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As winter lingers and cold weather combined with home heating system operation dries out indoor air, you might be considering a humidifier for your home. By infusing moisture into the air, this appliance can significantly improve air quality and reduce a multitude of health risks.

Home humidifiers deliver moisture with one of four different types of technology and come in various sizes to suit different living spaces. The best one for your home will produce comfortable indoor air all winter long.

Why is the air dryer in the winter?

The chill of winter air comes with another unpleasant feature: it has a drying effect. That’s because cold air doesn’t hold moisture levels as well as warm air. Unlike the air on a summer day when humidity is noticeable, moisture dissipates quickly in cold winter weather. What’s more, the heat from a furnace exacerbates the problem.

Benefits of using a humidifier

According to the Mayo Clinic, dry indoor winter air can result in several uncomfortable conditions, but using a humidifier can help. One of the first signs that the air inside of a home is too dry is the development of skin that’s itchy, flaky or cracked. Humidifying air is hydrating and soothes the symptoms of dry skin. Dry air can also cause a stuffy nose, nosebleeds, dry mouth and snoring and can even aggravate asthma. Improved breathing is another benefit of using a humidifier.

Humidifier maintenance

To get consistent results and prevent the buildup of mold and bacteria, it’s vital to clean a humidifier frequently. Change the water daily, and clean the unit about every three days with a solution of hydrogen peroxide or vinegar. Change filters according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When a humidifier isn’t being operated consistently, it should be dried thoroughly in between uses.

Types of humidifiers

Many modern humidifiers distribute fine mist moisture into the air with either ultrasonic waves or fan-driven evaporation. Both types are highly reliable at increasing humidity levels.

Impeller and steam humidifiers are also available. Impeller models produce a lot of moisture but can be messy. Because steam humidifiers emit warm moisture into the air, they are often preferred by those suffering from colds or respiratory viruses. However, hot steam can cause burns, so this type of humidifier should not be used in homes with children.

Large and compact models are available. Most manufacturers provide information about the area that can be humidified by a particular model in the product description.

Best humidifiers

LEVOIT Classic 300S Smart Humidifier

Pure Enrichment MistAire Humidifier

The MistAire offers a generous capacity of 1.5 liters and up to 25 hours of continuous Whisper-Quiet operation. The night light function makes it a great option for nurseries and bedrooms.

Sold by Amazon

Guardian Technologies Top Fill Ultrasonic Tabletop Humidifier

Guardian Technologies Top Fill Ultrasonic Tabletop Humidifier

This model’s tank protection inhibits mold growth. It has user-friendly controls and is easy to fill thanks to the top-fill opening.

Sold by Wayfair and Amazon

Honeywell HEV685W Top Fill Console Humidifier

Honeywell HEV685W Top Fill Console Humidifier

This large top-fill humidifier is a great choice for large spaces and multiple rooms. It runs quietly for up to 24 hours between refills.  

Sold by Amazon

PureGuardian Ultrasonic Warm and Cool Mist Humidifier

PureGuardian Ultrasonic Warm and Cool Mist Humidifier

With the option of both warm and cool mist, this humidifier stands out among its competitors. The tank resists mildew and mold for fresh, clean moisture.

Sold by Kohl’s, Amazon and Wayfair

Homedics TotalComfort Deluxe Ultrasonic Humidifier

Homedics TotalComfort Deluxe Ultrasonic Humidifier

This model delivers mist in a 360-degree pattern for even moisture distribution. Its feature set includes a top-fill tank, humidity indicator and large capacity.

Sold by Amazon

Crane 1.2 Gallon Cool Mist Humidifier

Crane 1.2-Gallon Cool Mist Humidifier

A sleek design and large, easy-to-fill tank make this model a welcome addition to any home. Components that can be placed in the dishwasher make it simple to clean.

Sold by Home Depot and Amazon

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Jennifer Manfrin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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