As a parent, you want to ensure that your baby has everything they need, especially when they become sick and feel absolutely miserable. Adding a humidifier to your living space or nursery is a simple, safe, and effective way to help ease the discomfort your baby experiences while they are sick. A humidifier not only adds moisture to dry air in your home, but also has the added benefit(s) of helping you and your baby with: itchy/dry skin, allergies, colds/congestion issues, coughing, and sinusitis.
As choosing a humidifier should be based upon your baby’s needs, I will review the best humidifiers I have found spanning over several categories ranging from mist type (warm or cool), to room type (small, medium, large), and more!
Best Humidifier Mist Type for Babies
Every baby is individual and unique in their needs, so too are humidifiers in their type and function. I will cover the three different mist types that are commonly found in humidifiers: warm mist, cool mist, and dual mist. Which one suits your baby’s needs will depend upon their symptoms (i.e. coughing, congestion, skin issues, etc.) and which mist type is best to help them make a comfortable recovery.
- Warm Mist Humidifiers
- Cool Mist Humidifiers
- Dual Mist Humidifiers
Warm Mist Humidifiers
The first type of mist humidifier is what is known as a warm mist humidifier, and the way in which it functions is very simple. Water fills the tank/reservoir of the humidifier, and goes into a chamber. The chamber then becomes heated as does the water, creating a warm mist that comes out of the humidifier and saturates dry areas in your home with moisture! However, to ensure that you make an informed decision I will run down our list of pros and cons.
The basic function of a humidifier is to add moisture to the air, which everyone says is great, right?
Well, that’s because it is!
Turns out that whether you have a cool mist humidifier or a warm mist humidifier, you are doing your sinuses all kinds of right, especially if you are a parent. Pediatrician Vikram Agrawal, M.D., F.A.A.P., M.P.H. supports and encourages the use of humidifiers citing, “An important aspect of maintaining healthy sinuses is the amount of humidity in the air. Humidifiers increase the humidity and relieve cold and sinus congestion. Using humidifiers for congestion can also help in properly drain(ing the) sinuses.”
The EPA notates that the ideal or perfect humidity level in your home or office should not go above more than, “[…] 50 percent.
Higher humidity levels may encourage the growth of biological organisms in the home.” So, a healthy setting is no more than 50% humidity, and most of the humidifiers on the market come with a ‘humidistat’, which monitors and tells you how much humidity is in the air. If they don’t come with one, you can buy them in addition to whichever humidifier suits your preference and your baby’s needs.
In addition to giving sinuses a helping hand when you use a humidifier, you are also showing your (and baby’s) skin some much needed love by adding moisture back into it, too! Do you have a pet? More moisture in the air also means your fur baby won’t scratch so much, lessening the amount of pet dander in your home. That’s another win for your baby, especially if they happen to be sensitive to pet dander!
However, as it is an electronic appliance there are some drawbacks to owning a warm mist humidifier. Below, we’ll take a look at the cons.
If your baby has a cold, the last thing you should do is run a warm mist humidifier as according to the FDA, “They can cause nasal passages to swell and make breathing more difficult.” However, M.D. Jay L. Hoecker a retired member of the Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine disagrees with this notion citing, “Warm-mist and cool-mist humidifiers are equally effective in humidifying the air. By the time the water vapor reaches your child’s lower airways, it’s the same temperature regardless of whether it started out warm or cool.”
Another area of concern regarding warm mist humidifiers was voiced by M.D. Shaila Pai Verma, a Primary Care Physician at the Rush University Medical Center who stated that warm mist humidifiers pose, “[…] a safety hazard, especially if you have children, because it can cause burns from the heated water.”
I recommend placing warm mist humidifiers/vaporizers up and out of reach of children and/or pets. This ensures that you still have access to the unit without having to worry about your baby or furry loved one being burned or scalded by hot water!
Our Recommended Warm Mist Humidifier
The product we recommend for this category is the Vicks VWM845 Warm Mist Humidifier. It received a 4 out of 5 star rating on Amazon and is a favorite among parents (and even grandparents!). It also fits the medical criteria we’ve gone over for safety and function, further making it an ideal choice. The Vicks VMW845 releases a warm, soothing vapor which temporarily relieves cough and congestion. The vapor also helps reduce respiratory discomforts by increasing humidity levels. Remember, increased humidity means your airways stay wet, which helps your body fight off infections!
The Vicks VWM845 keeps humidity levels between 40-60%, so it easily covers the 50% humidity rule. The vaporized mist is 99% bacteria free, it auto-shuts off when the tank is empty, and also features a ‘medicine cup’ to use with the Vicks VapoSteam–a medicated solution used in warm mist units to produce a larger vapor volume–for cough relief. For additional comfort, you can also add up to 2 Vicks VapoPads and enjoy the soothing scent of menthol for up to 8 hours.
Additional features include: a wide tank opening for easy filling and cleaning, a one gallon capacity tank, perfect for medium to large sized rooms, filter-free design, and it can run for up to 24 hours when on the low setting.
Q:How do you clean this?
A:Remove the top lid to access the tank; the opening is wide enough for your hand to fit through. If you’re unsure of how to remove it fret not: it comes with a thorough instruction booklet that will guide you. I recommend using a vinegar and water solution as harsh cleaning agents (such as bleach) can leave behind harmful residues that can be inhaled. Vinegar is very safe to use as its a natural cleaner, which doctors always recommend when it comes to cleaning.
Q:Do I have to use the Vicks products? In other words, can I use it at just a Warm Mist humidifier?
A:No you don’t need to use the Vicks products if you don’t want to; they are simply optional. You can run the humidifier with water only if you wish.
Q:Do you fill it from the top or bottom of the tank?
