Whether you realize it or not, your home’s dry air could be causing some major discomfort. It might even be the culprit of that hard-to-get-rid of cough or your frequent asthma symptoms.
Even if you think your home’s humidity levels are perfectly fine, investing in a humidifier could be the key to alleviating dry skin, getting a good night’s sleep, even treating your seasonal allergies. Now the question is, what kind of humidifier is best?
Most people will agree that ultrasonic is the way to go since this type of humidifier comes with a lot of benefits. If you’d like to get the low-down on how ultrasonic devices can benefit you, your family, and your home, this guide can help.
Benefits of Ultrasonic Humidifiers Over Evaporative
The main goal of a humidifier is always to add moisture back into the air, but the overall method of doing this depends on the type of machine you’re using. The main types of humidifiers are ultrasonic and evaporative, and each one has a unique set of pros and cons.
An ultrasonic humidifier is much more advanced, using high-frequency sound vibrations to create an extra fine mist. Evaporative humidifiers are much more straightforward in how they operate, so it’s no surprise that they’re cheaper. But the lower cost is the only advantage of opting for evaporative.
Ultrasonic humidifiers are quieter, smaller, and more stylish, plus they generally feature a filterless design, meaning you won’t have to spend money on filter replacements. This actually makes up for the higher cost compared to evaporative humidifiers, since you will need to buy filter replacements if you go with the best non-ultrasonic humidifier (evaporative).
Ultrasonic Humidifiers Compared
Choosing a Quality Ultrasonic Humidifier
Once you’ve decided that ultrasonic is the type of humidifier that’s best for you, the first buying consideration is to choose a machine that is fit for the space you’ll be using it for. Every humidifier has a different coverage area. While one might only be able to humidify a small bedroom of 150 square feet, another might be capable of bringing moisture to the entire home.
Water Tank Capacity & Runtime
Most humidifiers can only operate after adding water to the tank, and water tanks vary in size, usually ranging from 1 to 2 gallons. The tank’s capacity affects the number of hours that the machine can continuously run – the larger the tank, the longer the runtime.
Even though a large water tank usually means longer runtime, don’t automatically assume “the bigger, the better.” Filling up a large tank can be a hassle, especially if it can’t be removed and filled up at the kitchen sink. If you’re just looking for a humidifier for overnight use, a 1-gallon (4-liter) tank is plenty big.
Warm Mist or Cool Mist
There’s a lot of debate on whether an ultrasonic cool mist humidifier or warm misting machine is better, but it ultimately comes down to personal preference. Warm mist is great for alleviating congestion and sinus problems, but cool mist is the safer option if there will be kids and pets in the same space as the humidifier.
Ease of Use, Setup & Maintenance
Setting up and using your humidifier should be pretty straightforward. Set up usually just involves putting a few pieces together, adding water to the tank, and plugging it in. For operating the machine, the control panel should be easy to understand, and there might even be a remote control for added convenience.
In terms of maintenance, you might want to consider looking for a germ-free ultrasonic option. Some models minimize (even eliminate) germs from the water tank and reduce the risk of mold or mildew from forming. That said, cleaning an ultrasonic humidifier is important, even if you’ve splashed out on an advanced germ-free model.
Safety & Energy Efficiency
In terms of energy efficiency, ultrasonic machines are some of the best. Direct Energy says that “since both cool mist and ultrasonic humidifiers incorporate fans, they are much better at filling room space more quickly.” However, it ultimately comes down to the problems you’re trying to solve. If a warm mister that is less efficient is a better option for your sinuses, it’s worth spending extra on energy costs.
The best ultrasonic humidifiers range from very advanced to very basic. Even if you don’t care about all the bells and whistles, just remember that most advanced features add something in terms of convenience, safety, and performance.
Some of the main added features to look for are a timer, overflow protection, auto setting, mist output controls, remote control, and essential oil diffuser. The last one is especially useful since adding aromatherapy into your humidifier routine has many benefits, both mental and physical.
