If you have sinusitis, then you know how painful it is, and how hard it can be to get rid of. The swelling of the paranasal sinuses can be caused by an infection or allergy, causing headaches and facial pain/pressure. For pain, inhaling steam can be a great way to find relief, and humidifiers can help nasal congestion by adding moisture to the air. To get the best results, you need one of the best humidifiers.
Benefits of Humidifiers for Sinus Sufferers
Humidifiers release steam or water vapor into the air to increase humidity, which can be a huge part in the treatment of sinus problems. What’s great about air with a higher level of moisture, is that it can help relieve pain, nasal congestion, and inflammation. The tissues of the nasal mucosa are incredibly delicate, and reducing inflammation can provide nearly-instant relief.
Quick Guide – Our Top Picks
Types of Humidifiers
There are two types of cool mist humidifiers: evaporative and ultrasonic. These are made to disperse a cool spray/mist into the air, typically released at room temperature. They work by pushing a cool mist through the air, as the dry air is taken into the humidifier, passing through the wick filter. At times, it may be necessary to buy a replacement wick, as these will wear out over time. Moisture is then evaporated by a fan, making sure all impurities are trapped, making the air you breathe very clean.
Warm mist humidifiers are made to create a warm moist environment from heated water, which is perfect for dry and cold weather. The water is heated to a boil until it begins to steam, releasing into the air. Some even come with mineral filters that work to trap water deposits and will require replacement every so often. Many also feature a humidistat to let you know your room’s humidity level so that you can adjust it to your liking.
These are quite different from the rest, utilizing a ceramic diaphragm which vibrates at an ultrasonic frequency to make water droplets which leave the unit in the form of a cool fog. However, they’re also the most modern products, working extremely fast. Much like the cool mist models, these work by the power of a fan forcing the mist out, but there are some which don’t include fans. This makes it very quiet, which is ideal for nighttime use. Due to their low-maintenance and bacteria-free characteristics, they’re perfect for sinusitis sufferers or allergy prone people.
These heat/boil the water, letting the resulting steam and moisture into the air around it. Many people find relief from adding a medicated inhalant to the steam to help with sinusitis. These do require more energy than the designs mentioned above, and it’s particularly important to pick a high-quality model as cheaper models risk overheating.
Humidifiers for Bad Sinus Compared
Different Sizes of Humidifiers
If you’re struggling with sinusitis and find it keeps coming back, you may need every part of your home to have a good amount of humidity. These are quite large, relatively speaking, and attach to the supply line or furnace, ensuring every inch of your entire home is covered.
If you’re only going to be in one room while using your humidifier, like your bedroom or office, then you aren’t going to need a whole house model, most likely. These are relatively small and also more affordable than the previous type. They’re not quite as portable as personal models but are still easy to take with you and are fantastic humidifiers for those with dry skin. These usually cover anywhere from 25 to 499 square feet, but some can go higher than that.
These humidifiers typically only reach a distance of 25 to 100 square feet and are ideal if you’re the only one using it or are traveling with it. These are generally small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and come connected to bottles of water to make them ultra-portable.
Choosing Humidifiers for Sinus Congestion
There are humidifiers for all types of situations and environments. If you’re a frequent traveler and need sinus relief, there are small models which connect to disposable water bottles, so they don’t take up valuable suitcase space. If you need a humidifier for a single room, or if you need one for the entire home, there are models for that, too.
You can also choose between warm and cool mist models. Warm mist humidifiers can combat any bacteria or mold that may try to develop, and also collect any leftover minerals from the heated water. Cool mist humidifiers don’t need as much energy, are less expensive and aren’t as hazardous.
Size of the Room
As I mentioned briefly up above, it’s essential to take into consideration the size of the room you’ll be humidifying, as each one is made for a certain amount of space. If you purchase a whole-home humidifier and are using it in a small hotel room, you’re going to have way too much humidity in the air. On the other end of the spectrum, if you get one that’s too small for what you need, it’s not going to reach far enough, and humidity will be too low.
