Best Humidifiers of 2017

Need a break from dry air? After many hours of research, we bought and tested 10 humidifiers and put them through extensive testing to help you find the right one. With a myriad of options to choose from it can be difficult to find a humidifier that offers an adequate mist output and simple maintenance. We tested performance with a humidity meter in a controlled room to ensure that conditions were the same between tests. In addition to performance, we evaluated user friendliness and ease of cleaning by going through each humidifier's manufacturer-recommended cleaning steps. Whether you seek a humidifier for the occasional dry day or continuous long-term use in arid environments, our review has you covered.

Read the full review below ≫

Test Results and Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 10 ≪ Previous | View All | Next ≫
Rank #1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Product
Levoit LV600HH
Honeywell HUL520B
Honeywell HCM-350
PureGuardian H1250
TaoTronics TT-AH002
Awards  Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award       
Price $120 List
$89.99 at Amazon
$40 List$70 List
$59.99 at Amazon
$100 List
$69.99 at Amazon
$50 List
$44.99 at Amazon
Overall Score 
100
0
77
100
0
73
100
0
72
100
0
72
100
0
63
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
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, easy to cleanInexpensive, enough power for medium to large bedrooms
Cons Somewhat on the expensive sideNot the most powerful, no advanced featuresRequires replacement filters, filter can get moldy if left unattended for too longControl panel can be a little confusing at firstWater tank design makes cleaning and filling a bit difficult
Ratings by Category Levoit LV600HH Honeywell HUL520B Honeywell HCM-350 PureGuardian H1250 TaoTronics TT-AH002
Humidifying Performance - 35%
10
0
9
10
0
5
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
6
Ease Of Cleaning - 35%
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
6
User Friendliness - 15%
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
6
Operating Cost - 15%
10
0
6
10
0
10
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
8
Specs Levoit LV600HH Honeywell HUL520B Honeywell HCM-350 PureGuardian H1250 TaoTronics TT-AH002
Weight 4.9 pounds 3 pounds 9.6 pounds 5.2 pounds 2.5 pounds
Dimensions 11.3" x 7" x 10.5" 8.5" x 8.5" x 9.5" 18.6" x 10.4" x 13" 7.5" x 9.8" x 12.5" 8.7 "x 8" x 12.2"
Tank Capacity 1.6 gallons 0.5 gallons 1 gallon 1.5 gallons 0.95 gallons

Analysis and Award Winners


Review by:
Max Mutter and Steven Tata

Last Updated:
Tuesday
November 21, 2017

Share:
Updated November 2017
Since our last update we've kept a close watch on newly released humidifiers. We haven't seen any potential challengers to our current award winners and will continue to check for new models that could compete with the top performers in our review.

Best Overall Humidifier


Levoit LV600HH


Editors' Choice Award

$89.99
at Amazon
See It

Powerful
Accurate humidistat prevents over-humidification
Convenient remote control
Easy to clean
Somewhat on the expensive side
For those seeking top-notch performance and high mist output, the Levoit LV600HH will not disappoint. It led the pack in humidifying performance, being the fastest and most powerful model we tested. With an accurate humidistat, the user can dial in their desired humidity and the LV600HH will maintain this level. This is an especially useful feature because humidifiers without a humidistat can turn your room into a veritable jungle when left unsupervised. Its tank has a large opening, which makes the filling and cleaning straightforward. The LV600HH can be controlled by remote and has both warm and cool mist options, making it the most fully featured humidifier in our review.

Read review: Levoit LV600HH

Best Bang for the Buck


Honeywell HUL520B


Best Buy Award

$40
List Price
See It

Inexpensive
Easy to clean
Easy to use
Not the most powerful
No advanced features
With a list price of $40 and an incredibly simple design, the Honeywell HUL520B was a clear winner of our Best Buy award. Its mist output was lower than that of the larger models in our review but it still performed well enough to humidify any small room. The water tank opening is large enough for most people to fit a hand inside, making cleaning much easier than most humidifiers. If you only need a humidifier occasionally or plan to use one in a small room, the HUL520B will not disappoint.

