One of the primary purposes of our air conditioners is to regulate indoor humidity levels. What happens when the winter months come, and we turn the AC off? The cold, dry air, along with the heat from our furnaces and central heating, dry everything out, including our skin.
There are several ways to combat this drying, itching, and uncomfortable indoor atmosphere. This article will examine the best humidifiers for winter, reviewed and compared so you can keep the humidity levels normal and your skin feeling refreshed.
Benefits of Humidifiers During Winter Months
Believe it or not, the winter months are more likely to cause health and comfort issues than any other time of year. Health concerns include dry, itchy skin, nosebleeds, and increases in skin conditions like dandruff, eczema and psoriasis. Other concerns include increased risk of static-electric shock, hair frizzing, and general discomfort in your own home.
Humidifiers in the winter are designed to reduce or eliminate all of these symptoms. With the right humidifier, you can add enough moisture to the air to combat skin conditions, comfort levels, and minimize static electricity build-up.
Humidifiers For Wintertime Compared
Choosing Humidifiers for Winter Weather
There are several factors that you need to consider before you head out and buy a humidifier. Below, you will find these factors to help you make an informed decision when you press the “buy now” button.
There are three main types of humidifiers (two evaporative styles and the ultrasonic style), and each one has its own set of pros and cons. The most common type is known as a cool mist humidifier. These evaporate the water in the tank into a fine mist and spray it into the air. They have the furthest reach and can actually cool the room.
Next, you have warm mist humidifiers. These take the water in the tank and boil it, using the steam to add humidity to the room. These take longer, are generally louder and have less reach, but they do help warm the room a little and last a bit longer.
Finally, you have ultrasonic humidifiers. While they have been around a while, they are still considered the new guy on the block. They use ultrasonic waves to produce a fine mist to spray into the room. They don’t change temperature and are super quiet, but are generally more expensive and require more maintenance.
One of the major things to consider is the coverage area. You aren’t going to find a humidifier that can maintain moisture levels in your entire home. You will need to decide where the humidifier will go and if it can produce enough water vapor for that room.
Consider the size of the room, height of the ceiling, and how much furniture or items are in the room. The more cluttered the room or the larger its size, the bigger the humidifier needs to be.
You can also decide if you want a humidifier with or without a filter. Filters generally help keep the internal parts clean, produce a fresher vapor, and can help when using tap water instead of distilled.
However, filters need to be replaced, can wear out, and add additional costs to your purchase. Most of the time the benefits offset these negatives, but it is a choice you need to make for yourself.
Runtime & Water Tank Capacity
Many humidifiers will run as long as they are plugged in or turned on. Some will also automatically shut off with timers, or when the water tank runs low. Knowing when you will use the humidifier and how long will help you pick the best humidifier.
Most humidifiers run overnight while we sleep. Having a tank that can hold water and run for at least 8 hours then, becomes crucial. Day time use can be less (4 to 6 hours) but should be long enough that it isn’t a constant hassle to refill or turn back on.
Water diffusion is a system that makes the water last longer and can produce finer water vapor. The quiet operation works much like a wicking cloth. The membrane is waterproof, so there is no moisture on the outside, but the water vapor passes through without a problem.
These additions to humidifiers are optional, but work better to maintain humidity levels and moisture in the air. For those that want long-lasting humidifiers to work overnight, for example, diffusion functionality will have a much better part in the process.
Ease of Use, Setup & Maintenance
Most humidifiers are easy enough to set up. The water needs to be added to the tank, and the unit plugged in. Depending on the power source and setting controls, you can then choose a power level, set the timer, or adjust output controls.
The easier the machine is to set up and use, the more enjoyment you will get from it. However, if the system is too simple, it may not meet all of your specific needs. You have to find common ground between simplicity and functionality.
For the most part, humidifiers aren’t that loud. Many people enjoy some sort of white noise while they sleep. Instead of a fan, though, you can enjoy the hum of a humidifier while you sleep. If you aren’t one for noises, then you will want to stick to the ultrasonic styles.
Ultrasonic models are much quieter, with nearly imperceptible noise levels (below 42dB). Evaporative models are generally louder, but will still fall in the “I can ignore this sound” range. For the most part, the loudest humidifiers will be at or below 57dB. While they won’t interrupt a conversation, they can be loud enough to make you raise the volume on the television.
