When the temperature drops and you turn your heat up, the humidity level in your home can drop considerably. A humidifier can be useful in the winter months for adding moisture into the air. However, you can also use humidifiers during the warmer months.
With so many different models and types out there, it can be difficult to decide which humidifier is right for your home. Humidifiers come in warm, cool or dual mist. Cool mist humidifiers moisturize while cooling the temperature of the room.
Tired of dry skin and stuffy noses? Looking to tackle dry nasal and sinus passages? A cool mist humidifier could be a helping hand.
Warm Mist vs. Cool Mist Humidifiers
The main difference between these two is that the warm mist option creates steam by vaporizing water with heat. They’re faster and more efficient at humidifying the air but can be really noisy.
Warm mist humidifiers can also be dangerous if you have children in the home. The tank contains boiling hot water and can easily burn skin if it tips over or leaks.
Cool mist humidifiers, on the other hand, are a much safer option if you have children. The lack of heat makes them a safer choice for busy homes filled with children or pets — or even clumsy adults.
They also tend to be much quieter than their warm mist counterparts. The only annoying thing about cool mist humidifiers is that they require thorough cleaning.
Things to Consider Before Purchasing
Use these factors to narrow your search:
There are two main versions of cool mist humidifiers:
Evaporative Cool Mist Humidifiers
Evaporative models utilize a built-in fan to blow air through a porous wick. The wick absorbs water from the tank or reservoir. The air then cools as it collects moisture from the wick. Keep in mind that this means you’ll have to buy replacement wicks.
Since these types of humidifiers are fan-powered, they can be a bit noisy.
Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifiers
Ultrasonic humidifiers use something called a nebulizer. This is a compact high-frequency vibrating diaphragm that creates cool mist.
Since there’s no fan involved, ultrasonic models are usually pretty quiet or almost completely silent. They also require less maintenance than the evaporative options because they’re less likely to grow mold. You’ll just need to scrub it down once a month.
This simply determines how much square footage of coverage you need from your humidifier. The coverage area can vary widely depending on the type and the model’s output capacity.
If you’re looking to only humidify small spaces, a tabletop or personal humidifier will get the job done. However, if you’re looking for something to cover larger spaces, you’ll need a console model — they generate a lot of moist air and have larger water tanks.
Ease of use matters greatly for humidifiers. You also want a humidifier that’s relatively easy to move. This is important because you may need to move it for monthly cleaning. So whether you’re looking at a table or floor model, you’ll still want it to be portable.
User-friendliness also means easy maintenance. If you’re leaning towards the evaporative models, be sure to check that the wick is easy and inexpensive to replace. You don’t want to buy a new humidifier and find out the wick replacements are hard to find or expensive.
First, you want to be on the lookout for controls and displays of the humidity level and other settings. Not all humidifiers have these, but it can be necessary to control the humidity levels.
Not all humidifiers come equipped with a humidistat, either. Humidistats can make or break the decision for some since some models shut off the unit when the room reaches the desired humidity level.
This can help you conserve water and electricity and save money on your energy bills. If you find a humidifier that you really like, but it doesn’t have a humidistat, buy a hygrometer instead. This monitors your room’s humidity levels and can help you determine when you want to turn the humidifier off.
Some humidifiers have a user-friendly design that makes it easy to refill and clean. Others have more moving parts and require more maintenance. It’s critical to clean your humidifier according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
How often you clean it also depends on how often you use it. You may need to drain, rinse and dry it daily. It’s important to clean your humidifier because bacteria thrive in moist environments (1).
The last thing you want your humidifier doing is circulating bacteria into your home’s air. The standing water in the tank can be teeming with bacteria that could potentially get you sick!
The Best Cool Mist Humidifiers of 2020
We dedicated a good week of our time to filter through the wide range of cool mist humidifiers out there. We focused on real customer feedback and then compared it to what the experts say.
The result? This list of the best cool mist humidifiers on the market.