Price & Warranty
Even though ultrasonic are more expensive on average than evaporative humidifiers, there’s the added benefit of never having to spend on filter replacements (just be sure to choose a filterless option), so don’t worry about paying a bit more upfront.
These machines weren’t designed to last forever, but with proper maintenance, you should be able to get 3 to 5 years of use out of your ultrasonic humidifier. To give you peace of mind, most reputable manufacturers include warranty coverage ranging anywhere from 1 to 5 years.
6 Best Ultrasonic Humidifiers Reviewed
Best Large Room Ultrasonic Humidifier
|Room Coverage||Up to 750 sq. ft.|
|Water Tank Capacity||5.5 liters (1.5 gallons)|
|Dimensions||10.4” x 7.2” x 12”|
As we said in the buyer’s guide, there’s a lot that goes into deciding on a humidifier, and one aspect is space. If you’re working with a large room or looking for the best whole house ultrasonic humidifier for a small apartment, the Elechomes warm and cool mist machine is a great choice. This is the best large capacity ultrasonic humidifier since it can handle a room up to 750 square feet.
Aside from the large coverage area, the best feature is this humidifier is the in-depth control panel and built-in humidistat. The humidistat lets you set an exact humidity level, not just a general setting like Low or High. You can also choose between warm and cool misting, which is a feature that most humidifiers don’t offer.
The water tank has a capacity of 5.5 liters (about 1.5 gallons), and this large tank is what makes this an excellent choice for large rooms. Some people worry that a tank this size will be difficult to refill, but thanks to the top fill design, it’s straightforward and requires no disassembly at all. That’s why you’ll often see this machine labeled as the “best top fill ultrasonic humidifier” by reviewers.
Unlike most other ultrasonic humidifiers, this one comes with a built-in filter, which means you’ll have to replace it over time. While some people consider this a hassle, others appreciate that it filters out unwanted particles from the water. Filters are easy to install and great for giving off healthier, cleaner air while also reducing white dust. For replacements, search for product number SH8820.
- Warm + cool misting
- Cleaner air output with filter
- Innovative controls
- Remote control convenience
- Easy top-fill design
- Replacement filters required
- High initial cost
2. Dyson AM10
Top of the Range
|Room Coverage||Up to 200 sq. ft.|
|Water Tank Capacity||1 gallon|
|Dimensions||8.7” x 9.4” x 22.8”|
Dyson is known for its high-quality, top of the range products, and the Dyson AM10 meets the company’s lofty standards for home air quality. This machine is more than just a humidifier; it also works to purify your home’s air, killing 99.9% of bacteria in the water before dispersing it as a hygienic mist into the room. It uses UV Cleanse technology to do this, so you never have to worry about breathing in germs or bacteria.
This is a pricey humidifier that won’t fit everyone’s budget, but if you’ve got the money to spend, it’ll be entirely worth it. This is especially true for those suffering from asthma, allergies, or chronic colds, coughs, congestion, and sinus problems. It’s certified as Asthma and Allergy Friendly by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
Another feature that justifies the high cost of the AM10 is the machine’s patented Air Multiplier technology, which generates long-range mist projection to distribute hydrated, hygienic air evenly throughout the room. It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting directly next to the humidifier or on the other side of the room, you should be able to enjoy the same humidity level wherever you are.
The Dyson humidifier uses Intelligent Climate Control to measure both temperature and moisture in the air to create a comfortable environment with no over humidification. The control panel is very basic, especially considering the price, but is actually a perk if you’re looking for simplicity and ease of use. The only other downside is the relatively small coverage area – it’s not very useful in rooms over 200 sq. ft.