If you have sinus issues, you’ve probably heard about white and/or gray dust and how much it can aggravate them. Believe it or not, many humidifiers do not come with a filter, causing this dust to also disperse through the air. Ultrasonic models are notorious for lacking filters, while warm mist humidifiers will practically all come with them.
Many people out there add in medication or essential oils to their humidifier’s water to aid in soothing symptoms. If this is what you have in mind, then look for a model specifically made to help diffuse these medicinal aids. Certain designs come with special cups where the unit draws from the medicine, so you don’t even have to add it to the water!
Water Tank Capacity
Water tank capacity is commonly mistaken as the water tank size, referring to how much water it can hold. The capacity is actually in regards to the maximum moisture output a model produces every 24 hours. Each model will vary in terms of water tank capacity, so it’s important to know the size of the room you’ll be using it in.
Ease of Use, Setup & Maintenance
Everyone wants to buy a product that is easy to operate. Otherwise, it’s going to cost unnecessary time and effort that may sway you from using it as frequently as you’d like. When you’re dealing with sinus issues, the last thing you want is to be struggling to figure out your humidifier.
One of my favorite features is automation instead of manual operation. While these may cost a bit more, they’re much more convenient, analyzing the air and producing the exact level of humidity needed to keep you feeling relief. Instead of having to babysit the water levels, these models also automatically turn off when the water runs out, avoiding overheating.
Setup should also be a simple process and take no more than a couple of minutes to get going. You need instant relief and relaxation, and struggling with this isn’t going to help.
Maintenance shouldn’t take too much effort and be quick and easy to clean. If the unit is dirty, it can quickly become the perfect home for bacteria, mold, and other potentially harmful organisms to grow. This can not only irritate your sinuses further but possibly cause other serious issues to your health. With that being said, they should be regularly and thoroughly cleaned.
Look for models which feature large water tank openings so you can easily access the interior of the humidifier, and other parts that can be easily taken apart to place in the dishwasher. If you can drain, rinse and dry it every day, that would be ideal. Cleaning it with vinegar weekly can also help keep it sanitary.
Many use their humidifiers at night while they’re sleeping, meaning that noise is an important factor, especially if you need a humidifier for your baby. Not only that but if you’re using it in a public space or a common area like the living room, you don’t want it buzzing loudly.
Evaporative humidifiers are usually the loudest because they have moving parts and use fans to generate airflow. Warm mist humidifiers are traditionally less noisy than cool mist models, and ultrasonic humidifiers are the quietest options as they produce ultrasonic sound waves at a frequency which is higher than the human ear can hear.
While all humidifiers essentially do the same job, some go above-and-beyond and add in some additional features. An oil diffuser is one of the most popular, which let you add in oils to your humidifier, which can provide you with some aromatherapeutic benefits. A timer is also a handy extra feature, which enables you to set the humidifier to operate for a specific amount of time before turning off on its own. A safety auto shutoff is also included on some models, turning off once the tank runs low or out of water to prevent overheating or short-circuiting.
Price vs. Usage
Price is usually a factor in most of our purchases, and humidifiers are no exception. However, if you’re going to be using yours frequently, it’s probably worth it to purchase a more expensive model as it’s going to last longer and provide you with benefits many cheaper models wouldn’t. However, if you’re only going to use yours once every couple of months or so, you may want to opt for a more budget-friendly design that doesn’t need to withstand heavy use.
While the models I’ve covered last for a long time, you never know if the manufacturer has made an error, or the shipping process has damaged it in some way. For these exact situations, you need a solid warranty to make sure you’re covered. A 1-year warranty is a good minimum for what you should be looking at, but there are certain models which come with a lifetime warranty, and that attests to the quality of what you’re receiving.
Best Humidifiers for Sinus Problems Reviewed
1. FridaBaby 3-in-1
Top Pick for Bedrooms
|Water Tank Capacity||0.5 Gallons|
|Room Coverage (sq. ft)||320|
While the FridaBaby 3-in-1 Humidifier may look cute, it’s much more than looks. The compact little humidifier is the perfect device for a baby nursery due to how gentle and small it is. However, it can also be used very well for aromatherapy and overall relaxing and soothing the sinuses.
