Best Humidifiers – Top Picks and Buying Guide

OUR REVIEW PROCESS | DISCLOSURE
Tuck’s humidifier recommendations are based on more than 27,842 verified customer experiences from 15 sources and our team’s exhaustive testing procedure.

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QUICK SUMMARY

Are allergies, congestion, or chapped lips making sleep hard to come by? You may need a humidifier. During the cold winter months, moisture gets sucked out of our indoor air, creating a dry environment that’s uncomfortable to sleep in. Humidifiers help rebalance the levels of moisture in your home, so you can sleep easier at night and breathe better during the day.

Today’s humidifiers all provide the basic functionality, but many offer additional features like a nightlight or timer. Depending on the features, brand, and model you choose, bedroom humidifiers cost between $25 to $150.

Check out our reviews and read our buyer’s guide to recognize the features you need and make the best humidifier purchase for your home.

Best Humidifiers

Editor’s Pick – Pure Enrichment MistAire Humidifier

Best for Allergies – Honeywell Germ Free Humidifier

Best for Congestion – Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier

Best Whole-House Humidifier – AirCare Whole-House Evaporative Humidifier

Best Nursery Humidifier – Crane Ultrasonic Humidifier

Best Display – TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier

Best Diffuser/Humidifier Combo – VicTsing Essential Oil Diffuser Humidifier

Best Humidifiers - Tuck’s Top 7 Picks

Pure Enrichment MistAire Humidifier – Editor’s Choice

pure enrichment mistaire ultrasonic humidifier

HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ultrasonic cool-mist humidifier
  • 1.5 liter tank
  • 16-hour operation
  • 2-year warranty

As an ultrasonic humidifier, the Pure Enrichment MistAire humidifier promises “whisper-quiet operation.” Plus, the unit has a modern design, appealing to those who want their humidifier to be more like eye candy instead of an eyesore.

The MistAire humidifier reservoir is the ideal size for humidifying most bedrooms, while still being easy to fill by hand. With two output settings, users can choose the best one for their needs. The low setting operates for a full 16 hours, which is more than sufficient for the average night’s sleep.

The automatic shut-off ensures safe use, turning the machine off whenever the water level gets too low or the reservoir is removed. The nightlight can calm nervous sleepers or children, or never be used for those who prefer total darkness while they sleep. The MistAire comes with a disk cleaning brush, and all the individual parts are easy to disassemble and clean.

The MistAire includes all the features you want in a humidifier—and more—for an affordable price. That’s why we’ve made it our top pick.

Honeywell Germ Free Humidifier – Best for Allergies

honeywell hcm350 humidifier

HIGHLIGHTS
  • Evaporative cool-mist humidifier
  • UV technology kills 99.9% of bacteria
  • 1-gallon tank
  • 24-hour operation
  • 3-year warranty

The Honeywell HCM350B’s UV technology kills 99.9% of bacteria. As you pour tap water in, it filters through a UV water tank before passing over the wick and back into the bedroom air. This extra, germ-killing step makes this humidifier a favorite among sleepers with allergies or asthma. And, since all parts are dishwasher-safe, daily cleaning is a pain-free process.

The 1-gallon tank is easy to fill in the kitchen sink, but large enough to run for a full 24 hours, making the Honeywell HCM350B a great fit for anyone who wants to maintain constant humidity levels in their bedroom.

As a cool mist humidifier, it’s safe to use in children’s rooms. The Honeywell HCM350B is available in both black and white, so you can choose a design that matches the rest of your bedroom decor.

The three-year warranty is longer than most humidifiers, boding well for the unit’s longevity. This humidifier is a bit more expensive, though, due to its UV bacteria-killing technology. Users will need to buy replacement filters every quarter or so, too. At a little over $10 each, that can add up.

Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier – Best for Congestion

vicks warm mist humidifier

HIGHLIGHTS
  • Warm-mist humidifier
  • Kills 95% of bacteria
  • 1-gallon tank
  • 12-hour operation
  • 3-year warranty

While the Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier can be used anytime of year, it’s a favorite during cold and flu season thanks to its comforting warm vapor. With two output settings, you can quickly adjust the mist level to your needs using a dial on the side.

This humidifier is designed to help you sleep better, even when you’re congested. Simply add Vicks VapoSteam to the included Medicine Cup to create a medicated mist that relieves congestion while humidifying your bedroom.

A fully-translucent tank makes it easy to see at a glance whether the humidifier needs a refill. The Vicks Warm Mist humidifier automatically shuts off when the reservoir is empty, preventing overheating. The humidifier also includes a nightlight.

