These are our favorite humidifiers you can buy online
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Even with a new COVID booster targeting the omicron variant, federal officials are still preparing for a surge this fall and winter.
There are still about 80,000 reported COVID-19 cases each day in the United States, USA TODAY reported. That number is expected to increase in the fall and winter.
Add in that we’re about to enter the cold and flu season, and people may be looking for ways to lower the risk of illnesses—and reduce symptoms if they do get sick. One simple device that could help is a humidifier.
Some studies have shown that increased humidity may help reduce the spread of airborne viruses, such as those that cause COVID-19 and influenza. For people dealing with cold symptoms caused by the common coronavirus, a humidifier may help ease a cough or a sore throat, according to the CDC.
Based on our experts' thorough testing, these are five of the best humidifiers you can buy right now.
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The Levoit Classic 300S: The best overall humidifier
This ultrasonic cool mist humidifier from Levoi was easy to use and quiet—plus it scored well on our humidity tests, raising it by 29%. The 300S, which has a 2-gallon reservoir, used 2.5 pints of water during our three-hour test, meaning that it should be able to run for 16 hours at full mist level without having to refill.
The Levoit Classic 300S is quiet and small enough to go on a bedside table without disturbing you, while still easily humidifying a room with a large square footage. A bonus is that it’s smart enabled. You can start, stop, and create schedules from your phone via the free app. You can even use Amazon Alexa or Google Home to operate this model.
With more than 17,000 ratings on Amazon, the 300S has a 4.6 rating and nearly 13,000 five-star reviews. Said one five-star reviewer: “Having a top-filling humidifier has been a game changer and I will never go back to other types of units. It's so much easier and cleaning it is a breeze.”Buy for $79.98 on Amazon
The Honeywell HUL430: Nicely designed with good humidity output
This cool mist humidifier from Honeywell is handsomely designed and has a high output—raising the humidity 28% over our three-hour testing period—but it won’t run as long without refilling as others we tested. Our tests showed that it could run 14 hours on the highest setting.
That said, it’s a simple task to refill—as the tank is not difficult to remove and it’s easy to fill. This model also can be used as a nightlight.
While the HUL430 has just over 1,000 ratings on Amazon, about 70% of them are five-stars.
“This is another great product by Honeywell,” wrote one five-star reviewer who loved the ease of cleaning. “It is very easy to clean. I wipe it out with white vinegar before refilling and have not experienced any problems. The mist control has four levels for comfort and the refill process is very easy. I would buy this product again.”Buy for $74.99 on Amazon
The Vornado EV100: The best evaporator humidifier
This is one mean evaporative humidifier that may bring relief to your nasal passages. The Vornado EV100 is super efficient, using only 0.7 pints of water during our three hour test. That means it could run for more than 32 hours on its max setting without refilling.
You’ll have to deal with some noise during those hours, though, because like all evaporative models, the EV100 relies on a fan to work. A second drawback to this unit: This type of humidifier does not produce visible water vapor mist, but our tests did show that the EV100 raised the humidity in the room by 19%.
This evaporator has a 4.1 rating on Amazon with nearly 700 five stars.
“I have evaporative humidifiers and ultrasonic humidifiers,” a five-star reviewer who lives in a dry area wrote. “High-tech and low budget ones. My pet peeve for all humidifiers has been how difficult they are to clean. This Vornado is the easiest!! ...
“It’s not dishwasher safe but that’s not a problem because there are no small annoying parts you have to take apart or contort your hands/arms into weird positions to get that corner you can’t reach.”Buy for $69.95 on Amazon
The Levoit LV600HH: Top performer in humidity tests
If you can’t decide between a warm mist humidifier or one that provides a cool mist, then you may want to consider the Levoit LV600HH. This humidifier provides both a cool mist or a warm steam to help soothe you.
There’s a lot of other things going for the LV600HH. It finished first in our humidity tests, raising the relative humidity 38.5%, and it was quiet while running. Plus, our testing showed that this model would run for 17 at its max settings without refilling.
The Levoit LV600HH comes highly recommended on Amazon, with nearly 27,000 ratings and 72% of those were five stars, for an overall rating of 4.5.
One five-star reviewer raved about the LV600HH, saying it was great for a large room.
“I love this thing! Looking at it just makes me happy! The color is great, I love that it's white and the touch screen makes it feel so modern,” the reviewer wrote, adding that the remote control allows them to change mist settings easily.Buy for $99.99 on Amazon
Vicks Ultrasonic Cool Mist V5100NS
If you only want to use a humidifier when you’re sick, then the Vicks Ultrasonic Cool Mist V5100NS might be the one for you. This model is compatible with Vapopads. When used together, the humidifier and Vapopads can fill a room with a pleasant smell that can help provide relief from cold symptoms.
There are some things about this model that we didn’t like. Even though it has a large tank, our testing showed that the V5100NS can only run for 15 hours on its max settings before needing to be refilled. Also, according to our sensors, it raised the humidity by 24%, which landed it in the middle of the pack of the humidifiers we tested.
The V5100NS has a 4.2 rating on Amazon, with nearly 800 five stars.
“I think this humidifier works great,” one five-star Amazon reviewer wrote. “It’s easy to fill, clean, and operate. I’m not only breathing and sleeping better, but it’s also helped with my husband’s allergies.”Buy for $69.99 on Amazon
What are the Types of Humidifiers?
There are several types of humidifiers to consider.
Cool mist humidifiers disperse cool mist throughout a space. You can use them with inhalants like Vicks Vapopads to create other soothing effects, as well.
Warm mist humidifiers disperse steam into a room, often with a fan. Whether you want a cool or warm mist evaporator (or both) will depend on your symptoms and climate.
Ultrasonic humidifiers use vibrations from a metal or ceramic diaphragm to propel tiny droplets of water into the air, then disperse it into a room as mist. They can be warm or cool.
Evaporators soak water up into a wick or filter, then blow it around the room. These don’t produce visible mist, and can be a little loud, but can also be powerful and effective.
How do humidifiers help with symptoms of illness?
Humidifiers can help with many medical issues caused by air that’s too dry. Bloody noses, dry skin, cracked lips and dry sinuses can all be a result of low moisture in the air. But cool mist humidifiers can also make breathing easier for people with respiratory issues caused by asthma, colds or COVID-19. It can also help relieve stuffiness and break up mucus so that it’s easier to cough up.
Humidifiers aren’t necessarily a preventive measure, but they have been known to make symptoms a little easier to bear.
Keeping humidifiers clean
One of the issues we kept coming back to in our testing is how easy humidifiers are to clean. There’s a reason it’s so important. When humidifiers get dirty, they can harbor allergens, or become host to molds and bacteria.
Turning on a dirty humidifier can release all of those things back into the air. That’s not great for anyone’s health, but it can be especially harmful to people who are already dealing with respiratory issues like asthma. Here are some tips to avoid that:
- Use distilled water instead of tap water. Minerals in water can build up in your humidifier over time, causing problems down the line.
- Keep the area around the humidifier clean and dry. If nearby surfaces in the room become persistently wet, turn the humidifier down or off. You want the air to be comfortable for you, but not for mold or bacteria.
- Clean your humidifier every three days or so, and change your filter regularly.
- Change the water daily, if possible. You don’t want stagnant water hanging around inside your humidifier.
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.