Investing in one of the best humidifiers is a good idea if you experience respiratory issues, as dry air can be aggravating for people with asthma or sinus problems. And when you have a cold or flu, a good quality humidifier can help by adding moisture back into the air, relieving symptoms of sinus congestion to help you to sleep easier. Many people with allergies also seek out the best humidifiers, with some models now certified as allergy-friendly by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
In addition to the best air purifiers for improving indoor air quality, making room at home for one of the best humidifiers is a smart move for your sleep. Getting a better night’s sleep is one of the biggest reasons people seek out humidifiers, as these machines can reduce dryness and congestion that could make you feel stuffy and cause you to wake you up. For people who use a CPAP machine for sleep apnea, a humidifier can increase airflow quality in the room and may even reduce how often you wake because of a dry sensation in your nose (common among CPAP users).
The best humidifiers for babies are also popular, as the nasal passages of babies and children are easily aggravated by dust and dryness. A humidifier helps by maintaining more optimal moisture levels in the room. When picking a humidifier for your baby's room, look for models that are virtually silent to avoid disturbing your little one. For further benefits, read our feature on seven reasons to buy a humidifier.
Before you pick a humidifier, consider the size of the room you need it for. The best humidifiers for large rooms require a bigger water tank, otherwise they won’t be powerful enough to do their job. While the biggest consideration for many people is likely to be cost, it’s worth keeping in mind that some cheap humidifiers need regular filter changes (this can be expensive in the long-run) and may not be the most energy efficient. You can also find warm mist and cool mist humidifiers, with some models able to accept scented oils to fragrance your home.
For further wellness in the home products, take a look at our guide to the best dehumidifiers for damp properties.
5 best humidifiers to buy now
1. Honeywell HCM-350: Best humidifier for value
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 1.1 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.
- Read our Honeywell HCM-350 Humidifier review
2. Vicks Mini Filter-Free Cool Mist: Best humidifier for small rooms
Designed to be easy to maintain, the Vicks Mini Filter-Free Cool Mist Humidifier is a great option for smaller rooms.
Whilst the tank can only hold 0.5 gallons, this cool mist humidifier comes complete with an in-built scented pad heater for Vicks VapoPads, helping to soothe coughs and congestion.
The humidifier doesn’t require any filters and has a handy auto shut-off feature, it is however, only really suitable for smaller spaces.
3. Pure Enrichment MistAire XL: Best humidifier for bedrooms
We’ve picked the Pure Enrichment MistAire XL as the best humidifier for bedrooms thanks to a whole host of features that allow it to work effectively throughout the night without disturbing your sleep. Its night light can be set to glow red, blue or green or switched off altogether, while its quiet operation means you’ll barely hear it running. Finally, auto shut off means you won’t need to worry about the humidifier running for too long while you sleep.
The Pure Enrichment MistAire XL doesn’t have an auto mode, but it is more affordable than most models that come with this feature and with both single and dual-mist nozzles you can still customize its output to meet your needs. It emits mist via ultrasonic technology, providing between 10 and 24 hours of continuous operation depending on your chosen mist control setting.
The build does make it somewhat difficult to refill and could be a problem for some people as it involves a bit of balancing while you screw the plug on again.
- Read our Pure Enrichment MistAire XL review
4. Boneco U350: Best humidifier for essential oil use
The BONECO U350 Warm and Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier has a much more modern look than some of the others in this guide, it is, however, a bit more pricey too.
Suitable for rooms up to 80 meters squared, the BONECO Humidifier is compatible with both soft and hard water. A reminder to refill the water will also avoid the tank emptying out.
Complete with handy features like a top fill function, LED screen, and both cool and warm mist, this humidifier can also be used with essential oils. An Auto Mode means this humidifier can self-regulate so you don't need to monitor it too closely.
5. Costway 6L Cool Mist Humidifier: Best humidifier for home offices
Available in black, white and silver, the Costway 6L Cool Mist Humidifier is one of the largest in our guide. However, because this humidifier stands upright, it doesn't actually take up much floor space and is ideal for an office space.
The humidifier does feature a LED light and digital display, as well as three adjustable spray functions. Complete with a remote control, this humidifier is easy to operate.
With a larger capacity, the Costway 6L Cool Mist Humidifier can be used for longer amounts of time.
Best humidifiers FAQ
Choosing the best humidifier for baby
The best humidifier for your baby is similar to a humidifier you would buy for yourself or older children. However, its functionality and quirks are even more important when you place it in your baby’s room. You want a humidifier that can run quietly all night. It should also be easy to use and maintain and it should work effectively.
There is a whole line of humidifiers designed to look like cows, penguins and other adorable creatures to fit the decor in a baby's room. Such humidifiers, to the degree that you keep them clean and well maintained, serve their purpose and perform adequately.
However, most humidifiers designed specifically for babies are ultrasonic which can create too much moisture, sometimes to the point of puddling. Because of the excess moisture, ultrasonic humidifiers are also more susceptible to white dust, a powdery buildup of metal deposits on the reservoir, which can spew dangerous toxins into the air.
One of the best humidifiers for your baby’s room is our best value pick, the Honeywell HCM-350. Customer reviews for the Honeywell humidifier are generally very positive. It comes apart easily and is easy to use and clean; in fact, all of its parts can be cleaned in the dishwasher. It is bigger and more solidly built than most of the animal-themed baby humidifiers out there. And a toddler is less likely to try to play with it and knock it off a dresser when they get big enough to reach it from their crib.
This Honeywell model is evaporative, not ultrasonic. It uses a patented process that Honeywell claims kills 99.9 percent of all germs. Further, it is quiet and has a big water tank that can last for 12 to 16 hours, and it covers a humidification area of about 500 square feet. It also produces a cool mist that is ideal for babies and small children because there is no hot steam or hot water that could potentially scald them if the humidifier accidentally tips over.
Best humidifiers: What to look for
When purchasing a humidifier, you should consider the room size it can effectively humidify and its method of mist dispersal. Some older humidifiers, and even some more up-to-date ones, produce steam using a heating element which boils the water in a reservoir. This is not the safest design, especially if you have curious children or pets around.
The best humidifiers on our lineup have built-in humidistats that measure the amount of moisture in the air. 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, and you can be sure the humidity levels are safe.
If your humidifier lacks a humidistat, you can still keep track of humidity levels and control them. Michele Cassalia of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America said if your doctor feels your health will be helped by a humidifier and gives you the go ahead, you should shop for one that has the features you need. The device should have a humidistat – or if not, you should buy a separate hygrometer to keep track of the moisture levels in your house. “That way you can turn off the machine if it gets past 50 percent,” she said.
Be sure to buy a humidifier that shuts off automatically when the tank runs out of water. This protects the motor from overheating and reduces the risk of electrical fire. If the unit you are looking to buy lacks an automatic shutoff feature, you should be sure that it has a transparent reservoir so you know when it needs to be filled.
Best humidifiers: Coverage area and 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 are affordable options for a small bedroom, they are not optimal for rooms over 270 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.