Will a humidifier help with nasal congestion?

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The Right Way To Use a Humidifier for Sinusitis

When the air you breathe is too dry, the mucus in your nose and sinuses won’t flow properly and your sinuses won’t drain as well as they should. Congestion can then lead to sinus pain and sinusitis. Sinusitis experts agree that adding humidity to the air with a humidifier is generally good for sinus health.

“Humidifiers can help nasal congestion in that they provide for more moisture and humidity within the nose,” says Mark A. Zacharek, MD, residency program director for the department of otolaryngology and head and neck surgery at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. “The nose is supposed to provide humidity and warmth and and clean the air that passes through it. Forced heating systems in homes and workplaces often over-dry the nasal passages, aggravating allergies and sinusitis.”

“Humidified air is good for sinusitis, especially in the winter,” agrees Amber Luong, MD, PhD, assistant professor of otolaryngology and head and neck surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. “Think of the mucus in your nose and sinuses as being like tears. If your tears were thick and sticky, they would not be able to flow from your eyes.”

Choosing a Humidifier or a Vaporizer for Sinusitis

Humidifiers and vaporizers are commonly used in people’s homes to get more moisture into the air and to counteract dryness in the nose and sinuses. Both humidifiers and vaporizers run on electricity, and portable humidifiers and vaporizers can easily be moved from room to room.

Central humidifiers are built into a home or office air-conditioning system. Here are some of the choices available:

  • Ultrasonic humidifiers send a cool mist into the air using ultrasonic vibrations.
  • Impeller humidifiers disperse a cool mist through a rapidly rotating disc.
  • Evaporative humidifiers blow cool air into the atmosphere by using a fan to force air through a moist filter.
  • The term “vaporizer” generally refers to units that use heat to create boiling water. The steam then vaporizes directly into the surrounding air. A warm-mist humidifier is a type of vaporizer that cools the hot steam before it goes into the room air.

Humidifiers and Vaporizers: Pros and Cons

Some experts are concerned that room humidifiers and vaporizers may create too much moisture in the air if they are not used cautiously, notes Dr. Zacharek. “Too much moisture may breed certain mold and fungi inside the house, which may further aggravate sinusitis or asthma conditions,” Zacharek says. Here are some precautions to take when using a vaporizer or a humidifier:

  • “Vaporizers that use steam may be dangerous for young children, who can accidentally burn themselves,” warns Dr. Luong. Keep steam vaporizers out of children’s reach.
  • Excess moisture can encourage an increase in the number of dust mites in your home, which are a common cause of allergies. Don’t let indoor humidity get above 50 percent.
  • Tap water contains minerals that can be dispersed into the air by a humidifier. Government agencies have not concluded that these minerals pose a serious health risk, but they do recommend using distilled water in your humidifier.
  • Only use a humidifier or vaporizer when you need it, and use the correct moisture settings.
  • For portable humidifier units, empty the water tank, wipe all surfaces dry, and refill the water tank daily, so that bacteria and mold are less likely to grow in the water. If the water used in a cool mist humidifier contains bacteria or mold, these can be breathed in when the water is dispersed into the atmosphere.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning your unit. Humidifiers and vaporizers should be cleaned every third day.
  • Check to make sure that carpets, drapes, bedding, and walls are not becoming damp from too much moisture.

The bottom line: “The benefits of using a humidifier or vaporizer outweigh the risks if you use them correctly,” says Luong. Cool mist humidifiers may be better if you have small children because of the risk from accidental steam burns. Both will help wash away allergens, irritants, viruses, and bacteria.”

Zacharek adds that the ideal level of humidity in a home is 35 to 40 percent — and you can measure humidity with a humidity gauge, which can be purchased at a hardware store or pharmacy. “Used correctly, vaporizers and humidifiers are equally effective,” he says.

Both humidifiers and vaporizers can get moisture into your nose and sinuses when they get dried out. The key to using humidity as part of your sinus treatment is to use your equipment properly and keep it safe and clean.

Find more information in the Everyday Health Ear, Nose, and Throat Center.

If you regularly suffer from allergies or if this cold season just dealt you a bad lot, you may have considered getting either a humidifier or dehumidifier to help alleviate the annoying symptoms.

Some people already know that a humidifier puts moisture into the air while a dehumidifier dries it out; however, many allergy or cold sufferers aren’t sure which device is best for their condition.

The answer lies in each individual’s needs and symptoms. Here, we’ll take a look at both humidifiers and dehumidifiers and when they can help allergy sufferers.

Humidifiers

As said above, humidifiers put moisture back into the air. Dry air is most common during the winter months, and a low air humidity (below 35%) can cause sinus headaches, nosebleeds and asthma flares.

A humidifier can help with these symptoms; however, there are some precautions to take. For example, it’s important to make sure that the humidity in your home does not exceed 50%. Higher humidity could increase dust mites and mold growth in your home and cause a whole new set of debilitating symptoms.

When it comes to colds, most believe that humidifiers are the way to go since drier air can irritate your nose and throat, making it harder to relieve congestion and pressure.

Dehumidifiers

Dehumidifiers take moisture out of the air and protect your home from mold growth or thriving dust mites, both of which can trigger allergy symptoms. Dehumidifiers are also said to clear up allergy mucous secretions faster.

Again, it’s important not to let the humidity in your home drop below 35% since other allergy symptoms can flare under these conditions.

Overall, whether a humidifier or dehumidifier is best for your allergy/cold symptoms greatly depends on the cause. If you are interested in further improving the quality of your home’s air, talk to a professional Katy HVAC technician at Richmond’s Air today for more information.

Sinus problems can be a real pain – literally. If it were only the common cold, that would have been completely another story. That one at least has the “decency” to go away after a few days. Sinusitis, on the other hand, remains latent – and strikes when you least expect it.

However, that problem can be kept under control with the best humidifier for sinus problems. When the air is dry, your sinuses become congested, and it is very difficult to breathe. The only way to fix this issue is by bringing the air at a decent humidity level.

Still, finding a good humidifier for sinus infection can be very tricky – particularly considering how many options you have out there. While most humidifiers are helpful when it comes to treating this problem, some are still more convenient than others. Keep reading and you will find out how.

PRODUCT DETAILS

LEVOIT Warm and Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier

  • Price: $$$$
  • Dimensions: 11.3 x 7 x 10.5
  • Tank Capacity: 6L
  • Operation Time: 20-36 hours
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Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier

  • Price: $$$
  • Dimensions: 10.9 x 9.2 x 6.9
  • Tank Capacity: 1.5L
  • Operation Time:16 hours
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Cool Mist Humidifier – Superior Ultrasonic

  • Price: $$$$$
  • Dimensions: 10.8 x 10 x 8.3
  • Tank Capacity: 2.2L
  • Operation Time: Up To 20 Hours
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PureGuardian H940 Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier

  • Price: $
  • Dimensions: 7.3 x 7.3 x 15.4
  • Tank Capacity: 6L
  • Operation Time: Up to 30 Hours
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Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier

  • Price: $$$
  • Dimensions: 12 x 7.9 x 14.2
  • Tank Capacity: 1 Gallon
  • Operation Time: Up to 12 Hours
View On Amazon

Why You Should Be Using an Air Humidifier for Sinusitis

Low humidity levels are bad for your sinuses. When the air outside is dry, your sinus mucus will become hardened and congested – therefore leading to chronic sinus pain and inflammation.

