The world's most in-depth and scientific product reviews

Best Humidifiers of 2021

Credit: Jenna Ammerman
By Max Mutter and Steven Tata  ⋅  Feb 18, 2021
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
To find the best humidifiers, we researched more than 40 models before buying the 10 best for some side-by-side testing. We measured the humidifying performance of each model using a professional-grade humidistat, cleaned them multiple times to appraise the difficulties of their required maintenance, and calculated their operating costs. We also lived with each in our homes for multiple days to get a feel for how they worked in real-life scenarios. In the end, we found great models in every price range, whether you're looking to humidify a large living space of a small bedroom.

Top 10 Product Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 10
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Awards Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award  
Price $120 List
$89.99 at Amazon
$40 List
$35.85 at Amazon
$75 List$66 List
$51.99 at Amazon
$46 List
$37.99 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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72
68
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Pros Powerful, accurate humidistat prevents over-humidification, convenient remote control, easy to cleanInexpensive, easy to clean, easy to useEasy to clean, self-regulating evaporative humidifyingPowerful, inexpensiveInexpensive, simple
Cons Somewhat on the expensive sideNot the most powerful, no advanced featuresRequires replacement filters, filter can get moldy if left unattended for too longHard to clean, cannot be used on carpetNot powerful enough for large rooms, no advanced features
Bottom Line Powerful, fully featured, and easy to use and clean, great for large rooms and those that want precise and consistent humidity levelsA great budget option if you don’t need advanced features and want to humidify a smaller roomQuite effective and powerful for its price, but don’t forget you’ll have to pay for replacement filters for the life of the machineIf you don't mind vigorous cleaning this is a good low-priced high-power optionA simple and budget-conscious option for smaller spaces
Rating Categories Levoit LV600HH Honeywell HUL520B Honeywell HCM-350 TaoTronics TT-AH001 TaoTronics TT-AH026
Humidifying Performance (35%)
9
5
6
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6
Ease Of Cleaning (35%)
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7
User Friendliness (15%)
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Operating Cost (15%)
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Specs Levoit LV600HH Honeywell HUL520B Honeywell HCM-350 TaoTronics TT-AH001 TaoTronics TT-AH026
Weight 4.9 pounds 3 pounds 9.6 pounds 3.5 pounds 2.3 pounds
Dimensions 11.3" x 7" x 10.5" 8.5" x 8.5" x 9.5" 18.6" x 10.4" x 13" 12.2" x 8" x 5.25" 8.4" x 5.1" x 10"
Tank Capacity 1.6 gallons 0.5 gallons 1 gallon 1.06 gallons 0.47 gallons
Humidification Technology Ultrasonic Ultrasonic Evaporative Ultrasonic Ultrasonic
Estimated Lifetime Cost $159 $56 $203 $101 $72
Estimated Annual Electricity Usage 65.7 kWh 43.8 kWh 87.6 kWh 87.6 kWh 43.8 kWh

Best Overall Humidifier


Levoit LV600HH


Levoit LV600HH
Editors' Choice Award
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$89.99
(25% off)
at Amazon
See It

77
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Humidifying Performance 9
  • Ease of Cleaning 7
  • User Friendliness 8
  • Operating Cost 6
Tank Capacity: 1.6 gallons | Dimensions: 11.3" x 7" x 10.5"
Powerful
Accurate humidistat prevents over-humidification
Convenient remote control
Easy to clean
Relatively expensive

The Levoit LV600HH features a winning combination of best in class power, ease of cleaning, and set-it-and-forget-it functionality. For these reasons and more, we believe it's the best overall humidifier. It can precisely monitor surrounding humidity thanks to a built-in humidistat and adjusts its own settings accordingly. Operating it is as simple as selecting your desired humidity level, starting the LV600HH, and leaving it to do its thing until the water runs out. When it does run empty, its large tank sports an easy-to-fill opening. There is also plenty of access for scrubbing every part of the device when it's time for a cleaning. And if you want to adjust anything in the middle of the night, the remote control lets you turn the machine off without needing to get out of bed.

