The Ultimate Guide to Humidifiers

AIr Oasis Humidifier on a kitchen counter

With growing awareness of the importance of the air we breathe, we can now turn to humidifiers for more than just a child with a cough. If we pay close attention to our surroundings, we can find multiple reasons to use the help of a humidifier to improve the air, especially in dry climates. 

A humidifier is a device that releases moisture into the air, leaving behind humid air to breathe in. In this guide, we’re going to look at when to use a humidifier and some of the benefits of using one. If you’ve wondered if a humidifier would be a good addition to your home, keep reading! 

Types of Humidifiers

You can choose from several types of humidifiers that can all get the job done by providing increased moisture within the air of your house. 

Cool Mist Humidifiers

Cool mist humidifiers is a term used to describe both evaporative and ultrasonic humidifiers. Moisture may be added to the air through a traditional water tank and evaporated water, or through ultrasonic technology. In both cases, the “cool” quantifier means that moisture is added to the air without the use of heat. Cool mist humidifiers are a great option to refresh the air without any risk from warm or hot water or hot steam. Depending on the type of cool mist humidifier, these units may also have a filter. Cool mist humidifiers create a cool invisible mist and can be effective for large rooms and spaces.

Warm Mist Humidifiers

Warm mist humidifiers produce a soothing, warm mist in the air. Great for soothing respiratory irritation and providing a warm, humid environment, these humidifiers solve for cool, dry air and are often used in cold climates, for sick children, and may be used with aromatics like menthol to address congestion. Warm mist humidifiers do use heated water from tanks. You’ll want to avoid contact with the hot steam, which can cause skin burns. As long as safety is observed, warm mist humidifiers are an excellent choice to help soothe a dry area and provide a little warmth. 

Evaporative Humidifiers

Evaporative humidifiers use a moistened wick filter while a fan distributes the water mist throughout the air. Evaporative humidifiers do not require any heat, which many people like for safe use around children and pets. Evaporative units require semi-frequent cleaning to avoid bacteria and contaminants collecting in the filter. Aside from a minor operating noise, evaporative humidifiers are effective at adding moisture to the air, preventing dry throat and skin issues. 

Ultrasonic Humidifiers

Ultrasonic humidifiers use a metal diaphragm that vibrates at an ultrasonic frequency, similar to a speaker. This process creates water droplets that are deposited into the air. Ultrasonic humidifiers are virtually silent and create a cool fog. A “white dust” off-put can occur with these units, but you can counteract this if you use distilled, filtered, or bottled water. Ultrasonic units are easy to care for and require less maintenance than many of their counterparts.

Vaporizer Humidifiers

One of the most affordable options on the market, vaporizer humidifiers are known for being multipurpose solutions that can function as both warm and cool mist humidifiers. 

Combining the best of both features, vaporizer humidifiers are great for hot and cool climates. You can also add medicated inhalants to vaporizer humidifiers to treat cold or allergy problems.

Note that while they are noiseless to operate and highly effective, they require an involved cleaning process and consume a lot of energy and power to run compared to many of their more efficient counterparts. 

Energy-Efficient Humidifiers

The output of water measures the effectiveness of a humidifier into the air–the higher the output, the more effective the humidifier. Therefore, efficiency is in energy, in watt-hours, required to emit a gallon of water into the air. Humidifiers that incorporate a fan in their mechanisms, such as cool mist and evaporative humidifiers, are the most efficient at filling a room space the quickest and, therefore, the most energy-efficient.

How to Use a Humidifier

First, it is important only to use a humidifier when symptoms or climate require it. When conditions require the use of a humidifier, follow these steps: 

  1. Manage humidity: Set the moisture according to climate conditions.
  2. In order to achieve the best results with the Cool Mist Humidifier, Air Oasis recommends that you use distilled water.
  3. Keep your unit clean: empty the tank, wipe all surfaces dry, and refill the water in portable humidifiers daily to reduce any growth of microorganisms. 
  4. Replace filters regularly: follow your manufacturer’s manual for filter replacement and necessary replacement of other parts. This will vary by unit and type of humidifier.
  5. Keep interior doors open: to avoid over-humidifying a room, keep doors to the room open when the unit is in use. This will allow airflow in and out of the space. 
  6. Take precautions around children and pets: not all humidifiers are safe to operate around children and pets, particularly humidifiers that use warm air. Use precaution when operating warm air humidifiers in the presence of children and pets.

