The 11 Best Humidifiers of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

The winner is the Levoit Classic 300S Ultrasonic Smart Humidifier

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Humidifier testing group shot

The Spruce / Dera Burreson

A humidifier adds moisture to indoor air to prevent it from becoming uncomfortably dry, which often happens when your HVAC system has to quickly warm or cool the air in your home. People are most comfortable when indoor humidity levels range from 40 to 50 percent. "Below 40 percent air is considered dry, which can cause eyes, throats, [and] sinuses to dry out," says Dr. Ken Spaeth, medical director of the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Center at the North Shore-LIJ Health System in New York. "Greater than 50 percent relative humidity can promote mold growth."

We tested dozens of humidifiers in both The Lab and real-world home settings to determine the best models for every room in your home, including options that double as air purifiers and fans. Our testing processes included extensive research, 48-hours of monitored lab testing, and up to six months of regular use in homes. Based on our testing results and Dr. Spaeth's insight, the Levoit Classic 300S Ultrasonic Smart Humidifier was the clear winner because of its compact, modern design, intuitive touchscreen features, and easy-to-clean tank. Here are the best humidifiers, backed by our testing and research, to add moisture back into your home's air.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall

Levoit Classic 300S Ultrasonic Smart Humidifier

5
Levoit Classic 300S Ultrasonic Smart Humidifier

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Setup
    5/5
  • Effectiveness
    5/5
  • Design
    5/5
  • Size
    5/5
  • Ease of Cleaning
    5/5
What We Like
  • Smart features

  • Compact

  • Aromatherapy tray

  • Quiet operation

What We Don't Like
  • Short cord

  • Can't open aromatherapy tray in-use

The Levoit Classic 300S Ultrasonic Smart Humidifier has been our top pick for over six months because it is reasonably priced, operates quietly, and has smart features, including Alexa voice control. Plus, it's packaged in a compact, modern silhouette that's easily displayed on a nightstand or tucked away in a closet between uses. Throughout the testing process, we discovered this humidifier offers numerous conveniences, such as its top-fill water tank, adjustable mist spout, and easy-to-monitor water levels. While four out of the five LEVOIT humidifiers we tested feature top-fill designs, the Classic 300S has a larger opening, making it especially easy to refill without spilling.

This humidifier's 30-second setup process consisted of pulling the humidifier out of the box (no extra assembly required) and removing protective plastic. Its small footprint also makes it not only easy to store but also comfortable to carry between placement locations. One thing to keep in mind is that the cord is short, so be sure to set up this humidifier relatively close to an outlet. 

You can manually adjust the humidifier's light and misting levels, set it to night mode, and power it on or off via the touch buttons on the unit. However, for added convenience, you can also connect the humidifier to a voice-controlled device and turn off the screen display for night mode, adjust the tank light, and control the humidity level displayed on the humidifier screen through the LEVOIT app. Not many humidifiers on the market have smart features, and those that do tend to be higher-end models ranging from $500 to $900. That makes the Levoit humidifier's under-$100 price tag even more attractive and impressive.

As far as performance, the misting strength level was initially robust, though we didn't notice it strengthen too significantly from its lowest setting, which may be a concern if you prefer visible indicators. The air felt cool and refreshing while the humidifier was turned on, and we also noted that you can easily adjust the direction of the mist nozzle by simply twisting it. This humidifier is also quiet. In fact, when we ran this humidifier continuously for 15 minutes, not even a faint hum or whirring fan was detectable. This humidifier also left no residue on surrounding surfaces during testing, which is a huge plus for homeowners with predominantly wooden furniture or flooring.

This humidifier also has a cartridge where you can add an aromatherapy pad if you want a scented mist output. However, keep in mind that you cannot add a pad once the machine is running. We found cleaning the large 6-liter tank—which provides up to 60 hours of operation—to be a simple process. You simply open the top and use a mild soap with the included cleaning brush.

How It Performed Long-Term

After testing this humidifier consistently for six months in one of our homes, we can confirm that its large tank capacity, efficiency between refills, and quiet, steady output of mist make it an excellent choice. Compared with other models that are quite loud for an overnight setting, we love the adjustable night mode, which can completely shut off the button and tank light. However, we've found the flush, touchscreen-style buttons to be difficult to use at times. We think, for most users, it'd be more convenient if the unit had buttons that protruded more. However, overall, we're incredibly pleased with this humidifier's consistent performance, user-friendly smartphone app, and easy-to-clean water tank.