Under normal condition, our nose features a special mechanism that will clear the air passing through it. However, when the air is too dry, the mucus cannot cope with it. As a result, you get congested, and you’re left with facing irritation and allergies.

For many people, sinus problems occur at night, when our bodies enter “sleep mode.” This will cause your sleep to be disruptive – setting you on the path for other medical concerns.

However, humidifiers can provide relief from sinus infections by sending moisture into the air. This will prevent your mucus from hardening – therefore minimizing the congestion effect. As a result, your sinuses will function properly, with a nice and proper flow.

Overall, here is a list with the main benefits brought by a humidifier for sinus problems:

  • Better sleep
  • Easier to breathe
  • It reduces the risks of allergies, sinus, or asthma attacks
  • Fewer nosebleeds
  • Throat and nasal congestion relief
  • No more dry mouth
  • Moisturized skin

Plus, not only will you be the one benefiting from a humidifier, but your houseplants and furniture might appreciate it too.

How to Tell If the Air Is Too Dry

Many people with sinus problems do not even realize that the problem lies in the air they breathe – so their sinus infections often remain untreated. Moreover, not only does their health has to suffer – but the condition of their house as well.

Dry air is the perfect place for allergens to go crazy – mainly because they are lighter in this environment. Because of this, they’ll be “floating” more often in the air – making their way into our respiratory system and aggravating any condition we might have.

The best way to determine if the air is too dry is by getting a hygrometer. This way, you can get an accurate read of the humidity levels. If they’re under 30%, then the humidity is too low.

Bear in mind that a humidity level is too high is not a good option either. If it goes past 50%, you no longer need a humidifier; you need a dehumidifier.

If you don’t have a hygrometer, then you might “diagnose” the dryness in the air by the following symptoms:

  • Dry skin
  • Dry throat, mouth, and nosebleeds – especially in the mornings
  • Continuously runny nose
  • Static body electricity (e.g. hair standing up after you pass a brush through it)

If you have experienced any of the above-mentioned symptoms, then you need to invest in a humidifier – because news flash: the air is too dry.

Humidifier Categories for Sinus Problems

Humidifiers for sinusitis come in various shapes and sizes, depending on your preferences and use. Overall, here is what you may come across:

  • Whole House Humidifiers

When sinusitis is a common occurrence, you may want to make sure every room in your home is at a decent humidity level. Some of the best whole house humidifiers can be attached to the supply line or the furnace – so that your entire house gets the humidity that it needs.

  • Single Room Humidifiers

Let’s say that you only use one room of the house – or you are just living in a one-room apartment. In this case, you probably won’t need a whole house humidifier. That might just be overkill.

These units are generally smaller – and less expensive than your average whole house model. These warm mist humidifiers were also made to be portable to fit in small rooms, in case you might want to humidify another room – other than the one you often use.

  • Travel Humidifiers

If you go on a trip, this does not mean that your allergies will stay home – which is why you need to invest in the most popular travel dehumidifiers. These devices generally fit in the palm of your hand – and are attached to disposable bottles of water. This way, you can fit them in your luggage and you will not have to worry about sinus infections.

Types of Humidifiers

Each category of dehumidifiers branches down into several other types. Some are more modern and expensive, others are simple and affordable. It will generally depend on the features that you want to have – but also on the effect that you want to get.

  • Cool Mist Humidifiers

Cool mist humidifiers are also referred to as “evaporative wick” humidifiers, and they work by sending a cool mist in the air that is invisible to the naked eye. With these units, the dried air is sucked into the humidifier’s system, passing it through a wick filter.

The moisture is then evaporated by a fan into the air while the sediments and other impurities are trapped within the filter. This is why this type of humidifier is such a great option for sinus problems – because the resulted air is as clean as it can get.

These humidifiers are also a perfect option for larger rooms set in an arid climate. The cool mist will chill down the air – sometimes even taking away the need for air conditioning. If you experience hot, dry days during summer, then you might want to invest in such a unit – for the sake of your sinuses.

  • Warm Mist Humidifiers

A good warm mist humidifier will produce a soothing, warm mist that is perfect for cold winter temperatures. During these times, the air is generally harsh and dry – causing your sinuses to go haywire. This is why this humidifier provides such great comfort.

The mist for these units is a result of a boiling process – a gentle one that has the purpose of trapping the impurities and killing off the bacteria. Once that has been done, the humidifier will release the warm and clean vapors into the air – raising the room’s humidity level.

Most of these humidifiers will feature a humidistat that will tell you precisely the room’s humidity level. It will also allow you to set it at a certain level – so if you prefer your room to be at 45% humidity, then you can manually choose this option.

Some of these models also come with medicine cups where you can add sinus medicine. However, if they do not come with the cup, you can easily add it into the water tank. Just make sure that it is water-soluble.

  • Ultrasonic Humidifiers

Ultrasonic humidifiers are among the most modern products – and also the most sought options. These units use a transducer which vibrates the water, breaking it down at ultrasonic speed. The result is a pure, light, refreshing mist that will humidify the entire room.

Thanks to this vibration technology, ultrasonic humidifiers are also very quiet – making them very popular among people who want to use these units at night. Generally, you won’t even hear the sound of gurgling water – the only thing giving it away being the LED indicator lights.

They are also very low-maintenance and generally bacteria-free – which is why so many people consider every model to be a great humidifier for a sinus infection.

  • Vaporizers

Like warm mist humidifiers, vaporizers also produce a soothing, warm vapor – as a means of a boiling process. This process will remove any impurities found in the water – which is why the resulted mist is clean and perfect for people with sinus problems.

These humidifiers are among the most affordable options, which is why they are the preferred choice for those shopping on a budget. They do not feature a removable tank – but they are quite easy to clean and maintain.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Humidifier for Sinus Problems

If you are one of those unlucky people suffering from sinus problems, then you need to consider some factors when looking for a humidifier. These are not always specified in the product description – which is why you may want to read a few reviews before making your purchase. Here is what you need to keep an eye out for.

  • Filtering Properties

As a person with sinus problems, white and gray dust is likely your biggest enemy. Some humidifiers do not have filters – which can cause dust to be dispersed into the air. In return, this can worsen any allergies you may have – which is obviously not very good for your sinuses.

Most ultrasonic humidifiers do not have filters, so you may want to ensure that yours does have one. This way, you will prevent the harmful minerals and dust from being released into the air – and going straight to your sinuses.

Warm mist humidifiers are generally a suitable choice since the boiling process will trap and kill the bacteria before it is released. Plus, since all of them generally have filters, the air will be nice and clean.

However, in order for the unit to be as effective as possible, you need to clean it as often as you can – and not just every once in a while. It needs to go through a deep cleanse at least once a week.

  • Maintenance

When you are suffering from allergies and sinus problems, the last thing you want to deal with is a humidifier that takes ages to clean. If the unit is dirty, it becomes the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and other organisms that can cause your sinuses to go haywire. As a result, whenever you clean your unit, you risk aggravating your sinus problems.

Look for humidifiers that have large openings to their water tanks, since this will allow you to easily wipe your humidifier clean. You should also make sure that the other parts are dismantled easily and that you can place them in the dishwasher. The less contact you have with the allergens, the better.

  • Diffusion Functionality

If you have problems with your sinuses, the chances are that you use essential oils and medication to relieve the symptoms. In this case, you may want to look for humidifiers that can also diffuse medical vapors.

Some of these humidifiers have special medicine cups from where the unit pulls the medicine. However, most of the time, you can add it directly to the water. Just make sure that what you are adding is water soluble and it will not clog the humidifier.

