Best Humidifiers of 2018

John Carlsen ·
Updated
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Since 2012, we’ve spent over 300 hours evaluating 23 humidifiers from 17 different manufacturers to find the best one for you. With useful features like an automatic shut-off, both cool and warm mists, and a mineral removal filter, the Boneco 7135 is our top choice. This lightweight, ultrasonic model diffuses 3.5 gallons of water into the air per day, humidifying an area up to 650 square feet.     

Best Overall

Boneco 7135

The Boneco 7135 functions as both a cool- and warm-mist humidifier and has the highest daily water output among the models we reviewed.
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Best Value

Honeywell HCM-350

The Honeywell HCM-350 is an affordable humidifier, but it isn’t as convenient as the more expensive models we looked at.
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Biggest Water Tank

PureGuardian H4610

The PureGuardian H4610 has the largest water tank of the humidifiers we reviewed, offering the convenience of fewer refills throughout the day.
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Our Test Results

Product
Price
Overall Rating
9.6
9.3
8.9
8.4
8.3
8
7.7
7.7
Performance
10
9.8
9.5
8.8
8.5
9
9.3
9
Features
10
9.3
10
6.8
9
8.3
7.8
5
Design
9.8
10
7.5
9.5
9.8
8.3
7
9.8
Warranty & Support
6.5
6.5
6.5
10
3
3
3
6.5
Germ-fighting Technology
N/A
N/A
Tank Size (gallons)
1.75
2
1.3
1
1
1.2
1.5
1.1
Water Output (gallons per day)
3.5
1.4
3.17
2
2
2.5
2
2.3
Ultrasonic or Evaporative
Ultrasonic
Ultrasonic
Evaporative
Evaporative
Ultrasonic
Ultrasonic
Ultrasonic
Evaporative
Humidification Area (square feet)
650
650
600
600
500
500
500
500
Length (inches)
10
8
13.6
8.8
13.2
13.3
11
13.2
Width (inches)
11.4
15.6
13.6
6.1
5.3
9.6
9
10.4
Carry Handle
N/A
N/A
N/A
Mineral Removal Filter
$
N/A
Transparent Tank
N/A
N/A
Height (inches)
13.7
11.5
17.7
14
12.4
15
23.8
18.6
Weight (pounds)
7.7
5.6
15.4
6.1
7.5
7.2
6.6
9.9
Cool Mist
Digital Display
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Timer
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Warm Mist
N/A
N/A
N/A
Humidistat
N/A
N/A
N/A
Auto Shut-Off
N/A
N/A
Warranty
3 Years
3 Years
3 Years
5 Years
1 Year
1 Year
1 Year
3 Years
Online Manual
Email
Phone
Best Overall

Boneco 7135

The Boneco 7135 is an ultrasonic humidifier that can turn up to 3.5 gallons of water into a fine mist each day, treating rooms up to 650 square feet.
Not only is it quiet, but it also has warm- and cool-mist modes, though the warm mist mode can pose a scalding risk in children's bedrooms. The 1.75-gallon water tank is the second largest we reviewed and only needs to be refilled twice a day to keep up with the Boneco's maximum water output. As with all ultrasonic humidifiers, using pure, demineralized water is important to avoid spreading bacteria and mineral dust. If you have hard water, the Boneco's included demineralization cartridge can improve performance. This humidifier also has a specialized cartridge to help prevent mold and bacteria growth in the tank. In addition, it has a helpful indicator light on the control panel to remind you when it needs cleaning. There are many useful features built into this Boneco model, including a humidistat, timer and sleep mode, that let you customize how your machine runs and how humid your room is. Because it has so many features, this humidifier the second-most expensive model we looked at, but Boneco covers the 7135 with a three-year warranty.
Pros
  • Highest water output per day
  • Large water tank
  • Programmable humidistat
Cons
  • Second-most expensive unit
  • Needs pure water for best performance
  • Warm mist setting has scalding risk
$179.99Amazon
Best Value

Honeywell HCM-350

The Honeywell HCM-350 is an excellent value for many reasons, particularly if you don't need extra features. This cool-mist humidifier can treat rooms up to 500 square feet and has a water output of 2.3 gallons per day.
The water tank holds 1.5 gallons, which is more than other budget humidifiers that often hold a gallon or less. Because this is an evaporative humidifier, it creates moisture by blowing air through a water-soaked wick. The wick has antibacterial properties and helps capture minerals before they get into the air. It also has an ultraviolet light between the water tank and the wick that can kill bacteria for an added layer of purification. However, you need to change the wick out every so often, as it becomes less-absorbent and effective over time. Replacement wicks cost around $10, so this can make the machine more expensive in the long run than some ultrasonic models. The Honeywell HCM-350 doesn't have many convenience features like timers, humidistats or an automatic shut-off. This means you need to keep track of the machine while in use so it doesn’t run out of water, which could lead to overheating. This humidifier has three fan speeds, which don't produce much noise but allow you to adjust the water output. The three-year warranty on the Honeywell HCM-350 is much better than the one-year coverage you get on similar-priced humidifiers.
Pros
  • Very affordable
  • Three-year warranty
  • Good water output per day
Cons
  • No timer or humidistat
  • No auto shut-off
  • Wick adds to long-term costs
$63.74Amazon
Biggest Water Tank

