Which humidifier to choose: A detailed guide 2020

How to choose a humidifier, what kind of humidifiers are and which one suits you? We understand.

Selection options

In addition to the method of humidifying the air, important criteria are the area of ​​the room for which the device is designed, the volume of the tank and the flow rate of water (for example, 350 ml per hour). From the last two depends on the time without adding water. It is good if the humidifier can work for at least 10-12 hours: you can get enough sleep on the day off and have time to go to work and return from it on weekdays. As a rule, a water tank with a volume of 6-7 liters is enough for a day, 3.5-4 liters for 12 hours.

Useful functions – regardless of the type of humidifier

  1. Indicator light for adding water. It is much easier to notice such a signal than to determine the water level by eye, especially since not all devices have transparent containers.
  2. Protection against work without water and auto shutdown when capsizing. You can forget to pour water, the device can be accidentally touched and knocked over by a child or pet – all this should be safe for home, child, cat or dog.
  3. Indicator of the need to clean the device. Capacity, nozzles, filters – all this needs periodic cleaning.
  4. Not a function, but important: the design should be easy to carry. It is inconvenient to walk “on the water” with a tank in an embrace, there should be a handle.
  5. If the humidifier can rotate around its axis and distribute steam in different directions, this is convenient.
  6. The presence of night mode. It is especially important for devices with natural moisture in which the fan is noisy, and for devices with bright light indicators and displays that do not light in night mode.
  7. Locking with a loose cover, improper assembly, etc.

Pleasant but optional features

Air purification . If filters are installed in the ultrasonic humidifier, then the manufacturer usually declares this function, if the filters are antibacterial, it declares loudly. But still, a humidifier is not an air purifier; its effect on air purification can only be auxiliary. In case of serious health problems – allergies, asthma – it is recommended that an air purifier is recommended – possibly with a humidification function. Filters must be changed – an additional expense item. All this does not apply to devices with the traditional method of humidification – there filters are an obligatory part of the design, and if they are antibacterial – all the better.

Aromatization of air . Usually, it is recommended that the flavor be poured into a special capsule through which air is taken. You should not use fragrances (as a rule, they have an oil base) in devices without such a thing, pouring them simply into water – ruin the device.

Ionization . It is believed that the enrichment of air with negatively charged particles – ions, which have the property of attracting and retaining moisture, contributes to better air humidification. Optimally, if ionization is turned off.

Water backlight . In this case, the humidifier can also work with a night lamp. It is important that the backlight is turned off if necessary.


Types of Humidifiers

Ultrasonic Humidifiers

This is perhaps the most common type of moisturizer now. The principle of their operation is as follows: the emitter (piezoceramic membrane) vibrates with the frequency of ultrasound when exposed to alternating current. Water poured into a container, under the influence of ultrasonic vibrations on the surface, is broken into tiny particles that the fan pushes out. The steam generated by the ultrasonic humidifier is cold, sometimes called water fog. Some models have a “warm steam” function. Ultrasonic humidifiers can be very simple and inexpensive, which does not prevent them from effectively humidifying the air, but can have all kinds of functions: for example, a steam separator (sometimes called in the English manner: splitter) – a nozzle that divides the steam stream into two parts and directs them in different directions; the ability to choose the level of moisture; steam sterilization function. The built-in hygrometer is almost the norm, when a certain level of humidity is reached in the room, the humidifier goes into sleep mode, and turns on again when it is necessary to “give the park.” Expensive models are equipped with electronic displays on which all operating parameters are displayed. Note that it is better to additionally have a regular separate hygrometer – the built-in ones are not always accurate enough.


An interesting and sometimes necessary thing is a portable ultrasonic humidifier, in which there is no water tank, but there is a “connector” with a thread where an ordinary plastic water bottle is screwed. You can use even a small one, only 0.5 liters. Such a device can be taken with you to work and humidify the air nearby at the workplace, you can use it on a trip, take it to the cottage, etc.

Pluses of an ultrasonic humidifier:

  1. Intensity.
  2. Noiselessness (well, or very quiet operation: the fan pushing out steam has very little power).
  3. Ability to regulate and control the humidity level – built-in hygrometer. A level of 40-50% is considered comfortable for a person. It is better if a smooth adjustment of the humidity level is provided.
  4. Profitability. If you do not use functions such as “warm steam” or “steam sterilization”, then the energy consumption is very modest.

Cons of an ultrasonic humidifier:

  1. If there is no hygrometer and hygrostat,  then the ultrasonic humidifier can “overdo” and create an excess of moisture.
  2. In most models, only purified, demineralized water can be used. That is, you must either buy bottled, or use a filter for the purification of tap water. When using water with a high level of hardness, the following occurs: the salts contained in the sprayed tiny particles of water settle on furniture, on the floor and objects. It is almost impossible to clear surfaces of white plaque. Yes, manufacturers often equip ultrasonic humidifiers with cartridges to soften water, but, firstly, they need to be changed – these are costs, and secondly, they do not always filter water qualitatively. With natural and steam humidification, this does not happen: in the first case, water is not sprayed into the room, in the second – salts are deposited on the heating element, as, for example, in teapots and washing machines.
  3. Small area: it is difficult to find an ultrasonic humidifier, designed, for example, for 40-50 m².

