Isn’t it a drag to wake up early in the morning with a stuffy nose and a badly dry throat? So much for getting the day off to a fine start eh? But don’t you fret, the solution to those problems is not too far off! All you need to pick up is a humidifier!
These devices provide a lot of benefits to your overall health especially when left to function overnight while you are sleeping. Unclogging your sinuses, lessening your snoring and preventing allergic reactions are just some of the perks that you can experience with a dehumidifier in your living space.
However, not all humidifiers are made equal; some are just not fit for the bedroom. While some may find the white noise to be soothing and conducive to getting sound sleep, this may annoy light sleepers. That being said, this brings us to the question, what are the best quiet humidifiers? Well, we have taken the time to take a look at what quiet humidifiers are in the market today and recommend the best ones.
But before we get to that, let us first give you some pertinent information regarding humidifiers and what it is that they actually do.
Table of Contents
- What is a Humidifier and What Does It Do?
- What are the Benefits of Having a Humidifier?
- What are the Disadvantages of a Humidifier?
- How to Choose the Best Quiet Humidifier
- Five Things to Consider When Buying a Humidifier
- What are the Top Quiet Humidifiers for the Bedroom?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- The Bottom Line
What is a Humidifier and What Does It Do?
Do allergies suddenly hit you just when you are about to enjoy the sun and fun of summer? Or do you suffer from dry lips and itchy eyes in the dead of winter? I can only surmise how frustrating these situations may be. Fortunately, getting a humidifier can help you with these health concerns.
So what does a humidifier do? Simply put, it adds moisture to the air, which can relieve sinus problems and may help you sleep easy at night. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI) actually suggests having a home air humidity of between 40 to 50 percent, a telling statistic that is backed up by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The AAAI suggests using a humidifier especially if you suffer from allergic rhinitis, which is the generic term given to a condition caused by harmless substances in our air. The AAAI also projects that 8 percent of American adults suffer from hay fever — that’s just more than 26 million people who could benefit from using a humidifier.
So, do you need a humidifier? Are you always sneezing, rubbing your eyes and having difficulty breathing during specific times of the year? Changing seasons often bring with them fluctuations in humidity, especially during the frigid months. There are also other factors that could influence the air in your homes. If you live in an area with heavy industrial complexes nearby, it could substantially increase the possibility of an allergic reaction. Meanwhile, if you think that living in the countryside do not have any downsides to it, think again! Living there could be just as harmful, because of pollen. Nevertheless, when we wake up with chapped lips, dry skin, irritated eyes, blocked nasal passages, or irritated sinus passages, we know we need to find solutions or live in perpetual misery.
How is Humidity Measured?
Scientists make use of the ratio of the mass of water vapor to the volume of air to evaluate absolute humidity. And it’s worth bearing in mind that there is actually more than one type of humidity. These are:
The measure of water vapor (moisture) in the air, regardless of temperature, and is expressed as grams of moisture per cubic meter of air (g/m3). An example would be: The maximum absolute humidity of warm air at 30°C/86°F is approximately 30g of water vapor, or 30g/m3.
The measure of water vapor in the air, but relative to the temperature, and is expressed as a percentage. If the relative humidities were equal in warm and cold air, then the absolute humidity would be higher in the colder air, because warm air naturally holds more humidity.
What Affects the Humidity Levels?
The changing seasons often brings with it changes in the humidity levels of homes. For example, during wintertime, doors and windows remain shut to keep out the chill, and the heating is on full blast. This means dry indoor air, which in turn can mean the onset of all the symptoms that were previously mentioned.
Asthma, for instance, can arise when there is either no moisture in the air or too much. At the same time, however, you don’t want to add too much moisture to the air. Dust mites absolutely thrive in moist conditions, so overly humidified air might raise your chances of having an allergic reaction. It follows that getting the humidity just right is important to reap the health benefits. Get it wrong, and the humidifier could end up doing you more harm than good.
What are the Benefits of Having a Humidifier?
There are a lot of potential benefits to bringing a humidifier into your room, residence or living area. In this section, let’s put the emphasis on the more important ones:
- Allergy Relief — Regulating the moisture in the air can bring relief to hay fever and rhinitis that is caused by airborne allergens which can be unbearable for some people.
- Dry Eyes and Skin — Adding moisture can greatly help with itchy eyes, chapped lips, and healthier skin that is brought on by dry winter air.
- Home Warmth — Warm mist humidifier can increase the room temperature ever so slightly, taking the cold out of a cool winter night.
- Great for Plants — With moisture in the air, plants will definitely thrive and become healthier.
- Wooden Furniture Preservation — Wood dries up in the wrong atmospheric conditions, but humidity can extend the durability and longevity of wooden furniture.