The Vicks humidifier costs less than $40, and since it’s filter-free, you don’t have to worry about replacement costs adding up.

aircare whole house cool mist humidifier

HIGHLIGHTS
  • Evaporative cool-mist humidifier
  • Includes humidistat
  • 3.6-gallon tank
  • 36-hour operation
  • 2-year warranty

If you want a one-and-done setup, the AirCare MA1201 is for you. This whole-house humidifier efficiently humidifies up to 3,600 square feet. The humidifier runs for up to 36-hours, so you can set it and forget it, too.

Despite its large coverage area, the AirCare MA1201 isn’t huge. It’s less than 2 feet tall and can be rolled around easily on wheels.

With 4 fan speeds, users have a wide range to choose from. The unit also includes a humidistat, so you can monitor the humidity levels in your home without having to buy a separate humidity meter. The automatic shut-off feature turns the unit off whenever the present humidity level is reached, or if the water tank is empty.

If you have multiple bedrooms which need humidifying, the AirCare MA1201 is a much more affordable option than purchasing multiple humidifiers for each room.

Crane Ultrasonic Humidifier – Best Nursery Humidifier

crane ultrasonic cool mist humidifier

HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ultrasonic cool-mist humidifier
  • Kills 99.96% of bacteria
  • 1-gallon tank
  • 24-hour operation
  • 1-year warranty

As a cool-mist humidifier, the Crane Ultrasonic is safe for use around children, but there are other reasons why we selected it for our top nursery pick.

The Crane Ultrasonic humidifier enables easy breathing and congestion relief for your baby. It effectively cleans the air in your baby’s room, thanks to its clean control antimicrobial base. This humidifier is also a better fit for nurseries and children’s rooms, due to its smaller coverage area of up to 500 square feet.

The Crane Ultrasonic also comes in 8 color combinations, so you’re sure to find one that fits right in with the rest of the nursery decor. The teardrop shape is also very cute.

This humidifier promises energy-efficient and quiet operation for up to 24 hours, and it automatically turns off whenever the water tank is empty. Finally, as a filter-free humidifier, you don’t have to worry about buying replacement filters.

taotronics cool mist humidifier

HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ultrasonic cool-mist humidifier
  • Includes humidistat
  • 1-gallon tank
  • 15-hour operation
  • 1-year warranty

The TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier is a great choice for users who want like to geek out on technical bells and whistles.

This ultrasonic humidifier includes a LED display that monitors the indoor humidity levels and a 360-degree mist nozzle that can be rotated to angle the mist just right while you sleep. There’s also a built-in timer and sleep mode. The timer works from 1 to 24 hours, and operates on 3 mist settings.

The TaoTronics humidifier works in rooms up to 538 square feet, and produces less than 38 decibels of noise, making for whisper-quiet operation. It includes a cleaning brush and filter, and additional replacement filters are about $8 each.

VicTsing Essential Oil Diffuser Humidifier – Best Diffuser/Humidifier Combo

victsing humidifier with essential oil diffuser

HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ultrasonic cool-mist humidifier
  • Essential Oil Diffuser
  • 300-ml water tank
  • 10-hour operation
  • 1-year warranty

Aromatherapy practitioners love the VicTsing because they can enjoy a humidifier and diffuser in one unit. The wood grain finish and 7 LED nightlight options provide a nice ambience, too.

Even if you’re not into essential oils, the small size of the VicTsing (it’s just 6 inches high) makes it a perfect travel companion for whenever you need to take your humidifier on the go. However, that small size makes it a better fit for nurseries or smaller bedrooms.

The VicTsing comes with 4 time options and two mist settings. The 10-hour operation applies to the lowest mist setting, though, so this is not a good fit for those who need high humidity over an extended period of time.

The VicTsing is a diffuser first and a humidifier second, but it’s a solid option for travelers who need a portable option, as well as anyone who uses essential oils to help them sleep.

Home Humidifiers Buying Guide

Bedrooms with stale, dry air can negatively affect sleep quality and duration. Other drawbacks include a higher risk of allergies, dry skin, and chronic congestion. Climate is a major factor related to air quality; different regions of the U.S. are susceptible to extremely high and/or extremely low temperatures that dry out indoor air. Humidifiers, which utilize cool or warm mist to refresh interior air, can be very beneficial for sleepers experiencing uncomfortable conditions related to air quality. However, due to the wide range of humidifier models available, selecting the best one for your bedroom can be a challenging process.