The model is a cool mist humidifier, which is one of the safest kinds for use around children. As it uses only a minimal amount of energy, it’s also very budget friendly. If you do decide to use it for aromatherapy, make sure you’re using actual aromatherapy-grade essential oils. If you’re not sure where to get some, BreatheFrida Vapor Drops do the job just fine, made specifically for that purpose. “Aromatherapy oils may activate certain areas of your brain, which plays a role in your emotions,” says Web MD. While they’ve been known to improve our mood, experts also believe they cause a response in other parts of the body, including the skin and joints.
As I mentioned briefly above, cool mist humidifiers often use ultrasonic vibrations which work to transform water into a mist. The mist feels light, cool, and refreshing, which is perfect for dry or sensitive sinuses. With a 12-hour runtime, you can use it during the day or for a whole night’s sleep without worry that it will run out of water. However, if for some reason it does happen to run out, the auto-stop feature will turn off the machine to prevent overheating or other safety threats from occurring.
Covering up to 320 square feet, it will easily disperse throughout an entire bedroom. If you feel you need extra mist, however, simply adjust it. You can choose from “Gentle Mist” all the way to “Tropical Rainforest.” If you’re using it in the dark, you can choose to turn the nightlight feature on and enjoy another layer of visual relaxation through a range of colors that are sure to create a soothing ambiance.
Preparation is easy, as all you need to do is unscrew the water cap and fill with water and essential oils if you’d like. Then, plug it into an outlet and twist the power and mist adjuster knob to control the mist level. Coming with a lifetime warranty, you can rest assured you’re always covered.
2. Pure Enrichment MistAire
Great for Small Rooms
|Water Tank Capacity||1.5L|
|Room Coverage (sq. ft)||250|
|Warranty||Yes, 2 years|
The MistAire Pure Enrichment Humidifier is the perfect option if you’re looking to humidify one room at a time. This model is also a cool mist design, which is extremely safe to use in the day or nighttime. The 1.5-liter water tank isn’t huge, but again, this is explicitly made for single-room (small to medium) use. If your office has dry air, or perhaps your bedroom, then the MistAire would be an excellent addition.
With 16 hours of constant operation, you don’t have to worry about getting up to refill it in the middle of the night. Sleep easy, knowing that this machine is designed to run for long periods. Should you need to adjust the level of mist, use the speed adjuster to change the moisture level to your liking. You also have the option of turning the mist nozzle up to a full 360 degrees, positioning the mist in the exact direction you need it. If you do happen to fall asleep for too long or get distracted, and the water level gets low, the unit will automatically shut off.
As with anything, the level of noise output is important to consider no matter if it’s in a nursery, your bedroom, or living room. Due to the lack of moving parts in the MistAire, you can count on it being whisper-quiet. In fact, due to its quiet operation and the included glowing nightlight, you may feel inclined to drift off to sleep the moment you turn it on.
Finally, as the humidifier doesn’t have a filter, cleaning and maintenance are extremely easy and straightforward. As it’s so lightweight, filling it is also a breeze. The only real downside I can think of is that sometimes the rotating mist nozzle is stubborn, allowing for you to only slightly turn it.
3. Aprilaire 400M
Best Whole House Humidifier for Sinuses
|Water Tank Capacity||64.35L|
|Room Coverage (sq. ft)||4,000|
|Warranty||Yes, 2 years|
“Humidity is the second most important factor in determining your home’s comfort levels. But improving comfort levels is only one of the great benefits of whole house humidifiers; they also do a great job at protecting our health,” states Jerry Kelly Heating and Air. There is indeed an array of health benefits that come from these humidifiers, including the relief of sinusitis symptoms.
As the best type of humidifier for sinus problems, whole house models are growing rapidly in popularity, and there are countless designs to choose from. However, my favorite is the Aprilaire 400M. With the ability to cover up to 4,000 square feet and a capacity of 17 gallons a day, you really can have it going constantly. This is wonderful for those days when your sinuses are acting up, and you can’t bring yourself to stay in one room all day.