  • Size of the Room

When you are allergic to something in the air, the chances are that your allergy will bother you when you are not standing right next to the humidifier. So, make sure you get a unit that is also effective in a larger room.

  • Ease of Use

You paid a lot to get the best humidifier for sinus problems, only to realize that operating it is a bigger pain than your sinus symptoms. It has too many confusing settings, and sometimes, you just decide against using it so that you won’t have to go through the entire ordeal again.

For the sake of your nerves and your sinus health, look for a unit that can be easily operated – even if you decide to turn it on in the middle of the night.

  • Automation

When it comes to humidifiers, there are two options from which you can pick: you can go for a manual model, or you can go for an automated one. Manual humidifiers are generally the least expensive since the owner will have to do most of the work – while keeping an eye on the water tank.

On the other hand, automated humidifiers represent a more convenient option if you don’t want to spend your day stalking your humidifier. First of all, these units will generally analyze the air and send only as much humidity as you need to keep the air healthy.

Secondly, automated units have an automated shut-off feature. This means that if the water tank runs out of the water, the unit will close itself automatically – therefore preventing it from overheating.

Wrap Up

Sinus problems are messy, and the truth is that not every humidifier is perfect for clearing up this condition. Granted, humidity plays a big role in preventing your sinuses from going crazy, as it softens your mucus. However, there are many other things to consider – such as the unit’s filtering ability.

Finding the best humidifier for sinus problems may take some time – but as long as you are thorough with your research, you should be able to find something right up your alley. You may also want to read as many reviews as possible from users going through the same problems as you are.

Hopefully, this guide gave you a few ideas on what you should look for in a humidifier for sinus infections. Just remember that proper humidity levels and clean air will make your sinuses “happy”.

6 Best Humidifiers for People with Sinus Problems — Say Goodbye to Illnesses!

How can humidifiers ease sinus problems?

There are a lot of things that can cause dry air, like furnaces, air conditioners, and cold winter. When the air you’re breathing is too dry, this causes the mucus in your nose and your sinuses to stop flowing correctly. If the mucus stops flowing, you’ll become congested, which can then lead to sinus pain or sinusitis.

In order to counter these sinus problems, you need to add some humidity to the air your breathing. This adds moisture to the air you breathe, which then moistens your nose and sinus passages, increasing your mucus flow.

The best way to do this is to use a humidifier in the areas you frequent, like your home or office. You can even use them while you sleep to combat insomnia caused by these breathing issues.

Features to consider while choosing a humidifier

Not all humidifiers are created equal, so you may want to check out the following features before you start shopping.

Type

There are a few different types of humidifiers, all of which have their own benefits, and possibly a few flaws to consider.

One of the more popular types is the ultrasonic humidifier. These use ultrasonic vibrations to create a cool mist, though there some that offer warm mist as well. They vary in price, depending on the size of the unit. Ultrasonic humidifiers are also safe to use around children. It’s probably the best type of humidifier for asthma and sinus problems.

Evaporators use fans to push the moisture through a moistened filter to create the humid mist. Sometimes, though, they can expel too much moisture, soaking the furniture around them. This could also be an issue for those with asthma, due to the possibility of mold growth. Their small size also means they can only humidify one room at a time, but the low price of these units makes it affordable to buy a few if you need to.

If you don’t want to mess around with smaller units, you can also choose a central humidifier. These are built right into your home’s heating unit or air conditioner. Though they can cost quite a bit, they have the ability to humidify your entire home, so you don’t need a small one in each room. They also don’t emit any steam, so are safe for the whole family.

Water tank capacity

The capacity of the water tank refers to the maximum amount of water the tank can hold. The tank size is usually smaller than the size of the unit. Smaller tabletop humidifiers have smaller capacities, usually only keeping a few liters of water. The larger console humidifiers, like the AirCare 831000 Space-Saver, can hold quite a bit more. The water tank capacity also helps determine how long the humidifier will run. The more water in the tank, the more mist it can produce, so the longer it will run.

Mist time

Mist time determines how long your humidifier can produce mist, which depends on a few factors. One is the tank capacity, which we’ve explained above. The more water in the tank, the longer the mist can be created.

Another factor is the setting you use for your mist. If it only has one, then the mist time will likely be the same every time you fill it up. Some humidifiers come with more than one setting, like the VicTsing Upgraded Humidifier with Anti-Bacteria Stone, which has three mist settings.

The higher the setting, the more mist the humidifier is producing, and the faster the water level in the tank will drop.

Coverage area

When looking for your next humidifier, the coverage area you want it to work in is one of the most important things you need to look at. If you get a humidifier that has a small coverage area, it won’t work well in an ample space. Thankfully, most manufacturers add in this information to the specs of their models, so you know how well it will work in the space you plan to use it in.

One thing to keep in mind, though, is the bigger the unit, the more area it can humidify. For instance, the tiny JZK Mini Portable Humidifier will work well in a cubicle or for the area around your desk, but won’t do well in your living room. The AirCare 831000 Space-Saver, on the other hand, will be powerful enough to humidify your entire apartment or small home. The larger the area you need to be covered, the larger the humidifier you need.

Sound level

The sound level is vital in any humidifier, whether you use it in public spaces or your bedroom. Of course, it will be impossible to sleep if you have a machine humming loudly near your bed, so you want a model that won’t keep you awake. If you’re using this in a child’s room, this is also important. In your public spaces, this may not seem like that big of a deal, but if you have to crank up your television or yell to have a conversation, you will wish you had paid more attention to this particular feature when shopping for your humidifier.

Luckily, many of the humidifiers we’ve reviewed have a whisper-quiet motor, so you won’t have to worry about it disturbing you during any of your daily, or nightly, activities.

Warranty

Though you hope your humidifier will last for years, sometimes there are manufacturer errors or shipping issues that cause it to malfunction, or not at all. For these types of problems, you need a decent warranty to ensure you won’t be stuck with a defective product or paying to repair the damage you didn’t cause. Most of the humidifiers we’ve reviewed here have either a one- or two-year limited warranty, sometimes with added incentives like 30-day money back guarantees or replacement parts within a particular time frame. But once in a while, you’ll find a lifetime warranty, like the one that comes with the JZK Mini Portable Humidifier. The more extended the warranty, the better you’ll feel about buying the product.

Extra features

A basic humidifier can add the humidity to the air that you need to help reduce your sinus problems, but a few additional features can help make it a bit more worthwhile. One such feature is an added oil diffuser, like the one found on the Levoit LV600HH. This allows you to add essential oils to the humidifier, for a nice fresh scent mixed with the mist.

Another handy feature is a timer setting, which allows you to run the humidifier for a certain amount of time before it shuts off. Some humidifiers also have humidity settings, so when the set level in the room is reached, the humidifier turns itself off. Most models also include a safety auto shutoff when the tank runs low or out of water. This prevents overheating or short-circuiting, which could be quite dangerous.

Whether you’re battling a rough cold or nasty allergies, there’s one thing that will always make your symptoms worse: dry air. “When humidity levels are low, people tend to experience dry eyes, cracked lips, and irritated sinuses,” says Stephen Canfield, MD, PhD, an allergist at ColumbiaDoctors Midtown in New York City.

That’s where humidifiers come in. These handy devices can take the desert dryness out of your home by adding moisture to the air, which can help alleviate uncomfortable cold and allergy symptoms, like a runny nose, sinus congestion, dry throat, or cough, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Once the air hits about 40 percent humidity, says Dr. Canfield, most people start to feel better.

