Best Humidifiers of 2022

In CR's tests, the top models—for every room size—come from Babymoov, Honeywell, Lasko, and Stadler Form.

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detail of steam coming from top of humidifier Photo: iStock

Winter’s chill means drier air, indoors and out. Cold air tends to hold less water vapor than warm air, and that can make the air drier, even indoors. An effective humidifier can restore moisture and stave off a host of problems.

For one, a humidifier can prevent or relieve dry skin. If you have a cold, a humidifier that emits cold air can help shrink swelling in your nasal passages and make it easier for you to breathe, the Food and Drug Administration says. And higher humidity helps reduce static electricity, so you can avoid those annoying shocks you feel when crossing a carpet.

Humidifiers also can help keep the things you own in good condition. Without enough moisture in indoor air, leather goods can crack, wood floorboards can shrink and creak, and guitars and other musical instruments can quickly go out of tune.

Our tests find that some humidifiers are much better than others at pumping out the amount of moisture the manufacturers claim they produce. And some humidifiers are quieter, more convenient to use and clean, or use less energy.

Another factor in how well a humidifier works: matching the unit to your room size. “Ensure that the humidifier you choose can handle the area of your space,” says Misha Kollontai, the engineer who leads Consumer Reports’ humidifier testing. Keep in mind, for instance, that open-plan rooms may require larger units. “Living spaces often have open doorways that effectively increase the square footage,” Kollontai says.

You’ll see dozens of models in our humidifier ratings. Most are cool-mist, the more widely used type. A handful are warm-mist, also known as steam vaporizers, which shouldn’t be used around children. (The humidifier tank contains hot water that can burn a child if they get too close, or if the hot water spills.) And avoid warm-mist humidifiers if you have a cold. The warm moisture can cause your nasal passages to swell, making breathing more difficult.

Here’s a look at five top-rated humidifiers, one for each size we test.

For more shopping advice, see our humidifier buying guide. For test results and more options, CR members can check our complete humidifier ratings, which include units that range from personal size all the way up to consoles that can humidify 1,000 square feet or more.

CR’s take. The stylish Stadler Form Emma E031 cool-mist ultrasonic humidifier, designed for areas up to 25 square feet, is the most expensive travel/personal unit in our ratings. It’s also a stellar performer in several of our evaluations, including convenience. In part that’s because the wide-mouthed water tank that comes with this humidifier is easy to reach into for cleaning. The Emma’s machinery can be disassembled to fit into the water tank, which in turn fits into a fabric travel pouch. To power up, use a wall plug, a USB cable attached to a computer, or a battery pack (not included).

CR’s take: The ultrasonic Babymoov Hygro (+), designed for rooms of around 215 square feet, is top-rated for a reason. It excels in almost every one of CR’s tests. The Hygro (+) is the only small humidifier to earn an above-average score for the accuracy of its humidistat, a device that displays relative room humidity. Features include a night-light that revolves through a rainbow of colors, automatic shutoff when the tank is empty, a timer, and the option to diffuse aromas. But its cord length, 58 inches, is on the short side.

CR’s take: The sleek, ultrasonic Honeywell HUL430 hits only high notes in our ratings, earning top scores in five out of six of our tests. (We couldn’t do our sixth test, for humidistat accuracy, because this model doesn’t have a humidistat.) The HUL430, which is designed for rooms of about 400 square feet, includes several attractive features: an empty-tank indicator, automatic shutoff when empty, a fairly long cord (74 inches), an ample 2-year warranty, and the ability to diffuse scented essential oils into the air. Because this unit has no humidistat, we recommend buying a hygrometer, a gauge that costs around $10 and measures relative humidity; it will help you keep your room at the humidity level you want.

CR’s take: The ultrasonic Lasko UH300, a CR Best Buy, can humidify a large room of up to 600 square feet, earning a Very Good rating in our output tests and acing several other evaluations. Unlike most of the models in our ratings, the Lasko is a dual-mist humidifier. That means it can pump out cool mist or warm, using more energy in the latter mode. When empty, the Lasko shuts off automatically. This model’s humidistat wasn’t very effective, though, so consider purchasing an inexpensive hygrometer to monitor your room’s humidity level.

CR’s take: The Honeywell HEV685W console cool-mist humidifier is a CR Best Buy. It’s designed to humidify up to 1,300 square feet and performs commendably in several of our tests. Convenience is just middling, though, in part because of a large and heavy tank that tends to spill when moved. It’s also on the noisy side. Pluses: The Honeywell HEV685W automatically shuts off when empty, and it has an empty-tank indicator. But the unit lacks a humidistat, so you’ll need to buy a simple hygrometer, around $10, to monitor your room’s humidity level.

Tobie Stanger

I cover the money side of home-related purchases and improvements: avoiding scams, making sense of warranties and insurance, finding the best financing, and getting the most value for your dollar. For CR, I've also written about digital payments, credit and debit, taxes, supermarkets, financial planners, airlines, retirement and estate planning, shopping for electronics and hearing aids—even how to throw a knockout wedding on a shoestring. I am never bored. Find me on Twitter: @TobieStanger