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The best humidifiers you can buy: Expert tested

ZDNET rounded up the best humidifiers -- including tested picks -- to combat discomfort and dryness.
Written by Kayla Solino, Associate Editor
Levoit Classic 300S Humidifier | Best humidifier overall
levoit-300s-humidifier
Levoit Classic 300S Humidifier
Best humidifier overall
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Levoit Dual 200S Smart Humidifier | Best budget smart humidifier
levoit-200s-5
Levoit Dual 200S Smart Humidifier
Best budget smart humidifier
View now View at Amazon
Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic Humidifier | Best budget humidifier
pureaire-humidifier
Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic Humidifier
Best budget humidifier
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Honeywell Cool Moisture Humidifier | Best evaporative humidifier
honeywell-humidifier
Honeywell Cool Moisture Humidifier
Best evaporative humidifier
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Dreo 5L Smart Humidifier | Best large capacity humidifier
The Dreo 5L Smart Humidifier in my office.
Dreo 5L Smart Humidifier
Best large capacity humidifier
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Levoit Smart Warm and Cool Mist Air Humidifier | Best large capcity warm and cool mist humidifier
levoit-warmandcool-humidifier
Levoit Smart Warm and Cool Mist Air Humidifier
Best large capcity warm and cool mist humidifier
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There's only one way to spin this: Air that lacks sufficient moisture can cause discomfort and easily irritate your hair, skin, throat, nose, and more. And you're not safe no matter if you live in a cold climate experiencing a winter season or in a dry, arid environment. 

Also: How to build a winter emergency kit (and why you should)

Humidifiers are easy choices to introduce extra water vapor into your space and ensure a comfortable environment all year round. You can purchase humidifiers in many shapes, sizes, and designs, so sorting out what's functional and worth your money can be an ominous task. While embarking on your humidifier search, it's best to keep in mind the space you are looking to furnish with a humidifier and the size of said room. 

More: How to clean a humidifier (and why you should do it now)

To make your search less overwhelming, ZDNET rounded up the best humidifiers that you can buy based on expert research and hands-on testing, including picks that offer just the basics to models equipped with smart-home capabilities. Our top pick for the best humidifier overall is the Levoit Classic 300S humidifier for its smart design, practical water tank capacity, smart features, and overall ease of use. 

The best humidifiers of 2024

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • App and Voice Control
  • Easy refilling
  • Advanced sensors for monitoring
Cons
  • Boxy design
  • Heavy when full
More Details

Levoit 300S features: Water Tank Capacity: 6L | Square Footage/Room Size: 505 sq ft | Smart Capabilities: Yes | Aroma Diffuser: Yes | Operation Mode: Ultrasonic

The Levoit 300S humidifier offers an easy way to introduce some extra humidity into your space without breaking the bank. With a top-fill design, it is easy to clean and operate and easy to move around to where you need it most (given it is empty, of course). The 300S can hold 6L of water, covers a floor area of over 500 square feet, and has a run time of 60 hours. 

It features advanced sensors to adjust and maintain humidity levels and ensures a quiet operation so the device does not disturb your peace. Equipped with super-smart app control, the 300S makes it easy to adjust your humidifier from anywhere at any time, and you can additionally customize schedules and more. With an added spot for aroma therapy, perfect your humidifier experience and never worry about overrunning your device -- it offers Auto Mode, Sleep Mode, and Plant Mode for easy use that allows you to start using your humidifier from the get-go. 

As a repeat owner of Levoit humidifiers, I can confidently recommend them as smart purchases. They do what they claim, offer easy set-up, and the added smart features make them easy to refer as a solid option for most people. Although I don't own this particular model, my 200s model offers essentially the same features, just with less water capacity, and it hasn't let me down. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Available in different colors
  • Sleek design
  • App and voice control -Added features
Cons
  • Smaller tank capacity
  • Limited mist settings
  • No warm mist option
More Details

Levoit 200S featuresWater Tank Capacity: 3L | Square Footage/Room Size: 290 sq ft | Smart Capabilities: Yes | Aroma Diffuser: Yes | Operation Mode: Ultrasonic

The Levoit 200S humidifier offers similar features to our top pick, at a lower cost and in a smaller design. With an easy-to-fill top design, you don't need to worry about spills or leaks when adding or changing your water reserve. The 200S holds up to 3L of water and provides extra vapor for rooms up to 290 square feet with a run time of 25 hours. 