- Static Prevention — Static amasses when the air is drier. Adding moisture could prevent possible situations like sparks happening.
- Colds and Flu Relief — Bolstered humidity can help you decongest blocked nasal passages and, if you add medicinal inhalants such as menthol extract, it will leave you being able to breathe more comfortably, especially at night.
What are the Disadvantages of a Humidifier?
After discussing the benefits that can be had with having a humidifier at home, it’s just as crucial that we also take a look at the potential downsides to that. Let’s review some of the problems that can arise with having this device at home:
- Bacteria Growth — If not maintained and cleaned appropriately, humidifiers can actually transform into heralds of bacteria and mold. These mold spore can cause breathing problems, so it is important that your humidifier is kept clean in line with the manufacturer’s directions so that the benefits will be felt for many, many years to come.
- High Humidity Levels — As previously mentioned, the suggested levels of humidity in your homes should be roughly 40 to 50 percent. Increase that level, however, and the humidifier can work against you as it makes the air more difficult to breathe and can cause some of the side effects that may have been the reason why you bought the unit in the first place.
- White Dust — Tap water is filled with minerals, the presence of which demonstrates itself as white dust in your residence. This dust can cause breathing and lung problems. If possible, fill humidifiers with distilled water, to lessen the risk of harmful minerals and bacteria that are entering the air. It also helps keep the life of your filter longer and means the humidifier doesn’t need such a deep clean.
How to Choose the Best Quiet Humidifier
I firmly believe that humidifiers must fulfill three criteria in order for it to be considered for purchase.
First and perhaps most importantly, a bedroom humidifier needs to be quiet. If you have ever tried getting some zzzs in the same room that has a noisy appliance, then you can appreciate why this is at the very top of our list of criteria. At the same time, you must also accept that no humidifier is absolutely noise-proof as the movement of air alone will cause noise. Ultimately, this criterion is more of a preference and depends on your noise tolerance, but you can trust that we tested more than humidifiers to make some really sound recommendations.
Second, a bedroom humidifier must be able to make your bedroom more comfortable. This means that it should be able to reach relative humidity levels of at least 35 to 40 percent. Comfort may mean various things to different people, but we know that a well-humidified room will prevent and help with your cold, flu or a respiratory issue.
Lastly, I would like to see easy-to-use, intuitive control panels and a well-written owner’s manual. There is nothing more frustrating than owning something that you will use every day that is anything less than a delight to interface with.
Five Things to Consider When Buying a Humidifier
Whether you have newborns or adults inside your residence, humidifiers are a great way to keep a healthy humidity level in your home. By augmenting the humidity in your area, you can protect your family’s health, safeguard your home’s structure from the impact of dry air, and boost your overall indoor comfort. Apart from these things, there are more things to consider when getting a humidifier:
1. Why do you need a humidifier?
Humidifiers raise the humidity level in dry indoor areas by diffusing a delicate, invisible mist into space. This extra boost of moisture is much-needed especially during the winter season when heaters used for warmth can strip homes of much-needed humidity. As a matter of fact, dry air can lead to:
- Bloody noses
- Cracked lips
- Itchy skin
- Irritated throats
- Allergy symptoms
- Asthma flare-ups
Dry air can also result in a wide variety of health concerns such as colds, sinus infections, congestion problems, aggravated respiratory passages, and a whole lot more. Aside from protecting your health, humidifiers also work well to protect your home’s structural integrity and wood furnishings.
Parched indoor air can cause wallpaper to peel off as well as wood flooring and wood furnishings to crack, warp, or basically just suffer damage. The results can be totally unattractive and more importantly, can be expensive to repair. In addition, dry air is most times the culprit behind painful, unexpected shocks from static electricity. Just adding a humidifier to your indoor environment will help regulate and even eradicate these specific issues.
2. How big or small is the space that you need to humidify?
You also need to decide whether you need focused humidification for a single room or for the entire house. This is one of the most crucial steps in choosing a humidifier. To add moisture to a small to a medium-sized area like a bedroom or home office, a tabletop humidifier — which is also known as a room humidifier — is the best choice for you.
These lightweight humidifiers, like the PureGuardian 120-Hour Ultrasonic Digital Humidifier, can be moved very easily to other areas as necessary. In addition, many models can function up to 24 hours before it needs to be refilled with water. You can also pick single room humidifiers which are also available with germ protection, multiple speeds, built-in hygrometers, combination warm or cool mist outputs, easy-to-use controls, and low water indicators.