PureGuardian H4610

At two gallons, the PureGuardian H4610's water tank is the largest of the humidifiers we reviewed and is easy to fill in most kitchen sinks.
When you combine this with a modest water output of 1.4 gallons per day, you get a humidifier that needs to be refilled less often than most models. Despite its lower water output, the PureGuardian can treat the air in rooms up to 650 square feet, though probably not as quickly as high-output humidifiers. This unit has both warm- and cool-mist settings, so you can choose what’s best for you. The H4610 is an ultrasonic humidifier and works best if you use purified water or a demineralization cartridge, though the cartridge is extra. This humidifier can automatically shut off when it runs out of water, preventing damage to the ultrasonic misting element. Unlike some other models we looked at, the H4610 doesn't have a humidistat. However, you can get similar results by using the built-in timer to control when the H4610 runs. Although the PureGuardian H4610's three-year warranty isn't the longest we've seen in a humidifier, it's competitive with other brands.
Pros
  • Largest water tank
  • Three-year warranty
  • Humidifies rooms up to 650 square feet
Cons
  • No humidistat
  • Low water output per day
  • Needs pure water for best performance
$129.90Amazon

Why Trust Us?

Top Ten Reviews has reviewed humidifiers since 2012 and began in-house humidifier testing in 2015. As we test, we hold ourselves to precise standards, mainly centering on effectiveness and convenience. We work to ensure our tests match your expectations and not those of manufacturers.

How We Tested 

Our scores don’t rely exclusively on manufacturer specifications; we also look at the aspects most important to you like how loud and how bright the humidifier is.

For our sound tests, we set up each humidifier in a bedroom overnight. We measured the sound output using a decibel meter and didn't find any major differences between the units. In fact, we consider each unit we reviewed quiet enough to put in a bedroom without interrupting sleep. Our light tests were more subjective, looking at whether each humidifier put out too much light from across the room. Our results were similar to sound testing because there were few differences between the units and none of them caused our light-sleeping tester to stay awake.

While these are minor details, they can affect your sleep quality if you're sensitive to sound and light. We made note of these items in each product's reviews where appropriate but ultimately decided not to include them in our scoring for now. We are constantly re-evaluating our testing methodology each time we update this review and hope to expand it to be more useful to you in future updates.

What To Look For

Evaporative vs. Ultrasonic
Evaporative humidifiers use a filter that is in direct contact with the water in the reservoir tank. The water wicks up the filter, and the humidifier then blows air through this large, wet surface, dispersing mist into the room. The filter removes many impurities, but you need to regularly clean the humidifier and replace the filters so you are trapping, not spreading, germs and bacteria that can cause respiratory problems or mold growth.

Ultrasonic humidifiers work by using vibrations to turn water into a fine mist. They are lightweight, nearly silent and require very little electricity to run. However, they can produce a fine white dust that settles on your furniture and floors over time. While it's not required, using purified water or a demineralization cartridge to remove impurities in the water reduces this unwanted effect.

Coverage Area & Tank Size
The most important aspects to consider in a humidifier are the room size it can effectively humidify and its method of mist dispersal. While small models like the Avalon are affordable options for a small bedroom, they are not optimal for rooms over 250 square feet. Humidifiers with 1-gallon or larger tanks are better equipped to provide a high output of mist for family rooms, dens and other large rooms.

Warm Mist or Cool Mist?
Some humidifiers offer both cold and warm mist outputs. The ones that provide warm mist move the water over a heating element. While warm mist usually leaves an ultrasonic humidifier at a safe 104 degrees Fahrenheit, a curious child could tip over the unit and get burned by the water inside. To be safe, use cool mist humidifiers around children or infants.

Automatic Shut-Off
Look for a model that shuts off automatically when the tank runs out of water. This protects the motor from overheating, lowering the risk of an electrical fire. If the unit you are considering does not have an automatic shut-off, make sure it has a transparent reservoir so you can see when it needs refilling. Many top-quality humidifiers feature both transparent tanks and automatic shut-off capabilities, adding a level of safety.

Humidistat
The best humidifiers have built-in humidistats to measure moisture in the air and adjust the water output accordingly. This helps you get the exact humidity level you want in your room instead of guessing at the unit's output. Digital displays can also help you set your air humidifier to the precise level you desire.

Design
Humidifiers come in all shapes and sizes, but they share design aspects, such as a water reservoir, humidity controls and an output nozzle. The most effective cool-mist humidifiers also include a mineral removal filter that purifies hard water to eliminate bacteria and unwanted minerals before they are dispersed into the air.

If you have a specific place for your humidifier, check the dimensions to see if it's a good fit. The humidifier should be light enough to carry so you can place it where you need. It's also useful if the tank has handles that are easy to grip when the tank is wet and slippery.

Warranty & Support
All the humidifiers we reviewed come with at least a one-year warranty. The best manufacturers back their products for even longer – typically three years, though Vornado covers its products for an impressive five years. A solid warranty offers you peace of mind because you know the manufacturer will repair or replace defective parts.

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