A humidifier is a godsend for those who suffer from chronic air dryness. It works by converting water into vapor and increasing humidity in the room. This helps make the air easier to breathe while also helping to fight many diseases.
If you are buying a humidifier for the first time and are not sure what to look for, we will go over a few different factors that make any humidifier a good buy.
Getting Started With Choosing a Humidifier
First, make sure to ask why do you even need a humidifier before you explore its technical specifications? Are you planning to use it in your kitchen, office, or bedroom? When and for how long do you plan on using it throughout the day? Will you have children or pets around while operating it?
Even when you know the technical specifications, you can’t make the right choice if you don’t specify your needs carefully.
1. Deciding the Type of Humidifier
There are two major humidifier types available on the market: warm mist and cool mist.
The cool mist humidifier adds moisture to the air at room temperature and works well in warmer climates. These humidifiers tend to be noisier, but they are easy to clean. Also, their operational costs are very low. However, unless the humidifier has a high-end filter installed, it’s advised to use distilled water in cool mist humidifiers, free of impurities, as this prevents germs from traveling with the mist.
In contrast, warm mist humidifiers are suitable for cold climates and smaller spaces. Heating elements boil water to kill germs and bacteria, then add healthy moisture, so you can breathe. Nevertheless, they consume more energy and are unsafe to use around children and pets. Even though they are quiet, they are more difficult to clean.
Dual-mist units are also available for use in any environment.
Check out this article explaining humidifier types for more information about other types of humidifiers categorized according to their mode of operation.
2. Moisture Output, Tank Capacity, Humidifier Runtime, and Coverage
Here are some terms you’ll find while shopping for a humidifier:
- Moisture Output: Moisture output refers to the rate at which a humidifier adds moisture into the room air. It is generally measured in either gallons per hour or gallons per day.
- Tank Capacity: A humidifier’s tank capacity refers to the maximum volume of water it can hold after refilling. It is generally measured in gallons or liters.
- Runtime: The runtime refers to the maximum number of hours a humidifier can run after each refill.
- Coverage: Coverage refers to how much area a humidifier can humidify easily. The manufacturer defines it.
The larger the tank capacity of a humidifier, the longer its runtime will be. Likewise, the higher the moisture output, the shorter the runtime, but the more quickly it will maintain your desired humidity. A humidifier with a larger tank capacity to moisture output ratio will last longer with each refill.
Some humidifiers on the market allow you to change the moisture output to low, medium, or high by adjusting the fan speed. This increases or decreases the runtime but gives you the flexibility to change the unit’s humidification rate according to your needs.
Coverage relates directly to moisture output. Humidifiers with higher moisture output will tend to humidify large spaces in less time and vice versa. However, avoid using a humidifier in a larger area than it can handle. If you do so, it will take the unit longer to humidify the air, and it will not maintain an even level of humidity.
3. Ease of Use
Three factors define a humidifier’s ease of use: portability, cleaning, and refilling. Let’s take a quick look at each element.
- Portability: Smaller and lighter humidifiers are easier to move around the house. Installing casters allows even a bulkier unit to be easily moved from room to room.
- Refilling: How often you refill the tank and how easy it is to do so also matter. Humidifiers with large top openings are easier to refill, while those that need to be detached or removed during refilling can be tricky.
- Cleaning: The humidifier’s filter and water tank greatly contribute to the ease or difficulty of cleaning. If the filter is low-quality and needs to be washed regularly, it will become a problem for you, while the removable tank is easier to clean than the fixed one.
Keeping these three elements in mind will help you choose your humidifier.
4. Noise and Energy Consumption
Energy consumption and noise level are two important operational factors to consider when buying a humidifier. Humidifiers with low noise levels are ideal for use during the night due to noise levels averaging 30 decibels, which is close to the sound of a whisper. With certain humidifiers, the user can adjust the fan speed that either reducing or increasing the noise level.
Additionally, the unit you will buy shouldn’t be a constant burden on your budget. The best unit to choose is one that uses less energy during operation, like cool mist humidifiers, but consider the disadvantages they have.
5. Smart Features
Certain features make the humidifier smart, and you should keep those in mind when selecting one. With features such as remote control, mobile app support or Alexa integration, timer, smart memory, night mode, auto-shutoff, hygrometer, and child-lock, your life becomes much easier. Let’s look at how each of these features can help you.
While a remote control will allow you to change the humidifier’s settings while sitting on the couch, a mobile app and smart speaker support make controlling the humidifier very convenient. You can also set the timer to run the humidifier during specific hours during the day for low energy consumption.
The night mode turns off all lights on the humidifier and sets it to the lowest noise level for use at night. Humidifiers with smart memory restart with the same settings at which they were powered off either intentionally or during a power outage.
Additionally, the auto-shutoff feature prevents your humidifier from malfunctioning when the water tank is empty. In addition, the hygrometer shuts off the unit when your room is at your desired humidity level, preventing air over saturation.
Child-lock is another smart feature that humidifiers come with. It allows parents to prevent their children from tampering with humidifier settings by locking them. So even if your kids continue to play with buttons, they cannot change any setting.
6. Other Considerations
Here are some other considerations you should consider while buying a humidifier:
- Warranty: The peace of mind you get when purchasing a humidifier backed by a warranty is priceless. Some companies even provide warranties on installed filters.
- Certifications: Humidifiers with certifications such as UL Listing (that ensures the unit is safe to use), and ETL Listing (that serves the same authority as UL Listing) and many more give your device more credibility.
- Dimensions: Depending on where you plan to place your humidifier, choose the appropriate size. If you buy a bulky one, it will be hard to fit where you want it to be, while getting one too small will mean a smaller tank and a shorter runtime. So, think about the dimensions carefully before you buy it.
Get the Right Humidifier for Your Room
After reading this guide, it should now be easier for you to decide what to look for in a humidifier.
Consider the cost as well, as the more advanced a humidifier is, the more expensive it will be. So make sure to find the right balance between features and price.
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