The US-made model features a digital control which lets you easily select the amount of humidity you’d like, down to a precise figure. You can also use a knob to change the level from low to maximum, and as it’s an evaporating model, it will raise the water temperature to convert it to steam. The 400M has an evaporation rate of 0.7 gallons of water/hour, ensuring it never wastes water, using just enough to make you comfortable.
Installation is a bit more challenging with this model because you aren’t merely removing a lid and filling it with water in this case. However, it is worth it if you want your entire house to have a healthy level of humidity.
This model requires much less frequent maintenance than the others on this guide. However, it is recommended that you check the filter every 500 hours or so, depending on usage.
4. TTLIFE Ultrasonic
Best for Large Rooms
|Type||Cool Mist/Warm Mist|
|Water Tank Capacity||5.5L|
|Room Coverage (sq. ft)||430 – 753|
|Warranty||Yes, 1 year|
If you’re wondering what type of humidifier is best for sinus problems, or are trying to decide between a cold mist or warm mist model, then you’ll love the TTLIFE Ultrasonic Humidifier. This unique model lets you select between 3 different levels of both cold and warm mist, adjusting it entirely to your needs. Not only that, but it works to purify the air in your home so you can live a happy, healthier life.
This particular model is perfect if you’re looking to humidify a large room or a common area like a family room or kitchen. With dual 360-degree rotating nozzles, you can accurately direct exactly where you want the mist to go without concern over it damaging furniture or other items in your room. As there are two nozzles instead of one, humidification will also be more even.
Need some aromatherapy in your life? This one comes with a dedicated “aroma box,” which lets you add in essential oil separately for maximum relaxation.
Capable of operating up to 40 hours continually, you won’t have to get up in the middle of the night or whatever you’re doing to refill. The large capacity is ideal for those days when you’re too busy to focus on the humidifier or need to recuperate your health and stay in bed. However, you can also use a 12-hour timer setting, which will automatically turn off after the time you set it for to save energy.
The Constant Humidity Mode lets you select your preferred humidity level, with a clear and attractive LED screen to show the actual humidity level of your room in real time. The LED display is clean and easy to use, featuring a soft backlight for easy use at night, as well. You can also select Auto Mode, which diffuses mist by adjusting the humidity level of your home to the most appropriate level, which is around 40-60% RH.
Everything seems a bit easier with the TTLIFE Ultrasonic. Refilling takes only a moment, with the handle making it easy to transport. With a 3x purification effect, you can count on it greatly reducing the amount of white residue that other humidifiers produce which saves you cleaning time. Operation is perfectly quiet, which also makes it ideal to use at any time of day or night. As it comes with a 12-month no-hassle warranty, you can purchase with the peace of mind knowing that it will work properly.
I couldn’t think of any downsides to this product, other than if you don’t want or need both cool and warm mist, then you could probably opt for another model that is a bit more economical.
5. AMIR Essential Oils Diffuser
Comes with Night Light
|Water Tank Capacity||500ml|
|Room Coverage (sq. ft)||n/a|
|Warranty||Yes, 1 year|
One of the best humidifiers for sinus problems is the AMIR Essential Oils Diffuser; ideal for those who love the combination of aromatherapy with a relaxing night light. Not only that but if you want a budget-friendly option, it would be difficult to find something less expensive than this.
“People with dry sinuses or airways who are prone to allergic reactions may find that a humidifier relieves their issues,” says Medical News Today. This cool mist ultrasonic humidifier can help you do just that, providing up to 10 hours of continuous mist to keep your sinuses soothed, thanks to a 500ml water capacity. When or if the water levels run low, the unit automatically turns itself off to ensure there’s no risk of overheating. You can also choose between 4 different timer settings: 60 minutes, 120 minutes, 180 minutes, or “ON.”
Made to work with essential oils, it vaporizes both it and water together to provide you with a cool, fragrant mist to help instantly relieve stress, fatigue, anxiety, and much more. Not only is the AMIR an aromatherapy and humidifying device, but it also works as a night light, complete with 7 different LED colors to improve mood and further melt stress away.
Coming with a measuring cup, filling the humidifier is very simple and quick, just like the setup in general.