If you need to add moisture to many rooms or your entire house, console humidifiers and whole house humidifiers are well-equipped for the task. The Essick Air 4-Speed Console, for example, is best suited for a job like this. Considerably larger than a single room humidifier, a console humidifier can provide moisture to spaces as large as 3,000 square feet. These humidifiers, such as the Essick Air H12-400 3-Speed Evaporative Console Humidifier, are often placed in a central location and can be had in a variety of designs and finishes that lets it blend with the existing aesthetics or theme of the room.
For homes or offices that have a substantial need for moisture, a bypass, flow-through, or the Honeywell HE280 drum humidifier is a great choice. These humidifiers function with a central air system and install onto your HVAC unit and directly connect to the water line to continually disperse moisture to your environment. These humidifiers never need to be refilled because water is taken straight from the building’s water supply.
3. What kind of humidifier do you prefer?
Humidifiers add moisture to the air in several different ways and are available in various types with different benefits and drawbacks. Cool mist humidifiers provide a room-temperature mist and often times cover larger areas and use much less electricity than other types. On the other hand, warm mist humidifiers make use of a heating element to warm the water and release it into your room as warm, comfortable moisture. Warm mist models may utilize slightly more electricity than other kinds of humidifiers because they heat water to boiling.
However, they may generate healthier moisture because the boiling process eradicates germs and impurities before they can be released into your room. Ultrasonic humidifiers are available in both cool and warm mist variations and are considered to be the quietest humidifiers on the market today.
When selecting from humidifier types, you’ll also want to take into consideration the style of your humidifier. Tabletop humidifiers are small and geared to be placed on a dresser, counter, desk, or another table. Console humidifiers are large-capacity humidifiers that are made to be set up on the floor. Whole house in-duct humidifiers are installed next to your furnace out of the way and connect to your home’s water source to humidify as you heat.
4. Are you concerned about the noise?
Like most mechanical devices, you can expect your humidifier to make some sort of noise. However, some humidifiers make more noise than others. For spaces like bedrooms and home offices that need more peace and quiet, an ultrasonic humidifier is an ideal device. Ultrasonic humidifiers make use of high-frequency sound waves to vibrate a metal diaphragm at ultrasonic frequencies, which generates a fine, soothing mist. Since the sound waves are higher than we can hear, these humidifiers are substantially quieter than other humidifier models.
5. How much maintenance is required?
Humidifiers are commonly low-maintenance gadgets. Regular maintenance activities often include scrubbing the water tank to make sure that mold, mildew, and bacteria aren’t growing inside and re-circulating throughout your environment. Aside from that, misting outlets should be checked to make sure that moisture flows easily. While these activities are usual to the vast majority of humidifiers, a lot of cool mist humidifiers make use of an internal wick filter to help create the soothing mist that blankets your environment. These wick filters need to be replaced every so often. Check your humidifier owner’s manual to learn more about a humidifier’s maintenance requirements.
Now that we’ve covered a lot of ground about humidifiers, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and find out what the best quiet humidifiers are.
What are the Top Quiet Humidifiers for the Bedroom?
1) Boneco Air-O-Swiss S450 Steam Humidifier
Boneco has gained a healthy reputation for making humidifiers that are filled with smart features, and the S450 is no exception. As a matter of fact, all these features and extra accessories come with a pretty high price tag, which some may think might be too extravagant for just a humidifier.
It’s crucial to note that the S450 is a warm mist humidifier and, as you may have heard, there has been some debate as to the safety of warm mist humidifiers. The S450 is very safe to use for extended periods because its parts don’t get too hot and the warm mist it generates is pleasant to the touch. It also has the highest daily humidity output of 3.5-gallons per day, which basically ensures that it humidifies fairly large areas with ease.
Despite being a well-regarded brand in the humidifier market, the S450 makes minimal noise: only 35 dB at the highest setting. In addition, it has a useful 9-hour timer and a fragrance container where you can place your oils, further setting its place as a top-notch humidifier for bedroom use.
- 9-hour timer
- Fragrance container for essential oils
- 2-gallon water tank
- Compact design
- Challenging to clean
- High costs, both upfront and ongoing
- High maintenance
2) Honeywell HCM350W Humidifier
This Honeywell model features a 1-gallon water tank that will operate for 24-hours without pause, so you won’t need to top it up quite often, and because the water tank is very convenient and easy to fill, and to clean, it’ll be a no-fuss device to maintain.
The Honeywell is as quiet as a whisper on the lowest fan setting, making it suitable for the nursery or your bedroom.
It will keep the humidity levels in the cozy zone of 40 to 60 percent, helping you improve your sleep pattern, your skin, your breathing, and static electricity in the atmosphere.
This humidifier eradicates 99 percent of harmful bacteria from the air with the use of UV technology, so it helps to battle cold and flu viruses, which is an excellent feature to have especially during the winter months.
