Best Personal Humidifiers for Travel and Office

These light, portable units humidify the area directly around you

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Hunter personal humidifier Photo: Hunter

A personal or travel humidifier can be just the ticket when you’re in a hotel room or an office where the air is dry and you can’t control the heat or open a window. These portable units add moisture to the area directly around you, potentially delivering relief from itchy skin, cracking lips, and other dry-air symptoms.

The four tested personal models in Consumer Reports’ humidifier ratings weigh about 9 ounces to 1.3 pounds, so they really are portable (three even come with a travel bag). With one exception they use conventional plastic water bottles, which you supply. Prices range from $30 to $60.

All four personal humidifiers are cool-mist ultrasonic models. They use small, vibrating diaphragms called nebulizers to create a mist from the water you supply. Because these humidifiers don’t boil the water and make steam—like vaporizers do—they pose no scalding risk and are fine to use around children and pets. All four models in our ratings shut off automatically when empty.

More on Humidifiers

Keep in mind that personal humidifiers aren’t meant to cover an entire room. They’re designed for spaces that measure up to 25 square feet—that’s a 5x5-foot room. So to get maximum benefit, you’ll need to keep a unit no more than a few feet from you. For their intended area, though, all the tested models pump out the right amount of moisture and earn an Excellent rating in our output tests.

In fact, each earns an Excellent or a Very Good Overall Score. For our ratings we evaluate convenience, noise levels, and energy efficiency; we also look at how much moisture a humidifier emits when using hard water. (The minerals in hard water can clog up the unit.) It’s in hard-water use where we saw major differences among the models.

Here’s a look at the four personal humidifiers in Consumer Reports’ humidifier ratings. If you’re looking for a larger model, you’ll find dozens of them in the ratings organized by room size, from 26 square feet to areas in excess of 1,000 square feet.

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