Read review: Honeywell HUL520B

select up to 5 products
Score Product Price Our Take
77
$120
Editors' Choice Award
Powerful, fully featured, and easy to use and clean, great for large rooms and those that want precise and consistent humidity levels
73
$40
Best Buy Award
A great budget option if you don't need advanced features and want to humidify a smaller room
72
$70
Quite effective and powerful for its price, but don't forget you'll have to pay for replacement filters for the life of the machine
72
$100
Great if you have a larger bedroom and want something with extra features like self regulation
63
$50
A nice budget option for standard to large sized bedrooms
60
$55
Adequate for small rooms, but there are better low cost/small room models available
52
$108
Multiple other models offer similar or superior performance for much less, both upfront and in the long run
51
$50
Attempts to be a great budget model, but other offerings perform significantly better in that regard
51
$500
While good, this is not the best model around, yet costs 5 times as much as other top performers
38
$130
The cleaning difficulties alone are off putting, and it doesn't offer any redeeming qualities

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

Analysis and Test Results


We spent over 100 hours putting our humidifiers through a stringent series of eight tests that evaluated everything from humidifying performance to ease of cleaning and operating cost. Using those tests we assigned each model an overall score out of 100, as you can see in the table above. Below we further detail how each model performed in all of our different tests.

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.
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.

Humidifying Performance


Good humidifying performance is all about balance. You want something that can quickly add humidity to the air, but that also won't add too much humidity and leave condensation all over the walls. In our humidifying performance testing we focused first on power, or how quickly and how much humidity each model was able to produce, along with consistency, or the ability to maintain a desired level of humidity. Models with humidistats 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 LV600HHwas the clear winner in this test, earning the top score of 9 out of 10. After running for three hours in our testing room it achieved a maximum humidity of 68%, which was higher than any of the other models we tested. It also reached that ideal level of 45% after just 30 minutes. Most importantly, we found its built-in humidistat to be quite accurate, allowing it to stay within a few percentage points of the desired humidity level.

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

Preventing Over Humidification
We tested all of our models in a 150 square foot room, and have made general suggestions based on those results. Please keep in mind that humidification performance can vary greatly based on ambient humidity, ambient temperature, and the ventilation in your home. Whenever you buy a new humidifier you should start out on a lower setting and slowly move up until you find a good level of humidity, rather than starting on the highest setting and risking over humidification. For more on preventing over humidification, see our buying advice article.

Just behind the leader with a score of 8 out of 10 was the PureGuardian H1250. It actually achieved 45% humidity in our testing room faster than the top scoring Levoit, doing so in just 22 minutes. However, it didn't reach as high a level of humidity, maxing out at 65.8%. The built-in humidistat also wasn't quite as accurate, as it stayed within 5% of the desired humidity (the Levoit stayed within 3%). That being said, the PureGuardian is still an excellent performer as far as humidifying is concerned.


Rounding out the top scorers with a 7 out of 10 was the Dyson AM10. It reached 45% fairly quickly (29 minutes) and maxed out slightly below the top scorers at 57.6%. Its score was buoyed by the built-in humidistat, which was the most accurate amongst the models we tested. This allowed the Dyson to never waver more than 1% from the desired humidity.

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

Outside of the top scorers none of the models we tested have any sort of humidistat, so there is no control of the output. You simply turn the unit on, and if it starts to get too humid you have to turn it off yourself. The top scoring of these non-humidistat models were the TaoTronics TT-AH002 and the Honeywell HCM-350, both of which earned a 6 out of 10. The TaoTronics was slightly slow in getting to 45%, taking a full hour, and maxed out at 56.7%. We felt that was a promising high point as, depending on the size of your room, you can likely find some medium setting that would plateau at around 45%. The Honeywell HCM-350 was slightly better, reaching 45% in just 34 minutes and hitting a maximum of 58.9%. Again this feels like a good place to max out, as you'll likely find a medium setting that could settle in somewhere near 45%. The Honeywell HCM-350 is also the only evaporative model we tested. This means it naturally releases less moisture as the humidity of the room rises, essentially negating any risks of over humidifying

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.
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.

Three different models earned an average 5 out of 10 in our humidifying testing. The Crane Drop took a full hour and 45 minutes to hit 45% and peaked at 51.2%. The Honeywell HUL520B took 2 hours to hit 45%, and petered out at 47.8%. The Sunpentown SPT SU-4010 was the best of these three models, hitting 45% in one hour and hitting a maximum of 56.8%. While the Supentown is right on the line in terms of providing enough power for a large bedroom, the Honeywell HUL520B and the Crane Drop both would only be effective in smaller bedrooms.