Best Humidifier Buying Guide

The first step in your humidifier buying journey is to identify a need. Will you be using this humidifier for kids or elderly persons? In a large space or small room? Depending on the primary use, different humidifiers offer unique features and may be the best fit for your home.

Best Humidifiers for Kids

When you or your kid has a cold, it can be difficult to sleep through the night. Humidifiers temporarily relieve coughing and congestion, so your rest won't be as disturbed by coughing fits. The best humidifier for children may be a cool mist humidifier. This type of humidifier adds moisture to the air without using hot water or hot steam, making it safe to use around kids. 

Best Humidifiers for Pets

When it comes to your pets, there are several types of humidifiers you can use. The most common is an evaporative cool mist humidifier. These humidifiers use technology to emit droplets in the form of a cooling mist. They are noiseless, easy to use and maintain, and safe for use around pets. 

Warm mist humidifiers can also be used for pets but should be used cautiously and kept out of reach, as the boiling water and hot steam could injure your pet.

Best Humidifiers for Elderly People

The best humidifiers for elderly people are generally easy to clean and maintain. When selecting a humidifier for elderly people, consider if it has a humidity sensor, a large water tank, the coverage area, and the noise level. Elderly people have difficulty maintaining their humidity levels, so it is important to select a humidifier that can regulate this for them and function and cover a large area. Humidifiers for large rooms, cool and warm mist humidifiers, and ultrasonic humidifiers are all excellent options for elderly people.

Best Humidifiers for Plants

Indoor plants have an array of benefits, including removing allergens from the air and oxygenating the space you live in. To keep indoor plants thriving year-round, it’s essential to maintain proper humidity levels. Humidifiers add moisture to the air and are especially beneficial during the colder months because cooler air tends to be dryer. In addition, indoor air loses moisture from heating when using central heat or fireplaces, which can leave plants looking wilted and dull. Using an evaporative or ultrasonic humidifier is ideal for regulating the humidity of indoor plants. Evaporative humidifiers are similar to cool mist humidifiers because they do not use heated water to humidify the air, so there is no impact to the temperature of a room.

Best Humidifiers for Small Spaces

Humidifiers come in different sizes. If you’re searching for one for a small room, such as a bedroom or dorm room, you want not only a unit with a small footprint but also one that is best suited to function in a small space. If small, compact, and efficient is what you’re aiming for, look for a humidifier with a small tank that doesn’t need to be changed more than once a day, so the water can’t build up too much. An ideal small space humidifier can also run at least half the day on a low setting.

Best Humidifiers for Large Spaces

If you want to add moisture to the air of a large space, such as a whole house or daycare facility, consider a humidifier with a large water tank, ranging from two liters up to four gallons. A four-gallon tank can release enough mist (cool or warm) to fill up to a 4,000-square-foot area, improving the indoor air quality in every room of the home. Large humidifiers are typically evaporative or ultrasonic units with warm-mist and cool-mist options. 

When to Use a Humidifier

With an awareness of your climate and surroundings, you can identify multiple scenarios when a humidifier can benefit your health. Dry air can create many problems for the body, including a dry throat and mouth, coughing, dry nasal area, and lung problems. Since humidity is typically much lower in the winter months, a humidifier is the only solution to add moisture to the air and relieve symptoms of dryness in cold weather. If you have a runny nose or sinus infection, a humidifier is the best way to soothe it. A humidifier can also help with fever symptoms, dry throat, sinus congestion, dry skin, and nose bleeds. If you experience any of these symptoms, a humidifier can help solve your dry air problem.

FAQs About Humidifiers

When it comes to humidifiers, Air Oasis is an industry leader in helping families provide clean, purified air to their homes. Find your commonly asked questions about humidifiers here.

How to choose a humidifier

To choose the best humidifier to meet your specific needs, consider these four factors before purchasing.

  1. Budget – as with any device, there is a wide range of prices for humidifiers. If you are operating with a specific budget, start there. Define your budget and only consider humidifiers within your budget terms.
  2. Suitable for children and pets – humidifiers that use warm mist can be a hazard for children and pets if unsupervised. If you have children or pets living in your home, consider a humidifier that utilizes cool mist rather than warm. Cool misting or ultrasonic humidifiers are the safest options for children and animals, as they do not use any heating mechanism. Vaporizers can also be a good option. 
  3. Ease of cleaning and maintenance – if extra time is not on your side, consider the maintenance time necessary to keep different types of humidifiers running smoothly. If you are in a busy stage of life and unable to maintain your humidifier properly, you may experience unnecessary problems with the unit's effectiveness. Some units require less maintenance than others. 
  4. Meet your needs – whether you’re purchasing a humidifier to help your children get through flu season or you need regular humidification because you live in an arid climate, choosing the right humidifier for your needs will maximize its effectiveness. In addition to the type of usage, you’ll also want to consider the size of the room in which you’ll be using the humidifier and select the best-fit humidifier accordingly. 