Its ultrasonic operation mode and rotating nozzle allow for a fine mist to easily be directed 360 degrees, and you can amp up your controls with the ability to create schedules and add aroma therapy. Like Levoit's 300S model, the 200S allows you to determine your optimal humidity level and set your device accordingly. Additionally, it provides an auto mode with a built-in humidifstat to effortlessly maintain your desired humidity level. The 200S also provides an upgraded NoiseDefender design to ensure near-silent operation. 

I own this model myself and use it in my bedroom, and it is the perfect size for placing on top of a table, but isn't too small for the floor either.  The smart controls make it easy to turn the humidifier on and off no matter where I am, and the built in scheduling system has helped me curate a perfect misting routine for bedtime that I never have to think about. 
I have no real complaints other than the water reservoir does require refilling (as one should expect), usually every four-five days following several hours of use each day, but refilling is not a hassle, and a larger humidifier wasn't something I had room for in my space nor did I want. The 200S provides exactly what I needed and wanted for my room at a fair price, without any bulkiness, unsightly views, or decrease of features. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Unique design
  • Easily portable
  • Easy refilling
Cons
  • No smart features
  • No mist options
More Details

Pure Enrichment MistAire featuresWater Tank Capacity: 1.7L | Square Footage/Room Size: 250 sq ft | Smart Capabilities: No | Aroma Diffuser: No | Operation Mode: Ultrasonic

Pure Enrichment's MistAire humidifier helps moisturize dry air for up to 25 hours in mid to large rooms up to 250 square feet. With ultrasonic cool mist technology, a 360-degree nozzle, and high and low-speed settings, you can easily curate your desired experience and regulate humidity in your space. 

The MistAire holds 1.7 liters of water and is equipped with a built-in night light and whisper-quiet operation to ensure added water vapor without any distraction. The tank can be filled from your kitchen or bathroom sink, and the smaller footprint doesn't take up too much space in your room. And don't worry about turning your device off, either. Automatic shut-off turns the MistAire off when the water level is too low or when the tank is removed.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Simple design
Cons
  • Bulkier than others
More Details

Honeywell Cool Moisture featuresWater Tank Capacity: 3.78L | Square Footage/Room Size: Medium Room | Smart Capabilities: No | Aroma Diffuser: No | Operation Mode: Evaporative

The Honeywell cool moisture humidifier is the only evaporative style device on our list. It utilizes UV technology and a special wicking filter to help treat the water and capture minerals to keep them out of your air for a cleaner yet hydrating mist. Featuring a 3.78L easy-fill and self-standing tank, this humidifier provides up to 24 hours of run time. Plus, it's super easy to clean – any piece hat touches water can be cleaned in the dishwasher.

The larger design makes it ideal for bedrooms, and with a soft, fan-like sound, you can enjoy a restful and consistent noise to your sleeping space. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Smart capabilities
  • Large water storage
  • Easy to use
Cons
  • No warm mist option
More Details

Dreo 5L features: Water Tank Capacity: 5L | Square Footage/Room Size: 250 sq ft | Smart Capabilities: Yes | Aroma Diffuser: Yes | Operation Mode: Ultrasonic

The Dreo 5L Smart humidifier is a powerhouse option. With dual-intake, 360-degree dual mist outlets, and intelligent humidity control, customize your mist experience without compromise. The large, 5L tank ensures less time between refills, and with 42 hours of continuous operation, the Dreo really is something you can "set and forget." 

It features smart capabilities, including app and voice control for easy access and schedule making. And don't worry about resetting it, either. The modular design and top fill structure allow for easy refills, and a desalination cartridge helps remove up to 7 types of minerals from your vapor. 

To top it off, the Dreo comes with a built-in night light, digital display, and aroma diffuser for an even more spa-like experience at home. 

ZDNET contributor, Jack Wallen, called the Dreo one of the very best humidifiers in his review last month. "The Dreo 5L is, by far, the best single-room humidifier I've ever used. It's an elegant solution that should serve you well when the ambient moisture has your lips cracked, your throat dry, and your skin itching." 

Also: The Dreo smart humidifier is nearly a perfect option

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Warm and cool mist options
  • Smart capabilities
Cons
  • Larger design
More Details

Levoit Smart Warm and Cool Mist featuresWater Tank Capacity: 4.5L | Square Footage/Room Size: 430 sq ft | Smart Capabilities: Yes | Aroma Diffuser: Yes | Operation Mode: Ultrasonic

Like the Dreo, the Levoit Warm and Cool Mist Air Humidifier packs a large punch. With both warm and cool misting options, as the name implies, you can enjoy your ideal humidifying option. And with a double duct design, get quicker and more even humidification to relieve dryness.

