Low humidity is a cause for concern as you may already know if you’re looking for the best humidifier to buy. Often people only worry about excess humidity that causes the growth of moss and mildew. However, low humidity brings dangers of its own. Chapped lips, skin irritation and static shocks are only a few of the complications brought about by low humidity.

The optimum relative humidity level in a home should be in the range of 40%-60%. Be it winter or summer, if the air is too dry you and your household are at risk. Since I never want my family to be victims to all the horrors of low humidity, I always picked out my humidifiers carefully. Here is how I pick out my humidifiers.
humidifier

Types of Humidifier

There are many types of humidifiers on the market. I found that humidifiers function and have to be maintained differently. Different humidifiers also produce different results so there may not be one best humidifier but there’ll sure be a right one.

Here is a basic breakdown of the type of humidifiers on the market.

Mist type

  • Cool mist humidifier – Popular and affordable, many choices available, look for permanent filter.
  • Warm mist humidifier – Better for health, but may be hot to touch.

Operation

  • Evaporative humidifier – Basic and affordable, needs regular wick replacement.
  • Ultrasonic humidifier – Usually more expensive but with quieter operation. May come with either mist type or both mist types for you to switch around.

Capacity

  • Room humidifier – Portable humidifiers that are only able to humidify one room at a time. Several capacities available for different room size.
  • Whole house humidifier – Large capacity to humidify the whole house at once. Needs installation to the furnace so it’s also called a furnace humidifier.

Let’s say if you want a small humidifier for your room, you should choose between the evaporative type or the ultrasonic type. If you choose the evaporative room humidifier, then you’ll have to choose whether you want it to have warm or cool mist. For ultrasonic humidifiers, they may be either cool mist, warm mist or both.

Any type of humidifier works and most people decide only between the capacity and mist type because they can lower or increase the room temperature slightly.

How to Choose the Best Humidifier

The most important thing to do before buying a humidifier is to measure the size of the room you plan to put the humidifier in. The measurement of your room size can help you determine the capacity of the humidifier to buy. If you need to humidify the whole house, get a whole house humidifier instead of several room humidifiers to save cost.

small humidifierFor a small to medium room, a humidifier with an output of 2 gallons a day is quite sufficient. If the room is large, you can get a console humidifier that outputs up to 9 gallons a day.
I’ve had my fair share of bad humidifiers, which either did not last, or are so badly designed that they are too much trouble to use. After replacing many humidifiers, I found out some things I liked about humidifiers in general:

  1. Auto shut-off
  2. Quiet operation
  3. Easy controls
  4. Well-designed tank for easy filling
  5. Permanent or cheap, accessible filters
  6. Good warranty
I don’t really recommend you even considering any humidifiers without these features. Head over to my guide here to read more about this.

Humidifier Reviews

Top Humidifier Models
Here are the most top rated humidifiers I reviewed. Click in to read my full review for each model.

Duracraft DWM250
Crane Adorable
Air-O-Swiss 7135
Aprilaire 600
Vicks V745A
Honeywell HWM450

Humidifier for Baby

baby humidifier
A period of low humidity is especially dangerous for babies. Think about all the bacteria and viruses and that thrive in less humid areas. Its very likely your little angel may get infected by these air borne pathogens.

The dryness in the air would also irritate his or her nasal passages and throat. This would make breathing difficult. Feeding would also be a harrowing experience. Imagine trying to gulp down food when you have a dry throat. Having a humidifier in baby’s room will help.

Do remember to use distilled or filtered water with a baby humidifier because it is best for your baby not to breathe in any mineral dispersed from untreated water. Another thing to keep in mind is that most babies are curious so it’d be best to keep the humidifier a safe distance away so they don’t fiddle with it.

Cool Mist Humidifier

cool mist humidifier
I highly recommend the cool mist humidifier if you want a baby humidifier or to place one in the children’s room, because it poses less safety risks than the warm mist or steam humidifier. So how do you choose the best cool mist humidifier then?

Room size – The humidifier must have the capacity to humidify the area you want it to, so buy one with the capacity to suit your room size.

Tank size – A bigger tank means fewer refill trips, but you’ll have to compromise with a heavier load to carry.

User friendly – A flat-bottomed tank is easier to fill; get a model with two speed settings or mist regulation settings for more control; and it should have auto shut off when the tank is empty to save power.

Easy maintenance – Is it easy to clean out? Does it have filters to replace? Buying a cool mist humidifier is easy but also we must also consider the effort and costs for maintenance afterward.

