How do I know if I need a humidifier? How do I choose a good product? How am I supposed to take care of a humidifier? What is the difference between a central and steam humidifier? Is it worth it to invest in something like this? Are there any benefits in using a steam humidifier?
For all these questions and more, we searched the vast ocean of information and compiled a guide for you. Find below our top choices for steam humidifiers, with pros and cons. Learn how to spot the difference between the various option available on the market. And take a fully informed decision of purchase. We bring to your attention the advantages and risks associated with steam humidifiers. When it comes to maintenance, we highlight the golden rules for a safe and prolonged use of such products. Take a deep breath and keep reading to know more.
Signs You Need a Humidifier
Humidity is all about how much water vapor exists in the air. Indoors, at home or at work, you will find a percentage expressing the relative humidity. The recommended value for a comfortable environment ranges between 30-50%. Lower humidity (under 30%) can feel uncomfortably dry. On the other hand, more than 50% humidity can make the space too friendly for bacteria and mold to grow.
Do keep in mind that a humidifier won’t make your problems magically disappear. But you can be sure that using one will increase the level of comfort in your home or office. So, how can you know the air is too dry?
To measure the level of humidity in a room, you can use a device called hygrometer. They are easy to find in most hardware stores. But if you aren’t convinced about buying one, check out some signs that indicate the humidity level is not ideal.
A sign can be the static electricity affecting your hair or your clothes. Also, count in the sparks that fly around at the slightest touch in winter. If you notice you have dry skin, that your eyes often feel itchy, that means the room needs more moisture in the air. A more serious and unpleasant sign can be having irritated nasal passages. A bloody nose or an itchy throat with unproductive cough can worsen the symptoms of a common cold. Also, if you suffer from a respiratory problem, dry air can only make it harder to breathe properly.
The Science Behind Steam Humidifiers
If you plan to invest in a humidifier for your home, you already know what is out there on the market. There are several types available, from central humidifiers to ultrasonic or impeller vaporizers. All these devices balance the humidity level in your home, so they can have a good influence on your health. What makes the difference between them is the way they add moisture to the air. Most humidifiers work by producing mist from cold water. Impellers have a rotating disc that flings water at a diffuser. Evaporative humidifiers use an internal fan to disperse air into the unit. This air passes through a saturated wick filter absorbing water. An ultrasonic device bases the moisture dissipation on oscillations at an ultrasonic frequency.
On the other hand, steam humidifiers first boil the water, then cool it down before releasing it into the air. This method brings its advantages and disadvantages, so let’s take a closer look.
5 Benefits of Using a Steam Humidifier
- Health Benefits
Winter months bring lower temperatures, causing air humidity to drop down as well. Use a steam humidifier in your home, to reduce symptoms such as dry skin or sinus congestion. Improve your breathing and keep your skin hydrated. Moisturizing air will help you fight nose irritation, dry cough, even cracked lips. Save up on that body lotion in winter months. With proper humidification, the air in your home will be less friendly for germs or bacteria. Keep flu and other illnesses that thrive in dry air away. Steam humidifiers can also contribute to maintaining a pleasant temperature in your space. Not to mention that they can help reduce snoring by keeping the aerial ways from drying out.
- Increased Comfort
As we spend up to 90% of our time indoors (especially in the recent months), the air quality makes a great difference to our bodies. Relative humidity regulation of your indoor spaces means more control over your comfort. The air quality and temperature in the room take a toll on how “at home” you can feel. A steam humidifier will ensure a consistent level of both. This device can help increase the temperature, as it relies on heating the water. Also, as the air is ideally humid, your breathing will feel effortless.
- Compelling Hygiene
As they use boiled water as a main source, steam humidifiers produce more purified vapors. With more hygienic steam, your home or work environment will become safer. The spread of illnesses associated with lower air quality can be, therefore, reduced.
- No Chemical Boiler Elements
Generating only pure steam, these humidifiers exclude any dangerous chemical boiler particles. The air will not be, in this case, contaminated with any toxins or decomposed materials.
- Protecting the Integrity of Home Decorations
Humidity influences the conservation of wood items (furniture, floor tiles or musical instruments). Also, the resistance of your wall paint can change depending on the level of moisture in the air. Not to mention, during winter, excessive dry air gets charged with static electricity. And that can expose your sensitive equipments to unnecessary risks. This also reduces the risk of fire caused by static electric discharges, keeping your home safe.
Drawbacks of Steam Humidifiers
Compared to cool-mist humidifiers, the steam humidifiers have an element of heating. That can feel less safe to use in a home with children or pets that can accidentally touch the hot surface. Apart from this, it is essential to keep the device clean. Use distilled water to prevent any residues from getting dispersed in the air. The boiling reduces the bacteria growth, but it is important to keep your device always clean.
Our Top 5 Recommended Steam Humidifiers
The Aqua Perfect Ultrasonic 1.55 Gal. Steam Console Humidifier is here to provide better air quality for you and your family. With a considerable steam output and water tank capacity, it also has an anti-bacterial feature. The device uses a solution to prevent bacteria from growing in the tank. This humidifier disperses cleaner mist in your home, keeping you safe and comfortable. It features three smart modes that will set your room’s humidity level as you like it. Rely on the automatic adjustment (auto comfort mode), or set the details how you want (control mode). If you find it best, simply keep the mist coming (continuous mode) on surfaces up to 650 sq.ft. Get the best performance with this humidifier that combines steam and ultrasonic output.
- sleek design
- silent functioning
- steam & ultrasonic humidification
- automatic shut off (12-hour timer)
- 30 hours of run time/tank
- no filter needed
- empty tank notification.
- not compatible with essential oils
- no remote control
- the hot plastic surface can pose a threat to child safety.
The Steam Humidifier keeps the process of humidification simple. Reduce your dry cough symptoms and use it to make the atmosphere in your house more breathable. This device ensures providing mist for 24 hours, as its removable water tank has a capacity of 1 gallon. Easy to clean and use, the Steam Humidifier does not require a filter. Refilling the tank is more convenient thanks to the top-fill muzzle. For a quick change in the air, use the 2-minute heating time to get the warm moisture you want.
- automatic shut off
- adjustable humidistat
- silent functioning
- automatic timer
- no filter needed
- one-year warranty.
- no digital display
- no remote control
- no empty tank indicator.
The Honeywell HWM705B Filter Free Warm Moisture Humidifier is a match for essential oils. Add your liquid inhalant or favorite scented oil to the special cup and just breathe. This humidifier can function for a full day without you having to refill the tank. With a water capacity of 1 gallon, the device will turn off automatically once the tank empties. If you tend to forget to refill the water tank, its blinking light acts as a silent, but effective reminder. With its black, elegant design, this humidifier looks great and doesn’t occupy a lot of space. The manual knob control allows you to change the warm mist output with ease.
- no filters needed
- illuminated power switch
- two moisture output settings
- no filter needed.
- medicine cup for inhalants & essential oils.
- silent functioning
- empty tank auto shut off & indicator
- no digital display
- no remote control
- hot surface not safe for child use.
The Aprilaire 800 Whole Home Steam Humidifier is what your home has been missing for so long. This sturdy and powerful unit can ensure the ideal humidity for up to 6,200 sq.ft. This steam humidifier is proudly manufactured in the USA. It wears the signature of the indoor air quality solutions leader – Aprilaire. Leave aside the worry of filtrating the water or refilling the tank. The system can be directly connected to the water source. And thanks to the electrode technology, no impurities get dispersed into the air. Set your desired humidity level and let the Aprilaire humidifier handle the rest.
- automatic humidity level control
- dual sensors (outdoor & indoor relative humidity levels)
- automatic tank refill
- no need for distilled water
- 5-year warranty
- large water tank capacity (11.5- 34.6 gallons)
- considerable size
- requires professional installation
- extremely hot surfaces (up to 212°F)
- additional costs from replacing the canister.
The BONECO – Digital Steam Humidifier S450 will keep bacteria away from you and your family. With its anti-mineral pad, minerals stay inside the unit, so the steam output is germ-free. Easy to use and clean, the digital display allows you to set the mode, timer, humidity level. The most important feature of this steam humidifier is the skin-warm vapor output. As the mist released is warm (not hot), the device is therefore considered safe to use in homes with children. The water tank has a capacity of 3.5 gallons and a special compartment for essential oils. For spaces up to 860 sq.ft., this humidifier is a total win. It is an investment that does a great job and even has a cleaning mode, to decalcify the inner components.
- multifunctional digital display
- self-cleaning mode
- sleep/economy mode
- electronic indicator for empty tank
- essential oils compatible
- child friendly hand-warm mist
- 3 years warranty.
- additional costs for renewal of anti-mineral pads
- only suitable for medium-size rooms
- no remote control.
Essential Features of Steam Humidifiers
To choose wisely the best steam humidifier for your home, here are a few features to look for.
- Coverage area
Just like for air conditioners, the surface of the room you wish to place your humidifier in matters. To ensure your steam humidifier works at an optimal level, you should consider the size of the space you use it in. The small portable humidifiers usually come with a recommended room size. The whole home systems have a larger coverage area, as they are by design, meant to humidify an entire house.