How to choose (and use) the best humidifier for your home

Know the types: There are numerous types of humidifiers on the market, from warm to cool mist to steam vaporizers to ultrasonic machines—and all of them effectively add moisture to the air. The kind you choose is ultimately up to you, but in general, cool mist humidifiers are the safest option (especially if you have children or pets around), according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Warm mist humidifiers run hot and have the potential to cause burns if you get too close.

Take room size into account: The size of your humidifier will depend on the size of the room you plan on running it in. Personal or travel-sized humidifiers typically only reach 25 to 100 square feet. Be sure to check the square footage your machine can reach on its packaging (determined by its gallon size) before you invest.

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Keep it clean: Use distilled water in your chosen machine, since tap water contains minerals that can breed bacteria and irritate your sinuses. You should also be sure to regularly change the filter or clean your humidifier (preferably daily, but at least every 2 to 3 days). Otherwise, mold could grow inside the device due to standing water and get blown through your home, making life pretty awful for those with mold allergies—or anyone, really.

Keep the humidity level in check: Ideally, indoor humidity should not exceed 50 percent, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Avoid running your humidifier for long periods of time (better yet, set the humidity level on the unit if it offers that feature). When the air is too damp, mold and mildew can grow and cause breathing problems.

Ready to make your home more comfortable? These top-rated humidifiers will help you breathe easier in no time.

Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier Pure Enrichment amazon.com $39.99

Best Overall: Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier

Ideal if you’re looking for a beginner-friendly device, this humidifier quietly produces cool mist for 16 hours straight and works well in medium-size rooms. It’s also easy to set your personal preferences with high and low speeds and has an adjustable mist direction.

iTvanila Cool Mist Humidifier iTvanila amazon.com $32.99

Best Value: iTvanila Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier

It can be hard to find a humidifier you like at an affordable price, but for less than $30, Amazon reviewers say this one is worth the try if you’re looking for a good value. The tank easily pumps out moisture into medium-sized rooms, stays completely silent, and powers down when water runs low.

TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier TaoTronics amazon.com $44.99

Rave Reviews: TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier

With nearly 800 reviews and a 4.7-star rating on Amazon, testers clearly love this cool mist humidifier. Reviewers rate the device highly for its adjustable settings, sleek design, quality steam, easy-to-clean water tank, and quiet mode. “I love that you can really find your comfort level! This made the dry months really feel comfortable,” one person wrote.

Honeywell HCM350W Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier HONEYWELL amazon.com $62.99

Easy to Clean: Honeywell HCM-350 Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier

This cool-mist humidifier can easily be cleaned by hand or in the dishwasher, and you can crank on the UV light to kill any microbes that may be lurking in the water. The machine runs for up to 24 hours on low, thanks to its one-gallon tank. Major bonus: It’s also super quiet.

Vicks Filter-Free 1.2 Gallon Cool Mist Humidifier Vicks amazon.com $59.99 $38.96 (35% off)

Best for Colds: Vicks Filter-Free Humidifier

You have better things to do than tend to your humidifier, which is why we love this option from Vicks. With a 1.2-gallon tank, it produces cool mist for up to 30 hours. Plus, it contains a slot for Vicks VapoPads, diffusing a soothing menthol scent for when you’re fighting a cold. It also shuts off automatically when the water gets too low.

VicTsing Essential Oil Diffuser VicTsing amazon.com $29.99

Best Hybrid: VicTsing Humidifier and Essential Oil Diffuser

With its wood grain finish and seven color-changing LED lights (with dim and bright options), this humidifier looks like it belongs in a spa. Doubling as an aromatherapy diffuser, you can add your favorite essential oils into the water to fill your home with soothing scents.

LEVOIT Humidifiers for Large Rooms LEVOIT amazon.com $89.99

Best for Large Rooms: Levoit Cool and Warm Mist Ultrasonic Air Humidifier Vaporizer

This do-it-all humidifier alternates between warm and cool mists, holds 6 liters of water for rooms up to 750 square feet, has an easy-to-read display (listing the humidity level in the room), and operates via remote. Its 2-year warranty makes it worth the investment.

AIRCARE MA1201 Whole-House Console-Style Evaporative Humidifier AIRCARE amazon.com $124.99

Best for Whole House: Essick Air Aircare MA1201 Evaporative Humidifier

If you need a humidifier for your whole home, this easy-to-clean device will get the job done as moisture reaches 3,600 square feet. You can set the humidity level using a digital humidistat, and then it automatically powers down once it hits your desired percentage. It’s larger in size, but the attached wheels make it portable.

Cool Mist Humidifier UCAREAIR amazon.com $36.99

UCAREAIR Cool Mist Humidifier

Sleep easier with this ultra-quiet, easy-to-clean humidifier, which pumps out moisture at a low, cool mist for up to 10 hours. It’s big enough to keep your room comfortable and small enough to place on your nightstand or move around with ease. Bonus: It includes a soothing night light.

TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier TaoTronics amazon.com $46.99

TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier

This sleek humidifier looks more like a vase than it does a device due to its rounded, vertical design. Because it’s lightweight, small, and quiet, you can take it anywhere that may have less space for a bulky appliance, such as an office or baby’s nursery.

Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier Vicks amazon.com $38.55

Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier

This Vicks model boils the water into a steam vapor, has two easy-to-use settings, doesn’t require a filter, offers a soft night light, and has an automatic shut off function. It also includes a cup that holds liquids like Vicks Vapo Steam to create a medicinal vapor.

Fancii Cool Mist Personal Humidifier Fancii amazon.com $24.99

Fancii Cool Mist Personal Mini Humidifier

This portable humidifier is just what you need after a traveling all day on a plane. Because it’s cordless and runs on batteries, you can whip this device out in your hotel, in a tent, in your car, or even at the office. You simply turn a normal bottle of water into a tank by twisting it into the middle of the device.

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Maria Masters Maria Masters is an experienced health journalist with more than a decade of experience interviewing doctors, nutritionists, and other experts for publications such as Prevention, Men’s Health, and Everyday Health.

When winter strikes, cool and dry air can wreak havoc on your sinuses and skin. But you don’t have to suffer through chapped lips, nosebleeds, or cracked hands. If the air in your home is persistently dry or you just want to combat the occasional cold, a great humidifier can do wonders to inject some moisture and improve your air quality and health.

Check out the quick info below of the five top-rated humidifiers, then scroll deeper for more helpful buying advice and full reviews of those models plus other high-ranking options.

Most Highly Rated Honeywell HCM-350 Cool Mist Humidifier amazon.com $62.99

Total Expert Score: 92/100

An evaporative humidifier offering performance and easy maintenance.

Good for Large Rooms Levoit LV600HH Ultrasonic Humidifier amazon.com $89.99

Total Expert Score: 86/100

A cool or warm mist humidifier with the largest capacity.

Great Value TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier amazon.com $44.99

Total Expert Score: 87/100

An affordable and quiet ultrasonic humidifier great for bedrooms.

Versatile Diffuser VicTsing 500ml Essential Oil Diffuser amazon.com $35.99

Total Expert Score: 88.5/100

Works as a diffuser for aromatherapy or a small cool mist humidifier.

Quietest Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic Humidifier amazon.com $39.99

Total Expert Score: 73/100

An almost-silent humidifier best for small to medium-sized bedrooms.

