"Too much [humidity] and you're going to have negative impacts such as mold buildup and extra moisture inside your home," says John McKeon, MD, CEO of Allergy Standards, a company that certifies home products as allergy and asthma friendly for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Too much humidity creates an environment preferred by dust mites and other allergens, he says, but if the air is too dry, your mucus membranes suffer the consequences.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, your indoor relative humidity levels should be between 30 percent and 50 percent. To measure humidity levels in your home, you'll need a humidity monitor ($11).
When shopping for a humidifier, Jennifer Whelan, COO of Allergy Standards, says you should make sure it does four things:
- The humidifier should be powerful enough to sufficiently humidify the room (and maintain that humidity).
- The humidifier should be able to clean the water that it uses to humidify the air.
- The humidifier shouldn't make your air quality worse.
- The humidifier should be easy to clean and maintain.
The following humidifiers meet Whelan's standards with an added bonus of mist-free humidification, meaning you don't see the vapor that leaves your humidifier. "This is really good because the water vapor is so fine that it can't carry particles or bacteria with it. So this should provide a healthier environment," says Emer Duffy, PhD, science lead at Allergy Standards. "Another potential benefit could be the fact that they don't just make the room or the environments they're placed in all wet by spraying the vapor water droplets around the place."
The best mist-free humidifiers
"Mist" is right there in the name, but mist-free humidifier uses evaporative technology to so the water comes out super fine. UV lights kill up to 99.9 percent of bacteria, mold, fungus, and virus in the unit's water while a paper filter removes minerals to prevent hard water from spreading. The water tank and tray are dishwasher safe meaning it's easy to keep clean. It's designed to humidify medium-sized rooms.
Shop now: Honeywell HCM350W Germ-Free Cool Mist Humidifier White, $69
2. Canopy Humidifier, $150
The Canopy Humidifier uses UV light to sanitize water and a paper filter (that must be replaced every six weeks) to remove larger particles. The tray and water reservoir are dishwasher safe. It is small, lightweight, and easy on the eyes, making it the perfect humidifier to live on your nightstand. The main body of the humidifier is white and it also comes in options with blush, blue, or sage accents. Bonus: It comes with diffuser pucks and essential oil blends to place on top of the humidifier, putting out a light fragrance in addition to humidified air. It's designed to humidify rooms up to 500 square feet.
Shop now: Canopy Humidifier, $150
3. Venta LW25 Airwasher, $389
This Venta Airwasher is great for larger spaces, designed to humidify rooms up to 600 square feet. Its filterless design means you the air is humidified without having to remember to replace the filter. Revolving disks collect airborne bacteria, dirt, and allergens ensuring that only clean, humidified air leaves the unit. Though marketed as a humidifier and air purifier combo, the New York Times cautions that the purifier part isn't great for much beyond ensuring the water is cleaned.
Shop now: Venta LW25 Airwasher, $389
4. Dyson Pure Humidify+Cool, $820
To get the all the benefits of air purification and humidification in one sleek device, look no further than the Dyson Pure Humidify+Cool. Sensors on the unit detect humidity levels, temperature, and airborne particles to automatically manage your indoor air quality. The water tank, with a nifty handle, is easy to clean and refill. A fully sealed filtration system removes 99.97 percent of allergens and pollutants while maintaining an ideal humidity level.
Shop now: Dyson Pure Humidify+Cool, $820
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