Price at time of publish: $80

Dimensions: 9.65 x 7.56 x 13.39 inches | Water Tank Capacity: 6 liters (1.5 gallons) | Weight: 4.4 pounds | Room Size: 215–505 square feet

Best Budget

Magictec Cool Mist Humidifier

4.3
Magictec 2.5L Bedroom Essential Humidifier Diffuser

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Setup
    5/5
  • Effectiveness
    5/5
  • Design
    4/5
  • Size
    4/5
  • Ease of Cleaning
    3/5
What We Like
  • Quiet

  • Compact

  • Long run time

  • Low-water indicator light

What We Don't Like
  • Hard to clean

  • Developed an odor after six months

After consistently testing the Magictec Cool Mist Humidifier, this compact, simple humidifier remains in our best budget slot because it effectively humidifies a small- to medium-size room and comes at a steal. The average price of the humidifiers we tested was around $140, and this humidifier was the least expensive model we tested at under $25. While it doesn't have any upgraded features like those you'll get with higher-priced options, it still performed well in our tests, especially compared to other budget models. While this isn't the best option for a big room, if you're looking for a simple humidifier to place on your vanity, then this budget-friendly humidifier may be the right pick for you.

This humidifier's 2.5-liter (0.6-gallon) tank fills from the bottom, seals with a cap before easily flipping over for reattaching, and is easy to carry. However, we noticed that its small opening makes it difficult to clean and recommend using a long-handled cleaning brush, which is not included. It also produces mist almost immediately; a separate attachment allows you to change the mist’s direction. An indicator light turns red when the tank needs refilling, which we appreciated when testing this model at home.

The moisture doesn't entirely dissipate when the machine has been off for several days—something we noticed across the board in nearly every product we at-home tested. We recommend rinsing out the water tank and ensuring that it fully air dries to avoid any residue built-up. This humidifier's mist spout also felt a bit cheap when we used it to change the direction of the mist.

Despite a few design quirks, we were impressed by this Magictec humidifier's steady output and quiet operation. Although it doesn’t include all the high-tech features of more expensive humidifier models, it is hard to beat its quality performance at an excellent price.  

How It Performed Long-Term

After six months of use, we were still impressed by this humidifier's quiet operation, design, and great run time (we could use it for two nights without having to refill the tank). However, we did start to notice an odor and are concerned that it is coming from condensation that may be trapped in the tank. We still think this is a great budget-friendly pick due to its otherwise great performance and recommend making sure to follow all of the cleaning instructions.

Price at time of publish: $22

Dimensions: 11.6 x 8 x 7.8 inches | Water Tank Capacity: 2.5 liters (0.6 gallon) | Weight: 2.35 pounds | Room Size: Not listed

Best Splurge

Dyson Purifier Humidify+Cool Formaldehyde

4.7
Dyson Purifier Humidify+Cool Formaldehyde - PH04

Best Buy

Our Ratings
  • Setup
    4/5
  • Design
    4/5
  • Noise Level
    5/5
  • Features
    5/5
  • Effectiveness
    5/5
What We Like
  • Fan, air purifier, and humidifier combination

  • Separate remote control and voice controls

  • HEPA Filter

  • Tank has a handle and rolls for easy filling

What We Don't Like
  • Large

  • Difficult to store

Just as with Dyson’s vacuums and hair dryers, the brand’s humidifiers also include industry-firsts and thoughtful designs. The Dyson Purifier Humidify+Cool Formaldehyde may one of the largest and is the most expensive humidifier that we tested, but the app-compatible, customizable features make it a standout choice worth the splurge. We think this model would be especially appealing to busy families, who may have multiple pets or may suffer from allergies, and want a reliable humidifier that can also purify a home's air at the same time. This model took the longest of our tested humidifiers to set up, but the overall process was straightforward and still took less than 10 minutes. While the water tank is also large, it fits under most faucets and it has wheels to roll back into place. The tank’s large opening also makes for easy cleaning between uses.

This Dyson model does everything via a magnetized remote, which sits on top of the machine when not in use, and a smartphone app compatible with Alexa or Siri. The included HEPA+Carbon Filter cycles out 99.97 percent of airborne particles 0.3 microns or larger, and a permanent catalytic filter decomposes formaldehyde and dust particles. We couldn't see any mist while testing this model, but we quickly felt it and enjoyed being able to control the direction of flow. Although this model isn't very loud to begin with—it has the slightest whirring sound—you can set it to night mode for a completely silent experience. Plus, it has a sleep timer.

