What to Look for in Humidifiers

So, you’ve realized that the air in your home or apartment is just too dry. It’s time to buy a humidifier to moisten the climate a bit and make breathing easier and skin more supple. You might even be trying to save that guitar in the corner, which appears to be on the verge of warping from air that is excessively dry.

Here is a quick guide to the features, types and style of humidifiers, designed to help you make a wise choice as you shop:

  • You can find mini-humidifiers that weigh less than one pound if you are looking for a model that can be effective in a small office or in your car.
  • The size of the tank will determine how often you need to refill the humidifier. It is not necessarily an indication of the machine’s power. If you are not likely to want to refill the tank constantly, opt for a model with a larger tank, as long as you can easily manipulate a two-quart tank full of water. Make sure that the tank lifts easily in and out of the unit. Think of how heavy it will be when it is full of water.
  • Be SURE that your preferred model has an auto shut-off feature when the water tank is completely empty.
  • Humidifiers come in snazzy styles and designs these days. Impeller humidifiers look cool with their rotating disks. If you care about appearance, this type of humidifier might be for you.
  • If you want to avoid tripping over your humidifier at night, find one that has a night light built in.v
  • Humidifiers with different fan speeds are handy. They can be adjusted for noise volume and power. A humidifier that is a bit large for a room, run on a low fan speed, will produce a tolerable, quiet hum. Check for humidifiers that have silent settings as well if someone in your family has a hard time sleeping with noise being produced by a machine. Ultrasonic humidifiers are the quietest of the bunch.
  • Humidifiers with humidistats are very handy too. These machines will constantly measure the humidity in the room and turn off when a desired level is reached. Unless you want to measure the room’s humidity constantly with a hygrometer, pay the extra and get a humidifier with a humidistat.
  • Some humidifiers need to be cleaned more often than others. If you can find one that requires less cleaning to meet manufacturer specs, go for it.
  • Even if you love the feel of warm vapor, if you have children a warm mist humidifier might pose risks. The vapor itself can burn a child that gets too close, the machine gets hot, and the boiled water can spill onto a child’s skin if the machine is knocked over. Think carefully about this type of humidifier if you have small children. You can also purchase a dual-system humidifier that can produce hot or cold mists.
  • If you have a lot of coughs and colds in the winter in your house, a warm mist vaporizer can be very soothing. Your doctor might have very specific recommendations about what type of humidifier you should buy.
  • Some humidifiers purify the air as well (for a bit of added cost). If this is important to you, buy that type of model.
  • If you buy a console model, be sure that it has wheels for easy mobility.
  • Dishwasher-safe reservoirs are a true plus, saving you from hand cleaning the tank.
  • Warranties vary, with one year the usual minimum.