Indoor air often has very low humidity levels, particularly in winter. This causes an array of problems, ranging from irritated sinuses to nosebleeds to cracked lips. Fortunately, a humidifier is an affordable solution to add moisture to any indoor environment. There are quite a few things to consider when picking out a humidifier, such as ease of cleanup (bacteria growth can be a problem for these devices), type (evaporative, ultrasonic, or warm-mist), and size.
The most traditional type, evaporative humidifiers use a reservoir, porous wick, and fan to put moisture in the air. The wick absorbs water from the reservoir, and the fan then aids in evaporation by blowing on the wick. Ultrasonic humidifiers use high-frequency sound vibrations to create mist and is quieter than other types of humidifiers. Often there’s no filter, which can lead to mineral scale deposits. For smaller areas, warm-mist models are often preferred, as they’re quiet as well. They boil water via an internal heating element, killing bacteria and mold in the process, before dispelling the warm mist into the room.
Some machines help individuals who need a desktop offering for the workplace, while others represent full-home solutions and come loaded with antimicrobial features designed to limit bacteria growth. Below are five of our favorite models.
Best overall — Pure Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier
The Pure Ultrasonic is one of the most popular humidifiers, and for good reason. With a 1.5-liter tank, it’s perfect for bedrooms, offices, and medium-sized rooms. The top-mounted, clear tank allows you to easily see its water levels, allowing you to keep track of your next refill time. However, considering Pure designed it to last 16 hours on a single tank, you shouldn’t need to replenish the humidifier very often.
The 360-degree nozzle offers quick and convenient speed and directional mist adjustments. The unit also shuts off automatically if it runs out of water, so you don’t have to worry about wasted energy if the humidifier empties while you’re out. The device doubles as a nightlight, too, if you so choose. Simply activate the nightlight and the Ultrasonic produces a gentle blue glow which serves as a perfect nighttime ambiance in the bedroom. If you need a humidifier for larger rooms or the entire home, however, you’ll need a more powerful device. Due to its shape, the device can be difficult to clean if you don’t stay on top of the recommended weekly cleaning, though it comes with a brush. That said, for under $40, the pint-sized Pure Ultrasonic remains a good option for those desiring a tabletop model.
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