A:Remove the water tank, and unscrew the bottom. Refill the reservoir with water, then replace the lid, turn the tank upside down, and place it back onto unit.
Cool Mist Humidifiers
We’ve established that warm mist humidifiers produce steam, much like a tea kettle does once the water reaches its boiling point. However, cool mist humidifiers operate quite differently, and not just in terms of the type of mist produced.
For instance, in an evaporative humidifier water saturates a ‘wicking filter’ inside the unit. A fan then blows onto that filter, which creates a cool mist that comes out of the humidifier. An ultrasonic humidifier uses the vibrations of a ‘metal diaphragm’ inside of the unit, which creates water droplets that come out in a cool mist.
But is a cool mist humidifier the best choice for your baby? Let’s explore the pros and cons.
If you baby has a cold the FDA recommends using, “A cool mist humidifier” because it will help the nasal passages shrink, ensuring your baby has the ability to breathe better.
M.D. Jay L. Hoecker also advises using cool mist humidifiers as well, though for a few different reasons. The first being,”For their safety, always use cool-mist humidifiers for children.” Warm mist humidifiers can be used, however there is a burn risk to the child. Again, the safest idea is to put a warm mist humidifier up out of reach of children/pets.
Doctor Hoecker adds, “Cool-mist humidifiers may help ease coughing and congestion due to a cold. But more research is needed.” That’s not to say it won’t work at all, however it is best to ask your primary care physician for their input. This way you can turn to someone you trust who knows you (and most importantly your baby) in terms of health, and can help you determine which humidifier would suit your child’s needs best.
In regards to humidifiers (any and all types included), The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission remarked that, “Without regular cleaning and maintenance, microorganisms can grow in the humidifier’s tank and possibly become airborne. These microorganisms have the potential to cause respiratory problems[…].”
However, you can avoid it by regularly cleaning and maintaining the unit and/or any filters if it uses them. This ensures mold, algae, and bacteria will not have the chance to breed inside the unit. Also, from what I have researched these do make some noise (all humidifiers do), however it should not keep you up at all hours.
The cool mist humidifier that we recommend is the Pure Enrichment MistAire Cloud. This fun little cloud-shaped find received a 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon, and has everything you would want in a cool mist humidifier and more!
It features a 1.8 liter tank with a large opening to make filling and cleaning a breeze. The MistAire Cloud runs very quietly, so it’s perfect for a nursery or child’s bedroom, and it can run up to 24 hours on low or 15 hours on high. The Variable mist control knob allows you to adjust humidity level to meet your child’s individual needs. The unit also doubles as a nightlight featuring 8 colors (White, Yellow, Green, Purple, Pink, Red, Blue and Aqua) that cycle in a loop, or it can stay on your child’s color of preference.
Additional benefits/features include: an AC power adapter, cleaning brush, industry-leading 5 Year Warranty, and an awesome customer support team should you experience any issues.
Q:Does this humidifier use filters, if so which ones do I need?
A:It does not appear to use any sort of filter, no. All that comes int he box is the humidifier, a cleaning brush, and an owner’s manual.
Q:Can you get the light to turn off?
A:Yes, you can.
Q:Can you use essential oils or aromatherapy pads?
A:Unfortunately no; this unit was not intended for use with essential oils or aromatherapy pads.
Dual Mist Humidifiers
From the title of this section, you’ve probably already figured out that when we say dual mist we mean more than one. The term ‘dual’ is used because these types of humidifiers are both warm and cool mist! These units also come with ‘dual nozzles’, which you can point in whatever direction you want! This ensures that you get more humidification coverage in the most dry areas of your home and you have control of where you want the moisture to go.
Let’s take a closer look at what a dual mist can offer your baby in our pros and cons section below.
As stated earlier, one of the advantages of dual mist humidifiers is their ability to cover large areas with ease. Because the nozzle can turn 360 degrees, you can ‘separate’ the two pieces to achieve an even higher level of moisture. One part can point left while the other points right, both can point in the same direction, one faces North while one faces South, etc.
Another benefit of having this machine is that you get both warm and cool mist, so let me expand upon that. What it means is that you choose what temperature you want the mist output to be. For example, during the summer you can run the cool mist to help you breathe better, sleep better, and avoid respiratory illnesses. During the winter, you can run the warm mist, which gives you additional warmth in your home. You could of course run the warm mist setting during summer if you desired–some people run a bit cooler than others due to ailments or environmental factors (not everywhere in the world runs as hot as others).
Additional benefits include: energy efficiency as it uses little power each time its running, quiet operation, and it has overheat protection (meaning it auto-shuts off). Also, depending on the unit you have the ability to set up an ‘auto turn on/off’ preference according to when you’d like to run your humidifier.
Since this unit has both warm and cool mist, we’ll look at the cons for each mist setting individually.
Using the cool mist feature means you might have issues with mold and mildew growing inside the unit. However, cleaning it once a day will help ensure that you don’t have those issues. I highly recommend using a solution of part vinegar part water; this way you have a natural cleaner so you aren’t inhaling any heavy chemical residue that could be left behind. You can use mild soap and water, just make sure to thoroughly rise the unit!
Using the warm mist feature in a dual mist humidifier also means that you will be using more power. This is because the unit needs to ‘warm up’ the water. Warm mist is not very pet and kid friendly as the hot water inside can burn them. However you can avoid potential injuries by ensuring the humidifier is out of their reach, yet is accessible to you.
It’s always a good idea to follow up on the manufacturer’s maintenance guidelines, and since warm mist humidifiers also require constant care, keeping up on that will help.
The product we recommend is the Ovonni Ultrasonic Dual Mist Humidifier, which received a full 5 star rating on Amazon, and comes with quite a few impressive features.
