According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air quality is among the foremost environmental health threats. For this reason, homeowners should take the appropriate measures in ensuring that, indeed, their home’s indoor air is clean, fresh and have the right relative humidity. We highly recommend installing the best steam humidifier since it’s the best appliance for preventing dryness and staleness in the air, and adding moisture to indoor air.
Every homeowner should ideally have a hygrometer, which measures temperature and relative humidity, installed in their homes. The ideal home humidity recommended for human health and home maintenance ranges from 40% to 50% during warm weather (i.e., summer and spring). But during cold weather, such as during autumn and winter, it has to be lower than 40%.
But even without a hygrometer, it’s relatively easy to determine whether your home’s humidity is within the recommended range. Look for these signs of high humidity in your home:
- Musty odor in the rooms, perhaps even in the crawl spaces and/or basement
- Visible mold growth
- Cupped wooden floors
- Visible condensation, usually as water stains on the walls and/or ceilings
- Blistering paint and/or peeling wallpaper
If you and/or your family members seem to be having more frequent allergic reactions, particularly from dust mites or mold, your home may have high relative humidity.
Who Should Use A Humidifier?
And speaking of allergic reactions, installing the best steam humidifier in your home can relieve these symptoms caused by extremely dry indoor air:
- Sinus congestion
- Dry skin
- Cracked or dry lips
- Bloody noses
- Nose irritations
- Irritations of the vocal cords
- Dry cough
These symptoms are usually more pronounced during the winter months when the air can be brittle and dry, as well as during the summer months when an air conditioner is being used daily or frequently.
Of course, homeowners who want to protect their real estate investments from the effects of extremely dry indoor air are well-advised to install steam humidifiers in strategic areas of their homes.
Note: Talk to your doctor first before installing and using humidifiers if you or your family members have allergies, asthma, or respiratory infections. While increased humidity can contribute to better breathing, the increased presence of allergens or dirty mist produced by a humidifier can trigger or worsen asthma or allergy symptoms.
Top 10 Humidifier
This Honeywell humidifier will definitely humidify even a large room, such as your living room or master bedroom, with ease. With its three settings – high, medium, and low – it’s easy to control the level of humidity, too, without second-guessing yourself. Within the first use, you will observe a significant difference in indoor air quality, from the increased humidity to the decreased symptoms of your allergy (e.g., less dry skin or dry cough).
It’s also easy to install and maintain, especially in cleaning it. The tank and bottom tray are dishwasher-friendly although these can also be washed by hand; the lid can be cleaned with a toothbrush, cotton tips, and soapy water. These parts should be cleaned once a week to prevent the growth of mold and the like.
Made of durable plastic, it’s a sturdy humidifier that can last for as long as five years with proper maintenance. It can be used nearly 24/7, especially during winter, autumn and spring, without breaking down at odd hours.
The Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier has two functions, namely, it maintains the ideal relative humidity in a home and it introduces medicated steam that aids in the relief of respiratory symptoms like cough and chest congestion. Such a dual function makes it a great appliance in homes where one or more members have asthma, allergies, or other respiratory conditions. Just add the Vicks VapoSteam to the humidifier for this purpose.
It has two settings with an extra-large display that shows the temperature and humidity levels in whatever room it’s installed in. The high setting can run for 8-9 hours while the low setting runs for 19-20 hours, on average. There’s no need to watch the humidifier, so to speak, since it has an automatic turn-off when the water runs out.
It’s very easy to clean, either by wiping it clean with a dry, clean cloth or by using vinegar. It even has a humidifier cleaning ball that kills both bacteria and odor, thus, it remains clean and safe to use for longer periods.
This Boneco steam humidifier has several features that make it suitable for a digital-centric lifestyle. First, it features control and display panels for setting and monitoring humidity levels. You can set its settings either high or low depending on the weather, usually low during winter and high during summer, so you will always get the right humidity year-round.
Second, it has a relatively high reservoir capacity so frequent refills aren’t necessary. When set on low, it can go for two days or so without a refill; on high, a daily refill will likely be necessary but it’s still convenient. With its high output of up to 1.8 gallons per day, it also quickly humidifies a room as large as 430 square feet, about the size of a master bedroom.
The steam produced is just right, too, in terms of amount and temperature – it’s hand-warm, if you will. The humidifier has a compact size so it can be placed on a bedside table, too. There’s a fragrance tray for placing essential oils (i.e., aromatherapy) and a cleaning mode for ease of cleaning.