As can be expected based on this model's size, it's not the easiest to store, which may be a drawback if you don't plan on regularly using a humidifier in your home. We also mentioned the price of this model upfront because it is definitely an investment. For perspective, we noted that a member of our testing team had just installed a whole home humidifier (designed for much larger spaces) prior to testing this Dyson, which was comparable in price. So we recommend carefully evaluating what you're looking for in a humidifier before making the final call on this model. However, if you are looking for a humidifier that can do everything from cool a room to monitor your home's air quality, then this is a sound pick.

Price at time of publish: $920

Dimensions: 36.33 x 11.02 x 12.23 inches | Water Tank Capacity: Not listed | Weight: 18 pounds | Room Size: 400 square feet

Best Design

Vitruvi Cloud Cool Mist Humidifier

4.4
Vitruvi Cloud Cool Mist Humidifier

Nordstrom

Our Ratings
  • Setup
    5/5
  • Effectiveness
    4.5/5
  • Design
    4.5/5
  • Ease of Cleaning
    4.3/5
  • Value
    3.5/5
What We Like
  • Touchscreen buttons

  • Night mode

  • Easy to fill and monitor

  • Automatically switches to low-mode based on water level

What We Don't Like
  • Not effective on low setting

  • Expensive

  • Small water tank

While a humidifier should be purchased based on its effectiveness, it’s always nice when it happens to come in a sleek, minimal design. The Vitruvi Cloud Cool Mist Humidifier has a compact footprint that’s great for a bedside table or dresser and it’s quiet enough to run during meetings and naptime, or at night. While we didn’t notice—or register a major difference on our hygrometer (a tool used to measure the amount of water vapor in air or soil)—a change in the room’s humidity on this humidifier’s lowest setting, the change was almost immediately perceptible on this model’s higher settings. We not only felt the cool mist but also breathed more easily with the additional moisture in the room.

We found the different settings easy to circulate through with the touch buttons, and we appreciate that this model has a night mode that turns off all its lights. It’s easy to monitor the water level by simply lifting up the top cover of the water tank. The water basket is also easy to refill, too; although, it is much smaller than other models that we’ve tested, requiring frequent refills when on a high setting. It was easy to monitor this humidifier’s water level because it automatically switches to a lower mode when the water becomes low. We recognize this Vitruvi humidifier has a higher price tag, but we think its attractive design and easy-to-use settings make it a worthy splurge pick. 

Price at time of publish: $229 

Dimensions: 8.5 x 10.74 x 4.68 inches  | Water Tank Capacity: 7 cups | Weight: 3.46 pounds | Room Size: 600 square feet

Best with Warm Mist

Levoit LV600HH 6-Liter Warm and Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier

4.3
Levoit

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Setup
    4.5/5
  • Effectiveness
    5/5
  • Design
    4.5/5
  • Size
    4/5
  • Ease of Cleaning
    4/5
What We Like
  • Adjustable mist temperature

  • Split mist nozzle

  • Separate remote

What We Don't Like
  • Cannot be placed on floor

  • No fill line

Despite its larger footprint, this Levoit model remains our top pick for the best with warm mist category because of its adjustable temperature settings, 50-hour run time, and remote-controlled settings. Three levels of mist output and two adjustable nozzles allow you to separate the airflow or concentrate it in your preferred direction. Although the 1.5-gallon tank has to be filled from the bottom, it isn’t difficult to carry or place on the base. Keep in mind that the tank lacks a fill line or a suggested amount of water, which makes it slightly tricky to avoid overfilling the humidifier.

This model's manual says to allow up to 15 minutes for the warm mist to reach its temperature setting, but we could feel warmth after only a few minutes. We also appreciate the remote, which makes it easy to adjust all the settings from the comfort of your bed or up to 20 feet away. The owner’s manual advised not placing this humidifier on the floor. However, it takes up a large portion of a nightstand or a dresser, so be mindful of where you choose to place it in a room.

When it comes time to refresh the water in the tank or clean it, be sure to let the water cool if you were using the warm mist setting. The tank may also be tricky to clean in the corners, but you can use vinegar to rinse it and remove scale.

How It Performed Long-Term

We left this humidifier running both day and night in one of our homes for six months, and we found it was easy to forget about it between refills—a major perk for anyone looking for a low-maintenance model. We only had to refill the water tank every three or four days, and it operated consistently on the automatic setting without any issues. The three mist settings and separate directional mist output also allowed us to ensure the whole room was easily reached. We did end up placing this model on the floor of a room, despite the manual's instructions, and have not had any issues with the placement. We would recommend keeping it away from a wall to ensure the fan and filter are not blocked. All in all, we think this humidifier is fairly priced, given its advanced settings and adjustable mist temperature, and we found it held up well during long-term testing.