To begin with, it has a 4.5 liter/1.18 gallon tank that can cover open spaces up to 215 square feet, it can run for up to 12 hours without needing a water refill, and the mist output level is just under 1 gallon of water! An LCD touch pad display gives you a read out of the temperature and humidity level, and smart technology ensures that it automatically adjusts the humidity level for you depending on if there is too much or too little moisture. You can also program/set your desired time preferences as well as there are 12 different timing modes to choose from!
If you’re concerned about any ill-effect this unit may have in your home, never fear: the Ovonni Dual Mist was made with safety in mind. A probe inside of the unit keeps an eye on the water level, and whenever it is lower than the probe position, the power is automatically cut off. It also has the ability to ‘match’ your AC or Heater’s temperature to ensure you are getting the right amount of humidity.
Speaking of matching temperatures, the unit can run on either warm or cool mist depending on your preference, and you have the added bonus of infusing aromatherapy into your breathing experience! Medicated vaporizing steam liquids (such as the Vicks VapoSteam pads) can also be used. However, it is not recommended that you add oils into the water tank and base. It will cause leakage and the unit to stop working.
Additional features include: little use of power as it runs (40W), quiet operation, and it includes a remote as well as a user manual/guide.
Q:How do you fill the unit?
A:You’ll first want to remove the tank from the base of the humidifier. There is a ‘handle’ on it, so you should be able to easily detach it. Usually, humidifiers like these come with a cap that you screw onto the reservoir. If there is one, unscrew it, and you’ll see a large opening. Fill it with water using a bottle, coffee carafe, or whatever is easiest. Once you’re finished, make sure to screw the cap back on, and then return the tank to the base.
Q:Where do you put the oils in to use the aromatherapy feature?
A:There’s a small port on the side of the unit that opens called the ‘Aroma Box’. Simply add a few drops of essential oil, and enjoy!
Q:Is it easy to clean?
A:I believe so; the wide tank opening appears to be big enough for a hand to fit through. I recommend using a water and vinegar solution as it is a natural cleaner, and it safest. However, if you feel more comfortable with mild soap and water that will work, too–just always make sure you rise everything out thoroughly, and let it dry completely before using it again or putting it away!
Best Humidification Method for Your Infant
You now know that there are three types of mist types that you can choose from when purchasing a humidifier. But did you know that there are four different ways that humidifiers dispense moisture into the air? The four different methods are: ultrasonic, evaporative, Vaporizer, and Impeller.
I will review each method in order to help you figure out which one might best suit your baby’s needs.
An Ultrasonic Humidifier uses the vibrations of a metallic diaphragm, which is essentially a built in nebulizer, to atomize the water or ‘break it down’ into fine particles or droplets. The best part about this is that you reap the benefits of having cool, fine moisture in your home! And since adding moisture is only one out of several benefits, I will go down a list of additional benefits you can experience!
Ultrasonic humidifiers offer the same help as any other humidifier does according to Jon Johnson and M.D. Karen Gill. They tell us that there are 6 main benefits to purchasing a humidifier for your home.
The first is the prevention of the flu, which as we all know is a roommate no one wants. A study performed found that humidifiers could actually reduce the risk of catching the flu, “After adding the influenza virus to the air with a simulated cough […].” A humidity level of 40% or above caused flu particles to ‘deactivate’, meaning they weren’t as infectious.
The second benefit is an ‘active’ or ‘productive cough’ as Johnson and Doctor Gill put it. When the humidifier adds moisture to the air, you inhale it, which makes your nasal passages and throat moist. This in turn fights off infections and viruses, and makes your cough work for you because it, “[…] releases trapped or sticky phlegm.”
Do you or your partner have trouble with snoring? Then here’s your third benefit: a humidifier can help with that. Dry air in your home makes your nose and throat, “[…] less likely to be sufficiently lubricated, which can make snoring worse.” Again, the wetter your airways are, the better you will feel!
Fourth on our list is something I’ve gone over in the previous sections. Johnson and Doctor Gill point out that humidifiers can also help with dry skin, and here’s a new benefit: it can even moisturize your hair! “Some people notice that their skin, lips, and hair become dry and fragile in the winter. […] Using a humidifier to add moisture to the indoor air may help to reduce the occurrence of dry, cracked skin.”
The fifth benefit is also something I previously covered, however it is noted that a humidifier can also give relief to those suffering from allergies or asthma. The moisture dispensed by the unit keeps your airways wet and healthy, so people who are prone or sensitive to allergens or asthma triggers can, according to Johnson and Doctor Gill, find ‘relief’.
Last on the list is in regards to your home: did you know that humidifiers can also help protect it as well as you and your loves ones? It’s true as Johnson and Doctor Gill note that any moisture-loving houseplants, “[…] may become more vibrant” and wood floors and furniture will have a longer life span. Some woods require a specific amount of moisture otherwise they run the risk of cracking and warping, or losing their shape! Also, your wallpaper is less likely to crack, and you reduce or eliminate static electricity!
However, as with all humidifiers there are some cons, so let’s review.
The biggest con specifically regarding ultrasonic humidifiers is their tendency to dispense harmful particles into the air. M.D. Robin Deterding at the Children’s Hospital in Colorado believes that, “People should be especially cautious with ultrasonic or “cool mist” humidifiers.” Why? Because the water isn’t the only thing being reduced to breathable particles: so are the chemicals, bacteria, minerals, and mold in the water.
However, Doctor Deterding points out that if you regularly clean your humidifier and change out the filter it’ll be fine. Most people don’t do it because, as she put it, “[…] for most parents, myself included, you can’t maintain it […], because life just gets in the way.” If you make it a priority though, you’ll still have the moisture you need and the added benefit of knowing what you’re breathing in is clean.
