8 great humidifiers for every requirement
Favourites of testers and reviewers, these models may meet your needs
A great portable humidifier can be invaluable, particularly during the winter months, when we're mostly shut indoors, with heaters contributing to dry air. There are two main types of room humidifiers: evaporative and ultrasonic. You can read about the technical differences here, but there are some key things to know. Evaporative machines require a filter, which will have to be replaced every few months. Ultrasonic humidifiers don't require filters, but many manufacturers recommend the use of distilled water with them, since with this method, tap water's minerals can end up pooling near the unit or settling on surrounding surfaces.
There's no such thing as a perfect humidifier for everyone — the size and airflow of your space, your habits and usage preferences, and your budget for the machine (and any required filters) are all important factors. And the same machine may not be ideal for different areas of your home! For example, I bought the expert favourite Honeywell HCM-350 for myself, but opted for Crane's cheaper, animal-shaped ultrasonic humidifiers for my children's bedrooms.
Here are eight popular humidifiers for every common scenario, and what expert reviewers and real-life customers love about them.
A versatile cold and warm mist option
This ultrasonic machine is Tech Gear Lab's top choice humidifier for 2020; their review notes that it's powerful, easy to clean, has an accurate humidistat and a convenient remote control. This model offers warm and cool mist, but note that warm mist humidifiers in general can be a safety hazard for kids because of the hot steam.
Levoit LV60HH Air Humidifier, $99.99, Amazon
For the nursery
This filter-free, ultrasonic cool-mist humidifier is also an essential oil diffuser and a night light that changes colours! A review on SouthernLiving.com notes "it's easy to clean and takes up far less space on my little ones' night tables than my original humidifier," but adds you will have to clean it that least once a week with bleach or white vinegar. On the company's website, this humidifier gets a 4.7/5 from customers. Parents appreciate its sleek design, and rave about how "it holds a great amount of water and the mist lasts all night" and that "the nightlight feature is so helpful and useful."
FridaBaby BreatheFrida 3-In-1 Humidifier, $84.99, West Coast Kids
Great for kids
Crane's distinctive, animal-shaped ultrasonic humidifiers are highly rated online by parents. Reviews sourced from the company's American website (online shopping is not available via the Canadian site) rate these models at 4.9/5 stars overall. The company notes that they're designed for a room up to 500 sq. ft. in size, can run for 24 hours, and will automatically shut-off when the 1 gallon water tank is empty.
Recent reviews report that they are "super easy to keep clean" and another notes that there has been "no scaly buildup" even with "hard water". It also appears to be a long-lasting humidifier at a good price — several commenters note that their machine has been working well for over four years.
Crane Cool Mist Humidifier, $79.99, Babies R Us
The mini portable for your desk
The Homasy website doesn't specify whether this is an ultrasonic humidifier, but we've put it in this section as it doesn't require a filter. While many portable and desk-sized humidifiers don't have great reviews, this USB one is highly rated on Amazon and elsewhere online, and can run for up to 20 hours. There is a general consensus that it's easy to use, and commenters write that "it's super quiet and perfect for [a] home office" and another review notes "it provides continuous and intermittent streams of mist."
Homasy 320ML Humidifier, $23.99, Amazon
A diffuser option for essential oils
You'll want to read the fine print and reviews very closely when it comes to humidifiers that can be used with essential oils. Vitruvi's popular Stone Diffuser, for example, will create some mist but the company notes on its website that "it will not fill the room with moisture like a humidifier." This is a common consumer complaint with many machines advertised as diffuser-humidifiers. Crane's budget-friendly version has good to excellent reviews online and also includes an option for a colour-changing light. Customers rave about how "small and portable" it is, and note that "it's a great product for diffusing oils."
Crane Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier Diffuser, $49.99, Canadian Tire
The expert favourite and good overall choice
For years, this humidifier has topped the recommendation list from reliable product-review sites like Popular Mechanics and Wirecutter. Among the reasons for it being a top pick are that it offers sufficient humidification (it "won't over-humidify a room"), has a water tank that can run for up to 24 hours, and is quiet enough even for a bedroom. On Amazon, the Honeywell HCM350B has a 4.2/5 star rating, with many buyers noting that it's easy to use and clean; however, some do complain about the cost and frequency of need for replacement filters.
Honeywell HCM350B Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier, $137.81, Amazon
If you want a purifier, too
This Wirecutter-recommended Venta Airwasher humidifier is pricier than most, but it may be worth the splurge if you want something that you won't have to clean and refill as frequently. A rinse every two weeks and a deep clean twice a year is all that the manufacturer suggests! Still, testers were more pleased with how the model worked as a humidifier, but not as much as a purifier. Plus, you'll also have to buy a special cleaner and specialty water-treatment additive from Venta to maintain optimum performance. The Venta LW15 (which is the same Airwasher style as the LW25, but lower-priced and scaled for a smaller space) has a 4.6/5 rating from Home Depot customers, who note that it's "easy to assemble, compact, and very quiet."
Venta 2-in-1 Evaporative Humidifier + Air Purifier, $279, Home Depot
The multi-tasking splurge option
The price of Dyson's newly released purifier, humidifier and fan three-in-one is a bit eye-popping, but here's to hoping that there will be big discounts available on Black Friday and Boxing Day! If you're looking for a machine that can do it all, and don't mind splurging for the latest technology, this may be one of the best humidifiers available on the market. It's rated 4.8/5 stars by users on the company's site, a full star more than Dyson's older-model humidifier; reviewers say that it's "pricey but worth every penny," "easy to maintain and hassle free," can be controlled via an app, and is "super quiet." In a 9/10 review for Wired, the writer notes that "it has the lowest maintenance of any humidifier I've tried."
Dyson Pure Humidify+Cool, $999.99, Dyson
Truc Nguyen is a Toronto-based writer, editor and stylist. Follow her at @trucnguyen.