When you are looking at the cost and features, you will want to look for additional features. Such things can make the humidifier more valuable or work more to your specific needs and include things like a built-in humidistat, built-in diffuser (essential oil or water), timer feature, overflow protection, automatic settings, and mist output controls.
Each humidifier will come with a warranty of some kind. You will want to make sure the warranty covers more than just manufacturing defects. The motor, pumps, and diffusers should all be covered.
You will also want to pay attention to the length of the warranty. 1 to 2-years is about the industry average, but you can find longer ones in certain brands and styles.
7 Best Humidifiers for Winter Reviewed
Below, we offer the 7 best humidifiers for winter, reviewed, and compared just for you. Scroll through and find the perfect fit for your home in the winter.
1. Honeywell Cool Moisture Console Humidifier
Best Humidifier For Winter
|Room Coverage||1900 sq ft.|
|Water Tank Capacity||3 gallons (two 1.5 gal tanks)|
|Runtime||Up to 24 hours per fill|
|Filter Change||90 days|
Honeywell makes a lot of products that keep our homes comfortable, safe, and places we want to be. Among those products is the best humidifier for large spaces. The Cool Moisture Console humidifier has three settings which can run all day and night without worry.
The humidifier is a cool mist evaporative model that uses a filter membrane to absorb water from the dual 1.5-gallon tanks. Air is then drawn in and passed over the filter. The cool vapor is taken with the air and returned to the room, which adds moisture, humidity, and overall comfort.
The fan can adjust to three speeds. However, many owners find that the high speed can be too much, especially in smaller rooms. When on any other setting than low, you lose a lot. The first thing you lose is quiet operation. The unit itself can also rattle where the housing and tank come together.
This increase in noise level can be too much for night time use. However, it is needed for larger rooms or if you want to raise the humidity in multiple, connected rooms. With proper placement, though, you can enjoy the benefits of the machine overnight while you sleep without it being so loud it disturbs you.
The Cool Moisture Console comes equipped with a humidistat which you can program. When the humidity level is reached, it will alert you so you can shut it off. It also has an auto-shutoff timer and will let you know if the water tanks begin to run low.
With a 3-year warranty, you get peace of mind, a great running humidifier, and long-lasting performance. There isn’t much to dislike about this model, and it is a great addition to most homes in the winter.
- 3-year warranty
- Auto shut off and humidistat included
- Low water and humidity level indicators
- Low power consumption
- Humidity level controls
- Housing can rattle on higher speeds
- Fan may be too powerful in small spaces
2. Homech Quiet Ultrasonic Humidifier
Best Cheap Winter Humidifier
|Room Coverage||320 sq ft.|
|Water Tank Capacity||1 gallon|
|Runtime||Up to 60 hours|
|Filter Change||180 days|
Homech offers you an ultrasonic humidifier that runs so quiet you won’t even know it is on. Except for the 2-foot water mist and rotating fan, the machine is virtually silent at only 26dB on high.
It has a smaller capacity tank, holding about 1 gallon of water. However, because it is ultrasonic, the tank will last between 50 and 60 hours without having to refill. If you are looking for the best cheap winter humidifier, you have found it.
It also has a lot of safety features on top of its easy to use controls. When the tank does run empty, the unit will shut off. This automatic feature prevents burn out. It also stops if you remove the tank or the machine tips over.
There is no humidity level controls, just an on or off dial that is adjustable for speed and dispersing levels. On the lowest setting and a full tank, the Homech humidifier will run just about 60 hours. On the highest setting, you can expect about 10 to 12 hours of runtime.
This machine will help in a moderately sized room, but don’t expect it to keep your entire home more humid. The fan and vapor outlet rotates 360 degrees, so you will get full coverage wherever you set it. The vapor rises about 2-feet and will move around the room as the fan blows.
Simple, affordable, and easy to use. If it had more features, it might take the top spot. However, with only a turn-dial for speed control and a 1-year warranty, it holds the runner-up space. Still, for the cost, there aren’t many better humidifiers around that perform as long or as well.
