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How to choose the best humidifier for the bedroom and banish dry winter air

If you experience chronic dry skin, sensitive parts of your body like your lips or the inside of your nose and throat may benefit from a humidifier, a small portable machine that adds moisture to the air. They can also make you feel better if you experience any cold or flu symptoms as they prevent you from breathing in the dry and irritating winter air.

There are a lot of humidifiers on the market today including evaporators, impeller humidifiers, steam vaporizers, and ultrasonic humidifiers, many of which provide both warm and cool mist options. With all of these options, finding the best humidifier for your bedroom may be a challenge. To ease the decision-making process, check out this guide to help you find the best humidifier for your lifestyle.

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Room size

Before you shop, measure the square footage of your room to determine which type of humidifier is right for you. If your humidifier is too large for your bedroom, it can create too much moisture in the air, potentially resulting in the growth of mold, mildew, and other harmful bacteria.

For a small or medium-sized room, a tabletop humidifier is the least expensive, and most effective, option. Be aware, however, that you’ll need to refill the tank more often because of its smaller capacity. For larger bedrooms, console humidifiers are the best bet since they produce a lot of moist air. They don’t require refills as much as tabletop humidifiers, but they’re heavier and more difficult to move around.

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Ease of cleaning

Cleaning your humidifier is critical. If you don’t, you risk microorganisms growing in the unit itself and becoming airborne, potentially causing respiratory issues, especially for those with pre-existing conditions. Some models are easier to clean than others, so read the reviews before you buy and take into consideration how much time you’re willing to spend on properly maintaining the system.

For an easy-to-clean option, we love the Honeywell UV cool mist humidifier which is dishwasher safe and quieter than most models on the market. The one-gallon tank will run for 24 hours before needing a refill, and the UV light kills 99 percent of the bacteria in the water.

person turning on plant humidifier
DimaBerlin / Shutterstock


Humidifiers can range in price from $40 to well over $800 depending on the size and available features. For a more inexpensive option, we recommend the Levoit bedroom humidifier. It’s quiet and easy to clean, but, unlike other upgraded models, it doesn’t power down automatically when peak moisture is reached. If you don’t monitor it carefully, it can over-humidify a room and increase the risk of mold and mildew growth. But, it’s only $39.99 on Amazon and has thousands of five-star reviews.

If you have a bit more money to spend, consider investing in the Venta Airwasher to humidify spaces up to 430 square feet. It requires less frequent cleaning and refilling than other machines, and it’s one of the most energy-efficient options so you won’t see your electricity bills skyrocket. You can get your own on Amazon for $299.99.

Warm or cool mist

While some units produce both cool and warm mist, many just offer one or the other. Warm mist humidifiers give off a warm, soothing mist, ideal for use when you have a cold or flu. Most units are quieter than cool mist humidifiers, but you do have to clean them more regularly because the risk of mold and mildew growth is higher in a warm environment. Cool mist units are more energy-efficient since they don’t need to heat up the water before dispersing it. Therefore, it’s a better choice for larger bedrooms since you can fill the space without using extraordinary amounts of electricity.

With all of these considerations in mind, it’s finally time for the fun part: shopping. Read the reviews and the product’s website, compare prices across websites, and double-check the machine’s warranty before purchasing. Once you’ve decided on the best humidifier for you, be sure to read the instructions thoroughly and follow all cleaning instructions to ensure your health and safety. This is especially true if you have allergies or asthma because you don’t want to further irritate your respiratory system with contaminated air.

Indoor humidity levels should stay between 30-50 percent, but this is not often the case in arid climates or during dry winter months. Keep your skin moisturized and your lungs happy this season with a handy-dandy humidifier. Experience the peaceful night’s sleep you’ve been looking for and wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the next day.

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Julie Scagell
Former Digital Trends Contributor
I am a freelance writer based in Minneapolis, MN. My passions include my dogs, talking about my dogs, and taking pictures of…
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