Noise – Cool mist humidifiers are often noisier than the other types thanks to its fan. More models are designed to produce less noise now, so check the humidifier reviews to see what users say about it.

My picks for Cool Mist Humidifier:

Warm Mist Humidifier

warm mist humidifier
Warm mist humidifiers are also called the steam humidifier or vaporizer. A warm mist humidifier is indeed very effective for chasing away those signs of cold – blocked or runny nose and itchy throat – that make us so irritated that we cannot fall asleep at night! You will have those problems solved when you get a warm mist humidifier/steam humidifier. So how do you choose? Here is my guide on choosing the best steam humidifier.

Size of room – You can’t fit a square peg in a round hole, so similarly it is wise to choose the right size of steam humidifier according to your room size.

Safety features – A steam humidifier/warm mist humidifier puts out hot steam by boiling the water in its tank, so it simply means you have a tank of boiling water sitting in your room or house. You will definitely want a steam humidifier with a sturdy base, auto shut off and other safety features.

Easy to use – Is the tank easy to fill? Can it humidify a room for long hours? Can you move it from room to room if you want to? Are the controls simple and user friendly? These are the questions you need to ask.

Easy maintenance – The best warm mist humidifier usually does not require a filter, so maintenance is largely on cleaning the tank and unit. However, some of them contain a mineral absorption pad that you have to change once in a while.

Noise level – Check the steam humidifier reviews to see if the model makes a loud noise. A soft bubbling noise is common with steam humidifiers as they boil the water, but you don’t want to have one that sounds like a jet engine.

My Picks for Warm Mist Humidifier:

Whole House Humidifier

whole house humidifier
You want a whole house humidifier because you got fed up with moving the humidifier from room to room? Or maybe you are tired of replacing humidifiers every year? It is easier to maintain one humidifier for the house than one for each room.

There are three types of whole house humidifiers. Personally I think the flow-through system is the best whole house humidifier type, but each person to his own. Each type is named according to how the whole house humidifier works, but I am not going to elaborate on that, because it only helps in confusing the buyer.

Drum system – The cheapest whole house humidifier. This type has a tank or drum to hold water, just like the small portable humidifiers, but it humidifies the whole house. Because it has a tank, you have to refill it and clean it out regularly to prevent mold growth. In short, spend less and do more work.

Flow-through system – This whole house humidifier is installed with your furnace or heating system. It doesn’t have a tank; the water flows and drains through the system, so no refills or clean outs needed. The only work you need to do is change the foam pad in due time.

Spray mist system – This is similar to the flow through system but it uses a spray mist instead of a pad. It does not have a tank to refill or a pad to change, but if your water has high mineral content the mist head will clog up. It is also recommended for oil or gas powered heating systems only.

When picking a type of whole house humidifier, consider your existing heating system and how high the mineral content of the water is, then choose the right size for your home.

Tip: If you choose a flow through whole house humidifier like me, you might want one with a bypass gate, so that you can close it off when humidity is high in the summer.

Whole House Humidifier – Installation
When I told my wife I wanted to order a whole house humidifier online (there was a nice deal on Amazon when I bought mine), she was worried that we might not install it right. Well, it is a legitimate concern, so I thought I would address it here. There are a few options regarding installation:

  1. Do-It-Yourself – You can get the whole house humidifier cheap and refer to online videos and guides to install it. I did this and it had been fairly easy for me (read guide).
  2. Buy one and find someone to install it for you – Service fees range from $50 to several hundreds.
  3. Buy your whole house humidifier from a contractor – They include the installation fees in the price but you don’t have to lift a finger.

My Picks for Whole House Humidifier:

Ultrasonic Humidifier

ultrasonic humidifier
An ultrasonic humidifier uses high-frequency vibrations that produces water droplets so you could control your environment’s humidity levels. I think it would be best if you could get one that has both cool and warm settings because each has its own benefits – cool mist will help your allergies to subside, while warm mist can help you breath better when you have breathing difficulties.

As a light sleeper, I have a strong preference towards ultrasonic humidifiers as they are very quiet. Here are some of my top picks after experimenting with a few.

Read more reviews in my blog here.

More about Humidifiers

Personally I think shopping for a humidifier is rather fun; that’s why I keep on checking out various models even when I’ve got a few humidifiers in my house. I like to read articles about humidifiers too, and I’ve written some of my own including some top rated home humidifiers reviews! Don’t miss out on the best deals I’ve found for you too.

Here are some topics you might like to read before or after buying a humidifier. So happy researching and I hope you buy the right humidifier for your home!

Humidifier Brands

To read more reviews, you can go to my blog.

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