When you’re struggling with a persistent cough, whether caused by cold, flu, or allergies, you’ll really struggle to get through your day. Coughing hurts, for starters, but it can also persist long after you’ve cleared your throat and lungs. A “productive cough” helps you get rid of the mucous that clogs air passages when you’re ill. But a dry cough serves no real purpose and can be self-perpetuating, further damaging your throat. Both kinds of cough, however, can be soothed by running a humidifier in your space. We’ll help you find the best humidifier for coughs with information about what to look for followed by a rundown of five highly reviewed options. Stick with us to feel better in no time.
How a Humidifier Can Soothe Coughs
Maintaining a consistent humidity level between 30-60% can do wonders for human health and comfort, including soothing persistent coughs. You can use a humidifier for baby congestion or to quiet coughing at night only in adults. It’s safe for everyone, assuming that you keep the unit clean.
Following are three humidifier benefits that can improve your life.
Stop the spread of germs
Recent studies have determined that flu-causing particles are better able to survive in dry environments than in humid ones. One such study found that when humidity hovers around 23%, up to 77% of flu virus particles released into the air can still infect a host an hour later. With humidity levels of just 43%, still very comfortable for humans, most of the flu particles became inactive within 15 minutes of release.
Therefore, running a humidifier when you’re sick can help reduce the spread of the illness and protect the health of your family.
Many times, coughing is the result of a dry throat and respiratory tract. Just about everything in our body works better with proper moisture, and breathing in humidity can help your body make those coughs more productive. You’ll also feel more comfortable in general and experience less soreness from a dry throat.
Sleeping with a cold or flu can be a real challenge. When we lay down in a prone position, mucous can pool in the back of our throats and exacerbate coughing. Using a humidifier for coughing at night loosens mucous if you have it. You may also find that you sleep with your mouth open when your nose is congested, and the extra humidity will keep your throat from triggering a cough because it’s too dry.
Warm Mist vs Cool Mist Humidifiers
Warm mist, such as that you breathe while in the shower, does feel good. For that reason, you may be tempted to choose a warm mist humidifier for coughs. However, it turns out that even when the vapor from a humidifier comes out warm, it will have reached room temperature before you breathe it in. The same is true of a cool mist humidifier – though the vapor starts out cooler, it quickly warms up to match the air temperature.
Experts recommend that parents always use cool-mist humidifiers for children. This is because children might not understand that steam from a warm-mist humidifier can burn if he or she gets too close. If the humidifier gets knocked over by play, the hot water that spills out might also burn. Even worse, curious hands could take the unit apart and access the heating plate.
Some people prefer warm mist humidifiers during winter months because they do put out a little bit of heat and can help your furnace maintain the desired indoor temp without running as much. This can save on heating costs, but it will bump up your cooling costs if run during the summer.
It also seems that warm mist humidifiers tend to disperse fewer minerals from the water into the air, instead retaining them inside the unit. But cool mist humidifiers also retain minerals from water, and this problem can be solved in both types by using filtered or distilled water. Water treated this way contains fewer minerals, so there is less available to build up inside the unit or dry on your furnishings.
Safety concerns aside, since the vapor released by both types of humidifier will be the same temperature when it reaches your airways, it doesn’t matter too much what type you get.
What to Look for in a Humidifier for Coughs
In the end, it doesn’t matter much if you choose a warm mist or cool mist humidifier. But since you want your humidifier especially to soothe coughs, there are a few other things to consider before buying.
Essential oil capacity
Certain aromatherapy oils can do wonders for a sore throat and coughing. There are also oils that simply relax the body and improve sleep quality – all great things when you’re bothered by a cough. Not all humidifiers are made to accept essential oils, though. Choose one that can if you want the option to increase the therapeutic value of the humidity you’re adding to the air.
Age of children
If you have kids in the family, it is usually best to go with a cool mist humidifier for safety’s sake. Warm mist humidifiers heat water to produce steam and therefore have a heating element that can burn little hands.
When using a humidifier to ease coughing, you want as much of that healing mist directed toward you as possible. When you choose a humidifier with directional control, it allows you the maximum flexibility in terms of where the unit is placed. You’ll still be able to point the mist in a way that means you can breathe in as much of it as possible.
You don’t want anything to disturb your sleep once you finally achieve it. Choose a humidifier with a large enough tank to run all night. This way you won’t wake up at 3 a.m. with a dry throat and have to drag yourself out of bed to refill the tank.
TOP 5 Find the Best Humidifier for Coughs
On The Market 2020
We have gathered all of the general specs for each product in this handy table.
Warm & cool
Warm & cool
TOP 5 Find the Best Humidifier for Coughs
Following are in-depth reviews for five excellent humidifiers to soothe coughs.