The price is the only real downside to the LV600HH, and we suspect that it's more expensive than most people will want to spend on a humidifier. However, if you want a powerful machine that will keep your home at just the right humidity year-round, the LV600HH is our favorite choice.

Read review: Levoit LV600HH

Best Bang for the Buck


Honeywell HUL520B


Honeywell HUL520B
Best Buy Award
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$35.85
(10% off)
at Amazon
See It

73
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Humidifying Performance 5
  • Ease of Cleaning 8
  • User Friendliness 8
  • Operating Cost 10
Tank Capacity: 0.5 gallons | Dimensions: 8.5" x 8.5" x 9.5"
Inexpensive
Easy to clean
Easy to use
Not the most powerful
No advanced features

If your bedroom is less than 200 square feet, the Honeywell HUL520B is one of the best machines to humidify your room on a budget. This simple model retails for much less than the competition, is very easy to clean, and was able to keep our 150 square foot testing room at a near-perfect 47% humidity. What more could you ask for?

When compared to higher-priced models, the HUL520B has some significant drawbacks. The first is power. An average-sized bedroom will likely take the HUL520B 1-2 hours to get to the right humidity. That's not too big of a deal, as you could turn it on just before bed and still enjoy its effects for the majority of the night. It also lacks any sort of off timer, so if you forget to turn it off before leaving the house, it will run all day. However, its capacity is too small to leave your room damp. All in all, this model is a good compact option for those on a budget.

Read review: Honeywell HUL520B

Outstanding Value for Large Rooms


TaoTronics TT-AH001


TaoTronics TT-AH001
Best Buy Award
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$51.99
(21% off)
at Amazon
See It

68
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Humidifying Performance 9
  • Ease of Cleaning 4
  • User Friendliness 7
  • Operating Cost 8
Tank Capacity: 1.06 gallons | Dimensions: 12.2" x 8" x 5.25"
Powerful
Inexpensive
Accurate humidistat prevents over-humidification
Hard to clean
Cannot be used on carpet

If you boost the humidity of a large room but don't want to break the bank to do so, we would suggest the TaoTronics TT-AH001. It was able to match the humidifying performance of the LV600HH in our tests while costing just a fraction of the price. It even offers a humidistat that tempers the output to prevent rooms from getting too damp — a feature usually reserved for more expensive products.

The biggest sacrifice you make by opting for the TT-AH001 over one of its higher-priced competitors appears when it comes time to clean it out. We found cleaning the nooks and crannies of the TT-AH001 to be more difficult than we would have hoped, something that wasn't an issue with other top scorers. Its air vent is also situated in an odd place on the base that cannot be blocked, so it's not suitable to place the unit on a rug or carpet. However, for larger rooms with hard flooring, the TT-AH001 offers a great all-around value.

Best Evaporative Model


Honeywell HCM-350


Honeywell HCM-350
Top Pick Award
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$75
List Price
See It

72
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Humidifying Performance 6
  • Ease of Cleaning 9
  • User Friendliness 7
  • Operating Cost 6
Tank Capacity: 1 gallon | Dimensions: 18.6" x 10.4" x 13"
Easy to clean (when done regularly)
Self-regulating evaporative humidifying
Requires replacement filters
Filter can get moldy if ignored

Evaporative humidifiers simply blow air over a wet wick so that the water naturally evaporates into the air. This is a self-regulating process — the evaporation will slow down as the ambient humidity increases. This more natural process is preferable to some people over the sonic humidifiers that essentially push water into the air. The Honeywell HCM-350 is our top recommendation for an evaporative humidifier. It is relatively powerful, quite easy to clean, and is less expensive in the long run than many other evaporative models.

