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Best Humidifier (Reviews & Buyers Guide) 2019

For most people a humidifier (or the smaller vaporizers) will be used mostly during the winter when a combination of low moisture content in the air and HVAC systems being turned up full means that the air in your home is very dry. Some people won’t notice this dryness in the air at first, but soon enough you’ll find that your eyes become irritated and your throat will also start to get itchy and scratchy to the point where it’s infuriating.

Crane Drop Shaped Cool Mist Honeywell HCM-350 Cool MistOptimus U-31001 Vicks Warm Mist HumidifierHoneywell QuietCare Console
Rating3.84.24.43.73.8
Capacity1-gallon2-gallons1.5-gallons1-gallon3.4-gallons
Run Time24-hours24-hours18-hours12-hours24-hours
Auto Shut-Off?YesNot specifiedYesYesYes
Noise LevelLow volumeLow volumeLess than 50dBLow volumeLow volume
Warranty1-Year Limited3-Year Limited1-Year Limited3-Year Limited3-Year Limited

A humidifier provides you with a quick way to combat this problem by simply pumping moist air into either just a single room, or your entire home depending on what type and size of humidifier you buy. Fortunately buying a small humidifier/vaporizer won’t cost you a fortune either, with many big brand-name models being available for as little as $30.

In this guide we’re going to cover all the basics you need to know about humidifiers themselves, and as usual we’re going to provide you with 5 vaporizer/humidifier reviews for your reading pleasure.

How Dry Is Your Air?

Before you do anything else you need to figure out how dry the air in your home actually is – so you’ll need to get yourself something called a hygrometer. These handheld electronic devices can measure the moisture content of the air around you, so you’ll know exactly which rooms have the biggest problem. To give you an idea of what to expect your typical indoor humidity levels should be between 30% and 50%, but during the winter this can fall to less than 10%. So if your moisture levels are less than say 20%, then you definitely need to take action.

Other Reasons For Buying A Humidifier

The typical reason you’ll see parents rushing out to buy a humidifier is because they have a sick child in the house – usually with a cold or respiratory issue of some kind. The reason why humidifiers help alleviate some of the nastier symptoms of colds, flu’s and asthma is because the cool water mist keeps your airways moist, so that the tiny hairs in your nose and mucus in your throat can trap and block dirt and bacteria from making you feel any worse. Some people have found that a humidifier can help with problem snorers, can help reduce nosebleeds and can even help people with dry skin conditions, by moisturizing their skin during the night. Basically there’s lots of great reasons for you to own a humidifier.

So let’s get started with what features you need to be looking for in a new humidifier, and the basic types you can expect to find when you do go shopping.

Stick To Brand Names

This is a case of stating the obvious but unless you have no other choice then only buy a humidifier from a recognizable brand name like Crane, Honeywell, Optimus, Hunter and Vicks for example. It’s also a good idea not to confuse expensive with high quality – just because a humidifier is more expensive than every other one you can find doesn’t mean it’s the best of the bunch. Features matter far more than a high sticker price folks.

Avoid Cute Gimmicks

When choosing a humidifier it’s important you put function ahead of form – don’t choose a funky looking humidifier that does a poor job of keeping your air moist. We’ve found that certain manufactures produce kids’ models which are particularly guilty of this – they look great but don’t perform very well. A boring, square humidifier might not look as friendly but it’s how well it does the job that actually matters, right?

Types of Humidifiers

There are basically 4 different types of humidifiers you can choose from: tabletop, console, tower and in-duct. We’re going to take a look at each of these quickly here, so you can see the pros and cons of each.

Tabletop

As the name suggest this type of humidifier is small and portable enough to be placed on any table in any room of your home. These devices tend to be more budget-friendly but do need to be refilled on a regular basis – they simply can’t store very much water. It’s also worth noting that these types of humidifiers need to be cleaned on a regular basis.

Tower

These basically serve the same function as a tabletop humidifier, but can be placed on your floor instead thanks to their basic design. One advantage a tower model will have over a tabletop one is that it will probably have a higher water capacity than most tabletop models – this means not having to refill it as often.

Console

These are still portable but far heavier than a tabletop and are also designed for humidifying multiple rooms in the same home. These do generate a lot of moist air for several hours on end and don’t need frequent refills of their water tank, making them a switch-on-and-forget-about it option for you. A console humidifier will cost you a little bit more but are less labor intensive.

In-Duct

This type of humidifier can be fitted to your existing HVAC/plumbing system and used to humidify your entire home. These units are very cheap to run, but you will need them to be fitted by a team of professionals who are familiar with how they work.

Cool Or Warm Mist?

A humidifier which produces a warm mist is normally called a vaporizer, whereas one which produces a cold mist is normally just known as a humidifier. The reason why the lines blur so much here is that many manufactures are now selling models which provide either a hot or cool mist, depending on your own personal preferences or health requirements.

In a cool air evaporative humidifier system a fan blows dry air across a wick which has absorbed water from the built-in tank (in a portable unit), this moistened air is then blown out into your home’s environment.

A warm mist humidifier basically boils the water in its reservoir, which then gets pushed out into the air around it. These types of humidifiers can be very useful for certain types of respiratory conditions, and also operate very quietly because they have no real moving parts.