Another suggestion was (as always) using distilled water rather than tap to avoid the output of contaminants. Doctor Deterding goes on to explain that you should only use soap and water to clean the humidifier, never any chemicals because you can breathe them in. Don’t add essential oils, don’t run it in an enclosed space, and if you spot ‘white dust’, stop the unit immediately–it means everyone is breathing that in, including your baby.
The humidifier that we recommend for this category is the PurSteam Ultrasonic which was made with nurseries in mind.
Features a 2.2 liter/0.5 gallon tank that can run for up to 20 hours without needing additional water, and a low-water indicator inside turns the humidifier off when water level is low or when the water tank is removed. The indicator also lets you know when the tank needs topping off as well. The nozzle can be turned in any direction (360 degrees), the variable knob control allows you to turn the humidity levels on/off, and it includes a separate switch for the night light which lets off a soft, blue glow and soft water ripples onto the ceiling.
The PurSteam Ultrasonic also emits 350ml of water per hour, which means you get up to almost 1 gallon of purified, cool mist throughout the nursery. This will help your little one get some much needed moisture, which gives them relief if they are having allergy problems or are sick.
The PurSteam Ultrasonic is one of the best investments you will make if you’re looking for a reliable and most importantly working humidifier.
Q:Can you use tap water, or is it distilled only?
A:You can use tap water according to the manual, however tap water is notorious for creating ‘white dust’, which is basically mineralized rock and bacteria deposits that you can inhale while running the humidifier. Therefore, it probably is a better idea to use distilled so that you eliminate anything potentially harmful in your household.
Q:Does it require filters?
A:No, you do not need to purchase filters.
Q:Is the night light very bright?
A:No, it is dim, and you do have the option of turning it off.
The Evaporative humidifiers use “wicking filters” to release moisture into the air. Water added to the tank/reservoir passes through and is absorbed by the filter. A fan inside of the unit blows onto the water-soaked filter, and the resulting moisture comes out so quickly that it ‘evaporates‘ into the air, hence the term ‘evaporative’. Of course that isn’t all it can do for you, so I will go over any and all additional benefits below.
One of the best benefits to having an evaporative humidifier, according to Mary H.J. Farrell on the Consumer Reports website, is that they are, “[…] the least likely to emit airborne bacteria.” Backing up this claim is M.D. Robin Deterding as she comments that parents should consider, “[…] an evaporative humidifier, which will emit neither minerals nor bacteria” as opposed to other humidifiers.
Doctor Deterding goes on to say that the filter will need frequent changing to ensure there isn’t a chance microorganisms can grow and be breathed in. However as long as you stay on top of the upkeep you should be fine. And she notes that, ” […] regular old dish soap” will clean the unit perfectly!
While it doesn’t emit bacteria particles into the air, your evaporative humidifier can grow bacteria inside of the tank/reservoir like any other humidifier. Consumer Report’s Associate Director for Product Safety Doris Sullivan commented that, “Bacteria can only grow in a moist environment, so it’s important to wash out the base tray and reservoir and let it completely dry.”
Sullivan went on to say that every day, you should empty, rinse, and dry the base tray or reservoir. Every week, you will want to wash the unit out with vinegar, and follow the manufacturer’s care instructions. She also proposed to, ‘disinfect’ the unit with bleach, however I don’t recommend using harsh chemicals. And neither does Doctor Deterding as she points out, “Whatever you decide to use, clean it often — without chemicals” because there is the possibility that you could inhale what is left behind.
Vinegar is a safe, natural cleaner as is mild soap and water–Just make sure you rinse the unit out very well!
The product that we recommend for this category is the TaoTronics Top-Fill Evaporative Humidifier, which is quite easy to use and maintain.
The humidifier features a wide top-fill tank to ensure ease of filling and cleaning, and it can hold up to approximately 2.5 liters/0.66 gallons of water! With a moisture output of 200ml (or 6.8oz) an hour it’s the perfect edition for small rooms (such a nursery) or medium sized rooms (such as a bedroom). You also get even coverage of humidity no matter which space it is put in, runs quietly, and keeps the humidity level between 40-60% (recall from earlier that the recommended amount is 50%, so it meets that requirement).
Additional benefits for the TaoTronics Top-Fill include: relief from cough and congestion symptoms, elimination of static electricity, and much needed moisture for wood furniture, items (i.e pianos, guitars), and floors. Some woods require moisture otherwise they can warp and crack!
Q:There are different filter ‘versions’: which one do I need for this?
A:Screw off the filter and check the photo on Amazon. This filter with tank cap is fit for TT-AH001, TT-AH002, and the TT-AH019 regardless if the machine is an old version or a new version.
Q:I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, and I struggle to lift heavy things. Is it easy to fill and also clean?
A:Yes, it is very easy! All you do is remove the top cover/lid to gain access to the tank. From there you can easily fill it with water using whatever method you find easiest (i.e. water bottle, carafe, pitcher etc.). Since the opening spans across the entire width of the humidifier, you’ll be able to clean it easily as you can reach everything!
Q:Are the filters ceramic?
A:No, this unit uses a wicking filter, which is included when you buy the humidifier. Replacement filters can be purchased through Amazon.
It’s easy to confuse the evaporative humidifiers with the vaporizer humidifiers however, they are different. From what I gathered regarding the vaporizers, it works as if it were a tea kettle. You fill the tank with water, put the top on, adjust the humidity level to the desired setting if there is one, and watch as the water comes out as a visible ‘vaporized’ mist. Seriously, that’s all there is to it–very anti-climactic, I know.
Let’s review the pros and cons to see if it’s the right one for your baby.
