The Best Humidifiers

There are lots of things we think about when considering sleep products. Mattresses, sheets, and pillows are discussed at length, as are lighting and noise. However, there’s one thing that people tend to forget about when it comes to a sleep-conducive environment: air-moisture. Medical research has shown that we are most comfortable--and therefore sleep best--when the humidity in the air is at approximately 30 to 50 percent. Humidifiers are excellent tools to help maintain this level of moisture in the air. This is especially true during the winter months, when the moisture in the air outside drops and indoor heating dries out the air inside. However, humidifiers can be beneficial all year round. They can help with a range of medical conditions, from sinus problems to cold and flu symptoms to allergies to asthma. They can also trap and remove pollutants, irritants, and impurities in the air.

There are many different types of humidifiers, so it’s important to choose the one that works best for you. We’ve scoured the humidifier market and created a guide to help you choose the humidifier that fits your individual needs and preferences.

Our Top Picks

Manufacturer Model Features Price
Best for Nursery 3-in-1 Humidifier, Diffuser, Nightlight 12 hour run time and auto-stop, nightlight, essential oil diffuser See Best Price
Best Cool Mist Cool Mist Humidifier Up to 40 hours of use, extremely quiet, easily adjustable, intuitive design See Best Price
Best Warm Mist Ultrasonic Cool & Warm Mist Humidifier Highly customizable, dual cold and warm mist, 24 hour run time See Best Price
Best Whole House 600M Whole House Humidifier 4,000 sq foot coverage, automatic sensors, convenient digital monitoring See Best Price
Best Oil Diffuser/Humidifier Combo Essential Oils Diffuser 10 hours of run time, LED light bar, lifetime warranty, chic design See Best Price

FridaBaby 3-in-1 Humidifier, Diffuser, Nightlight - Best for Nursery

Why we like it:

  • Long run time and auto-stop feature allows you to “set it and forget it”
  • Customizable mist levels for baby’s individual needs and preferences
  • Added nightlight feature.
  • Soothing aromatherapy diffuser

FridaBaby LogoFridaBaby 3-in-1 Humidifier, Diffuser, Nightlight

The 3-in-1 Humidifier, Diffuser, Nightlight from FridaBaby is our nursery pick because it has everything you’ll need to keep baby’s atmosphere well-moisturized and soothing, with the additional comfort and convenience of a nightlight.

The FridaBaby is a cool mist, ultrasonic humidifier, which means there’s no risk of dangerous spillage or burns. It also has a designated diffuser section, so you can add any kid-friendly, aromatherapy grade essential oils to soothe nighttime fussiness. We also like it because of the 12-hour run time and the auto-stop feature, which means you can set it and leave it, knowing that the machine will turn off once the reservoir is empty. Moisture settings are adjustable, from a light mist to “tropical rainforest”, so you can find what best suits your child. The nightlight is an added bonus, with a range of colors for ambiance, and just enough light to see without keeping the baby awake. This humidifier is also super easy to clean and refill, with no filters required, which means one less thing to do for busy parents.

LEVOIT Cool Mist Humidifier - Best Cool Mist

Why we like it:

  • Large reservoir for up to 40 hours of continuous use
  • Extremely quiet and unobtrusive
  • Adjustable mist levels for easy customization
  • Intuitive design

LEVOIT Logo

LEVOIT Cool Mist Humidifier

If you’re looking in the cool mist category, we suggest the LEVOIT Cool Mist Humidifier (LV450CH). It has a large reservoir and can run for 40 continuous hours. The large reservoir also gives it a wide reach of up to 538 square feet. One of our favorite features of the LEVIOT is that it’s ultrasonic, which means it’s virtually soundless and perfect for the bedroom. The built-in nightlight and aroma box, both of which are optional to use, also make the LEVOIT a good nighttime choice.

