Humidifier Buying Guide

Dry air at home can cause itchy eyes, sore throats, even furniture damaged the solution a humidifier. Consumer Reports tests dozens every year checking how much moisture they pump out whether they’re efficient and how noisy they, are we check safety features including bacterial buildup in emissions and remember you can’t judge a humidifier by its price here’s. What you need to know to find the best humidifier for your home, looking for something specific.

Cool mist humidifier

Your first decision is whether you want a warm or cool mist humidifier, both offer the same benefits but here are some key differences. let’s start with cool, cool mist humidifiers can cool the air in warm or dry climates. There are two main types of cool mist units evaporative and ultrasonic.


Evaporative humidifiers use a fan to force dry air through a wet wick filter. Usually made of a paper-based material and the water evaporates into the air, in our emissions tests all evaporative type humidifiers did not admit bacteria into the air. But even so the wicks must be replaced over a few months depending on how often you use the humidifier and whether you have hard water. Console units can humidify spaces over 2,000 square feet, they can get pretty loud some consoles we tested reach 65 decibels approaching the level of a vacuum cleaner, but they’re generally used outside of sleeping areas where noise isn’t an issue.


Ultrasonic style cool myths have a small metal diaphragm inside that vibrates, atomizing the water into a fine vapor no filter necessary. You might find a white powder surrounding your humidifier this is from dissolved minerals in hard water that are incorporated into the mist these deposits aren’t harmful and can be reduced by using distilled water. You can purchase demineralization cartridges for some models which should be replaced every 30 to 40 fillings overall, ultrasonics score better when it comes to noise and energy use .However in our bacterial growth and emissions tests, all the ultrasonic models we assess emitted some bacteria into the air.

Warm Mist humidifiers

Vigilant and cleaning them daily warm mist humidifiers heat water to boiling temperatures and mix the steam with air. Because they can make your room a little warmer these units are suited to cool dry areas.Warm mist humidifiers don’t have any filters to replace but some units come with an absorption pad that collects mineral deposits and those need to be changed. There are a few dollars each because, the water inside the unit can become very hot warm mist humidifiers are not recommended for use near babies or toddlers and they use more electricity than cool mist humidifiers .When you shop you may come across vaporizers essentially vaporizers do the same thing as warm mist humidifiers. But they also heat and evaporate medicine .one vaporizer in our tests did not admit bacteria into the air we test all humidifiers for energy consumption and safety and. You can check out the ones that did the best in our ratings.

Key Features

Consumer Reports puts humidifiers through an array of tests. we check how many gallons of water they add to dry air in a day we measure the noise levels in decibels on the unit’s highest setting. generally humidifiers are pretty quiet most of the ones we tested were under 45 decibels. which is about the level of a human whisper anything under fifty three decibels equivalent to a low conversation gets a good in our ratings. we test for convenience does it turn off when it’s empty is the tank easy to carry, can it be filled in a bathroom sink we even test for the effects of hard water on the units take into consideration the added costs beyond the humidifier, the cost of filters and demon realization cartridges can add up from a few dollars for the pads to five to fifteen for your filters depending on the size and models.

Factor in how often you will use the machine. your humidifier should be placed at least six inches from the wall on a flat surface never place it on a towel or rug as they can interfere with the fan look for user-friendly digital controls and displays. we look at weather models have automatic shutoff which is usually a good thing but with evaporative models, you want them to keep running so that the filter dries out so reduces the chance of bacterial or mildew growth

Room Size

You want to be sure that the humidifier you choose can fill the room adequately. if you get a humidifier that’s too big for the room you’ll end up with condensation on the windows, and too much moisture creating a possible mold situation. over time too much home humidity can cause wallpaper to peel while too little can allow dry air to damage your furniture .so it’s important to consider your units coverage our ratings are divided into the best humidifiers for small, medium ,and large rooms based on an average room with eight-foot ceilings. if you have higher or cathedral ceilings consider using a larger unit


Keeping a humidifier clean is essential to keep bacteria at bay, you should drain rinse and dry the base trays and tanks daily and disinfect the tank weekly following maintenance instructions .Some makers claim that their models have antimicrobial properties, our tests found that you can’t rely on those claims we learned that humidifiers with antimicrobial claims weren’t necessarily better at preventing bacterial growth or emitted bacteria. If you have asthma, allergies or children at home, you should buy an evaporative wick model they perform best in our bacterial emissions tests. With so much maintenance required take a close look at the model you’re considering, are they’re hard to reach nooks and crannies that will make cleaning difficult can you easily clean the water bin.

You can buy a commercial cleaner but here is a safe and effective way to clean the base and tank. I’m going to pour about 1 cup of household white vinegar into the base you can take a small brush and cleaning all the accessible areas. You’re going to scrub the slimy mineral build-up then you want to take about 1 tablespoon of bleach a tattoo of tank cold water shake the tank thoroughly let it sit for 20 minutes. then rinse it out thoroughly until the bleach smell is completely going at the end of the season get rid of any partially use filters clean the unit thoroughly and let it air dry then store it in a dry place.