Why You Should Consider A Portable Humidifier

Unlike whole-home humidifiers installed by HVAC contractors, these “portable” ones are easy and affordable but still powerful devices for cutting down on dry air. Using a humidifier in your living room or bedroom while you sleep can help prevent dry sinuses and chapped hands and lips, as well as decrease static electricity.

Though winter may be the worst culprit when it comes to stealing moisture from the air (which can also dry out wood furniture, floors, paint, and wallpaper), air conditioner use in summer can exacerbate it, too. Running a humidifier year-round could help if your house’s humidity levels are below the ideal range of 30 to 60 percent. If you don’t already know the level in your house, you can test it with an $11 hygrometer.

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Finally, despite all of the benefits of humidifiers, consider before buying if you can actually commit to the care and maintenance they require. Dirty humidifiers will only pose more health risks, since the water can become a breeding ground for germs and bacteria, which it will then pump into the air. Most of these machines require at least weekly cleaning and daily refills, though some of the best models have design features that make this upkeep easier.

What Type of Humidifier Should You Buy?

Whether you go with a warm or cool mist or an evaporative or ultrasonic machine, each kind of humidifier has benefits and disadvantages to consider.

How We Rated Them

We researched nine expert sources and 75,000 consumer reviews to select the top 10 humidifiers of the year. To determine the Total Expert Score, we reference the ratings from trusted publications such as The Spruce, Gear Lab, and Gear We Are, and convert them to a 100-point scale to make it easier for you to weigh the best options. Our Consumer Score represents the percentage of customers who rated the product at least four out of five stars on retail and review sites like Amazon, Home Depot, and Walmart.

—MOST HIGHLY RATED—

Honeywell HCM-350

Total Expert Score: 92/100 | Consumer Score: 70% give it 4 stars or higher

Water capacity: 1 gallon | Run time: up to 24 hours | Settings: 3 mist levels | Dimensions: 17 x 9 x 12 in. | Weight: 8 lb.

Honeywell HCM-350 Germ-Free Cool Mist Humidifier $62.99 amazon.com

  • Quiet
  • Easy to fill and clean
  • No over-humidifying or puddles
  • Filters need frequent replacing

Declared the best humidifier by the most experts, the Honeywell HCM-350 features a wide opening that makes it easy to refill and clean, and some parts are even dishwasher safe. The one-gallon tank can run for a full 24 hours on low. And the unit’s “Germ-Free” label doesn’t mean that it doesn’t need regular cleaning and filter replacing (it does), rather that the antimicrobial filter removes germs and bacteria from the water before releasing into your home’s air. Though some reviewers on Amazon thought the Honeywell was high-maintenance, most ensure that its design makes it easier to care for in the longterm.

Because the HCM-350 is a self-regulating evaporative humidifier, it won’t over-humidify a room; the evaporative kind—unlike ultrasonic humidifiers—release actual water vapor, rather than water mist, which won’t turn into a puddle on the floor. The Honeywell also functions more quietly than its competitors and doesn’t beep when you’re trying to switch between its three speed settings in a quiet bedroom. A tester for Wirecutter said, “One thing I personally like is that the two lower settings are very quiet, and the strongest setting is loud enough to be used for white noise.”

—GOOD FOR LARGE ROOMS—

Levoit LV600HH

Total Expert Score: 86/100 | Consumer Score: 74% give it 4 stars or higher

Levoit LV600HH Ultrasonic Humidifier $89.99 amazon.com

  • Large six-liter capacity
  • Remote control and timer

  • Expensive

Most humidifiers may not offer a ton of versatility beyond high and low settings, but the Levoit LV600HH delivers all of the customization you’d need. It has both warm and cool mist settings, an auto mode with an accurate humidity sensor, an aroma diffuser box, adjustable light, plus a remote control and timer so you can set a schedule. Most significantly, its six-liter reservoir provides the longest run time from 20 to 36 hours for rooms up to 750 square feet.

This Levoit does have the same drawbacks as other ultrasonic humidifiers, namely that it has to sit on a table or shelf to prevent the mist from puddling on the floor. One Amazon reviewer also noted that it has several nooks and crannies that make weekly cleaning to prevent mold more of a challenge. Despite these minor drawbacks and the expensive price, Tech Gear Lab gave this model an Editors’ Choice award, recommending that “if you want something powerful that won’t have you returning to a damp house if you forget to turn it off, the LV600HH is the best choice.”

—GREAT VALUE—

TaoTronics TT-AH001

Total Expert Score: 87/100 | Consumer Score: 89% give it 4 stars or higher

Water capacity: 1.1 gallons | Run time: 12-30 hours | Settings: 3 mist settings | Dimensions: 8 x 5 x 12 in. | Weight: 4 lb.

TaoTronics TT-AH001 Cool Mist Humidifier $44.99 amazon.com

  • Nightlight and sleep mode
  • Quiet

It’s not the largest or most powerful humidifier, but this one from TaoTronics does provide the best value for bedrooms up to 320 square feet. The four-liter tank capacity is big enough to run for 12 to 30 hours before refilling. Its built-in humidistat will inform you of the room’s humidity level, and you can then set your desired level, and it will automatically shut off when water runs out. Like the Honeywell, it does have filters, but TaoTronics recommends changing them only every four to six months.

The main appeal of the TaoTronics is its quiet operation that makes it fitting for a small bedroom or baby’s nursery. “This highly configurable humidifier disperses mist really well. Although it has a fan, it is still very quiet,” wrote one Amazon reviewer. You can set it to have a nightlight, or use sleep mode to completely turn off its lights. It’s quite stylish for its price point, available in white, black, or grey models. You can also get a smart version of this humidifier, the TT-AH019, for $70 if you prefer to operate through voice controls or a smartphone app.

—VERSATILE DIFFUSER—

VicTsing 500ml Essential Oil Diffuser

Total Expert Score: 88.5/100 | Consumer Score: 87% give it 4 stars or higher

VicTsing 500ml Essential Oil Diffuser $35.99 amazon.com

  • Oil diffuser and humidifier
  • Wood-grain design and LED lights
  • Not spill-proof

An essential oil diffuser usually won’t be powerful enough to disperse much moisture through large living spaces, but this diffuser is a two-in-one cool mist humidifier with more style than most at an affordable price. With a 500-milliliter capacity, it can hold enough water for up to 20 hours of use, and has one, three, and six-hour timer settings. Though it has low and high mist settings, there doesn’t seem to be a huge difference in mist output. It also has controls for the seven LED light options, which you can set it to cycle through, select just one, or turn off altogether.

The exterior features an attractive matte wood design, but the device is actually made from a light plastic, which lacks grip and handholds when removing the lid to refill. Its lid sits on top without the need to screw or lock in, so it isn’t exactly spill-proof, but it comes off easily for quick refilling and cleaning. The water reservoir also isn’t removable from the base, but reviewers like that the device comes with a measuring cup for refilling. The white noise it emits is generally quiet enough for bedroom use at night, but customers appreciate that is has enough capacity and mist output for larger living spaces throughout the day too. If you’re struggling to decide between a smaller oil diffuser for aromatherapy or a more powerful dedicated humidifier, this VicTsing provides the best of both.

—QUIETEST—

Pure Enrichment MistAire

Total Expert Score: 73/100 | Consumer Score: 78% give it 4 stars or higher

Water capacity: .4 gallon | Run time: up to 16 hours | Settings: 2 mist levels | Dimensions: 8 x 6 x 9 in. | Weight: 2 lb.

Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic Humidifier $39.99 amazon.com

  • Quiet and compact
  • Optional LED nightlight
  • Difficult to clean

Digital Trends named this humidifier the best overall, writing that “with a 1.5-liter tank, it’s perfect for bedrooms, offices, and medium-sized rooms.” The Pure Enrichment humidifier can run for up to 16 hours on a low setting. The shape makes it easy to see when the water gets low, though it will automatically turn off when empty. It’s also a bit awkward to clean, but does come with a brush to help.

Users who put it in their bedroom enjoyed its quiet operation and using the blue glow as a nightlight. “Even though the function is excellent, I’m also impressed by how silent the machine is. We put it in our bedroom, and I have no problem falling asleep,” wrote one reviewer on Amazon.

More Options to Consider

Vicks V750

Consumer Score: 72% give it 4 stars or higher

Water capacity: 1 gallon | Run time: up to 12 hours | Settings: 2 mist settings and light | Dimensions: 12 x 7 x 14 in. | Weight: 5 lb.

Vicks V750 Warm Mist Humidifier $40.11 amazon.com

  • Compatible with Vicks inhalants
  • Easy to clean and refill
  • Inexpensive
  • Requires frequent cleaning

Warm-mist humidifiers are good options if you just want to combat the occasional cold, rather than run them all winter. And this one from Vicks is a popular, well-reviewed, and affordable warm-mist option. It includes a scent pad heater for Vicks VapoPads and a medicine cup to add Vicks VapoSteam or other liquids inhalants if just the added humidity isn’t enough to help clear up a cold.

For regular use when you aren’t fighting a cough or cold, the Vicks humidifier has a one-gallon tank capacity that can run up to 24 hours, plus a large tank opening and tank handle that make it easy to clean and refill. Good Housekeeping also named it the best warm-mist humidifier for these reasons, and the main drawback that Walmart reviewers found was that it needs more frequent cleaning than cool-mist alternatives.

Venta LW25 Airwasher 2-in-1

Consumer Score: 77% give it 4 stars or higher

Water capacity: 1.4 gallons | Settings: 2 speeds | Dimensions: 11 x 12 x 10 in. | Weight: 7 lb.

Venta LW25 Airwasher 2-in-1 Humidifier and Air Purifier $298.99 amazon.com

  • Requires less maintenance
  • Works as an air purifier too
  • Super expensive

If you’re willing to make a large investment, the Venta could be your humidifier. Like the Honeywell, it’s an evaporative model that’s very efficient with a two-gallon tank, requiring cleaning only every 10 to 14 days. Wirecutter claimed that though it “performed extremely well in our tests and is impressively energy efficient,” it’s only worth the high price “if you are willing to pay a lot more money up front for lower power consumption and less-frequent refills and cleanings.”

In addition to its efficacy, the Venta is also designed as a filter-free air purifier to reduce allergens in your home. Though it’s certainly not as effective at this as a dedicated HEPA-certified air purifier, it is an efficient, space-saving way to slightly reduce contaminants in your home’s air. You’ll also have to regularly pay for Venta’s Air Wash cleaner, though this may end up costing less than purchasing a separate air purifier and filters. Reviewers on Home Depot also recommend stocking up on the water treatment additive right away, since the included amount will only last through the first two weeks of use.

Urpower Essential Oil Diffuser and Cool Mist Humidifier

Consumer Score: 84% give it 4 stars or higher

Water capacity: 100 ml | Run time: up to 6 hours | Settings: 2 mist, 7 color | Dimensions: 3 x 3 x 5.5 in. | Weight: 11 oz.

Urpower Essential Oil Diffuser and Cool Mist Humidifier $16.99 amazon.com

  • Affordable and easy to maintain
  • Not as powerful as a dedicated humidifier

Better as an essential oil diffuser than a humidifier, the Urpower is a cheap option for those who simply want some aromatherapy. In Wirecutter’s testing of essential oil diffusers, it took first place because it was not only “the least expensive diffuser,” but also “ better than models four or five times the price.” The 100-milliliter capacity is enough for seven hours of a strong stream. Plus, it has seven LED light color options, a timer function, and is easy to wipe clean.

With 30,000 reviews on Amazon, most users love this diffuser for aromatherapy and to add a bit more humidity at night next to a bed. One reviewer wrote that, “one of my favorite things about it is that it’s so quiet, you hardly know it’s running other than seeing the mist and a very, very slight sound.”

Honeywell Designer Series Cool Mist Humidifier

Consumer Score: 77% give it 4 stars or higher

Honeywell Designer Series Cool Mist Humidifier $69.99 amazon.com

  • Sleek design in white or black
  • Essential-oil tray
  • Less durable

Honeywell offers all kinds of humidifiers, from the Cool Mist Evaporative model to this Designer Series ultrasonic. Its best feature is its inconspicuous design that won’t be an eyesore in your living spaces without sacrificing quality. Like other ultrasonic models, it’s quiet enough to use in bedrooms and you can adjust the tank light to off, dim, or bright settings to view the water level. The mist control button allows you to scroll to find the perfect output, and the tank has a fairly wide opening despite the cylindrical shape for convenient filling and cleaning. If you’re on the fence between getting a full-size humidifier or essential-oil diffuser, know that this model also has an essential oil tray for you to add your favorite fragrances. Many Amazon reviewers found it easy to maintain the 1.25-gallon tank, though some experienced issues with it leaking after months of use.

Everlasting Comfort Ultrasonic Humidifier

Consumer Score: 79% give it 4 stars or higher

Water capacity: 1.6 gallons | Run time: up to 50 hours | Settings: 2 mist settings | Dimensions: 14 x 12 x 8 in. | Weight: 4 lb.

Everlasting Comfort Ultrasonic Humidifier $64.95 $48.40 (25% off) amazon.com

  • High mist output and capacity
  • Essential-oil tray
  • Large tank is awkward to refill

Judging by its average rating of 4.5 stars from over 7,000 reviews on Amazon, the Everlasting Comfort humidifier is a safe bet. It has the same six-liter capacity as the Levoit, but with a slightly lower mist output for rooms up to 500 square feet. On the high mist setting, it can output up to nine ounces of water per hour. Like the Honeywell Designer Series, it also has a tray to hold essential oils for aromatherapy. Reviewers report that it can run for several nights on low without needing refills. While most didn’t have issues refilling and cleaning this model, the tank requires filling from the bottom instead of the top, so you’ll have to flip it upside down and use the removable cap to avoid spilling. Because this tank is bigger than most, the design may be more cumbersome to fill under some sinks and carry back to the humidifier.

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Who knew there would be so many options when picking out a humidifier? About a year ago, I found myself tired of waking up with sore throats caused by the dryness of my bedroom. So I went to my favorite home-goods store to purchase one for myself. I ended up panicking from the abundance of choices and frantically Googled “What humidifier should I buy?” as I paced the aisle.

Ideally, your home’s humidity level should never drop below 30%. However, because cold air tends to be very dry, humidity levels can easily dip well below that in the winter months, drying your body inside and out, from your skin to your nasal passages. A humidifier can help remedy these problems by introducing moisture into the air.

While a humidifier isn’t one of the biggest purchases you’ll make, it will likely become a regular part of your daily life, so it pays to know what you’re looking for. So you don’t have to end up like me, overwhelmed and trying to make a snap decision while in the store, here’s our guide to finding the right humidifier for your needs.