This guide includes an overview of common humidifier types and features, cleaning and care instructions, some notable health benefits, and key factors for humidifier buyers. Read on to learn more.

Common Humidifier Types and Features

Though there are many subcategories for humidifiers, the majority of models sold today are one of two main types:

  • Warm-mist humidifiers heat water using a built-in element until it reaches its boiling point, and then release warm steam or steam vapor into the surrounding area. By heating the water, these humidifiers kill harmful bacteria and mold before emitting the steam, which can reduce allergy potential. Subcategories of warm-mist humidifiers include steam humidifiers and vaporizers, which emit steam and steam vapor, respectively.
  • Cool-mist humidifiers fall into three subcategories. Evaporative humidifiers use a fan to blow air over a wet wick filter; this design is relatively clean but also one of the loudest. Ultrasonic humidifiers produce cool mist using a vibrating nebulizer, making them fairly quiet but also resulting in tiny water droplets that accumulate throughout the room. Lastly, impeller humidifiers produce mist using rotating discs. These tend to be the quietest humidifiers, as well as the most expensive.

Though specs vary by individual models, most warm-mist and cool-mist humidifiers come with the following features:

  • Hygrometer and humidistat: Hygrometers measure indoor moisture levels. Humidistats also measure indoor humidity, but come with a mechanism that automatically turns off the machine when it hits a preset level (such as 50%). This prevents the humidifier from oversaturating the air, which can lead to interior condensation.
  • Water reservoir: All humidifiers feature a tank where water is deposited and stored for use. Some models have reservoirs with alerts or indicator lights when more water is needed.
  • Germicidal light: Using ultraviolet (UV) light, some cool-mist humidifiers kill bacteria, mold, and other contaminants before the water is transformed into mist. This feature is less common on warm-mist humidifiers, since boiling the water kills most/all of its waterborne contaminants.
  • Automatic shutoff: In addition to shutting off when desired humidity levels are reached, some humidifiers will also automatically turn off when there is no more water left in the reservoir. This prevents the unit from overheating or wasting power, allowing safe overnight use while people are asleep.
  • Wick filter: Wick filters trap and accumulate dust, pet dander, mold, and other allergy triggers. Most wick filters need to be replaced periodically, so shoppers should determine how frequently they need to replace these components – as well as a reliable source. However, some models have non-replaceable filters while select humidifiers do not use a filter at all.
  • Multiple delivery settings: Though older humidifiers may only carry one speed setting, most models sold today have multiple speeds. Increasing or decreasing the speed can impact the room’s overall air quality, as well as energy use and noise.
  • Timer: In recent years, many humidifiers have integrated timed release into their designs. Owners can preset the timer to emit mist or steam during times when they normally go to bed, which cuts down on energy use but also preps the bedroom for them in advance.
  • Control panel/display: Most humidifiers come with a digital display (though analog control panels are still used for some models). The display usually includes lights to indicate if the machine is turned on or off, controls for speed settings, the timer, and humidistat readings.
  • Wireless connectivity: Many modern humidifiers can be linked to smartphones, as well as wireless hubs that control other devices throughout the house.
  • Diffuser: Humidifiers with diffuser combinations are designed to diffuse aromas from essential oils while also producing mist or steam. The calming scents can help with sleep onset, though some sleepers prefer scent-free humidification.

When browsing different humidifier models, shoppers can use these specs and features to determining which product is best for them. Important considerations include:

Performance

Shoppers should consider their bedroom size when choosing a humidifier based on its strength. Though ideal for larger spaces, powerful humidifiers can be overwhelming – and excessively loud – for those with smaller sleeping quarters. Alternatively, those with larger bedrooms should opt for a stronger humidifier, since most low-output models will not improve the air quality to a noticeable extent.

Water Capacity

The capacity of a humidifier reservoir may fall anywhere between 300 mL and 4 gallons. While 1-gallon or larger reservoirs are recommended for mid- and large-size bedrooms, they may be overkill for smaller sleeping quarters. Also, keep in mind that water capacity is linked to the humidifier’s runtime. The larger the tank, the longer the humidifier will release steam or mist before the device automatically shuts off.

Size and Weight

Though humidifiers are designed to be compact and fit into most bedrooms, shoppers should measure their space to ensure the device will fit in its intended area. Measuring areas in the sink is also recommended to ensure the reservoir can be completely filled. Additionally, buyers should check the humidifier total weight, since they will ostensibly be carrying the device to the sink on a regular basis in order to refill the reservoir.

