What We Like
Attractive modern design
Quiet and efficient
Doubles as a diffuser
What We Don't Like
Requires frequent refilling
Steam tube cap isn’t secured
Levoit is a California wellness brand that specializes in humidifiers, air purifiers, and water filters—all with sleek design aesthetics. We tested the brand’s LV550HH Hybrid Ultrasonic Humidifier to see if its performance is on-par with its looks. See if the highly rated humidifier’s small footprint, special features, and ultrasonic diffuser were enough to upgrade the dry mountain air in our small home.
Setup Process: Intuitive
Aside from removing a protective film from the included remote, this humidifier is ready to go out of the box. Just add water.
The bulk of the volume of this slim unit is the 1.4-gallon reservoir, which lifts out easily via the built-in handle for filling. Most humidifiers recommend using distilled water to eliminate the possibility of water mineral residues, but we (and we imagine most people not wanting to make an extra purchase) used our moderately hard well water to fill the unit.
It’s difficult to screw up this part of the process, but we did, attempting to fill the reservoir via the steam exhaust port, only to realize the reservoir wasn’t filling, before reading the very clear directions. Instead, just remove the reservoir cap near the bottom and fill at least half full. Then, replace the cap and place the reservoir back into the unit. Thankfully, when flipped upside-down, the unit sat flat in our sink, making the fill hands-off, unlike some other units we’ve used.
Once filled, the only remaining step is choosing a location for the humidifier. We experimented with different locations in different rooms, eventually settling on a dresser in our bedroom since we valued the air quality most for while sleeping. Keep in mind that some water spillage is inevitable with humidifiers, so if placing it on a wood surface as we did, you may want to place something under the unit such as a towel or pad.
We’ve had other humidifiers in the past, most of which were more clinical-looking and less attractive, so we’d hide them in a corner. This unit is more attractive and compact, which allowed us to place it up on a dresser where we felt it was more effective. The only limitation was the roughly 3-foot AC cord; we needed an extension cord to reach the plug, which was closer to floor level.
Operation: Simple controls for two-way humidifying
As the name Hybrid implies, there are two modes to the Levoit: warm and cool mist. Most humidifiers these days are some version of a cool mist humidifier, whereas warm mist humidifiers technically boil the water and release it as steam.
As the name Hybrid implies, there are two modes to the Levoit: warm and cool mist.
In theory, this releases a purer steam distillate to improve air quality, but we mostly operated the unit’s cool function, as we weren’t concerned with our water quality. Plus, the water seemed to last longer via the “cool” method. Perhaps we’d prefer the warm option in the dead of winter when no one wants to be feeling anything “cool” if they don’t have to, but we didn’t feel either mode affected the perceived temperature of our rooms in either direction.
The controls are relatively intuitive and give you enough options to run the unit the way you prefer, without making it overly complicated to start and use quickly. We mostly ran the unit on “Auto,” which uses the room temperature and built-in hygrometer (humidity sensor) to try and achieve an ideal humidity.
Typically, the lower the room temperature, the higher the recommended humidity to feel comfortable. So because we keep our house cool and the air is very dry where we live (high in the Rocky Mountains), “Auto” kept the unit running pretty much constantly. Some online reviewers complained that the unit shut off too frequently since the sensor is right at the base of the humidifier.
It is true that the entire room may not reach the set humidity level before shutting off because of the sensor’s location. You can also set a timer for the desired amount of humidifying, but we found this the least useful option since we didn’t have a sense of how long was long enough. Given how dry our air is and how quietly it runs (hence the “ultrasonic”), we never really felt the need to shut the unit off.
The higher mist settings depleted the reservoir faster, so we mostly ran ours at the lower end of the spectrum to reduce the frequency of filling.
The mist level settings have a visually obvious effect, increasing or decreasing the amount of mist. Not surprisingly, we found that the higher mist settings depleted the reservoir faster, so we mostly ran ours at the lower end of the spectrum to reduce the frequency of filling.
Design: Apple-like form factor and looks
The Levoit humidifier borrows more than a few of its design cues from Apple, and that’s a good thing. The predominantly white color palette with silver accents, as well as the glass-clear hard plastic surrounding a small, modern digital display is so similar, you could mistake it for a new iMac. Even the buttons built flat into the face of the unit resemble an old iPod’s controls.
Mist humidifiers have been around for years, but the design makes this one feel new and exciting. The digital display is easy to read, and the control icons are also well-designed, intuitive, and consistent between remote and on-unit touch panel.
All of the unit’s features are packed into a relatively small package, which allows for a wider range of placement options than you have with bulkier units. It’s also attractive enough to be left “on display” in a room. Other humidifiers we’ve tried in the past had us looking for a place to hide the unit where it would be out of sight but still effective.