At the bottom of our humidifying scoresheet was the URPOWER Cool Mist and the Pure Ultrasonic, both earning a 4 out of 10. Both of these models took over 2.5 hours to get our testing room to 45% humidity. Both also maxed out our humidity meter at 47.5% over the course of the 3-hour test. This makes both of these models really only suitable for small rooms (100 square feet or less).

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.
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.

Ease of Cleaning


If you don't clean your humidifier regularly it can become a breeding ground for bacteria and end up doing you more harm than good. Therefore, if a model is so hard to clean that you end up neglecting that responsibility, it becomes not only useless but counterproductive. Most require some basic scrubbing and a soaking in a vinegar or bleach solution to get rid of mold. We cleaned every one of our models multiple times throughout our testing, and kept careful notes on how arduous the process was for each one.


The Honeywell HCM-350 was the only evaporative model we tested, which eliminates those hard to reach corners around the sonic agitator in other models where mold can slowly take hold. The tank is large and easy to scrub, and the bottom tray is dishwasher safe. The one caveat is the actual filter (that soaks up water before it is evaporated) can get very moldy if you neglect cleaning or let stagnant water sit in the tank for a couple of days. If that happens you're pretty much out of luck and will need to buy a new filter for $8.

The Honeywell HUL520B was a close runner-up to its sibling, garnering a top score of 8 out of 10 in this metric. It has a wide, nearly 4-inch opening that allows for easy scrubbing access. There are some nooks and crannies around the ultrasonic unit, but generally you can scrub everything without too much maneuvering.

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.
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.

Both the PureGuardian H1250 and the Levoit LV600HH scored 7 out of 10 in this metric. These models require a bit more focused scrubbing than the Honeywell HCM-350 to make sure every crevice is clean, but they're not particularly annoying in that regard.

Earning scores of 6 out of 10 and just verging into 'oh crap I need to clean that thing' were the TaoTronics TT-AH002, the Crane Drop, and the Sunpentown SPT SU-4010. These products have smaller openings and more crowded internal construction, 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, which earned a 5 out of 10 in this metric. Its cleaning difficulty arises from the small tank opening, which necessitates some creative toothbrush and/or chopstick use in order to get every surface scrubbed. The Dyson AM10 is even worse in this regard and scored a 4 out of 10 in our ease of cleaning metric. The opening on the tank is so small that you really can't scrub the inside whatsoever. You just have to trust that regular citric acid soaks and the Dyson's ultraviolet water purifier are going to keep mold and mineral buildup at bay.

The opaque water tank  small opening  and lack of clear cleaning instructions made the URPOWER the most tedious model to clean.
The opaque water tank, small opening, and lack of clear cleaning instructions made the URPOWER the most tedious model to clean.

Our least favorite model to clean was the URPOWER, whose cleaning annoyances earned it just a 3 out of 10 in this metric. It has a trifecta of problems that make cleaning difficult: a very small opening in the water tank, an opaque color that makes it hard to locate moldy spots or areas of mineral buildup, and a poorly translated instruction manual that doesn't provide a clear and effective method for cleaning. This last point leaves you wondering whether the vinegar soak you read about on the internet is really the best way to clean the machine.

Clear controls displays  like on the Levoit pictured above  make operation easy.
Clear controls displays, like on the Levoit pictured above, make operation easy.

User Friendliness


Humidifiers are generally very simple machines, but a few small design differences can make using them feel like 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.


Perhaps unsurprisingly, the two models we found most user friendly were the two that won awards, the Editors' Choice Levoit LV600HH and the Best Buy Honeywell HUL520B. These models shared the top score of 8 out of 10, largely because of 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 opeing 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.

We loved the convenience of the Levoit's remote control.
We loved the convenience of the Levoit's remote control.

The Honeywell HCM-350 was just off the top scorers with a 7 out of 10. 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 humidity of the room and requires less monitoring. However, it missed out on a top score because this evaporative technique requires replacing the filter/wick every six months. The PureGuardian H1250 also earned a 7 out 10 in this metric. Its opening is quite large, but the tank is on the tall side, so it can be difficult to refill in shallower sinks. The interface is clean and simple to use.

