Why do you need a humidifier? Humidifier benefits
include relief from dry indoor air, which leads to dry skin, bloody noses, and scratchy throats. Humidifiers
also help prevent furniture from cracking and give your houseplants extra moisture they need as well as relieve symptoms associated with common cold or flu. Humidifiers come in 2 types - warm moisture and cool moisture
- so a common question is - Which is best? The big difference is that warm mist humidifiers add warmth to chilly rooms while cool mist humidifiers
offer cool, refreshing air. A humidity level between 40 and 50% is recommended and a hygrometer is a measuring device that measures humidity. One of the best warm mist humidifier is the Vick's model that features auto shut-off and a price tag below $40. Other top brands are Honeywell, Aprilaire, Holmes, Hunter, Bemis, Ultrasonic, and Crane. Expect to spend anywhere from $40 to $200 for a humidifier.
What to Look for in a Humidifier:
When looking for a humidifier consider things like room size. When it comes to humidifier ratings
- most are measured in terms of square footage covered or capacity. If you get a humidifier that is too large for a smaller room, the end result could be extra condensation that forms on the windows and potentially could lead to mold or even bacteria growth. Portable room humidifiers are available in reservoir sizes from 1 liter up to about 5 gallons. The bigger the water reservoir the less often you need to refill it. Experts say that a 2 gallon tank will provide enough moisture for no more than 2 days. Other featrures to consider are maintenance and how easy it is to remove or even refill the water tank. If filter changes are necessary, be sure that they are inexpensive and readily available in stores. Humidifiers for home use need to have relatively quiet operation. Some owners complain of the noise levels - most units run on either high or low. Those with an auto shut-off when the water tank is dry are preferred. Also, any unit with a built in humidistat will make your job a lot easier. Humidifier reviews
- We found some excellent feedback online and in magazines. Good Housekeeping did a test with 21 new room size models - they rated them for how quickly they added moisture to the air, on energy cost, appearance, and of course ease of use. Laura Moser of Slate.com tested 7 humidifiers - medium sized models - she based her scores on performance, maintenance and appearance as well. Consumer Reports has an article on "buying a humidifier" and what to look for, but we could not find any actual ratings posted by CR. Console humidifiers
are larger units that can handle your whole house or apartment, but reviews for these are hard to locate. We did find one on the Bemis H12-300 (a whole house humidifier) that can take care of up to 2500 square feet. Comes with a removable water tank and needs periodic filter replacements. You can buy humidifiers at stores like Walmart, Sears, Target, and online at Amazon.com. You can read up on dozens of owner reviews and independent comments and opinions posted by actual consumers. You can browse the best selling humidifiers online here
Evaporative Humidifiers - Cool Mist Humidifier:
Cool mist models (also called evaporative humidifiers) are the alternative to units that need to boil water. RECOMMENDED
- The Essick Air 826-800 2-Speed Evaporative Console Humidifier
from Bemis is our top choice. The Essick Air will humidify 1700 square feet with an 8 gallon output each day. There is no "white dust" with this unit as reported by owners of other brands. The evaporative wick will trap mineral deposits leaving less cleaning issues for you. the 2 speed fan and easy to fill water tank make this the perfect choice. Need to move the unit, the rolling casters make for easy transport from room to room. Comes with a 1 year warranty. Features a digital control panel, hygrometer to test humidity levels, auto shut off, and a 6 gallon water holding capacity. Owners say that on the low setting the whole house evaporative humidifier runs quiet. Another model worth looking at is the Vornado Vortex HU1-0012-11 ($50) with a 2 gallon tank and a 3 speed fan. Its filter wick (replace it every 60-90 days) is treated to prevent bacterial growth. The Hunter Care-Free Humidifier Plus 34357
($95) is a cool mist evaporative humidifier that performs well, but some reviewers complained of motor issues. Be sure to check them all out before making any purchases.
An ultrasonic humidifier
uses a metal diaphragm vibrating at an ultrasonic frequency to create water droplets. Ultrasonic humidifiers are usually silent, and also produces a cool fog. They save energy and are easy to maintain. The Holmes HM500-UC ultrasonic humidifier is a quality product that sells for $50 but the overall best reviews pointed us towards the Air-O- Swiss 7145 Ultrasonic Humidifier
which gets fairly positive customer remarks. The good news is that the Air O Swiss runs quiet and it's easy to use. Owners say it's compact enough to fit almost anywhere and it produces enough moisture for most rooms. We found several reviews from parents who had bought this particular humidifier for a baby since they like the fact it was so quiet. Another exceptional product is the Air-O-Swiss AOS-7144
- it "monitors the temperature and automatically adjusts the output when conditions change". If you want a quiet humidifier, this should be your choice. Customers mention that compared to the $40 budget units on the market, the Air O Swiss blows them away in terms of performance.
Warm Mist Humidifier:
There are several models worth looking at, but keep in mind the biggest complaint with warm mist humdifiers is their noise level during operation. Both the Slant Fin Humidifier from Enviracaire and the Zojirushi units are rated the highest with customers and experts. RECOMMENDED
- After reviewing countless products, the Zojirushi EE-LAC50HA 3-Liter Warm-Mist Humidifier
gets the "best buy" award here. Although considered on the loud side to operate, the Zojirushi warm mist humidifier can handle rooms up to 675 square feet. Features a 3 liter capacity and outputs up to 3 gallons of water per day. Owners like the lid lock, auto shut off, and the automatic operation. There is a 2 speed manual operation is you want the control panel is large enough to read all the buttons. It is more expensive than others in this category, but most consumers agree it's worth the extra money. We had heard excellent things about the Enviracaire EWM-211D Slant Fin Humidifier
and it appears that the product won't disappoint. The digital controls on the Slant Fin allow you to adjust the humidity control and keep the exact level you want. It can run up to 24 hours on one filling and the Enviracaire humidifier will shut down automatically when the water tank is empty. Keeps mold, bacteria, and spores away using a dual germicidal process. We suggest shopping for the most popular warm mist humidifiers online here