- 360-degree vapor rotation
- Can run up to 60 hours on a single tank
- Budget-friendly for all homes
- Whisper-quiet operation, even on high setting
- 1-year warranty
- No additional features
3. AIRCARE EP9 800
Best Whole-Home Humidifier For Winter
|Room Coverage||2400 sq ft.|
|Water Tank Capacity||3.5 gallons|
|Runtime||Up to 60 hours per tank|
|Filter Change||About 90 days|
AirCare has a pedestal-style humidifier that is arguably the best whole-home humidifier for winter. Not only is it an eye-pleasing design made to match your décor, but it also performs so well, you may forget it is an appliance.
The pedestal-style look is not only beautiful but functional. It comes in two colors (the darker espresso and lighter nutmeg), but it also has a 12×12-inch tile on top. This tile is removable, and you can put your own there to match your flooring or artistic eye. You can also place things on top like a fishbowl or potted plant.
The large 3.5 gallon water tank will run for up to 60 hours at a time. This is on the low setting, though, and you may want more power than that. Because it has a side exhaust vent for the vapor, it won’t spray directly into the air or middle of the room.
Placement is everything, and while most people place it in a corner or against a wall, higher settings are needed. However, it has a sleek digital interface that allows you to select the humidity level, fan speed, and power.
The unit will measure the humidity in a home about 2400 square feet, and when the programmed humidity level is reached, it will shut off. It also shuts off if the tank runs dry to prevent burn out damage.
The downside to this machine is the nominal 1-year warranty and that the fan can sometimes become noisy. Even at the lowest speed, there are reports of a noisy fan after a few months of use. To combat this, make sure you do proper maintenance and only use distilled water in the tank.
- Auto shut off when humidity is reached
- Burn out prevention
- 9-speed adjustable fan
- 1-year warranty
- Fan can get noisy at times, regardless of speed
4. Pure Enrichment MistAire XL
Best Humidifier For Winter Skin
|Room Coverage||500 sq ft.|
|Water Tank Capacity||1 gallon|
|Runtime||Up to 24 hours|
|Filter Change||No Filter|
If you are susceptible to dry, itchy winter skin, this is the humidifier for you. The MistAire XL by Pure Enrichment is a 1-gallon ultrasonic humidifier that lasts all day (or night). With just 1 gallon of water, you can run the unit between 10 and 24 hours, based on your settings.
This unit will cover rooms up to 500 square feet, though for the best effects, it is recommended to use in rooms around 300 square feet or less. Regardless of the room size, though, you will notice a near-immediate difference in humidity and moisture levels in the air.
This model is the larger of the brand’s options and holds 1-gallon of water. It also comes with some nice features such as a safety shut off if the tank runs dry. It also has a night light mode that allows you to choose from 4 different colors.
One of the biggest selling points is the quiet operation (around 22dB), regardless of fan speed. The turn-dial operation allows you to adjust the speed and output. Furthermore, you can replace the nozzle with the included dual-mist nozzle for a spray that simultaneously outputs in 2 directions.
Combine that with a low cost and an industry-leading 5-year warranty, and you have a humidifier that you can enjoy, one that works, and a machine that keeps you comfortable, healthy, and happy.
- 5-year warranty
- No filter to replace
- Compact design fits anywhere
- Multiple nozzles included
- Auto shut-off feature
- Not made for large spaces
- Higher maintenance than other models
Best Humidifier For A Baby In Winter
|Room Coverage||750 sq ft.|
|Water Tank Capacity||1.6 gallons|
|Runtime||Up to 36 hours|
|Filter Change||60 days|
For those with babies or that need the benefits of aromatherapy, the Levoit humidifier is for you. The best humidifier for a baby in winter, this model can produce cool mist or warm mist using a unique ultrasonic technique.
In winter, it is better suited to use the warm mist. The machine will auto-calibrate for humidity, too, so once you set it up, you rarely need to touch anything. However, if you want to adjust speed or humidity, you can do so with the on-board controls or the included remote.
With a large 1.5 gallon capacity tank, the machine will last up to 36 hours on the lowest setting. You will most likely use it on medium settings, though, especially for larger spaces. In this case, you can expect 12 to 20 hours of operation per tank fill.
The most significant benefit here, though, is that the machine can use essential oils. There are two absorption pads, one for water and the other for oils. Combine the benefits of water vapor with lavender oils to help you sleep. You can use any oils, too, giving you the aromas and benefits that suit you best.
