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The Best Humidifiers to Keep Baby Happy and Healthy

It’s hard to see your little one struggle with a cough or stuffy nose—which is why you need the best baby humidifier for the job. Here, our top picks to help keep baby happy and healthy.
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Associate E-Commerce Editor
Updated
December 8, 2022
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Image: Nataliya Sdobnikova | Shutterstock
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When it’s chilly outside, we all want to keep our little ones warm and toasty indoors—but central heat can be very dehydrating. Fortunately, you can keep your little one feeling happier and healthier with the help of a baby humidifier.

Dry air causes moisture to evaporate from the skin, and can irritate baby’s sensitive nasal passages. Using a nursery humidifier—especially when baby has a cold—can help alleviate stuffy noses and coughs, and ensure that everyone has a more restful night of sleep. Read on to learn more of the benefits of having a humidifier for baby, and browse our favorite products on the market right now.

Do You Need a Baby Humidifier?

First things first: Is a baby humidifier essential for your little love’s nursery? While it’s not an absolute necessity, it definitely comes in handy in certain situations. During dry, cold winter months, an infant humidifier will help to moisturize baby’s nasal passages, helping them to breathe easier, explains Denise Scott, MD, a pediatric endocrinologist based in Oklahoma. Additionally, the added moisture can help prevent mucus from getting too dry and hard to remove, says Natasha Burgert, MD, a pediatrician and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). So, while a humidifier for baby isn’t a must-have, you’ll appreciate how the device helps your child breathe (and sleep!) easier, when they’re feeling under the weather.

Benefits of Using a Baby Humidifier

Using a baby humidifier in your infant’s nursery poses numerous health benefits. Here, a few advantages, as explained by the experts:

  • Moisture. Adding moisture to baby’s environment will keep their nasal passages from getting too dry, which makes breathing easier, says Scott. “Babies are dependent on breathing through their noses, and can easily become congested,” she adds. A nursery humidifier can work wonders to alleviate that problem.
  • Skin hydration. Scott says that, if baby is prone to eczema, an infant humidifier can help soothe dry skin by putting moisture back into the air—especially during winter months.
  • White noise. Parents who are fans of white noise machines will like that humidifiers for babies create gentle, consistent background noise. This sound can even become a way of signaling to your child that it’s bedtime.

Safety Considerations When Using a Baby Humidifier

Using a humidifier for baby congestion can provide an array of benefits, but it’s essential to ensure the device is used correctly for your child’s health and safety. First of all, the AAP recommends that parents use a cool-mist humidifier rather than a hot-water version, as the latter releases warm steam that can potentially burn your child. Below, additional health and safety considerations to keep top of mind:

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  • Fire hazard risk. These devices can potentially be a fire hazard since water is near electrical cords, says Scott. Take precautions to make sure that your setup is safe and secure.
  • Mold. Due to the moisture they create, humidifiers can be a source of mold and bacteria, if they’re not cleaned and checked regularly. To combat this, Scott recommends using distilled water, when possible, and changing the water daily. Burgert suggests looking for devices that are easy to take apart and clean to avoid mold and mildew buildup.
  • Water damage to floors and furniture. Scott suggests keeping the humidity level in baby’s room between 30 to 50 percent, which can be measured with a gauge; some infant humidifiers will automatically measure this. Watch out for damp areas, and don’t run the machine when the room is unoccupied.
  • Excessive moisture. If your little one is asthmatic or prone to allergies, Scott recommends reserving the nursery humidifier for times of illness.
  • Device placement. Once you find the best baby humidifier for your needs, be sure to properly read the owner’s manual, and place the device on a stable surface about five to six feet away from your child’s crib or bed. It should, ideally, be set on a tall piece of furniture that cannot be moved, with the cord and outlet tucked behind it.

What to Look for in a Baby Humidifier

Shopping around for the best humidifier for baby? It’s important to consider several factors, like how easy it is to clean, mist temperature and whether to go with an ultrasonic or traditional evaporative model. Cool mist baby humidifiers require more cleaning than warm-mist versions, but they also don’t pose a burn risk. Ultrasonic infant humidifiers are quiet, but they’re more expensive than evaporative ones, and they may not be as durable. What’s more, you’ll want to choose a baby humidifier that’s appropriate for the square footage of baby’s nursery. “Too large a size will create too much moisture for the room,” says Scott. Lastly, consider purchasing a device with an automatic shut-off feature so that it’ll stop running when the reservoir is empty.

Best Humidifiers for Baby

The best baby humidifiers are typically just top-of-the-line humidifiers made for adults and kids alike. However, some boast additional tot-friendly features, such as cute designs, light projectors and quiet modes. Here, our favorite baby humidifier picks.

Overall best humidifier for baby

Canopy Humidifier
Canopy Humidifier
Image: Canopy
Buying Options
Canopy | $150

First up on our list of the best baby humidifiers is our Best of Baby award-winner, of course. Canopy’s product is one of our favorites for little ones and adults alike, thanks to its unique mold-inhibiting technology and easy-to-clean, dishwasher-safe parts. Instead of producing visible steam or mist, this innovative option simply puts filtered, hydrated air back into your living space. Just switch on the baby humidifier’s auto-mode to increase humidity at night or the moments it’s needed most. And if you’re a fan of aromatherapy, you’re in luck—this option also doubles as an essential oil diffuser.

What We Love
  • The only mold-inhibiting humidifier on the market
  • Available in several fun colors and bundle options
  • Ideal for babies, adults and everyone in between
Things To Consider
  • Doesn’t operate silently
  • High price point

Best smart humidifier for baby

Govee Smart Humidifier
Govee Smart Humidifier
Image: Govee

Searching for a smart humidifier for baby? Look no further than this option from Govee. The user-friendly device is Bluetooth- and app-compatible, so you can control its settings without disturbing baby in their nursery. Some of our favorite features of this baby humidifier include its top-fill design, its 360-degree rotating nozzle (to help evenly dispense mist) and its 6-liter tank that allows for up to 60 hours of continuous use. Plus, it’s equipped with an auto shut-off mode, so it will turn off once your desired humidity level is reached.

What We Love
  • Automatic shut-off mode
  • Compatible with apps and Bluetooth-enabled devices
  • Multipurpose design includes night light and aromatherapy features
Things To Consider
  • If you’re filling it with hard water, there may be mineral buildup after a few months of use

Best cool mist baby humidifier

Honeywell Cool Moisture Humidifier
Honeywell Cool Moisture Humidifier
Image: Amazon

The one-gallon capacity tank on this cool mist humidifier allows it to run on high for nine hours or on low for about 14 hours. The biggest selling point for this humidifier for babies is that it uses ultraviolet light to kill most bacteria before it’s released into the room. 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.

What We Love
  • Easy to clean; some parts are even dishwasher-safe
  • Three fan levels
Things To Consider
  • Large unit
  • No automatic shut-off feature
  • Requires filters

Best 3-in-1 humidifier for baby

BreatheFrida 3-in-1 Humidifier, Diffuser + Nightlight

This parent-approved pick has thousands of five-star reviews—and with good reason. The 3-in-1 machine from FridaBaby is a humidifier, diffuser and night light all rolled into one versatile product. Using ultrasonic technology, the device turns water into a cool, hydrating mist. It has a mist adjuster, allowing you to create your ideal humidity level, and it can run continuously for up to 12 hours—then when it’s out of water, it will shut off automatically. Plus, your little one is sure to love the color-changing light feature!

What We Love
  • Operates quietly
  • Mist adjustment feature
  • Color-changing night light setting can be turned on or off
Things To Consider
  • Reviewers say to clean once or twice weekly for optimal results

Best ultrasonic humidifier for baby

Levoit Ultrasonic Humidifier
Levoit Ultrasonic Humidifier
Image: Amazon

Standard baby humidifiers use a fan to dispense mist into the air. Ultrasonic models, 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. This ultrasonic baby humidifier from Levoit boasts an advanced heating system that kills most bacteria and allows you to choose between cool or warm mist. It has a 1.5-gallon water tank, a humidity sensor and customizable settings, plus an aromatherapy compartment and a convenient remote control.

What We Love
  • Customizable humidity settings
  • Aromatherapy compartment
  • Can be used in large rooms
Things To Consider
  • Fill opening is located at the base
  • Some say the humidity sensor isn’t always accurate

Best portable humidifier for baby

Geniani Portable USB Humidifier

If you’re planning a trip, consider packing this portable humidifier for baby congestion. This super-compact yet powerful device is lightweight and slim, so it can easily be toted in your carry-on or diaper bag. It has two mist modes, allowing you to create your ideal humidity level in minutes. An added bonus: This humidifier for babies is USB-compatible.