This humidifier stands out because it is intuitively designed. There’s a one-touch button that controls three adjustable mist levels, making it easy to use. It’s also filterless, which means you won’t have the added cost and inconvenience of having to buy and change filters.

The LEVOIT humidifier comes with a 1-year warranty, with a free option to extend for an additional year. It’s a great choice if you’re looking for an unobtrusive, easy-to-use humidifier with a long run time.

Polardo Ultrasonic Cool & Warm Mist Humidifier - Best Warm Mist

Why we like it:

  • Dual Cold and Warm Mist capacity for ultimate versatility
  • 24-hour run time and auto shut off for easy use
  • Ionization feature to maximize air purification
  • Highly customizable, with 12 adjustable settings

Polardo Logo Polardo Ultrasonic Cool & Warm Mist Humidifier

The Polarado Ultrasonic Cool & Warm Mist Humidifier is our top pick if you’re going for warm mist. It actually gives you the best of both worlds: the mist is customizable from warm (up to 107 degrees) to cool, with twelve separate settings between the two.

It has a large reservoir, giving it a 24 hour run time, and a reach of up to 485 square feet. It also has an auto shut off feature for when the reservoir is empty, as well as a timer.

Though warm mist humidifiers are generally not recommended for homes where they might be easily knocked over and spill (say, by rowdy pets or young children), the Polarado has an anti-fall design to prevent spillage as much as possible.

One of the things we like best about the Polorado is the unique water and air purification system. Inside the humidifier, water is filtered through active carbon and mineral pellets, then through ceramic pellets, and then through an activated, antibacterial air filter which emits silver ions. The ions are antibacterial, meaning they can help fight various microbes, bacteria, viruses, and microorganisms. An essential oil box is also included, which can help boost the soothing effects of the ionized air.

This humidifier is the one for you if you are looking for a more customizable, multi-purpose option with a focus on air purification.

Aprilaire 600M Whole House Humidifier - Best Whole House

Why we like it:

  • Full coverage of up to 4,000 square feet
  • Sensors automatically adjust to the humidity in each room for easy use
  • Convenient digital monitoring and controls to allow for customization
  • Connected to HVAC, so only seasonal cleaning/maintenance is required

Aprilaire Logo Aprilaire 600M Whole House Humidifier

If you’re looking to make the leap from portable humidifiers to larger-scale machinery, our suggestion is the Aprilaire 600M Whole House Humidifier. Aprilaire was actually the first company to design whole house evaporative humidifiers, so they’re the gold standard in the field.

The Aprilaire connects to your HVAC system, which means you only have to set it up once per winter season. It can process up to 17 gallons of water a day, covering up to 4,000 square feet. The system has a manual humidifier (which means you can manually adjust the humidity setting), and an automatic humidifier, which senses and automatically responds to outdoor humidity and the relative humidity inside. Both parts of the system are attached to a digital control, which also lets you know if service is needed. You can adjust the humidifier to run continuously, or to only run when the furnace is running.

If you’re looking for a central, whole-house humidifier that will run with consistent output all winter, with little to no maintenance and customizable controls, this is definitely the most solid choice. It’s best for use in freestanding houses or condos but can also work in larger apartments with central HVAC heating.

Asani Essential Oils Diffuser - Best Oil Diffuser/Humidifier Combo

Why we like it:

  • Large reservoir and long operating time
  • Customizable settings and features for unique diffusion sessions
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Chic design

Asani Logo Asani Essential Oils Diffuser

If you’re looking for a humidifier with an excellent oil diffusion system, go for the Asani Essential Oils Diffuser. It uses ultrasonic vibrations to diffuse oils, which keeps the molecules intact and disperses them through the room in the mist from the humidifier. Another plus of the ultrasonic function is quiet: the Asani is basically silent. With a 10-hour run capacity, it lasts longer than similar diffusers and has an auto-stop function for added safety.