Traditional humidifiers

Traditional, or a humidifier with natural moisture, is a device with a fairly simple device. Air is driven by the fan through a wet filter (it is constantly saturated with water) and comes out moist. Some manufacturers use antibacterial filters in traditional humidifiers (this is a plus for traditional humidifiers, it improves hygiene), as well as ionizers to saturate air with negatively charged ions that attract moisture.

Pros of a natural moisturizer:

  1. The steam is not hot, which means that the device is safe enough.
  2. The air cannot “get wet” because there is no forced steam production. Air takes as much as it can at a steady temperature.
  3. Low power consumption with large coverage: such humidifiers, consuming 18-20 watts, can work in rooms with an area of ​​40-50 m². By the way, if you see such a large coverage area in the characteristics, this does not mean at all that the device is too large for an ordinary room of 15-18 m² (see paragraph 2).
  4. White plaque does not form on surfaces (furniture, for example), which often happens when using an ultrasonic humidifier.
  5. It does not require the use of filtered purified water.

Cons of a natural moisturizer:

  1. Not very high performance compared to ultrasonic and steam methods: if you need to increase the humidity level as quickly as possible, such a device is not suitable. Many buyers who have bought such a device and have a hygrometer complain that within a few days the humidity level rises by 2-3 percent, but this is normal: the process is slow and not only the air is moistened, but also the walls, furniture, carpets, etc. . You can speed up the process by placing the appliance next to a heating radiator: evaporation will be more intense.
  2. The fan can make quite a noise, but in general it depends on the model. We advise you to pay attention to the noise level, and it is better to “listen” to the device in the store, because the humidifier works around the clock, and often it is bought just for bedrooms and children’s rooms to create comfortable conditions for sleeping.
  3. It is necessary to change filters periodically. This is not only an additional item of expenditure, it is a moral burden: you need to understand and remember that it is impossible to exceed the filter’s service life – it is dangerous to health. As a rule, the filter is designed for 2-3 months.  In addition, it may happen that the manufacturer ceases to produce filters for your model.

Steam humidifier

The title says it all: the water in the tank of such a device is heated, the steam goes outside and moisturizes the air. Water is heated using either heating elements or electrodes, but there is only one sense: it will be hot. And it’s wet. And fast!

Pluses of a steam humidifier:

  1. Fast intensive humidification. Steam humidifiers, working at full capacity, are able to raise the humidity level in a room much faster than ultrasonic “colleagues”, not to mention traditional ones. But this is a “double-edged sword”: they too can waterlog, too, thoroughly. Therefore, the presence in the steam humidifier of a hygrostat – a device that turns off the device when the air reaches a certain level of humidity, is strictly necessary, otherwise it will arrange a bath for you.
  2. Contrary to a widespread misconception – a fairly high security. The outgoing steam is not hot, but warm; they cannot be burned. Only the first portion is dangerous – about this, as a rule, there are all kinds of warnings on the case or the lid of the device.
  3. Hygiene: most microorganisms are neutralized by heat treatment, the container is constantly sterilized, there are no filters – bacteria collectors. This means that you do not need to change them.
  4. Efficiency does not depend on the ambient temperature, like a traditional humidifier.
  5. There is no white coating on furniture and other surfaces, as when using an ultrasonic humidifier with untreated water.

Cons of a steam humidifier:

  1. There is no white plaque, but condensation can very well, especially if the device is overdone, and the air temperature in the room is not very high.
  2. The possibility of exceeding a comfortable level of humidity has already been mentioned, but let us say it again. It is in steam humidifiers without a hygrostat. You are afraid to overmoisten – use a hygrometer, and it is better, as already mentioned, to be separate rather than built into the device.
  3. Scale forms on the heating elements: you will have to periodically remove it.
  4. A large water flow rate is 0.6-0.7 liters per hour, so you need to choose either a device with a large tank, or reconcile that its time without adding water is small. Accordingly, the power consumption is also decent – up to 400-500 watts.
  5. When the water boils, the appliance is noisy.

Air washing – how is it different from a humidifier?

Air washing is a hybrid of a traditional humidifier and an air purifier, the device is more functional, powerful (compared to a conventional traditional humidifier) ​​and often more noisy. The sink works like a traditional humidifier, without heating and ultrasound. A drum with plastic discs or rollers, usually with a special antibacterial coating, is placed inside the case. The drum rotates, its discs and rollers are about a third in the water. The fan pumps air from the room into the sink body, where it is cleaned with this drum: dust and other mechanical air pollution are trapped by rollers and discs and immediately washed off, appearing at the bottom of the device in the pan. Humidified purified air comes out.

Very often, filters are not installed at all in air washes, rightly believing that washing off dust, pollen and all contaminants with water is sufficient. Then the sink does not require consumables, but still you need to remove dirty water from the pan daily and add fresh water. Increasingly, modern air washers are supplied with ionizers: ions have an antibacterial effect, remove static electricity (especially true for rooms where there is a lot of equipment) and help to saturate the air with moisture. Of the minuses, one can name the need for hygienic maintenance of the device and noise: nevertheless, the fan works and the drum spins.

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