The 6 Best Humidifiers of 2023, Tested by HGTV Editors

Adding moisture into your home's air with a humidifier offers loads of benefits. From the best humidifier for large spaces to our favorite model for nurseries, check out our top recommendations for humidifiers we've tested at every price point.

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January 04, 2023

Our Top Humidifier Picks

If you experience cold symptoms, sinus issues or stuffiness from allergies, you should consider adding a humidifier to your bedroom or living room. The benefits are instantaneous and can be a major help during flu season or harsh winter months. Because they work to add moisture back into the air, humidifiers can help alleviate sore throats and coughs, clear up sinuses and keep skin hydrated. They can even help houseplants thrive and prevent wood furniture from warping over time.

How to Choose the Right Humidifier

Cool Mist vs. Warm Mist: There are cool mist and warm mist options — they both release water vapor into the air, but warm mist options heat the water up before it’s delivered. Warm mist can be beneficial in cold climates, but they’re not recommended around kids or pets since the water often reaches extremely high temperatures.

Ultrasonic vs. Evaporative: It should be noted that cold mist humidifiers have two different options when purchasing: evaporative and ultrasonic. Ultrasonic models use vibrations to break up particles that go into the air, and evaporative models use a wick that funnels out water as needed. Evaporative humidifiers have filters that need to be replaced, but they also often prevent the "white dust" that sometimes comes from using ultrasonic humidifiers, which is when minerals from the water disperse onto the surfaces around the humidifier. This can be prevented by using distilled water in ultrasonic versions, although the white dust was not a noticeable issue for our testers even when using tap water. Because they are generally quieter and require less upkeep — but still have all the benefits of the other models — an ultrasonic model is our top choice.

Tank Size: Tank size and the square footage the humidifier can cover go hand in hand. For small bedrooms, nurseries or offices under 200 square feet, a water tank less than three liters in size should be sufficient, but if you're trying to humidify a large living room, studio apartment or open-concept space around 500 square feet, humidifiers with water tanks closer to six liters are ideal. A larger water tank means you can go longer between needing to refill the tank, too. If you don't plan to run it consistently though, you don't want excess water left in the tank because that creates a breeding ground for mold.

Cleaning and Maintenance:
Humidifiers require regular cleaning to prevent mold and bacteria. Always read the manufacturer's cleaning instructions, but typically, the best way to clean humidifiers is with water and cleaning vinegar. Some humidifier parts are even dishwasher-safe. For evaporative humidifiers, a filter replacement indicator is a helpful feature to look for so you never forget when it's time to replace the filter.

How to Clean a Humidifier

Improve your home's air quality by disinfecting one of the most important small appliances you’re probably forgetting to clean.

Other features like quiet noise levels, auto modes that can adjust water output for more efficient humidifying, remote controls and essential oil diffusing capabilities are also nice to have in a humidifier. We’ve considered all of these factors as we made our selections and tested them in our homes.

The LEVOIT Dual 100 Ultrasonic Humidifier and Diffuser offers both sleek, minimalist design and reliable results. It’s unbelievably quiet and, within an hour, increased the room humidity by four percent. The 1.8-liter tank size is big enough to keep a medium-sized room like a bedroom, nursery or home office at an ideal humidity but not too large that the room could get damp. Since there's no timer feature, the humidifier requires manual powering off or it will turn off automatically when the tank is empty. The simple two-button panel is very easy to operate and has a handy option to put the humidifier in “night mode,” which shuts off all display lights and prevents the room’s humidity level from increasing past 60 percent.

Cleaning is a breeze thanks to minimal parts and the tank’s wide opening. The diffuser lets off a very pleasant, subtle scent that we noticed almost immediately, and we actually prefer the scent strength from this LEVOIT diffuser to other diffusers we've tried. The LEVOIT Dual 100’s simple, straightforward design and built-in diffuser make it a great buy for the price. While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of more expensive models, it certainly performs at top-level and looks great doing it.

$59.99 | Walmart $59.99 | Levoit

If you're wanting to spend less than $40, the Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier is a good option for a basic model. Its 1.5-liter tank will cover most small rooms and runs for 16 hours on continuous mist, meaning it can work well through the night. The tank is easily removable and the humidifier comes with a brush to tackle all the nooks and crannies for a deeper clean. There’s an automatic shut-off feature that ensures it won’t short-circuit once the water runs out. It has an optional night light and a 360-degree nozzle that allows you to point it where you like. We did encounter a couple of cons when testing though. Although this model is quiet when misting, it makes a loud sound similar to a water cooler when the water is low, and even with the night-light off, the display is brighter than other models. If you need complete darkness to sleep, the light may disrupt you, and if you go to bed with the water level below halfway, the sound from it running out of water might wake you.

