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Ilya Socks
Ilya Socks

Humidifier Buying Guide ##VERIFIED##

There are several different kinds of humidifiers, including whole-home and portable models. For the purposes of this buying guide, we're going to focus on portable humidifiers. These are small but powerful devices that can be set up in basically any home. Most humidifiers operate simply, with a power source and tank for water. How they help to add humidity to the air depends on the type of humidifier that you purchase.

humidifier buying guide

While the function of a humidifier will vary depending on the type you decide on, the majority of humidifiers operate with a similar concept. A reservoir of water is slowly dispensed into a basin, where it is absorbed by a wicking filter. A fan blows air through the filter, which evaporates the water and helps to add moisture to the air. Most humidifiers are self-regulating, so as the humidity in the room increases, the amount of vapor produced decreases.

Portable humidifiers are a common household accessory. Because of this you can find them in many places that sell common home goods. Big box stores like Target, Walmart and even stores like Home Depot and Lowe's typically stock portable humidifiers. So, too, do pharmacy stores like Walgreens and CVS. You can also purchase portable humidifiers online from places like Amazon. They range in price from less than $20 to $200 or more.

Most portable humidifiers are rather simple to set up. You will plug them in, fill the reservoir with water and allow it to disperse the moisture into the air. You'll want to read your humidifier manual to make sure that you are operating it correctly. While most humidifiers will run just fine with tap water, some require or operate better with distilled water. This also helps to prevent build up of any sort of mineral dust. If you are using a warm mist humidifier or a humidifier that gets hot during operation, make sure you keep it on a safe surface and out of the reach of animals or children who may touch it.

Cleaning a humidifier is easy and essential, as you don't want to distill bacteria or dirt into the air. Each humidifier will be a little different, but in general, the cleaning process will be similar no matter what.

Turn off your humidifier and make sure the reservoir and basin are empty. Fill the tank with undiluted white vinegar. Allow it to stand for 15 to 20 minutes, then empty it and scrub the area to remove any mineral deposits. Rinse thoroughly, let it dry, then put it back together so you can run it again.

If your humidifier suffers any damage or stops functioning, you can check the warranty and replace it. Most humidifiers come with a one-year warranty and you may be able to replace it through the retailer where you initially purchased it. Otherwise, you will have to contact the manufacturer.

Portable humidifiers are simple and effective tools for keeping the air in your home moist, even through the dry winter months. This helps to improve air quality, keep you healthy and keep heating costs down. They are easy to maintain and provide great benefits with minimal cleaning. Consider the different types of portable humidifiers available and go from there -- there's bound to be an option to suit your needs.

But with so many models out there, how do you decide which humidifier is right for your home? Read on to find out about the types of humidifiers available, get advice on how to choose a humidifier for your room size, and learn the factors to consider when you shop.

Testers calculate the amount of energy each model uses to emit a gallon of water into the air. Our humidistat accuracy test measures how well each humidifier reaches and maintains a set humidity level.

Tabletop and console (floor model) humidifiers are categorized as warm mist, cool mist, or dual mist models, which are capable of producing both warm and cool mist. In our tests, humidifiers range in price from a little under $20 to $800.

Most humidifiers sold are cool mist. If you have a cold, a cool-mist humidifier can help shrink swelling in nasal passages, making it easier for you to breathe, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

Warm mist humidifiers, also known as steam vaporizers, are typically your cheapest option. They use a heating element to boil water and create a warm mist, which means they use more energy than cool mist models use. But when the temperature drops, you may prefer having a warm mist running in your house instead of a cool one. Warm mist models can cause your nasal passages to swell and make breathing more difficult, however, so they should not be used to relieve cold symptoms, according to the FDA.

CR advises against using a warm mist humidifier around children because the humidifier tank contains hot water that can burn skin if the humidifier tips over or leaks. Of the models we tested, prices range from around $15 to nearly $300.

A quick solution to the low humidity problem is a humidifier, which is designed to emit moisture into the air, thereby restoring a more comfortable humidity level. If you're considering investing in one, you'll want to understand the various types and their capabilities.

