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As it gets colder outside and you pump up the heat indoors, you may experience dry air. This can lead to chapped hands, lips, dry skin, irritated bronchioles, nostrils, and throat. “Most people would benefit from using a humidifier in the colder months as heaters during the winter can cause dryness, says Dr. Melody Denham, medical director at Skin Deep which specializes in aesthetic treatments. “However, it is important to find a humidifier that puts out a good volume of moisture and is easy to clean with an accessible filter,” she says. Sanitizing and regular maintenance is vital for staving off the spread of bacteria and fungus. So make sure to read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
While getting a product that can add moisture to the air seems simple enough, you may not want to go all-in on a regular size unit and want to try one that is more affordable. “A portable humidifier is a great cost-effective option for adding humidity to the air,” says Lane Dixon, vice president of operations for Aire Serv Heating and Air Conditioning at Neighborly. “These appliances are small enough to sit on a tabletop and typically have a water reservoir that needs to be filled periodically to run properly,” he says.
Additionally, it is essential to understand how much moisture you should aim for. “A normal humidity level of 40%-49% in the summer and 30-40% in the winter,” says Dixon. Still, figuring out which of the many brands available are best suited for you isn’t easy. So we’ve done a deep dive, and here are 10 portable humidifiers for your consideration.
“This type of humidifier uses a membrane, wick, or fabric to absorb water from a basin. A fan blows against the membrane allowing the water to evaporate. Remember to clean them regularly, and the wick should be replaced at least quarterly to prevent mold growth,” says Dixon.
1. Pure Enrichment MistAire 4 Speed Evaporative Humidifier
The Pure Enrichment MistAire Evaporative 4-speed humidifier uses evaporation plus a whirlwind fan to add humidity to your room. It offers four fan speeds ranging from level 1 up to Turbo. It can be programmed to run automatically and shut down after 2, 4, or 8 hours.
2. Vicks Filtered Cool Moisture Humidifier
The Vicks Filtered Cool Moisture Humidifier contains a self-regulating evaporative system that provides cooling moisture with a promise not to over-humidify a room. It has an extra-wide tank opening for easy filling, plus the Vicks scent pads offer soothing menthol vapors perfect for helping to clear up congestion.
3. AirCare Alliance Copper Night Evaporative Humidifier
The AirCare Alliance Evaporative Humidifier keeps the humidity at a steady 30-50% in rooms up to 3,700 square feet. It has a four-speed motor with analog controls and a digital display. Plus, its design helps it to blend into whatever room you place it in.
4. Smartmi Humidifier
The Smartmi evaporative humidifier does not produce a water mist, making it great for small spaces as it won’t leave damp spots on walls, floors, or furniture. The top-fill tank holds four liters of water, and it can run for up to 24 hours at a low speed.
“Ultrasonic uses vibrations to create humidified air,” says Dixon. “Water needs to be changed regularly and be distilled ahead of use to prevent the spread of bacteria and mold,” he says.
5. Hey Dewy Portable Facial Humidifier
Hey Dewy is the ultimate portable humidifier, weighing less than half a pound. It comes equipped with a USB power cord that allows you to plug it into your laptop, car port, or charger, so you can use it anywhere you like. It can be used for eight hours continuously, or 10 hours on the intermittent setting. Plus, you’ll enjoy nighttime illumination thanks to the built-in LED light source.
6. Pure Enrichment MistAire Travel Ultrasonic Humidifier
Rather than making you carry around a huge water tank, the Pure Enrichment MistAire Travel Ultrasonic Humidifier is compatible for use with most standard-sized water bottles. This smart adaptation saves you space in your luggage and, when connected to a standard bottle, gives you a larger water capacity than most competing portable humidifiers. Other notable elements of this well-thought-out device include its whisper-quiet operation, the accompanying five-year warranty, and the soft glow night light for safer low-light use. It also features an automatic shut-off that turns off the humidifier when the water bottle is empty.
7. CHI Aromatherapy Ultrasonic Essential Oil Diffuser
CHI Aromatherapy Ultrasonic Essential Oil Diffuser, with its light woodgrain appearance, is a great combo item. Not only does it add moisture to the air but it can also diffuse essential oils to create a zen space as well as eliminate odors. The LED color-changing light is perfect for creating a moody vibe.
8. Raydrop Cool Mist Humidifier
The Raydrop Cool Mist Humidifier is a well-rounded device, with a sleek design and user-friendly controls. This humidifier can do its job in just about any room of the house. The device comes backed by over 4,000 five-star ratings and includes low to high speed settings to let you better tailor the humidity to your preferred level. It also boasts a 1.7-liter capacity water tank which can last up to 17 hours and creates under 32dB of noise when in operation.
Related: Best Cool Mist Humidifiers
“A steam humidifier uses a heating element to warm water until boiling and emitting steam, and are commonly used when people are ill since they work best in small areas,” says Dixon. “They do not require cleaning and are self-regulating but not recommended for use by children because, as it can be a burn hazard,” he says.
9. Vicks Warm Steam Vaporizer
The Vicks Warm Steam Vaporizer can provide temporary relief when you are congested or when the air is dry. It works well with Vicks VapoPads and VapoSteam. Plus, it comes equipped with a handy night light and has a wide tank making it easy for cleaning and filling.
“This humidifier sends water through a diffuser which breaks water into smaller droplets and evaporates them into a cool mist, ” says Dixon. “They are also low in price, easy to maintain, and use less electricity than other types of humidifiers.”
10. Bseka Portable Humidifier Aromatherapy Atomizer Cool Mist
The Bseka Portable Humidifier is easily filled and can be cleaned without disassembling the humidifier. It has a safety feature and avoids excessive humidification by automatically shutting down when the water level is low. Its ultrasonic technology runs at 28dB so it’s ultra-quiet and added bonus it’s ultra-cute.