When it’s chilly outside, we all want to keep our babies warm and toasty indoors—but central heat can be very dehydrating. Keep everyone happier and healthier by using a humidifier to combat stale winter air.
How can a baby humidifier help? Dry air causes moisture to evaporate from the skin and can cause respiratory symptoms to worsen. Babies’ lungs—especially if they’re preemies—are sensitive organs, and the dry air can irritate a baby’s nose and airways. Using a humidifier, especially when babies have colds, can alleviate stuffy noses and coughs and help everyone more a more restful sleep.
What to Look for in a Baby Humidifier
When choosing a humidifier for baby, it’s important to consider several factors: how easy it is to clean, if it works with cool or warm mist, and whether to go with an ultrasonic or traditional evaporative model. Cool mist humidifiers require more cleaning than warm mist versions, but they also don’t pose a burn risk due to hot steam. Ultrasonic humidifiers are extremely quiet, but they’re more expensive than evaporative ones and tend to break more easily. Be realistic about your budget and how much time you’ll have to commit to humidifier maintenance, and choose accordingly.
Best Humidifiers for Baby
To be clear, the best baby humidifiers are typically just top-of-the-line humidifiers fit for adults and kids alike. But some boast additional tot-friendly features, such as fun shapes, light projectors and quiet modes. Here, our favorite baby humidifier picks.
Best Warm Mist Humidifier
Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier is an ideal choice if you have a spot to put it that’s out of your child’s reach. The benefit of using a warm mist humidifier is that the heat kills most of the germs that might be lingering in the water or gadget—but hot steam can cause nasty burns to sensitive baby (and adult) skin. The Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier has a one gallon capacity, which means it can run for approximately 24 hours. A medicine cup can be filled with essential oils to reduce chest congestion, and the flow of steam can be adjusted. The best part? The tank is designed to empty completely in order to reduce the chance of bacteria growth.
Buy it: Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier, $34, Amazon.com
Best Cool Mist Humidifier
If you’re leery of using a warm mist humidifier but still want a steamy room, opt for the Honeywell Cool Mist Humidifier, winner of The Bump Best of Baby awards. The 1 gallon capacity tank allows the humidifier to run on high for nine hours and on low for about 14 hours. The biggest selling point for the Honeywell humidifier is that it uses an ultraviolet light to kill most bacteria before it’s released into the room via the mist. One drawback: this baby humidifier uses a filter as opposed to the more common nebulizer, so you have to change the filters every few months, which can be difficult to remember and somewhat pricey over the long haul.
Buy it: Honeywell Cool Mist Humidifier, $42, Amazon.com
Best Ultrasonic Humidifier
Traditional humidifiers use a fan to dispense mist into the air. Ultrasonic humidifiers, on the other hand, contain a metal plate that vibrates at a high frequency, breaking apart the water particles and turning them into a cool vapor. The Levoit Ultrasonic Humidifier has a 1.5 gallon water tank, a humidity sensor and customizable humidity settings, plus an aromatherapy compartment for a few drops of your favorite essential oils and even an remote control. The Levoit boasts an advanced heating system that kills most bacteria and allows you to choose between cool or warm mist, but the machine does still need to be cleaned at least once per week.
Buy it: Levoit Ultrasonic Humidifier, $85, Amazon.com
Best Portable Humidifier
If you’re planning any travel this holiday season—especially on an airplane—consider packing BONECO’s Travel Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier. This super-compact yet powerful baby humidifier comes with a practical travel bag. The BONECO’s bottle adaptor accommodates water bottles from 0.5 to 17 oz., and the LED display light changes from blue to red when the unit is out of water.
Buy it: BONECO Travel Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier, $50, Amazon.com
Best Easy-to-Clean Humidifier
While it’s incredibly important to clean your humidifiers every week, it also tends to be incredibly time consuming and not all that easy to do correctly. The MIRO-NR07G is a completely washable ultrasonic humidifier. What does “completely washable” mean? This baby humidifier can be totally dismantled, scrubbed down and then easily reassembled. The MIRO is essentially a tankless humidifier, so the mist-maker floats inside a bowl of water, which is connected to the external control knob. Each MIRO comes with a selection of different vapor caps, and the top opening water bowl can be refilled while the unit is in use.
Buy it: MIRO-NR07G Cool Mist Humidifier, $132, Amazon.com
Best Whole House Humidifier
Instead of running multiple humidifiers in every room, opt for a whole house humidifier like the AirCare Whole-House Humidifier. The console-style unit can be used in houses up to 3,600 square feet, and it can run for up to 36 hours thanks to its 3.6 gallon water tank. Set the humidifier to your desired humidity level and the AirCare will shut off when the level is reached. The reasonably priced unit is easy to assemble, lightweight and durable. Note that the filters need to be changed monthly.
Buy it: AirCare Whole House Humidifier, $99, Amazon.com
Best Affordable Humidifier
If you’re looking for the best baby humidifier you can get at a reasonable price, the TaoTronics Ultrasonic Humidifier is a great choice. The double nozzles rotate 360 degrees and allow you to target mist in two different directions simultaneously. The large water tank provides 10 hours of continuous mist and the humidifier automatically shuts off when it’s out of water. The one drawback to the TaoTronic is that it’s not designed to be used with essential oils, but it’s a affordable option for a basic ultrasonic humidifier.
Buy it: TaoTronics Ultrasonic Humidifier, $32, Amazon.com
Best Nursery Humidifier
Vicks Starry Night Cool Moisture Humidifier is an excellent item to add to a baby registry, because it functions as both a humidifier and a night light. The starry night projections can be used both separately or in conjunction with the humidifier, and the colors are changeable and include red, green and purple options. A Vicks scent pad can be used for soothing menthol steam, and the wide tank opening makes it easy to fill and clean.
Buy it: Vicks Starry Night Cool Moisture Humidifier, $38, Amazon.com
Best Quiet Humidifier
It’s important to have a powerful humidifier that puts out a lot of mist—but not if the machine makes a total racket. It’s possible to have a top-notch humidifier that operates silently thanks to the Crane Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier. This humidifier is whisper-quiet but packs a mist-filled punch, as it can effectively humidify a room up to 500 square feet. The humidifier automatically shuts off when the water level is low, and there’s no need to change a filter (though Crane does recommend a demineralization filter if you’re using especially hard water). The attractive design is an additional selling point, but be warned: The shape of the water tank makes it difficult to clean.
Buy it: Crane Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier, $40, Amazon.com
Best Kids Humidifier
Kids love Crane’s Adorable Animal Face Cool Mist Humidifiers. Available in a choice of 15 different designs, ranging from a Hippo to a Train, these nursery humidifiers possess all the features of the regular Crane humidifiers but in a kid-friendly shape. There are a few drawbacks, however: You can’t use essential oils with these, and certain animal shapes can be difficult to clean.
Buy it: Crane Cool Mist Humidifiers for Kids, $43, Amazon.com
Published October 2018
Plus, more from The Bump: