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When picking the best humidifier for your bedroom, look for one with enough capacity to keep your bedroom humid all night long, that’s easy to use and clean and, ideally, has a built-in humidistat for automatic operation.
Here’s a quick guide on how to pick the best bedroom humidifier plus tips on humidifier safety (if you are not careful, a humidifier can make you sick).
Why Do You Need a Bedroom Humidifier?
A humidifier is the best way to deal with low humidity in your bedroom. Air that’s too dry (below 30% relative humidity) is bad for your sleep and health as we explain in this post. It causes respiratory and eye discomfort, it worsens respiratory health problems and it’s bad for allergies.
A humidifier is particularly helpful for good sleep in winter, when the air gets cold and dry. It can also be helpful if you live in a place that gets hot and dry summers.
A humidifier will help you maintain your bedroom at the recommended 30 to 50 percent humidity range, which helps you breathe easier, reduces symptoms for people with allergies and respiratory conditions and helps you sleep better.
4 Things To Consider When Picking a Humidifier For Your Bedroom
1. Type of Humidifier
There are two main types of humidifiers: cool mist and warm mist humidifiers.
Cool mist humidifiers blow cool water vapor into the air to increase humidity. You can get either evaporative or ultrasonic cool mist humidifiers. Warm mist humidifiers boil water and then emit the warm vapor into the air.
Cool mist humidifiers are the best for most homes. They are safe to use especially if you have children and pets and the cool mist is better for respiratory health compared to warm mist (the warm mist can cause nasal swelling and make breathing harder especially if you have a cold)
Whichever type you get, the most important thing is to use clean water and maintain it well. Otherwise, the humidifier could spew bacteria and germs into the air, making you sick. We have a section further below talking about maintaining a humidifier.
The next thing to decide is how big of a humidifier you need. Don’t assume that the bigger the humidifier, the better it will be at keeping your bedroom comfortable. There’s such a thing as an overpowered humidifier.
If the humidifier is too big for the size of the room, it can increase humidity beyond the ideal maximum (around 50-60%), which introduces other problems like mold, allergies and breathing difficulties.
If you have a small to midsize bedroom (under 150 sq. ft.), get a compact tabletop humidifier with a capacity between 2 and 4 liters. For a larger bedroom, there are floor humidifiers with a capacity of 6-10 liters that are perfect for extra-large spaces up to 500 sq. ft. and even bigger.
A humidifier that’s too small for your bedroom will still work, but it will take longer to raise humidity to a comfortable level and will require frequent water refills.
Something else to keep in mind when choosing the capacity of the humidifier is portability. A large humidifier has its benefits (fewer refills, more powerful etc.) but it takes up more space and can be tedious to move about.
If you plan to use the humidifier in different rooms, then get a small to medium size one that you can move even when filled with water.
3. Ease of Use
Get a humidifier that’s easy to operate. This starts with how often it needs refilling and it’s why the capacity of the humidifier matters. Ideally, it should last the entire night (8-10 hours) on a single tank.
Here are some other features that make a humidifier easy to use.
- Mist level adjustment. A good humidifier should have two or three mist levels, which lets you choose how much mist the unit blows out. This also lets you make the humidifier quieter when you go to bed.
- A built-in humidistat makes a world of difference in how easy a humidifier is to use. You just turn it on, select your preferred humidity and the humidifier automatically maintains that humidity. It will automatically turn on and off or adjust mist level to keep the bedroom at the set level. Your work is just to refill the tank.
- A timer to turn the humidifier off after you’ve gone to sleep. This is helpful if your humidifier doesn't have a humidistat. You can set it to turn off after a couple of hours to ensure it doesn't make the bedroom too humid.
4. Ease of Cleaning
Also check that the humidifier is easy to clean. This is really important as you’ll need to clean the humidifier daily for safety reasons.
The humidifier should have an easy to use drain, the tank should be removable for easy cleaning and refilling, and any parts that need to be cleaned such as the filter should be easy to access.
How to Safely Use a Humidifier
A humidifier is an excellent habitat for bacteria and mold. If you don't maintain it properly, the humidifier could do you more harm than good.
If the only thing you do is add water to the tank without ever washing it, you are risking a number of health problems. As bacteria, mold and other bad stuff find a home in the humidifier, the mist the humidifier releases will no longer be safe to breathe in.
A dirty humidifier can worsen symptoms in people with allergies, asthma and other respiratory problems. It can also cause flu-like symptoms in healthy users.
Here are some tips for keeping your humidifier clean and safe.
- Only add distilled water to the humidifier. Not only does this reduce the risk of bacteria-contaminated mist, it also ensures you are not breathing in any minerals or chemicals in the water. It also prolonged the life of the humidifier by preventing mineral deposits.
- Empty and clean the humidifier tank daily. If you leave old water in the tank too long, it will start to attract bacteria and mold. Empty the tank and rinse it with vinegar to kill any bad stuff.
- Clean and replace any filter, pad or wick in the humidifier after the recommended period.
- Be careful not to over humidify the room. If your humidifier doesn't have an auto mode, get a digital hygrometer and place it somewhere in the room. Monitor it and turn off the humidifier when humidity reaches 50%.
- Unless the user manual says it is safe to do so, do not add any substances like essential oils to the humidifier. And even if it is safe to do so, only use genuine 100% natural essential oils. The last thing you want is to inhale chemicals from synthetic oils.
- Replace the humidifier after a few years. An old humidifier can develop mold and bacteria in areas where it is difficult to clean.