What is the most effective type of humidifier?

The most effective type of humidifier is a steam humidifier. Whether warm-mist or cool-mist, both types of humidifiers are equally effective in humidifying the air. 

When using a humidifier for a child, always use a cool-mist humidifier for safety purposes. Hot water and steam from a warm-mist humidifier can burn a child if they get too close. For adult-only use, warm-mist humidifiers are very effective at adding moisture to the air and can help ease coughing and congestion due to the cold, as well as combat skin dryness.

How do humidifiers work?

On its most simple level, a humidifier disperses moisture into the air and improves the condition of the room it is kept in. Dryness in the air is significantly decreased, preventing all the issues of allergies, respiration, and generic dryness of the skin, nose, and throat.

Humidifiers work by changing liquid water into a mist or steam, increasing the air's humidity. Humidify, in simple terms, describes the amount of moisture, as a percentage, in the air around you.

When do you need a humidifier?

There are a few critical uses of a humidifier that include relieving common symptoms of dry air. 

  1. Humidifiers help improve allergy symptoms: if you suffer from seasonal allergies, humidifiers can help to reduce the severity of allergy symptoms, including congestion, sore throat, watery eyes, sinus pain, and inflammation as a result of allergy triggers
  2. Humidifiers help with dry skin, lips, and scalp: dry skin is the result of skin losing water content faster than it can be replaced. In the dry winter months, the skin loses a large amount of moisture to the environment. Lower humidity levels in the surrounding climate do almost nothing to replace the water lost in the skin. As a result, individuals experience dry, itchy, flaky, and inflamed skin during this time of year. Adding a humidifier to your home will help replenish necessary moisture and provide comfort to your skin, scalp, hands, and lips.
  3. Humidifiers improve congestion: it’s common to experience colds, sore throats, stuffy noses, chronic cough, and other dry air symptoms in the fall and winter months. Dry air eliminates the lubrication in your airways, which causes irritation and inflammation of the airways. Regular use of a humidifier in your home will improve congestion, sore throat, or dry cough. 

What are the types of home humidifiers?

  1. A central humidifier: A central humidifier is built right into the central air conditioning system to increase the humidity level of your entire house. The place would be the center for providing air with moisture within your home. These are typically on the higher end of cost. 
  2. Evaporators: The humidity is increased by pushing moisture out through a moist filter. The humidity levels will become higher with this.
  3. Impeller humidifier: This type of humidifier releases cool mist into the open air with the help of disks that rotate at high speed.
  4. Steam vaporizers: This type works with electricity and heats water only to cool it down and release vapors into the air. These vapors can be moved from one room to another.

What type of humidifier is best for dryness?

Warm-mist and cool-mist humidifiers are the best options to combat dryness in the cold winter months. While warm mist humidifiers use heat to boil water, cool mist humidifiers don’t require heat. Both are very helpful for dryness. A cool mist humidifier is the safest option if you have pets or children in the home.

Some cool mist humidifiers also use evaporative technology, which means that the unit will only introduce the amount of moisture the air can absorb, reducing the chance of over-humidification (which could lead to mold growth).

On the other hand, warm mist units partially sterilize their steam which can be a better option for individuals with skin issues using a humidifier to add moisture specifically to their skin.

Air Oasis: Your Go-To for Healthy, Clean Air

We’ve spent decades providing customers with research-backed air purifier solutions. Our products are rigorously tested in studies conducted at third-party labs, the results of which are published on our website. With the knowledge gained from experienced and science-supported solutions, Air Oasis is excited to offer our loyal customers a new line of humidifiers. 

Are you looking to purchase a humidifier for your home? With versatile benefits and affordable prices, there’s no better solution than the Cool Mist Humidifier from Air Oasis. The Cool Mist Humidifier works to create an ideal moisture level in your indoor air to help combat sickness, skin dryness, respiratory irritation, and more.

Interested in Air Oasis humidifiers but live outside of the United States? That’s not a problem; we ship our humidifiers and our air purifiers all around the world. If you have questions about any Air Oasis products, contact us online or give us a call at 806-373-7788.

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