Easily tailor your preferred humidity using the Vesync app or by activating Auto Mode on the display to maintain humidity levels between 40-60%. The Vesync mobile app additionally allows you to manage humidifiers for your home remotely at any time and anywhere and even create schedules that sync with your daily routine. 

With a top-fill design and large tank capacity, you don't need to worry about regular maintenance as frequently, and a wide fill opening ensures easy access for simple cleaning. The Levoit additionally offers a built-in aroma diffuser, dual mist nozzle, and an upgraded triple noise reduction technology that helps it operate at minimum levels. 

What is the best humidifier?

ZDNET's top humidifier pick is the Levoit Classic 300S humidifier for its smart capabilities, practical design, water capacity, and ease of use. See how our other picks stack up with each other and compare key categories like price and added features. 

Best humidifierPriceWater Tank CapacitySquare Footage/Room TypeSmart CapabilitiesAroma DiffuserOperation Mode
Levoit Classic 300S Humidifier$806L505 Square FeetYesYesUltrasonic
Levoit Dual 200S Smart Humidifier$503L290 Square FeetYesYesUltrasonic
Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic Humidifier $401.7L250 Square FeetNoNoUltrasonic
Honeywell Cool Moisture Humidifier $803.78LMedium RoomNoNoEvaporative
Dreo 5L Smart Humidifier $755L250 Square FeetYesYesUltrasonic
Levoit Smart Warm and Cool Mist Humidifier $904.5L430 Square FeetYesYesUltrasonic

*1 Gallon = 3.78 Liters

*Lowest non-discounted price at the time of writing. Please note that prices may vary based on retailer and available promotions, sales, or discounts.

Which humidifier is right for you?

With tons of humidifier options on the market, it isn't easy to sort the best ones. The perfect fit for you is a humidifier that fits your physical space and your wants and needs for a product. 

Choose this humidifier...If you want ...
Levoit Classic 300S HumidifierThe best overall humidifier with smart capabilities, ample water storage, and extra features like aroma diffusement.
Levoit Dual 200S Smart HumidifierA slightly smaller yet budget-friendly smart humidifier model that only lacks in water capacity compared to our top pick.
Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic Humidifier A budget-friendly humidifier without all the bells and whistles.
Honeywell Cool Moisture Humidifier An evaporative humidifier that's foolproof.
Dreo 5L Smart Humidifier A "nearly perfect" large-capacity smart humidifier model.
Levoit Smart Warm and Cool Mist Humidifier A powerhouse, large capacity, featured-packed humidifier that checks all the boxes.

How did we choose these humidifiers?

We chose these humidifiers through a mix of research and personal experience. We also took the following into consideration when making our top picks.

  • Water Tank Capacity: The capacity of a humidifier's water tank ultimately decides how long the device can run without refills, what space its fit for, and how portable a humidifier is. The best humidifiers offer water tanks large enough for everyday ease without hassle, but not so enormous that its use becomes impractical or unsanitary. 
  • Smart Capabilities: Like most tech today, humidifiers have entered the modern era. Certain humidifiers offer "smart" features like app control, which allows you to change mist settings, turn your device on and off, and sometimes even create schedules. The best humidifiers offer top of the line settings for a customized, yet functional experience. 
  • Price: Humidifiers can range from around $30 upwards to a few hundred dollars depending on brand, size, design, and water capacity. We aimed to keep our top picks all under $100, with most priced even under $75, to ensure a quality pick at a practical price. It's good to keep in mind that humidifiers sometimes see discounts across retailers, too, so keep your eyes peeled when searching. 

What is the ideal humidity level in a home?

The ideal humidity in a home is to some level dependent upon personal preference, though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends keeping the humidity levels in your home "as low as you can" and "no higher than 50% all day long." 

Most professionals online suggest keeping your home's humidity somewhere between 30-50%, though some outlets say up to 60% is fine. Just keep in mind that an increase in water vapor in your home increases the chances of mold and mildew growth, and that humidity rates fluctuate throughout the day and throughout the seasons. The CDC additionally suggests maintaining proper ventilation within your home, especially in areas such as kitchens or bathrooms. 

What capacity humidifier do I need?

The ideal tank capacity for the humidifier that best fits your needs is going to depend on the size of the room you are looking to house your humidifier in and how often you plan on running your device. If you're only wanting to up your room humidity when you sleep, you won't need as large of a water tank as you would if you're planning to run your humidifier all day. 

