Reviews and Tips on Buying Cool Mist Humidifiers

A cool mist humidifier sends a cool, invisible mist into the air to raise the humidity of the immediate area. Evaporative humidifiers, ultrasonic humidifiers and impeller humidifiers are all considered cool mist humidifiers. They work by passing water over a wick, which expels vapor and cools down the room temperature to make it easier to breathe. Cool mist humidifiers come in a wide range of sizes and models, from small, compact machines to large units that attach to the home's existing ductwork. For the purpose of this article, we'll take a look at the smaller, more easily obtainable machines to help you make the best decision.

Pros and Cons of the Cool Mist Humidifier

First of all, let's examine some of the most important advantages of the cool mist humidifier.

  • Considered safer than a warm mist humidifier because there is no heating element; can be used with small children in the home
  • Easy to clean since there is no heating element
  • Cooler mist is often easier to breathe than warm mist
  • Cool mist is more comfortable for people in warm climates
  • Cool mist may reduce dust particles in the air, making it ideal for allergy sufferers

Now, let's look at some of the disadvantages of using a cool air mist humidifier.

  • Louder than a warm mist machine
  • Wicks must be replaced occasionally, resulting in a higher long-term cost
  • Water must be changed regularly and kept fresh to prevent bacteria spreading through the air or algae growing in the tank
  • Air takes longer to humidify if you use hard water (For the best results, always use distilled water in your humidifier.)

Neither the warm mist or cool mist humidifier can be considered better than the other. Which one you choose is largely dependent on personal preference. However, keep in mind that cool mist machines are more suited to cooler climates, treating dry skin or respiratory problems during the summer months. Warm mist machines, on the other hand, work best in cold climates or during the winter months.

Features to Look For in a Cool Mist Humidifier

When purchasing a cool mist humidifier, you'll want to keep an eye out for certain features that insure you're getting the best value. Some of these features include:

  • Humidistat - To keep the humidity from reaching dangerous levels (where the growth of mold and bacteria are encouraged), a humidistat is an essential feature. This device automatically shuts off the humidifier when the humidity reaches a certain percentage.
  • Easy to Clean - Because you must keep the machine clean to prevent bacteria and algae from accumulating in the tank, a humidifier that's easy to clean is a must.
  • Noise Level - Cool mist humidifiers have a tendency to run very loudly. Look for a model that claims to run more quietly, especially if you want to run it in your bedroom at night. A humidifier with various fan speeds can help, because you can set the fan to low for less noise at night.
  • Water Capacity - A larger tank means you'll need to re-fill the humidifier less often. However, machines with smaller tanks can typically fit in smaller spaces than those with larger tanks. Take your available space into consideration.
  • Cost of Replacement Wicks - Cool mist humidifiers often require replacement wicks, and the cost can add up quickly. Before purchasing, check to see how much these wicks cost. A humidifier that costs more upfront but offers cheaper replacement wicks may end up costing less overall.

The Best Cool Mist Humidifier: Reviews

Although there are many brands on the market today, many of which can be found at your local drugstore or department store, the best one according to average customer reviews is the Crane Drop Shape Cool Mist Humidifier. It runs for 10 hours at a time when filled with 1 gallon of water, features whisper-quiet operating, and uses very little power. In addition, the machine has an automatic shut-off for when the tank runs out of water. It produces cool mist instantaneously and has a mist output regulator so you can control how much mist the machine expels at a time. It even works with cold tap water and best of all, it doesn't require changing of filters or wicks.

At the time of this writing, the Crane Cool Mist Humidifier has an average customer rating of 4 out of 5 stars on with over 650 customer reviews, and it only costs around $40. Plus, it comes in several different colors. Some customers have reported difficulty cleaning the tank, while others insist it's easy. However, the low cost and benefits for your skin and breathing far outweigh any minor imperfections found in this model. It comes highly recommended to anyone looking to buy a high-quality cool mist humidifier.

After the Crane model, the next best cool mist humidifier available would have to be the Germ Guardian H1600 Digital Ultrasonic Midsize Humidifier. This model produces a soothing cool mist while actively fighting mold and bacteria growth inside the water tank. It also features nearly silent operation, variable mist control for use in large or small spaces, no added costs in the form of filters or wicks, and it even produces warm mist if addition to the cool mist so you get the best of both worlds. The unit will run for 20 hours when filled with water and turned on the maximum setting. The 1 gallon water tank also has a low-water indicator so you know when to refill.

The Germ Guardian humdifier has an average customer rating of 4 out of 5 stars on at the time of this writing. It does cost a bit more than the Crane humdifier at around $160. If you're concerned about mold or bacterial growth, however, this model may well be worth the extra price. The unit does produce bright, blue light at night, but you can cover this with a blanket or towel without impeding its ability to produce mist. The only drawback is that some customers have reported difficulty cleaning the tank. Overall, if you're looking for a good quality cool mist humidifier that fights germs and works even in large rooms, this one fits the bill nicely.