A big plus of the Asani is that it allows you to customize your essential oil diffusion sessions. A timer with four settings (1 hour, 3 hour, 6 hour, and continual) lets you set the length, and an LED light band can cycle through 7 rainbow hues, stick to just one color, adjust the brightness of the lights, or be switched off completely.

The Asani is also wood-grained, which makes it a nice accent piece to any room. While many diffusers and humidifiers can look somewhat clunky and machine-like, the Asani can also function as decor.

You’ll also get a lifetime warranty from Asani’s supplier, MLC distribution.

Humidifier Buyer’s Guide

If you’re in the market for a humidifier, it’s important to know what you’re looking for, and how to look for it. That means learning the ins and outs of what a humidifier is, how it functions, and what you want out of the machine. This section will give you an explainer on what you’re looking at when you look at a humidifier and will help you pick a humidifier that is sleep-friendly.

How Do Humidifiers Work?

Ideally, indoor humidity levels should remain at 30 to 50 percent. Humidifiers help to maintain that level, especially in the winter months, when humidity tends to drop. Keeping humidity levels up can help with dry skin, chapped lips, and bloody noses. Humidifiers are especially helpful for people with chronic skin conditions, like psoriasis and eczema, and can help ease the irritation caused by cold and flu symptoms. They are also recommended for people with asthma, especially when also battling a respiratory infection.

When it comes to sleep, humidifiers can help you fall asleep and stay asleep by easing the symptoms of those conditions. They can also help with snoring in some cases, especially when the snoring is caused by nasal congestion or throat irritation.

As an added benefit, increasing the humidity in a room can prevent cracks in walls, floors, and furniture, and can slow the peeling of wallpaper. Warm mist humidifiers can also cut down on heating costs in the winter since they produce warmth.

Types of Humidifiers

As mentioned above, there are a few different types of humidifiers. Though they all ultimately have the same function (that is, increasing the moisture in the air), they do this through different methods, each of which have pros and cons and should be considered in terms of your specific personal preferences and needs.

Warm-mist Humidifiers

 

Polardo Ultrasonic Cool & Warm Mist HumidifierAlso known as Steam Vaporizers, this category of humidifier uses electricity to heat water to a boiling point until it becomes steam or vapor. The humidifier expels the steam or vapor outward, at which point it cools down and moves as moisturized air throughout the room.

Warm-mist humidifiers are more popular for use in the wintertime, when the temperature and humidity levels drop. Medicinal or herbal substances, like Vicks Soothing Vapors or essential oils, can be put into these humidifiers, and they don’t tend to have as much mineral build up, so they’re easy to clean. Since they don’t use fans, they tend to be quieter, which make them ideal for bedroom use. They can also cut down on heating costs, as they emit their own heat. However, if you have children or pets, warm mist humidifiers are not recommended, as the steam and hot water inside can burn if the humidifier is knocked over.

