You are probably familiar with the term humidifier. But, do you really know what a humidifier is and what it is used for? If not, then read on. In this humidifier definitive guide, we will tell you everything you need to know about these handy products. We will also give you a list of the top humidifier brands. So, you will leave with article with all the tools you need to purchase the best humidifier for your home and life.
What Is A Humidifier Used For?
First of all, let’s discuss what a humidifier is used for. Humidifiers humidify—add moisture—to the air. That is the simplest definition. But, let’s break it down some more so that you know all of the uses of a humidifier.
Humidity is the measurement of the moisture content in your air. Humans will be the most comfortable with a humidity level of 30-50%. However, this level of humidity is hard to produce year-round without a humidifier.
Therefore, the primary—and most important—use of a humidifier is to increase the humidity level. This is a solution for dry or irritated skin, eyes, noses, and throats; coughing; allergies and asthma; and headaches. There is also evidence to suggest that using a humidifier for winter will prevent cases of the flu. Supposedly, humidifiers for sinus problems deactivates the flu germs, which means that you are less likely to get sick.
Another important use of a humidifier is to improve the quality and durability of your home. Not only will you feel better with a warm mist humidifier or vaporizer humidifier, but your house will as well. Proper humidity levels will keep wood from cracking. It will also prevent static electricity from building up. You know the small shock you each when you touch an electric source? That’s static electricity. The moistest it is in your environment; the less static electricity will build up and potentially cause harm.
Finally, humidifiers can be used to keep valuables. Museums, libraries, and any place that stores valuables or antiques can benefit from a humidifier for winter. Like our bodies, these items need between 30-50% humidity to remain intact. So, if you have antique wooden furniture or valuable paintings in your home, it is essential that you invest in a good humidifier today.
How Does a Humidifier Work?
Now we know that a humidifier is used to put moisture into the air of your home and that this function can have many different uses. But, how does the humidifier for sinus problems get the water into the air in the first place?
Although there are many different types of humidifiers—we will discuss each type in the next section—they all work in a similar way. Water is added in some way to the machine. The humidifier then creates either steam, vapor, evaporation to add moisture to the air. Often the humidifier for winter will use a fan or other blower to get the steam, vapor, or evaporation out of the machine and into your home.
Different Types of Humidifiers
There are five main types of humidifiers that you will find for homes: evaporative humidifiers, central humidifiers, impeller humidifiers, steam vaporizer humidifiers, and ultrasonic humidifiers. Each of these types of humidifier functions in a unique way and has its own pros and cons.
Evaporative humidifiers are the most common type of home humidifier. It uses one of the simplest mechanisms for producing moisture; fans blow air through a moistened filter to create humidity. A major advantage of evaporative humidifiers is that they are extremely easy to find and are quite affordable. They come in a variety of sizes.
However, a drawback to the evaporative humidifier is that it usually can only be used in a single room at a time. Plus, you cannot control the amount of moisture put into your air. You run the evaporative humidifier when you need more humidity and turn it off when enough moisture has been added. The manual nature of running an evaporative humidifier is a negative for some people. Also, if you do not regulate the amount of moisture correctly there can be a highly possibility of mold growth with this humidifier type.
Like central heating and central air systems, a central humidifier moisturizes your entire home. Typically, these systems are hooked up to your home’s central air or heating system. There is a part in the central humidifier called the humidistat. This part monitors the humidity level in your home. If it gets too dry, the humidistat turns on the central humidifier. You do not need to monitor the central humidifier yourself.
However, central humidifiers are the most expensive type of humidifier on the market. You will need to be in a position to make a big investment in order to purchase a central humidifier system. But, in terms of bang for your buck, you can’t beat the whole-house humidifying action of the central humidifier.
Instead of a warm mist humidifier, an impeller humidifier is a type of cool mist product. It uses rotating disks to evaporate the water and create a cool mist. This type of humidifier is one of the most affordable. Impeller humidifiers are also extremely child friendly because they are not warm mist humidifiers. Instead, their cool mist carries no risk of burns.
A downside of the impeller humidifier is that they can only be used for a single room. They can also worsen allergies and asthma if they are used too much. So, if you only need a humidifier occasionally, you can consider an impeller humidifier. If you need a humidifier all the time, you may want to look for another humidifier type.
Steam Vaporizer Humidifier
Steam vaporizer humidifiers use electricity to heat and then cool the water. The cooled water is pushed into the air by a fan. Often steam vaporizer humidifiers are small and portable. They are also extremely easy to find and can be purchased at any local drugstore.
Ultrasonic humidifiers are a new type of home humidifier. They use ultrasonic vibration to create a warm or cool mist. Ultrasonic humidifiers come in a wide range of sizes. So, they can be a versatile product to have. Plus, ultrasonic humidifiers are a good choice for homes with children because the cool mist version does not come with a possibility of burns.
Ultrasonic humidifiers have a similar issue to impeller humidifiers and evaporative humidifiers; they can not humidify your entire home at once. And, you need to monitor their use so that your home does not get too humid, which can cause mold growth.
What Size Humidifier Do I Need For My House?
Now that you know the different types of humidifier that you can choose from, you need to know how to make your choice. A major factor that will affect your humidifier for winter purchase is the size of the room and home you are humidifying. The larger the space to be humidified, the larger the humidifier you need.
To determine the size of humidifier you need, you first need to know the square footage of the room you will be humidifying. So, get a tape measure and start measuring.
Once that’s done, you are ready to look for a specific size of humidifier. We break our humidifier sizes into the following categories:
Personal=up to 25 ft.
Small-medium rooms=25-499 ft.
Large rooms=500-999 ft.
Whole houses=anything over 1000 ft.
