Product Reviews

Welcome to Consumer Reports.

We’re so glad to have you as a member. You now have access to benefits that can help you choose right, be safe and stay informed.

Best Humidifiers of 2019

In CR's tests, the top models—for every room size—come from Hunter, Vicks, CVS Health, and more

A humidifier generating mist
When you shop through retailer links on our site, we may earn affiliate commissions. 100% of the fees we collect are used to support our nonprofit mission. Learn more.

In the dead of winter, humidifiers can be essential for keeping your home comfortable. These oft-overlooked appliances can keep the air moist to alleviate dry throats and skin, as well as cold and flu symptoms and allergy irritations.

But for all their promise, these machines can be far from perfect. Consumer Reports’ tests have found that some models can be difficult to use and noisy. And some humidifiers are energy hogs.

In our environmental test chamber, we evaluate humidifiers for six criteria: moisture output, convenience, noise, efficiency, humidistat sensitivity, and hard water. For convenience, we gauge how easy a model is to set up, operate, and clean. Our humidistat sensitivity test measures how accurate the target humidity setting is on the humidifier, which is important for comfort and efficiency. And our hard-water test evaluates moisture output using hard water, which can have a noticeable impact on performance.

Performance is key when choosing a humidifier, but another consideration comes first: “It’s important to buy a humidifier based on room size,” says John Banta, CR’s test engineer for humidifiers. “For large spaces, this ensures the unit will be able to provide the desired amount of humidity—and have a large enough water tank that you won't need to constantly refill it.” For small spaces, he adds, smaller units can save you some money because they usually cost less and require less electricity.

Below, we’ve highlighted top-scoring humidifiers for each room size: small (25 to 299 square feet), medium (300 to 499 square feet), large (500 to 999 square feet), and console (1,000 square feet and up). We’ve also included a travel/personal humidifier, which provides coverage for a small space around 25 square feet and can be easily packed in a suitcase.

All of the models earn an Excellent rating in our hard-water test and all but one (the Hunter QLS-03) earn a CR Best Buy designation for their combination of performance and value. CR members can click each model name for more detailed ratings and reviews. For more options, see our comprehensive ratings of more than 60 humidifiers.

1
Small Humidifier
CVS Health GUL540V1
CVS Health GUL540V1

    CVS Health GUL540V1

    CR’s take: For small rooms, such as bedrooms or offices, consider the CVS Health GUL540V1. It offers terrific performance, with an Excellent rating for convenience, and it’s the least expensive model on this list. Its feature set is a bit bare-bones—just an automatic shutoff and nightlight—but that makes sense given the low price. As the name implies, this model is only available at CVS and CVS.com. If you need a small humidifier but would prefer to shop elsewhere, check out the Vicks VUL520.

    2
    Medium Humidifier
    Vicks V5100NS
    Vicks V5100NS

      Vicks V5100NS

      CR’s take: For rooms between 300 and 500 square feet, consider the Vicks V5100NS. Again, its feature set is a bit underwhelming (you only get automatic shutoff), but the Vicks rates very well across all of our performance tests. It even earns an Excellent rating for water output, which is critical at the driest times of the year.

      3
      Large Humidifier
      SPT SU-4010
      SPT SU-4010

        SPT SU-4010

        CR’s take: For large rooms, the SPT SU-4010 is the best humidifier for the job. It does quite well in our lab tests and earns a Very Good rating for efficiency. Unlike the other models on this list, the SPT is capable of producing both cool mist and warm mist, which might provide more comfort if you’re dealing with a cold or the flu. It also features an empty-tank indicator, but it lacks an automatic shutoff for when the tank runs out.

        4
        Console Humidifier
        Essick MA1201
        Essick MA1201

          Essick MA1201

          CR’s take: If you have a large home with an open floor plan, you’ll probably go for a console humidifier. The Essick MA1201 is the best console model we’ve tested and claims to cover 2,500 square feet. It comes with a built-in humidistat for achieving and maintaining a precise humidity level, an automatic shutoff, and an empty-tank indicator. As for performance, this humidifier does well in every test except our noise test, where it receives a Poor rating, but that is a common problem among all the console models in our tests.

          5
          Travel/Personal Humidifier
          Hunter QLS-03
          Hunter QLS-03

            Hunter QLS-03

            CR’s take: If you’re a road warrior or frequent flyer, it can help to bring a travel/personal humidifier with you, especially to drier climates. The Hunter QLS-03 uses a water bottle as its “tank” and only offers one feature (an automatic shutoff when the bottle runs out). But its performance is superb. It receives strong scores in all of our tests, including an Excellent rating for noise, which is important if you plan to use it in small hotel rooms.

            58
            Humidifiers Rated
            Access Ratings
            Daniel Wroclawski

            I'm obsessed with smart home tech and channel my obsession into new stories for Consumer Reports. When I'm not writing about products, I spend time either outside hiking and skiing or up in the air in small airplanes. For my latest obsessions, follow me on Facebook and Twitter (@danwroc).