With winter’s chillier temps in full swing, so too is the dryness that comes along with the season’s decrease in humidity. That means you’re likely to be on the hunt for the best whole house humidifier. These handy little devices are a great way to keep your abode comfortably moist all season long. Read on to find out exactly what they do and how to find the right one for your space this winter.
What does a humidifier do?
Humidifiers are devices that emit water vapor in order to increase the levels of moisture in the air inside your home. Primarily, they’re used because the moisture we breathe is tied to our health. According to the Mayo Clinic, a healthy home humidity level is somewhere between 30 to 50 percent, with adjustments for preference. When humidity levels are too low, as they tend to be in the dead of winter, it can lead to problems, such as sinus issues, dry skin, bloody noses, extended colds, and poor sleep.
Alternately, when humidity levels are too high (think the dog days of summer), air can become a breeding ground for bacteria, dust mites, and mold, which in turn can aggravate symptoms such as allergies and asthma.
Air Purifier vs Humidifier
For those wondering if they actually need a humidifier if they already have an air purifier, the answer is a resounding yes. While both machines will work to improve your air quality, they serve completely different functions.
As we established above, humidifiers are used to maintain adequate moisture levels in the air inside our homes. Air purifiers, on the other hand, clean the air inside your home, trapping and removing harmful particles, such as mold spores, dust, dust mites, pet dander, and other irritating allergens. While you may not need to use both simultaneously, having one of each on hand ensures that you’ll be taking in the healthiest H2O possible, all year long.
The Best Whole House Humidifier
Whether you’re looking for a small, quiet model to keep your grandchild’s bloody noses at bay or a large device that will add moisture to big open spaces, FIRST has got you covered. We’ve rounded up seven options that are perfect for areas both big and small. Keep scrolling for FIRST for Women’s picks for the best home humidifiers to breathe easier this winter.
See more of our best product recommendations.
Best Budget Humidifier
Levoit Cool Mist
Where to buy: $36.99 (Originally $39.99), Amazon
For a home humidifier that's both effective and budget-friendly, we love Levoit's Cool Mist ultrasonic humidifier. With a large water tank that supports up to 40 hours of continuous use, this model ensures the air quality in your home will always be at its best. Complete with three adjustable levels, whisper-quiet technology, and an aromatherapy box for optional essential oil diffusion, it's easily a customer favorite.
One buyer wrote, "I am a firm believer in the necessity of humidifiers for health. Having owned 20+ over the years, I have to say this is my favorite. It is super quiet , the light turns completely off, [it's] easy to handle, puts out the right amount of moisture into the air, and the square shape makes it easy to place ... Highly recommended."
Best Portable Humidifer
VicTsing Cool Mist
Where to buy: $31.99, Amazon
With winter being a prime season for humidifiers, having one that can easily be moved from room to room, like this VicTsing Cool Mist model, is vital. Ultra-quiet and compact, it features a 45-degree nozzle that's specially-designed to dispense air in any direction with ease. It provides up to 10 hours of uninterrupted use and has a bright LED indicator light that will alert you when it's time for a cleaning.
Amazon buyer Jenny calls it a "great humidifier at a great price," explaining, "I live in the Midwest, so winter is a really dry season. Having the humidifier helps make the air in my home a little less dry, which makes my skin happier and helps me sleep better at night."
Best Humidifier For Large Rooms
Pure Enrichment HumeXL
Where to buy: $79.99, Amazon
Larger rooms mean you'll need to bring in the big guns — i.e. the Pure Enrichment HumeXL ultrasonic cool mist humidifier. Providing round-the-clock moisture, this device boasts a running time of up to 50 hours, an easy-to-clean water tank, and an intuitive touch-control panel that has dual mist and night time modes.
One plant parent was especially happy with this purchase, sharing, "I love that the low setting on this humidifier raises the humidity by a lot. ... My hygrometer has read a raising humidity at 1 percent increase every 10 to 15 mins. My plants and I are very happy."
Best Small Room Humidifier
OATSBAFS Cool Mist
Where to buy: $20.99, Amazon
Whether you want a small room humidifier to help keep your skin hydrated at the office or as a gift for your child who's away at college, the OATSBASF Cool Mist humidifier is a great bet. This seven-color LED-lit device provides up to 28 hours of quiet, continuous operation and is equipped with an automatic power-off function that is activated any time the water level drops beyond a certain point for safe usage.
Amazon buyer Al loves this machine, writing, "It's a very cute size, perfect on my desk in my dorm next to my bed; the LED lights are nice ... It's so silent and I have already recommended this to multiple friends."
Best Humidifier for Babies
Taotronics Cool Mist
Where to buy: $44.99 (Originally $49.99), Amazon
Finding the right humidifier for your baby's nursery is no easy task. The ideal machine should be powerful, easy to clean, and, most importantly, quiet! Luckily, we've found one that checks all the right boxes — the TaoTronics cool mist ultrasonic humidifier. It's specially-designed to ensure peaceful slumber for your little one. It's also equipped with a 12 to 30-hour running time, an intuitive LED display, and a sleep mode that shuts off the screen to eliminate any would-be disturbances. The best part? This humidifier also runs on a microporous cartridge that filters out any germs and bacteria from the air, keeping your baby happy and healthy.
Best Humidifier For Kids
Tekjoy Cool Mist
Where to buy: $49.95, Amazon
Any parent can attest, come cold and flu season, it's always the youngest ones that get hit first. That's precisely why it's important to make sure that your child has a humidifier in his or her room. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, cool-mist humidifiers are one of the best ways to help ease a child's cold symptoms. To keep sniffles at bay, we recommend this Tekjoy Cool Mist humidifier. With a running-time of 24 hours, whisper-quiet operation, and an automatic timer, it's essentially a parent's best friend.
But don't take it from us! Wrote one happy parent: "This humidifier is amazing! ... At the moment, my husband and three kids are sick. The first night we used this, my son didn't cough at all. There is an automatic shut-off, which is great (don't have to worry about waking up and having it on with no water), and several different colored lightings, which my two daughters use as a night light. ... I highly recommend."
Best Humidifiers For Allergies
Mooka Cool Mist
Where to buy: $39.99, Amazon
Humidifiers can be life-changing for those with allergies. This Mooka top-fill Cool Mist device, in particular, comes equipped an ample (up to 40-hour) running time, an eight-hour timer, and whisper-quiet technology. The thing that really sets this one apart, however, is its adjustable humidity setting, which can be changed in 5 percent increments in order to achieve a 45 to 90 percent humidity level — right in the sweet spot of the recommended levels for optimal breathing health. Designed to remove everything form lime scale to allergens and bacteria, you can rest assured that you'll be breathing in the finest, cleanest air possible.
Best Dehumidifier For Basement
Where to buy: $189.99 (Originally $219.99) Amazon
While most parts of the home can benefit from a humidifier, there's one area that might do better with a dehumidifier — the basement. Basements are natural breeding grounds for moisture-fueled problems, such as bacteria and mold. To offset any issues and keep the air healthy, pick up hOmeLabs' 50-pint dehumidifier. This easy-to-use, six-gallon system eliminates everything from excess moisture to malodors for only the freshest, cleanest air.
Buyers are loving how this system has transformed their space, with one raving, "It took the dampness out of our basement within a couple of days and every crack and corner was dry. ... Within the first week of using it, we both noticed we didn't have that 'basement' smell anymore. ... This is a great product."