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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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Though there are many subcategories for humidifiers, the majority of models sold today are one of two main types:
Though specs vary by individual models, most warm-mist and cool-mist humidifiers come with the following features:
When browsing different humidifier models, shoppers can use these specs and features to determining which product is best for them. Important considerations include:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Though humidifiers offer health benefits, owners should also consider the following variables related to safety and human health.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For more information about humidification and other measures to improve environmental factors in bedrooms, please visit the following Tuck pages: