If you live somewhere without much rainfall and/or brutally cold winters, you need a humidifier. Adding some moisture to the air in your home can have major health benefits, from preventing nosebleeds to alleviating dry skin. Indoor humidity levels above 43 percent can reduce static electricity, curtail allergens, and even reduce the chance of airborne viruses like the flu.
And you don’t have to take our word for it. The Mayo Clinic agrees that humidifiers can have important health benefits, but it also cautions that poorly maintained humidifiers can do more harm than good. Ever opened one that hasn’t been regularly cleaned? It’s gross to look at and even grosser to breathe in. But with proper care, a great humidifier can help prevent chapped lips, moisten parched sinuses and even make a cold easier to bear.
There are dozens upon dozens on the market, and as with other home appliances, you have to factor in the cost, the features you need, and how it’ll fit into your decor. In a nutshell, you want the model you choose to do its job without becoming an eyesore. Read on to find the perfect humidifier for your home.
With angles only slightly sharper than Alexander Skarsgård’s chin, the Stadler Form Oskar humidifier is the humidifier for interior decor buffs. This Swiss company is known for its appliances’ design as much as their function, and the Oskar is no exception.
Pros: Multiple settings and clean lines make for one beautiful unit. But this is more than just a pretty face: It’s so silent that you’ll forget it’s there, which is a good thing because … it shuts off automatically when the water tank is empty. You get a reminder to replace the filter. Oh, and you can add your favorite essential oil if your house is smelling a little stale.
Cons: The .9-gallon tank is an odd pairing for such a high-output unit, necessitating multiple fill-ups each day when operating at the max setting. And while you can use tap water without fear of the “white mist” of unfiltered impurities possible with other humidifiers, it’s thanks to filters you’ll have to regularly buy and replace.
So yes, we're suckers for cute design. And we're sort of smitten with this ultrasonic cool mist humidifier, which is super-quiet and releases up to 24 hours of moisture in one use.
Pros: This specific humidifier claims to help reduce mold and bacteria growth in the base by up to 99 percent. It includes a built-in auto-shut-off feature when the water tank is empty.
Cons: It looks cute, but leaks water.
Humidifiers don’t have to be complicated or expensive. If you’re in a humid climate, they just have to work during the colder months, so you can focus on the basics. The Everlasting Comfort humidifier is a no-frills choice that works reliably without a lot of bells and whistles.
Pros: With a roomy 1.6-gallon tank, this one will run up to 50 hours between refills, making it a great choice for the set-it-and-forget-it crowd. We also like the fact that it doesn’t require a water filter and can, in most cases, use unfiltered tap water.
Cons: Those who want to fine-tune their humidity should look elsewhere, as this model has an on/off switch and not much else. Additionally, some users found that its plastic exterior wasn’t as tough as they expected.
This is the go-t0 humidifier for large, dry spaces, but plan on doing some work to keep it clean.
Pros: This humidifier is something of a beast, pumping out an impressive amount of water on the high-setting with an invisible mist that promises far-reaching moisture. It’s great for especially dry homes or rooms. It comes with a one-gallon tank and can run up to 24 hours, and its UV technology kills 99 percent of the bacteria in the water before it gets distributed into the air.
Cons: With some time, we’ve found in two reviews from the Fatherly offices (backed by online reviews) that these humidifiers are homes for mold, passing it along to new filters in days if the plastic body isn’t given the full bleach treatment.
Of course, the folks who brought us the king of snot suckers now have a humidifier featuring a color-changing night light.
Pros: It’s cute, and more importantly, it uses ultrasonic vibrations to turn water into a cool mist. It has a run time of 12 hours and a variety of night light colors, which is a sweet addition. Plus, you get automatic turn-off when you run out of water.
Cons: It can be challenging to refill it, because the water reservoir opening isn’t the biggest.
Use a humidifier often enough and you’re going to wind up with serious spillage. If you're sick of mopping up floors, meet your new buddy, the Homasy.
Pros: Most humidifiers require you to remove a reservoir, fill it up via its bottom, and then flip a loaded container to reinsert. Just try doing that without spilling a drop. The Homasy has a top-refilling design, so you just remove the cover, add water, and let it run for up to 10 hours on low mist.
Cons: The gimmick here is also somewhat questionable. We’re talking about the antibacterial stones, which act as a filter. While interesting in theory, there’s little guidance (and, at the time of this writing, replacements) should they need a freshening up after consistent use.
For those who need a humidifier that will pump and pump and pump moisture, our pick is the Aircare 831000. The reason is simple: It can run for 70 hours and has a six-gallon water capacity.
Pros: In short, the huge tank. At six gallons, it dwarfs the tank on every other humidifier on this list, making it the choice for those who want to fill ‘er up and let ‘er run.
Cons: Noise, look, and weight. This unit is an evaporative humidifier, a type that tends to be noisier than the ultrasonic options on this list. There’s also the issue for some in design—this unit won’t be winning any beauty pageants. Finally, weighing in at 14 pounds without its six-gallon reservoir filled, it’s the heaviest on this list, meaning moving it around will be a challenge unless your name is The Rock.
This humidifier gets glowing reviews on Amazon. It's a supremely affordable, basic unit that does its one job well.
Pros: It has dual speeds and can run for up to 16 hours at a time, which make this a relatively easy unit to use as needed. And if you put it in your kid’s room, the optional soft blue night-light is super-handy.
Cons: Just as no one thing sets this unit apart, no one thing differentiates it. The half-gallon tank is fine but could be bigger, and the rotating mist nozzle only slightly alters its direction.
A rotating nozzle sets this five-liter humidifier apart from the competition
Pros: You can adjust the nozzle between three mist settings — crank it up on drier days — and 360 degrees of direction, so if you place it near a wall you can direct the moisture into the room. It also runs silently, so there’s no chance it’ll go bump in the night and wake up your kid.
Cons: You can’t use this humidifier with any essential oils, so this thing won’t double as an air freshener like lots of other models will.
If you find yourself on the road with your kid, this tiny USB-powered model is a great thing to stash in your bag.
Pros: This noiseless humidifier holds just 200 milliliters of water, enough to last 4.5 hours on high or eight hours on low. That’s enough to get your sensitive baby through the night. Plus, it doubles as a nightlight with seven different colors.
Cons: This unit comes with just one replacement filter despite the fact that, according to reviewers, its filters need to be replaced more often than you’d expect.
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