Coverage

Humidifiers are designed to humidify a certain size area. Generally speaking, warm-mist humidifiers have smaller coverage areas than cool-mist humidifiers. The smallest humidifiers are intended for desktop use, while the largest ones can add moisture to an entire house. Humidifiers for bedrooms fall somewhere in the middle. Over-humidification can lead to mold and other air-quality issues, so finding a model with the optimal coverage area is highly recommended.

Noise

All humidifiers produce some sort of noise, though ultrasonic models tend to be the quietest while evaporative and warm-mist humidifiers are usually the loudest. That being said, the noise is not necessarily disruptive and may serve as white noise that helps with sleep onset. Typically, larger humidifiers are louder than smaller models; higher speed settings may also make more noise than quieter settings, as well.

Cleaning and Care

Recommended cleaning and care procedures vary by model. Some require daily maintenance while others only need to be cleaned and cared for once a week. Check the owner’s manuals to learn more details. Our ‘Caring for a Humidifier’ section below also has additional information.

Energy Use

Most humidifiers can cut costs on the owner’s utility bills. However, some models – namely ultrasonic humidifiers – are more conservative with energy use than others.

Price

Humidifiers are generally inexpensive, with most warm-mist and cool-mist models available for $100 or less, though some cost as much as $200. Larger models predictably cost more than smaller ones; likewise, humidifiers with more advanced features and settings will probably have higher price-points than their more basic counterparts.

Humidifier Health Benefits and Safety Considerations

Using a humidifier to cleanse air and improve air quality carries a host of benefits for sleepers, particularly those who live in extreme climates. These include:

  • Improved sleep onset and duration: Sleep onset refers to how much time it takes someone to fall asleep, while sleep duration refers to how much sleep they get over the course of one night. Humidifiers can improve both, leading to better overall sleep quality and more restfulness the next morning.
  • Fewer allergies: The best humidifiers eliminate waterborne bacteria and molds that trigger allergies before they release mist, and high-output humidification can also reduce dust, pet dander, pollen, and other allergens that thrive in stuffy bedrooms.
  • Better immuno-health: By clearing the air of contaminants and allergens, humidifiers can help users boost their immune systems and make themselves less vulnerable to diseases, infections, and other health issues.

Though humidifiers offer health benefits, owners should also consider the following variables related to safety and human health.

Excessive Humidification

Too much moisture can lead to a host of problems. These include indoor mold growth, condensation, and discomfort while sleeping. Over-humidification can also cause the device to expend an excessive amount of energy.

Ventilation

Rooms with consistent ventilation are ideal for humidifiers. In bedrooms with poor ventilation, the humidifier may scatter contaminants and allergens throughout the interior space, rather than channeling them through windows and vents. As a result, the bedroom’s air quality may only improve to a minimal extent, if at all.

White Dust and Water Selection

A common issue associated with humidifiers is white dust, which occurs when water with a high mineral concentration is used; as the water turns into steam or mist, it leaves behind fine white mineral deposits that accumulate on surfaces around the humidifier and in other areas of the bedroom. Ultrasonic humidifiers typically produce the most white dust, while evaporative humidifiers usually produce the lowest amounts.

Water selection is also important because tap water often contains minerals, though mineral content in tap water varies throughout the U.S. Generally, hard tap water contains more minerals than soft tap water. Over time, minerals from the water may accumulate within the reservoir, resulting in repeated exposure to white dust particles. Humidifier users can minimize the amount of minerals entering the reservoir by using distilled or filtered water, both of which have much lower mineral contents than tap water in most locations. Additionally, some humidifiers have demineralization filters that collect minerals from the water before it converts to steam or mist.

Cleaning

Regular cleaning and care is imperative for healthy humidifier use. Failure to maintain the humidifier may result in mold growth and mineral deposits in the reservoir, as well as contaminants entering the device due to blocked filters. Be sure to follow care instructions for a humidifier every day or week as recommended.

Child Safety

Because they contain a heating element and produce steam, warm-mist humidifiers are not recommended for children’s bedrooms. Parents may also want to opt for an evaporative humidifier in kids’ rooms, since ultrasonic models produce more white dust and may pose a higher health risk.

Caring for a Humidifier

While clean, properly functioning humidifiers can improve bedroom air quality, dirty humidifiers often have the opposite effect. Here are some general guidelines to follow to ensure the humidifier is clean and cared for properly.

