Humidifiers are often considered seasonal home appliances used during winter or other periods of low humidity. But if you live in a climate with year-round low humidity, or you’re moving to one, a humidifier is an everyday home essential. Humidifiers add moisture to the air, which makes your home more comfortable and alleviates a range of discomforts caused by dry indoor air—including cracked lips, coughing, and nasal congestion.
How We Chose the Best Humidifiers
SafeWise experts assessed several humidifiers based on features and specifications from manufacturers’ websites. We paired this information with customer reviews and chose the four best humidifiers based on value, utility, and user-friendliness. Here’s our unbiased review.
Your Home’s Ideal Humidity Level
According to the Mayo Clinic, healthy humidity for most homes is between 30% and 50%.1Buy a hygrometer to determine the humidity level of your home: if it’s not within this range, your family may benefit from one of the humidifiers on our list.
Choosing the Right Type of Humidifier
Humidifiers are categorized as whole-house, portable, or personal. This review covers portable humidifiers and personal humidifiers, but SafeWise wants you to know that whole-house humidifiers are also available. Humidifier power is measured by “output per day”—meaning how much water it can add to a space every twenty-four hours. This is an important factor to consider when selecting the best humidifier for your space.
This type of humidifier connects directly to your home’s central heating and air conditioning system. It manages the overall humidity level in your home by automatically adding moisture to the air when your heater or air conditioner turns on. Whole-house humidifiers are the most expensive type of humidifier and must be installed by a professional. This type of unit can humidify homes up to approximately 4,000 square feet, with a typical output of nine gallons or more per day.
Sometimes referred to as console humidifiers, portable humidifiers add moisture to multiple rooms at once. They plug in to a standard 120-volt outlet and are equipped with casters, making them easy to move from room to room. Output per day ranges from six to nine gallons. Small units cover two to three rooms and about 1,000 total square feet, while large portable humidifiers can handle 2,000 square feet or more. To purchase the right humidifier for your space, it’s important to know the size of the rooms you want to humidify.
There are three basic styles of personal humidifiers: compact, tabletop, and tower. All of them plug in to standard electrical outlets and humidify one room. Output per day varies according to unit size, with compact humidifiers having the lowest (.5 to 1.5 gallons) and tower units having the most (two to four gallons). Personal humidifiers are used in rooms ranging from less than 400 square feet to approximately 1,000 square feet.
SafeWise Top Pick: Honeywell HCM-350 Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier
This machine earns our seal of approval for its versatility, user friendliness, and price point. The HCM-350 is a personal evaporative humidifier that uses wicking action to draw water from the tank. It’s designed for medium-sized rooms up to about 400 square feet and comes in two color options: black and white. The machine features three speed settings, an easy-to-fill one-gallon tank, and a three-year limited warranty. Priced at less than $70, it offers exceeding value.
It is up to 25% quieter than similar evaporative humidifiers.
Its ultraviolet light technology kills as much as 99.9% of water-bred germs, mold, bacteria, and spores.
It runs up to twenty-four hours per tank filling on the low setting.
It doesn’t include a humidity monitor.
Some customers complain that filters quickly get dirty and must be replaced often.
Sunpentown SU-4010 Dual-Mist Humidifier with Ion-Exchange Filter
The Sunpentown SU-4010 Dual-Mist Humidifier is designed for rooms up to approximately 500 square feet. A unique feature of this easy-to-operate model is its adjustable split nozzles, which can deliver mist 360 degrees. Adding to its user friendliness, the SU-4010 can run for about eleven hours on the maximum setting before the four-liter water tank needs refilling. With everything this humidifier offers, we’re impressed that it costs less than $100.
It produces both cool and warm mist.
Its sleek, compact design makes it unobtrusive even in small rooms.
It has more than a dozen settings to help you achieve just the right humidity level.
Its replacement filter costs approximately $30.
Some reviews say the water tray is difficult to clean due to multiple sharp angles.
PuraSense Ultrasonic Humidifier made our list because it’s feature rich, budget priced, and incredibly small—with a water drop shape that measures less than ten inches tall and six inches around. Multiple level controls and a 360-degree rotating nozzle allow you to fine-tune the amount and direction of mist. This humidifier is effective up to 538 square feet and weighs less than two pounds.
Its small tray accommodates essential oils for aromatherapy.
It comes standard with an LED night-light and built-in timer.
Its microporous filter cartridge helps ensure water is free of microorganisms.
Its water tank holds only 1.3 liters, so it is limited to about seven hours of use.
Venta Airwasher 2-in-1 Humidifier and Air Purifier LW45
SafeWise recommends this unit because it’s an all-in-one humidifier and air purifier, and it is very easy to operate. It humidifies spaces up to 800 square feet, while also purifying them by removing dust, pollen, and other irritants. The Venta Airwasher LW45 retails for approximately $400, but it requires minimal power and has no filters to replace—so it’s economical in the long term. This portable humidifier has a three-gallon water reservoir and a water refill indicator light, and it automatically shuts off when water levels are low.
A humidifier and air purifier, this is an ideal two-in-one product for allergy sufferers.
Reviews applaud the unit as simple to use and easy to clean.
It is backed by a ten-year warranty.
It has a larger footprint and rather unattractive design.
Some reviewers comment that the unit’s lights are extremely bright, making it difficult to fall asleep.
If you own or purchase one of these humidifiers, share your experience—and be sure to let us know if we missed any important product details. Likewise, tell us if you think there’s another top-quality humidifier we should add to our list.