Price at time of publish: $100

Dimensions: 11.6 x 7.7 x 11.3 inches | Water Tank Capacity: 6 liters (1.6 gallons) | Weight: 5 pounds | Room Size: 753 square feet

Best for Bedrooms

Honeywell HCM-350 Germ-Free Cool Mist Humidifier

4.8
Honeywell HCM-350 Germ-Free Cool Mist Humidifier

 Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Setup
    5/5
  • Effectiveness
    5/5
  • Design
    5/5
  • Ease of Cleaning
    4.5/5
  • Value
    3/5
What We Like
  • Doesn't emit light

  • Quiet operation

  • Improves humidity on both low and high settings

  • Easy-to-fill, dishwasher-safe tank

What We Don't Like
  • Larger footprint

Although this humidifier is simpler in design and control, we appreciated that it almost immediately increased the humidity in our testing room. We felt a noticeable difference on both a high and low setting, and we did not have to refill the water tank during our eight-hour testing periods. The water tank is dishwasher safe, which makes it easy to clean, but we did notice that the “handle” is difficult to dry off because a hand or cleaning brush cannot easily fit in it. However, allowing it to air dry is simple enough between uses. 

This humidifier is very quiet when turned on and we think it’d be a great option for a bedroom because it also doesn’t have any light features. Keep in mind that the cover is easy to remove or knock over, so we wouldn’t recommend this for a child’s room unless it’s in an inaccessible location. This humidifier is slightly larger than standard tabletop models, so we recommend placing it on a dresser or shelf to ensure ample support and space.  

Price at time of publish: $80

Dimensions: 13.03 x 18.58 x 10.39 inches | Water Tank Capacity: 1 gallon | Weight: 8.36 pounds | Room Size: Not listed

Best for Small Rooms

Vicks Mini Filter-Free Cool Mist Humidifier

4.2
Vicks

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Setup
    4.5/5
  • Effectiveness
    4/5
  • Design
    3/5
  • Size
    5/5
  • Ease of Cleaning
    4.5/5
What We Like
  • Compact yet effective

  • 20-hour run time

  • No need to replace filters

  • Dishwasher-safe tank

What We Don't Like
  • No humidity monitor included

  • No fill line

  • Not the quietest option

The compact Vicks Mini Filter-Free Cool Mist Humidifier is designed to use with the brand’s VapoPads, which, though non-medicated, are particularly soothing during cold and allergy season. From its position on a shelf, bedside table, or dresser, it delivers cool mist for up to 20 hours. The design is simple, with a single-turn dial indicating the level of mist output. The dial has a light that can’t be turned off, so this may not be a great option for people who prefer a dark room to sleep in. 

During testing, we appreciated this humidifier's steady output and found it quite soothing to use overnight in a bedroom. The dishwasher-safe tank has a groove for easy carrying, but there is no fill-line label, which makes it difficult to know if you’re using too much water. This humidifier also has a slight whirring noise when in use. Despite a few downsides, its price and simple settings make it a great option for small rooms such as offices or sun rooms.

Price at time of publish: $40

Dimensions: 9.13 x 8.3 x 8.3 inches | Water Tank Capacity: 1.89 liters (0.5 gallon) | Weight: 3 pounds | Room Size: Not listed

Best for Large Rooms

Lasko LA10008 UH300 Warm and Cool Humidifier

4.5
Lasko LA10008 UH300 Warm and Cool Humidistat and Timer

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Setup
    5/5
  • Effectiveness
    5/5
  • Design
    5/5
  • Size
    4/5
  • Ease of Cleaning
    3/5
What We Like
  • Split mist nozzle

  • Can run for 100 hours on low

  • Warm-mist option

  • Blue light turns off

What We Don't Like
  • Requires distilled water

  • Difficult to clean

The Lasko LA10008 UH300 Warm and Cool Humidifier can humidify up to 600 square feet, making it a great option for larger rooms. A dual nozzle allows you to aim the mist in any direction, and three flow options make it easy to choose your preferred output. There are also warm- and cool-mist settings, plus a night-light setting. We thought the buttons for the night light and display settings were slightly confusing to understand and use, but with a little experimenting, we eventually figured it out.

This humidifier was easy to set up and unbox, and we appreciated how simple it was to refill. The mister left no residue on the other surfaces in our testing space, which was a major draw. It also consistently emitted mist overnight. Although this diffuser has a large tank with an included cleaning brush, we found it difficult to clean by hand, so be sure to use the included brush for the recessed corners of the tank. The owner’s manual also suggests using distilled water because tap water can lessen the product’s lifespan.

