A quality humidifier ensures ideal humidity levels in your home. However, with the plethora of market options, finding the perfect fit for your needs can take time and effort. This article aims to make that task easier for you. Before diving into the factors you should consider while choosing a humidifier, let's first explore our top recommended humidifiers, their standout features, pros, and cons. This way, you can quickly get an overview of the best options available and later delve into more details to understand the right match for you.
Over the last few months, my team and I have tested over twenty-five humidifiers from leading brands like LEVOIT, Pure Enrichment, Rbioko, and Govee. We put each one through its paces in various environments in our Bellingham, Washington, office and home. We tested in many rooms, from small bedrooms to expansive living spaces. Our objective was to find the best humidifier with optimal humidity control, durability, ease of cleaning, and value for the cost. Our research helped us identify that the LEVOIT OasisMist 1000S 10L Smart Humidifier is the best overall humidifier meeting all these criteria.
The LEVOIT OasisMist 1000S 10L Smart Humidifier emerged as our top choice after thorough testing, mainly due to its capacity, quiet operation, and smart compatibility. Contrary to our expectations, this tower-style humidifier blends seamlessly into any room setting while offering the functionalities of shorter tank-style units. The 10L tank, a standout feature, provides consistent mist throughout the day, with a longer lifespan in smart auto mode, adjusting output based on existing humidity levels. This feature allows a 'set and forget' convenience, eliminating the need for constant adjustments. The OasisMist is remarkably quiet, making it ideal for noise-sensitive individuals, particularly during sleep. It integrates smoothly with smart home systems, including Google Assistant and Alexa, facilitating voice command control. While these smart features are often overstated, in the case of the OasisMist, they contribute to an added level of user convenience.
The Levoit LV600S Smart Hybrid Ultrasonic Humidifier is our top choice for the best cool mist humidifier due to its unique hybrid capabilities and smart features. Offering warm and cool mist options, it provides cozy warmth in cold months and refreshing cooling in hot seasons. The seamless integration with smart home systems, including voice commands via Alexa or Google Assistant and a remote-controllable app, enhances user convenience. A 6L tank provides all-day humidity, though it needs more frequent refills than the 10L OasisMist. The LV600S operates quietly, with its noise level barely noticeable at lower settings. It also boasts an easily cleanable large tank, minimizing the risk of mold and bacteria.
The Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier excels in bedroom applications with its quiet operation, under 40 decibels, and soothing blue nightlight feature, earning it our designation as the best small room humidifier. Its compact tank size ensures a 16-hour operation, adequate for overnight use. The device requires maintenance with daily cleaning and descaling every 1-2 weeks, facilitated by a plate cleaning brush included. Although its moisture output is modest, with a peak at 69% relative humidity, its five-year warranty, simple setup, and aesthetic appeal make it a viable option for enhancing bedroom comfort.
The Venta LW25 Airwasher proved to be an energy-efficient and effective humidifier in our tests. Its compact cube design, weighing 8.5 pounds, is deceivingly powerful, consuming a mere 7 watts at full power and outperforming many competitors. With a sizeable 2-gallon tank, it offers efficient humidification, although it needs daily refills for optimal performance. Unlike most models requiring thorough weekly cleanings, the LW25 needs only biweekly rinses and an application of a proprietary antimicrobial additive, an added convenience. However, it fell short in its air-washing abilities, with our tests revealing it couldn't match the particle reduction rates of a dedicated air purifier or even some competitor humidifiers. Despite this, its energy efficiency, easy maintenance, and humidification capacity make the Venta LW25 an outstanding choice for apartments, home living rooms, and office suites.
The Dyson Purifier Humidify+Cool Formaldehyde PH04 is a multi-functional air purifier-humidifier hybrid that neutralizes VOCs and formaldehyde thanks to its catalytic filter. The unit features a solid design with easy filter access and a built-in humidifier, making it ideal for combatting dry air. A smart companion app allows complete device control and integration with popular virtual assistants, providing comprehensive air quality data. Dyson backs this product with a 2-year warranty. This device best suits those with specific VOC neutralization and humidification needs. Those seeking strong particulate filtration may consider alternatives like the Dyson TP09 or the Medify MA-50.