Cool-mist Humidifiers

Humidifier Features

  • Filter: The filter is a layer or device that traps molecular build-up and other air and water impurities. Some humidifiers have built-in filters that can be cleaned, while others use replaceable filters that must be bought periodically. Replaceable filters generally come in two categories: wick filters, which are used in evaporative humidifiers, and ceramic filters. Wick filters tend to accumulate more molecular buildup if left alone, so be sure to change them regularly. Some humidifiers have done away with the filter entirely. If you opt for one of those, it’s recommended that you stick to distilled water, and keep up to date on cleaning your humidifier.
  • Timer: Some humidifiers come with timers, which allow you to pre-set when the humidifier turns on and off. These timers can help save on energy by ensuring that the humidifier is only running when it’s needed.
  • Lights: Humidifiers come with a large variety of lighting systems. Some have LED nightlights in one color or a variety of colors, while others just have illuminated buttons or reservoirs. It’s important to choose a humidifier that has the right light style for you. If you are a light-sensitive sleeper make sure that any lights on your humidifier can be turned off completely.
  • Water Reservoir: Different humidifiers have differently sized water reservoirs. The size of the water reservoir determines the humidifier’s “capacity” (or, the maximum moisture output it can produce), as well as how many continuous hours it can run for. Check a humidifier’s reservoir size to make sure you’re picking a machine with capacity and run time that fit your needs.
  • Hygrometer and Humidistat: A hygrometer is an instrument used to measure the level of moisture in a room. A humidistat is a device that works with the hygrometer in order to actually control the humidity in a room. Some humidifiers have hygrometers/humidistats built-in, which lets the machine sense the humidity in a room and automatically moisturize the air when it is too dry, or shut off if the air is too humid. Humidifiers with hygrometers/humidistats can be more expensive, but the smart technology may be worth it if you want the added convenience.
  • Automatic Shutoff: Many humidifiers come with an automatic shutoff function. This ensures that the machine will shut off once the reservoir is empty, in order to prevent potentially dangerous overheating or electrical malfunction. It’s best to opt for a humidifier with automatic shutoff, especially if you intend to set your humidifier on and let it keep going throughout the day or night.
  • Wifi Capabilities: Some modern humidifiers are Wifi enabled. This means that you can monitor humidity and change settings using smart devices and accompanying apps. A Wifi-enabled humidifier is great if you’re looking for quick, easy customization, or if you want to control the humidifiers in your home remotely.
  • Oil Diffuser or Tray: Some humidifiers (primarily warm mist humidifiers) come with a diffuser or tray for essential oils. This allows the humidifier to release essential oils into the air. It’s important to note that not all humidifiers can handle essential oils, so if you want to use essential oils in your humidifier, make sure it has a diffuser or tray that’s specifically set up for that purpose.

Additional Humidifier Considerations

  • Price: Humidifiers have a wide range of prices. Personal-sized humidifiers generally run in the $30 to $50 range, though they can get more expensive depending on the brand and the features. Central humidifiers can cost anything from $100 to $1,000, depending on the type and the model (with steam humidifiers being significantly more expensive on the whole.) When considering price, think about what you actually need in a humidifier, and whether or not it’s worth it to spring for additional bells and whistles.
  • Noise: When choosing a humidifier, make sure to think about how sensitive you are to noise. Ask about how much noise the machine is actually expected to make. If you’re in-store, see if you can find a demo model so you can listen first hand. Ultrasonic humidifiers tend to be the quietest, so they are generally your best bet if you want to avoid noise.
  • Effectiveness: Some humidifiers are simply more effective than others. Read verified reviews from people who have tried the humidifier out before you purchase in order to see how well it actually works when in use.
  • Style: Aesthetically, humidifiers come in many shapes and sizes. Some tend to look more mechanical, while others are designed to fit into the decor of a room. Depending on how fashion-conscious you are, you may want to consider what the humidifier will actually look like when you bring it home.
  • Water Capacity: As we mentioned above, humidifiers have different water capacities in their reservoirs. Water capacity is an indicator of how long a humidifier can run before it needs to be refilled, and can also indicate how much moisture a humidifier can put into the air at once. If you want a humidifier with a longer run time and more moisture output, you should look for more reservoirs with more water capacity.
  • Cleaning and Care: Cleaning a humidifier is crucial: if left unclean, many humidifiers can develop potentially irritating or even dangerous microbes, bacteria, and mold. However, some humidifiers require more cleaning than others. Make sure you pick a humidifier that you will be able to reliably clean on-schedule.
  • Ease of Use: Some humidifiers are very simple to operate, with limited buttons and settings, while others can be more complicated. If you like a machine that’s easier to use, choose a less complicated, automatic humidifier.
  • Size and Weight: Humidifiers range in size and weight. When choosing a humidifier, make sure to consider how much space it will take up in the room and how easy it will be to move it if necessary.
  • Warranty and Returns: Most humidifiers come with at least some sort of warranty or return policy. Consider what the policy is while buying, especially if you’re purchasing a more expensive or high-end humidifier.