10 best humidifiers for 2021

01 March 2021

mother and children drawing

If you or your children suffer from stuffy noses, chests, dry skin or chapped lips, then a humidifier could be the answer.

Humidifiers push moist air into the room, loosening tight chests and hydrating skin to keep rooms at the ideal humidity of 40 to 60% (not to be confused with dehumidifiers, which extract moisture from the air to help prevent damp).

As one Mumsnet user says, “They are the saviour of many nights’ sleep in our house. Child coughs. You go put on the humidifier. They sleep. It's great!”

But watch out – you don’t want the air so moist that your wallpaper slides off the wall. Also make sure you clean yours regularly as, instead of improving your health, bacteria and mould could be pumped out.

Look out for models with extra features like allergy filters, soothing night lights for infants and essential oil vapourisers, which can help with asthma, blocked noses and to create a relaxing atmosphere.

Here are the best humidifiers as recommended by parents.

1. Best overall humidifier: Levoit Home Humidifier

“I just got Levoit. The last two nights I used it, I woke up without a stuffy nose.”

1. Best overall humidifier: Levoit Home Humidifier

If you’re looking for a humidifier for the whole house, then this might be it. It will cover an area of 70m2 (753ft2) – much bigger than many others and has a whopping six-litre capacity.

The other big benefit is that you can choose between ultrasonic warm and cool mist at three different levels.

The LED screen can be turned off at night so it won’t keep you awake and it’s near silent, which means uninterrupted sleep. There’s also a smart mode where it can detect the humidity in the air and adjust it without you needing to get involved, plus a 12-hour timer too.

While pricier than some models, the Levoit does a lot more and even includes two extra aroma pads. Refills can be tricky to get hold of, but you can always use essential oils if you need to.

Pros

  • Large six-litre capacity
  • Will work for the whole house

Cons

  • Refills aren’t readily available to buy

2. Best budget humidifier: Rio Zoey Aroma Diffuser, Humidifier and Night Light

2. Best budget humidifier: Rio Zoey Aroma Diffuser, Humidifier and Night Light

For under £20, the Rio Zoey Humidifier also functions as a night light and an aroma diffuser too. Bargain!

At 90ml, the tank is on the small side, but it will last approximately nine hours.

The Rio Zoey is a cool-mist humidifier and has a USB plug so won’t eat up too much power. It’s also one of the more attractive devices on the market.

Pros

  • Great value
  • Does aromatherapy and has a night light too

Cons

  • The tank is small

3. Best humidifiers for stuffed noses: Vicks Cool Mist Humidifier

“The Vicks one is great. It’s big and you fill it with water. You can put little menthol pads in it too and it fills the room. We use ours every time DD (now nearly three) has a cold or cough and it helps massively.”

3. Best humidifiers for stuffed noses: Vicks Cool Mist Humidifier

In lots of parents’ minds, the brand Vicks means solutions for the stuffy noses that come with colds and this humidifier is no exception. It’s compatible with VapoPads and this bundle deal includes seven menthol pads, which will help with blocked noses. Users say they are one-use though, so bear in mind that it’s an extra £10 or so for another 14 pads.

The 1.8-litre tank is on the large side so it will last up to 20 hours before it needs to be refilled, meaning you don’t need to creep into your child’s room, ninja-like, to refill it.

There’s a warm mist version if you’d prefer, which will help kill bacteria, for around £40.

Pros

  • Large tank to last 20 hours
  • Compatible with Vicks VapoPads to help with blocked noses

Cons

  • Pads are only one use

4. Best cold mist humidifier: Fancii Cool Mist Portable Humidifier

4. Best cold mist humidifier: Fancii Cool Mist Portable Humidifier

Fancii’s portable humidifier can be used at home, in the car, the office or even on aeroplanes (post-lockdown, of course).

It has a small 200ml capacity, which makes it ideal for on-the-go humidification, and it weighs just 210g. You plug it in via USB so it’s very cheap to run.

There are two spray modes – continuous, which lasts for eight hours or intermittent, which lasts for 16.

This is definitely a humidifier for personal use, but if that’s what you’re after then it’s the ideal choice.

