Find the Right-Sized Humidifier for Any Room
Plus, top performers from Consumer Reports' tests
When you’re shopping for a humidifier, matching the unit to the size of the room in question is key. So pay attention to the square footage range mentioned on the box or product web page. That’s the area the unit can cover, and it’s how you know whether the humidifier is right.
A humidifier, you see, is one product for which bigger isn’t better. To be sure, a humidifier that can’t release enough moisture into a given space might not provide relief from cold-weather symptoms like dry and itchy skin. But a humidifier that’s meant for a larger room than what you have can create a moist environment that breeds dust mites and mold, and triggers allergic reactions.
In short, if your purchase isn’t matched to the area that needs humidification, you could be dissatisfied—and potentially put your health at risk.
How to Choose
To find the right humidifier, measure your room’s square footage. Then zero in on our humidifier ratings. They’re organized by the room size they’re intended for, from personal humidifiers for areas up to 25 square feet, all the way up to consoles meant for spaces of 1,000 square feet or more.
Manufacturers typically claim that their humidifiers are intended for a specific room size, which is why we measure a humidifier’s moisture output and calculate how well it humidifies the specified area.
Most of the units in our humidifier ratings are cool-mist units, the most widely sold kind. A few are warm-mist, also known as steam vaporizers. A handful are dual-mist, capable of producing both warm and cool mist. In our ratings you’ll see humidifiers from dozens of brands, including Air Innovations, Boneco, Crane, Dyson, Honeywell, Lasko, Vicks, and Vornado.
Here’s a look at five high-scoring humidifiers from our tests, from a lightweight portable to a console. All are cool-mist models.
For more information on types of humidifiers and tips on choosing one, check out our free humidifier buying guide. CR members can also view our humidifier ratings to see how they compare in our tests.