- Germ-killing technology
- Modern and compact
- Certified by AAFA
- Intelligent Climate Control
- Great for year-round use
- Not designed for large spaces
- High price tag
3. Honeywell HUL535B
Best Small Ultrasonic Humidifier for Bedrooms
|Room Coverage||250 sq. ft.|
|Water Tank Capacity||1 gallon|
|Dimensions||8.5” x 8.5” x 13.5”|
The Honeywell ultrasonic cool mist humidifier is a great choice for small to medium-sized bedrooms and home offices thanks to its compact design. The fact that it’s portable, weighing just under 4 pounds, means that you can move it from room to room with no hassle. Without a doubt, this is the best ultrasonic humidifier for bedroom spaces if you want something small, easy to use, and effective.
This humidifier offers variable settings for controlling humidity levels, including features like auto shut-off when the tank reaches empty and an easy-to-turn dial for controlling mist output. On one tank, it can run as long as 24 hours (the tank can hold 1 gallon), and it’s small enough to fit on desktops, tables, nightstands, or dressers.
Honeywell knows better than anyone that humidity levels in the home between 40-60% are ideal. Anything in this range can make the air feel warmer and improve breathing, sleeping, nasal congestion, dry skin, allergies, and asthma. Dry air can cause static electricity, damage wooden furniture, and irritate health issues, but using the HUL535W has been proven to help.
As one of the best budget options on the market, this is a great choice if you’re not trying to break the bank. But it’s not perfect, and it does have a few minor flaws. The first is that it’s certainly not whisper-silent. It’s still on the quiet side, but it’s slightly noisier than many other ultrasonic units on the market. The next not-so-great feature is the limited extra features; this is pretty much as basic as it gets.
- Affordable, great value
- Compact and portable
- Easy to fill and clean
- 2 color options
- Noisier than others
- Very basic (no extra features)
4. LEVOIT LV600HH
Best Filterless Ultrasonic Humidifier
|Room Coverage||Up to 753 sq. ft.|
|Water Tank Capacity||6 liters (1.5 gallons)|
|Dimensions||11.3” x 7” x 10.5”|
Levoit has always been on our radar as one of the best manufacturers of humidifiers for homeowners. The company’s LV600HH costs more than some people are willing to spend on their humidity needs, but the filterless design makes up for that. Most ultrasonic humidifiers are built without filters, but our favorite is the LV600HH for a few reasons.
First off, this filterless machine offers options for both warm and cool mist, and that feature alone is enough to explain the higher price tag. It’s completely worth it to be able to switch between the two; the warm mist helps kill bacteria in the water and humidifies the room more quickly (great for winter), while the cool mist keeps your sinuses and skin hydrated during the summer.
The second feature that’s worth paying for is the advanced built-in humidistat. Your preferred humidity setting can be set using the control panel or included remote, and the same goes for all the other features and settings, like mist output, timer, auto functions, and more. The built-in sensor gauges humidity levels and instantly takes care of adjustments for you – it’s a “set it and forget it” machine.
Another cool added benefit of choosing the LV600HH is the diffuser function. You can add your favorite essential oil to the aroma box to give the room a clean, pure, and fresh-smelling aroma. Just don’t add any oils into the water tank or base – this will damage the humidifier and cause leaks.
Besides the fact that this is somewhat on the pricey side, there’s nothing bad to say about this humidifier. Some reviewers have complained about the accuracy of the built-in humidistat, but only a small handful of them. If you have any trouble with your humidifier, just call Levoit – their customer service is great.
- Great customer service
- Warm + cool mist
- Great for year-round use
- No filter changes
- Aromatherapy function
- Not a budget option
- Complaints of hygrometer accuracy
5. HoMedics TotalComfort
Best Small Ultrasonic Warm & Cool Mist Humidifier
|Room Coverage||400 sq. ft.|
|Water Tank Capacity||1.7 gallons|
|Dimensions||15.5” x 11.5” x 14”|
With this next ultrasonic humidifier by HoMedics, the name TotalComfort says it all. This machine is all about keeping your home’s humidity at a level that is as comfortable as possible for the entire family, including humans, pets, and plants. HoMedics Total Comfort ultrasonic humidifier is an especially great choice if you prefer a large water tank with extended run time.