Pros

  • Portable
  • Cheap to run

Cons

  • Only for one person

5. Best warm mist humidifier: Medisana Personal Humidifier Ultrabreeze

“We got the Medisana Humidifier a year or so ago and I'm completely happy with it. I liked the idea that it heats the water which maybe meant fewer bugs growing in the water. Seems remarkably quiet and doesn't disturb DD at all.”

5. Best warm mist humidifier: Medisana Personal Humidifier Ultrabreeze

This is more than just a warm mist humidifier. It has a clock, which also works as an alarm, as well as an aromatherapy option.

The night light is a great feature – it has green, red and blue options, and you can even pick which one appears at certain times of the day or night.

The preheater helps kill off any germs or bacteria in the water. There’s also a fairly sizable 1.2-litre tank, which should last a good 15 to 20 hours. There’s a timer so you don’t need to remember to turn it off in the morning and there’s an auto shut-off for when it runs out of water.

Pros

  • Warm mist to help kill bacteria
  • Multi-coloured night light

Cons

  • Smaller tank than some

6. Best humidifier for infants: Babymoov Hygro Plus Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier

6. Best humidifier for infants: Babymoov Hygro Plus Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier

Babymoov’s humidifier not only adds moisture to the room to keep humidity at the recommended level of 40 to 50%, but you can also monitor the temperature to make sure it stays at the recommended 18 to 20 degrees.

Because it’s designed for babies, it’s virtually silent at just 25db (less than a whisper). It’s cool mist so there is no risk of them hurting themselves and the mist output is adjustable.

It will run for up to 22 hours and will work in rooms as large as 20m2 (65ft2). You can also add essential oils – although be careful if you are pregnant or have young children as some aren’t advised.

Babies will also love the multi-coloured lights – there are seven to choose from.

Pros

  • Virtually silent
  • Monitors temperature and humidity levels

Cons

  • Pricier than some

7. Best humidifier for use with essential oils: Homasy 2.5L Cool Mist Humidifier

“I have the Homasy. It’s pretty quiet – just some light white noise so it doesn't disturb me at all. I can also add essential oils. Makes our bedroom always smell of lavender. I don't think I could sleep without it, so it’s worth every penny for me.”

7. Best humidifier for use with essential oils: Homasy 2.5L Cool Mist Humidifier

Many humidifier manufacturers advise against putting drops of essential oil directly into the water tank, but Homasy is a welcome exception. They have built this humidifier from anti-corrosive PP material, which means you can add the drops into the tank and to turn it into an oil diffuser.

The tank is at the top, so just open it up to fill. This makes it just as easy as watering flowers and will take up to 2.5 litres to last for up to 30 hours.

There are seven mood lights spanning the rainbow, so you can pick your favourite, plus two mist settings and a sleep mode.

Pros

  • Can add essential oils directly to the tank
  • Seven colours of lights to choose from

Cons

  • Can’t do highest mist setting on sleep mode

8. Best Wi-Fi-enabled humidifier: Asakuki Smart Wi-Fi Humidifier

8. Best Wi-Fi-enabled humidifier: Asakuki Smart Wi-Fi Humidifier

The Asakuki Humidifier is smart in both appearance and tech. The stylish wood base makes it stand out and, now, their latest model can be controlled via an app.

This means that you can increase or decrease the moisture in the air and turn the lights off and on without leaving your chair/bed/desk (delete as applicable). You can also control it with your voice via Alexa or Google Home.

You can also set up timers so it will come on when you want it and you can add essential oils directly to the water.

It’s smaller than some, with a 500ml capacity, but should last around 16 hours, depending on the setting.

Pros

  • Smart – so you can use it via an app or via Alexa or Google Home
  • Stylish design

Cons

  • Easy to overfill if you’re not careful

9. Best humidifier to refill: Elechomes Top-Fill Ultrasonic Warm and Cold Mist Humidifier

9. Best humidifier to refill: Elechomes Top-Fill Ultrasonic Warm and Cold Mist Humidifier

If you don’t want to keep topping up your humidifier, this Elechomes model will last for a whopping 55 hours in cold mist mode with its 5.5-litre tank. There’s also a warm mist mode if you’d prefer, but that shortens the time you can use it down to 40 hours – still much longer than many other models though.