If your home humidity level dips below 30 percent on a regular basis, you want a humidifier. Symptoms of low humidity for people include dry skin, chapped lips, sinus problems such as bloody noses, scratchy throats and dry coughs and breathing trouble. A sign of an overly dry environment for your home is static electricity, which can damage electronics. Overly dry air also dries out wooden furniture and flooring, causes wallpaper to peel and can damage houseplants.

While it is possible to over-humidify your home, many humidifiers feature a humidistat that regulates a humidifier's output to maintain desired humidity levels. Ideally, you want your indoor humidity levels to fall between 35 to 45 percent. If humidity levels are higher than 50 percent, you will experience unfavorable conditions such as condensation on walls and windows, which can lead to the growth of molds, dust mites and bacteria.

The best way to determine the right kind of humidifier is to address these questions: 1) do you have hard or soft water, 2) are you looking for a humidifier for a specific health concern, and 3) what is the room size you are going to put the humidifier in.

Soft water provides the easiest maintenance of a humidifier in that you rinse the unit with water and remove any deposits with a brush. Hard water leaves a more noticeable mineral residue/scale that is much harder to remove. Use distilled water instead.

Humidifiers come in a wide range of sizes - from small tabletop units to floor standing models. The size of the humidifier you buy is directly related to the size of the room you wish to humidify. Each humidifier features an output capacity best suited to humidify a certain size range of room.

*Placement. Smaller humidifiers can be positioned on a tabletop or other flat surface, whereas larger models can often be located against the wall, providing that the discharge comes from the top. If not, such humidifiers must be placed away from the wall. Use special care in your placement of warm mist humidifiers, as the water they contain is very hot and can cause injury if the unit is knocked over.

* Decor style. Many humidifiers are utilitarian in appearance, but there are several models on the market appropriate for children's rooms, such as those fashioned to look like animals.

Cool mist models call for replacing the filter or wick every three months, whereas warm mist humidifiers require that you clean the heating element and the water chamber. The disks must be kept clean in airwashers.

Generally speaking, we limited our search to portable humidifiers rated to cover between 200 and 700 square feet, with a minimum tank size of 1 gallon (although we have made occasional exceptions). In our experience, a 1-gallon tank is big enough to allow a humidifier to last for most or all of a day running on medium without having to refill.

After running the Venta and the Winix air washers against our former top pick, the Honeywell HCM-350 evaporative humidifier, we saw the particle concentrations drop for the Venta and the Honeywell but actually rise for the Winix.

Regardless of which type of humidifier you have, you must clean it regularly to prevent funky stuff from growing in the reservoir and other parts of your machine. The EPA suggests (PDF) cleaning and disinfecting portable humidifiers every third day; most manufacturers recommend about once a week. A bacteriostatic treatment such as Essick Air or an antimicrobial cleaning cartridge like the fish-shaped Protec can also help to discourage nasty things from growing. But these should still be used in conjunction with a regular cleaning.

The Honeywell HCM-350 Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier was our top pick from 2015 to 2021, largely because of its simplicity. The base is dishwasher-safe, there are no bright lights or beeping sounds to keep you up at night, and several Wirecutter staffers have used it long enough to attest to its durability. But we started hearing more and more complaints from readers who had trouble cleaning the non-dishwasher-safe parts or who were otherwise disappointed with this model. Its availability has also become increasingly scarce. This is still a pretty great, simple evaporative humidifier if you can find it, but we think most readers will be better served with one of our ultrasonic picks or the EVDC300.

A humidifier is used to adjust the humidity level indoors to keep it comfortable and healthy. There are different types of humidifiers, but the basic operation of a humidifier is to turn water into a mist or steam and introduce moisture back into the air.

It can be useful to introduce a humidifier in rooms that are regularly at humidity levels between 30 and 50 percent. Below 30 percent humidity, the air can draw moisture out of wood furniture or flooring, resulting in damage, like warping or cracks. Wallpaper can begin to peel away as the moisture is pulled out and weakens the adhesive. 041b061a72


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