There’s not one, but two water tanks that can hold 1.7 gallons of water and run for 80 hours straight. In terms of comfort features, the best one is that you can choose between warm and cool misting, and it’s easy to adjust the intensity of the mist with the easy-to-use control buttons.
Similar to the Levoit, this is a mid-range option, so budget-weary homeowners might not even consider it. But there’s one feature in particular – aside from the warm and cool misting – that makes this one of the best options on the market.
The TotalComfort uses Clean Tank technology, which works to keep your tank looking and smelling fresh and clean.
“Its clean mist anti-microbial technology helps prevent the growth of molds and mildews on the surface of the tank,” says HoMedics.
“It also prevents the buildup of ‘white dust’ caused by hard water that can settle on your floor, appliances, and furniture.”
If you’re planning on using your ultrasonic humidifier for pets or kids, you might want to consider a different option. The warm setting is very warm, which is great for adults trying to combat colds and coughs and for staying cozy in the winter months. However, warm water poses a risk for children and curious pets.
- Dual tank design
- Long runtime
- Warm + cool mist
- Self-cleaning tank
- Not ideal for kids/pets
- No exact humidity settings
6. Pure Guardian H5450BCA
Best UV Ultrasonic Humidifier
|Room Coverage||380 sq. ft.|
|Water Tank Capacity||2 gallons|
|Dimensions||11.38” x 10.06” x 19.75”|
The PureGuardian ultrasonic humidifier is perfect for all you germaphobes out there. The option for warm and cool misting is excellent, but the best feature is the Clean Protection technology. It’s built with a UV-C Light that reduces germs to emit a cleaner mist. Then there’s the Silver Clean Protection embedded in the tank to fight the growth of mold and mildew on the tank’s surface.
Like most ultrasonic models, the H5450BCA disperses a soothing, cool mist into the air and is ultra-quiet, making it ideal for bedrooms and nurseries. There’s even an essential oil tray that helps create a more relaxing environment with oils of your choice. Other additional features include a night light, 12-hour timer and 3-speed settings, multi-directional mist, auto shut-off when the tank is empty, and a low water indicator light that illuminates when it’s time to refill the tank.
In terms of price, this humidifier falls in the same range as the last 2 products reviewed. If you’re on a budget, it might not be within your price range, but there’s no denying that this humidifier offers great value compared to cost. The only real complaint is the large size of the 2-gallon water tank (which some people actually love). This is larger than the average tanks, which can make refilling it a hassle.
- Lots of added features
- Essential oil diffuser
- UV cleaning technology
- Soothing cool or warm mist
- Tank too large for some
Different Sizes of Ultrasonic Humidifiers
You probably already have an idea of whether you need moisture in a small room, a large room, or in the entire home. That’s a great starting point, but the next part of choosing the ideal size comes down to exact square footage.
No matter the category it falls under, every humidifier will have a recommended coverage area – anywhere from 100 square feet to 4000+ square feet. There are two main categories for ultrasonic humidifiers in terms of size: single room and whole house.
Single room machines are great for bedrooms, nurseries, offices, and basements – basically any confined space and can lock moisture in. A whole-house humidifier (either console or freestanding style) covers much larger areas, and the best whole house ultrasonic humidifier has no trouble maintaining a well-balanced humidity in the entire home.
Maintaining Well-Balanced Humidity in the Home
Most people are more concerned about the air they breathe as soon as they step out of the house. But the air within our homes can be just as harmful, especially if it’s too dry. Dry air can cause or worsen many different health issues, everything from allergies and asthma to dry skin and cracked lips. Plus, it can just be downright uncomfortable.
Direct Energy says that maintaining a home’s humidity isn’t just about our health and comfort; “there are a number of other complications that can arise if the humidity levels in your home are off… damage to the home’s paint or siding, and increased mildew growth and odor. Controlling your humidity levels also reduces the prevalence of dust mites and potential pest infestations in your home, while also reducing your energy use.”