The Aprilaire 800 humidifier is a great choice for larger homes – up to 6,200 square feet, according to the manufacturer – that require full coverage. With its high output ranging from 11.5 gallons to 34.6 gallons, it can achieve the desired humidity level within a few hours and then maintain it for several hours more. There are six levels of output so the humidifier offers a wider range than most other competing products, too.
There’s no need to use purified water in the reservoir, a feature that minimizes installation and operation costs. Just tap water will suffice since it contains impurities required in electrode technology in electricity transfer.
Of course, it’s a reliable humidifier that can aid in maintaining the recommended humidity in your home. Depending on the weather, you can set its humidity level between 30% and 60%, if you’re into California-type humidity in the middle of winter. The optimal humidity, nonetheless, is between 35% and 45%, which has been proven to minimize the growth of viruses, fungi, bacteria, and dust mites.
The Boneco S450 creates real steam by heating the water in its reservoir to boiling point, thus, there’s none of the white powder residue created by ultrasonic humidifiers. The steam adds moisture (i.e., humidifies) whatever room it is in – according to the manufacturer, it can humidify rooms up to 860 square feet – yet the steam feels warms to the touch, not scalding hot. It’s then a great choice for families with small children since it poses little danger of causing burns with proper installation and use.
Using the humidifier is also a more hygienic method of humidification because boiling the water prevents bacterial growth and mineral buildup. There’s no need to use expensive demineralization cartridges and silver ion sticks, too.
For this reason, it’s also easy to clean since there’s less calcium buildup. It even has an auto-cleaning mode that automatically cleans and decalcifies its interior – your job is to rinse it once it a while, an easy task.
The Levoit LV600HH is as durable as they come, thanks to its ABS plastic construction that makes it less breakable. With proper placement, use and maintenance, it will last for several years so you will get the best value for your money.
It’s a multipurpose humidifier, too, since it creates both warm and cool mist, a handy feature when you live in an area with a temperate climate. During winter, you can turn on the warm mist and then during the summer months, you can switch to the cool mist. You will then enjoy not only optimum humidity no matter the weather but also enjoy warming or cooling effect, as needed!
The humidifier also has three different levels of humidity, a convenient feature in areas where the humidity can fluctuate wildly. It has a large capacity of up to 1.5 gallons that can last for 36 hours at the Mist Level 1 setting; it will last for a fewer number of hours at a higher setting, obviously. With its extra-high mist output, it can also be used in a larger space, such as in an office or school.
Other features include a control panel displaying the actual humidity, touch and remote control, and an aroma box for aromatherapy purposes.
The Venta LW25 may seem fairly small but it can humidify a master bedroom or a living room measuring up to 400 square feet. Plus, its compact size belies the fact that it has two functions, namely, as a humidifier and an air purifier, which contributes to improved indoor air quality.
As a humidifier, it adds moisture to dry air so there’s less risk of respiratory symptoms caused by asthma, allergies and colds, among other benefits. As an air purifier, it uses Venta’s unique cold evaporation technology wherein dry, dirty air passes through moistened disc stacks and falls into the unit’s basin. Only clean, moisturized air is then emitted by the humidifier. Basically, the cold evaporation technology ensures that there’s little to no ozone, ions and white dust produced by the humidifier, a good thing when you have a respiratory condition.
Other features include a large 2-gallon water reservoir, a filter-free operation (i.e., water is the filter itself), and three fan speeds.
The Vornado Element humidifier features three modes – powerful heated steam suitable for blistering winter days; warm steam for cold days; and cool steam for summer days. Such versatility means that it can be used the whole year-round, a convenient feature when you can’t live with dry air, and it will last for several years, too, because of its sturdy construction.
It may be smaller than many humidifiers but don’t let its size fool you either! It can be used in larger areas of up to 1,000 square feet, such as a family living room, a master bedroom, or an office. It can be placed virtually anywhere, too, but it’s best to place it on a flat, level surface.
The humidifier creates steam by boiling water, too, which effectively cleans the water of pathogens like bacteria, viruses and fungi. Within a minute or so after turning it on, you will enjoy sanitized steam vapor and moisturized air sans the need for ultraviolet bulbs, filters, and wicks.
Other features include auto-off timer, touch-sensitive lockable controls, and auto humidity control, as well as a digital display.
The PurSteam ultrasonic humidifier is easy to use – just fill up its top tank with water, connect the top tank to the bottom chamber, plug the unit into an electric socket and turn it on. Steam will be created within a few minutes and moisture will be added to the dry air. With its 2.2-liter water tank, it’s an ideal choice for medium-sized rooms where continuous humidification is necessary.