1. VicTsing Cool Mist Humidifier and Essential Oil Diffuser
This stylish 2-in-1 humidifier and diffuser comes in a beautiful matte wood finish. It’s perfect for small rooms or office spaces, and its grooved grip makes cleaning and refills more comfortable.
It’s also very customizable and has various output settings. With 15 different LED light settings to choose from, it’s perfect for any setting or atmosphere. You’ll also have two mist and four timer settings to choose from.
It can run up to 10 hours on the low setting and will alert you with a red light when the water runs out. You don’t have to worry about this too much, though, as it will automatically shut off as well.
Why We Love It
For such a small humidifier, it comes with a wide array of light, spray and timer settings. You can control the color of the light and its brightness. You also have the power to set it on either standard or strong mist.
The timer setting is really convenient. You can choose between one, three, six hours, or continuous. This is great for controlling energy consumption.
You can fill it up with just water for humidifying or add a few drops of essential oil for a nice fragrant aroma.
Thanks to the ultrasonic technology, this humidifier makes absolutely no noise. Place it in the background, and you’ll forget it’s even there.
Keep In Mind
Users tell us that the lid doesn’t lock and can come off easily. If you knock it over, the water will spill. The nice thing about the lid, though, is that it allows for quick refilling and cleaning.
|Dimensions||6.6 x 6.6 x 5.7 inches|
|Tank capacity||300 ml (10.1 ounces)|
|Coverage area||65 to 82 square feet|
2. Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier
This cute little humidifier is perfect for humidifying small spaces such as bedrooms or offices. Its modern, aesthetically-pleasing design makes it a great addition to any space.
Similar to the Pure Guardian, this humidifier gives you the option to turn on a blue night light. You can turn it on at night when you’re falling asleep and turn it off when you no longer need it in the morning.
The MistAire Ultrasonic from Pure Enrichment controls are very basic. It only has one button at the base of the device. Simply push once to turn on and push again to increase the speed.
Why We Love It
This humidifier only has two main parts: the water tank and the base. This makes for a really easy clean up. It also comes with a disk-cleaning brush to clean those hard-to-reach places. Also, it has no filter or other additional removable parts that need maintenance.
Modern and Sleek Design
This humidifier’s water droplet design and small size make it easy to store anywhere. It’s one of the more aesthetically-pleasing humidifiers on the market, so it will be a nice addition to any room.
16-Hour Run Time
Humidifiers with small tanks like this usually only run for 8-10 hours maximum. The MistAire impresses with 16 hours of continuous operation, and that’s when it’s on the high setting.
Keep In Mind
Unstable Mist Nozzle
You can change the direction of the mist by adjusting the mist nozzle. However, customers report that this has a tendency to get stuck and doesn’t turn with ease.
|Dimensions||10.9 x 9.2 x 6.9 inches|
|Tank size||0.39 gallons|
|Coverage area||250 square feet|
3. TaoTronics TT-AH002 Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier
The Ultrasonic from TaoTronic surprised us with its great performance and awesome price tag. It features a dual nozzle that disperses cool mist in different directions. It also features a built-in water purifier and a power dial to adjust mist strength to your liking.
The dual nozzles give you the option of targeting two specific areas. You can also make the mist coverage more universal if you want to humidify a larger area.
If its cool customizable features weren’t enough, this unit also delivers impressive performance. Its tank size is almost one gallon and will last you up to 10 hours. It can cover around 300 square feet, so it’s perfect for small to medium-sized rooms.
Why We Love It
This humidifier boasts nearly silent operation. No wonder it’s marketed as a good option for babies or for sleeping. It’s true, it’s whisper-quiet.
Array of Mist Settings
Along with the 360-degree nozzle that disperses mist all throughout the space, this model comes with a variety of mist settings. This amount of customizability is impressive for this price point.
The ceramic filter works to purify the water, preventing bacteria or fungus build-up. This helps reduce any bad odor and reduces the amount of cleaning you need to do. Just keep in mind the filter needs to be changed every four to six months.
The humidifier will shut off automatically when it detects a low water level. It’ll also display a red warning light to let you know when you need to refill it. You don’t have to worry about wasting energy if the humidifier empties out while you aren’t around.