$39.99 | Amazon $39.99 | Target

This LEVOIT Humidifier is the best splurge-worthy model if you’re looking to humidify a larger space because it has a 6-liter tank that will cover around 750 square feet. It also has some high-tech features that will make it appealing to those who like smarter home products. The sensor gauges the humidity levels in the house and adjusts the mist output accordingly for more efficient humidifying, which, combined with the larger tank size, means you don't have to refill it as often as the other models. You can essentially set it and forget it. It can run continuously on low for 36 hours, although when we ran it continuously on auto mode in a 500-square-foot space, the water lasted three whole days before we had to refill it!

Additionally, it comes with a remote control that helps you do things like set a timer for up to 12 hours, but it still has an automatic shut-off when the water runs out. The display automatically dims after 30 seconds, but you can turn off the display completely while it's humidifying by pressing and holding the auto button for three seconds. This one can also go back and forth between warm and cool mist, so you can try both and see what works best for you. Finally, there is room to add essential oils in this model to add a pleasant aromatherapy element to your device, although make sure you're using essential oil with higher volatility because we could not smell anything when using less volatile oils. As with any larger humidifier, it's a little tricky to find a good, discreet spot for this model because they're meant to be set on elevated, water-resistant surfaces such as desktops, tables or nightstands. The humidifier comes with a thorough manual with exact instructions on how to easily clean with water and vinegar and how to disinfect with water and bleach, as well as address any issues or questions that might arise from all the bells and whistles this humidifier offers.

$89.96 | Amazon $89.96 | Walmart

This humidifier may have graced your Instagram feed thanks to its aesthetically pleasing design with multiple accent color options. While this pick is the most expensive option on our list, it comes with the most unique features. The 2.5-liter evaporative humidifier from Canopy features four settings: automatic, low, medium and high and can run up to 36 hours continuously and cover up to 500 square feet. The auto mode uses the room's ambient light to choose higher settings at night and lower settings during the day. The multiple modes also mean, no matter how sensitive you are to sound, you'll find a setting that's quiet enough for sleeping. Our tester found every setting except high to be quiet enough to leave on while watching TV or sleeping. The Canopy humidifier also makes maintenance a breeze. The tray, tank and cap parts are safe to go in the dishwasher, and, one of the most unique features, Canopy uses Smart Persistent Airflow (SPA) technology that keeps the device running until there is no more water left because no water inside means no mold can grow. This does mean it may run all day, even if you're not in the room, but it's running on low and barely noticeable. The Canopy humidifier also doubles as a diffuser — simply place an aroma puck on the top grate and drop 2-3 drops of fragrance oil to get the benefits of both a humidifier and diffuser. This multifunctionality is especially nice if you have limited nightstand space or outlets.

Even though the tank is clear, our tester appreciated that the device tells you when there’s no water left and when it’s time to change the filter. With consistent use, the brand recommends replacing the filter every 6-8 weeks. For $150, you can purchase just the humidifier with one filter and set of aromatherapy pucks and oils, but the brand offers subscription plans for either both filter and aromatherapy replacements or just the filters, which brings down the initial cost to $135 or $125.

$150 | Canopy $150 (No Subscription) | Anthropologie

The Honeywell Designer Series Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier features a sleek design, simple controls and a 1.25-gallon tank capacity, making it ideal for medium-sized rooms. With no filters to change, it's easy to fill and clean, and we love the quiet operation of this machine, which makes it a great choice for bedrooms. It can run up for up to 24 hours on the low setting and will automatically turn off when the water runs out. This model also doubles as a diffuser with an option to add your favorite essential oils. Though it's not quite a big as our pick for large rooms, this model is larger than our best overall pick, and if you don't care about the extra bells and whistles like a remote control, this pick is a great value.

$63.99 | Target $63.99 | Amazon

The TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier is our pick for nurseries and kids’ rooms because of its affordable price point, whimsical whale design and BPA-free plastic exterior. This three-in-one machine can be used as a cool mist humidifier, an essential oil diffuser and as a soothing bedroom light for little ones. The 2.5-liter tank provides up to 30 hours of continuous mist with an operating noise level of just 26 decibels (it’s super quiet). The smooth dial control lets you effortlessly adjust the mist output to the perfect humidity level for maximum comfort, while the 360-degree nozzle allows you to shoot the mist wherever you need it most within your space. Need some light? Simply press and hold the light button to emit a soft, warm glow that’s perfect for night feedings and diaper changes. Refilling and sanitizing the water tank is a breeze, and all you need is a damp cloth and the included cleaning brush to wipe down the interior (at least once a week if you use it regularly). And when the water level is low, the humidifier will automatically turn off, so there’s no fear of overheating. What makes this humidifier even more convenient for new parents is that it doesn’t require filters, so you can basically set it and forget it.

$15.99 | Walmart $25.99 | TaoTronics

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