Skip to content

How to Choose a Humidifier?


What do Humidifiers Do, and Why Do We Use Them?

Humidifiers add water or moisture to indoor air, making the air more humid hence the name humid-ifier. Most people use them during winter or at higher altitudes, as the air in these environments can often be very dry. However, some humidifiers have reliability issues; one challenge has been finding a humidifier that does the job right without the constant need for maintenance and reliability problems.

The good news is that humidifier technology has come a long way over the years. Humidifiers are easier to maintain, quieter, and have even omitted the white mineral dust that can cause respiratory problems. One common issue we found is that universally, manufacturers tend to exaggerate the total square footage covered by their humidifiers. In response, we have adjusted our technical specification charts on our website to reflect what we believe to be the actual square foot coverage.

We recommend that indoor humidity levels in winter should be around 30% to 40%. Wintry cold air holds less moisture, and it becomes even drier when heated indoors. Extremely dry air sets the stage for itchy, dry skin, sinus attacks, and dry eyes, among other symptoms of irritation.

Humidifiers can:

  • Relieve cold, allergy, and asthma symptoms by keeping nasal passages moist, which also helps speed up healing.
  • Sleep with a snoring partner? Humidifiers help alleviate the intensity of sound coming from loud sleeping partners.
  • Soothes dried out, itchy, cracked skin and lips.
  • Reduce unpleasant static electricity in the air.
  • Protects valuable wood furniture, floors, and musical instruments from cracking and warping.
  • Retain your home’s heat better with moist air, reducing heating costs.

What are the 5 Types of Humidifiers?

There are basically five types of humidifiers: Ultrasonic Warm/Cool Mist, Ultrasonic Cool Mist, Evaporative Cool Mist, Air Washer, and Steam Vaporizer Warm Mist. We carry all of them except for the latter type.

Ultrasonic Warm/Cool Mist

  • Liquid water particles in the form of mist are emitted into the air, where they evaporate before they touch the ground, increasing the humidity.
  • This happens when a metal diaphragm vibrates at ultra-sonic speed to agitate the water into very small water particles to create the mist. A silent fan pushes this mist up and out into the room.
  • Some humidifier models, particularly Boneco (Air-O-Swiss) or PowerPure, offer you the choice of warm or cool mist. With the warm mist, the water is heated to about 176 degrees Fahrenheit before the mist is created, allowing the mist to exit the top of the humidifier at about 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool mist function, which simply means the water will not be heated prior to creating the mist, will exit the top between 50 to 80 degrees.
  • If you are looking for a humidifier that is maintenance-free with no expensive wicks or filters to replace, consider a PowerPure humidifier (as pictured above.)
  • Ultrasonic Cool Mist: We offer a variety of ultrasonic humidifiers that can disperse a microfine stream of cool mist into the air and do not have a heating function option for a warm mist option.

Evaporative Cool Mist

  • With our evaporative cool mist humidifiers, humidity is produced by a fan that draws the air in from the room and blows it over or through a moistened wick in water. Some of this water evaporates, and this water vapor is added to the air, which increases its humidity.
  • This air is then blown back into the room to increase the humidity. Since heat is removed from the air when evaporation occurs, the air is cooled as a result.

Air Washers

  • These add humidity to a room and help to clean the air.
  • Water, in conjunction with rotating discs, retain and remove airborne impurities, including large dust and pollen particles, while returning clean, properly humidified air to the room.
  • Air washers produce a cool mist only. An air washer is the most robust kind of humidifier, is very reliable, and can cover a larger area than other humidifiers. Air washers have no problems with mineral dust; however, they require regular maintenance, as you must rinse frequently.
  • Keep in mind that though an air washer is able to remove large allergen particles from the air, they do not remove the sub-micron lung penetrating particles.

Steam Vaporizer Warm Mist

  • This system involves a heating element in the humidifier, which heats the water before dispersing it into the air. The advantage of a steam humidifier is that by heating the tank water, bacteria and organic compounds are destroyed.

What Size Humidifier Do You Need?

Firstly, you should decide how much square footage you aim to cover and how many rooms. There are three major sizes of humidifiers, each with a different humidifier rating and the square footage usually covered.