6. FIGROL USB Portable Mini Humidifier
Best Small Humidifier for Sinus Problems
|Water Tank Capacity||n/a|
|Room Coverage (sq. ft)||n/a|
One of the best small humidifiers for sinus problems is the FIGROL USB Portable Mini Humidifier, which is perfect for use at your desk or on a side table at a hotel. You can even use it in your car for road trips or journeys to work if you’d like! As it’s so compact, you can easily fit it in your bag or suitcase without it taking up much space.
The portable design works easily no matter where you are, so long as you can plug in the USB to power it! The small device works by being placed in a cup or bottle of water, drawing it into the humidifier and converting it into a refreshing, cooling mist. Adjust the length of the device according to the container you’re going to be placing it in.
It’s essential to ensure the cotton core has kept in the water soaking for at least a few minutes before you turn it on. Once this has happened, you can turn it on to improve the quality of the air you’re breathing in. As the operation is whisper-quiet, it won’t ever threaten your concentration at work or getting a good night’s sleep in the middle of the night.
Unfortunately, it’s not recommended that you use it with essential oils, so if you’re into aromatherapy, you’ll probably want to select a different option.
7. Relee Portable Humidifier
Best Pocket Sized Travel Humidifier
|Water Tank Capacity||20ml|
|Room Coverage (sq. ft)||n/a|
|Runtime||2 hours 45 minutes|
Which humidifier is best for sinus problems if you’re always on-the-go or traveling? The Portable Humidifier – Pocket Sized Diffuser is the answer. You don’t have to suffer just because you’re always out-and-about. Thanks to this incredibly small device, you can now experience relief no matter where you are. On top of that, this model is extremely affordable and easy to take with you anywhere due to the petite size, capable of fitting in your pocket!
Just like the last product, this device is also powered by USB so that you can plug it into your laptop, wall adapter, power bank and so on for up to 2 hours and 45 minutes of continuous use. It’s probably not ideal if you want a humidifier that will last the entire night, but if you need extra humidity while traveling or for short periods at home, then this is great.
Using it is very easy; simply unscrew the bottle cap and will the 20ml tank with clean water. Once it’s low, you will need to refill it, as it does not come with an auto-off feature. You should also avoid using essential oils with this model unless it’s water soluble, as it can easily corrode the device.
More About Sinus Infection
Sinusitis is the inflammation of the cavities on either side of the nasal passages, which can present itself if a virus or bacteria enter and start to spread. However, other common causes are allergies and environmental irritants.
As a response to these factors, the lining of the sinuses begins to swell up, which start to affect the nasal drainage system. Once the problem starts, you’ll usually experience a buildup of mucus, which can cause breathing problems, headaches, and pain in the face.
Symptoms will usually include:
- Sinus pain
- Nasal discharge and/or congestion
- Sinus headaches
- Throat irritation and coughing
- Sore throat
While many people recover from sinusitis in just a few days without any treatment, many will need to take advantage of prevention and treatment methods. Painkillers, nasal decongestant sprays, oral decongestants, and nasal irrigation devices are all commonly used, but many come with their own set of “cons,” as well.
The best treatment and prevention method in my and many others’ experience is regular humidifier use. Humidifiers will keep the air at the appropriate moisture level to lessen irritation in your nasal passages and make sure they’re not further aggravated. There are also other remedies that can help with nasal congestion. See the video below for more details.
Humidifiers and Aromatherapy
As you may have noticed, the vast majority of humidifiers on my guide above have the capability of diffusing essential oils. The practice of diffusing these oils have the potential to improve your mood and enhance physical and emotional health. To get into specifics, it’s also said to aid in relieving pain, improving sleep quality, boosting immunity, and much more. Having been practiced for hundreds of years, aromatherapy is definitely not a fad.
You should know that there are hundreds of essential oils out there. It’s vital to ensure the ones you’re using are purchased from a reputable manufacturer, as the FDA does not regulate these. I would recommend steering clear of citrus oils, as these can actually break down the plastic in your humidifier. The most common essential oils for humidifier use are Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, or Lavender Essential Oils.
Cool Mist vs. Warm Mist for Sinus Relief
While both cool and warm mist models can help provide relief for those with sinusitis, they also come with their own set of differences.