In our evaluation process, we set a high bar for all the humidifiers we tested. After all, we aimed to unearth the best ones available.
One critical element we looked at was the noise level of each humidifier. We know how disturbing a loud humidifier can be, especially when trying to sleep or focus on work. We used a decibel meter at varying distances to measure the exact noise output in different settings to test this. Our top picks are those humidifiers that are efficient and quiet enough to fade into the background.
Humidity levels were another critical aspect of our testing. We used a high-precision hygrometer to monitor the changes in humidity over time. We placed each humidifier in rooms of different sizes and measured how efficiently and quickly it could raise the humidity level to the desired point. We considered both the peak humidity level the machine could achieve and how evenly it could maintain the humidity across the room.
When choosing the best humidifier, we focus on several essential factors. Each plays a critical role in the humidifier's effectiveness and convenience; understanding them will allow you to make an informed purchasing decision.
The size of the room where you plan to use the humidifier is critical to consider when choosing the best humidifier for your needs. Humidifiers come in various sizes and capacities, designed to accommodate different room sizes effectively.
A tabletop or portable humidifier would suffice for small rooms like a bedroom or home office. These are compact units that you can easily move around, and they can efficiently increase moisture levels in small spaces. Our testing focused on how these units performed in a 10x10-foot room. This 100-square-foot space lets us compare how well these machines raised humidity levels and how quietly they operated in a space replicating many bedrooms or bathrooms.
For medium-sized spaces such as living rooms or master bedrooms, you might need to consider a console humidifier. These are larger units with a higher moisture output than tabletop models, suitable for maintaining ideal humidity levels in larger areas. To replicate this environment, we tested units in our 12x20-foot conference room and 12x18-foot living room.
It's important to note that choosing a humidifier with a capacity too small for your space may lead to inefficient humidification. At the same time, an overly large one might produce excessive moisture, leading to condensation on windows and other surfaces. Always consider your space size when choosing a humidifier!
Choosing the correct type of humidifier is crucial because it affects how the unit adds moisture to your air, how easy it is to maintain, and what kind of mist it emits. Our testing focused on three types, each with its unique characteristics.
Evaporative Humidifiers: These use a fan to blow air over a wet wick or filter to create a cool mist. While they're typically louder due to the fan operation, they're also self-regulating—as humidity increases, their ability to add more moisture decreases. The results of our comparative testing eliminated evaporative units for most environments except for large spaces where their increased tank capacity was a benefit. We identified the Venta LW25 Airwasher as the best humidifier for large rooms like these.
Ultrasonic Humidifiers: Ultrasonic humidifiers produce a cool mist by vibrating water at an ultrasonic frequency. They're generally quieter and more energy-efficient than evaporative models, making them an excellent bedroom choice. The LEVOIT OasisMist 1000S 10L Smart Humidifier, our choice for the best overall humidifier, and the Pure Enrichment MistAire, our choice for the best cool mist humidifier, fall into this category.
Warm Mist Humidifiers: These humidifiers boil water to produce a warm mist, making a room feel warmer. They're usually quieter than evaporative models but can make a room uncomfortably warm during the hotter months. The Levoit LV600S Smart Hybrid, which we use primarily in cool mist mode, also supports warm mist operation.
The type of humidifier you choose depends on your specific needs, the size of the space you want to humidify, and personal preferences regarding noise level and mist temperature.
Humidity control refers to a humidifier's ability to maintain the desired humidity level in your space. A humidifier with a built-in hygrometer, also known as a humidity sensor, can measure the amount of moisture in the air and adjust its output accordingly. Some advanced models even offer a fully automatic mode, adjusting to keep the humidity in a predefined healthy range, generally around 30-50%.
While all humidifiers will increase the humidity in a room, models with a built-in hygrometer and adjustable humidity settings give you more control. You can set a precise level, and the device will automatically turn on or off to maintain it, avoiding over-humidification, which can lead to problems like mold and mildew growth.
If you live in an area with significant seasonal changes in humidity or have specific health needs that require precise humidity control, a model with an integrated hygrometer would be particularly beneficial. A basic model without a hygrometer should be enough if such precision isn't necessary.