Keep In Mind
Difficult to Clean
This humidifier’s water tank doesn’t have a wide opening, so it can be difficult to clean it manually. To clean it properly, users report that you need to remove the tank completely from the base and rinse.
|Dimensions||8.7 x 8 x 12.2 inches|
|Tank Size||0.9 gallons|
|Coverage area||107 to 322 square feet|
4. Honeywell HCM350W Germ-Free Humidifier
The HCM-350 from Honeywell is a powerful, user-friendly humidifier designed for large spaces. For an evaporative humidifier, its fan is surprisingly quiet and makes almost no noise.
What’s unique about this humidifier is its ultraviolet light. It kills any bacteria, fungus or mold that might fester in the tank. This is great if you don’t want to splurge on an ultrasonic model but are concerned about possible bacteria build-up.
Our favorite thing about the Honeywell is its user-friendliness. It’s super easy to clean with a wide opening for the tank. You can easily fit your whole hand in there for scrubbing or drying.
Both the water tank and water tray are dishwasher safe. So, you don’t have to worry about getting into the tight nooks and crannies by hand.
Why We Love It
The UV light ensures that the humidifier is only pumping out clean, healthy mist into the air. You don’t have to worry about cleaning daily to prevent bacteria or mold build-up.
The HCM-350 was designed with the user in mind. From being dishwasher safe to having a wide tank opening, this unit from Honeywell is super easy to use.
Large One-Gallon Tank
The large tank means the humidifier can operate for 24 hours non-stop. This means you can just set it daily and forget about it. The large tank size also allows for a large coverage area of up to 800 square meters.
Keep In Mind
The bottom of the humidifier can detach easily if you’re not careful while moving it. This can cause spills and leakage. The great thing is that it’s filled with cold water, so you don’t have to worry about anyone being burned as you would with a warm mist humidifier.
|Dimensions||17.5 x 19.4 x 11.8 inches|
|Moisture Output||2 gallons per day|
|Coverage area||500 to 800 square feet|
5. BONECO Travel Ultrasonic Humidifier U7146
This portable cool mist humidifier is small enough to be tossed in a bag. It’s super convenient for traveling, especially if you’re going to a place with a harsh, dry climate.
It has a bottle-mouth adapter that you can pop any standard PET water bottle into. Not having a water tank makes it really light at 1.3 pounds, so it won’t weigh your bag down.
This humidifier utilizes ultrasonic technology to produce micro-droplet mist. It operates quietly and effectively, making minimal noise. Did we mention it can run for up to 24 hours?
Why We Love It
Weighing only just over 1 pound, it’s so easy to transport with you. It even comes with a travel bag, cleaning brush and an interchangeable plug for worldwide use.
The ultrasonic technology makes for almost silent performance. On its highest setting, it almost sounds like the fan of a laptop.
It comes with a variable output knob control that allows you to control the humidification rate. It also has an automatic shut off feature — once the inserted water bottle is empty, it’ll turn off.
Keep In Mind
Not Stable for Large Bottles
Some users have tried attaching larger water bottles to this model, causing it to tip over.
|Dimensions||2.6 x 4.4 x 3 inches|
|Tank Size||Not applicable|
|Coverage area||100 to 200 square feet|
6. Pure Guardian H920BL Ultrasonic
The H920BL is a tabletop cool mist humidifier for small rooms. It’s portable, compact and lightweight so you can take it with you from room to room.
It emits a very soft blue that can be very calming and great for sleep. If you’re a light-sensitive sleeper, don’t worry. This unit’s light setting can be switched on and off with the push of a button.
It’s our favorite nighttime humidifier not only for its glowing blue light but also for its completely silent operation. It makes absolutely zero noise even when it’s set on high.
It has a modest coverage area and a relatively small tank, but that’s because this humidifier is super tiny. Don’t be fooled, though — it can run for 10 hours straight.