There are, however, downsides to possessing this machine: The replacement filters can be quite exorbitant, and depending on how frequently you use this humidifier, you could end up replacing the filters once every month to avoid any build-up of debris.
And while the tank may be easy to clean, the fan sadly is not. The blades gather dust very easily, and if they aren’t wiped down on a consistent basis, you will run the risk of negating all that bacteria control and moistened air, by throwing dust particles back into the air.
- Quiet on the lower settings
- Easy to clean water tank
- Eradicates 99 percent of bacteria from the air
- 1-gallon holding tank
- Replacement filters are a pain
- The wick needs to be replaced
- Build quality is questionable
3) Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier
Vicks is a trusted name that is associated with easy breathing, so it really does not come as a surprise that this humidifier has a medicine cup that lets you put in medicinal inhalants, to help ease breathing and any ailments that would benefit from decongestion.
This unit sells in the thousands on Amazon, so its popularity is well documented. It’s small and easily portable and would be great in the bedroom or nursery.
It eliminates 95 percent of dangerous bacteria from the atmosphere, so it’s not as effective as the Honeywell, but it features an auto shut-off facility when the water runs dry. And you won’t need to shell out for replacement filters either, which should save you a fair amount over the lifespan of the humidifier.
The reservoir can hold 1-gallon of water, which means it will keep on running for up to 12-hours between fill-ups.
It has two output settings to regulate the humidity and to keep moisture at optimum levels at all times.
- Quiet on the lower settings
- Auto shut-off
- Eliminates 95 percent of bacteria from the air
- No need for filters
- 1-gallon holding tank
- Challenging to clean
- Not as effective as others in its class at removing bacteria
- Some build quality issues
4) Pure Enrichment MistAire Humidifier
This Pure Enrichment model features a 1.5-liter water tank, so it is as sizeable as others in its class, but the price is quite reasonable especially when you compare it to the Boneco. The 360-degree mist nozzle means that moisture can be better focused onto the areas that need it, and it provides an output of 150 milliliters per hour. On the lowest setting, this thing will operate for 16 hours uninterrupted.
It has an optional night-light, auto shut-off capability when the water runs low, and the transparent body makes it very easy to tell when the reservoir is nearly empty.
This unit is ideal for the bedroom because it’s an ultrasonic humidifier and functions at less than 30 dB. The industry actually refers to this kind of discreetness as “Whisper quiet.”
This Pure Enrichment is yet another Amazon bestseller so if you decide to buy one, you’ll be joining a large number of people who have enjoyed this product
- 16-hour runtime
- 1.5-liter water tank
- Smart design
- 360-degree mist nozzle
- Arduous to clean water reservoir
- Build quality issues
- Does not work as well in hard water areas
5) Crane USA Ultrasonic Humidifier
This Crane humidifier eliminates 99.96 percent of bacteria from the atmosphere, and because it features a 360-degree mist nozzle, you can focus the moisture at all the right places.
It may be diminutive, but it will humidify an area up to 500 square feet, and because it’s ultrasonic, it will operate at less than 30 dB or what experts describe as “whisper quiet.”
It has an automatic shut-off feature when the water runs dry, but the 1-gallon tank will run continuously for up to 24 hours. But remember; it will only run for 24 hours if the reservoir is filled up entirely and set at the lowest level. The tank will only last around 8 hours on any other setting.
This humidifier operates without a filter so it will save you money in the long run, but Crane suggests that in hard water areas, you should buy a demineralization filter to make sure that the unit functions to capacity without any fuss. This could add more costs to your humidifier. Crane also suggests utilizing distilled water if you can’t get hold of a filter, thereby adding more costs.
- 24-hour run time on the lowest setting
- 1-gallon water tank
- Stylish design
- 360-degree mist nozzle
- Difficult to clean the water reservoir
- Build quality issues
- Not great in hard water areas
Frequently Asked Questions
1) Do you need to use distilled water?
Not often. Some companies do recommend using it, but in general, tap water will often do just fine. Some people use filtered water, and that seems to be a fine alternative.
2) Will these humidifiers create wet spots on the floor?
Because they generate vapor into the room, there is a high chance that you will have a residue on the floor. Try putting the humidifier on top of a towel.
3) How do you lessen the amount of white dust?
You could utilize distilled water or filtered water. Then, you can buy a demineralization filter that sits in the water tank and filters out most of the impurities.
4) Can you add oils or fragrances?
It really depends on the humidifier. The Vicks humidifier is ideal for adding nasal and medicinal oils. Carefully check with the manual before adding any oils or fragrances.
The Bottom Line
If you are someone who wakes each morning feeling even worse than when you went to bed, suffering from red eyes, a sore throat, or dry skin, then a humidifier should definitely be a priority of yours!