Like all evaporative models, the Honeywell HCM-350 requires replacement filters, which generally makes it more costly than its sonic siblings in the long run. Also, if you're not diligent about cleaning this machine according to the manufacturer's recommendations, the filter can get moldy, and that mold can quickly spread to the rest of the machine. However, if you stay on top of cleaning your machine regularly and are intrigued by the benefits of evaporative humidification, this is the best option we've found.

Read review: Honeywell HCM-350


We ran all of our models in a climate controlled room and closely...
We ran all of our models in a climate controlled room and closely monitored the humidity.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Why You Should Trust Us


Steven Tata and Max Mutter have been researching, using, and testing a variety of health and wellness products for the last three years. Spanning the worlds of air purifiers, fitness trackers, electric toothbrushes, and water filters, they have put dozens of models to the test. This testing team also lives in the arid climes of Tahoe, California, where ambient humidity levels rarely rise above 30%, pretty much necessitating the use of a humidifier lest you wake with a scratchy throat and parched lips.

This review represents over 100 hours of controlled testing with these humidifiers, as well as dozens of nights spent with them in our bedrooms. The cornerstone of our testing involved letting each model run for 3 hours on its highest setting, all in the same 150 square room, and measuring the resulting changes in humidity with an industrial grade humidity meter. In between tests, we ran a dehumidifier to ensure each model started at the same relative humidity level. We also ran each model through the normal paces of use, cleaning each at least five times and adjusting all the possible settings, searching for anything that made the machines more difficult to use or clean. Throughout it all, we measured each model's energy usage with a wattage meter, then used that data to calculate their estimated lifetime costs of ownership.

Analysis and Test Results


We categorized our tests into four separate testing metrics and weighted them according to their importance, ultimately assigning scores in each metric for all of our models. This allowed us to find the best humidifier for every situation, from mist-breathing dragons that can keep large rooms from getting too dry to smaller, more budget-friendly models that are perfect for apartment-sized bedrooms.

Humidifying performance is clearly the most important factor to...
Humidifying performance is clearly the most important factor to consider, and we spent a lot of time getting our testing methodology dialed in. Though photogenic, the Pure Ultrasonic pictured above was one of the weakest models we tested.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Value


We know that most shoppers care about price just as much as performance. The Levoit LV600HH, for example, offers outstanding performance but commands a high price to receive it. The Honeywell HUL520B offers solid performance, but it costs substantially less. That's why it's our favorite for humidifying small rooms on a budget. The Dyson, despite its futuristic look, carried a disappointing performance in our tests that failed to justify its huge price tag.

Humidifying Performance


Good humidifying is all about balance. You want a machine that can efficiently add humidity to the air, but not to the extent that it leaves condensation all over the walls. Our first humidifying performance test focused on power; that is, how quickly and consistently each model was able to achieve a target humidity level and its ability to maintain a desired level of humidity. Models with humidistat controllers that read and react to the humidity of the room performed much better in this regard. All of our tests were completed in a 150 square foot room, about the size of an average bedroom.


The Levoit LV600HH and the TaoTronics TT-AH001 were the clear winners in this test. Of these models, the TT-AH001 was slightly faster and more powerful. It hit the ideal level of 45% humidity in 17 minutes and reached 70% after 3 hours. The LV600HH took 30 minutes to hit 45% and reached 65.8% after 3 hours. Both models have humidistats that proved to be quite accurate in our testing. The bottom line, both of these models are powerful enough for a large bedroom.

The Levoit was the rockstar of our humidifying performance testing...
The Levoit was the rockstar of our humidifying performance testing, offering both high power and fine tuned control.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman


Rounding out the top performers was the Dyson AM10. It took a rather quick 29 minutes to reach 45% and maxed out slightly below the top performers at 57.6%. It features a built-in humidistat, which was the most accurate amongst the models that we tested, allowing the Dyson to maintain remarkable consistency in the humidity level. It never wavered more than 1% from the desired humidity in our tests. The Everlasting Comfort Ultrasonic also did quite well in this test, hitting 45% in 40 minutes and reaching 63.4% after 3 hours.

Preventing Over Humidification
All of our models were tested in a 150 square foot room, and we offer general recommendations based on those results. Please keep in mind that other factors can influence humidification performance and cause the results to vary. Ambient humidity, ambient temperature, and the ventilation in your home all play a role. Whenever you buy a new humidifier, it's best to start on a lower setting and slowly move up until you find a good humidity level, rather than starting on the highest setting and ending up with damp surfaces.

Related: Buying Advice for Humidifiers

The models from this point onward do not include a humidistat. This shouldn't be a big concern for anyone in an especially arid climate because the probability of over-humidification is low. However, if you live somewhere where the ambient humidity is higher (20-30%) or prone to fluctuations, a humidistat would probably be a nice feature to have on your humidifier.

The Honeywell HUL520B is small and inexpensive, but can still put...
The Honeywell HUL520B is small and inexpensive, but can still put out enough mist for a small room.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Out of the non-humidistat models we tested, the Honeywell HCM-350 performed the best. It was able to bring our testing room up to the ideal 45% humidity in just 34 minutes and reached a maximum of 58.9% after running on high for 3 hours.

The TaoTronics TT-AH026 is fairly effective for small rooms but lacks the power for larger spaces. It took a little over an hour to get our 150 square foot testing room to the ideal level of 35% humidity, and this machine managed to push it to a maximum of 57% over our 3-hour test.

The only evaporative model in our test, the Honeywell HCM-350 was an...
The only evaporative model in our test, the Honeywell HCM-350 was an above average performer and, because of its evaporative technology, you don't have to worry about over humidification.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Multiple models fell into the average range in this metric, providing noticeable but not overly impressive humidification capabilities. The Sunpentown SPT SU-4010 took a full hour to hit the ideal 45% humidity but did achieve a maximum of 56.8% by the end of the test. The Crane Drop got to 45% a bit faster, taking just 45 minutes, but stalled out at a maximum of 51.2%. The Honeywell HUL520B was the slowest of this group, taking a full 2 hours to hit 45% and maxing out at just 47.8%.

Although every device we tested was able to add humidity to our testing room, there were a couple of models that didn't perform quite as well as the rest of the group. It took the Pure Ultrasonic 2.5 hours to get our testing room up to 45% humidity, nearly the duration of our 3-hour test time. At the end of the test, the maximum humidity had only reached 47.5%.

A small water tank opening &amp;#40;like the on the Dyson, pictured...
A small water tank opening (like the on the Dyson, pictured left) can make refilling a huge pain. Models with large openings (like the Honeywell HUL520B, pictured right) are much better.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Ease of Cleaning


Humidifiers that aren't cleaned regularly can become a breeding ground for bacteria and end up doing more harm than good. Therefore, if a model is so hard to clean that you end up neglecting it, it's just not worth the effort. Most machines will require basic scrubbing and soaking in a vinegar or bleach solution to get rid of mold. We cleaned every model multiple times and kept careful notes on how laborious the process was for each one.


The Honeywell HCM-350 was the only evaporative model we tested. These types of humidifiers eliminate those hard-to-reach corners around the sonic agitator where mold can slowly take hold in other models. The tank is large and easy to scrub, and the bottom tray is even dishwasher safe. The one caveat is the actual filter (which soaks up water before it evaporates) can get very moldy if neglected for a couple of days. If that happens, you're pretty much out of luck and will need to buy a new filter.

The Honeywell HUL520B was a close runner-up to its sibling. Its opening is nearly 4-inches wide, allowing for plenty of access for easy scrubbing. There are some nooks and crannies around the ultrasonic unit, but generally, you can scrub everything without too much maneuvering.

The Honeywell HCM-350&#039;s base is dishwasher safe, making cleaning a...
The Honeywell HCM-350's base is dishwasher safe, making cleaning a breeze. However the wick can become quite moldy if left wet with the machine turned off.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The Levoit LV600HH also fared fairly well in our cleaning tests. To make sure every crevice is clean, this model requires more focused scrubbing than the Honeywell HCM-350, but it's not particularly arduous.

