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The Best Humidifiers to Ease Sinus and Respiratory Discomfort

Good Housekeeping 9 hrs ago Rachel Rothman

This story was updated in January 2023 to ensure all picks are in stock and reflect current pricing. We're currently wrapping up our latest round of humidifier testing and will soon be updating this story to include the newest models vetted by the Good Housekeeping Institute.

It's best to keep indoor humidity levels between 30 to 50%, so if the air in your home is too dry or if you're suffering from respiratory issues, then you'll definitely benefit from a humidifier. Dry air can be problematic for both babies and adults with asthma or sinus problems, but using a humidifier can help get the balance just right by adding moisture back into the air. In fact, they can help relieve sinus congestion symptoms, which could lead to better sleep at night — for you and your partner due to no more congestion-related snoring.

The Good Housekeeping Institute Media & Tech Lab tests humidifiers for performance, efficiency and noise level. We score ease of use including set up, controls and clean up — while also evaluating tank and output capacity as well as humidity levels.

Our best overall pick is the Levoit Classic 300S Smart Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier. The biggest selling point? It's easier to fill than most other humidifiers thanks to its large water tank opening. It also humidifies the air quickly and it isn't loud while running. Bonus for households with smart home devices: It's compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Our picks for the best humidifiers are based on our comprehensive testing and knowledge within this category for reviewing specifications and documentation.

Our top picks:

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Classic 300S Smart Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier © Levoit Classic 300S Smart Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier


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The brand claims this cool mist humidifier can last up to 60 hours on one tank set to the lowest mist levels, and it's quiet enough to run throughout the night. (It also has an optional built-in nightlight.) This machine can connect to an app or work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for remote and hands-free controls, and offers scheduling options as well as auto mode to prompt it to adjust mist levels according to your desired humidity levels. The transparent tank can easily be refilled through a large opening at the top. Plus, if you want to use for aromatherapy, this humidifier also has a tray for essential oils.

Mistaire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier © Pure Enrichment Mistaire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier


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With its compact design and shockingly quiet operation, you might forget you are using a humidifier. That's why the auto shut-off feature comes in handy when the water level is low or the tank is misaligned — in case you actually do forget. The one-button operation makes this humidifier very intuitive to use and its backlight makes it easy to see in the dark (in case you need to turn on the built-in night light or adjust the mist setting). While it may not be the easiest to clean since it has a medium-size tank opening, this humidifier comes with a cleaning brush to help make maintenance a little less arduous.

Ultrasonic Humidifier © Ultrasonic Humidifier


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The larger 1.5 gallon tank on the Levoit means you can service a larger space (up to 753 square feet) or that it won’t have to be refilled quite as often (up to 60 hours on the lowest mist setting!). It operates with both ultrasonic warm and cool mist so you can get the benefits of both. The handy humidity readout means you can easily know the status of the room without an additional meter. You can operate it with the panel's touch controls or the remote, adding a layer of convenience most lack. Even better, it has an automatic mode to choose the mist level without your interference.

Purifier Humidify+Cool Autoreact © Dyson Purifier Humidify+Cool Autoreact


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If you have asthma, then look no further than this Dyson humidifier that has been certified asthma- and allergy-friendly by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). With its ultraviolet light technology, this humidifier claims to kill 99.97% bacteria before it disperses cool mist into the dry air of your room. The intelligent climate control feature helps maintain a steady level of humidity without over-humidifying, which can be bad for people with asthma.

MH-701BA Ultrasonic Quiet Humidifier © Air Innovations MH-701BA Ultrasonic Quiet Humidifier


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The sleek design and nozzle extension in this humidifier is perfect for discreet humidifying. It comes in a few shiny colors to match your décor (or blend in!), like black, platinum and wine. It claims to humidify rooms up to 600 square feet for 96 hours continuously, and it has five different mist settings. The oil diffusing aromatherapy tray is perfect for adding essential oils into the air along with some extra moisture. Using the built-in humidistat, you can easily monitor the humidity levels. Bonus: it comes with a remote control!