Remember, maintaining proper humidity levels is essential for your health and comfort, as well as for the well-being of your home, including your furniture, plants, and pets.
Accumulated water can become a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and mineral deposits. So, it's essential to clean your humidifier regularly. Some models make this task easier than others with design features like removable tanks and wide openings for better access.
Cleaning frequency varies depending on the model and the hardness of your water, but generally, cleaning your humidifier at least once a week when in use is recommended. Always follow the manufacturer's cleaning instructions to ensure optimal operation and prolong the device's life.
Maintenance also involves changing or cleaning filters if your humidifier uses them. Some models use replaceable wick filters to absorb the water before evaporating. These need to be changed regularly, depending on the hardness of your water and the frequency of use.
In addition, consider the ease of refilling the tank. Some tanks are awkward to fill, while others have a top-fill design that makes the task more convenient. Some even have a removable tank that can be filled at the sink.
In summary, for the best experience, look for a humidifier that is easy to clean, refill, and maintain. These factors may seem minor, but they can significantly affect your satisfaction with the product over time.
Noise level is essential when choosing the best humidifier, especially if you plan to use it in a quiet environment like a bedroom or study. Its type and operation mechanism determines the noise a humidifier generates.
Ultrasonic humidifiers are generally the quietest, using high-frequency sound waves to create a cool mist. They are usually barely audible, with a light humming sound, making them ideal for bedrooms or offices.
On the other hand, evaporative humidifiers use a fan to blow air through a wet wick filter, which can create a noticeable fan noise. While some people might find this white noise soothing, others may find it disruptive, especially during sleep.
Moreover, the noise level can vary from model to model, even within the same type. Many humidifiers offer multiple speed settings. The highest speed setting may produce more noise but also more mist, while the lowest setting will be quieter but with reduced output.
In summary, if noise concerns you, opt for an ultrasonic humidifier or a model with adjustable speed settings that allow you to control the noise level according to your preference and the situation.
Additional features can significantly enhance the functionality and convenience of a humidifier, making it more suited to your specific needs and lifestyle. Here are some extra features to look out for:
Timer: A timer allows you to automatically set the humidifier to turn on or off at specific times. This can be helpful if you want the device to start running before you arrive home or don't want it to operate while you're out.
Auto Shut-Off: This feature automatically turns the humidifier off when the water tank is empty, preventing damage to the unit and ensuring safety.
Humidistat: A built-in humidistat can monitor the humidity level in the room and adjust the output accordingly, maintaining the desired humidity level. Some sophisticated models even allow you to set a specific humidity level.
Remote Control: Some humidifiers come with a remote control, allowing you to adjust settings from a distance.
Adjustable Mist Output: This feature lets you control the amount of mist the humidifier emits, allowing you to tailor it to the size of your room or your personal preference.
Aroma Diffuser: Some humidifiers have a compartment for adding essential oils, turning the device into a 2-in-1 humidifier and aroma diffuser.
Nightlight: A built-in nightlight can be valuable in a bedroom or nursery.
Filter-Free Design: Some humidifiers are designed to work without filters, which can save you from the cost and effort of regular filter replacements.
Easy-to-Clean Design: Features like a removable tank, wide tank opening, or dishwasher-safe components can make cleaning the humidifier much easier.
Remember, while these features can offer additional convenience, they might also add to the cost of the device. So, knowing which features are most important to you and align with your specific needs when choosing a humidifier is essential.
Our testing procedure thoroughly assessed every aspect of the Levoit OasisMist Smart Humidifier, and it certainly lived up to its claims. The device’s dual functionality, allowing for both cool and warm mist, emerged as a prominent feature during our testing phase. Switching between these modes allowed us to test under varying environmental conditions. This capability is especially beneficial in regions experiencing sharp seasonal variations.
The OasisMist’s smart touchscreen was another highlight. It is highly intuitive and quick to respond. The modes it offers - mist, sleep, and auto - were all put through rigorous testing. The auto mode was particularly impressive; it demonstrated a keen sense of maintaining the indoor humidity within the optimal range. The humidifier activated autonomously when the moisture level dipped below the set target by 5%. This intelligent operation ensures a consistently comfortable indoor environment, requiring minimal user intervention.
