• Wellness Center
  • Humidifier Buying Guide

    Get advice on buying the right kind of humidifier to help ease wintertime coughs, nasal congestion and sinus irritation.

  • Humidifiers are long-time trusted aids for easing cold and flu symptoms, and even seasonal allergies and dry skin. The size of a bread box or smaller, humidifiers come in many different shapes and colors, including fun designs for kids. Pediatricians often recommend using a humidifier to help children with colds and respiratory infections breathe more easily and sleep better at night. By adding moisture to the air through a warm or cool mist, humidifiers are known to ease dry coughs, nasal congestion, and sinus irritation in people of all ages.

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    Tips for Buying a Humidifier

    To choose the right humidifier for you and your family, keep in mind the following features beyond price:

    1. Warm mist vs. cool mist humidifiers. Both warm mist and cool mist humidifiers effectively ease symptoms of the common cold, so this is mainly a question of preference. If you have children in the house, a cool mist humidifier may be a better choice, since there is no risk of scalding by steam or water. However, cool mist humidifiers are at higher risk for bacteria and mold issues. Some warm mist humidifiers have an additional reservoir which can be used with certain medications meant for inhaling.
    2. Size considerations. Choose a design and size that will work comfortably in the rooms where you’ll use it most often. Humidifiers are often rated by room size, meaning the maximum space in which the humidifier can efficiently work. Measure the largest room you’ll use it in and compare to make sure you’re getting the right one to do the job. There are even portable options if you need to bring a humidifier along on trips.
    3. Noise level while running. The noise level from a humidifier can vary greatly. If you’re sensitive to noise or will be using the humidifier around small children, look into models with “run silent” options.
    4. Water volume. The amount of water a humidifier uses depends on the size of the unit, the size of your room, and overall efficiency. Look for specifications on volume – most range from one to four gallons – and how often you must replenish the water. Most humidifiers require regular replenishing on a daily basis, so choose one that makes it easy for you to access the water reservoir.
    5. Cost and ease of humidifier maintenance. All humidifiers need to be cleaned regularly to avoid the build-up of harmful bacteria, mold, and mineral deposits. Some humidifiers use filters that may require regular cleaning or replacement, so if you choose one with a filter, keep this cost in mind. Also pay attention to how much energy the humidifier uses—because of the heating element, warm mist humidifiers tend to use more energy.
    6. Extra humidifier features. More advanced humidifiers have programmable options, plus added features like air purifiers, heaters, and night lights. These extras can bring the price up, so decide which features you’ll really use.

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    Read Other Cold, Cough & Flu Buying Guides

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    The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications or other treatments.

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