Personal humidifiers are the smallest sizes of humidifiers. They are usually marketed as humidifiers for colds and only moisturize the space directly around you. You can sometimes find personal sized humidifiers under the category of travel humidifiers as well.
Personal humidifiers will moisture a space of up to 25 square feet. Obviously, this will not even humidify the smallest room. So, to gain the most benefit from these humidifiers, you need to sit over the product or have it close to you on a bedside table or counter.
Small and medium rooms
We recommend purchasing a humidifier for bedroom that will moisturize between 25 and 499 square feet. These humidifiers will be larger than the personal humidifiers described above. You can find the square footage of the room the humidifier will work in on the package or in the product specifications. Small to medium humidifiers will likely come as either the evaporative humidifier or impeller humidifier types.
Large humidifiers should be purchase for spaces 500-999 square feet. This could cover multiple rooms in home or a very small house. Often large humidifiers for bedrooms will still be self-contained units of the evaporative humidifier or impeller humidifier variety. You do not typically find central humidifiers for these sized spaces.
You will need to purchase a central humidifier if you need to humidify 1000 or more square feet. As mentioned above, these large systems are more expensive than other types of humidifiers. However, they have the advantages of regulating the humidity level of your home for you. And, they are the most recommended humidifier for kids, humidifiers for sinus problems, and humidifiers for eczema.
What Humidifiers Do I Need For The Following Conditions?
If you have asthma, sinuses, or babies in your home, you should take special care when purchasing a humidifier for winter. Below we talk about each of these special conditions in more detail and tell you what to look for in humidifiers for sinus problems and humidifiers for baby.
Asthma and sinuses
Humidifiers are a great asthma and allergy solution. Antibacterial humidifiers especially, help to wipe out the major allergy triggers. And, as anyone with asthma knows, it’s actually allergies that often trigger asthma attacks. Additionally, living in a moist environment tends to help asthma sufferers because the humidity helps to break up the mucus in their lungs.
If you or someone in your home has asthma or allergies, then you should look for specific features in your humidifier for sinus problems. Often, the biggest question people have is whether they should choose a warm mist humidifier or a cold mist humidifier. Your ultimate decision will come down to your preferences. However, warm mist humidifiers can occasionally cause people with asthma to feel like they are suffocating.
Additionally, people with asthma and allergies need to find a humidifier for sinus problems that has a hygrometer or humidistat. These features allow you to keep a specific humidity level, which is important because people with allergies and asthma should live in a relatively humid environment. Most expert recommend between 40-50% humidity. So, a humidifier with a hygrometer or humidistat is essential.
Babies and children
Nothing is more precious than children. This is why it is important to find the right humidifier for kids. Humidifiers for babies can help during cold and flu season. Also, keeping your home humid enough can potentially prevent sicknesses from attacking your children and can sooth eczema and dry skin.
Most people recommend that you purchase a humidifier for kids that creates cool mist. You will not have to worry about burns with these types of humidifiers. Cool mist humidifiers are most often found in the ultrasonic humidifier category. Whole house humidifiers are also safe because they are a part of your home, and you do not have to worry about a stand-alone machine in a room. Steam vaporizer humidifiers are not recommended for children and babies because they come with a high risk of burns.
Top Humidifier Brands
Not all humidifiers are created equal. There are some humidifier brands that stand apart from their competition. When you purchase a Crane, Honeywell, Vicks, Essick, or Holmes humidifier you know you are getting a high-quality and efficient product.
Crane is a relatively new addition to the humidifier manufacturer field. The company was founded in 2005 in order to provide efficient, functional, and stylish products. Crane makes humidifiers, heaters, purifier, fans, aroma products, and parts. Everything they produce is high quality, made sustainably, and is affordable.
Honeywell is not a new company. In fact, it was founded in 1906 by Mark C. Honeywell in Wabash, Indiana. Initially Honeywell manufactured heating parts and thermostats. Since their earliest days, Honeywell has focused on making the best and most sustainable consumer products. Today, you will find aerospace, building, footwear, healthcare, homes, manufacturing, oil & gas, performance materials, computer, and protective equipment for sale by Honeywell.
Honeywell’s humidifiers illustrate why the company has been so successful over the years. Honeywell manufactures portable and whole home humidifiers. Honeywell humidifiers are known for their quality and efficiency. If you want a lot of humidifier options and a time-tested product, then you should go with Honeywell’s humidifiers.
Vicks is probably best known for their cold, flu, and sinus products. Vicks vapor rub is probably the company’s most well-known product. Well, now the company makes their own humidifiers so that you don’t have to worry about rubbing Vicks’ medicine on yourself. Just put it in their trademarked humidifier for sinus problems and you will be good to go.
Essick manufacturers humidifiers and coolers. The company has been in business for more than ninety years. Essick is now the umbrella company for a wide variety of brands, including Aircare, Champion, UltraCool, MasterCool, and EssickAir. Because of the number of brands under the Essick umbrella, you have a lot of humidifier options from the company.
Essick manufactures innovative and attractive products that will fit in any home. You can choose from any humidifier type or size. It is safe to say that Essick has a humidifier that will suite any need.
Our final top humidifier brand is Holmes. This manufacturer creates cool mist humidifiers, warm mist humidifiers, and ultrasonic humidifiers. You can also purchase a variety of humidifier sizes from Holmes, including console, tabletop, and tower humidifiers.
Holmes also creates and sells air purifiers, fans, and heaters. You can find their products in home improvement stores like Lowes and Home Depot. Their humidifiers tend to run on the lower end of the price scale. Also, this is another company that does not produce a whole house humidifier. So, if you need a large humidifier, Holmes is not the brand for you.