The Best Humidifier 2021
Best Humidifier 2021
Last Updated: . The Best Humidifier 2021. After comparing and testing more than 20 different humidifiers (and getting plenty wet in the process), we picked a best cool mist mist humidifier: the Honeywell HCM-350.
New to humidifier shopping for baby’s room? Read our 7 Things No One Tells You About Buying for advice and tips.
Best Cool Mist Humidifier. The Honeywell HCM-350 is a cool mist humidifier with a two-gallon tank that is dishwasher safe. It is easy to clean and fill; we also found this model to be one of the quieter evaporative humidifiers on the market. It comes with a UV lightbulb that treats the water as it circulates. Honeywell claims this UV light kills mold, bacteria, fungi and viruses.
What’s not to like? It is rather large (18” long) and bulky. The HCM-350 also lacks a humidistat—you adjust the amount of output with a fan control knob. The paper filter will need to be changed frequently (
$22.48 $10.99 per filter; as often as once a month) and the UV lightbulb ($9.98) will need changing after 3000 hours of use. Cleaning, as with all humidifiers, is time consuming, but overall, this is an excellent humidifier.
Best Decor Humidifier
Yes, there is truth in advertising: Crane’s Adorable Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier is, well, adorable. But it actually works well, according to our readers.
Crane has 23 different animal shaped humidifiers including a frog, owl, dragon, cow, elephant and more. Priced between thirty and fifty bucks, parents praise the Crane humidifiers for the most part (quiet, easy to fill, easy to clean). But a few dissenters said it stopped working after a couple weeks, the output was too little, and they had problems with leaks. So . . . buy this humidifier from a store or website with an easy return policy just in case.
Why Trust Us
We’ve been rating and reviewing humidifiers since 2005. In addition to hands on testing of humidifiers, we have combed the research about reliability, cleanability and efficiency. We also evaluate consumer reviews posted on sites like Amazon, as well as our own message boards.
Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Baby Bargains is your independent and unbiased source for expert baby gear reviews. We’ve been writing and reviewing baby gear since 1994. Yes, that long!
How we picked a winner
We evaluate humidifiers with in-depth inspections, checking models for overall quality and ease of use—for example, testing in rooms of different size. We also gather significant reader feedback (our book, Baby Bargains has over 1 million copies in print), tracking humidifiers on quality and durability. Besides interviewing parents, we also regularly talk with retailers and consumer appliance experts to see which brands are most trustworthy and other key quality metrics.
7 Things No One Tells You About Buying A Humidifier!
1. There are two basic types of humidifiers: evaporative and ultrasonic.
Evaporative humidifiers have a wick that soaks up water, then a fan blows the moisture out. These are often the least expensive type, but can be noisy . . . plus the filter must be replaced regularly. Here’s what the replacement filters (also called wicks) look like:
Ultrasonic humidifiers use sound waves to disperse the moisture so there is no fan required. This makes ultrasonics much quieter than evaporative humidifiers. The downside, though, is sometimes they leave a coating of white dust in the room. And they can be quite expensive (that’s why our top pick in this category is an evaporative humidifier).
2. Humidifiers also come in warm or cold mist.
Warm mist humidifiers use a heating element to warm the water (cold mist do not). While that might sound appealing if you live in a cold climate, we do NOT recommend these humidifiers for baby’s room. That’s because warm mist humidifiers can overheat the room—and that’s a risk factor for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Also, the hot mist coming out of the humidifier can cause a scalding injury if touched by a wayward toddler.
Warm mist humidifiers require more cleaning and maintenance than cool mist ones. If you are tempted to buy a warm mist humidifier because your nursery is drafty, it would make more sense to buy a separate oil-filled space heater and a cool mist humidifier. That’s because a space heater more efficiently heats the room than a warm mist humidifier. (Of course, there is still a safety problem with all space heaters—toddlers can burn themselves on any hot surface. The best long term solution is to have a HVAC specalist see if they can correct the heating/cooling issue in your baby’s nursery).
3. Don’t oversize the humidifier.
Humidifiers are rated by gallon output and most will tell you the size room they cover—match this to the size room your baby is in. You don’t need a giant humidifier for most bedrooms. They should be cleaned regularly. Humidifiers have detailed cleaning instructions—follow these! If not, you risk mold or mildew build-up in the unit or the shortening of the humidifier’s lifespan.
4. They should be cleaned regularly.
Humidifiers have detailed cleaning instructions—follow these! If not, you risk mold or mildew build-up in the unit or the shortening of the humidifier’s lifespan. See below for one of many online videos on cleaning a humidifier.
5. Consider an adjustable humidistat.
A humidistat works like a thermostat, setting the humidity at a certain level and turning on or off the humidifier until it reaches that level. This is a nice feature, although it’s not completely necessary.
6. Skip the vaporizer.
A vaporizer is a humidifier that lets you disperse medication in your child’s room. Generally, this is NOT recommended—that’s because pediatricians rarely prescribe medication that needs to be vaporized these days.
7. If you’re remodeling, consider whole house solutions.
If you are planning to do any HVAC work on your home, consider installing a whole-house humidifier. These automatically kick in when your furnace runs (or can be controlled by a thermostat). Since they are permanently installed and plumbed to a water line, you never have to refill the humidifier. You do have to change the filter and do some maintenance, but that’s typically just once a year. FYI: Honeywell makes a whole house steam humidifier, which is excellent.
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