A critical part of our assessment involved evaluating the humidifier's water tank. With a capacity of 4.5 liters, it lasted for an uninterrupted 45 hours during our testing, aligning perfectly with the brand's claims. This durability makes it an excellent choice for users who prefer a 'set it and forget it' approach. Additionally, the top-fill design was highly appreciated as it made the refill process simple, clean, and efficient.
Next, we moved to the app's functionality. Its user-friendly interface and wealth of features proved to be more than just gimmicks. The ability to view the current room humidity level and reminders to refill the tank and clean the machine ensure the humidifier always operates at peak performance. These reminders are particularly beneficial for users with busy schedules who appreciate the extra help in maintaining their devices.
One of the most exciting features we evaluated was the voice control through Alexa. This functionality stands out in today's smart home ecosystem, enabling users to control their humidifier through simple voice commands. This feature worked seamlessly, offering users an additional layer of convenience. Our kids even got in on the action and managed the unit via Alexa during our home testing period.
Moreover, the OasisMist provides a feature that caters to a niche audience but sets it apart from many competitors - the ability to customize humidifier settings for plant care. This unique feature is a boon for indoor gardeners and plant enthusiasts, making the OasisMist a versatile addition to any home.
Finally, the tangible benefits of using the Levoit OasisMist Smart Humidifier can't be overstated. Our testers noticed a significant improvement in comfort and a heightened sense of well-being after using the device. The OasisMist delivers on its core function of regulating indoor humidity, and offers added health benefits, making it a worthy investment.
In conclusion, our comprehensive testing of the Levoit OasisMist Smart Humidifier demonstrated an exceptional blend of smart functionality, ease of use, and beneficial health features. It performs exceptionally well across different conditions and usage patterns, providing a comfortable and healthy indoor environment.
The Levoit LV600S Smart Hybrid Ultrasonic Humidifier is a sophisticated technology that proves itself worthy in air humidification solutions. After rigorously testing more than two dozen humidifiers, we found that the LV600S outperforms in powerful humidification, easy maintenance, and quiet performance.
A successor to the non-smart Levoit, the unit we previously used in our home and office, the LV600S has been designed to address every minor issue we had with the old model. The 6-liter tank design is a standout feature, which not only sits flat in the sink but also facilitates easy filling from the top, eliminating the hassles of dealing with leaks or troublesome screw-top caps.
Its unique humidity-regulating features truly set the LV600S apart from other ultrasonic models. It is one of the few humidifiers that can prevent over-humidification, a significant reason why the non-smart LV600HH has been replaced wherever we were using one.
Like the OasisMist, the LV600S incorporates smart-home integrations, making it surprisingly delightful to use and manage through the user-friendly VeSync app. It displays humidity level settings that can be conveniently adjusted from a smartphone, enhancing the ease of use. A two-year warranty backs the LV600S for worry-free ownership if any issues arise.
During our testing phase, we found the LV600S outstanding in quickly humidifying a room and, more importantly, stopping the humidification process when the room reached an appropriate humidity level. The unit performed impressively under general conditions, raising the room's relative humidity by about 22% within two hours. This made it one of the most powerful humidifiers we tested, surpassing the Lasko, Rbioko, and Govee models.
The device features an easy-to-navigate bright LCD screen that displays the current settings and humidity level. It also offers six capacitive touch buttons: on/off, mist level, humidity level, timer, warm mist level, and sleep. The LV600S also includes a warm mist option, adding versatility to its functionality.
The rectangular design with slightly rounded corners, about 8 inches wide and slightly more than 11 inches tall and deep, makes the LV600S aesthetically appealing. A 1.5-gallon tank resting on top of the base unit adds to the sleekness of the design.
The LV600S distinguishes itself when it comes to ease of maintenance. It streamlines the tank refill process in a straightforward manner. Instead of wrestling with screw-on lids like other models, such as the Honeywell HCM-350 or the previous Levoit LV600HH, the LV600S has a top-filling tank. This feature simplifies the refill operation and mitigates the possibility of unwanted leaks or spills. Refilling is as easy as removing the lid, lifting the tank by its integrated handle, and carrying it to the water source.