Despite these minor usage issues, we still think this humidifier is a great choice for large rooms because of its versatility as a floor or shelf model, its dual nozzle design, and mist settings, with a run time of up to 100 hours with cold, low mist.

Price at time of publish: $115

Dimensions: 14.4 x 9.8 x 5.7 inches | Water Tank Capacity: 4.92 liters (1.2 gallons) | Weight: 1.91 pounds | Room Size: 600 square feet

Best Smart

Boneco H300 Hybrid Humidifier and Air Purifier

4.3
 BONECO H300

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Setup
    5/5
  • Effectiveness
    4/5
  • Design
    4/5
  • Size
    4/5
  • Ease of Cleaning
    5/5
What We Like
  • Both a humidifier and air purifier

  • Smart functionality

  • Real-time humidity monitoring

What We Don't Like
  • Noise increases at higher levels

  • Difficult to refill and clean

While this humidifier costs more than most other models we tested, it’s still worth the splurge for its versatility as an air purifier, humidifier, or both. This medium-size model can sit on the floor or on a large dresser or table, and it includes two filters for better air quality. There was no additional assembly required for this humidifier once it was out of the box, but be sure to remove the plastic packaging from the filters, which arrive installed in the unit.

Although we noticed no visible mist emission, we could feel cool air coming out of the machine. Six airflow options allow for customization, but its operating sound becomes louder as you cycle through the higher settings. The sleep-mode function turns off the lighted display and quiets the fan. We also appreciated this humidifier's unobtrusive design and think it is relatively quiet when operating in its middle setting.

The pre-filter is also relatively easy to clean, but we will note that the price for a replacement filter is pretty substantial. Thankfully, the manufacturer recommends replacing the filter just once a year. Through the BONECO app, it offers intuitive real-time measures of your home's air quality and allows you to control your desired humidity level. You can also use customized presets with different profiles for a baby, your sleep routine, and other factors.

How It Performed Long-Term

While we overall enjoyed using this humidifier over a six-month period in one of our homes, we found that refilling and cleaning it became a chore. We noted this is a downfall of all humidifiers—no matter their size or price range—but still think it's worth mentioning as a minor drawback. The humidifier's tank is especially tricky to refill because it is completely open, which allows for water to slosh over the sides if you're carrying it a long way. While some parts of this humidifier are dishwasher safe, the filter takes a while to dry and does drip water when removing it. However, despite these inconveniences, this humidifier-air purifier combo is still a solid option, especially if you're seeking a customizable, high-tech option.

Price at time of publish: $549

Dimensions: 12 x 14 x 21 inches | Water Tank Capacity: 7 liters | Weight: 14.3 pounds | Room Size: Not Listed

Best with Diffuser

LEVOIT LUH-D302-WUS Humidifiers for Bedroom Large Room

4.9
LEVOIT LUH-D302-WUS Humidifiers for Bedroom Large Room

 Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Setup
    5/5
  • Effectiveness
    5/5
  • Design
    4.8/5
  • Ease of Cleaning
    4.5/5
  • Value
    5/5
What We Like
  • Quiet

  • Simple controls

  • Significant humidity change

What We Don't Like
  • Diffuser can be overpowering on high settings  

A humidifier with diffuser capabilities can be an added relief for users with stuffed sinuses or anyone looking to enjoy calming aromatherapy scents. This Levoit humidifier model is powerful enough to easily adjust the humidity of an average-sized room while diffusing a scent of your choice. We found that it affects a room’s humidity on both its lower and highest settings, and a steady mist output is visible as well. It’s also very quiet on all of its settings—you only hear a slight bubbling noise, which can easily be masked by keyboard typing and other average sounds.

This humidifier also has no lighted features on it, making it a great option for a home office or children’s playroom. We recommend using fewer drops of your preferred essential oil when this humidifier is on its highest setting, as too many drops can cause the scent to be overpowering for the entire run time. A large water tank ensures you can leave this humidifier unattended for the whole day without having to worry about its water level. It also has a relatively small footprint, making it ideal to sit on a side table, desk, or dresser.

