What We Like
Easy to fill
Cools and moistens the room quickly
Built-in fan circulates air well
What We Don't Like
Easy to spill
When the air in your home is dry, it can exacerbate sleeping problems, heighten the symptoms of a common cold, cause allergy flare ups, and even damage furniture and wilt plants. To fight these unfavorable occurrences, Honeywell presents its HCM350W Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier. While most humidifiers feature a nozzle which releases a visible stream of mist, Honeywell’s model uses a fan to circulate cool air invisibly, which it claims reinfuses spaces with 40 to 60 percent more moisture. To see just how true Honeywell’s marketing promises ring, we tested the device every night for a week and found that there were some notable qualities that set it apart from the competition. Read on for our verdict.
Setup Process: Couldn’t be easier
We found that the Honeywell HCM350W Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier required little in the way of set up. To start, we simply removed the unit from the box and placed it on the floor where we planned to run it. From there, we removed the water tank—which has a recessed handle for easy access—and the water filter, which is located under the unit’s hard shell. Once we filled the water tank and soaked the filter in cool water (as the user manual instructed), we placed them back in the humidifier, plugged it into the wall, and turned it on. The HCM350W began running right away and we were able to select our preferred setting.
One word of warning: Be careful when trying to move this humidifier.
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Design: Substantial yet straightforward
With a one-gallon water tank, Honeywell’s unit has a pretty considerable footprint, so it’s better suited to the floor than a shelf or table. Because it plugs into the wall, it also needs to be placed near an outlet. Once we found a good spot for it, though, we found the settings were quite intuitive. We didn’t have to guess if we were making the mist stronger because the dial clearly toggles between low, medium, and high settings. The humidifier is available in black or white (each with a removable blue water tank), so you can choose which fits better with your home’s aesthetic.
Some humidifiers leave their water tanks completely exposed, meaning house guests can see all the water droplets that have yet to be wiped clean, and—worse—any mold that’s started growing inside. One of our favorite aspects of the HCM350W’s design is that unless you’re standing directly over it, the external shell blocked the water tank from sight.
One word of warning: Be careful when trying to move this humidifier. When attempting to relocate it, we learned the hard way that it’s easy to spill as the top detached from the bottom and water quickly splashed everywhere. It seems, to us, like the design could benefit from a snap which connects the two parts. That said, you can avoid spillage by emptying the water tank prior to moving the unit to another room or surface.
If you choose to put it in your bedroom, note that the humidifier’s built-in fan makes a low buzzing noise. We found this soothing, rather than distracting, when trying to fall asleep.
Performance: Cool, well-circulated air
Honeywell’s humidifier has built-in technology that sanitizes tap water and kills 99.9 percent of bacteria. It also has a wicking filter which helps to quickly evaporate mist once it’s released into the air. While we can’t speak to the science of its bacteria-eliminating powers, we can attest to its misting capabilities.
Unlike other humidifiers, the Honeywell HCM350W doesn’t produce a visible stream of moisture. Instead, we found that it invisibly circulates moisture. While it’s recommended for small- to medium-sized rooms, you don’t have to worry about adding too much moisture to a room—even if you were to place it in a bathroom or NYC-sized bedroom. According to Honeywell, it’s impossible to over-humidify a room with this kind of evaporative technology as the machine will only add as much moisture as the air around it can hold.
Since it plugs into the wall, the Honeywell can run for 24 hours straight. After a day of use, however, you will need to refill the water tank. If you choose to put it in your bedroom, note that the humidifier’s built-in fan makes a low buzzing noise. We found this soothing, rather than distracting, when trying to fall asleep.
Cleaning and Storing: Some parts are dishwasher-safe
The Honeywell HCM350W’s outside casing is very easy to wipe down and it comes apart from the base so we were able to easily clean the bottom and inside. The water tank has a fairly wide opening, so fitting your hand inside is no problem. Even better, the water tank and tray are both dishwasher-safe. You should place them on the top rack and avoid using detergents. We found that the dishwasher-cleaning method cleaned the tank pretty well and hit tight corners that we may not have been able to reach by hand,
According to Honeywell, it’s impossible to over-humidify a room with this kind of evaporative technology as the machine will only add as much moisture as the air around it can hold.
When it comes to upkeep, you will occasionally have to change the filter. Honeywell says that air quality can deteriorate the longer you use the same filter, so you should replace it at least once a year. Luckily, replacement filters cost roughly $10, so it isn’t costly to keep the unit running smoothly.
Storing this device can be a little cumbersome if you don’t have a large enough closet, but we were able to tuck it under a tall bedside table. Just make sure the unit is cleaned, disinfected, and dried before getting packed away for the season and that you’ve removed the spent filter or you’ll breed a whole lot of mold.
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Price: Just right
The Honeywell HCM350W Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier costs roughly $70, which is a pretty competitive price for an air-purifying product that can run continuously for up to 24 hours. While comparable humidifiers skew a tad less expensive, they can be harder to refill and clean, and they likely run for shorter bouts of time.
Competition: There are more portable, powerful, and visually appealing options
While two strong pros for Honeywell HCM350W are the quality and invisibility of mist, the unit is fairly cumbersome. If you plan to move the humidifier from room to room in your house, you’d likely be better served by a smaller product, like Pure Enrichment’s Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier. The brand’s model is a blue-tinted teardrop, so it’s more visually appealing on a shelf or table than Honeywell’s model, and the petite size takes up far less space. Just keep in mind that the smaller counterpart runs for 16 hours max (as opposed to Honeywell’s 24) and the mist comes out in targeted blasts rather than an invisible cloud.
If you want a product that serves a larger room, the Honeywell HCM350W Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier might not be the best fit for you as it’s intended for small- to medium-sized spaces. For coverage up to 3,600 square feet, the Essick Air Aircare MA1201 is a better pick if you can afford its $105.99 (MSRP) price tag. Along with greater coverage, the unit also features a digital humidistat that you can set to maintain a specific humidity level.
Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best mist humidifiers.
Solid output and efficiency.
With this unit, it’s a matter of weighing aesthetics vs. performance. If the qualities of being quiet and having an invisible stream of mist outweigh the relative bulkiness of the unit, then you’ll be pleased with the humidifiers functionality and output. It’s also quite easy to clean—something most humidifiers fail miserably at.
- Product Name Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier
- Product Brand Honeywell
- Price $61.44
- Weight 9.55 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 17.5 x 9.4 x 11.8 in.
- Color White and Black
- Power Source Plugs in
- Water Capacity One gallon
- Run Time 24 hours
- Warranty Five-year limited warranty