1 Elechomes UC5501 Ultrasonic Humidifier 6L Vaporizer Warm and Cool Mist for Large Room Baby Bedroom with Remote, Customized Humidity, LED Touch Display, Sleep Mode, 12-40 Hours, 550ml/h Max Humidity
If you really want it all when it comes to a humidifier for coughs, this Elechomes model could be it. It has a large water tank, long continuous run time, and huge coverage area, just for starters. The humidifier also has a separate essential oil box that you can use to introduce soothing and healing fragrance. If you don’t want essential oils, simply leave the box empty.
You also get both cool and warm mist, which makes it an excellent year-round product. Using warm mist in the winter can actually lower your heating bill, while switching to cool in the summer will keep the humidifier from competing with your air conditioning. The dual nozzles on this unit rotate 360° so that you can direct moisture exactly where you need it and avoid oversaturating any one area.
Many users appreciate that this humidifier comes with a built-in humidistat to accurately detect the room’s current moisture level. When you set the humidistat to your desired level, the humidifier will cycle on and off as needed to maintain that level consistently. Another useful setting to preserve your precious rest is Sleep Mode. Engage this setting and the unit will darken its LED screen and run at a whisper-quiet 34dB.
And finally, you will be so grateful for the ability to control all of these incredible features from the comfort of your bed with the included remote control. This humidifier works well for rooms up to 750 sq. ft. in size and provides up to 40 hours of continuous use per tank.
- 11.6 x 7.7 x 11 inches
- 5.07 pounds
- One year warranty
- Covers huge spaces
- Included remote control
- Accurate built-in humidistat
- Run time between refills diminishes the higher you set the humidity
- Can be challenging to refill and reseat water tank
- Makes audible beeps while setting and continually flashes some readings
2 TTLIFE Ultrasonic Humidifiers Large Room, 5.5L Ionic Warm and Cool Mist Humidifiers for Bedroom Baby, Steam Vaporizer air humidifier with Essential Oils and Remote, Whisper Quiet Customized Humidity
TTLife has designed a versatile humidifier packed with great features. One of the best is its focus on air purification as much as humidity. This can help reduce congestion as well as soothe your sore throat. This product has an ionic resin filter that softens hard water and reduces up to 90% of the white powder that occurs in most humidifiers as the water evaporates.
The TTLife humidifier is additionally made with high quality BPA-free materials and features a built-in ionic generator that will purify air in the room. All of these features combined will extend the useful life of your machine. Set this humidifier to produce either cool or warm mist, according to the season. The digital screen is easy to read and displays the room’s current humidity at all times.
There are a couple of ways to manage the relative humidity in your space. Either set the unit to maintain your preferred humidity level or put it in “auto mode.” This automatically chooses and adjusts the ideal amount of moisture without you needing to choose it. When sleep mode is engaged the LED lights are turned off to preserve your sleep.
The water tank is spacious, holding 1.45 gallons of water. That allows it to run for up to 40 hours between refills. You will also appreciate the dual 360° rotatable nozzles for directing vapor and ensuring even humidification throughout the room. It also comes equipped with a compartment for essential oils.
- 24.8 x 19.7 x 15 inches
- 6.9 pounds
- One year warranty
- Convenient remote included
- Feature rich model
- Filter keeps vapor free of white mineral residue
- Warm water mode can initially cause a plastic smell
- Unit beeps repeatedly when running out of water
- Learning curve for operation
3 TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier, 4L Ultrasonic Humidifiers for Large Bedroom Home Baby, Quiet Operation, LED Display with Humidistat, Waterless Auto Shut-off (1.06 Gallon, US 110V)
If you’re looking for a smaller humidifier that still offers ample run time, look to the TaoTronics. The 4L tank provides 12-30 hours of continuous use between refills yet is compact enough to fit into even tight spaces. It runs at a quiet 38dB to protect your rest.
Even though this is a small humidifier, it features an informative LED display and a built-in humidistat. Use one of three mist settings to achieve your preferred humidity level. When darkness falls, use the internal nightlight or switch on sleep mode to darken the LED screen entirely.
The TaoTronics uses a microporous cartridge filter to purify air by removing microorganisms and unpleasant odors from the water before it turns to vapor. Depending on how often you use your humidifier, you will need to clean or replace the filter every 4-6 months.
For the style conscious, this humidifier comes in white, black, or gray. It also has a smart version for tech lovers that links with Google Home and Amazon Alexa. One thing you cannot do with the TaoTronics is use essential oils.
- 8.1 x 5.3 x 11.8 inches
- 3.52 pounds
- One year warranty
- Built-in humidistat and smart version available
- Dual handles on water tank, top and bottom, for easy carrying and refilling
- Designed and built to be sturdy; packaged safely
- Tank opening is small and can complicate cleaning
- Requires a deep sink for refilling
- May dampen carpets or floors
4 Homech 6L Cool Mist Humidifiers Quiet Ultrasonic Humidifier 100 Hours, Easy to Clean, for Nursery Babies Room Large bedroom Living Guitar Room 360° Nozzle ,Tank-Removal and Waterless Auto Shut-Off
This Homech humidifier has a roomy 6 liter water tank that can run up to 100 hours per fill, a real blessing when you’re feeling under the weather. It uses a powerful internal fan to release even mist that won’t dampen floors and surfaces. The mist itself is also quite fine, giving you an especially long run time between refills.