What We Love
  • Optional night light feature
  • Runs quietly
  • Slim, lightweight design
Things To Consider
  • Lid doesn’t latch or lock
  • Suitable for small spaces

Best easy-to-clean baby humidifier

MIRO-NR07G Cool Mist Humidifier
MIRO-NR07G Cool Mist Humidifier
Image: Miro

It’s important to keep baby humidifiers clean to ensure they’re dispensing healthy air—however, the job can be time-consuming and difficult to do correctly at times. That’s where this next pick comes in handy. This easy-to-clean baby humidifier from Miro is completely washable, meaning it can be totally dismantled, scrubbed down and then easily reassembled. The device is essentially a tankless humidifier, so the mist-maker floats inside a bowl of water, which is connected to the external control knob. It comes with a selection of different vapor caps, and the top-opening water bowl can be refilled while the unit is in use.

What We Love
  • Easy to refill
  • Simple to clean
  • Modern design
Things To Consider
  • High price point

Best baby humidifier for the whole house

AirCare Whole House Humidifier
AirCare Whole House Humidifier
Image: Amazon

Instead of running multiple humidifiers in every room, opt for a whole-house humidifier. This 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 it to your desired humidity level, and it’ll shut off when the level is reached. Plus, this baby humidifier is easy to assemble, lightweight and durable.

What We Love
  • Automatically shuts off when custom humidity settings are reached
  • Easy to fill and clean
  • Ideal for large spaces
Things To Consider
  • Filters need to be changed monthly
  • Large unit

Best affordable humidifier for baby

AquaOasis Cool Mist Humidifier
AquaOasis Cool Mist Humidifier
Image: Amazon
Buying Options
Amazon | $29.97

Stocking up on newborn essentials can get expensive, which is why we’re fans of this affordable humidifier for baby congestion. The machine features a 2.2-liter water tank, multiple mist settings and a rotating nozzle so that you can customize the humidity level in baby’s nursery with ease. Oh, and did we mention that it’s only $30? Talk about bang for your buck!

What We Love
  • Large water tank
  • No filter needed
  • Affordable price point
Things To Consider
  • Some reviewers say one tank doesn’t last for up to 24 hours

Best nursery humidifier

Vicks Starry Night Filtered Cool Mist Humidifier
Vicks Starry Night Filtered Cool Mist Humidifier
Image: CVS

This next option functions as both a mist-maker and a night light, making it a dreamy nursery humidifier. The machine creates color-changing starry night projections that can be displayed alone or along with the baby humidifier. A Vicks scent pad can also be added to create a soothing menthol steam, and the wide tank opening makes it easy to fill and clean.

What We Love
  • Color-changing night light
  • Adjustable mist settings
Things To Consider
  • Some reviewers report leaking

Best quiet humidifier for baby

Crane Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier

This humidifier for babies is whisper-quiet, but it packs a mist-filled punch, as it can effectively hydrate a room up to 500 square feet. The machine 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 hard water). The attractive design is an additional selling point, but be warned: The shape of the water tank makes it difficult to clean.

What We Love
  • Automatically shuts off
  • Aesthetically pleasing design available in multiple colors
  • Filter doesn’t need to be changed
Things To Consider
  • Shape makes it difficult to clean

Best kids’ humidifier

Crane Adorable Elephant Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier

Your little one is sure to love this adorable cool mist baby humidifier; we can’t get enough of the sweet elephant option! Available in 15 different designs—ranging from a hippo to a train—these nursery humidifiers have all the features of a standard model but in kid-friendly shapes. This machine can humidify up to 500 square feet, has a one-gallon tank and produces a cool, hydrating mist that’ll keep baby happy and healthy even in the driest weather.

What We Love
  • Too-cute design
  • Doesn’t need a filter to function
  • Automatically shuts off when the tank is empty
Things To Consider
  • Can’t be used with essential oils
  • Some animal shapes may be difficult to clean

About the experts:

Denise Scott, MD, is a pediatrician with JustAnswer and a pediatric endocrinologist based in Oklahoma. She received her medical degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch, and completed her residency at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, with a fellowship at the National Institutes of Health.

Natasha Burgert, MD, is a pediatrician in Overland Park, Kansas, and a spokesperson for the AAP. She earned her medical degree from the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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