The best humidifier for another winter
Regardless of the room, you need just the right humidity to create a comfortable and healthy environment. Not too much humidity, but not too little either. The best humidifier for your home can help you with this.
According to Ratika Gupta, MD, a certified allergist with ENT and Allergy Associates in Brooklyn, indoor allergens are a major contributor to allergy symptoms, ranging from sneezing and post-nasal drip to itchy eyes and asthma-like symptoms. And in winter, when we tend to spend more time indoors, these symptoms can increase, according to Dr. Gupta be more pronounced. “Humidifiers help keep the nasal passages moisturized so they don’t feel dry,” she explains. “Studies show that moderate humidity could help reduce pathogens in the air, which can then reduce the risk of disease.”
Does this mean that buying a humidifier will solve all of your problems? Not necessarily. “Humidifiers keep the air moist, which is what dust mites actually love,” explains Dr. Gupta. “It’s important to monitor the humidity to reduce symptoms.” She recommends a humidity level of 40–50% to keep your air hydrated while fighting off dust mites and mold.
We’ve determined which humidifiers on our list are compatible with essential oils; Dr. However, Gupta is not a fan of them. “Avoid essential oils in humidifiers – especially if you have asthma,” she says.
What else should you pay attention to with a humidifier?
Dr. Gupta gives four tips:
- The amount of noise it makes. If you are a light sleeper, avoid anything with too much ambient noise.
- Easy cleaning. Failure to clean your humidifier can be harmful. So make sure you are okay with the additional work. Depending on the frequency of use, the humidifier should be cleaned every 3–7 days.
- Whether or not it has a hygrometer (or you can buy one, e.g. this). Most of the humidifiers on our list have a built-in hygrometer that shows you the humidity in the room.
- Size of the water tank. A smaller tank means more frequent refills.
Best overall humidifier: Levoit LV600HH hybrid ultrasonic humidifier
We believe the Levoit LV600HH Hybrid Ultrasonic Humidifier is the best choice for most people. Here’s why: it can hold 1.5 gallons of water and will last up to 50 hours before the tank needs refilling. And since there are no filters, you don’t have to worry about the cost of replacing them. The humidifier can cover large rooms – up to 753 square feet – and offers both ultrasonic cooling mist and warm mist options so it can be used any time of the year. In addition, the humidity sensor can detect the humidity in the room and make adjustments automatically. As Dr. Gupta pointed out, it’s best not to use essential oils in humidifiers, but there is an aroma box to add, in addition to aroma pads and even a cleaning brush. It’s also very easy to control the Levoit LV600HH using the touch controls on the humidifier’s user interface or using the remote control. Levoit doesn’t list the noise level, but it sounds like a whisper and you will barely hear it. The humidifier is available in black or white.
The Levoit Dual 200S Smart Humidifier looks like a stylish water jug, but is actually a smart device that can run for 25 hours before it needs to be refilled. The Levoit Dual 200S portable holds 0.79 gallons and can cover up to 290 square feet. Since it is filled from above, the humidifier is leak-proof, easy to fill and clean and compatible with essential oils. Despite the low price, the Levoit Dual 200S has an integrated humidity sensor that can automatically detect whether the room is too dry or too humid and adjusts the amount of fog accordingly. The machine can be controlled via Alexa and Google with the VeSync app from Levoit, and there is a scheduling function that allows you to set when it should be switched on and off. In addition, the Noise Defender design enables quiet operation.
The Elechomes SH8830 humidifier can cover 861 square feet, making it the ideal choice for large rooms. The large water tank holds up to 72 hours of fog, which can be either warm or cool depending on the season. We also like that this top-fill model is quite easy to fill, empty and clean. In addition, the nozzles that can be rotated 360 degrees allow you to direct the mist in any direction, and the device does not get louder than 20 dB, which makes it really quiet. Since the humidifier has an auto mode, it automatically adjusts the humidity. The touch controls are easy to use and the remote control offers additional convenience. It is available in black and white.
If you are looking for a humidifier that is simple enough for your older kids and also easy to carry around, consider the Lasko UH250 Ultrasonic Cool Mist portable humidifier. There are only three touch controls (power, fog settings and auto-off timer) plus an option to turn the night light on and off. The tank holds 0.924 gallons and can last 18 hours at a low level. It’s a top filler that makes it easy to clean. No filters need to be replaced, although the humidifier has an aromatherapy scented bowl for essential oils.
It’s significantly more expensive than the other humidifiers on our list, but the Dyson Purifier Humidify + Cool Formaldehyde PH04 does a lot more too and actually reduces the number of devices you need in your home. It traps pollutants in the air, measures the humidity at the same time and then produces hygienically humidified and cleaned air – and can also cool like a fan. The Dyson is also fully sealed to the HEPA H13 standard, which means it can remove 99.95% of particles from the air. In addition to maintaining the desired level of moisture in the air, our favorite feature is that the air purifier / humidifier also destroys formaldehyde, which can be found in paint, furniture, carpets, household cleaners, fireplaces, and even plywood. You can also control it with the remote control, the Dyson Link app or voice assistant. The Deep Clean cycle can be activated at the push of a button and removes any mineral deposits. The Dyson air purifier Humidify + Cool Formaldehyde is available in nickel / gold and white / gold.
The HoMedics Total Comfort Warm & Cool Mist ultrasonic humidifier is one of our favorites because with two separate tanks holding a total of 1.7 gallons of water, we don’t have to worry about it that often. Plus, this humidifier can last for 80 hours and is pretty easy to clean too. This is in part due to the antimicrobial CleanMist technology, which keeps the device free of mold and mildew, and also avoids the white dust that comes with using hard water in the tank. The humidifier also includes two desalination cartridges in case it needs cleaning.
The Ultenic H8 Smart Humidifier may be the coolest humidifier on the list, but it’s also the best smart humidifier. In addition to the LED touchscreen, you can control it via the Ultenic Smart App on your iPhone or issue voice commands via Alexa and Google Home. The 360 degree nozzle can be pointed in any direction and can cover 323 square feet. The 1.2 gallon top fill water tank lasts for 30 hours before needing to be topped up. An additional feature: the LED lights on the underside of the humidifier can be set to blue, orange, green or a color combination. Or you can switch off the light completely using the app.
If you prefer a bottom-filling humidifier, the Elechomes UC5501 is an excellent choice. It has a 1.6 gallon tank and can deliver ultrasonic cooling mist or warm mist for 60 hours. The humidifier also has a sleep noise level of less than 32dB and a humidity sensor that automatically adjusts to provide the correct level of humidity. With the 360 degree double nozzle, you can direct the mist at the desired location and the LED touch display control is easy to use. It is available in black and white.