  • Portable/Tabletop Humidifiers are the least expensive and best for single room use. These tabletop humidifiers require the most frequent refilling and are available in ultrasonic cool mist humidifier choices. These are mini size and excellent for travel as they are able to treat small areas or localized points like where you sleep or work.
  • Room Humidifiers give you a lot of options to choose from that will efficiently humidify a single room or multi-room area of 650-1200 square feet. These would include our ultrasonic warm & cool humidifiers, evaporative cool mist humidifiers, and air washers.
  • Whole house Humidifier models will humidify entire homes as long as there are open doorways. Our whole house humidifiers are ideal for areas between 1700 to 2700 square feet.

If one had to talk in generalities as to the difference between Warm/Cool and Cool Mist ultrasonic humidifiers and Evaporative Cool Mist they would be: Evaporative Cool mist humidifiers will cover a larger area and are cheap and easy to run but are noisier and require more cleaning. Ultrasonic warm/cool and cool mist humidifiers are quieter and easier to clean, but more expensive to maintain. An exception would be the ultrasonic PowerPure humidifiers which require no replacement filters.

Which Humidifier is right for you?

Evaporative Cool Mist Humidifier

Pluses Minuses
  • Affordable.
  • Easy to operate and maintain.
  • Will humidify a larger area.
  • Slightly noisier than warm mist units due to the fan noise.
  • The rate that the water will evaporate is directly related to the humidity in the room. In other words, as the humidity in the room increases, the rate at which the water will evaporate will decrease.
  • However, this would become more of an issue if you wanted to raise the humidity to levels higher than 50%, which we do not recommend.

Ultrasonic Warm/Cool and Cool Mist Humidifier

  • They are quieter than evaporative cool mist units.
  • When using the warm mist option, the mist will evaporate faster into the air as to increase the humidity faster.
  • Warm mist humidifiers feel the most comfortable especially in northern winters.
  • Require less cleaning.
  • There is no limit to how much humidity you can add to the air since the water mist droplets will not decrease regardless of the room humidity.
  • These types of humidifiers are particularly beneficial if you wanted to raise the humidity over 45% or higher for the purpose of preserving certain materials or products such as cigars, musical instruments, etc.

Buyers Guide To Humidifiers

  • Home humidifiers usually cover an area less than the manufacturer states, so buy a giant humidifier than you think you need.
  • Humidifiers will definitely add moisture to the air, but you may not be able to reach the humidity level that you want to achieve (i.e., 30% to 40%) with a correctly sized humidifier. Many factors can affect the humidity level reached. If you use it for a specific room and leave the door open, you may find the moisture you are adding leaves to humidify other areas of the house. The rate at which it leaves the room will depend on how dry the adjoining parts of the house are.
    • The reason is that the humidity in the air is always trying to equalize itself. It circulates from high vapor pressure (high humidity levels) to low vapor pressure (low humidity levels.) Therefore, if the adjoining area’s high humidity levels, more moisture will stay in the room. However, if the rest of the house is dry, you will find that more moisture will leave the room to help equalize the humidity in the rest.
  • Humidity over 50% encourages dust mites, and even higher humidity levels encourage mold spore growth.
  • The level of humidity you wish to achieve should vary with the outside temperature. A simple rule of thumb is that as the outside air temperature decreases, so should the level of humidity you wish to reach and maintain.
    • The reason for this is that if you continue to maintain a certain level of humidity as the outside air temperature decreases, you may notice a great deal of condensation forming on your windows. This is because the dew point remains high as the surface temperature of the windows decreases, allowing the air to condense and release its moisture when it comes in contact with the window’s colder surface. Sometimes, you may only wish to maintain a 25 to 30 percent humidity when it is cold outside.
  • None of our humidifiers produce white mineral dust, which can be a byproduct of some other brands. However, if a water softener is installed in your home, the high sodium levels in your water will create white dust when used in any ultrasonic humidifier.
    • This is because of the salt used in most water-softening systems. The sodium from the salt cannot be removed by the demineralization cartridges in the ultrasonic humidifiers, and the result is that this fine white dust appears on all the surfaces in the room.
  • Hard water presents a problem for all humidifiers, and you should expect the filters to need changing more often. On the other hand, softened water can still be used in evaporative cool mist humidifiers but not in the warm/cool and cool mist ultrasonic humidifier, as it would cause white dust to be dispersed because of the salt used to soften it.

We offer humidifier replacement filters and cartridges for all our humidifier models.

Thanks for subscribing!

This email has been registered!

Shop the look

Choose Options

Edit Option
this is just a warning
Shopping Cart
0 items