5 Best Cool Mist and Warm Mist Humidifiers [Reviews and Buying Guide]

person in pyjamas sitting in bed with humidifier on floor - 5 best cool air and warm air humidifiers review

Dry air is a feature of indoor life, but at some times and in some places, that dryness can create a host of difficulties.

For people, low humidity can lead to dermatological issues like itchy, cracked skin, cracked lips, bloody noses and even eye irritation. Eczema and dermatitis can be aggravated by excessively dry air, as well. Low humidity can also lead to respiratory complaints such as sore throats and irritated sinuses. People who suffer from asthma may find that dry air makes their symptoms worse.

Those who live in dry regions, or who have very dry indoor conditions, have their homes to consider, as well. Any wooden items that live in the house, from guitars to furniture to hardwood flooring, will have an ideal humidity range that keeps it at its best.

Flooring manufacturers, for example, will generally advise that hardwood floors be kept at humidity levels ranging from 30-50%. Indoor humidity levels can easily drop below that in dry regions, or in cold areas during winter. A humidifier is a simple way to preserve your wooden finishings for years to come.

For those of you in the market, we’ve put together some reviews of the best cool mist and warm mist humidifiers, as well as a buying guide below. If you need a little more moisture in your life, we hope you’ll find a model to suit your needs.

Best Cool Mist Humidifier for Large Rooms


Vornado Evap40

A large-capacity evaporative cool mist humidifier designed for large spaces. Its 3 speeds and humidity settings give users more control over the humidity of their rooms.

Features & Benefits

  • 3 fan speeds
  • 4 gallon capacity
  • Humidifies up to 1000 sq. ft.
  • 9 pounds

Pros

  • Built-in humidistat
  • Can disperse 4 gallons of water over 24 hours
  • Users set the humidity level

Cons

  • Filters can be hard to find
  • The humidistat lacks markings

Editorial Review

This model is powerful and very quiet, considering the amount of work it does. Its simple design makes it very low maintenance. The flat tanks are easy to disassemble and refill. Since this is a larger capacity humidifier, the filled tanks are heavy and that makes the unit less portable.

For us, that’s simply a trade-off for not having to refill the humidifier as often. Overall, this is a well-made product that does what it’s designed to do.

What Others Are Saying

Users generally find this humidifier dependable, long-lasting, effective and easy to use. They love the large capacity and typically note that it runs quietly. Most people say that the unit is well worth the money when you have a larger space to humidify.

Some users reported having difficulty maintaining precise humidity levels, warning that the hygrometer doesn’t function like it should and that humidity levels can drop a lot before the unit will turn back on.

Best Budget Humidifier


TaoTronics Cool Mist

A great find for those on a budget, this 3 litre capacity humidifier and diffuser in one offers noise-free and light-free misting at a reasonable cost.

Features & Benefits

  • 3 mist modes
  • 3 litre capacity
  • Humidifies up to 323 sq. ft.
  • 1.38 pounds

Pros

  • Incorporates noise reduction technology
  • Includes sleep mode
  • Automatic shut off

Cons

  • Ultrasonic humidifiers like this one can leave residue behind

Editorial Review

This cool mist, ultrasonic humidifier is effective and simple to use. It can provide up to 30 hours of continuous mist—great for those who don’t love refilling. The top-fill design really couldn’t be easier, though, and humidity levels are controlled with a straightforward dial.

For the price, this humidifier is well-made and had some nice extras. The nozzle is rotatable and the humidifier is light-free. The unit even features an essential oil tray for aromatherapy.

What Others Are Saying

Reviews for this product are overwhelmingly positive. People found it easy to see when water levels were getting low and easy to clean and refill the tank. Users found it well-made and effective, but what they really loved was how quiet it is and that there were no additional lights that kept them from sleeping.

Some people had issues with leaks, and then with customer service. Others found that using tap water created residue (which is common to ultrasonic humidifiers).

Best Steam Vaporizer


Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier

A warm mist humidifier for smaller spaces, this product also works as an infuser for liquid inhalants designed to relieve cough and cold symptoms.