When the time comes for you to refill it, the top fill tank and handle makes it very easy.

It’s whisper-quiet at just 32dB, and you don’t even need to get off the sofa to operate it as it comes with a remote. Add aromatherapy oils to the separate compartment for pleasant aromas.

There’s a matte or shiny finish, but users say the shiny option can become marked when the humidifier is in use, so pick matte unless you want even more cleaning.

Pros

  • Top fill tank
  • Large water tank so needs refilling less frequently

Cons

  • Need to be close to the unit for the remote to work

10. Best humidifier for allergies: Dyson PH01 Humidifier and Air Purifier

10. Best humidifier for allergies: Dyson PH01 Humidifier and Air Purifier

If you’ve got deep pockets and love Dyson, then take a look at their PH01 Humidifier.

Yes, at nearly £600, it’s on the expensive side, but it’s not just a humidifier. It also incorporates their trademark bladeless fan, which usually retails for £349.99, and it’s an air purifier too, which can be great if you have allergies. The high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter will remove 99.97% of harmful pollutants to clean the air.

When it comes to the humidifier, it’s a cold action, rather than warm, which can be safer for small children but requires extra cleaning to make sure bacteria is removed. It has a huge five-litre water tank though so will last all night. Just don’t use it with essential oils as these could corrode the tank.

Pros

  • Multi purpose – humidifier, fan and air purifier
  • Cold mist so quieter and safer for children

Cons

  • Very pricey
  • Can’t use essential oils

Is a cool mist or warm mist humidifier better?

Both warm and cool mist humidifiers will do the job of adding water to the air, which can be great for dry skin, chapped lips and stuffy chests, especially in babies.

Cool mist humidifiers can be ideal for children as they can be quieter than warm mist humidifiers and there’s no risk of them hurting themselves on the hot water. You do have to clean the tank more regularly and thoroughly though as bacteria can grow. The heating process in warm mist, on the other hands, helps to stop any bacteria that may have grown from being distributed into the air.

There are two ways the water can be distributed. Evaporative humidifiers draw air through a moist filter, whereas ultrasonic humidifiers use high-frequency vibration to create water droplets that are distributed via a fan into the air. Users say hard water can affect the ultrasonic process so bear that in mind or use distilled water if you live in a hard water area.

What should I look for when buying a humidifier?

  • Size – the size of the unit doesn’t always correspond to the size of space the humidifier can work in or how many hours use you will get out of it. Generally though, the larger the tank the longer the humidifier will work. Tank sizes vary from 200ml for personal use humidifiers to six litres or more for whole house humidifiers.
  • How easy it is to clean – Warm mist humidifiers are designed to heat the water and reduce the risk of bacteria or mould being pumped into the air. Cool mist models don’t have this function so need to be cleaned more regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions. However, both options need to be cleaned frequently often with a mild bleach like Milton. Look for models where you can remove the water tank easily and ones without fiddly crevices that are hard to scrub.
  • Aromatherapy options – Many models on the market double as a vaporiser too. You can add aromatherapy oils or specially designed pads (specific to your model). Eucalyptus for example works well to relieve cold symptoms while lavender can be relaxing. Follow instructions carefully though as many models won’t work if you add the oils directly to the water tank.
  • Extras – Some come with mood lights, clocks and alarms so it’s worth seeing what extras you can get.

What’s the best humidifier on the market?

Levoit’s Home Humidifier is the best humidifier on the market. It works in a large area – up to 70m2 – and offers the best of both worlds with cool and warm mist options. With a night light, LED display and aromatherapy options, it’s packed full of useful features.

If you’re looking for a cheaper model, then Asakuki Smart Wi-Fi Humidifier, which works via app or Alexa or Google Home makes it much easier to use and it’s super stylish too.

How we chose our recommendations

All of our recommendations for humidifiers came from Mumsnet users themselves. We searched the Mumsnet forums for posts about which cool and warm mist humidifiers Mumsnetters really loved for themselves and their children. We also looked at other reviews to see which humidifiers performed well across the board.

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