10 Best Cool Mist Humidifiers | March 2017
- impressively quiet at all settings
- difficult to clean
- prone to leaking
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
- automatic shut-off ensures safety
- power light is very large and bright
- some units fail after a few months
|Rating||3.7 / 5.0|
- use with vapopads for scented relief
- translucent tank for easy visibility
- too small to last through the night
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
- recommended by pediatricians
- energy efficient design
- not particularly durable
|Rating||3.6 / 5.0|
- slim design is good for small spaces
- 12-liter daily output
- tank is a bit hard to grab onto
|Rating||4.2 / 5.0|
- high and low speed settings
- glowing nightlight can be turned off
- backed by a 2-year warranty
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
- variable color led settings
- designed for use with essential oils
- great for small rooms
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
- low-level led indicator
- dual 360-degree rotating nozzles
- automatically shuts off when empty
|Rating||5.0 / 5.0|
- runs continuously for 24 hours
- easy-to-fill wide opening
- filters are easy to replace
|Rating||5.0 / 5.0|
Water In The Air
Any time you've run a hot shower, you've seen what it looks like for water vapor to move through the air. The same thing happens when you breathe outdoors on a cold winter night. When there's a big enough temperature difference, you can see what humidity looks like. In most environments, however, humidity is invisible, so knowing whether there is too little humidity in a space is impossible without instruments to measure it.
If the humidity in your living space is too low, your body will find ways to let you know, even if you don't have instruments handy. For example, you may find that you're more susceptible to nose and throat problems in the winter. These can be anything from sore throats to nose bleeds and sinus infections.
The reason for this is that in a low-humidity environment created by your heating system, your body's mucous membranes dry up in the nose and throat, leaving you more vulnerable to injury and infection. You might also notice that your skin is much drier in the winter than it is in the summer, as a low humidity environment will dry out your skin as well.
There are a lot of cosmetic and pharmaceutical products out there to help you deal with these issues, but a simple humidifier will do the trick without any risk of side effects.
That's because all a humidifier does is add moisture to the air. As it runs, it releases a fine cloud of mist into the environment, enough to raise the humidity of a bedroom or living room back up to a comfortable level. The cool air humidifiers on our list specifically use an absorbent internal wick that soaks up moisture from a tank of water. A fan then runs against that wick, forcing cool, wet air out the humidifier's vents and into the air of a space.
Looking Good Wet
One of the things people sometimes don't immediately consider when buying a humidifier often becomes the thing that can keep them from using it to its maximum efficacy. I had a cool mist humidifier in my bedroom every winter, as I battled with asthma for the bulk of my childhood. I though it looked great. It had a big translucent grey water tank and a little spout that looked like a duck's bill.
Over the years, I'd say I actually developed a little emotional attachment to that humidifier, and even thinking about it now brings back a sense of childhood peace and freedom. I didn't realize at the time that it was also a safer option for a child than a warm air humidifier, since there was no heater in it. That said, I'd never want the thing in my current house. It was, looking back, rather hideous.
All the humidifiers on our list want you to like them. They want to look good enough that you'd be willing to place them in prominent areas of your home for hours and days on end. Depending on your tastes, not all of them achieve that. Knowing where you want to put your humidifier, and whether or not its style might break your usage pattern, is crucial.
If your child is in need of a little extra moisture, as I was from a young age, you might not be as concerned with the humidifier's aesthetic value. Still, if you want to teach your child to operate and to care for his or her humidifier, getting one that they might like and connect with would be great. I loved the duck bill spout on my humidifier because I was a fiend for Duck Tales. Humidifiers with any degree of anthropomorphism to them are excellent for kids.
Should you intend to use your humidifier in a more public space, you'll want to find a place for it where it'll either hide from view or compliment some piece of decor already present. From there, you can consider some of the other features available, like timers, tank capacity, and noise level.
A Changing Waterworld
Whatever your personal beliefs regarding climate change, certain shifts in the performance of climate patterns are undeniable. The glaciers are actually melting, the sea levels are actually rising, and Leonardo DiCaprio has actually made a movie about it.
One fascinating aspect of climate change is that the world seems to be neither getting wetter nor drier. But that doesn't mean that humidity levels aren't changing. What is happening is that the wet areas of the world are getting wetter, and the dry areas are getting drier. That means that if you live in an arid climate like much of the southwestern United States, your need for a humidifier is only going to grow from here on out.
Fortunately, back in 1975, three Japanese inventors filed for a patent on a device that could add moisture to the air in a room, raising its humidity and keeping those of us who are most at risk from turning into raisins. American inventors followed suit, making their own little adjustments to the delivery method of the mist, to its temperature, and to other specifications as the popularity of the devices soared in the 1980s, giving us the array of quality humidifiers we enjoy today.