Going through multiple months of the winter season can bring challenges to your home and lifestyle. The cold air produces dry skin and invites cold and flu bacteria to thrive. Humidifiers help to alleviate a lot of our physical problems that are caused by the cold months. Adding moisture to improve air quality relieves discomforts like dry skin, itching, dry eyes, and nasal congestion. In addition, lack of humidity in the air can cause your furniture to crack and split, as well as cause static electricity every time you touch any type of metal. Investing in a humidifier will improve your quality of life and have you actually enjoying the cold, winter months.
What is a warm mist humidifier?
A warm mist humidifier is a device that adds moisture to the air in the form of warm water vapor. Warm vapor can speed up the process of replenishing the humidity level in a room.
How Does It work?
Warm mist humidifiers have a tank that you fill with water. The water is then heated up to a high temperature to turn the liquid into steam. The steam is then disperse into the room via a fan in the unit. Some models, like ultrasonic humidifiers, operate very quietly due to the technology they use to spin the fan.
Warm Mist vs. Cool Mist Humidifiers
There are several differences when it comes to the benefits and drawbacks of warm mist vs. cool mist humidifiers.
Due to the nature of how warm mist humidifiers work (by boiling water), they are considered to be the healthier option. This is because boiling water kills any bacteria or mold that could be in the water. The quiet operation of warm mist humidifiers is also attractive to a lot of people, because they don’t rely on a noisy fan system that some cool mist humidifiers suffer from. Warm mist can also be more beneficial in the winter months, as the hot moisture can balance out the humidity level of a room faster than cool mist can.
On the one hand, warm mist humidifiers can be a drain on the bank account due to the amount of electricity they require to heat up the water. They also, for the most part, do not use a filter. The drawback to this technology is that the likelihood of releasing grey/white dust into the atmosphere is 100%. This effect can be minimized by getting a warm mist humidifier with a filter in it, or eliminated by only using distilled water in your humidifier (which can be another added expense). Cleaning warm mist humidifiers can also be a bit bothersome and will require some elbow grease, as the heat causes mineral deposits to stain the inside of the tank.
On the other hand, you have the option of cool mist humidifiers, which use a filter to keep the release of grey dust to a minimum, and will also be easier on your wallet, as they don’t require as much electricity to run. A lot of parents favor cool mist humidifiers because they help to avoid hot water accidents that can sometimes be caused by curious children. A downside to cool mist is that it can make the room feel cooler than normal, which is another reason some people prefer warm mist humidifiers for the winter months.
Things to Consider Before Buying One
The question of filter vs. filterless is a tricky one. Warm mist humidifiers will heat up the water and kill bacteria, but they can’t stop grey matter from entering the atmosphere. Cool mist humidifiers usually have a wick filter to eliminate grey dust, but aren’t entirely effective at getting rid of bacteria. The answer lies somewhere in the middle. Some humidifiers offer both warm and cool mist options, as well as a filter. Obviously this is a bit more expensive as the filter will need to be replaced eventually, but it is your best bet if you are looking for a well-rounded option.
Maintenance / Cleaning
Most humidifiers are easy to clean, it is just a bit of a pain to take them apart and actually do it. But if you want to be breathing in clean air, it is essential to clean your tank regularly. Leaving this job to fall to the wayside will invite mold and mildew into the unit, and in the case of warm mist humidifiers, mineral deposits will build up in the tank, staining it and increasing the amount of grey dust that is released into the air. Weekly cleaning of your humidifier is always recommended with a complete filter change ever few months to keep things running smoothly.
Tanks come in a few different capacities, accommodating different room sizes. There are small table top options that will hold 500 ml but still give you around 12 hours of use. The bigger the tank, the more continuous use you can get out of it. Medium sized humidifiers range from 1 – 5 liters and give you an average usage time of around 1 full day, whereas large 5+ litre tanks can run for multiple days without needing to be refilled.
Obviously, cost will factor in to any purchase you make. The price will always go up as the tank size increases, and the more features a humidifier includes will also affect the price. There are nice budget models around $30 – $40 and you can go all the way up to $130 for a large tank humidifier that is outfitted with all the latest technological advancements.
