We don’t think either feature is crucial (or even necessary), but we know that some folks are keen to have them. It’s also important to remember that warm mist does carry some potential health risks, thanks to the heating element that turns the water vapor into steam. As such, the Mayo Clinic recommends against using warm-mist models in homes with children. The UH200 is specifically designed for larger rooms (up to 900 square feet), with a 1.75-gallon tank—nearly twice the size of the tanks on our other picks. But it works just as well—and just as evenly—in smaller spaces, too. It’s also one of the only models we recommend with warm-mist capabilities.
Basically, that just means not washing your hair every single day, but for all our thin-haired friends out there, we know that’s easier said than done. To help stretch the time between washes, try adding some dry shampoo, embracing a fun baseball cap, or even taking advantage of the oily look with a slicked-back bun. In these cases, a whole-home steam humidifier is the perfect solution. Steam is generated through a heating element inside a canister filled with water and uses your HVAC system to disperse that moisturized air throughout your home.
As the weather changes throughout the seasons, the relative humidity in our homes can also shift. Unlike our other picks, the EVDC300 is an evaporative humidifier, which means it uses a replaceable wick or filter and pushes the freshly dampened air out through a fan. Evaporative humidifiers use a fan to blow air over a wet, absorbent material like a wick that sends moisture into the air.
Inside a Humidifier
Read the label on the substance’s container, or check the instruction manual that came with your humidifier, if you’re nervous. You may want to use a water and vinegar or hydrogen peroxide solution or another manufacturer-recommended cleaner every few days to clear the machine out of potential toxins. Cleaning your humidifier regularly will reduce your risk of these unsafe particles entering the air and your lungs.
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However, this one is louder than our other ultrasonic picks, thanks to the powerful fan that makes it so good at moving humidified air around the room. If anything goes wrong, the UH200 is backed by Vornado’s five-year warranty, one of the longest we’ve seen for any humidifier. Often referred to as a “vaporizer” or warm mist humidifier, a steam humidifier boils water and releases the warm steam into the room. This is the simplest, and therefore the least expensive, technology for adding moisture to the air. A humidifier adds moisture to the air in your home, with the end goal of optimizing indoor humidity levels. The term relative humidity is the percentage of moisture in the air compared to what the air can hold at a given temperature. The optimal indoor humidity level is typically between 30% and 50%, according to the EPA, which means it’s best to have air containing between 30% and 50% relative humidity in your home.
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“If the humidifier is not properly cleaned, it may facilitate microorganism overgrowth in the environment, with subsequent skin irritation,” Song warns. To further minimize potential skin and lung irritation, experts also say you should avoid cleaning your humidifier with harsh chemicals. The LV600S stands out not only for its ability to humidify a room but also its ability to not humidify.
Remove the Humidifier Cover
When the air in your home is uncomfortably dry, humidifiers can be a lifesaver. But the appliance that prevents you from waking up with parched sinuses, dry skin, or a scratchy throat might pump more than mist into the air. If you don’t know how to clean a humidifier and do it regularly, they can become prime places for growing mold and other microbes that stream into the air along with the water vapor. These air pollutants can be especially problematic for people with asthma, allergies, or other breathing issues.
They use a fan to blow air through a damp filter, which causes the water to evaporate into water vapor. That water vapor is then blown or otherwise emitted into the room to increase the humidity level. This type of humidifier is a good way to ensure the mist blowing into your room is clean, but also requires replacing the filter periodically. Once you’re ready to purchase a humidifier and combat pesky symptoms like itchy eyes, sore throats and irritated sinuses, you’ll need to choose between a cool mist vs. warm mist humidifier.
The towering 10-liter Levoit OasisMist 1000S was the first Levoit model to really disappoint us. It was barely able to move the humidity more than 3 feet, leaving it to sit there in a puddle of its own making. The 3-gallon Honeywell HEV685W and the 4-gallon Vornado Evap40 both performed well enough in our tests, but they just seemed way too large for our purposes. Still, if our current upgrade picks are not big enough for your needs, these could be decent alternatives. The dishwasher-safe Honeywell HCM-350 Cool Moisture Humidifier was our top pick from 2015 to 2021, largely because of its simplicity. But we also heard from a lot of readers who struggled with the non-dishwasher-safe parts.