Price at time of publish: $44

Dimensions: 11.6 x 7.2 x 8.1 inches | Water Tank Capacity: 12.5 cups | Weight: 3 pounds | Room Size: 107 - 290 square feet

Best Combo

Dyson Purifier Humidify+ Cool Autoreact

4.8
Dyson Purifier Humidify+ Cool Autoreact

Dyson

Our Ratings
  • Setup
    4.5/5
  • Effectiveness
    5/5
  • Design
    4/5
  • Ease of Cleaning
    5/5
  • Value
    4/5
What We Like
  • Serves as a humidifier, air purifier, and fan

  • Automatically detects changes in air quality and humidity

  • Remote control operation

  • Water tank has wheels and handle

What We Don't Like
  • Leaks water when refilling tank

  • Expensive

  • No smart features

Unlike our best splurge model, this Dyson humidifier is not app compatible and does not have any smart features, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t loaded with other capabilities to promote a comfortable home environment. This humidifier also acts as an air purifier and fan, both of which can "autoreact" based on the humidity and pollutant levels in your home. Although setting up this model is slightly tricky (because it doesn’t come with a written manual), the process was self-explanatory, and a provided QR code offered an informative video. Once set up and turned on, this model starts on “auto” mode, but you can also set it to different levels with a desired humidity level. We found it easy enough to switch between the levels on the remote control, and a small screen also displays the current level and humidity. We also really enjoyed the magnetized remote, which attaches to the top of the humidifier.

Although the water tank is equipped with wheels and a handle to make refilling easy, we don’t like how much water leaks out of this unit every time the water tank is removed. We had to place a tarp under the humidifier to prevent it from leaking on a carpet. We also couldn't figure out a way to prevent water from leaking. If possible, we recommend placing this model on a rubber mat to easily wipe up any water leaks. Aside from the water issue, we really enjoyed using this humidifier and appreciated all of the auto-detecting features that it comes with. While we didn't specifically test for its air purifying abilities, we think this model is a worthy investment for any households with allergy sufferers, as it is certified asthma and allergy friendly by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

Price at time of publish: $800 

Dimensions: 36.34 x 11.02 x 12.28 inches | Water Tank Capacity: 1 gallon | Weight: 17.75 pounds | Room Size: 400 square feet

Final Verdict

Our top pick, the LEVOIT Classic 300S Ultrasonic Smart Humidifier, is a compact humidifier that covers a wide square footage with multiple smart settings and silent operation. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly model, check out the Magictec Cool Mist Humidifier, which covers small to medium spaces for up to 24 hours and costs less than $25.

testing humidifiers in the lab

The Spruce / Dera Burreson

How We Tested the Humidifiers

To find the very best humidifiers for every space and need, we've tested a total of 33 humidifiers. We first purchased and tested 27 of the top humidifiers on the market in The Lab, and assessed them on their setup, effectiveness, design, size, ease of cleaning, and overall value. We simulated real-world situations by testing the humidifiers within different size rooms and running them each for 15 minutes with each tester. We also assessed them on noise production, ease of use, and overall aesthetic for different areas of a home. After this first round of lab testing, we sent 16 of the top-performing humidifiers home with volunteers from our team, who evaluated the machines' long-term performance over six months.

In our most recent round of testing, we tested six new models and put them through even more rigorous tests. We left the humidifiers running for eight-hour periods and evaluated each model based on the same attributes from our previous lab test. We then placed the humidifiers in separate rooms that were appropriately sized based on each manufacturer's recommendation. Each humidifier was run three separate times on its lowest setting and three additional times on its highest setting. We measured the humidity of each room prior to starting the tests with a hygrometer (a tool used to measure the amount of water vapor in the air) and after each humidifier had been running for one hour. Each room's humidity was again measured at the eight-hour mark.

In addition to measuring the humidity of the room, we monitored each humidifier's water level and measured the remaining water at the end of each testing round. We also evaluated the ease of cleaning each humidifier's water tank between the low-level and high-level tests, then again after the final high-level test was completed. We noted unique features or quirks that the humidifiers had while monitoring their mist output throughout the eight-hour periods. We then revisited our previous lab results and combined them with our latest testing to compare all 33 models. Finally, we combined all of our firsthand insight with our writers’ and editors’ independent research to offer you a comprehensive roundup.

Using a remote on the Dyson Purifier Humidify+Cool Formaldehyde

The Spruce / Dera Burreson

What Are the Benefits of a Humidifier?

People in especially dry or cold climates might find humidifiers particularly helpful because they add moisture back into our air, which in turn helps our skin and airways. If you deal with specific respiratory problems, such as asthma, you should ask your doctor before purchasing a humidifier, as higher humidity levels can irritate asthma symptoms.

Which Humidifier Is Better: Warm-Mist or Cool-Mist?

Warm-mist and cool-mist humidifiers add moisture to the air equally effectively, based on the way they operate. But you should base your purchase decision on several factors, including the product’s primary purpose, noise level, and energy use.

