The type of humidifier you choose depends on your preferences, budget, and the size of the area you want to add moisture to. There are five types of humidifiers:
Central humidifiers are built directly into your home’s air conditioning or heating unit. These are the most expensive types of humidifiers, but they are the best choice if you want to add humidity throughout the entire house.
Traditional humidifiers carry a potential risk of burns from the steam they emit. Central humidifiers don’t emit steam.
Evaporators blow moisture through a moistened filter. Fans power the unit and expel the humidity into the air from a single-unit system.
These are more affordable than central humidifiers, but the downside is that they only work in one room at a time. There’s also a possibility of expelling too much moisture in the air. This can be problematic for people with asthma, as it raises the likelihood for mold growth.
Impeller humidifiers work with the help of rotating disks that run at high speeds. These units are an affordable choice for people on a budget. They’re also among the most child-friendly devices because they create cool mists and carry no risk of burns
The downside is, like evaporators, they only work for single rooms. They can potentially cause breathing difficulties for people with allergies and asthma when they’re overused.
Steam vaporizers are electrically powered. They heat water then cool it before expelling into the air. These are the most budget-friendly and most portable humidifiers. You can purchase them at drugstores.
This type can cause burns, so it’s not the most kid-friendly.
Ultrasonic humidifiers produce a cool mist with the help of ultrasonic vibration. The units vary in price, depending on the size you need for your home. Both cool and warm mist versions are available.
An ultrasonic humidifier — especially the cool mist version — is a good choice if you have children.
Humidifiers are often classified as console or portable/personal.
Console units are meant to add moisture to the entire house. They’re often very large, but usually have wheels so you can easily move them around. Console units are meant to add moisture to one room.
Personal (or portable) humidifiers are the smallest, and are the best choice if you need a humidifier while traveling.