ENT Specialist and Chief Editor of SinusCure.org Kevin Hill states that unlike humidifiers, “[…] Vaporizers […] are for individual use, rather than filling up a room.” He goes on to say that vaporizers are cost-effective (usually around $15.00 for a unit), and they require far less upkeep than a humidifier does because the heat that produces the steam inside kills off any nasty stuff that would otherwise grow (mold, bacteria, algae, etc.).
However, Doctor Hill does recommend cleaning the vaporizer unit at least once a day to be safe.
He went on to state that there are multiple health benefits to owning a vaporizer. One of them was, as usual, keeping your airways moistened which gives an added boost to your immune system. Speaking of illnesses, it also helps you get rid of, “[…] cough, cold, fever, flu, and sinusitis” since the added moisture helps loosen any congestion hanging around in your lungs. It also helps your eyes stay lubricated (so they won’t itch) and of course keeps your skin from drying out.
Hill also recommends adding, “[…] a bit of table salt to these vaporizers” to increase the humidity in your surroundings.
Additional benefits include maintaining a healthy, proper amount of moisture even on the lowest setting. That actually has the added benefit of saving you money on your heating bill!
In regards to safety Hill comments that vaporizers, “When used in a proper way as specified in the user manual, […] will never encounter any problem.” He also points out that you should ensure you are keeping up on maintaining the unit to avoid issues or injury (burns).
Vaporizers are free of bacteria and white dust, the device automatically shuts off once it is void of water, the top locks securely avoiding any leaks or spills, and ‘double wall insulation’ keeps the water in the reservoir at a higher temperature.
One safety concern that ENT Specialist Kevin Hill had regarding vaporizers was the danger of burns. “Vaporizers,” he states, “[…] generate heat to produce steam”, which makes them particularly hazardous around young children and pets. A simple solution is to make sure that the vaporizer is well out of reach of your smaller (and furry) loved ones, which still gives you control over the unit while keeping them safe.
Also, if you have asthma or any related diseases Hill urges you to, “[…] consult with your doctor or healthcare provider before installing steam vapors, as the increased humidity can worsen the conditions of asthma patients.”
Our top pick as far as vaporizers were concerned is the Vicks V150SGN2 Vaporizer. This little unit got 5 out of 5 stars on Amazon, and has some pretty neat features for the parents out there.
This model features a 1.5 gallon tank with an easy twist cap, which can run for up to 18-24 hours after each water refill. Even as water boils at a high temperature inside, the Vicks V150SGN2 is cool to the touch on the outside for safety when handling. For added protection (especially in a child’s room), there is also a large night light built into the unit. Another safety feature are the specially designed safety vents that regulate vapor flow and prevent over boiling and spitting of water. The unit also automatically shuts itself off whenever the reservoir water reaches its minimum level.
A medication chamber allows the use of Vicks Vaposteam, which produces a medicated vapor that soothes irritated nose and throat membranes. You also have the option of using the Vicks VapoPads as well. This dual scent pad technology provides soothing vapors, and the Exclusive Steam Guard™ provides maximum reliability and performance in addition to quiet operation.
Additional benefits include: non-rust carbon electrodes, easy fill water line inside the tank, and a visible steam that gives temporary relief of cough and congestion.
Q:I just want the unit for the warm mist: do I have to use the Vicks Pads or Vaposteam liquid?
A:No, you don’t have to use the pads or the liquid; you can run the vaporizer and just have normal steam come out.
Q:Will a vaporizer work well for sinus congestion?
A:Yes, a vaporizer is a type of ‘warm humidifier’ if you will. It does provide warm moisture, will helps to coat your nasal and throat passages to ward off bacteria and infections while also alleviating mucus back up.
Q:Is it safe to leave the vaporizer running in my child’s bedroom throughout the night?
A:Yes, it is completely safe (and also effective) to let the unit run during the night, especially if you little one is having trouble breathing due to being sick; it will help them breathe and rest better.
The impeller type of humidifier is one that is new to me, however I have been wanting to research it, and was able to find out how this one worked. A rotating disc moves the water to and through a diffuser. The diffuser atomizes the water into smaller droplets, and the resulting moisture comes out of the unit as a fog-like mist. Pretty self-explanatory, right? So, let’s review the pros and cons associated with owning this type of humidifier, and what it means for your baby’s health.
Impeller Humidifiers are a type of cool mist humidifier, and offer a few different benefits to their owners. One advantage is that Impeller humidifiers do not require filters in order to run, so you’re saving money there. It also doesn’t use a lot of power while it is running, either which is a big pro for most Moms and Dads out there. Another appealing aspect is that they are quiet, making them ideal for households with children or pets as it won’t cause any disruptions when they are sleeping.
Also, since it is a cool mist humidifier it can be used year-round! In fact, according to the Lowe’s website the American Academy of Pediatrics encourages the use of a cool mist humidifier if you are looking to purchase one for your home. Their note to parents is, “Put a cool-mist humidifier (also called a vaporizer) in your child’s room to help the liquid that is making her nose stuffy thinner, so it is easier for your child to breathe.” Just make sure you keep the humidity level between 30-50% and no higher, otherwise you run the risk of over-humidifying your home, which can cause mold and mildew to grow!
One final advantage is that this unit can actually prevent damage to your electronics (i.e. Stereos, DVD/Blu-Ray Players, Laptops, etc.). How? Because humidifiers help reduce static electricity, which not only causes you to get shocked but can also harm your digital companions. Additional benefits include: moisturized skin and hair, wet airways promoting health and immunity, and a restful night’s sleep!
The EPA and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) conducted a study in 1991 in which they found that, “[…] ultrasonic and impeller (or “cool mist”) humidifiers can dispense […] microorganisms and minerals from their water tanks into indoor air.”
