your home brings germs home with them on a daily basis. Those germs can spread throughout your home and make your family sick. Using a humidifier helps kill both germs and viruses in the air.
  • Treat breathing troubles: Some users find that humidifiers can help ease any breathing troubles or issues that they have. These machines help you get clean air into your lungs. Humidifiers can provide relief to those suffering from asthma and respiratory infections.
  • Soft skin: Many people suffer from dry skin in the winter because of the lack of moisture in the air. Within a few days of setting up a humidifier, you should see a noticeable change in your skin.
  • Healthy plants: Using a humidifier can also help your plants thrive in the long winter months. The moisture sent out into your home’s environment can help plants get the water they need and help them absorb more nutrients from the soil you use.
Benefits of Humidifiers

Expert Tip

Always check with a doctor before using a humidifier around someone with asthma. Higher humidity levels leave your home at risk of developing mold or mildew that can aggravate asthma symptoms.

Average Price of Humidifiers

You can get a really good humidifier for around $100 to $150. The biggest factor that impacts price is the overall size of the product. A whole home unit is one that covers a larger amount of space. Some of these models can work in homes of up to 4,000 square feet. Whole house models will likely cost $100 to $120, though some do cost a little more. You’ll also find some models that work as an add-on to your existing thermostat system. These products require permanent installation and can cost $200 to $500 or more.

All the top models we found retail for less than $150. The Honeywell console model retails for around $120, while the Pure Enrichment model retails for less than $110. You can get the Air Innovations or AIRCARE products for around the same amount, though the retail price on the AIRCARE console model is closer to $150.

You’ll also find some that retail for under $50 like the one from Vicks. Those that cost less will typically only work in smaller homes. Some companies also make travel humidifiers that you can use in hotel rooms. These humidifiers cost between $20 and $40.

Average Prices of Humidifiers

Expert Tip

You can use a humidifier in each room of your home. This lets you set different humidity levels in different areas.

Frequently Asked Questions

A: Some humidifiers produce a white film or residue that sticks to various surfaces like your counters and tables. This residue comes from impurities in your water supply. Calcium and other hard minerals can come through the water that comes out of the machine. As the moisture dries, it leaves behind a white residue. Using a machine with its own filter system will prevent this problem.

A: Do not use essential oils in a humidifier unless the manufacturer specifically tells you that you can. Those oils can leave behind a residue that prevents the water from moving through the machine. Using essential oils in your humidifier can also void your warranty.

A: Though you can use distilled water in a humidifier, you can use ordinary tap water. Many of the larger machines and units come with filter systems that remove minerals and other deposits from hard water. If you use a smaller unit or an ultrasonic model, you’ll want to use bottled water.

A: The ideal humidity percentage for most homes is 45%, but you may find that you prefer a higher or lower percentage. You can start out at 30%, see how you feel and slowly increase the percentage until you feel comfortable.

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