When its reservoir is fully filled, it can humidify a room for up to 17 hours without refilling required. You can choose from several humidity levels through its variable control knob, as well as turn on or off the night light. There’s a low water indicator and an automatic shut-off feature, too, which turns off the unit in case of low water level.
Plus, it’s an affordable humidifier, a fact that will make you overlook its fairly basic features.
With its slim and lightweight design, this Vava cool mist humidifier can be placed on a small nightstand or an office side table, a space-saver, indeed. But with its 1.8-liter tank, it can provide several hours of continuous humidification so frequent refills isn’t an issue. When a refill is needed, it’s an easy task, too – just pick up the tank with one hand, refill it with water, and put it back.
Even its dial knob control makes it easy and straightforward to set your desired humidity level and mist output. Once the unit’s turned on, it doesn’t emit loud noises unlike many larger humidifiers so you can sleep better; said feature also makes it a favorite in nurseries, patients’ bedrooms, and the bedrooms of elderly people.
It also features a 360° nozzle for directing the mist in whatever direction desired, a smart LED indicator, and automatic shut-off for safety purposes.
Humidifier Buying Guide
With dozens of humidifier brands and models in the market, making a smart choice can be a challenge. Fortunately, you can narrow them down by keeping these tips in mind.
Determine your choice in mist (i.e., warm or cool)
Both add moisture to the air but the moisture’s temperature obviously differs. The choice is a matter of personal preference.
Warm mist humidifiers create steam by boiling water while cool mist humidifiers emit cool air, a great choice for summer days. Keep in mind that the former may be cheaper and easier to use but their filters need to be replaced regularly, so factor in the added cost. The latter works in one of three ways: a fan that blows air over a wet wick (evaporative); a vibrating nebulizer emits mist (ultrasonic); and a rotating disk creates mist (impeller).
These humidifiers have different noise levels, too, a consideration when you’re placing one in a bedroom. Ultrasonic humidifiers, for example, are quieter than evaporative models in general.
Consider the Room Size
Be sure to measure the room where a humidifier will be placed in and choose a humidifier based on the measurement. Manufacturers may classify their humidifiers into several categories, such as small room (25-299 square feet), medium room (200-499), large room (500-599), and console (1,000 and beyond).
Consider the Features
Humidifiers are home and office appliances that require proper installation, use and maintenance, too. You must then choose based on these aspects, especially if you have children in the house.
- Ease of cleaning. Every humidifier should be regularly cleaned to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria, mold, and other pathogens; the air should be safe to breathe.
- Ease of use. The humidifier should be easy to install and move, regardless of whether it’s a tabletop or a console unit. It should ideally also fit under a bathroom faucet or the tank should be easy to remove for refilling purposes.
- Humidistat, timer and automatic shut-off. Not every humidifier will have all of these features but the best ones usually have them since these are handy.
Consider the price, too, since not every expensive humidifier will address your needs in it. Just remember that you will also get what you pay for so don’t settle for the cheapest either.
What Kind of Humidifier Is Best: Humidifier
There are four major kinds of humidifiers.
First, cool mist humidifiers use a filter in trapping impurities and minerals in the water and then emit a cool invisible mist into the air. These are best for use in warmer climates and in larger areas, as well as being easy to clean while its cool mist adds to a cooling effect that makes it easier to breathe for some people.
Second, warm mist humidifiers create a warm mist, which can range in temperature from a powerful steam to a warm steam that can actually be seen and felt. For this reason, these are the preferred humidifiers for treating respiratory symptoms caused by asthma, colds, and allergies, especially as the mist created is more likely to be cleaner than the mist created by cool must humidifiers.
Third, warm and cool mist humidifiers feature warm and cold capabilities. Users can then customize their mist or steam experience depending on the weather and personal preference, such as cool mist setting in summer and warm mist setting in winter.
Fourth, steam humidifiers usually have a heating element that heats the water, creates steam or mist, and then disperses it into the air. In most cases, the water in the tank will be heated to its boiling point so that bacteria, pathogens, and other possibly harmful organic compounds in tap water can be killed. The mist or steam is then cleaner before it’s released as added moisture into the air.
Do Humidifiers Cause Mold?
No, these cannot cause mold, mildew and spores buildup if and when these are regularly cleaned. Moisture is a good thing but keep in mind that moist environments are also breeding places for these organisms. Thus, if you neglect to clean your humidifier regularly and properly, you will likely have mold, mildew and spores issues in your hands.
