The best humidifier for winter

Ana Sanchez

According to a study, raising the humidity level of your indoor space by 43% or more can render approximately 85% of airborne viruses ineffective.

The downside to home heating systems that keep us warm in the winter is that they dry out the air in our living spaces. Not only can this lead to dry skin and hair, but drier air can also be a breeding ground for airborne viruses.

Humidifiers are appliances that add humidity back into the air and are popular for use in wintertime. Not all humidifiers use the same technology to add moisture to a room. Read our buying guide to learn the safest and best method and to learn what else to take into consideration. At the end, we’ve also included our top recommendations, like the LEVOIT Hybrid Ultrasonic Humidifier, which is perfect for large rooms and can run continuously for up to 60 hours.

Considerations when choosing humidifiers for winter

Humidifier types

Steam: Humidifiers that create steam vapor are not as popular as other humidifier types because the hot steam poses a burn hazard, and they’re not safe for households with children or pets.

Impelling mist: This humidifier type uses an impeller that smashes water into mist, issuing the droplets into the air and saturating it with mist. This also isn’t a popular humidifying method because these units can create excess moisture and residue.

Ultrasonic vibration: More common are ultrasonic humidifiers, which use sound waves to generate fine mist. While incredibly quiet, the output of ultrasonic humidifiers is somewhat limited.

Evaporation: Another popular humidifier type are evaporative humidifiers that evaporate water into the air via a wicking action. They also have a fan which disperses that vapor into the air. This type is ideal for larger spaces.

Noise level

If you’re placing your humidifier in the bedroom or your baby’s room, you want a quiet or silent model. Ultrasonic units are nearly silent as they emit a high-frequency noise that most humans can’t hear.



It’s important that the water mist a humidifier emits doesn’t contain germs or other microbes that can grow in your tank’s standing water. Many humidifiers feature a filter to remove bacteria from the water. UV filters are the most effective against bacteria, mold spores, and viruses.

Coverage area

While bigger humidifiers tend to have higher capacities, which means they can humidify a greater area, it’s always best to check the manufacturer’s stats to determine coverage. Coverage area is generally listed in square feet. Know the square footage of the room you want humidified before purchasing a unit.

Ease of maintenance

Because there’s standing water in humidifiers, your device is at risk for developing harmful mold, fungi, and bacteria. While all humidifiers need to be cleaned periodically, check to see what additional maintenance is required before purchasing.


Basic humidifiers cost between $15 and $30 and are suited for small areas only. Expect to pay between $40 and $150 for a unit that can cover larger rooms or multi-room areas. 


Q. What’s the best type of humidifier if colder months aggravate my respiratory condition?

A. Moist air is easier to breathe than dry air. To help you breathe better, we recommend an ultrasonic humidifier.

Q. I have a large home. What’s the best type of humidifier?

A. We recommend an evaporative humidifier, which can add moisture to a greater coverage area. These units are also good for people who live in drier climates year round.

Q. Can humidifiers relieve symptoms of colds and allergies?

A. Yes. A popular use of humidifiers is to soothe the tissues of the throat and nasal passages due to allergies, congestion, coughs, and colds. Some users opt for units that feature an essential oil diffuser for added aromatherapy treatment.

Humidifiers for winter we recommend

Best of the best: LEVOIT Hybrid Ultrasonic Humidifier

Our take: An impressive large-capacity humidifier that can run for 60 hours continuously.

What we like: Perfect for large rooms up to 753 square feet. Choose between warm or cool mist. Features a remote control. Very quiet.

What we dislike: Minor reports of motor running out.

Best bang for your buck: Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier

Our take: For bedroom use, this small humidifier is ultra quiet and affordable.

What we like: Night-light feature is soothing. Cool mist in high or low speed settings. 16-hour operation and automatic shut-off safety feature. Perfect for children’s rooms.

What we dislike: Must be maintained vigilantly to avoid mold growth.

Choice 3: Vicks Filter-Free Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier

Our take: A compact but powerful ultrasonic humidifier.

What we like: Not too noisy or expensive. Compatible with the brand’s VapoPads for added cough and congestion relief. Easy to clean and maintain.

What we dislike: Doesn’t come with a filter.

Ana Sanchez is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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