Features & Benefits

  • 2 output settings
  • 1 gallon capacity
  • Humidifies a small to medium-sized room
  • 4.41 pounds

Pros

  • Filter free
  • Auto shut off
  • Well-priced

Cons

  • Night light can’t be shut off
  • More than a few users reported leaks

Editorial Review

For the price, this warm mist humidifier does its job well. It’s simple to use, and the noise output is reasonable. You’ll need to take it apart to clean it and get rid of mineral deposits, but it’s not too difficult to do so. The product doubles as an infuser, as well.

The nightlight could be great for a child’s room, but it can’t be turned off, so consider that if you think your sleep might be impacted.

What Others Are Saying

Reviewers appreciated the value of this humidifier. They stated that while it doesn’t last forever, it does work as well as models with a much heftier price tag. People felt a noticeable difference in both humidity and temperature in the room the unit was in.

Whether they liked the product or not, users warned that distilled water is a must with this unit. Otherwise, they advised that mold and residue will build-up. Others reported leaks and malfunctioning warning lights.

Best Compact Humidifier


MADETEC Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier

Compact and light, this portable, evaporative cool mist humidifier is designed for small spaces like office desks and cars. Choose between 7 colors of light.

Features & Benefits

  • 2 mist modes
  • 230 mL capacity
  • 2.68 x 5.55 inches
  • 5.5 ounces

Pros

  • Auto shut off
  • One-touch control
  • 7 color LED light

Cons

  • Not cordless

Editorial Review

For long car trips or for humidifying the space around your office desk, consider this tiny unit. It’s straightforward to use, easy to tote around and consumes little energy. It’s about the size of a water bottle, so it fits easily into a standard car cup holder.

The filters are straightforward to change, and cleaning the unit is easy. You should note that it’s not cordless. Images of it are often misleading—it requires a USB power source.

What Others Are Saying

Not surprisingly, people loved this humidifier for its size. They report enjoying that it didn’t take up much room on their desks but that it still made the air more comfortable while they were working.

Users stressed that this unit really is for small spaces and that its effectiveness is limited. A small percentage of users reported spotty performance. These users often stated that they loved the humidifier, but that it broke down sooner than they expected.

Best Cool and Warm Mist Humidifier


Levoit Warm and Cool Mist Ultrasonic Air Vaporizer

Set your preference for warm or cool mist with this ultrasonic humidifier and vaporizer. It’s designed to humidify a larger space and comes with many convenient automations.

Features & Benefits

  • Warm and cool mist modes
  • 1.5 gallon capacity
  • Humidifies up to 753 ft. sq.
  • 4.84 pounds

Pros

  • Auto shut off
  • Remote control included
  • Built-in timer

Cons

  • Higher cost than other, comparable models
  • As with other ultrasonic humidifiers, this one can leave residue

Editorial Review

We appreciated that this product lets you switch from warm to cool mist. Its many automations are also a bonus. You can set it on a timer, or just let the auto mode do its thing. You can also turn the LED display off for sleeping.

Its larger capacity means it can run for up to 60 hours without refilling, although the tank has a wide opening to make those refills simple and easy.

What Others Are Saying

Reviews of this humidifier stress that this is an effective humidifier with a lot of power for its size. Users found the unit surprisingly quiet and loved all the extra features, from the remote to the essential oil diffuser.

Leaks and other malfunctions (especially with the hygrometer) were the most common complaint with this product, followed by the cost. Cleaning was also an issue for many people—they found it more labor-intensive than they expected.

Bottom Line


TaoTronics Cool Mist

We were won over by the TaoTronics Cool Mist humidifier. It’s a nice quality humidifier that gets its job done without you having to shell out a fortune for it. Its simple design made it easy to operate and maintenance was low. With the right water, residue on floors and furniture shouldn’t be an issue.

The essential oil tray was a lovely bonus, as was the rotatable nozzle. For us, simple, affordable and effective are a great trifecta for any product, and we were happy to see that other people thought so, too.