Bacteria, molds, fungi, algae and ‘white dust’ are common problems for humidifier owners regardless of what type of humidifier it is. White dust occurs when you use tap water in a humidifier; tap water has mineral deposits which are not filtered out properly, and leave a white residue on your furniture, which you also breathe into your lungs.
However, if you care for and clean your Impeller humidifier on a regular basis and follow the manufacturer’s maintenance guidelines you can eliminate these issues. Switching to distilled water will help, too!
For the Impeller class humidifier we found that the UCAREAIR Cool Mist Humidifier had the best rating on Amazon (4.5 out of 5 stars), and is advertised as a humidifier for use specifically in a nursery. There are of course other benefits to having this unit as well, so let me go into detail below.
The UCAREAIR Cool Mist Humidifier holds up to 2 liters (or 0.5 gallons) of water, and can run for up to 10 hours when the setting is on ‘low’. It provides up to 200 sq.ft coverage for bedrooms, offices, and other medium-sized rooms. It also includes a soft/dim nightlight, which can help your baby fall asleep and provide soft lighting for you to see what you’re doing as well. Another added safety feature is that the unit will automatically shut off when the red LED light comes on. This indicates that the water level is low or the tank has been removed.
Additional features include: two mist setting levels (High and low speed settings) that you can adjust mist direction as well as the speed to fit your needs. The one touch button makes working this humidifier extremely easy to use and set preferences to, and best of all you no longer need to worry about buying expensive filters because this unit is filter-less!
Q:How do you fill the tank: is it the top or the bottom?
A:Turn over the tank and open the lid, then pour 2 liters of distilled water (which is always recommended) or tap water into the reservoir/tank. Then screw the tank lid tightly back on, and place it back on the base.
Q:Is this easy to clean, or does it have spaces you can’t easily reach?
A:According to people who own this model, no: it’s very easy to clean, and there are no hard to reach crevices. The recommendation is letting a vinegar water mixture sit in the unit to give it a good, natural clean. And yes, you can use mold soap and water, just remember to rise it out thoroughly!
Q:Does it make any ‘gurgling’ sounds while its running?
A:Yes, the water ‘bubbling’ sound can be heard around every 30 minutes during evaporation. However, the sound is within the acceptable range.
Best Humidifier for Babies with Colds, Cough, Congestion, and Sinusitis.
The common cold is an enemy that cannot be destroyed by medication. And it absolutely sucks, because for 1-2 weeks you’re stuck with horrendous symptoms. There’s the cough that rattles your brain inside your skull (provided the sneezing hasn’t done it already), which causes a dull headache afterward, and you can’t breathe because all of your sinus cavities are blocked with mucus and other fine debris (congestion/Sinusitis).
You know how it feels, so you can well imagine how uncomfortable your baby is when they have the unfortunate luck of catching a cold. Luckily there are several options available for your baby that are safe, and yes, humidifiers are one of the ways to help your little one be comfortable (if nothing else) as they recover.
My research indicated that although warm and cool mist can be used, the best mist method for infants with colds (including congestion, coughing and sinusitis) was a warm mist humidifier.
I found one that parents agree works well, so let’s check it out!
Our recommended product for cold-related symptoms is the Holmes Warm Mist Filter Free Single Room Humidifier. It received a 4 out of 5 star rating on Amazon, and has unique features that are extremely helpful for parents to maintain and keep the unit clean!
For starters, this machine is dishwasher safe–yes, you are reading this correctly. Simply remove the bottom, place it in your dishwasher with your dishes, and boom: you have a clean unit again. However, my recommendation would be to use vinegar and water as its a natural cleaner, and you can also mild dish soap and water to clean the base and tank as well. Remember, harsh chemicals leave residues behind that can be inhaled by you and your baby. So it might be a better idea to stay away from bleach or other cleaning products!
Speaking of that, the tank includes a handle for ease of carrying, can hold up to 1.2 gallons of water, and it can run for up to 24 hours before needed a refill! It was designed with small rooms in mind, so it will be the perfect edition to your baby’s room, and will help them sleep and breathe much better. The dial on the front allows for easy control over the level of humidity/steam you desire (choose either ‘low’ or ‘high’), and you also have the added benefit of additional heat inside of the baby’s room which comes in handy during the winter, especially if you are in a very cold climate.
It also auto-shuts off when the water level is low, so you don’t need to worry about constantly checking it to make sure the working parts don’t burn out. Best of all, no filters are required, which saves you money!
Q:Is this unit noisy or does it run quietly?
A:There are some soft ‘gurgling’ sounds that happens as the water level dips low, however it is not noisy at all; runs very quiet.
Q:Do I have to used distilled with this humidifier, or can I use plain tap water? I’m concerned about ‘white dust’.
A:No, you do not have to use distilled water. The design of this particular unit ensures that any mineral deposits are contained within the ‘water pan’ at the base of the humidifier, which is easily cleaned up by your dishwasher.
Best Humidifier for Infants with Dry Skin
I know that I have repeated myself to death saying this, however humidifiers really do give our skin some much needed moisture.
In fact, an article written for Harvard Medical School under Harvard Health Publishing found that using a, “[…] humidifier to raise the humidity level[…]” during winter months when the air is dry will help prevent dry skin in addition to using moisturizers. The Mayo Clinic backs up this claim while stating that humidifiers have the added benefit(s) of helping those with, “[…] Dry sinuses, bloody noses, and cracked lips”.
But which one would we recommend you use for your baby? After some digging, I believe we found one that will soothe those dry skin needs!
From what I gathered, it seems as though both warm and cool mist can help alleviate dry skin issues. One difference I found was that warm humidifiers are more beneficial for those who suffer from eczema rather than cool mist.
