- 1 The best humidifier
- 2 A bigger, faster, louder evaporative humidifier
- 3 An ultrasonic humidifier for super-dry spaces
- 4 The quietest, sleekest option we recommend
- 5 More money, less maintenance
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You can choose either an evaporative or an ultrasonic humidifier. Evaporative models evaporate moisture through a wicking filter, and ultrasonic models use a vibrating diaphragm to launch microscopic droplets of liquid water into the air. In general, we prefer evaporative humidifiers, because they’re less messy. But in this guide, we have recommendations for both types.
Honeywell HCM-350 Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier
The best humidifier
Simple, quiet, effective, and easier to clean than any other option, the HCM-350 has consistently come out on top in several years of humidifier testing.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $63.
The evaporative Honeywell HCM-350 Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier has been our pick since 2015. It has outperformed more than two dozen competitors in round after round of tests. And in all that time, we haven’t uncovered serious flaws in any of the nine units that Wirecutter staffers have tested across the country. That’s because the HCM-350 does almost everything right: It humidifies the air quickly, runs quietly, maintains a comfortable moisture level, and doesn’t beep or blink at night. Its durable tank is extremely easy to fill and clean, with parts that you can run through the dishwasher. Good for spaces as large as 400 square feet, the HCM-350 works fine for most bedrooms and living rooms. And because it’s an evaporative humidifier, this model can’t over-humidify the air or spread white mineral dust the way ultrasonic humidifiers can. Our only real complaint about the HCM-350—in addition to having to clean it, as you do with any humidifier—is that it requires a wick replacement every few months, which adds a small but annoying ongoing cost.
A bigger, faster, louder evaporative humidifier
With two easy-to-clean tanks and a total water capacity that’s two to three times larger than that of our other picks, the HEV685W works fast and requires less-frequent refills. But it’s also bigger and louder than the rest.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $114.
The Honeywell HEV685W isn’t the quietest, cheapest, or most convenient humidifier we’ve tested, but it’s certainly got an edge in capacity and power, making it ideal for larger rooms. Each of the HEV685W’s two tanks can hold up to 1.5 gallons of water, for a total of 3 gallons of storage—and if one runs out, you can fill the other up without having to stop the humidifier. That’s about double the capacity of our other picks, which means less-frequent refills. The HEV685W is also one of the fastest-working humidifiers we tested: It initially raised the humidity level more quickly than any other model, before leveling off to a similar performance pattern after a half-hour of operation. Unlike the otherwise-similar HCM-350, the HEV685W lacks dishwasher-safe parts, but it’s easier than most to clean, thanks to its wide tank openings.
Levoit LV600HH Hybrid Ultrasonic Humidifier
An ultrasonic humidifier for super-dry spaces
With a huge tank, continuous humidification, and an ability to regulate its output via a built-in humidistat, the LV600HH is great for large, very dry spaces.
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The Levoit LV600HH Hybrid Ultrasonic Humidifier is our pick for large spaces and exceptionally dry, demanding environments, because its powerful ultrasonic mechanism provides continuous humidification, whereas evaporative models level off once a certain humidity level is reached. Unlike most ultrasonics, the LV600HH is less likely to over-humidify a room, thanks to a built-in humidistat that’s accurate enough to regulate its output. The humidifier’s big, 6-liter/1.5-gallon tank can go more than 24 hours between refills. This model is exceptionally quiet, but like other ultrasonic models, the LV600HH has an audible hum that can be annoying if you’re sitting or sleeping within a few feet of it. And this model can occasionally leave behind a puddle of misted water or a thin layer of white mineral dust, which can also be annoying, but it’s easy to clean up or avoid.
Honeywell HUL430B Cool Mist Humidifier
The quietest, sleekest option we recommend
Sleek, simple, and quiet, this analog ultrasonic humidifier works quite well—in fact, it can over-humidify a space. And it’s manageable (but not the easiest) to clean.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $60.
With a single control dial on its attractive black tower base, the Honeywell HUL430B Cool Mist Humidifier is simple but effective. By the two-hour mark in our tests, this model raised the room’s moisture level more than nearly every competitor—almost too much. (The HUL430B shares this over-humidification risk with many similar ultrasonic models that lack a built-in humidistat, as this one does.) This model stands out for its sleek design—it’s one of the few genuinely attractive humidifiers—and for being virtually silent (aside from a slight mechanical hum). The HUL430B also emits an optional gentle blue glow, which we found to be rather pleasant. Its 1.25-gallon tank does have one part that’s difficult to reach around, so the HUL430B is not quite as easy to clean as the Levoit LV600HH.
Venta LW25 Airwasher
More money, less maintenance
The Venta LW25 is pricey, but it’s an exceptional performer with a unique design that requires less-frequent cleaning and refilling than competitors.
If you want an extremely effective evaporative humidifier that requires less-frequent cleaning and refilling than our other recommendations, consider the Venta LW25 Airwasher. At its current price of around $300, it is very expensive, but its high up-front cost is somewhat mitigated by its extreme energy efficiency in the long run. And in our tests, the LW25 consistently ranked high in humidification performance. Like our other evaporative picks, this model is suited to spaces that are the size of a large bedroom. Competitors require weekly cleaning. But Venta recommends that you rinse this unit every two weeks and thoroughly clean it every six months. However, despite its name, it does not wash the air particularly well; if that’s a concern for you, consider getting an air purifier.
Source: The NY Times
Keyword: The Best Humidifier