If your primary goal for using a mist humidifier is to clear passageways, a cool-mist humidifier helps nasal passages shrink and allow for more comfortable breathing. Contrary to what you may have learned, warm-mist humidifiers actually cause nasal passages to swell. Warm-mist humidifiers are a great option for warming your bedside at night, while adding moisture to your breathing air. Cool-mist humidifiers can be comfortably used year-round, whereas warm-mist humidifiers are better for cooler months. 

Noise levels are different for each type—however, cool-mist humidifiers contain fans, which produce noise that warm-mist humidifiers don’t. If a cool-mist humidifier employs several fan levels, the highest settings may generate a sound that exceeds a comfortable white-noise level.

If energy use is important to you, note that warm-mist humidifiers heat the water that runs through it to make steam, and any steam-making element uses additional energy compared with a unit that doesn’t.

What to Look For in a Humidifier

Size

The size of the humidifier you choose should largely be based on the size of the room in which you’re looking to add moisture. Basically, there are three sizes of humidifiers: portable (also called tabletop), which are personal or travel-size models; console, for spaces up to 1,000 square feet (depending on the model); and whole-house humidifiers, which attach to your home’s ductwork and add humidity throughout.

Portable humidifiers are small, relatively inexpensive, can be placed on a nightstand or desk, and can be easily moved from room to room. Sometimes they can be smaller, with dimensions similar to a water bottle. Note that these types of humidifiers have limited water tanks, meaning you need to refill them more often. Our best for small rooms pick, the Vicks Mini Filter-Free Cool Mist Humidifier, weighs under 3 pounds and has a small 8-inch, round footprint, making it ideal for bedside tables, vanities, or dressers.

Console humidifiers are larger units that sit on the floor and are the best choice for spaces up to 1,000 square feet (depending on the model). Our "best for large rooms" choice, the Lasko Warm and Cool Humidifier, can be used on the floor or a shelf and humidifies up to 600 square feet. These products have increased-capacity water tanks that require less frequent filling than portable humidifiers. Whole-house humidifiers attach to your home’s ductwork and add humidity throughout your home. They’re best for adding moisture on a large scale and can handle spaces greater than 1,000 square feet. Because this type of humidifier connects to your home’s plumbing, you also don’t need to refill the tank.

Whole-house humidifiers draw water directly from your water supply. Some include sprayers that inject mist into your ductwork; others are equipped with foam cylinders that rotate in a water tray with air blowing through and around it.

Water Tank Capacity

Closely related to the size of the humidifier you choose is the water tank capacity. Look at the estimated run time from the manufacturer to see how often you need to refill the tank. If you want to use the humidifier all day or all night—or both—make sure you pick a model with a large enough capacity.

It is important to note that bigger tanks need frequent emptying because all the water is seldom used up. For these, consider whether the tank is removable, to easily fill, and how heavy it is when you carry it back full. The 0.6-gallon tank on our "best budget" selection, the Magictec Cool Mist Humidifier, fills from the bottom, seals with a cap before easily flipping over for reattaching, and is easy to carry.

UV Filtration

Because moist, humid conditions can quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and pathogens, some humidifiers are equipped with UV light. The specialized light filtration system eliminates microbes that may grow in the humidifier's tank and pDrevents them from being released into the air with the mist. Both of the Dyson models listed in our roundup, the Dyson Purifier Humidify+ Cool Autoreact and the Dyson Purifier Humidify+ Cool Formaldehyde, feature UV-C light that kills waterborne bacteria to deliver hygenically humidified air to your home.

Humidistat

For an optimal level of humidity, look for a model with a built-in humidistat. This feature monitors the room’s humidity and shuts off the appliance when the air's moisture level hits a set target. While this isn’t an essential feature, it does take some of the guesswork out of operating a humidifier. It can also prevent excess moisture in the air from fogging up windows or creating a musty odor in the room. Our best smart pick, the Boneco H300 Hybrid Humidifier and Air Purifier, has a built-in humidistat that offers real-time reports about a room's humidity through the Boneco smartphone app. If you skip a built-in humidistat, you can still monitor the humidity level in your home using a hygrometer, a small and inexpensive tool.

Ease of Cleaning

Through our testing, we haven't found a humidifier that's completely easy to clean. However, all of the models listed in this roundup are easier to clean that other models we've tested. Our best for bedrooms pick, the Honeywell HCM-350 Germ-Free Cool Mist Humidifier, has a water tank that can be cleaned in the dishwasher. We recommend allowing it to completely air dry before reinstalling in the model. Similarly, our best overall, the LEVOIT Classic 300S Ultrasonic Smart Humidifier, has a wide, open tank design that makes it easier to clean by hand.

