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Best humidifiers 2022: Relieve dry skin & allergy symptoms with these humidifiers

woman sleeping next to her humidifier
(Image credit: Getty images)

The best humidifiers on the market can help to increase the humidity of a room, combating the irritating effects that dry air can have on allergy and asthma symptoms. Dry air can cause a number of uncomfortable issues, including inflamed mucous membranes in the throat and nasal passages, skin rashes and dry, flaky skin. Air with too much moisture, on the other hand, can create the perfect environment for fungal and bacterial growth, which can also cause irritation in those with allergies and asthma. 

What the expert says

“Humidifiers add moisture to indoor air and are often used in homes to relieve the physical discomforts of dry nose, throat, lips, and skin caused by drier indoor air. However, it’s important to note, excess moisture can also encourage the growth of biological organisms, including mold in the home.” - Tim Carroll, Environmental Protection Agency 

Taylor Gillespie, of the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), also mentions that humidifiers can help with dry air. “Humidifiers are commonly used in homes to relieve the physical discomforts from dry air such as dry nose, throat, lips, and skin,” she says. “However, excess moisture in the air can encourage the growth of biological organisms such as dust mites and molds and cause additional problems such as allergy and asthma symptoms. To avoid adding too much moisture to the air, keep indoor relative humidity levels at or below 50%. If water condenses on windows, walls, or pictures, relocate the humidifier, lower the humidity setting, or reduce its use.”

You can read our feature on whether humidifiers help with allergies to see if a humidifier is the right choice for your needs. 

There are two kinds of humidifiers: ultrasonic humidifiers vibrate and send water droplets into the air, increasing humidity, whereas evaporative humidifiers heat the water and release water vapor for the same result. These are also known as cool mist and warm mist humidifiers, respectively. Considerations such as the temperature and size of the room you want to humidify, amount of noise produced and the size of the water tank can impact which humidifier may be best for you. 

Ultrasonic humidifiers may cause more condensation in a cold room, as the water droplets are more likely to condense on surfaces instead of dispersing into the air. This can encourage mold growth, which can lower indoor air quality further by releasing spores into the air. You can read more about whether air purifiers can help with mold and consider whether it is worth purchasing an air purifier as well as, or instead of, a humidifier.   

Unlike the best air purifiers, humidifiers do not clean the air, but release water droplets or vapor into the air to combat dry indoor air. Studies indicate that ultrasonic humidifiers can release small amounts of particulate matter into the air, lowering indoor air quality. Experts recommend that you keep your humidifier clean, and use distilled water as opposed to tap water to reduce the amount of minerals released into the air. The overall consensus from studies and reviews is that more research needs to be done in order to truly decide how beneficial humidifiers can be. With this in mind, we’ve rounded up the best humidifiers for you, so you can make an informed choice.

Gillespie adds that caution should be taken when using humidifiers, in order to keep your air as clean as possible. “Humidifiers are not air cleaners,” she says. “In fact, some humidifiers have the potential to release microorganisms and minerals from their water tanks into the air. Ultrasonic and impeller - or ‘cool mist’ - humidifiers generally appear to produce the greatest release of both microorganisms and minerals. On the other hand, evaporative and steam vaporizer humidifiers generally distribute fewer, if any, microorganisms or minerals into the air.” 

Best humidifiers

Dyson AM10 humidifier review: image shows Dyson AM10 humidifier humidifier

(Image credit: Future)
The best humidifier overall, and it's stylish too

Specifications

Smart enabled/compatibility?: No
Water tank capacity: 3.5L
Run time: 2 hours +
Dimensions: 8.7 x 9.4 x 22.8 inches

Reasons to buy

+
Doubles as a fan
+
Very quiet

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Small water tank

The Dyson AM10 is a sleek model that features a stylish loop design and a clear water tank.

What users say

Amazon reviews give the Dyson AM10 an average score of 4.2 out of 5, however 70% of them are five star reviews. Positive reviews commented on how well the ultraviolet light worked to kill bacteria in the water, as well as how easy it was to use. Negative reviews cited that the machine is quite complicated to set up and clean, and others commented on how small the water tank was, which means that you have to fill it up more often than other humidifiers.

It acts as both a humidifier and a fan, featuring 10 levels, and will look good in any office or living area space. With some great functions, it enables you to set it for sleeping, while an auto mode gives you a choice of your preferred humidity level. However, it’s one of the most expensive models on the market and its water tank is relatively small - only holding 3.75 quarts.

One of the best things about this Dyson Humidifier is that before the water gets vaporized it purifies the water - getting rid of bacteria and minerals with its ultraviolet light. This is one of its best qualities, especially for those who are worried about the air quality in their house. It’s easy to refill the water and our tester found that it ran continuously for 12 hours before it needed to be refilled. This model is better for smaller rooms up to 172 square feet.