There are two downsides, too. First, this machine should not be used on a wooden floor. Even with a towel underneath, it can cause moisture on the wood, which can bow or damage your floor. It should be on an elevated surface anyway, and not on the floor.
The other thing to note is the warranty. The unit ships with a 1-year warranty. However, you can extend it to 2-years, for free. You just need to read the entire manual and all of the small print to find out how.
- Runs all day or all night
- Essential oils can be used
- Warm or cold mist production
- Remote control included
- 1- to 2-year warranty
- Not suitable for wood flooring
Best Quiet Humidifier For Winter
|Room Coverage||430 sq ft.|
|Water Tank Capacity||1 gallon|
|Runtime||Up to 50 hours|
|Filter Change||180 days|
TaoTronics has the best quiet ultrasonic humidifier for winter. At only 26dB, you will have to check it really close to know that it is on. This is ideal for those that like to have their humidifiers in rooms with other people or the television.
If you like white noise in the bedroom, this won’t work for you, but you can still use your fan for noise.
The humidifier will last up to 50 hours on the lowest setting. In a real-world application, though, you will want this on medium to high settings, giving you 10 to 15 hours of operation—still plenty of time to run overnight while you sleep.
If you do oversleep or forget to fill the tank, the unit will shut off on its own to prevent burn out, so you can sleep easy, breathe easy, and know you are protected.
The included handle makes it easy to lift, fill, and move. It also has a large fill opening so you can get your entire hand inside to clean when needed. Maintenance should be done weekly to help prevent foul odors or mold build-up.
The filter prevents dust from getting to the motor or contaminating the water, and replacements are relatively cheap. You should replace them every 4 to 6 months, and if you go too long, mineral accumulation can occur.
- 360-degree nozzle rotation
- Easy to clean
- Whisper quiet
- Auto shut off protection
- 18-month warranty
- Not ideal for large spaces
7. Everlasting Comfort Humidifier
Best Bedroom Humidifier For Winter
|Room Coverage||500 sq ft.|
|Water Tank Capacity||1.5 gallons|
|Runtime||Up to 50 hours|
|Filter Change||No Filter|
Everlasting Comfort has the best bedroom humidifier for winter. If you like to sleep with a cool mist or breathe easier while in slumber, this is the model for you. Ideal for rooms smaller than 500 square feet, you will find more uses for this humidifier in your bedroom.
It comes equipped with an essential oil tray. On top of the 1.5 gallon capacity tank, you can add your favorite smells to help you sleep, keep you relaxed and in a good mood. The oils are absorbed through the pad and dispersed with the water vapor.
The downside here is that the oils won’t last as long as the water. With a machine that can last up to 50 hours on a single tank, you will need to refill the oil tray two or three extra times. However, a single tray full of oils will last throughout the night (and a little more).
This unit does come with a 2-year warranty, which is about average, though still a little short. It also has a high maintenance routine. Weekly (or more often) cleaning is required, especially with the use of oils.
The good news is that you won’t have to worry about filter replacement or the costs associated with it. If you like to sleep soundly with aromas helping you dream, the Everlasting Comfort humidifier is an ideal solution for your winter bedroom needs.
- No filter to replace
- Runs over 2 days per tank
- Built-in diffuser tray for all essential oils
- High mist output (up to 9oz per hour)
- 2-year warranty
- More cleaning and maintenance required
Ideal Indoor Humidity Level During Winter
Indoor humidity is an important factor in comfort and health. In the winter, the humidity will drop significantly, even reaching near zero. This is primarily because heaters, furnaces, and fireplaces we use to keep the house warm will suck the moisture right out of the air.
To counteract this, humidifiers are used to maintain a better level of moisture in the air. Each home and situation will be different, of course. Inside and outside temperatures play a large role. However, you should strive for about 35% humidity in the winter.
This range will allow you to keep your skin from drying out but will prevent condensation or over-moisturizing the air, which can have adverse effects like low-humidity.
Types of Humidifiers for Winter
As mentioned earlier, humidifiers come in three major types: ultrasonic and evaporative (cool and warm options). Which one is right for you in the winter? Let’s take a closer look.
Ultrasonic Vs Evaporative
The two branches offer you either ultrasonic dispersion of water vapor or evaporative dispersion. What’s the difference?