It's key to keep in mind your portability needs, too. Do you need to move this humidifier around a lot? Will it remain in one room and one spot? If you want a humidifier with better portability, a smaller tank size may be best so you aren't lugging a larger device with a copious amount of water back and forth. 

Generally, you can choose your humidifier based on three different room sizes: small, medium, and large. Here's a ballpark room size to tank capacity to use as a basic guideline. 

  • Small room: A small room may have a square footage of fewer than 400 feet. A humidifier with about or under 1.5 gallons would work well. 
  • Medium room: A medium room may have square footage between 400 and 1,000 feet. A humidifier with 1-3 gallons is ideal. 
  • Large room: A large room may have a square footage of more than 1,000 feet. A humidifier with more than three gallons is likely needed. 

As you're looking for your humidifier, you'll see that most brands give an idea of the room size the device is appropriate for, or the number of gallons the tank holds. 

Can I get a whole house humidifier?

Portable tabletop or room humidifiers are not your only option to add moisture into your home. If you live in a climate that is dry all year round, or are particularly sensitive to low humidity and prone to dryness, you may want to consider a whole home humidifier. 

Whole home humidifiers can be installed either inside your home's HVAC system, or mounted on the outside. They are traditionally connected to a house's electricity and plumbing though specific installation methods can vary in complexity and differ by humidifier types, brands and models. While a whole home option may be the best option, keep in mind that some drawbacks include installation requirements, maintenance and upkeep expenses on a much larger scale, and the potential for mold and mildew growth. 

What can I use a humidifier for?

Humidifiers are often used to soothe and relieve common effects of dry indoor air: soar throats, nosebleeds, chapped lips, dry and itchy skin, and more. Primarily during colder weather, an increase in heat use and the changes in the weather can generate less moisture in home environments, leading to uncomfortable conditions. 

Humidity acts as a moisturizing agent that soothes seasonal affiliated dryness in children and adults, but it can also be used to provide extra water vapor to plants, babies, and more for similar reasons year-round. Humidifiers require regular upkeep and maintenance to remain healthy and clean for users. 

Do I need to use distilled water in my humidifier?

Ideally, yes. Like many other home appliances that incorporate water (hello, coffee makers), distilled water is typically recommended to be utilized in your humidifier's system. 

This doesn't mean that you can't use bottled water or tap water (especially if your tap water is drinkable), but keep in mind that it may contain more unsanitary particles or minerals and build-up that will percolate through your humidifier, potentially resulting in more frequent cleaning and even less product longevity over time. Some humidifiers are equipped with a water filter to help prevent this, but generally, you're probably just better off to utilize distilled water if you can. 

All in all, distilled, demineralized, and purified water will typically be less likely to result in harmful bacteria growth (i.e. mold) inside of your humidifier, but fill at your own risk. 

Can I use essential oils in my humidifier?

Essential oils should only be added to your humidifier if your device's manual specifically states that it is designed to do so. Many humidifier options on the market do offer a designated spot to incorporate essential oils, so be sure to select a model that does if that's one of your desires. 

Otherwise, do not put essential oils in the water reservoir or any other place within your humidifier. It will cause damage to your device's system. 

How often should I clean my humidifier?

Most humidifiers will come with instructions on how often and how-to clean your device. It is usually best to follow the manufacturer instructions, but ultimately how often you clean your humidifier comes down to preference. 

More: How to clean a humidifier

For example, my Levoit 200S recommends a full clean once a week, but I use distilled water and make sure to wipe out the tank and top nozzle with each fill, so I admittedly only clean it about once every two weeks. 

What is the difference between evaporative and ultrasonic humidifiers?

Evaporative humidifiers build upon the simple concept of naturally letting moisture evaporate into the environment to relieve dryness. These types of humidifiers speed up this process by using a fan that blows air through a moistened wick filter. In turn, as the water evaporates, it is expelled from the humidifier as water vapor. 

On the other hand, ultrasonic humidifiers use two ceramic plates that vibrate at a high frequency to create humidity. The plate vibrations produce a fine mist that spreads into the air, where it evaporates, thus producing humidity. Ultrasonic humidifiers require purified or distilled water and can be more upkeep. 

Both types of humidifiers can generate water vapor in your space, but you may find that one option is better for you than the other, depending on your wants and needs. 

Are there alternative humidifiers worth considering?

While ZDNET rounded up the best humidifiers according to research and personal experience from our experts, there are tons of other options available across retailers that may fit your needs. Here's a few other humidifier options to consider for adding the perfect amount of water vapor to your space. 

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