Cold Mist vs. Warm Mist

The first decision you’ll have to make is whether you want a warm-mist or cool-mist humidifier. These options are exactly what they sound like: a warm-mist humidifier boils the water before dispersing it, while one with cool mist simply sprays room-temperature water into the room. There are pros and cons to each type, and ultimately, it will come down to your own personal preferences.

Warm Mist

Depending on the size of the unit and the size of the room it’s in, a warm-mist humidifier may be good for people who frequently find themselves feeling chilly. While a warm-mist unit won’t significantly heat up a room on its own, it can add enough warmth to the air to make it comfortable.

These types of humidifiers tend to be a little quieter than some of the cool-mist ones, because the hot steam doesn’t need a fan to be dispersed into a room. They won’t be completely silent, however, and may make a light bubbling or hissing noise while operating. This can be soothing or annoying, depending on what you prefer.

Warm-mist units aren’t great if small children have the run of your house, as the steam from them can be fairly hot. And while they are safe to use, those concerned about the heating element might prefer a cool mist.

Image: Target.com

Cool Mist

If you’d prefer not to have the added heat of a warm-mist humidifier or want a model that you can comfortably use year-round, a cool-mist unit may be a better fit for you.

When you start shopping around, you may notice that there are a few types of cool-mist humidifiers. The differences refer to the mechanism used to disperse mist into the air. The most popular types are evaporative and ultrasonic.

Evaporative humidifiers use a fan to blow mist into the air. These are more traditional cool-mist humidifiers, while ultrasonic ones are newer. They tend to be less expensive than ultrasonic units; however, most will come with filters that need to be changed regularly, so factor that into your costs.

Evaporative units will also be noisier because they have a built-in fan. This can be a pro or a con; some people like sleeping with the hum of a fan; others need complete silence. So, if you plan to have the humidifier running while you sleep, you should stop to consider your personal preferences before you buy.

Image: Amazon.com

By contrast, ultrasonic humidifiers have a high-speed vibrating mechanism that emits water as a mist. This allows them to operate very quietly.

These types tend not to come with filters, so you won’t have to factor in that expense. However, they can cost more up-front than an evaporative model.

If you get an ultrasonic model without a filter, be aware that it can emit a white “dust” along with the mist that can end up lightly coating surfaces around the room. This “dust” is just harmless mineral scale from the water, but it can be annoying to clean up.

Image: Amazon.com

Combination

If you truly can’t decide, you can also find models that boast both warm and cool settings, so you can have the option of either.

Image: BedBathandBeyond.com

Filter vs. No Filter

An unfiltered humidifier may cost more up-front, but you’ll be able to avoid the cost of having to purchase new filters regularly. This can be a real plus for those who don’t want to deal with this added cost or those who simply don’t want to have to remember to go to the store to buy a new filter when the current one gets old.

However, because the unit doesn’t have a filter, you should take extra care when cleaning, as there’s less of a barrier to prevent the humidifier from spraying allergens and bacteria into the air.

Image: Amazon.com

A filtered unit will reduce the particles that get emitted into the air. If you’re more sensitive to changes in air quality or are worried about mineral scale getting deposited on your furniture, you may want to opt for a model with a filter.

With or without a filter, you still have to clean your humidifier regularly and thoroughly. Not cleaning it correctly can cause problems with your home’s air quality. If bacteria or mold begins to grow in the unit, you’ll be dispersing that into the air, potentially causing respiratory issues for and triggering the allergies of your home’s occupants.

Room Size

You should also consider the size of the room you plan to keep the humidifier in. The product’s description will specify the square footage the humidifier will cover. If you have a very large room you want to use your humidifier in, be sure to find one that is suited for its size.

Image: Walgreens.com

However, if you just want a humidifier you can keep near you while you sleep to soothe throat and nasal dryness, a smaller model that can fit on your nightstand will work just as well, regardless of the size of your room.

Image: Amazon.com

Controllability

Do you want a humidifier that comes with a lot of options and settings that allow you to choose exactly what you want? Or do you not need a lot of control and prefer something that has little more than an “On/Off” switch?

If you want to go high-tech, there are plenty of options to suit your needs. You can find humidifiers that allow you to control the level of mist output with a remote control or ones that display the current humidity level of your home, so you can adjust accordingly. Some will even let you program them to automatically adjust output based on humidity levels.

Image: Amazon.com

Fashionable or Functional

There are numerous humidifiers on the market that aren’t just good for fighting dryness – they’re also stylish. From desk-size humidifiers that come in pretty colors to diffusers that allow you to add essential oils for an aromatic mist, there are plenty of options if you want to dress up your office space or nightstand with something that has a little more character to it.

Image: Amazon.com

The trade-off is that these humidifiers tend to be smaller and might come with fewer controls. So, if you want a big tank that you won’t have to refill as often or need a lot of high-tech mist options, you might have to go with a larger model or something a little less sleek.

Which type of humidifier is best? Share your opinions in the comments!

When the mercury drops outside, the humidity levels inside your home can dip too, leading to things like dry skin and other irritations, not to mention cold and flu-like symptoms. You know your indoor air is too dry if you’re getting static in your hair or shocks when you touch things.

“Low humidity, or dry air, can cause your nasal passages and sinuses to become dry and irritated, which leads to inflammation and prevents mucus from draining naturally,” says Ashley Wood, RN, a nurse in Atlanta, GA and a contributor at Demystifying Your Health. “In winter, the air outside has low humidity and you use heat to warm your home, which doesn’t have any moisture in it either. Between the two, your sinuses can easily become dried out and inflamed.” A humidifier is a great way to get some relief because it adds moisture back into the air, she says, helping you avoid things like chapped skin, nose bleeds, chronic runny nose, sinus congestion, asthma flare-ups, and dry mouth and throat.

How to choose a humidifier

Humidifiers range from $7 to nearly $500 and generally come in two varieties—warm-mist and cool-mist. Both types are equally effective at humidifying indoor air. Warm-mist humidifiers work by heating water to a boil, then emitting the resulting steam, which is why some pediatricians caution that it’s a burn risk to young children. Some warm mist humidifiers come with mineral filters that trap water deposits, and they’ll need to be replaced periodically.

When choosing the best humidifier for your space, consider the size of your space. Your goal is to achieve a just-right humidity level—it should be between 30 percent and 50 percent, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Not enough humidity and you’ll still experience sore throat and stuffed nose symptoms; add too much moisture and you run the risk of promoting the growth of bacteria, dust mites, and even mold. To assess your humidifier needs, measure the square footage of the room. Small humidifiers work for rooms up to 300 square feet, medium humidifiers suit spaces that are 399 to 499 square feet, and large varieties are best for larger spaces, 500-plus feet.

Other criteria to consider include how much real estate you can devote to a humidifier in your home (can you accommodate a two-gallon tank that’s more than a foot long?); whether you need a table or floor model; whether the humidifier is easy to maintain (are you willing to rinse it daily or change filters monthly to prevent buildup of bacteria?); how much noise you’re willing to tolerate, and whether you need any bells and whistles such as a timer or a humidistat (a humidistat is a great feature because it shuts off the machine when the ideal air humidity is reached).

