Best Humidifiers Under $50

Budget-friendly options that don't skimp on quality

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Humidifier surrounded by blue clouds Photo Illustration: Lacey Browne/Consumer Reports

The moment a permanent chill settles in the air, we turn to our home’s heating system for comfort. But that constant stream of dry, hot air can result in a loss of moisture, which can contribute to a host of physical discomforts from itchy skin to cold- and flu-like symptoms. Cool- and warm-mist humidifiers can be instrumental in relieving these problems and so much more. 

Finding the perfect humidifier for you and your space depends on the size of the room it will live in. Our picks below can accommodate areas as large as 500 square feet and as intimate as 25 square feet. We even included personal-sized options that can be great for travel or an office desktop—for whenever that becomes more of a reality. 

In the meantime, take a look at the top-rated humidifiers from Consumer Reports’ tests that you can snag for $50 or less. 

For more options, see the best humidifiers of the year.

For Smaller Spaces up to 299 Sq. Ft.

The Comfort Zone CZHD20 humidifier is geared toward smaller areas, specifically up to 100 square feet, and can be used for travel as well. It earns an Excellent rating in overall performance in our tests and top marks for convenience as well as its output of gallons of water emitted daily.

The Crane Drop humidifier is intended for rooms up to 250 square feet and earns an Excellent rating in our tests for overall performance. This model comes with an empty-tank indicator and has an automatic shutoff feature. Easy to use and energy-efficient, this model also scores top marks for its low noise levels. 

It’s not all about looks with this whimsical Crane Owl humidifier. On just about every measure, including moisture output and noise, it earns an Excellent rating. It’s convenient to use, though not being able to get a hand into the tank for cleaning is a drawback. The 250-square-foot claimed coverage area is on the high end for a small-room model.

The CVS Health GUL540V1 cool-mist humidifier is intended for rooms up to 150 square feet, and it earns an Excellent rating in our noise tests, making it a good choice for a small bedroom. A CR Best Buy, the model combines impressive performance with an appealing price. Like many small humidifiers, it’s light on features but is equipped with an automatic shutoff and a nightlight. This model is sold exclusively at CVS and cvs.com.

The Honeywell HUL520 humidifier is another CR Best Buy, but the budget pick lacks many features save for an automatic shutoff when the tank is empty. That said, its overall performance is first-rate, and it does a top-notch job adding moisture to the air without a lot of noise. For convenience, it earns an Excellent rating; being able to fill the tank in a bathroom sink and get a hand inside for cleaning are major pluses.

For Medium-Sized Spaces up to 499 Sq. Ft.

The Air Innovations humidifier impresses in our tests, with top marks in efficiency, low noise levels, and output. It earns an Excellent rating in overall performance and comes with an automatic shutoff feature as well as an empty-tank indicator. Prime to tackle areas up to 400 square feet, this model is not one to miss. 

The Amazon Basics ultrasonic humidifier, equipped with a night light and aroma diffuser, is a CR Best Buy. Overall, its performance rates an Excellent; it earns top-notch scores for noise, convenience, and energy efficiency. Convenience-wise, it has an empty-tank indicator and provides a relatively long maximum run time of 24 hours.

When it comes to adding moisture to a room quietly and efficiently, this Comfort Zone humidifier rates an Excellent. The only blemish is a so-so convenience rating; the tank can’t be filled in a bathroom sink, and a hand won’t fit inside it for cleaning. This model is loaded with features, such as an empty-tank indicator and auto-shutoff, though CR found that using the controls isn’t clear or intuitive.

The Vicks cool-mist humidifier, designed for a medium-sized room, excels across the board, garnering an Excellent rating for moisture output for the space, noise levels, and more. Because the tank can’t be filled in a typical bathroom sink, it’s not as convenient as some other models. At 84 inches, the cord is especially long. As for features, there’s automatic shutoff, but that’s it.

For Travel or Personal Use for up to 25 Sq. Ft.

Suitable for a very small room or for travel, the portable Boneco 7146 humidifier is a strong performer. The moisture output rates Excellent for the intended space, and noise levels and energy efficiency are top-notch. This compact model uses a water bottle for a tank (convenient for traveling), and features an empty-tank indicator and automatic shutoff when it’s empty. One caution: If you’re refilling a water bottle with hard water, the humidifier’s performance will suffer.

The Crane EE-5950 portable humidifier performs impressively, scoring an Excellent rating for noise levels, energy efficiency, convenience, and moisture output. The only downside is that it doesn’t work well with hard water. Typical for models designed for very small rooms, it’s light on extra features, though it does shut down automatically when the tank empties. The humidifier fits into a base that serves as the water tank, or a compatible cup will do.

The SPT SU-1053 portable humidifier is designed to use in a very small room or—because a water bottle serves as the water tank—for travel. It excels at adding moisture to the air, earning an Excellent rating for output as well as for noise and energy efficiency. It sports an empty-tank indicator and automatic shutoff when the water is used up. If you’re refilling a water bottle with hard water, however, performance will suffer.


Headshot of CRO shopping editor Anna Kocharian

Anna Kocharian

Based in New York City, I'm a shopping editor for Consumer Reports, writing about home, tech, and everything in between. Previously, I covered interior design and market trends as the digital editor of Domino, which shaped my multidisciplinary background in lifestyle journalism. When I'm not seeking out the everyday essentials worth investing in, you may find me perusing my favorite bookstores, cooking, or wandering around the city.