Our customers often ask us whether they should choose a warm or a cool mist humidifier. To simplify the answer, our years of experience (along with doctor and allergist recommendations) have proven that a cool-mist humidifier is best used to combat allergies while a warm-mist humidifier offers relief for those with asthma, a cold, the flu or respiratory infection. Other symptoms such as dry skin, swollen nasal passages, sinus headaches, and asthma will also be relieved while in a well humidified room. As a first step, our product experts recommend placing one of our virtually-silent ultrasonic humidifiers in each of your bedrooms for improved sleep. Many of our ultrasonic humidifiers deliver both warm and cool mist with the touch of a button. Larger, fan-based humidifiers are recommended for humidifying larger, open areas of your home.
Our newest PowerPure AP03 is both a humidifier and HEPA air purifier in one
For a soothing steam humidifier, you might consider our Air-O-Swiss S450 Steam Humidifier
More Humidifier Information
In our testing of home humidifiers, we have found that they often humidify an area less than what is stated by the manufacturer. The AllergyBuyersClub product review group tests and published information about each humidifier to ensure that you are getting a high-quality machine that will be appropriate for the location you intend on using it.
- Buy Larger - While humidifiers will add moisture to the air, you may not be able to reach the humidity level that you want to achieve (i.e. 30 to 40% with a small-capacity humidifier), so we suggest buying a humidifier that covers a larger square footage area.
- High Humidity is not good - Humidity over 50% encourages dust mites and higher humidity levels can encourage the growth of mold spores, so you will want to control the amount of moist air that your humidifier puts out.
- Outside Humidity Matters - The level of humidity that you can achieve is dependent on the outdoor humidity, so extremely-dry climates require the use of more powerful humidifiers.
- Gurgling Happens to Everyone - All humidifiers have some level of “gurgling” sound when the water in the tank is drawn into the base of the unit, and this noise can be disconcerting if you are not expecting it.
- Location - Decide on the area that you would like to humidify. Cool mist humidifiers will cover a larger area, but since they are noisier, consider placing them in a space that is out of earshot.
- Hygrometers - Digital hygrometers provide a rough estimate versus an exact measurement of humidity. They give you an indication of the level of room humidity and the best humidifiers will automatically shut off when the room reaches your desired humidity level. Remember, over-humidification can lead to mold, dust mites and the growth of bacteria.
- White Dust - None of our humidifiers produce mineral dust, which can be potentially harmful to your health. If you are using a water softener, you should not use an ultrasonic humidifier unless you use it with distilled water.
- Hard Water - Using hard water from a well (or other source) with a humidifier will often require more-frequent filter changes.
- Maintenance Costs - Most humidifiers have some maintenance costs associated with them—expect to pay for annual filter and other replacement costs (unless you are using a PowerPure or Pureguardian humidifier that don't require filters). Otherwise, you will find yourself throwing cheap humidifiers away after one season of use. This is why we only sell high-quality humidifiers that will last for years with daily use.
- Water Tank - Most humidifiers are filled from the faucet. Ultimately the shape and size of the water tank determines which humidifier is easier to fit under the faucet. Often, we find it easier to fill humidifiers with larger tanks in the bathtub.
- Humidifier Type - Ultrasonic humidifiers are much quieter than cool mist humidifiers. PowerPure humidifiers, Boneco by Air-O-Swiss humidifiers, Pureguardian humidifiers and Stadler Form humidifiers are all known to be exceptionally quiet.
Humidifier Maintenance Tips
The remarks below are geared towards our selection of home humidifiers.
- Always maintain your humidifier properly—if you don’t, bacteria and fungi can grow in the water tank and will be dispersed into the air—children, the elderly and allergy sufferers are particularly susceptible to these kinds of problems. The easiest way to figure out whether you might be having a problem with your humidifier is to look for greenish scum or hard scale deposits in the humidifier’s tank. This is your first clue that your humidifier is in need of maintenance.
- White dust is a potentially-hazardous by-product of using a humidifier because the white dust particles are small enough to penetrate the lungs. This is where using a mineral cartridge for your humidifier is a wise preventative measure.
- Clean your humidifier on a daily basis before you refill the tank with water. The best humidifiers come apart so you can give them a sanitizing wash in your dishwasher or rinse them out with vinegar and hot water. Diluted bleach or hydrogen peroxide are other good sanitizing agents.
- For best results with ultrasonic humidifiers, manufacturers recommend using distilled water. By doing so, you avoid all the problems of potentially-hazardous minerals being dispersed into your air in the form of very-fine particles. Tap water, bottled water and well water have minerals in them, even if they are filtered (although the filtration will take out most of the hazardous minerals).
- Always clean and dry your humidifier at the end of the humidification season. Do not store a dirty, wet humidifier.
- Buy a humidifier with an integrated hygrometer or an external one to make sure that you are not over humidifying your home, which can cause the growth of mold and dust mites in your space.