Routine cleaning of the TaoTronics TT-AH026 is fairly painless. However, the 1.75" tank opening requires a bottle brush for getting inside and scrubbing, and there are some small spots near the sonic agitator that are hard to access.

Just verging into 'oh crap, this thing needs cleaned' territory is the Crane Drop and the Sunpentown SPT SU-4010. These products have smaller openings, and the internal construction is more crowded, making both access and scrubbing every surface more difficult. It can be done, but it requires some hand yoga and maybe even sacrificing a toothbrush to the humidifier cleanliness deities.

Starting off the list of models that are almost too hard to clean to be worthwhile is the Pure Ultrasonic. Its cleaning difficulty arises from the small tank opening, which necessitates some creative toothbrush and/or chopstick use to get every surface scrubbed. The Everlast Comfort Ultrasonic presents similar difficulties. It has a bigger opening but has lots of little crevices where mold can hide.

The Dyson AM10's unique design presents more cleaning challenges than most. Specifically, the 1-inch tank opening does not allow for interior scrubbing. The UV purifier and regular citric acid soaks can keep mold and mineral buildup at bay, but if any buildup does occur, it is near impossible to clean.

The TaoTronics TT-AH001 has a 2-inch opening for its water tank. Though it is larger than that of the Dyson AM10, it is still very hard to get in and scrub the inside of the tank. Additionally, the manual has no instructions for performing deeper cleaning.

Clear controls displays, like on the Levoit pictured above, make...
Clear controls displays, like on the Levoit pictured above, make operation easy.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

User Friendliness


Humidifiers are generally very simple machines, but a few small design differences can make using them feel like either a walk in the park or a laborious undertaking that prompts you to question whether the air in your house really is too dry. From large water tank openings to remote controls that let you change settings without getting out of bed, choosing a thoughtfully designed model can save you from the scourge of extra logistics that many of our modern appliances can bring on.


The Levoit LV600HH and the Honeywell HUL520B proved to be our favorite models when it came to the overall user experience. This is mainly due to their easy-to-fill water tanks. The Honeywell's tank has a huge opening and is short enough to fit in any sink, making refilling a breeze. The Levoit's opening isn't quite as large, and the tank is bigger, so it may take some maneuvering to get it into a small sink, but it is still very easy to fill. The Levoit also has a convenient remote control that lets you adjust settings without leaving your bed. Both models have simple and intuitive interfaces. The Everlasting Comfort Ultrasonic features a simple, single dial control panel and relatively large 2.75" tank opening that made filling and operating the machine quite easy.

We loved the convenience of the Levoit&#039;s remote control.
We loved the convenience of the Levoit's remote control.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The Honeywell HCM-350 was fell just behind the top performers in this metric. Like its smaller sibling, it has a wide opening in its water tank, making refilling a painless process. It also uses evaporative humidifying, which self-regulates based on the room's humidity and requires less monitoring. However, it missed out on a top slot because this evaporative technique requires replacing the filter/wick every six months.

Also earning faring relatively well in these tests, the TaoTronics TT-AH001's tank opening is 2 inches, which requires greater pouring accuracy than most models but doesn't feel too difficult. Built-in handles allow for easy relocation, and an optional nightlight makes it a nice option for a child's bedroom.

The TaoTronics TT-AH026 is fairly simple to use but lacks any features that make it stand out from the rest. For example, it has no off timer nor remote — you just turn it on with a dial, and when it runs out of water, it will automatically turn off. The water tank's 1.75-inch opening is medium-sized and lacks a handle, so refilling can sometimes feel a bit precarious. However, it only holds 1.8 liters, so even when full, the tank isn't too hard to hold without a handle.

The Dyson AM10's tank has a 1" opening, the smallest of all the models we've tested. This makes refilling the tank much more difficult than it seemingly needs to be. However, a convenient remote control and the addition of a fan to the equation make it a bit more tolerable overall.