The fold-away handle makes the filling process less awkward, but the fact that the steam tube cap isn’t held in place at all and can just fall out if tipped or flipped, as when filling, seems like an oversight. Overall, however, the product feels more “designed” than it does “manufactured.”
Performance: Multi-directional vapor that works quickly
While design matters, it still remains secondary to performing the primary function of a humidifier: increasing the moisture in the air in your home. The Levoit Hybrid appeared to perform that function well, especially in smaller rooms such as our bedroom, where we primarily used this unit.
It was hard to trust the “objective” measurement of the unit’s built-in sensor since it is located right at the base of the unit, but it was still satisfying to watch the measured humidity climb quickly after turning on the unit. Still, we never got close to the recommended 70 percent for our house temperature since our baseline humidity hovers around 35 percent.
In our 12 x 12-foot bedroom, the effect was immediately noticeable, especially when we ran it on Auto through the night.
Running the unit in our open kitchen/living room area seemed to stretch the product’s maximum square footage of 750, but in our 12 x 12-foot bedroom, the effect was immediately noticeable, especially when we ran it on Auto through the night.
The nested steam nozzles in the cap help disperse the vapor in different directions, which we found helpful when our unit was near a wall or other items on our dresser.
Special Feature: “Aroma” tray for essential oils
The popularity of aromatherapy and essential oils have created a problem for manufacturers of humidifiers, many of which can be damaged by users adding essential oils to the water reservoir. Additionally, diffusers (which are built to have essential oils added to the water) seem like very similar products to humidifiers, so it makes sense that consumers would only want one.
Luckily, Levoit’s model does more than just slap on a warning label telling you not to add essential oils to the reservoir. The built-in “Aroma” tray and included essential oil pads give you the aromatherapy benefits of a diffuser along with the regular humidifying functions.
Thanks to some oil-obsessed friends, we own multiple diffusers, and we found that the aroma coming from the Levoit was just as strong as the smaller diffuser units designed for that purpose.
Cleaning: Simple process with the included brush
Even after a few weeks of testing with our not particularly hard well water, there wasn’t much need for cleanup. However, the recommended procedure outlined in the Levoit User Manual wasn’t too much of a hassle.
The unit includes a tiny bristle brush for cleaning that’s very helpful as long as you keep track of it. We managed to lose ours in a drawer and temporarily forget where we placed it—an argument for having it clip to the back of the unit, perhaps.
The cleanup process is simple, consisting mostly of rinsing parts, soaking them in white vinegar, and using the brush as needed. Again, our unit didn’t get very dirty, but the compact, efficient design seems like it could create some hard-to-clean spots if you did develop any serious mineral scale buildup.
While our unit seemed like it was ready to go for another few weeks without needing cleaning, the mineral content of your water will likely dictate how often you need to clean the unit. We also primarily used the cool mist setting; because the warm mist setting involves boiling the water, it can create mineral buildup faster. Additionally, if you use the unit less and leave water sitting inside, you may be more susceptible to mold growth. Levoit recommends cleaning once a month.
Price: Worth it if you value design
With a list price of $119.99, the Levoit isn’t exactly cheap. In this case, you are paying for the design as much as the humidifying capacity and features, which can be had cheaper if all you care about is functionality.
If you value design and looks in your appliances, the Levoit is hard to beat for the price.
However, if you appreciate the attention to design and want a humidifier you don’t have to hide with lots of welcome features, the Levoit Hybrid is an attractive piece that can be a feature in a room rather than just another ugly plastic appliance.
Levoit LV550HH Hybrid Ultrasonic Humidifier vs. LV450CH Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier
For significantly less than its “hybrid” cousin, you can get the Levoit Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier, which drops the warm mist functionality but retains most of the good looks and performance of the Hybrid model.
Because we mostly used the cool mist functionality of the hybrid, it would hard to justify the additional cost for a feature we didn’t value, but the hybrid is a decidedly better-looking unit. Also, the Hybrid can sometimes be found for less than $100 online, making the difference a little more palatable.
Yes, buy it!
In a product landscape of very clinical-looking humidifiers, the Levoit LV550HH Hybrid Ultrasonic Humidifier stands out and comes in a form factor much more compact than its competitors with similar performance. If you value design in your appliances, the Levoit is hard to beat for the price.
- Product Name LV550HH Hybrid Ultrasonic Humidifier
- Product Brand Levoit
- MPN LV550HH
- Price $119.99
- Product Dimensions 11 x 7.7 x 12.6 in.
- Water Tank Capacity 1.4 gal / 5.5 L
- Power Supply AC 120V, 60Hz
- Rated Power 110W
- Effective Range 430–753 ft² / 40–70 m²
- Max Cool Mist Output 300 mL/h
- Max Warm Mist Output 450 mL/h
- Warm Mist Temp 104°F / 40°C
- Warranty 1 year, limited