Since both mist types were recommended, I then researched for another dual mist humidifier that would work and the one I found is the SPT Dual Mist SU-2628B Ultrasonic Humidifier. It received a 4.5 out of 5 star rating on Amazon, and includes multiple features that I will go into detail in below.
The SPT Dual Mist SU-2628B comes with a 7.0 liter/1.8 gallon tank in calming blue which is transparent, so you can keep track of the water level at all times, and it runs for about 12 hours. The tank also features an ‘easy carry handle’ so that you can fill and transport it with ease. Included is a nozzle that can be adjusted in any direction you choose, and it comes with an ION Exchange Filter. The ION exchange filter demineralizes and treats hard water, which reduces the presence of scum and slimy build up. The advantage with this is that it also prolongs the life of the ultrasonic generator, and prevents white dust making it safe to have in your home, and near your baby.
It has a mist output of 350 cubic centimeters/0.092 gallons per hour, and the adjustable knobs on the base give you control over the mist level, including the warm mist on/off button. The other knob allows you to control the brightness of the night light which you can alternate between 7 different colors or set on the one you prefer. There is also an ‘add water’ indicator in the base that will turn on once the water level reaches a certain amount.
Q:Is it difficult to clean this?
A:No, it is very easy! My personal recommendation is using a water and vinegar solution as it is a natural cleaner and won’t leave behind any harmful residues. A customer who purchased this recommends cleaning it about once a week.
Q:How many square feet does this one cover?
A:It is designed to cover rooms up to 538 square feet, so about the size of a large room or hallway. It would definitely work in a bedroom.
Q:I know this comes with an ION Filter, however do I need purchase replacement filters? If so, what type should I look for?
A:You don’t need to purchase any replacement filters at all. It’s one of those humidifiers that you can clean using mild dish soap and water or a vinegar and water solution; it’s really easy to maintain.
Best Humidifiers Based on Room Size
The size of the room is important to know when looking for the right humidifier. Some humidifiers are made to only cover smaller areas, which The Home Depot identifies as having, “Less than 400 square feet”.
Other humidifiers are made to cover spaces a little larger, and medium sized rooms are between, “400-1,000 square feet”.
And yes, there are humidifiers that can cover larger areas (even an entire house!) which in square footage means, “Greater than 1,000”.
We’ve searched high and low to bring you the best humidifiers that work in small, medium, and large sized rooms. So let’s take a look at them in greater detail below!
Recommendation for Small Rooms (< 400 sq/ft)
For small rooms, we recommend the Rosewill Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier, which received a 4 out of 5 star rating on Amazon.
It has a tank capacity of 5 liters or 1.3 gallons (that’s ten 16.9 oz water bottles), it is completely filter free (which saves money), and it can run up to 10 hours. The dual nozzle allows for a wider range of coverage as it can turn 360 degrees, and is able to cover rooms up to 250 square feet.
It also includes a beautiful blue night light that is built into the base, and has a variation dial so that you can choose the level of mist that is most comfortable and appropriate for your baby’s needs and room size. The dial goes from low to medium to high and even in has spray settings in between in case you need a little less than normal.
Addition features include: whisper quiet operation, it can be safely left running throughout the night, a ‘low water’ indicator light, and it automatically shuts off once the tank is completely empty.
Q:Is this a dual mist humidifier (warm and cold)?
A:No, it is cool mist only.
Q:Can I use humidifier cleaning capsules or other agents to clean it?
A:It is recommended by the manufacturer that you wash the unit using a water and vinegar solution only. Harsh chemical cleaning agents such as bleach or even ‘humidifier cleaning solutions’ are not a good idea as they can leave behind harmful residue in the machine that can then be expelled and inhaled by the inhabitants on your home.
Q:I usually sleep in the dark, so the light bulb inside really bothers me: is there a way to remove it or turn it off?
A:Remove the rubber feet on the bottom, then remove the screw that is under each foot. Lift off the bottom cover. On the inside of the unit you will see 2 white wires coming off the light, follow the wires over to the circuit board where you will find them plugged in with a little bit of glue holding the plug in place. Give a slow hard pull on the plug until it unplugs; all done.
You always have the option of cutting the wires, which I wouldn’t recommend if you want to keep your warranty. Or you can place a towel over it at night to block the light.
Recommendation for Medium Rooms (400-1,000 sq/ft)
Our recommended product for medium sized rooms is the AIRCARE Aurora Ultrasonic 1 Gallon Humidifier. It received a 4 out of 5 star rating on Amazon, and has some pretty neat features!
The AIRCARE Aurora can hold up to 1 gallon of water with up to 2 gallons of mist output before needing a refill. It can run for 8-12 hours after it has been filled, so it will last throughout the night. And there’s no need to worry about it burning out or shorting because it automatically shuts off once the water is gone. A red light on the base of the unit will come on to indicate it needs a refill.
It covers medium sized spaces up to 750 square feet, makes almost no sound as it operates, can reduce the survival of the flu virus (when humidity levels are 43% or more), and reduces static electricity, which can damage your electronic items (i.e. laptops, stereos, DVD Player, etc.).
In addition, the AIRCARE Aurora promotes longevity in any wooden items, furniture, and flooring in your home. Wood does require some moisture otherwise it can crack or even worse yet warp!
And of course it’s also extremely beneficial to you and your family as it can soothe scratchy throats, moisturize dry skin, relieve tired eyes, and alleviate allergy symptoms. If you have a little one this is a great option because it comes with an aromatherapy tray so you can add soothing scents, and features a seven color LED night light that can be set to cycle through all colors or set to your favorite color! It’s also a wonderful tool if you have pets, because it moisturizes their skin, too which means you won’t have as much pet dander–happy breathing!
Q:Is there a specific way to clean this unit?