Buying Guide


humidifier_with_steam_-_best_cool_mist_and_warm_mist_humidifiers_review

Here are some things to know about humidifiers before you buy. There are 4 different types of humidifiers, each of which use different methods to create mist. Evaporative humidifiers are cool mist humidifiers. They contain a filter that absorbs water that an internal fan that blows through, creating the mist that’s evaporated through your home. That filter is something you’ll have to regularly replace.

Ultrasonic humidifiers vibrate an internal metal plate at an ultrasonic frequency that creates either warm or cool mist. They’ll typically have a smaller fan to disperse moisture, so they’re a quieter option than evaporative humidifiers. They may or may not have filters.

Steam vaporizers will boil water and release the steam into the air through a nozzle. Modern warm-mist humidifiers will cool the mist before it enters the air to reduce the risk of scalding.

And finally, impeller humidifiers use a rotating disc that moves water onto a diffuser, which breaks it down into mist. Like evaporative humidifiers, impeller humidifiers are noisier than ultrasonic models.

What’s the Difference Between Cool Mist and Warm Mist Humidifiers


As the names imply, the big difference is temperature. Cool mist humidifiers release a mist that’s somewhere between cool and room temperature. Warm mist humidifiers heat water first before dispersing it.

Some people choose to split the difference and use a warm and cool mist humidifier, which will allow you to set your preference.

Pros and Cons of Cool Mist and Warm Mist Humidifiers


The basic differences between these types of humidifiers create some specific pros and cons with each. Let’s look at cool mist humidifiers first.

Cool Mist Pros

Without a heating element, cool mist humidifiers use less energy, making them a more eco-conscious choice.

The cooler temperature of the water and lack of a heating element also makes them safer for spaces where children will be.

In hot areas, cool mist humidifiers can be refreshing and can cut down reliance on air conditioning.

Cool Mist Cons

As might be expected, in colder temperatures, a cooling mist could be felt as more chilly than refreshing.

Evaporative and impeller cool mist humidifiers will be noisier options.

Cool mist humidifiers are more prone to accumulating mold and need to be checked and cleaned regularly to prevent mold spores from being introduced into the air.

Warm Mist Pros

Using a humidifier introduces the risk of introducing mold and bacteria into the air you breathe. A warm mist humidifier lessens that risk by boiling the water before it’s dispersed.

Warm air humidifiers can often function as vaporizers for essential oils.

In colder weather, they have the advantage of making a room warmer and cozier.

Warm Mist Cons

The addition of a heating element adds to the energy the appliance uses, and thus, to your monthly bills.

Warm mist humidifiers need to be cleaned frequently and thoroughly because boiling will likely leave mineral deposits behind.

What to Look for in a Humidifier


Think about the size of space you want to humidify. The product information should tell you how much square footage the humidifier is designed to cover. Buying the right size humidifier for your space ensures optimal performance and air quality. If, for example, you buy a humidifier that’s undersized, it will need to run longer and need more refilling to get its job done. Likewise, buying an over-sized humidifier will mean water that sits in the unit’s tank longer, creating more opportunities for mold to grow.

Even if you plan on buying online, head to a local store to check out the models in person and get a feel for their design. Humidifiers aren’t items you set and forget. You’ll need to regularly monitor water levels, as well as refill and clean them. Future you will thank you if you spend the time to find a unit that’s easy to monitor, easy to disassemble and reassemble, easy to clean and easy to fill.

Any features that help the humidifier to resist mold are a nice bonus. Even with those features, you’ll still need to clean the unit regularly, but mold-resistance will lower the risk of spores being released into the air and causing health concerns.

Smart features like automatic shut off and humidistats are also a very handy feature to have. Some humidifiers are very quiet, and it’s easy to forget they’re running in the background. Automatic features can help ensure the room won’t get too moist and the humidifier won’t run dry.

Feature image: cottonbro; Image 1: Aaron Yoo

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