Cleaning the LV600S is also notably more convenient compared to many other humidifiers. The tank design includes a wide, approximately 5-inch fill hole, enabling easy access for cleaning. This design minimizes the presence of difficult-to-reach corners within the tank. While cleaning the basin might require slightly more effort, it remains less complex than other models. The humidifier also comes with a cleaning brush, a handy tool that assists in reaching any hidden areas for thorough cleaning.
In conclusion, the Levoit LV600S Smart Hybrid Ultrasonic Humidifier stands out from the crowd due to its versatile functionality, smart integration, and design improvements, ensuring it is an excellent investment for anyone looking to improve the air quality in their home.
The Pure Enrichment, MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier, is a wallet-friendly and noiseless addition to the family of ultrasonic humidifiers. Hailing from the California-based company Pure Enrichment, known for its health and wellness products since 2010, this device aims to deliver comfortable and fresh environments through its moisture-releasing abilities.
The setup is straightforward - rinse, fill, plug in, and turn it on. One noticeable feature is the single humidity adjustment button that offers two output levels, easily toggled according to your needs.
Regarding effectiveness, the MistAire starts strong, ramping up the relative humidity in your room faster than many competitors initially. However, it may fall short in the long run, only reaching about 69% relative humidity as opposed to the over 90% achieved by other models. The effectiveness may disappoint, especially if you desire high moisture levels, but the reality is that a 50% humidity limit is advisable except for plant humidification.
On the upside, the noise level is one area where the MistAire truly shines. Clocking in under 40 decibels during testing, it's one of the quietest options available, making it a brilliant choice if minimal noise is a priority.
The unit includes a nightlight, a notable addition for nighttime use. Depending on your preference, it can be turned on or off, emitting a soft, soothing blue tone throughout the room. Unfortunately, the nightlight only offers one color, which is not dimmable.
Maintaining the MistAire requires some effort. The device comes with a plate cleaning brush meant for cleaning the ultrasonic plate and smaller nooks of the base. Although the manufacturer recommends daily cleaning and descaling every 1-2 weeks, cleaning the device can be tricky due to the small tank opening. It necessitates a bottle brush for effective cleaning, and filling the tank can be awkward due to its tapering shape.
Despite a smaller tank than some larger models, it successfully runs for a promised 16 hours, sufficient for overnight usage. The smaller tank size also makes filling the bathroom sink easier without splashing water everywhere. But optimal moisture levels in smaller rooms take over an hour to function effectively.
Lastly, a significant advantage of the Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier is its five-year warranty, outperforming many competitors in this aspect. Coupling this with its impressive quietness and nighttime features, it is a reliable choice for bedroom use.
The Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier may be a good fit if you value noiseless operation, aesthetic appeal, and a comforting nightlight feature. However, be prepared to spend more on maintenance, and do not expect it to provide extremely high humidity levels.
The Dyson Purifier Humidify+Cool Formaldehyde PH04 is an innovative air purifier-humidifier hybrid with a unique appeal. Its standout feature is the ability to degrade formaldehyde using a catalytic filter chemically. This device excels at neutralizing VOCs, outperforming many rivals.
The unit’s HEPA filter is valuable, but its efficiency in removing particulates falls short compared to the average air purifier. Nevertheless, the PH04's multi-faceted approach, including air purification, humidification, and formaldehyde breakdown, makes it suitable for those with specific needs.
The device’s design is recognizable and in line with Dyson's aesthetic— a large, oblong loop atop a solid base. It’s easy to access the filters by disassembling the top of the base. The water basin for the humidifier function is conveniently located underneath the filter section.
The PH04 has dimensions of 36.33” x 11.02” x 12.28” (H x W x D) and weighs 18 pounds, coming in finishes of white and gold or nickel and gold. It uses a catalytic filter to break down formaldehyde, an excellent feature for homes with everyday household objects that slowly release these potentially harmful gases.
The device stands out in VOC reduction, eradicating formaldehyde with a specialized approach. It detects and neutralizes VOCs at a rate nearly twice as fast as the average air purifier. The PH04 also offers an air quality detection feature, which allows for real-time monitoring of your home's air quality and automatic operation when the air quality drops below a specific level.
