Types of Humidifiers: Learn How They Are Different and Which Is Best for You

Whether it is winter and the air is uncomfortable dry or you are sick and want to be able to breathe easier, a humidifier can help you. There are many different types of humidifiers, from small portable ones perfect for a child’s room to large, whole house humidifiers that make every room comfortable.

Some humidifiers create a warm mist while other have a cool mist sensation. No matter what you are looking for, there is a humidifier that can meet your needs. In this article, we’ll break down the best types of humidifiers so you can breathe more comfortable, all the time.

Cool mist humidifiers

Cool mist humidifiers

There is a perception that humidifiers always emit warm mist into the air and while up until recently that was true, there is now a new category, cool mist humidifiers. Essentially, the vapor that the cool mist humidifiers produce is cool.

Cool mist humidifiers are especially useful if you want extra humidity but live in a warm climate. There is this perception that heat always brings humidity but this is simply not the case. Sometimes, you need to add extra moisture to your home in the summer months.

Furthermore, if you are someone who sleeps hot but wants the benefits of a humidifier in your bedroom, then a cool mist humidifier has plenty of advantages. You can breathe easier all night long without worrying about not being able to sleep because it is so hot.

Another advantage of cool mist humidifiers is that they have a built-in filter. This captures any water impurities, which means that any mist that is expelled is pure and not tainted with any bacteria.

While cool mist humidifiers can be used in any part of the home, they are especially useful for a child’s bedroom. One of the concerns about a traditional humidifier is that if a child gets too close to the steam, it could potentially burn them. With a cool mist humidifier, there is no need to be worried.

Cleaning cool mist humidifiers is also especially easy to do. There is little maintenance and because the water isn’t heated, there is less risk for bacteria to grow. However, they do still need to be cleaned because any time there is stagnant water, this is a potential for bacteria and mold.

Overall, cool mist humidifiers are a great option if you want to change the air quality in a single room. They are not overly large and so won’t be able to work on a whole home. Each cool mist humidifier will have a different ability of square footage it can cover, so be sure to check the specifications before you purchase a unit.

Finally, if you’re not sure if you want a cool mist or a warm mist humidifier, there are some units that allow you to choose between the two settings.

Warm mist humidifiers

When you have a cold or are suffering from the flu, a go-to remedy is a warm mist humidifier. While these are similar to cool mist humidifiers, they differ in that the vapor they produce is quite warm. It is not hot enough to be steam but the use of one can increase the temperature of a room if it is used long enough.

Warm mist humidifiers work by releasing warm vapor into the air. Inside the machine, water is heated up but is cooled down a bit before it enters the air as a mist.

Because the mist is warm, it produces a comforting atmosphere, especially if you are feeling sick. Nobody wants to be cold during this time, and a warm mist humidifier can make your bedroom feel as comfortable as you need it to be.

Furthermore, because warm, humid air is easier to breathe which is important if your throat and nasal passage are inflamed from being sick.

One really nice benefit of warm mist humidifiers is that because the water is heated up, it can help to kill any bacteria present in the water. Thus, there is less risk of a bacterial contamination when you use this type of humidifier.

Another advantage of warm mist humidifiers is that they are usually quite in their operation. While this can vary with different machines, generally they are quiet enough so as to not disturb your sleep at night.

While warm mist humidifiers are great for adults, they are not suitable for children. The warm mist can be too hot for their sensitive skin. There is also a risk that the whole unit could be pulled off a shelf by a curious child, and the hot water inside could definitely burn them.

If you do plan on using a warm mist humidifier in a child’s room, be sure to place it in an area where they can’t reach it.

Evaporative humidifiers

Evaporative humidifiers

If you are looking for the best types of humidifiers for babies and children, then you should definitely consider evaporative humidifiers. They are great for small children because they don’t heat the water, and therefore don’t pose a risk for burns.

Evaporative humidifiers work similar to cool mist humidifiers. The only difference is that they use a fan inside their unit to circulate the moist air into the rest of your room.

A benefit of evaporative humidifiers is that they are easy to clean. Furthermore, they don’t require much maintenance so you don’t have to add another task to your cleaning routine.

To round things out, even though evaporative humidifiers use newer technology, they aren’t expensive. This is a great choice to have if you are looking for a humidifier for a room, especially a child’s.

While evaporative humidifiers have a lot of benefits, their biggest downside is the noise they produce. Unfortunately, the noise from the built-in fan can get pretty loud. While this might not be a big deal if you plan on running your humidifier during the day, if you want it at night, this can be a real issue. And, depending on the model you purchase, it could even interfere with the sounds of the TV during the day.

Ultrasonic humidifiers

Ultrasonic humidifiers

Yes, technology keeps improving and with new innovation comes the category of ultrasonic humidifiers. These work with a metallic diaphragm inside the unit which vibrates at a very high frequency.