Best 8 Warm Mist Humidifiers to Buy
Honeywell HWM705B Filter-Free Warm Moisture Humidifier Review
A solid model for those on a budget, this warm mist humidifier from Honeywell is quiet and will improve the humidity levels and comfort in your home during the dry months. Filterless and boasting a 1 gallon tank that can run for a full day or multiple nights, it comes with two output modes and is made for medium-sized rooms. The unit will automatically shut off when the tank is empty and a refill light will illuminate to alert you. Fans of essential oils will be happy to hear this unit has a medicine cup for any formulas you would like to add to your mist. The cup sits suspended over the steam, and you should not add the additive to the unit itself. Cleaning the unit should be done weekly to avoid mineral deposit buildup inside the unit. A definite front-runner when it comes to value.
This humidifier holds 1 gallon (about 3.75 liters) of water and can mist for 24 hours.
This is a filterless model, but requires a cleaning once a week, as mineral deposits can build up and impeded operation of the unit.
- Automatic shut off mode
- Budget minded
- Can add essential oils / aromatherapy formula
- Weekly maintenance of unit
- Distilled water recommended
HONEYWELL Filter Free Warm Mist Humidifier Review
While offering basic operations, this humidifier is easy to use and well-priced. Portable and not too heavy, the tank gets around 24 hours of use from almost 4 liters of water to level out the humidity in any small or medium-sized room. Maintenance of the device is not too difficult and should be done weekly as mineral deposits can build up in warm mist humidifiers. The tank detaches from the base and flips upside-down for refilling (and cleaning), which could be a slight problem for elderly consumers. As this humidifier boils the water before dispersing, it ensures that any bacteria that might be in the water is eradicated, which is comforting to know. Safety-wise, you don’t have to worry about it overheating once the tank is empty as the unit will turn off on its own. Adding in any oils or aromatherapy formulas is to be done using the medicine cap on the top of the unit.
This humidifier can give you about a day’s worth of use from an almost 4 litre (1 gallon) tank of water.
There are no filters used in this model as it boils water to remove bacteria.
- Great price
- Unit will turn off once empty
- Can accommodate oils / formulas
- Weekly maintenance of unit to prevent mineral deposits building up
- May be difficult for elderly people to fill and clean
- Distilled water recommended
TaoTronics Warm and Cool Mist Humidifiers Review
TaoTronics might have thought of everything when designing this large humidifier. The tank is housed by an outer shell and holds 5.5 liters for rooms up to 450 square feet. They’ve designed it for top-loading, making it very easy to refill and take apart for cleaning. The unit is customizable as well. You can set the humidity level anywhere between 30 and 95 percent, the temperature between 40 and 60 celsius, timer modes between 1 and 12 hours, and sleep mode will turn off lights and sounds. Safety won’t be a concern as the unit simply shuts off once it is depleted of water. You can tell a lot of thought went into this design and you should have years of use out of this high-quality option.
This is a large tank humidifier holding 5.5 litres (1.4 gallons) of water and can give you anywhere from 16 to 45 hours of use.
No filters are used in this humidifier.
- Excellent design
- High quality humidifier
- Fully customizable
- LED display
- Safety auto shut off feature
- Sleep mode
- Easy to refill and clean
- Cannot add aromatherapy oil to the water
- Distilled water recommended
Vicks VWM845 Warm Mist Humidifier Review
This is a decent humidifier if you are on a budget and looking for something simple to add some moisture to a medium-sized room. The unit can be used with Vicks Vapopads. They give you a dual pad slot, with 8 hours of soothing vapor coming from a single pad, and a medicine cup is also included if you want to use liquid aromatherapy instead. Although not too heavy on features, the tank holds enough water for 24 hours of use and you also get the mandatory auto shut off safety feature. Multiple output settings and a practical handle round out the unit so you can take it anywhere you please.
This model holds 1 gallon of water for 24 hours of use. Aromatherapy can be added to the unit via the attached medicine cup.
There are no filters used with this model.
Good budget model
Good water to usage ratio
Automatic shut off feature
Can add Vicks Vapopads or aromatherapy oils
Regular cleaning is imperative as this model is prone to mineral deposits
Distilled water recommended
TTLIFE Ultrasonic Humidifiers Review
This 5.5 litre large-room humidifier, while a bit on the pricey side, might be one of the smartest investments you can make. The tank opening is on the bottom of the unit, giving you quick access for refills, and making it relatively easy to clean. Dual working modes give you a choice between cool mist for longevity and comfortability, or warm mist for faster absorption and extermination of various bacterial microbes in the water. The remote control works with the LED screen to customize your settings, allowing you full control over the unit. Uniform humidification is achievable with two 360 degree nozzles, and you can fill large rooms quickly with the 550 ml per hour rating. An aroma pad is also supplied if you want to add therapeutic oils, and the ionic resin filter can not only soften the water, but also reduce grey dust.