Smart features add to the PH04's usability. A companion app provides complete control of the device and delivers extensive data on air quality. The app is user-friendly and can integrate with Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant. Alternatively, remote control is available, though it lacks the air quality data the app provides.
However, the device’s performance in filtering particulates could be improved. During testing, it filtered particulates at a rate about 24% less than the average air purifier. While still effective, it's clear that particulate filtration is not the device's primary strength.
Consumer reviews are mainly positive, with the PH04 averaging 4.5 out of 5 across major retailers. Consumers praise the device's build quality and value the versatility of its modes. Some less satisfied feedback points to underwhelming functionality, considering its premium price.
The Dyson PH04 is backed by a 2-year warranty covering parts and labor, surpassing the standard 1-year appliance warranty.
The Dyson Purifier Humidify+Cool Formaldehyde PH04 is a multi-functional device excelling at VOC neutralization and humidification. However, it falls short in particulate filtration, making it best suited for specific needs.
The Venta LW25 Airwasher stands out, achieving remarkable results in our tests, particularly in energy efficiency, ease of maintenance, and humidifying capacity. Our detailed examination revealed this compact, cube-shaped device, weighing just 8.5 pounds and measuring just over a foot in all dimensions, delivers robust performance while maintaining impressive energy conservation.
The LW25 demonstrated impressive energy efficiency, consuming just 7 watts on high power. This contrasts with typical evaporative humidifiers and ultrasonic models, which often consume significantly more energy. This energy efficiency did not detract from the device's effectiveness in humidification. The LW25’s performance and sizable 2-gallon tank consistently operated at the top of our real-world tests.
As part of our assessment, we looked at maintenance and ease of cleaning. With most humidifiers, thorough weekly cleaning and descaling with vinegar are necessary. In contrast, the LW25 only requires a rinse of the wet parts every 10 to 14 days, supplemented by a proprietary antimicrobial additive to suppress microbial growth. Each LW25 unit comes with a 3.5-ounce supply of this additive, sufficient for two weeks, with 35-ounce replacement bottles purchasable at around $30, covering you for more than four months.
However, our testing did reveal a relative weakness in the LW25's "air washing" capabilities. We utilized a laboratory-grade bench-top optical particle counter for our assessment, measuring airborne particles in the range of 0.5 to 20 microns. Although the LW25 managed to reduce particle concentration from 180 to 9 after three hours, this pales compared to the performance of the Honeywell HCM-350, which reduced the concentration to 14 without claiming any air purification capacity. A HEPA-certified air purifier would reduce this number to virtually zero within 30 minutes.
In conclusion, our extensive testing of the Venta LW25 Airwasher substantiates its reputation for impressive energy efficiency and easy maintenance, despite some limitations in air purification. Its significant humidifying capabilities, streamlined cleaning process, and low energy consumption make it a solid choice, albeit with room for improvement in air cleaning.
What is the ideal humidity level for my home? The perfect indoor humidity level is between 30% and 50%. Keeping the humidity within this range can improve respiratory health, maintain the longevity of your furniture, and even help houseplants thrive.
Can I use tap water in my humidifier? While most humidifiers can operate with tap water, it is usually better to use distilled or demineralized water. Tap water contains minerals that can create deposits inside the humidifier, promote bacterial growth, or disperse into the air.
How often should I clean my humidifier? We recommend cleaning your humidifier every 1-2 weeks to prevent mold and bacteria growth. Always follow the cleaning instructions provided by the manufacturer.
Where is the best place to position my humidifier? The best site for your humidifier is where you spend the most time, like your bedroom or living room. Set it on a flat, waterproof surface at least a foot away from the wall and out of reach of children or pets.
Does the size of the humidifier matter? Yes, the humidifier's size should correspond to the size of the room. Large rooms or whole houses may need console humidifiers, while smaller rooms can use a portable or tabletop humidifier. Always check the manufacturer’s guidelines for the appropriate room size for the unit.
Can using a humidifier help with allergies? Yes, maintaining proper humidity levels can help with allergies. Dry air can exacerbate allergy symptoms, such as dry skin, scratchy throat, and congestion. A humidifier can help moisturize nasal and throat passages, making breathing easier.