You should rinse out your humidifier tank after each use and ensure that the water tank completely dries before replacing it in the unit. While manufacturers will each have their own guidance for cleaning and caring for a particular unit, we recommend thoroughly washing your humidifier tank with a mild dish soap. You can also wipe the exterior of your humidifier with a damp cloth to prevent dust build up on the fan components. You should not use soap when cleaning your humidifier’s filter. Most filters can just be rinsed with water, and they should be replaced every 1 to 3 months, based on how often you use your humidifier.

Warranties

Because most humidifiers are considered small home appliances, warranty coverage generally is limited. Many models include one-year limited warranties that cover defects in manufacturing. Some more advanced models, including some ultrasonic humidifiers, increase the warranty period to three years.

Warranties for professionally installed whole-house humidifiers vary considerably when compared with portable models. Some models offer five-year warranties. Be sure to examine the manufacturer’s warranty on a whole-house model to ensure that your investment is covered if a problem arises down the road.

Filling the Magitec Cool Mist Humidifier with water in the lab

The Spruce / Dera Burreson

FAQ
  • What does a humidifier do?

    Humidifiers are appliances that add moisture to the air by producing and releasing mist or steam. They help maintain a set humidity level in your home and prevent the air from getting too dry. There are warm- and cool-air humidifiers (some are capable of both), but how your humidifier operates depends on the type. However, all humidifiers take in air from their surroundings and add moisture to it. Typically, a fan disperses the air into the room to increase the humidity level.

  • Can you put essential oils in a humidifier?

    In short, no. Essential oils can clog and erode cool mist humidifiers which will cause them to malfunction and stop working. You also shouldn't use them in steam vaporizers because the heat could change the chemical makeup of essential oils, which could counteract their scent.

    However, some humidifiers are specifically designed with an aromatherapy tray. Our "best with diffuser" pick, the Levoit LUH-D302-WUS Humidifier for Bedroom, is compatible with essential oil drops, which can be added directly to the water tank. Be sure to consult your humidifier's owner's manual to confirm whether essential oil drops can be added.

  • Where should a humidifier be placed in a bedroom?

    For best results, it’s recommended that you place your humidifier about 3 feet away from a bed. It should also be situated away from walls and electrical appliances that the mist could settle on. The mist nozzle should also be situated toward the center of the room. Some larger units, such as our "best combo" pick, the Dyson Purifier Humidify+ Cool Autoreact, will need to be placed on the floor near your bed. They can even be angled in a corner opposite your bed because their mist output is also stronger than tabletop models.

The Spruce / Michela Buttignol

Why Trust The Spruce?

Emma Phelps is an Updates Writer for The Spruce, specializing in home improvement, decor, and lifestyle. For this roundup, she researched the different humidifier styles and air filters. She then used our test results to compile this list before checking price range, footprint, and our reviews of each product when writing their descriptions. She also considered the best use for each humidifier based on tester feedback and experience. Dr. Ken Spaeth, medical director of the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Center at the North Shore-LIJ Health System in New York, also provided commentary and offered his expertise for this roundup.

What Is The Spruce Approved?

Here at The Spruce, we want to ensure we fully stand behind every product we recommend and that when we say something is the best, we mean it. You might have noticed The Spruce Approved badge next to the products on this list. Every product with this badge has been rigorously tested in person and carefully selected by our expert team of lab testers and editors. In most cases, we buy all these products ourselves, though occasionally, we get samples provided to us directly by companies. No matter how we procure products, they all go through the same tests and must meet the same strict criteria to make the best-of cut.

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Weather and Your Lungs. American Lung Association.

  2. American Academy of Asthma and Immunology. Humidifiers And Indoor Allergies.

  3. The Food and Drug Administration. Use Caution When Giving Cough and Cold Products to Kids.

  4. United States Environmental Protection Agency. A Brief Guide To Mold, Moisture And Your Home. EPA.gov. 2021.

  5. Pullerits, Kristjan et al. Impact Of UV Irradiation At Full Scale On Bacterial Communities In Drinking WaterNpj Clean Water, vol 3, no. 1, 2020. Springer Science And Business Media LLC, doi:10.1038/s41545-020-0057-7

  6. Dyson. Dyson launches first three-in-one purifying humidifying fan, the Dyson Pure Humidify+Cool.

Continue to 9 of 11 below.