Tip: Don’t run your humidifier too high so much so that you can actually see the mist. Too much moisture feeds molds, mildew and spores in your home.
Ease Of Cleaning and Use
The key to proper use and care for your humidifier is in its ease of cleaning. You should be able to drain it of its leftover water, rinse it with warm water and mild detergent, and dry it at least three times a week – or daily, if it’s possible, since pathogens can quickly grow in slimy, moist environments.
These are general recommendations for cleaning so be sure to read your humidifier’s instructions manual for the specific steps. In many models, either vinegar or bleach will be recommended in cleaning certain parts; bleach is a stronger substance than vinegar and, thus, it’s more likely to kill mold and mildew that can cause itchy rashes and eyes, among other signs of allergy, otherwise.
Our Best Pick: Honeywell HCM-350
We picked Honeywell HCM-350 as our best steam humidifier because it’s reasonably priced, easy to install and use, and reliable in terms of its versatile performance and durable construction. Keep in mind that it’s a cool mist humidifier so it increases cool moisture in an otherwise dry environment sans the use of an air conditioner. With its evaporative technology, it creates a cool mist by blowing air off a wet wick, a technology that also prevents over-humidification.
The Honeywell humidifier has three different settings for humidity levels – high, medium, and low. You can then set the optimal humidity, usually between 40% and 60% depending on your preference, so the air feels warmer and easier to breathe. You will observe that your skin and respiratory issues improve within an hour or two after the humidifier has added moisture to an otherwise dry environment.
This can be used in nearly all parts of your home where dry air can cause health and home maintenance issues. These include the nursery and bedrooms, the living room, and the kitchen, even in the basement. With its compact size and attractive design, it will fit in readily in a small space and with your modern décor.
As for its noise level, it isn’t the quietest but its low-frequency, mellow white noise may even help some people sleep faster and better. In terms of durability, it will last for several years, thanks to its sturdy plastic construction. It can also be easily and thoroughly cleaned, a plus point.
Warm Steam Vaporizer
A typical humidifier and a warm steam vaporizer have a similar appearance, even share a few similar features. But these appliances are different in terms of the way they work and their effects.
Both appliances operate by dispersing moisture, usually in the form of mist or steam, into the air so as to increase the humidity and decrease dry air in a room. But where humidifiers typically release cool moisture, vaporizers disperse steam. The former is best for a cooling effect while the latter is great for a warming effect.
In a water steam vaporizer, a heating element boils water in its tank that, once heated to boiling temperature, disperses steam into the air. Unlike humidifiers with only a cool function, a water steam vaporizer can also be used for aromatherapy purposes. Essential oils, plant extracts, and herbs as well as medicinal vapors can be placed in an appropriate slot, such as an aroma box, and their beneficial vapors inhaled.
If you or your family members have respiratory issues caused by the common cold, flu and asthma, then you may want to consider a warm steam vaporizer. But be careful about making your choice since many of these products produce burning hot steam – look for one that creates hand-warm steam instead.
Steam Humidifier Benefits
We like steam humidifiers because these use a relatively active approach in increasing relative humidity. Basically, a humidistat serves as a sensor in determining whether the air in a room is too dry or too wet, and then automatically adjusts the humidifier setting as needed. You don’t have to set the humidifier’s settings one too many times, a convenient feature in your busy schedule or when you don’t want to be bothered waking up in the middle of the night to do so.
Steam humidifiers are also easier to clean and maintain than other types, such as bypass humidifiers. In many models, frequent replacement of parts, such as the heating element or the replacement canister, isn’t necessary. These are also more affordable, a primary consideration for homeowners who also want to invest in an HVAC system.
Why Do We Choose Steam Humidifiers?
Indeed, steam humidifiers have numerous benefits, especially when these are installed in conjunction with heat pumps. These advantages include:
- Offer Better control over the humidity in a room or house
- Feature essential functions like humidity settings (low, medium and high), humidistat, and temperature, usually with the information displayed on a digital control panel
- Introduce added moisture into dry air and, thus, provides relief for respiratory symptoms associated with asthma, allergies, and the common cold and flu
- Add either warm steam or cool mist to the air and, hence, increases comfort for people staying in the room
- Easier to install, use and maintain
- Reasonable purchase price and maintenance costs
With the best steam humidifier, you and your family will likely have a more comfortable quality of life, especially in terms of your comfort when staying indoors. You won’t have to suffer the effects of dry air in winter and autumn, as well as enjoy relief from coughs and colds, asthma, and allergic reactions. Buy one today and see for yourself!