What Are Ultrasonic Humidifiers?

Most of the tabletop models you’ll find retailing online and offline right now will use ultrasonics to provide the water mist for your home. Basically they vibrate the water until it turns into a mist, but never using any heat to create that mist in the first place. These humidifiers are very cheap to run and easy to maintain.

Refilling Convenience

The very last thing you’ll want to wind up doing is refilling your humidifier every hour, so it’s important to factor in the size of the water reservoir in your prospective purchase. Basically you can calculate it based on the fact that a unit with a roughly 1-liter capacity will need to be refilled approximately every 8 hours. Tabletop models will need to be refilled on a more regular basis, because they’re generally only used to moisturize the air of a single room, so have tiny water tanks as a result.

Single or Multi-Room?

Following on from the above point it’s really important that you figure out how much square footage of your home you’re going to need to provide moist air for. There’s no point in buying the cheapest tabletop humidifier you can find and expecting it to magically produce a cool mist in several large rooms – that’s never going to happen. Be practical and realistic about what your humidifier is actually capable of doing – read the specs for the product carefully!

Important Humidifier Features

Here’s a quick list of the key features you should be looking out for when buying a new humidifier – if you’ve only skimmed over other parts of this article please take the time to read this section carefully.

Humidistat

This feature is very important to have on any humidifier because it helps you maintain a consistent level of humidity in your home. If your humidifier doesn’t have a humidistat it can create the kinds of conditions in your home which could promote the growth of mold, for example. So to save yourself any other potential health issues make sure that your new humidifier can shut itself down when it knows that the air in your home has enough moisture in it.

Consumables

Does your humidifier require expensive cartridges or filters which need to be replaced on a regular basis? You need to add those costs into the future cost of running the device. A typical trick some manufacturers play is to sell you the humidifier for almost nothing, and then force you to buy expensive consumables later on – much the same trick inkjet printer manufacturers have been playing for decades now.

Noise Levels

For most families a humidifier is going to be turned on when a person in the family isn’t feeling particularly well, so you’ll obviously need one which operates as quietly as possible. Ultrasonic models tend to be extremely quiet for example, whereas evaporative humidifiers use a fan so tend to be a lot louder. If you need, or prefer, a warm mist then the models which produce a warm water mist/steam tend to be very quiet too.

Our Top 5 Best Humidifier Reviews

Now let’s a take a look at some of the most popular models available today in our vaporizer/humidifier reviews feature.

1) Crane Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier Review

Crane are one of the most widely recognized brand names when it comes to humidifiers and their Drop Shape (available in multiple colors) humidifier is probably one of the best selling humidifiers you’ll find right now. This ultrasonic model works without needing a separate filter and can operate on a single tank of water for up to 24-hours, meaning no annoying hourly refills. Another feature we love on this Crane humidifier is the auto-shutoff safety function. Costing just under $46 this humidifier from Crane has received over 2,000 positive reviews on Amazon so far – a sure sign that it’s a worthwhile investment on your part.

2) Honeywell HCM-350 Cool Mist Humidifier Review

If you’re concerned about the purity of the cool air mist your humidifier is producing then the Honeywell HCM-350 kills 99.9% of all germs in the mist itself, and even runs 25% more quietly than other comparable models. This humidifier is suitable for medium-sized rooms and is capable of running for 24-hours on just a single refill of water. As you’d expect from Honeywell this device is extremely well made and at just a few cents under $50 it represents excellent value for money.

3) Optimus U-31001 Ultrasonic Humidifier Review

Although you might not recognize the brand name Optimus in relation to humidifiers, we feel that the features of this model speak for themselves. The controls allow you to adjust the amount of mist you’re producing, and the 1.1 gallon tank will produce enough cool mist in a room for roughly 16 hours in total, and it does it so quietly it won’t even wake you up. Not as flashy as other humidifiers, the Optimus U-31001 is still a firm favorite with many Amazon shoppers. You can get yours online now for a dime and change under $45.

4) Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier Review

This warm mist air humidifier from Vicks is designed to be used in conjunction with something like Vaposteam or a similar inhalant for kids or adults with respiratory problems. Although a cool mist might make you generally feel better, a warm mist infused with something like a Vicks inhalant can provide you with far, far more effective and lasting relief. This humidifier has a 1-gallon capacity, which gives you 12-hours of warm air mist and it also has an automatic shut-off function too. At just $30 this Vicks humidifier is a great buy.

5) Honeywell HEV685W Console Humidifier Review

As a console humidifier this 1.5-gallon(x2)  model from Honeywell is going to produce enough cool air mist for rooms up to around 2,300 square feet, so it’s ideal for large conference rooms for example. This humidifier allows you to precisely control how much humidity you’re putting into the air and the Honeywell HEV685W runs for up to 24-hours on just a single tank of water. If you need to moisten the air in larger spaces or rooms, this humidifier will allow you to do exactly that – and for less than $95 too!

Summary

The type of humidifier you buy will really depend on your own personal circumstances, the amount of square footage you need to “cover” and what kind of budget you’re working with. We think that you’ll see from the above mini vaporizer/humidifier reviews that even with less than $35 in your pocket you can find an affordable humidifier to suit you.