A:No, not really; one Amazon customer found using a washcloth with mild soap and water was sufficient. She also recommended shaking the unit with a water-soap solution, which also would work. I personally would recommend using a vinegar-water solution if you are wanting to let it soak or even just to wipe it down with. It’s a natural cleaner, so it won’t leave anything behind as other harsher cleaning agents (such as bleach) would.
Q:How do you put the water in?
A:You just lift the tank off, unscrew a small opening on the bottom, and fill.
Q:How often should the filter be changed, and what kind would I need to purchase?
A:You don’t have to worry about a filter because this product does not have one! It does have an optional demineralization cartridge, so if you plan on purchasing that, AirCare suggests replacing it after 500 hours of use. Diffuser pads can be replaced as desired.
Recommendation for Large Rooms (> than 1,000 sq/ft)
For larger areas we recommend using the AIRCARE 831000 Whole House Evaporative Humidifier, which has a 4 out of 5 star rating on Amazon.
With an easy fill 6 gallon, 70 hour run time tank the AIRCARE 831000 is perfect if you need to run your humidifier for a long period of time. And because of its tank size, it is designed to cover areas that are 2700 square feet. Once the desired humidity level in your home is reached or the water tank finally runs dry, the unit will automatically shut off. There are also check filter and water refill indicators, so you’ll never have to guess when you should change the filter or add more water.
It comes with casters which make the humidifier very easy to move once it’s been filled. It also includes three fan speeds and an adjustable humidistat.
Additional benefits include: protection from the flu virus, reduction of static electricity, longevity for wood and leather furnishings, reduction of pet dander, and alleviation from allergy symptoms.
Q:What filter do I need for this unit?
A:You will want to purchase the Essick Air AIRCARE 1043 Replacement Space Saver Wick. One Amazon customer said that a filter actually lasted all winter, so if you bought the three pack (which Amazon sells) it should last you quite a while depending on how often you need to run it.
Q:What mist type is this unit?
A:This is a cool mist humidifier.
Q:I read that the ingredients in the cleaning agents are highly toxic. Am I able to use mild soap and water? I’d rather not use bleach.
A:Yes, I believe so. Using vinegar and water is another, natural way to go if you’re worried about harmful residues. You should never use bleach or other harsh chemicals as what is left behind can be breathed in when you go to use the humidifier again.
Essick Air (the manufacturer) recommends cleaning your humidifier at least once every two weeks to maintain optimum environmental conditions for your home.
Best Overall Humidifier
We have covered a lot of ground here regarding humidifiers and which one is actually capable of providing your baby with the absolute best comfort. There are some things to consider when you are preparing to purchase a humidifier, such as room size, what type of filters you’ll need, how often you need to clean the unit, etc. It probably may seem extremely overwhelming when you finally go to look for one.
The majority of you reading this are probably just wanting something basic. A unit that is small, easy to maintain, and of course is safe for the nursery.
Out of all the humidifiers I covered there are two that stand out as the most recommended both from Amazon customers and medical doctors. Below are my recommendations taking into account factors such as: room size, safety, reliability, and the well-being of infants.
The best overall are the TaoTronics Top Fill and the Vicks Vaporizer. They received the highest ratings on Amazon (5/5 Stars) with glowing customer reviews, and they were backed by members of the medical field as being the safest option out of all the humidifierson the market today.
I’ll begin with the TaoTronics Top Fill, which is an evaporative humidifier. These types of humidifiers are the best choice as according to Mary H.J. Ferrell of Consumer Reports they are, “[…] the least likely to emit airborne bacteria.” Other humidifier types (such as Impellers and Ultrasonics) have a tendency to house and expel bacteria or other worrisome agents into the air, especially if they are not maintained.
Ferrell’s findings were confirmed by M.D. Robin Detering as she remarked, “[…] an evaporative humidifier […] will emit neither minerals nor bacteria” as opposed to other humidifiers.
Doctor Deterding goes on to say that the filter will need frequent changing to ensure there isn’t a chance microorganisms can grow and be breathed in. However as long as you stay on top of the upkeep you should be fine. And she notes that, ” […] regular old dish soap” will clean the unit perfectly!
The Vicks Vaporizer is another good option when it comes to adding humidity to your baby’s space. This product received 5/5 stars on Amazon, and ENT Specialist and Chief Editor of SinusCure.org points out that there are a number of advantages to owning a vaporizer.
To begin with they are cost-effective to purchase and save you money on your heating bill as they maintain a proper amount of moisture, even on the lowest setting. If you need more humidity Hill recommends adding, “[…] a bit of table salt”.
Vaporizers also require less upkeep than a humidifier (as the heat inside kills off any mold, bacteria, or algae), and have multiple health benefits.
One particular benefit was keeping your baby’s airways moistened, which in turn adds a protective boost to your immune system to ward off viruses and illness. Speaking of illnesses, it also helps you get rid of, “[…] cough, cold, fever, flu, and sinusitis” as the added moisture helps loosen any congestion hanging around in your lungs. It also keeps your eyes lubricated (so they won’t itch) and keeps your skin from drying out, too.
They are free of bacteria and white dust, automatically shut off when void of water, the top locks securely avoiding any leaks or spills, and ‘double wall insulation’ keeps the water in the reservoir at a higher temperature. Safety is a concern most people and doctors have with these units as the water (and the steam) could potentially cause burns. However, this is easily avoided by keeping it out of reach of children/pets, yet keeping it accessible to you.
In closing, myself and the good people at the Mayo Clinic would like to remind you to, “[…] talk to your doctor before using a humidifier.” They are the best line of defense for your baby when they are sick, and can also help you find a humidifier that will not only meet your baby’s health needs, but also allow your baby breathe better, sleep better, and feel better.
Good luck, and have fun shopping!