There is a dustproof sponge that stops dust and other contaminants from being pulled into the humidifier, ensuring that the vapor you breathe is clean. The ultrasonic humidifying action is extremely quiet so that your sleep or study will not be disturbed. In terms of ambiance, you can use the included nightlight to create a soft glow or leave it off if you prefer darkness.
All in all, this is a trouble-free product. It features an automatic shut-off that triggers when the water runs dry, so it’s no big deal if you don’t catch it right away. The circuit board is nano-coated to protect against water damage and extend the life of your machine. Clean your humidifier easily via the large opening.
- Roomy water tank & sleek overall styling
- Extremely quiet operation
- Easy to clean
- Not meant for use with essential oils
- Fan runs constantly unless unplugged
- Water must be emptied from unit before refilling the tank
5 HiAir Cool Mist Humidifier Humidifier for Baby Bedroom, All Night Moisture Quiet Humidifier with High Low Mist, Auto-Off Timer, Night Light, Easy Use Filterless Humidifier for Home Office Nursery
HiAir offers a cool mist humidifier with sleek styling and a half-gallon tank that can run for up to 30 hours continuously on the low setting. Though it is not as large as some other tanks on our list, it has a streamlined shape that makes it easy to grip with one hand when you need to refill it.
There are several handy settings to choose from – high and low mist as well as auto shutoff timers for 1, 3, and 6 hours. This can help conserve electricity and ensure your room does not become too damp. The ultrasonic technology keeps operating noise to a minimum, never exceeding 32 dB.
A dim blue night light is available so you don’t knock over the unit if you get up in the middle of the night. The sleek shape also fits into tight spaces so it can be kept out of the way. The auto shutoff feature stops the unit from overheating when water runs out. There is no filter in this humidifier, which can save some money on operating costs.
- Economical price
- Works quietly
- Convenient timed cycles
- Learning curve to operation
- Water may drip upon refilling
- Power button can be difficult to push
Maintaining Your Humidifier
Humidifiers can do a lot to improve your health, but if they aren’t maintained properly, can actually make you sick. Use the following tips to keep yours clean and fresh.
If you are using your humidifier every day, it’s best to clean it thoroughly about once per week. Check your user manual to see if instructions for this have been provided. You may even receive a special cleaning brush along with your purchase, but brushes designed for dishes also do a great job of getting into the tight corners inside a humidifier.
Generally speaking, you can just use water and a gentle cleanser for the job. Vinegar and water is great, as is a small amount of dish soap. You just want to make sure you’re scrubbing out any accumulated scale or mineral powder as well as wiping away any mold that may be growing in areas that are frequently damp.
It is important to take the time afterwards to let your humidifier dry completely after cleaning. And if you want to go the extra mile, change the tank water every day, even if it’s not empty. This can ensure that you aren’t running stagnant water through the system and then breathing it in.
Use this strategy to get your humidifier sparkling clean:
- Unplug the humidifier before you begin; empty out all water and separate removable parts.
- Pour 1-2 cups of undiluted white vinegar into the water tank; cap or cover the tank before shaking it vigorously until vinegar coats the entire inside. (Some humidifier brands recommend that you dilute the vinegar with water.)
- With vinegar still inside, place the tank on the humidifier base and allow the vinegar to drain into the reservoir. Wait 15-20 minutes for the vinegar to loosen mineral deposits and other stains.
- With a small brush, scrub the inside of the humidifier before addressing the tank itself. Dump out the dirty vinegar.
- Small parts, like the tank cap or essential oil container, can be hand washed with a cloth dipped in vinegar.
- Rinse everything thoroughly, but be very careful to avoid getting water.
- Reassemble and refill the humidifier; turn it on and let it work.
Final Tip: Use Distilled Water
No matter what type of humidifier you use, you’ll find that it retains mineral dust that is separated from the water as it vaporizes. This dust is generally not harmful, but it can clog the inner workings of your humidifier and shorten its lifespan. When there is too much build-up, the dust can also exit the machine with the vapor and settle on furniture, floors, and curtains.
Regular cleaning solves the problem, but you can stretch the time between cleanings by using only distilled water in your humidifier. Distillation removes many of the minerals that cause that irritating powder, so there is less to create the powder in the first place. Interestingly, this makes distilled water somewhat less healthy to drink – our bodies need the minerals – but a lot cleaner to use in a humidifier.
Dealing with a chronic cough is no fun, but running a humidifier while you’re sick can help to manage the symptoms. The best homemade humidifier for cough is simply to take a hot shower and breathe in the steam. But once you get all wrinkly you may want to hop out and use a different method. We hope we’ve laid out everything you need to know about how to stop uncontrollable coughing at night as well as stay more comfortable all day long. Your personal best humidifier for coughs is sure to be on our list. Feel better soon!