Warm moisture has a considerable effect of sinus congestion and helps to loosen everything up while chasing out the infection. The warm mist units use a boiling process which also kills bacteria and germs so you can rest assured you’re breathing in completely clean air.
Cool mist units don’t boil water but do come with a wick filter which takes out substances that could contribute or create a sinus infection. However, it’s also important to use distilled water and clean your cool mist humidifier frequently to avoid mold allergens.
While both are effective in helping relieve sinus blockages, I’d honestly recommend a warm mist unit if you’re worried about it.
Reducing Humidity in the Home
It’s crucial that you’re not over-humidifying your home. Not only is it not good for the human body to be in a sauna-like environment 24/7, but too much moisture can also promote the growth of bacteria, which is another issue. Your humidifier should have a humidity gauge built into it, but if it doesn’t, you can also purchase a hygrometer separately. If you realize the humidity is already too high in your home, balance the air by turning on your air conditioner for up to 10 minutes.
Best Location to Put Humidifiers
You should make sure first to ensure the humidifier is appropriate for the room or space you’re going to use it in. Next, make sure you’re placing it on a flat, smooth, level surface away from water and in a shaded area. It must also be far away from any electronic devices, equipment, and computers as the moisture it emits could damage them. Also make sure that if yours comes with a rotating nozzle, that you point it in your direction.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is a good humidity level for the home or office?
30-40% is ideal, as it allows for a good amount of moisture in the air, but not so much that it encourages the growth of mold and bacteria.
Is a humidifier safe to use around children?
In general, yes, they are. However, I strongly recommend opting for a cool mist humidifier if you’re going to use it around children. Warm mist units do involve hot water and steam, which can burn a child if they get too close.
How do manufacturers make their humidifier antimicrobial?
Specific models out there feature an antimicrobial agent which inhibits the growth of bacteria and mold. Frequently, these technologies will use silver and copper elements in a zeolite carrier. Ions exchange with other positive ions (which is usually sodium) from the moisture in the humidifier, releasing antimicrobial aspects.
How long do typical humidifiers produce mist?
This will range a bit from product to product, but usually, 10 to 12 hours is the typical amount of time a humidifier can produce mist for non-stop. This will also vary depending on the level you have yours set at. The lower levels of mist will allow production to go on for a more extended amount of time.
How often should I change my humidifier filter?
Change the filters at least every three months, and if you’re using hard water, then try to change it every month.
How often should I change the water in my humidifier?
Try to change the water every day. Never leave the water basin full of standing water, as it can grow stagnant.
Can I use tap water in my humidifier?
Technically you can use clean tap water, but it’s not recommended. Instead, you should always try to use distilled or demineralized water, which has less mineral content than your regular tap water and has less of a risk of sparking bacteria growth in your humidifier.
What is the white dust collecting in the humidifier?
White dust is leftover mineral content from the water that you use in your humidifier. It usually isn’t any cause for concern but can sometimes land on furniture and make a mess.
Is it safe to leave a humidifier on all night?
It’s not only safe but recommended. Sleeping with a humidifier on can help relieve irritated sinuses and make you more relaxed. Just make sure that your humidifier comes with an auto-off feature when the water levels get low to avoid overheating and short-circuiting.
Where is a good place to buy these units?
Amazon.com is hands-down the best place. Not only do they come packed with relevant reviews from real consumers, but they have the best prices out there and a wide selection of products to choose from.
Now that you’re practically a professional in all things “humidifiers,” which one is the perfect product for you? If you read the best humidifier for sinus problems reviews, you may see that the FridaBaby 3-in-1 Humidifier is consistently ranked at the top. It is also my favorite, for many reasons. One is that it’s very compact and perfect for small-to-medium-sized rooms.
Through the use of ultrasonic vibrations, you don’t have to use a lot of energy, and you don’t have the risk of having boiling water around children. Also, it can run up to 12 hours and can be used with essential oils for aromatherapeutic benefits. No matter which product you select, it’s important that you choose the best humidifier for sinus problems for you and your needs. Thanks for tuning in, and I’ll see you again soon!
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