Outside of these top scorers all of the models we tested had some little thing that annoyed us about them. Three of those models, the TaoTronics TT-AH002, the Dyson AM10, and the Sunpentown SPT SU-4010 , scored 6 out of 10 in this metric. The TaoTronics has a relatively small opening on its tank. Additionally, the tank is quite tall, which can create a geometric puzzle if you have a small sink. The Dyson has the smallest water tank opening of all the models we tested at just one inch. This can make refilling feel like trying to dock with the international space station. However, a convenient remote control and the ability to use this as a fan as well as a humidifying device saved it from a lower score. The Sunpentown's tank also has a large opening, but the tank itself is fairly long, so you may not be able to fill it directly from smaller sinks.

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

Leading off the low scorers in this metric is the Pure Ultrasonic, which scored 4 out of 10. The tank's opening is fairly small, but the tank itself is also small and easy to maneuver during refilling. It really 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 gets you to your preferred setting.

The URPOWER was the worst performer in this metric, earning a 3 out of 10. Here again it has a small but not frustratingly small opening to refill the water tank, and a user interface that is just annoying. It has a single button to toggle between its two mist settings. There are a couple of LED lights to indicate which setting is selected, but those LEDs are very dim. Also, the button isn't always responsive, we had to press it many times to get the setting to actually change.

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.
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.

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 and a cost of $0.12 per kWh (the national average), and a functional lifetime of 5 years. We also factored in filter costs for those models that use filters, and of course we considered the upfront cost of each machine. This resulted in estimated lifetime costs that spanned more than $500.


The Honeywell HUL520B, our Best Buy Award winner, 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 of $30, 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 ($50) and uses even less electricity than the Honeywell. In a slightly more distant third was the TaoTronics with an estimated lifetime cost of $89. Its list price is quite low at $50, but it uses a bit more electricity than average (0.015kWh per hour).

The Crane Drop is one of the more inexpensive models we tested at a list $50, but it also uses more electricity than most models (0.02kWh per hour). This pushed its estimated lifetime cost a bit higher to $108. The PureGuardian H1250 was next in line with an estimated lifetime cost of $153. This jump was due to a higher list price ($100) and a relatively energy hungry sonic agitator that pulled 0.02kWh of electricity per hour in our testing. Just behind this was the Editors' Choice Award winning Levoit LV600HH. It was mid range both in terms of electricity economy (0.015kWh per hour) and list price ($120), resulting in a lifetime estimated cost of $159.

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

The first model in the mid range in terms of lifetime costs is the URPOWER. It both has a relatively high list price ($130) and uses quite a bit of electricity, as far as humidifiers go (0.02kWh per hour). This resulted in an estimated lifetime cost of $183. The Honeywell HCM-350 Has a fairly low list price of $70, but it uses more electricity than most models (0.02kWh per hour) and has an $8 filter that must be replaced at least every 6 months. This resulted in an estimated lifetime cost of $203.

Now we get to the really expensive models. The Dyson AM10 and the Sunpentown SPT SU-4010 blew the other models out of the water in terms of estimated lifetime costs, and not in a good way. The Sunpentown SPT SU-4010 only costs $108 up front, but it requires buying a $30 filter at least every 6 months, which skyrocketed its estimated lifetime cost to $447. The Dyson AM10, like all Dyson products, carries a high price tag, $500 in this case. It also uses the most electricity of all the models we tested (0.03kWh per hour), likely because it always uses a UV water purifier. This pushed its estimated lifetime cost up to $579, the highest we calculated.


Conclusion


A humidifier can make your home much more comfortable and negate many of the adverse side effects of dry climates and parched, winter air. However, any humidifier requires diligent cleaning and upkeep, and not all are created equal in terms of the ease 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. If you're still on the fence, or just want more information about humidifiers and their uses, check out our buying advice article. It provides some useful background information and a step-by-step buying guide to make choosing the right model a bit easier.
Max Mutter and Steven Tata

  • Share this article:

Still not sure? Take a look at our buying advice article for more info.
 

Follow Us

Unbiased.

You Might Also Like