Rounding out this average group, the Sunpentown SPT SU-4010 offers a reasonable user experience. Its water tank has a fairly large opening, but the tank itself is a bit too long to fit in many sinks. You'll likely have to use a pitcher or a cup as an intermediary to top it off.

Simple single knob controls, like on the Honeywell HUL520B pictured...
Simple single knob controls, like on the Honeywell HUL520B pictured here, work well for small models without advanced features.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Leading off the relatively poor performers in this metric was the Pure Ultrasonic. The tank's opening is rather small, but the tank itself is also small and easy to maneuver during refilling. It lost points due to its interface, which requires you to scroll through different settings by pushing a single button. There is no display to indicate which setting is currently selected, so you just have to remember how many button presses get you to your preferred setting.

Humidifiers don&#039;t tend to rack up large electricity bills, but some...
Humidifiers don't tend to rack up large electricity bills, but some models like the Sunpentown pictured here require replacement filters that can dramatically increase long term costs.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Operating Cost


Humidifiers generally do not use much electricity, but their operating costs can add up in the long run. To estimate operating and lifetime costs, we measured each model's electricity usage with a wattage meter. Then we assumed 12 hours of use each day at a cost of $0.12 per kWh (the national average) and a functional lifetime of 5 years. We also factored in each machine's upfront cost and the filter costs for those models that need filters. This resulted in estimated lifetime costs that spanned a range of more than $500.


The Honeywell HUL520B was the most inexpensive model we tested, with an estimated lifetime cost of just $56. This is largely due to its incredibly low list price and the fact that it barely uses any electricity (less than 0.01kWh per hour to runs its sonic agitator. The Pure Ultrasonic wasn't too far behind, logging an estimated lifetime cost of just $63. It also has a low list price and uses even less electricity than the Honeywell. The TaoTronics TT-AH026 was a close third once again, racking up an estimated lifetime cost of just $72.

Next in line was the Everlasting Comfort Ultrasonic, with an estimated lifetime cost of $98. The other TaoTronics model, the TT-AH001, wasn't far behind, clocking an estimated lifetime cost of $101.

The Crane Drop is one of the more inexpensive models we tested at a low list price, but it also uses more electricity than most models (0.02kWh per hour). This pushed its estimated lifetime cost a bit higher to $108. Just behind this was the Levoit LV600HH. It was mid-range both regarding electricity economy (0.015kWh per hour) and list price, resulting in a lifetime estimated cost of $159.

Both of our award winners, the Levoit and the Honeywell HUL520B, run...
Both of our award winners, the Levoit and the Honeywell HUL520B, run efficiently with very little long term costs.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Thanks to its evaporative humidifying technology, the Honeywell HCM-350 has the additional cost of replacement wicks (essentially tall sponges). These will set you back $8 and must be replaced every six months. Combine that with the list price and 0.02 kWh per hour electricity usage, and you have an estimated lifetime cost of $203.

Now we get into the expensive, is this even worth the cost? kind of territory. First up is the Sunpentown SPT SU-4010. Its list price is relatively high, but its electricity usage is quite efficient at 0.015 kWh per hour. Where it adds a lot of extra cost is in its ION exchange filter. This filter is meant to reduce the amount of minerals in the water, and thus make the ultrasonic unit last longer. That's all well and good, but these filters cost $30 and must be replaced every six months. That skyrockets the estimated lifetime cost up to $447.

The Dyson AM10 is certainly not for the budget-conscious. With its unique "bladeless" fan technology pushing up its list price and overall power-hungry design, its estimated lifetime cost of $579 is by far the highest we've calculated to date.

Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Conclusion


A humidifier can enhance the comfort of your home and minimize many of the adverse side effects of dry climates and parched winter air. Any humidifier, however, requires diligent cleaning and maintenance, and not all are created equal when it comes to the convenience of this upkeep. We hope our detailed testing results have led you to a model that is both powerful enough and user-friendly enough for your needs.

Max Mutter and Steven Tata