This humidifier hold 5.5 liters of water, with 40 hours of continuous cold mist output on the low setting, and fills rooms up to 750 square feet.
An ionic resin filter works to soften water and reduce grey dust that might be dispersed with the mist by 90%.
- Fast Dispersion
- Long hours of use on a single tank
- Can add therapeutic oils
- Sleep Mode
- Timer Mode
- Auto Mode
- Auto Shut Off
- Customizable humidity levels
- Ionic resin filter for cleaner air
- Filter replacement down the road
Pureguardian H4810AR Ultrasonic Warm & Cool Mist Humidifier Review
If you want a humidifier that doesn’t need to be refilled often, look no further. This large model from Guardian Technologies holds a massive 2 gallons (7.5 liters) of water and allows you up to 120 hours of uninterrupted use. The humidifier can emit both warm and cool mist, and has front-facing controls that are straightforward to use. You have timer mode choices in increments of 4 hours, 8 hours, or 12 hours, mist levels of low, medium, and high, and an oil tray is included on the back of the unit for you to add aromatherapy oils. Running the unit at night isn’t a problem as its noiseless, you have the option of keeping the humidifier light on or off, and it will shut off once the water level gets low. A Silver Clean Protection system helps keep mold and mildew at bay, but you should still clean it regularly to ensure optimal use.
This large tank can accommodate 2 gallons (7.5 liters) of water, up to 5 days of continuous use, and is for medium to large-sized rooms.
There are no filters used in this humidifier but it does have a Silver Clean Protection system to help fight the growth of mold and mildew.
- Large tank for long hours
- Good value
- Automatically shuts off when water level is low
- Timer modes
- Cool and warm mist
- Aromatherapy oil tray on unit
- 3 Year Warranty
- Distilled water recommended to eliminate grey dust
- Clean regularly as its prone to mildew/mold due to long hours of use
Vogvigo Warm and Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifiers Review
Symptoms of winter’s dry air are largely reduced with this 5.5 litre ultrasonic humidifier from Vogvigo. With a slick design and touch-screen interface (remote control also included), you can set your humidity levels easily and alternate between 360 degree cool and warm mist. An aroma box will come in handy when you want to add some oils for a more therapeutic experience to rooms up to 750 square feet. Lasting anywhere from 12-40 hours, this unit is equipped with a filter to help reduce the amount of grey dust that ultrasonic humidifiers are prone to releasing in the air. Plasma mode release negative ions into the air which can boost your serotonin levels, elevate your mood, and reduce anxiety. A handle on the unit makes it convenient for carrying and flipping over easily to refill or clean. Safety features of an auto shut off when it’s running on empty, and a tank lock is also thrown in to keep your kids from knocking it over.
This is a large tank at 5.5 liters and can give you anywhere from 12-40 hours of use for rooms up to 750 square feet.
A replaceable, built-in ionic generator filter can purify the mist and release negative ions upon dispersion.
- Modern design
- Large tank for long hours of operation
- Aroma box included
- Remote control included
- Filter included to help eliminate grey dust and purify air
- Humidity control
- Timer mode
- Sleep mode
- Auto shut off
- Safety tank lock
- Filter replacement down the road
LEVOIT Cool Mist Humidifier Review
Levoit made this cool mist humidifier for people that are looking for something portable, efficient, and easy on the wallet. Putting out virtually no noise and holding 4.5 liters of water, the low mist setting can give you about 40 hours of use out of a single tank. CE and CTL certified, it has a one-touch control button on the front for setting your mist level (low/medium/high), and the 360 degree nozzle allows you to direct the moisture into the optimal area of your room. Once the water level is depleted, the humidifier shuts off on its own and a light appears informing you it’s time for a refill. Levoit includes a cleaning brush to make maintenance easy, and you also get an aroma box drawer for any essential oils you want to add to the vapor. All in all, a solid choice.
This humidifier holds 4.5 litres of water with around 40 hours of continuous use on the low setting.
There is no filter in this humidifier.
- Simple to use
- CE and CTL certified
- Mist level control
- Auto shut off feature
- Aromatherapy box
- Distilled water recommended
Dry air doesn’t need to be an unsolvable problem. The above list gives you plenty of options for alleviating the many issues caused by dry air. Basic humidifiers will always do a stand-up job, but your situation may call for something that allows you a bit more flexibility and convenience, be it a larger tank, humidity control, or aromatherapy options. Hopefully this article has given you a good idea of what is on the market and what you need to purchase to beat the winter blues.