Cleaning & Maintenance Tips: Ultrasonic Humidifiers
Hunker says that “proper cleaning and maintenance of an ultrasonic humidifier are key to increasing the unit’s efficiency and life span.”
The best way to clean an ultrasonic humidifier involved 4 easy steps that should be done weekly:
- Turn off and unplug the machine. Remove the mist nozzle. Empty water from both the water tank and water basin.
- Fill the water tank halfway with water and add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar or 1 tablespoon of bleach. Replace the water tank cap securely and shake the water tank to mix the contents. Let the tank sit in an upright position for at least 20 to 30 minutes.
- Shake the tank one more time, then drain the water mixture out. Rinse with plain water to remove any residue, then allow the tank to air dry with the water tank cap off before placing the tank back on the basin.
- Make a similar mixture of lukewarm water and vinegar or bleach in the water basin to disinfect. Allow the basin to sit with the water mixture in it for 20 to 30 minutes, then empty it and rinse with plain water.
People Also Ask (FAQ)
Are there drawbacks to using ultrasonic humidifiers?
The Children’s Hospital of Colorado says that ultrasonic humidifiers‘ main disadvantage is that “they aerosolize not just water, but everything in it, such as bacteria and minerals.”
This is because most of them feature a filterless design, but as long as you clean the water tank and basin and use only clean water (ideally distilled), this isn’t a problem.
Warm vs. cool mist ultrasonic humidifiers – what are the differences?
Well, the main difference is obvious – one gives off warm mist while the other releases a stream of cool mist into the air. Whether you choose the best warm mist ultrasonic humidifier or a cool mister depends on your humidifying needs. Warm mist is better for killing waterborne bacteria and mold since the water is first boiled, but cool mist humidifiers use less energy and are safer for kids and pets.
Where should I place an ultrasonic humidifier for maximum efficiency?
If you’re suffering from a cold or sinus issues, placing a humidifier right next to your bed is the best way to find overnight relief. For general humidifying, try to keep the machine away from too much sunlight (like next to a window), avoid placing the machine on a surface at risk of water damage (like those new wooden floors), and always make sure the surface is level.
Do ultrasonic humidifiers leave white dust?
Yes, there is always the chance that your humidifier will produce a white dust, which is a result of mineral buildup.
iAllergy says that “the amount of white dust you may experience will vary depending on the mineral content of your water supply. If white dust is a concern, you can use distilled water in your humidifier instead of regular tap water.”
Is it safe to use tap water in ultrasonic humidifiers?
Any manufacturer will advise against using tap water and tell customers that it’s best to use distilled, demineralized, or purified water. This will prevent that white dust from forming, plus it’s better for overall health.
Are ultrasonic humidifiers safe?
Yes, they’re perfectly safe – the ultrasonic frequencies that transform the liquid into mist aren’t dangerous at all. As long as you keep it clean from mold, mildew, and bacteria, there’s absolutely no harm in using a humidifier in your home.
Do ultrasonic humidifiers kill germs?
Not all of them, but there are some models out there that remove bacteria and germs from the water. These are slightly more expensive, but if you’re worried about breathing in bacteria, it’s the best option for you. Look for the best UV ultrasonic humidifier or a machine labeled as “Germ-Free.”
Do ultrasonic humidifiers have filters?
An ultrasonic humidifier generally has no filter, which means you won’t ever have to worry about replacements. However, it means that keeping up with maintenance and cleaning is even more important with this type of machine.
Where is a good place to buy these units?
If you’re looking for an immediate solution to fixing your home’s humidity problems, you can head to the nearest Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart, or Target. However, the better option for finding the best price is to order online, either through one of these stores, directly through the manufacturer, or Amazon.
Still wondering what’s the best ultrasonic humidifier on the market? It all comes down to a few things, like room size, humidification preferences (warm mist or cool mist), and budget. The Homech Ultrasonic Humidifier is great for adding moisture back into small and medium-sized rooms, and best of all, the affordable price tag won’t break the bank.
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