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You don’t have to live in a desert or the thick of winter to benefit from a humidifier. From dry seasonal weather to unavoidable allergies, humidifiers are truly the underdog of home products from which we all could benefit. They’re miracle workers on the uptick of air quality in a room and how you feel overall after its use. As year-round household essentials, humidifiers keep both heated and air-conditioned spaces from getting too dry as well as ease the allergies and colds that tend to come with seasonal transitions. If you’re new to this type of air-quality device, it may take using one to truly understand why it’s such an invaluable tool when it comes to the health of your household as well as those in it. Oh, and we can’t forget to mention that even your house plants can benefit from the use of this magical tool.
We’ve come together to test over a dozen humidifiers and found the ones that made our spaces even better to come home to every day. With great features such as special aroma settings to easy cleanup, read on to find the list of our best humidifiers for just about every type of humidifying need. You (and your plants) will be thanking us later!
What to Consider When Buying a Humidifier
As with air conditioners, purifiers, and other air-quality devices, there are a lot of considerations to take into account before buying a humidifier. Beyond special functions such as app compatibility, humidistats for gauging humidity, and vapor temperature variability, there are three major factors to think about: room and device size, loudness, and cleaning and maintenance.
The size of the space in which you intend to use your humidifier can have an impact on the device’s effectiveness if the two aren’t paired well. Make sure the square footage a humidifier is recommended for aligns with the square footage of your space (taking halls and doorways into account). Your home may benefit from multiple smaller humidifiers depending on its layout.
It’s typical for a humidifier to make noise, but some can be much louder than others. Ultrasonic humidifiers, which use high-frequency sound waves to agitate and produce a fine mist, tend to be quieter and, thus, more ideal for use while sleeping. Some humidifiers have sleep settings, but you’ll want to ensure these don’t simply decrease the amount of moisture output for the sake of a quieter room.
Quite possibly one of the most important elements of owning a humidifier (as well as shopping for one!) is cleaning it regularly. Because moisture makes for a happy habitat for bacteria, mold, and other potentially harmful emissions, you’ll want your humidifier to be easy to clean. We considered this when determining our winners, but we also recommend following the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to timing between use and cleaning.
What We Look for in a Humidifier
A compact yet powerful humidifier is one of the biggest reasons the Levoit OasisMist 450S Smart Humidifier made it to the top of the list. With the ability to run up to 45 hours, there is minimal maintenance required and you only need to remove the top lid for a quick refill. Depending on your needs, you can use warm or cool mist. There’s also a sleep mode that can turn on quietly while you sleep. “I love the warm mist for winter and for my tropical plants! They’re so happy with the humidity. The humidifier tucks away nicely and has a hearty design. It definitely works well in the space and spreads moisture throughout the house very well,” says AT associate email editor Carolyn. Best of all, if you love using essential oils, there’s a tray where you can add yours for a personalized home scent.
Who It’s Best For: Those who prefer a humidifier with little to no noise; those who want a humidifier that’s simple to use and clean.
Good to Know: Not only can you control the device from the provided remote, but you can also operate it with your smartphone.
Vitruvi’s nightstand-friendly Cloud Cool Mist Humidifier not only does the work of any normal cool misting machine, but it also comes with wellness benefits, such as hydrating skin, smoothing hair, and improving natural immunity. Plus it’s whisper-quiet, so you barely notice it’s there.
AT commerce managing editor Tamara struggles with allergies, especially at night, and found this humidifier to be super helpful. “I immediately saw the benefits. It perfectly fits on top of my dresser next to my bed, so it’s close to me while I’m sleeping (and when my allergies tend to act up the most),” she says. It features an adjustable mist spout, so you can alter the mist’s direction to yield better results in a certain area. The humidifier is sleek and modern, and available in three colors, so it looks like an accessory when sitting on top of the nightstand.
Who It’s Best For: Those who have children; this humidifier is baby-safe, because there’s no heat in the mist that’s released.
Good to Know: The cloudwater bucket is easy to clean and dishwasher safe.
*Honorable Mention: The CarePod 31S Stainless Steel Humidifier has automatic features, so it’s able to detect how much water is in the container and will automatically shut off when the water levels are too low to prevent damage. It takes just 30 seconds to fill with water and it’s guaranteed to be 100 percent leakproof. “I LOVE how easy this is to clean. Plus, if you want to clean it by hand with soap and water, there are no hidden tough-to-clean areas,” says AT executive lifestyle director Charli. “It’s the first humidifier I’ve ever owned where I’m actually sure it’s clean.”
Invest in a product that is said to drive real results! According to Canopy, 91 percent of customers saw a noticeable improvement in skin hydration and 83 percent noticed a decline in skin dullness and irritation. Plus, you can add different aromas to customize the scent in the room. “I would definitely recommend this product to others! Mostly because it is so cute and the perfect size,” says AT email & acquisition manager Hollis. “It’s really easy to refill the water, and the aroma smells SO good — I love adding a drop or two to the aroma puck before going to bed.” The product design is minimal, and it’s available in three neutral hues, so it’ll work with various room aesthetics.
Who It’s Best For: Those who want a nightstand-friendly air purifier for their bedroom or nursery; those looking for a humidifier with an essential oil diffuser.
Good to Know: The filter in place catches bacteria, metals, and other particles in the water before it is evaporated into the air. It needs to be replaced every six weeks for best results.
Take your humidifier on the go, be it to your office desk or in your car to combat conditioned air, with Hey Dewy’s Wireless Humidifier. Touted as a facial humidifier, it’s the perfect size for your personal space, and since it’s got wireless functionality, it can go wherever you go once it’s fully charged. It’s operated by ultrasonic wave technology, so it’s nearly silent when it’s on and barely noticeable outside of its positive effects. It’s got a nightlight feature as well, making it even more of a trusty bedside companion whether you’re home or away. The wide spout is designed for optimal mist expression and to make it easier to rinse clean.
AT contributor Tim touts it as “a much different humidifier than the table-sized one my mom would put on my nightstand whenever I had a cold as a kid.” Because of its adjustable time-increment settings, Tim says, “after using mine for the first time, I found that it encouraged me to take short little breaks throughout the afternoon to bask in its refreshing mist and take a few deep breaths. Even though I have meditation app notifications set up to remind me to do just that, Hey Dewy was a much more effective, physical reminder to take deep breaths and relax throughout the day.”
Who It’s Best For: Those who commute or travel often; those who prefer wireless; those who want something small yet effective.
Good to Know: Hey Dewy is not intended for use with essential oils. The brand also recommends occasional scrub-cleaning with the use of a toothbrush in between regular rinses.
“While it’s a calming presence in the room, the diffuser on The Halo is powerful,” says AT Best List editor Britt of the GuruNanda Halo Humidifier. This two-in-one device wins our pick for the best when it comes to making your hydrated space equally freshly scented. It comes with everything you need to cleanse and humidify even large areas. “My air purifier across the room can even detect the shift in the environment when the scented mist starts flowing,” says Britt.
The Halo is a diffuser-and-humidifier-in-one, operated by ultrasonic wave technology for a quiet 22 hours of max run time. Choose to have it on while you work for a two- or four-hour session or while you sleep by selecting an eight-hour session. Britt began using it when she “felt my first sniffle of the season, and it’s since become a bona fide part of my daily routine.”
Who It’s Best For: Those who want a humidifier made for use with aroma and essential oils; those looking for something suitable for both small- and large-sized rooms.
Good to Know: Britt recommends “purchasing the essential oil starter pack (also a great deal for gifting), which comes with eight options: eucalyptus, peppermint, lavender, lemongrass, frankincense, orange, cedarwood, and tea tree.”