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This humidifier is easy to use, includes a demineralization filter, works with Alexa, allows you to add essential oils, adds both sleep and auto modes, and packs plenty of other features to help it rise above the rest.
The only downside of the Dreo Smart 5L Humidifier is that it doesn't offer a warm mist option.
Along with being a writer, I've been an actor and singer for decades. Those two other skills require that I take care of my body, which includes my voice. To that end, I've depended on humidifiers for a very long time. And because I suffer from year-round allergies, which cause perpetual dry mouth and throat, raising the humidity in my office (or whatever room I'm in) is essential.
I've been using an inexpensive (but very effective) humidifier I purchased from Amazon years ago. That humidifier predates the whole smart revolution, which means it's a set-it-and-forget-it device. The only thing I have to do with that humidifier is add water now and then.
Recently, I was sent the Dreo Smart 5L humidifier for review. I've become rather skeptical of devices that claim to be "smart." Not every piece of hardware has to be smart. And, if I'm being 100% honest, a humidifier certainly doesn't need the added boost of intelligence.
However, I played along. I set up the Dreo 5L Smart Humidifier, installed the app, and connected the device to my network. For the most part, I've used the Dreo without the app, but that's not to say the app doesn't have a place. Actually, I found there are features in the app that I rather like (such as scheduling, cleaning reminders, and filter life). That doesn't mean you have to use the app.
But, in the name of the review, I willingly dove down that rabbit hole.
What is there to say about a humidifier? Add water, turn on, and mist gently wafts from the machine. However, the Dreo does add a few nice options. Here are the specs.
Dual-intake and 360° dual mist outlets
Intelligent humidity control
42-hour continuous operation
Modular design for easy cleaning
Desalination cartridge that can remove up to seven types of minerals
Voice (with Alexa) and app control
Top fill tank for easier filling
You might think that humidifiers are all pretty much created equal. Trust me when I say they are not. Although they all share the same goal (to raise the humidity in a room), they do not all achieve the same level of success.
For instance, many cheaper humidifiers do not sense ambient humidity. Instead, you turn them on and they just go. Even my old humidifier (which I still use) can sense the level of humidity in a room and can be programmed to stop when it reaches a certain level.
Without this feature, you run the risk of introducing mold, which you do not want. So humidity sensing is a must. The Dreo 5L does a great job of sensing humidity and stopping when it reaches that point. This feature has an added bonus: You won't be filling the water tank as often.
Speaking of which…
My only beef with my old humidifier is that the tank had a screw-on cap at the bottom, which had to be removed for refills. The problem is that the cap can get very tight. And even though I have a fairly strong grip, I always have to place a towel on the cap to get it loose.
The Dreo 5L has an easily removable top, which greatly simplifies the tank-filling process. In fact, running this humidifier is quite simple. Insert the desalination cartridge, fill the tank, insert the tank, place the lid on the tank, turn the unit on, set the desired humidity level (either from the front Auto button or the app — the app being the easiest method), adjust the output vents, and enjoy the mist.
At first, I was making adjustments via the front display panel but eventually realized it was much easier to do so with the app (which can be found on the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. You can also easily switch the Dreo 5L from Manual, Auto, and Sleep modes. Sleep mode is the same as Auto but will turn off the display, sounds, and ambient light.
One very nice touch is the aroma diffuser. On the right side of the device is a pop-out drawer with a small felt pad. A few drops of your favorite essential oil and the mist will carry with it a subtle scent. I've tried it with both orange and cinnamon oils and it works beautifully.
There is only one nit I can pick with the Dreo 5L: It doesn't include a warm mist function. My old humidifier does offer the feature and I used it all the time. To get warm mist from the Dreo, I have to fill the tank with warm water, which cools down fairly quickly. So, if you require/prefer warm mist, you'll have to look elsewhere.
ZDNET's buying advice
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.
Just remember, however, to drink plenty of water (so you've got plenty of moisture within as well).