  1. Empty the reservoir every day, either in the morning after getting up or in the evening before going to bed.
  2. Rinse out and/or scrub the reservoir at least two to three times per week, or whenever the water appears murky or discolored (either of which can indicate mold growth).
  3. Take apart the humidifier and clean each component every one to two weeks, depending on owner manual recommendations. In addition to washing with hot, distilled water, also sterilize the parts with hydrogen peroxide.
  4. Always dry a humidifier before storing it in an enclosed space, such as under the bed or in a closet. This prevents mold from building up.
  5. If the humidifier is used once per week or less frequently, be sure to clean all components prior to each use.
  6. Replace the wick filter as directed. Most filters need to be replaced every three months, but some carry shorter lifespans – one month or less, in some cases.

Important Considerations for Humidifier Shoppers

Should I choose a warm-mist or cool-mist humidifier?

For many, the choice between warm-mist and cool-mist humidifiers comes down to personal temperature preference. The boiling process reduces the presence of waterborne bacteria and mold. However, their coverage area is usually smaller and the element component poses a burning risk. Warm-mist humidifiers also use more energy. Cool-mist humidifiers, on the other hand, do not use nearly as much energy as their warm-mist counterparts and their coverage areas are wider. However, they tend to be louder and more expensive, and ultrasonic models can cause white dust to accumulate.

Which warm-mist humidifier is right for me?

If you’re in the market for a warm-mist humidifier, then you’ll likely choose between steam and vaporizer models. Because steam is thicker than vapor, steam humidifiers are usually more effective at improving overall air quality. However, both warm-mist humidifiers can be beneficial for sleepers who reside in colder areas.

Which cool-mist humidifier is right for me?

Each type of cool-mist humidifier carries distinct pros and cons. Evaporative models do not produce much white dust, making them cleaner by design, but they are also among the loudest humidifier options. Ultrasonic models are quieter thanks to the vibrating nebulizer, but they produce more white dust. Lastly, impelling humidifiers offer a good balance of noise and white dust accumulation – but these are often the most expensive humidifiers available.

What type of water should I use in a humidifier?

Distilled or filtered water is recommended for humidifiers. Tap water may contain high concentrations of minerals, which make the water hard; minerals passing through the humidifier tend to create white dust, and they also build up in the reservoir. However, tap water in some U.S. locations is softer and has a lower mineral content, so it may be suitable for users who live in these areas.

What's the best humidifier water capacity for my bedroom?

Though a humidifier may have a reservoir that holds up to 4 gallons, a device with a 1-gallon reservoir will suffice for most mid- to large-size rooms. A lower water capacity may be suitable for smaller rooms.

How much humidity is too much?

Though lack of moisture causes many issues, excessive moisture is also problematic in any indoor space because it can lead to mold growth and condensation. Though optimal humidification levels vary by location, most rooms should max out at 50% to 60%. On the low end, a room should have humidity levels of at least 20%. The built-in hygrometer and/or humidistat should provide accurate moisture readings that owners can use to reach the ideal levels.

How can I prevent white dust from accumulating?

Ultrasonic humidifiers tend to produce the most white dust. If white dust is a chief concern, consider buying an evaporative cool-mist or warm-mist humidifier instead. Using distilled or filtered water – rather than tap water – also cuts down on the mineral content that typically causes white dust particles to form, and cleaning the reservoir regularly will prevent minerals from building up. Lastly, some humidifiers come with demineralization filters that will extract minerals from water before the device converts it into steam or mist.

Are humidifiers safe for children's rooms?

Generally speaking, evaporative humidifiers are the safest option for children. Warm-mist humidifiers contain heating elements and produce actual moisture, both of which pose safety risks for kids. Ultrasonic humidifiers may also be unsafe due to their high potential for producing white dust particles.

Are humidifiers loud?

All humidifiers carry some inherent noise potential. Ultrasonic humidifiers are usually much quieter than evaporative, impelling, and warm-mist humidifiers, but most of these devices are not excessively loud. Many sleepers actually prefer the soothing white noise that humidifiers produce.

How much do humidifiers cost?

The price of a new humidifier may range anywhere from $30 to $200, though most cost between $50 and $100. Larger models with humidistats, timers, variable speed settings, and other advanced features are usually the most expensive. Beyond the up-front costs, shoppers should also determine how often the wick and demineralization filters needs to be replaced; this can help them budget for the device in the months and years ahead. In some models, these components never need to be swapped out.

Do humidifiers cut down on energy costs?

Yes, for the most part, though some models are more efficient and cost-effective than others. Additionally, faster speed settings use more energy than slower ones.

Additional Tuck Resources

For more information about humidification and other measures to improve environmental factors in bedrooms, please visit the following Tuck pages: