How to Choose a Room Humidifier

With winter temperatures turning cold, indoor heating can dry out the air. To combat this problem, a room humidifier can be an effective solution. Humidifiers add moisture to the air, relieving skin irritations and helping ease respiratory problems like coughing and congestion. But with so many models on the market, it can be difficult to choose one that’s right for you and your home. To help you make an informed decision, we spoke with George Oram, a product engineer who works on humidifiers at Dyson, and other experts in the field to get their tips on how to choose the best room humidifier.

The key to choosing the right unit is understanding how it works. There are several types available, including cool mist, warm mist, and ultrasonic, and each has its advantages and disadvantages. Cool mist units use a fan to blow air across a wet filter or wick, which evaporates the water into a cool fog that is then dispersed into the room. These machines are quiet and inexpensive, but they can promote the growth of mold and bacteria if not cleaned properly.

To avoid this, you should regularly clean your humidifier with distilled or demineralized water, which will eliminate any minerals that can promote bacterial growth inside the machine. You should also replace the filters or wick on a regular basis, depending on the manufacturer’s instructions. The alternative is to purchase a model that uses a vaporizer, which boils the water into steam and disperses it into the air. This can be expensive, and it’s important to keep the water tank clean and away from children and pets to prevent burns and spills.

Another option is the ultrasonic model, which uses a vibrating diaphragm to disperse a fine mist into the air. Ultrasonic models are less noisy and don’t require a filter, but they can promote the growth of mold if the water is not distilled or demineralized. They also tend to have a higher price tag than other models, but they can be more energy efficient.

Choosing the right size is important, too. A humidifier that’s too small won’t adequately moisten your space, and a humidifier that’s too large can actually cause humidity problems. If the humidity gets too high, you may notice a musty smell or see condensation on windows. Using a hygrometer can help you monitor humidity levels and adjust your unit as needed.

When shopping for a humidifier, remember that there’s no such thing as a perfect machine. However, you can narrow down your options by considering the size of the space it’s designed to cover, its capacity and whether it’s UL listed or ETL certified for safety. Finally, consider a warranty to provide peace of mind in the event that something goes wrong with your new appliance. We’ve compiled a list of the best humidifiers on the market below to help you start your search.