Unlike other humidifiers we’ve tested, the Dyson AM10 Humidifier doesn’t have multiple mist settings. Instead, it asks you to target a humidity level. The humidifier will run until your set humidity is reached and regulate the humidity from there. Humidity levels can be set to between 30 and 70 per cent. However, this humidifier also aims to regulate your desired temperature and will change according to the temperature in the room. Our tester also noted that the noise on any level was never louder than her air conditioner. 

This Dyson humidifier is a great investment piece, especially as it doubles as a fan, which means that in the summer months it won’t sit dormant. 


Honeywell HEV685W review: image shows Honeywell HEV685W humidifier

(Image credit: Future)
The best humidifier for performance

Specifications

Smart enabled/compatibility?: No
Water tank capacity: 3 gallons
Run time: 24 hours
Dimensions: 23.23 x 15.35 x 16.38 inches

Reasons to buy

+
Two large water tanks
+
Humidifies quickly 

Reasons to avoid

-
Loud
-
Bulky  

This humidifier is great for big rooms due to its large water tank, which holds up to three gallons of water. 

What users say

Reviews for the Honeywell Top Fill Cool Moisture humidifier on Amazon rate the model 4.5 out of 5, with the majority giving 4 or 5 star reviews. Happy customers comment on how quickly and effectively it humidifies a room. Others like that it is an evaporative humidifier, so no visible mist comes out. Negative reviews write about how expensive replacement filters can be.

However, it’s a loud and bulky model, so it’s not ideal for an office or sleeping environment. This humidifier features a fairly basic design, with fewer features than its competitors at this price range.

This model is easy to set up and it comes with two flat paddles, which are easy to install and two water tanks. As an evaporative humidifier, the model sucks in dry air from the room via a wet filter and then pumps out warmer air in order to change the humidity of the room. If you’re looking for a high tech humidifier, then you might want to look elsewhere, as this model only has two buttons to control its humidity and fan speed. The fan speed can be either fast, medium or low, which is also its quiet setting. With no LED screens, being able to actually set the humidity level you’re after can be confusing.

This humidifier performs well. In our at-home testing, it reached up to 63% humidity on its highest level, while on the lowest level it reached up to 53%. As its two water tanks are so large, it can also run continuously for 24 hours on its lowest setting before needing to be filled up again. 


Image shows a front view of the humidifier.

(Image credit: Future)
The best water tank for bedrooms

Specifications

Smart enabled/compatibility: No
Water tank capacity: 1.5 gallon
Run time: 36 hours
Dimensions: 24.2 x 31.4 x 34 cm

Reasons to buy

+
Large water tank
+
Ultra-quiet 

Reasons to avoid

-
Auto setting not accurate
-
Warm mist relatively hot  

The Levoit LV600HH humidifier has some interesting features, including three mist settings, an essential oil diffuser for aromatherapy and a dual nozzle that twists 360 degrees. 

What users say

Customers on Amazon gave the Levoit LV600HH humidifier an average score of 4.5 out of 5 and mentioned its humidity levels and remote control the most. Positive reviews cite its high output of mist and how easy it is to clean, while negative reviews mention that the warm mist can get quite hot and how the auto setting isn’t accurate.

As a smaller model, it’s ultra-quiet but is capable of holding a large amount of water, which means that it can run for up to 36 hours. 

This humidifier is great for larger rooms that measure between 430 to 753 square feet. The built-in water tank is see-through, which means that  you always know how  much water you have left in your tank. Able to sit on your worktop or tuck under a table, it’s a little tricky to fill up. However, this humidifier is ready to use as soon as you get it out of the box, with nothing to set up aside from filling the water.

With a small LCD display on the front, it also has various buttons that enable you to control the mist level, humidity and how long the humidifier will run for. The mist function has three settings going from low to high, while the humidity button enables you to change the percentage of humidity in the air. During testing, we found that even on the highest mist level, the humidifier didn’t need a refill until the next day, running for more than 17 hours. Meanwhile, the nifty remote control means that you can control the humidifier from up to 16 feet away. 

Usefully, this humidifier is both easy to operate and extremely quiet.


Elechomes HTJ-2119 cool mist humidifier review: image shows Elechomes HTJ-2119 cool mist humidifier close up on timer

(Image credit: Future)
The best humidifier with a remote control

Specifications

Smart enabled/compatibility: No
Water tank capacity: 1.2 gallons
Run time: 35 hours
Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 11.5 inches

Reasons to buy

+
Remote control
+
Performs well

Reasons to avoid

-
Leaks water on highest setting
-
Needs weekly cleaning 

This is a small and attractive model that features touch screen buttons and a large display that shows the temperature and humidity levels. 