Best humidifiers

Top-rated humidifiers in the cool-mist category include the Air-O-Swiss Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier ($105), which uses high-frequency vibrations to create a mist without creating a racket, maintains humidity levels, and has an antibacterial system built into the base. Honeywell Top Fill Cool Mist Humidifier ($86) actually adjusts its moisture output depending on how dry your air is, so you’ll never walk into a room that feels like a swamp; it’s also easy to fill and clean and is virtually leak-proof. If you prefer a warm mist try Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier ($39), which is not a nightmare to clean, as some other warm-mist models can be; the basin detaches for easy scrubbing, and as a bonus, it has a medicine cup that you can use to add an inhalant that produces a soothing medicated vapor.

For an up-to-date listing of top performers with ratings and reliability results, consult the Consumer Reports Humidifier Buying Guide—and this list of 11 other things you need in your DIY flu-fighting kit.

The 5 Best Humidifiers For Sinus Problems

Sinus pain can be agonizing. Unlike a common cold, which at least has the decency to pass when you sleep it off and take the right medications, managing chronic sinus pain is a bit trickier. Luckily, investing in one of the best humidifiers for sinus problems can help.

“Unlike acute sinusitis, which is usually caused by infection, chronic sinusitis often has more complicated symptoms, and the causes can be multifactorial or difficult to determine,” says Dr. Vinh Nguyen, a family medicine physician at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California.

Nguyen says sinus problems aren’t always related to infections. “Abnormal anatomy of the nose or the sinuses can contribute to chronic sinusitis. These include nasal polyps, sinus polyps, or a deviated septum. Environmental allergies are also much more common in people with chronic sinusitis. Also, a small number of people have chronic sinusitis, because of immune system problems. If you have chronic sinus pain or congestion, you should see your doctor to get a further evaluation.”

So, what can you do to help? Well, for one thing, make it a habit to sleep with a cool-mist humidifier in your room.

“Adding moisture to the air that you breathe using a humidifier can help to relieve sinus congestion by loosening up the mucus secretions of the nasal passages,” Nguyen says. “We recommend cold mist humidifiers for sinus congestion and cold symptoms. Warm mist humidifiers have not been shown to reduce symptoms, and may result in burns.”

This list of highly-rated cool-mist humidifiers include options for large rooms, medium-size rooms, and anyone who travels a lot and needs relief on the go. There’s even a humidifier that doubles as an essential oil diffuser. Trust us: your sinuses will thank you.

1. The Best Standard-Sized Option: A Cult-Favorite Humidifier That Moisturizes The Air For 16 Hours

With more than 14,600 reviews, this cool-mist humidifier stands out from the rest because it boasts features like high and low speed settings that allow you to adjust the amount of mist you need for your space, an optional soothing night light, and a generous 1.5-liter tank that moisturizes the air for 16 hours at a time. This humidifier is ideal for medium-size rooms like bedrooms and offices and it has a 360-degree mist nozzle so you can direct mist in any direction.

2. The Best For A Large Room: A Super Quiet Humidifier That Holds More Water For Longer Relief

Enjoy up to 17 hours of sinus pain and cold relief with this powerful cool-mist humidifier that holds up to 5 liters. You can select sleep mode for middle mist output or choose among low, middle, and high settings. The automatic shut-off feature turns this humidifier off the second it’s emptied of water so that it won’t overheat. But the reason so many people seem to choose this humidifier over others is because, in addition to holding more water, it’s super quiet and doesn’t have stimulating bright lights or a nightlight.

3. The Best Compact Option: A Humidifier That’s So Compact You Can Keep It On Your Desk

This affordable cool-mist humidifier is smaller than most, portable, and perfect for trips — but it runs for a surprisingly long time (30 hours). You can expect a mostly bare-bones design with low and high cool-mist settings and an optional night light. But it also boasts a few sweet tech advancements like Silver Clean Protection to fight mold and mildew and Ultrasonic Technology for a quiet experience that won’t keep you up at night or disrupt your train of thought at work.

4. The Best Humidifier-Diffuser Hybrid : A Large-Room Option With An Essential Oil Tray

Why choose a cool-mist humidifier with one great benefit when you can score one that does it all — including serving as a soothing essential oil diffuser? This large-room humidifier features a separate aroma tray where you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. The tank holds 6 liters of water and the knob adjusts the mist output for up to 50 hours of continuous use. It also has a built-in ionizer to keep bacteria, microbes, and allergens in check.

5. An Energy-Saving Option: These Unique Cordless Humidifiers That Don’t Even Require Batteries

Imagine being able to toss these cool-mist humidifiers into your travel bag to use anywhere you roam — even overseas — without having to worry about how many volts it requires. This pair of adorable humidifiers are completely cordless and won’t even require batteries. Simply pour water into the ball or clay sphere and allow it to work its magic purifying the air. Each set comes with a small and large humidifier and, because these aren’t ultrasonic, a filter is not required — which makes these a breeze to clean.

Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle’s editorial and sales departments.

The good news: A humidifier dispenses water vapor or steam, adding moisture to the air you breathe. When you inhale the air through your nose, the moisture helps decrease irritation, and therefore inflammation, of your nasal passages.

The bad news: A humidifier that is not properly maintained can make your allergies and sinusitis worse.

So the question is: What must you do to keep your humidifier safe?

First, there are two types of humidifiers: cold and warm mist. While both are effective, it is recommended that homes with children avoid the warm mist units because if they are knocked over, there is a risk for getting burned. Cold mist units come in three types:

  • Evaporative models (most common) use a fan to blow air over a wet wick.
  • Ultrasonic humidifiers use a vibrating nebulizer to emit water.
  • Impeller models produce mist using a rotating disk.

All three types of humidifiers are beneficial; however, in order to keep them properly maintained and free from mold, bacteria and other allergens, here are some important things to keep in mind:

Humidity Level

Doctors recommend that the humidity level in your home stay between 30 and 50 percent. Any number below that results in dry air, and any number higher creates an atmosphere that is actually conducive to mold and bacteria. It also provides just the right climate for dust mites. If your unit doesn’t come with a gauge, you can buy an inexpensive hygrometer to use for monitoring your humidity levels.

Water

Use demineralized or distilled water in your humidifier tank. Tap water contains minerals that will settle in your tank’s reservoir and cause bacterial growth. Empty the tank and fill it with clean water for every use.

Cleaning

Wipe down the tank every day if possible. The Mayo Clinic suggests cleaning the entire unit every 3 days, removing “any mineral deposits or film from the tank or other parts of the humidifier with a 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution, which is available at pharmacies.” Make sure to rinse well before using the humidifier.

Filters

Replace filters regularly per the manufacturer’s recommendation, or sooner if necessary.

Make sure you use the appropriate filter – using the wrong size or shape may cause leakage and will therefore be ineffective.

There is no arguing that humidifiers are an effective way of opening up your nasal passages and helping you breathe more easily. They are a useful complement to the perpetual cycle of allergy and sinusitis treatments involving decongestants, antihistamines, corticosteroids and nasal irrigation.

However, if you are ready to break that cycle, CT Sinus Center has a permanent solution.

When it comes to sinus and allergy relief, we are the leaders in our field. Our state-of-the-art, patient-centered care may be just what you need to get you back to feeling like yourself, minus your considerable sinus treatment routine. Schedule an appointment today to come in and speak with one of our expert physicians. We will take the time to talk to you about your symptoms and treatment options. You may be eligible for balloon sinus dilation, an in-office procedure that reshapes your nasal passages to allow increased airflow and natural draining and healing. In other words, it will put an end to your cumbersome (and expensive) sinus-care cycle forever – in as little as one hour.

Call (860) BALLOON today and take the first step to breathing easy.

For more information on all things sinus and allergy, visit our website and blog.

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