When water inside the humidifier comes into contact with the moving diaphragm, water is transformed into droplets which then disperse into the air.

By far the biggest benefit of ultrasonic humidifiers is that they do not produce any noise. This is an amazing revelation for those that can’t sleep when there are any extra noises in the bedroom.

Even the quietest traditional humidifier still produces some level of noise and anyone who is a light sleeper can understand that any noise is too much noise.

Another benefit of ultrasonic humidifiers is that they don’t have any hot surfaces. The water droplets are not hot and the unit itself isn’t, either. As a result, you don’t have to worry about children potentially burning themselves.

Overall, ultrasonic humidifiers are very easy to clean. Some traditional humidifiers can take a lot of effort to be cleaned, and if you’re not into all the hassle, then these are a good alternative.

The biggest drawback with ultrasonic humidifiers is that they are more expensive than traditional humidifiers. This can be a deal breaker if you have a limited budget. However, if you are someone who regularly uses a humidifier, then are a sound investment.

Vaporizer humidifiers

Vaporizer humidifiers

Sometimes a regular humidifier just isn’t helpful enough when you are sick. If you are looking to know what type of humidifier is best for an extra layer of humidified air, then vaporizer humidifiers may be the solution.

Basically, a vaporizer humidifier allows you to add an oil or an extra ingredient the mist that is produced. You can actually find both cool mist and warm mist vaporizers on the market, which is nice as you can really tailor the experience to your needs.

Vaporizer humidifiers are usually used when you are sick. They are often used with therapeutic essential oils, like aloe or eucalyptus. These scents, when combined with mist, are able to better penetrate your sinuses. The result is that it can be much easier to breathe as air is able to get deeper into your lungs.

Sometimes, vaporizer humidifiers will even have an attachment in which you can place your whole face over the machine. This way, you can deeply inhale and get the most benefits.

As with everything, there are risks with a vaporizer humidifier. They should not be used with children, especially if it is a warm mist humidifier, as there is a risk of burns.

It also takes more energy to power a vaporizer humidifier, so you may need to factor this in if you plan on running it all night.

Whole house humidifiers

Whole house humidifiers

While there are certainly many different types of humidifiers that work for individually rooms, there may be a time when you want to find the best types of whole house humidifiers. There are many situations when you need to change the atmosphere in your home and a whole house humidifier is the perfect way to do this.

The good news is that whole house humidifiers work with the existing system you already have in place. So, if you have a heating system like a furnace, or an air conditioning unit, a whole house humidifier can piggy-back on the existing structures. There’s no need to turn your whole house inside out installing a humidifier.

Whole house humidifiers work by distributing water vapor through the duct system, in a separate distribution tray. In this way, every room of your home will benefit from the system.

A separate control panel needs to be installed so you can control the humidity levels in your home. As well, there needs to be a central water hook-up so that there will always be water available.

You don’t want the agony of having to constantly refill a water container in your basement or attic.

There are many scenarios where a whole house humidifier is beneficial. If you live in a dry climate, then this is definitely the best type of humidifier for your home. Furthermore, if you live in an especially cold climate, a whole house humidifier can make sure you are more comfortable as cold, dry air can affect your skin and hair health.

Yet another scenario for investing in a whole house humidifier is if you suffer from allergies. More humid air can help with this and alleviate such symptoms as scratchy throats and dry eyes. Whole house humidifiers are much more powerful than small humidifiers that only target individual rooms.

While there are certainly many benefits to a whole house humidifier, there are two factors to consider. The first is cost. This is definitely a more expensive option than simply buying a room humidifier. But, if all the members of the household will benefit, then it is a good consideration.

The second factor to consider is the installation. While it is possible to install a whole house humidifier on your own, it’s not usually recommended. It’s best to hire an expert to properly install the unit, so that there are no electrical issues or water leaks.

Furthermore, you might need to pay for routine maintenance. This is an added cost that should be considered in your budget.

Final thoughts

Breathing is essential to our survival, so doesn’t it make sense to breathe as comfortably as possible? With the use of a humidifier, every time you breathe will be easy and pleasant. Because humidifiers work to add moisture to the air, your whole body will benefit, including your skin.

No more dry, itchy sensations, and more importantly, no need to worry about recovering from colds or the flu. There are many different types of humidifiers, and whether you need a small one for a bedroom or a machine powerful enough for the whole house, there is an option that will meet your needs.


1.Humidifier – Wikipedia

A humidifier is a device, primarily an electrical appliance, that increases humidity (moisture) in a single room or an entire building. In the home, point-of-use humidifiers are commonly used to humidify a single room,

while whole-house or furnace humidifiers, which connect to a home’s HVAC system, provide humidity to the entire house. Medical ventilators often include humidifiers for increased patient comfort.

Large humidifiers are used in commercial, institutional, or industrial contexts, often as part of a larger HVAC system.


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