Humidifiers are inherently simple, small appliances and the Honeywell HUL520B leans into that simplicity. With a foolproof, single knob interface, you could probably train your dog to use this humidifier. It is also relatively powerful for its size, but not so powerful that you'll have to worry about dripping ceilings if you leave it unattended. Plus, its water tank has the biggest opening of any model we tested in our review of the best humidifiers, making for incredibly easy cleaning and refilling. Sure it's not quite as powerful nor has as many features as some of the higher-end models, but if you just want something that can sit on your dresser and keep you from waking up with a sore, scratchy throat, you can't beat its low price.Editor's Note: We updated this review for the Honeywell HUL520B on April 21, 2022, looking at our in-depth testing process, an evaluation of value, and a direct comparison of other products that may better suit your needs and budget.
Honeywell HUL520B Review
Pros: Inexpensive, easy to clean, easy to use
Cons: Not the most powerful, no advanced features
Compare to Similar Products
|Price||$40 List||$40 List|
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$39.99 at Amazon
|Pros||Inexpensive, easy to clean, easy to use||Exceptional output, low lifetime operating costs||Easy cleaning, decent overall performance||Good humidifying performance||Inexpensive|
|Cons||Not the most powerful, no advanced features||Confusing user interface, prolonged cleaning process||Limited settings, so-so output, no standout feature||Somewhat difficult to clean||Not much humidifying power, somewhat difficult to clean, somewhat clunky interface|
|Bottom Line||The perfect budget model for smaller rooms (less than 150 square feet)||With excellent performance ratings and low operating costs, this is one of our favorite models||This model is a decent choice for its budget-friendly price point and performs moderately well||Good for mid-sized bedrooms in arid climates, as long as you don't mind a little cleaning effort||Reasonable performance all around, but can't compete with other more functional budget options|
|Rating Categories||Honeywell HUL520B||Levoit Classic 200||Vicks Filter Free C...||Everlasting Comfort...||Pure Ultrasonic|
|Humidifying Performance (35%)|
|Ease of Cleaning (35%)|
|Operating Cost (15%)|
|User Friendliness (15%)|
|Specs||Honeywell HUL520B||Levoit Classic 200||Vicks Filter Free C...||Everlasting Comfort...||Pure Ultrasonic|
|Weight||3.0 lbs||3.5 lbs||4.0 Ibs||3.3 lbs||1.8 lbs|
|Dimensions||8.5" x 8.5" x 9.5"||13.8" x 7.8" x 5.8"||10.87" x 9.45" x 13.46"||13.3" x 11.4" x 6.8"||10.9" x 9.2" x 6.9"|
|Tank Capacity||0.5 gallons||1.1 gallons||0.5 gallons||1.6 gallons||0.4 gallons|
|Estimated Lifetime Cost||$56||$99||$89||$98||$63|
|Estimated Annual Electricity Usage||43.8 kWh||87.6 kWh||65.7 kWh||65.7 kWh||21.9 kWh|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Honeywell HUL520B combines simple operation and easy cleaning with decent humidifying performance in a tiny, affordable package. This is a great low-price option if you don't need advanced features like a self-regulating humidistat or an off timer. The Honeywell HUL520B ended at the top of our overall scoresheet, mostly due to a simple and user-friendly design. In the following sections, we discuss how it performed in all of the different tests we used to find the best humidifier.
The Honeywell HUL520B's humidifying performance was respectable given its size, but overall was fairly average. This humidifier was somewhat slow in our testing, taking a full two hours to get our 150 square foot testing room up to 45% humidity. The good news is that it plateaued at around 47% humidity.
In most average-sized bedrooms, the Honeywell HUL520B will reach something close to the ideal 45% humidity and settle in there. This makes it perfect for bedroom use and generally negates the risk of over-humidifying if you forget to turn it off. The two hours it takes to reach that humidity can be a bit of a drag, as you'll have to remember to turn it on well before bedtime if you want to snuggle into a pleasantly humidified room. If you want something with more humidifying power, you're unfortunately going to have to spend quite a bit more.
Ease of Cleaning
Ease of cleaning is one area where the Honeywell HUL520B shined. The only model that scored better did so because some of its parts are dishwasher safe.
The Honeywell HUL520B's water tank has a 3.5-inch diameter opening, the largest opening of any of the water tanks we tested. All but the largest hands can get in there and give everything a good scrubbing. The sonic agitator itself is fairly blocky, so there aren't any tiny nooks where mold can escape your sponge and start to take hold. The manual also gives clear instructions for using vinegar or bleach (never use both simultaneously) to soak for deeper cleaning. Scrubbing, prepping the soak, and drying everything off took us about 15 minutes, with a 15-minute soak. This was on par with most other top-ranked humidifiers in terms of time but felt less effort than models requiring more diligent scrubbing with difficult-to-reach spots.
The Honeywell HUL520B is incredibly simple, and thus incredibly user-friendly. Accordingly, it shared the top score in this metric.
The Honeywell HUL520B has a single dial to turn the machine on and select the level of mist it puts out. It also has an auto-off feature. It automatically turns off when all the water is gone, which prevents the sonic agitator from buzzing away with no water in the tank and possibly damaging itself. That single knob makes it incredibly easy to operate, but there are no additional features like an off timer or a self-regulating humidistat.
The large 3.5-inch tank opening that we mentioned in the ease of cleaning section also makes the Honeywell HUL520B very easy to refill in almost any sink. It was the easiest to refill of any of the models we tested.
The Honeywell HUL520B was far and away the most inexpensive model to buy and own that we tested.
It only uses 0.01kWh of electricity per hour of operation. The small size of this appliance makes it one of the most energy-friendly models of any in this review.
This led to an estimated lifetime cost of just $56, the lowest we calculated.
Should You Buy the Honeywell HUL520B?
The Honeywell HUL520B isn't the most powerful humidifier, but it is easy to use and clean, can still get the job done, and is incredibly inexpensive. If you're looking for something simple and affordable, this is the perfect model. While this humidifier lacks some power compared to larger models, it can still handle a small bedroom — you'd be hard-pressed to find a better value for use in a smaller space.
What Other Humidifiers Should You Consider?
While Honeywell HUL520B is great for small rooms, it doesn't have enough power for larger spaces. Consider the award-winning Levoit LV600HH. Or if you're shopping on a tighter budget, the Levoit Classic 200 is our choice for value. The Honeywell HCM-350 is another full-size humidifier and is the only evaporative model in this review.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata
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