Why We Love It
Silver Clean Protection
This technology eliminates the growth of mold and mildew. Sometimes you just forget to clean your humidifier, and that can lead to the growth of all types of bacteria. This humidifier will make sure that it’s only pumping out clean, healthy mist.
Ultrasonic models tend to be virtually silent while operating. This humidifier is no exception; you can place it right next to your bed while sleeping and not be disturbed.
Keep In Mind
Despite its overall silent performance, users mention an annoying beeping noise when the water runs out. This can disturb your sleep, so be sure to fill it up before you hit the sack.
|Dimensions||4.7 x 4.7 x 10.8 inches|
|Tank Size||0.21 gallons|
|Coverage area||210 square feet|
7. Everlasting Comfort Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier
Let’s begin by saying that this humidifier’s runtime is 50 hours. That means you can set it going and not worry about it for several days. If the water runs out, it automatically turns off by itself, so there’s no wasting of energy or damaging the unit.
Since it’s an ultrasonic model, you won’t need to worry about purchasing replacement filters all the time. The ultrasonic technology makes for a nice heavy spray. It can output up to 9 ounces of water per hour, so it can cover large bedrooms.
Some cool features include a user-friendly dial for adjusting the intensity of the moisture and a 360-degree rotating mist nozzle. As a bonus, it comes equipped with an essential oil tray for aromatherapy.
Why We Love It
This humidifier can keep pumping out moisture for six whole days uninterrupted. This is ideal if you live in a particularly dry climate. You can keep this running even when you’re away from home to keep the humidity level up.
Essential Oil Tray
This nice addition creates a pleasant aroma around the room. Add a few drops of lavender, and you’ll be asleep in no time.
No filter means no need to buy expensive replacements. This makes for minimal maintenance and upkeep, except for cleaning, of course.
Keep In Mind
Difficult to Clean
This Everlasting Comfort model isn’t the most convenient to clean. The water tank opening is less than 3 inches, making it difficult to clean by hand, according to customers. Also, the machine itself has many nooks and crannies where mold and mildew can build up.
|Dimensions||14 x 12 x 8 inches|
|Tank Size||1.6 gallons|
|Coverage area||500 square feet|
|Product||Best||Type||Dimensions||Weight||Tank capacity||Coverage area|
|VicTsing Humidifier & Diffuser||Overall Choice||Ultrasonic||6.6 x 6.6 x 5.7″||14.4 oz||300 ml (10.1 oz)||65 to 82 sq ft|
|Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic||Aesthetic||Ultrasonic||10.9 x 9.2 x 6.9″||1.75 lbs||0.39 gal.||250 sq ft|
|TaoTronics TT-AH002 Ultrasonic||Budget Pick||Fan-powered||8.7 x 8 x 12.2″||2.5 lbs||0.9 gal.||107 to 322 sq ft|
|Honeywell HCM350W Germ-Free||Health||Evaporative||17.5 x 19.4 x 11.8″||8.36 lbs||2 gal/day||500 to 800 sq ft|
|BONECO Travel Ultrasonic U7146||Portable||Ultrasonic||2.6 x 4.4 x 3″||1.3 lbs||N/A||100 to 200 sq ft|
|Pure Guardian H920BL Ultrasonic||Sleep||Ultrasonic||4.7 x 4.7 x 10.8″||1.1 lbs||0.21 gal.||210 sq ft|
|Everlasting Comfort Ultrasonic||Runtime||Ultrasonic||14 x 12 x 8″||4.1 lbs||1.6 gal.||500 sq ft|
Cool as a Cucumber
Cool mist humidifiers can be perfect for tackling dry skin, congestion and uncomfortable breathing. The ones we’ve listed are sure to circulate purifying, moisture into your home with efficiency and style.
Our top choice is awesome for being able to include aromatherapy oils, which we know some of you will be looking for. The majority of the best cool mist humidifiers have awesome extras to entice you, but don’t forget only to grab one that directly suits your needs.
If you only need a small, portable one, don’t go for a whole-house humidifier. A good way to avoid this is to look for the coverage area and compare that to the space you need humidifying.