The biggest difference you will notice is the noise level. Ultrasonic is much quieter, and many mid- to high-end models are virtually silent. These models don’t change the water temperature or air temp like the evaporative models can.
Evaporative models disperse the vapor further into the room, giving you a larger area of coverage with less effort. They are much louder, though, which is preferred by some. If you like sleeping with white noise, evaporative might be the best choice for you.
Cool Vs Warm Mist
Cool mist evaporative models cool the water vapor and can push the mist further than any other type. However, they are more challenging to control and may raise the humidity level too high if you aren’t careful.
Warm mist models actually boil the water and push the steam vapor out into the room. While this may sound like a great idea for the winter months, raising the room temperature through water vapor can be a bad thing, especially when you are already battling drier air and a heated home.
Humidifiers & Essential Oils For Dry Winter Air
We all know, by know, how beneficial a humidifier can be in the winter months. However, aromatherapy can also be a huge benefit, and why not use a machine that can do both? Many manufacturers are now adding essential oil diffusers to their humidifiers.
With these models, you can add lavender or eucalyptus to your humidifier to enjoy a pleasant odor and a more restful or relaxing sleep. Depending on your desires and needs, different oils can bring about different benefits. Dry skin, chapped lips, and itching can be relieved by the humidifier. However, adding your favorite oils can prolong the benefits.
Humidifier Placement In The Home
Overall, humidifiers are safe appliances that can be used anywhere in the home. However, placement is crucial to both performance and safety. You will want to mind where you put the unit and what can cause it to tip, spill, or burn up.
You want to avoid areas where there are high traffic, pets, or children that may knock the humidifier over. You also want to avoid creating a trip hazard with the cord or device itself.
While central room location may seem optimal, this isn’t always the case. Depending on how your machine outputs the vapor (unidirectional, manually positions, automatic, etc.), you may find that in a corner of the room or along the largest wall might make the unit perform better.
People Also Ask (FAQ)
Is it safe to leave a humidifier on all night?
Most models will be safe to use all the time. If your model has an automatic shut off, timer or humidistat, you can rest assured it will be safe for overnight use. However, you need to keep in mind the water tank level, duration of use, and safety issues with running the tank low or empty.
Is a humidifier safe to use around children & pets?
Almost every humidifier is safe to use around children and pets. The water vapor released is harmless but can attract attention. If you have a model that tips easily, you may want to put it out of reach of our smaller family members. Likewise, warm mist models actually use boiling water, which, if tipped over, can cause injury possibilities.
What should my humidifier be set at for the winter?
Humidity settings are one of the more difficult aspects of humidifier use. In the winter, the ideal level should be between 25 and 50%. This will depend greatly on indoor and outdoor temperatures, which will change frequently. The easiest solution is to set the humidifier at about 35 to 40% and watch for condensation on your windows. If condensation shows up, lower the settings. These settings are recommended for all portions of the home, including the basement.
What humidity level kills mold?
According to the EPA, a humidity level between 30 and 50% can help control mold. 35% is the recommended level for optimal mold and pest deterrent. However, you may need to adjust your humidity level based on temperature and room size, too.
What other ways can I manage humidity on my home?
Almost everything we do in our homes affects the humidity level. Even simple tasks can raise or lower the humidity level, and some quick fixes can boost your levels when needed. Mopping or taking a shower can quickly raise the humidity levels. Running the air conditioner or ventilation can quickly regulate or remove excess humidity, too. If your humidity levels are too high or too low, a quick fix may be all you need to get your humidity under control, prevent condensation, or keep your skin from drying out.
Where is a good place to buy these units?
The best place to find and purchase the best humidifier for winter months is through Amazon. There you will get access to expedited shipping, more options, and lower prices. Many retailers also list last year’s models (still new in box) at deep discounts to promote their newer model. Saving money and getting the best value for your dollar happen most often on Amazon.
Finding the best humidifier for winter can be a challenge. There are a lot of factors to consider, including the average and expected outdoor temperatures. The best humidifier for winter will allow you to adjust multiple settings, have long-lasting water tanks, and perform all day or all night without much maintenance.
Our top pick, the Honeywell Cool Moisture Console Humidifier, rolls where you need it, can cover large rooms (or multiple rooms), and will run for long durations. It is a great value and worth every penny to have in your home.
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