Other humidifiers to consider

  • Crane Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier: Sure, it's an adorable and fun addition to your baby’s nursery, but this machine will also add moisture to the air to help your child breathe easier. It comes in 16 different kid-friendly designs, including unicorn and alien themes. While the cute-factor might appeal to parents and lovers of all things adorable, the design may not be for everyone, making it narrowly miss our inclusion. It's very quiet when operating, so it won't wake up your baby. With a one-gallon tank, this humidifier for babies adds moisture to the air for rooms up to 500 square feet, and the base is also relatively easy to clean. It has an auto shut-off sensor for when the water levels are low so you don’t have to worry about monitoring it constantly. If you prefer a simpler design, try the Crane Drop Cool Mist version.
  • Trusens Clean Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier: Though considerably bulkier than our other picks, this humidifier has some standout features that made us want to include it. The built-in hygrometer gives you a precise way to know and control the humidity in your room and a Bluetooth remote makes adjusting it a snap. It was a top performer in our output capacity testing, dispersing up to six gallons of water in a 24-hour period. We also loved that just one fill of the tank could humidify your rom for up to nine hours on its max setting.

How we test humidifiers

When the Good Housekeeping Institute reviews humidifiers, our experts look at criteria like how easy they are to set up, fill, clean and transport, the intuitiveness of the controls, sound level and energy consumption. We also look at features like the tank capacity, output capacity (gallons/day) and how long a single tank fill will last. Perhaps most importantly, we measure the time it takes to reach set humidity levels in our Lab's humidity-controlled chamber.

What are the benefits of a humidifier?

Adding a humidifier to your bedroom (or any other room for that matter) not only zaps dry air with much-needed moisture, but it also leaves you feeling and looking more refreshed.

A humidifier can decrease the loss of water in your skin. It can also keep your eyes from feeling itchy or your lips from getting chapped. "A humidifier that adds 30% to 40% of humidity back into the air will moisturize all of your exposed surfaces," says Janet Hill Prystowsky, M.D. Even better: Because your skin is more moisturized, scars, wrinkles and facial blemishes will be less visible.

You'll also breathe easier. Humidifiers aren't just for asthma sufferers. In general, inhaling too much dry air can lead to nose bleeds and make it breathing difficult for everyone, says Prystowsky. The added moisture in the air helps lubricate dry airways, soothe persistent coughs, and even combat snoring. But don't overdo it: "High humidity can make your home feel stuffy and cause harmful bacteria or mold to grow, which can lead to more respiratory problems," says Tonya Winders, president and CEO of Allergy & Asthma Network. Both Winders and Prystowsky suggest using a hygrometer, which measures air moisture. You should also makes sure to clean your humidifier every so often to keep mold from growing inside. "As long as you keep it cleaned, you shouldn't have any problems," says Prystowsky.

What to look for when shopping for humidifiers

✔️ Cool mist vs. warm mist: Both cool and warm mist humidifiers effectively add moisture into the air, but cool mist options tend to be better for homes with children and pets since there's no burn risk associated with a heating element, while warm mist options are best for zapping more germs and bacteria.

✔️ Size: Depending on factors like the tank size and discharge rate, your humidifier is designed for a certain room size. The manufacturer usually lists the square footage it's sized for on the humidifier's packaging and marketing materials. And while this article focuses on portable, tabletop humidifiers for small to medium rooms, if you need humidity help throughout your home you may want to consider an entire-home humidifier.

✔️ Run time: Beyond selecting the type of humidifier that’s right for you, there are other attributes to think about. Some can only operate for a few hours before needing refilling, while others can go a full 24 hours. For ones that require more frequent refilling, an auto-off feature is good to have so that the humidifier won't try to continue running when the water runs out.

✔️ Tank design: For most humidifiers, the tank design will be critical to you having a good experience. Look for ones that have large openings to make refilling and cleaning easier. Translucent designs are also helpful because they allow you to see how full the tank is, so you know when it’s time to refill.

✔️ Ease of cleaning: Cleaning your humidifier at least once a week is extremely important to prevent the growth of mold, bacteria and microbes (the last things you need flying through the air when dealing with respiratory issues). Make sure the unit is easy to disassemble and scrub since you'll be doing so often.

Why trust Good Housekeeping?

Rachel Rothman has worked in the Good Housekeeping Institute for over 14 years. She uses her B.S.E. in mechanical engineering and applied mechanics from the University of Pennsylvania to lead the constant evolution of the GH Institute’s technical and testing protocols and has tested just about every home renovation tool out there, ranging from space heaters to power washers to lawnmowers and more. She oversees all testing related to humidifiers and dehumidifiers.

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