- Water tank capacity
The capacity of the water tank influences how often you need to do the refill. The bigger the tank, the more water for the humidifier to produce vapors. That also means more time while the device works smoothly. The size of the tank will impact as well how easy or comfortable it is to refill it. If you have back problems, lifting a large tank full of water might not be your favorite activity. As an upside, larger tanks may only require refilling every two days. If you opt for a whole home model of humidifier, you can connect them to the main water supply. Which means less worry for you to remember refilling them.
- Noise level
Depending on where you live and the features of your home, your humidifier can be on for more or less time. Based on that, you can prefer to have a silent model, so you don’t feel annoyed by the noise. Large home humidifiers can be noisy while filling the tank or turning on/off. But as they are usually installed in the basement, you will hardly hear this. The steam humidifiers we recommend meet the minimum noise criteria. So you can trust them for a non-buzzing humidifying process.
When adding a humidifier to your home, you want to make the most of the space you have available. A device that is too big can take up too much of your room and even produce too much humidity if not set properly. A humidifier that is too small may not face hydrating the air as you would like it. The available models vary in size, so you can surely find something to match your taste. From a small, fit for a bed table kind of humidifier, to a powerful, full home device to mount in your basement.
- Mist time & Maximum output
One of the main features listed for a room steam humidifier is the highest amount of mist it can produce in one day. The measurement applies to a time frame associated with the lowest mist setting. Simply because the higher mist levels will take a lot less time to humidify a room. As expected, the surface of the room also plays a role in how much time it takes to reach the desired hydration level. The larger the room, the more time needed to balance the humidity value.
When talking about the maximum output, the device involved is a whole home humidifier. This indicates the amount of water it can add to your whole home’s air throughout a day.
- Compatibility with essential oils
More common among the portable models, this feature is not so much crucial, but more about comfort. Adding a scented mist to your home can set the vibe, but also provide help with respiratory symptoms. Some models allow you to add essential oils or inhalants in a special compartment. Adding the oils in the water tank is not advisable as it can lead to damage to some internal components.
Other aspects you should keep in mind include: safety features, warranty and how easy to clean the device is. Let’s admit, a remote control for your humidifier can be quite convenient. A timer or an automatic sleep mode allow you to stop worrying about too much humidity piling up. You can sleep or leave the house, knowing the humidifier will turn off by itself. It can stop when it reaches the desired level of humidity or when the tank empties. Some models even turn down the lights at night, so you can rest at ease. You already know how important the warranty is. You should be aware of what it covers and for what period. You don’t want to be just taken by surprise in case something happens with the humidifier. And finally, how easy it is to clean will make a difference on the days when laziness hits. Having to spend too much time to disassemble and clean your humidifier can be a mood killer. And improper cleaning can lead to bacteria growing inside your humidifier. You wouldn’t want that, would you?
How to Take Care of Your Humidifier
Keep the water clean. Most room humidifiers use a gallon of water daily. Changing the water on a daily basis avoids the growth of any mold or bacteria in standing water. Make sure to also wash the tank or filter systems every two to three days. You should avoid using tap water as it contains minerals that can deposit inside the tank. That also promotes bacterial growth. Released into the air, these minerals look like white dust on your furniture. Use distilled or demineralized water, with a lower mineral content than tap water.
Change the filter. Check the manufacturer’s recommendation. This ensures the air is not contaminated with any germs and your humidifier works well.
Check the humidity level. Verify the level of humidity in your home every few days. Using your humidifier more than needed can worn out the filter or other components. Too much humidity can also lead to health problems and trigger allergies and asthma.
Wrap Up Recommended Steam Humidifiers
|Product Name||Most Important Feature||Water Tank Capacity||Surface Coverage||Essential Oils Compatible|
|1. Aqua Perfect Ultrasonic 1.55 Gal. Steam Console Humidifier||Great combination between steam and ultrasonic humidification.||1.55 gal.||650 sq.ft||no|
|2. Steam Humidifier||An effective steam output for a great price.||1 gal.||600 sq.ft||no|
|3. Honeywell HWM705B Filter Free Warm Moisture Humidifier||Practical design, easy to use, includes a medicine cup for inhalants.||1 gal.||600 sq.ft.||yes|
|4. Aprilaire 800 Whole Home Steam Humidifier||Perfect for large homes, can use all types of water for humidification.||11.5-34.6 gal.||6,200 sq.ft.||no|
|5. BONECO - Digital Steam Humidifier S450||The ultimate child friendly humidifier, releases skin-warm mist.||3,5 gal.||850 sq.ft.||yes|
Congratulations for reading this far! You now know more about humidifiers, risks and benefits associated with using one in your home. We shared our top recommended steam humidifiers. So, now it is up to you to decide which one would be a valuable addition to your cozy atmosphere. Let us know in the comments what feature matters most for you.