What users say

The Elechomes HTJ-2119 Ultrasonic Humidifier fares well on Amazon, featuring a 4.5 out of 5 rating. Many like how sleek the humidifier was, along with its very low noise. Other positive reviews loved how it could be controlled via remote control and how easy it was to set a specific humidity level. Negative reviews concentrated on how small the handle of the model was, and others said that the lights on the model distracted them at night.

The humidifier pumps out a cool mist, while the built in humidity sensor enables you to set your preferred humidity level. Other functions include a child lock, sleep mode and the option to add essential oils.

This model is sleek, but tall, so you’ll need around a foot of height if you want to tuck this into a corner or under furniture. Filling the tank is fairly easy and it performs best in a medium sized room or house – or anything that equates to 322 to 528 square feet. The buttons on the display are easy to use and very self explanatory, while the remote control can also control the humidifier as well. 

The highest mist setting can raise the humidity levels in a medium sized room up to 69% in just under an hour, while the humidity target can be adjusted so you never feel uncomfortable with the humidity levels in the room. However, be careful that the water doesn’t leak on the highest setting - our reviewer had a pool of water escape when it was tested. The aroma pad is also a nice extra, enabling you to add essential oils to the pad that the humidifier then emits with the mist, giving an extra scent to the air. 


Levoit Classic 300s Dehumidifier review: image shows Levoit Classic 300s Dehumidifier at home

(Image credit: Future)
The best humidifier for easy cleaning

Specifications

Smart enabled/compatibility: Yes, via WIFI
Water tank capacity: 1.5 gallons
Run time: up to 60 hours
Dimensions: 24.5 x 19.2 x 34 cm

Reasons to buy

+
Connects to app
+
Good humidity levels  

Reasons to avoid

-
Built-in humidity sensor is sensitive
-
Needs to be cleaned regularly 

The only smart humidifier on our list, the Levoit Classic 300S humidifier connects to the VeSync app, which enables you to control the mist levels and notifies you when it needs cleaning. 

What users say

The Amazon reviews for the Levoit Classic 300S humidifier scores an impressive 4.6 out of 5 with many happy customers commenting on how quiet it is and how easy it is to clean, because of its wide opening at the top of the humidifier. Negative reviews focused on how the humidifier was too sensitive and that the auto mode didn’t work as well as other models.

A medium sized sleek model, the clear water tank sits on the top, giving you a clear indication of how much water is left.

Perfect for small or medium sized rooms, the humidifier will need some assembling, but it's not a complicated affair. With a large LED display, it clearly indicates the humidity level, while the buttons for mist levels, night mode and humidity levels sit around this.  The connecting app is easy to download and connects via WiFi. Once downloaded, the app enables you to switch between the manual, auto and sleep modes. You can also set a timer and change the humidity levels via the app.

This humidifier is easy to clean and its humidity levels perform well on both the high and middle mist setting, climbing to a 68% level within two hours on the highest setting. Another quiet model, it will last for 19 hours on a high setting, but 60 on a lower setting. However, the built-in humidity sensor is quite sensitive and the model does need to be cleaned regularly to avoid bacteria getting into the water. 

We also like the aromatherapy option on this humidifier. We added six drops of strongly-scented tea tree oil to the aroma pad and enjoyed the lightly-scented air in our room an hour later. Note that six drops is more than the recommended 2-3 drops.

How to maintain your humidifier for optimum performance

The best humidifiers are great at ensuring the air quality is maintained in your home, but there are some best practise guidelines you should follow to ensure they are running at their best. Tim Carroll, a representative from the Environmental Protection Agency, explained to Live Science the best ways to keep your humidifier maintained to ensure it runs smoothly:

• You should empty the tank of the humidifier, wipe all of the surfaces dry and refill the water in portable humidifiers daily. This will help to reduce the growth of microorganisms.

• Try to use water with a low mineral content in order to prevent the build-up of unwanted minerals in the tank. This will also reduce the potential dispersal of minerals into the air.

• You should aim to clean portable humidifiers every third day.

• Clean and dry the humidifier thoroughly when storing the product or when it is being used infrequently.

• Do not humidify to indoor relative humidity levels exceeding 50 percent.

• Do not allow the area around the humidifier to become damp or wet.

• Follow any specific manufacturing instructions regarding use, cleaning, and maintenance.

Sarah is a freelance writer - writing across titles including Woman&Home, Fit&Well, The Independent, LiveScience, and the BBC in the UK. She covers a variety of subjects, including trends in beauty, business, and wellness - but her biggest passions are health and fitness. She can normally be found trying out the trendiest fitness class or interviewing an expert about the latest health trends. 

With contributions from