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Personal humidifiers combat dry office air.

Best Personal Humidifiers and Space Heaters

CR ranks the small appliances that combat dry air and warm up a cold room

You can keep your home as cozy or cool as you like, but at work or on the road, it’s likely out of your control. The air conditioning may be blasting in your office or the air in your hotel room may be too dry. That’s where personal humidifiers and space heaters can help.

Consumer Reports recently tested some of these pint-sized products and found a few that may be worth a spot under your desk or on your nightstand in a small office or bedroom. "They're not meant to heat or humidifiy a large room," says John Galeotafiore, who oversees the testing of these and other products for the home. 

We use the same testing criteria for small humidifiers and space heaters as we do for the full-sized versions. For humidifiers, we test the claimed moisture output and how easy they are to set up and operate. We also test how quiet they are since you’re likely to put it close to you to get the full benefit. Then we calculate how much energy it requires for the unit to emit a gallon of water into the air. (For more, check out CR's humidifiers buying guide.)

We test space heaters for two types of heating—room and spot. The units are rated on whether they can effectively heat a room in 15 minutes and how effective they are at warming a person with direct heat in that same timeframe. We also test how noisy they are. And because they get hot, we test for burn and fire hazards. (For expert advice on how to choose the right type, check CR's space heater buying guide.)

As a group, the petite humidifiers fared better than the small space heaters, and they both have their trade-offs. We tested humdifiers from Boneco, Crane, CVS, Walgreens, Hunter, and SPT and space heaters from Bionaire, Comfort Zone, Honeywell, Insignia, Lasko, and Vornado. Click through to find out which models did the best in our tests.

Personal Humidifiers

Personal or travel humidifiers are appropriate for spaces of up to 25 square feet. Models that take a standard-sized water bottle are convenient for traveling: Just pack the bottom unit and pick up a bottle of water at your destination. You can adjust the direction of the mist, but keep an eye on the water level so you know when the tank needs refilling.

Keep in mind that, as with full-sized humidifiers, you’ll need to keep the unit clean.

Five of the six personal humidifiers we tested made our list of top picks, including three that use an inverted water bottle as the tank. The winner, the Hunter QLS-O3, $40, scored an 87, has excellent output, and is the only one in the batch that performed equally well using soft and hard water. All six units were very quiet, which you’ll appreciate if you plan to use it near your bed or on your desk.

We also recommend the Well at Walgreens, $32; the Crane EE-5950, $30; the Boneco 7146, $51; and the SPT SU-1053, $40. They all have excellent output and run quietly. Like the Hunter, the Boneco and the SPT accept standard water bottles. The Well at Walgreens and the Crane operate more like full-sized models.

The only disappointment in the bunch was the CVS 919158, $20, which scored a 26 out of a possible 100 because of its poor output.

If portability isn’t important to you, consider one of the small-room humidifiers from our tests. The CVS GUL540V1, $30, was the winner, with excellent scores on every measure we tested.

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