It’s 2 o’clock in the morning. You find yourself woken to the cries of your 3-month-old infant coming from the baby monitor. Perhaps he’s ready for his night feeding. Bleary-eyed, you stumble out of bed and walk to the kitchen to prepare a bottle.
Once you enter his room, bottle in hand, you realize he isn’t hungry – He’s sick. Sure, you can give him medicine to alleviate his cold symptoms, but how are you going to help him rest comfortably, so he can get the rest he needs?
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Table of Contents
- Introducing Humidifiers
- Why Are Cool-Mist Humidifiers the Preferred Type of Humidifier for Babies?
- What Are Some of the Other Benefits of Cool-Mist Humidifiers?
- Why Is Distilled Water Better Than Tap Water for Use in a Baby’s Humidifier?
- What Makes One Humidifier More Effective Than Another?
- What Cool-Mist Humidifier Features Offer Convenience for Parents?
- Our Recommended Humidifiers for Babies
- What Are the Essential Features to Look for in a Cool-Mist Humidifier?
- Are There Other Features to Consider?
This is a situation where a humidifier becomes a lifesaver by clearing his sinuses and soothing him back to sleep. Scenarios like the above aren’t out of the norm.
In fact, babies can catch up to 12 colds during their first year, which means that a humidifier is a must-have for parents. However, when it comes to young children, some humidifiers are better than others.
Why Are Cool-Mist Humidifiers the Preferred Type of Humidifier for Babies?
Although warm-mist humidifiers tend to cost less than their cool-mist counterparts, warm-mist humidifiers create mist from the water inside of them via a heating element. Therefore, the American Academy of Pediatrics deems them to be a burn risk for small children.
On the other hand, cool-mist humidifiers don’t pose the same problem. Ultrasonic humidifiers vibrate water with sound waves to create mist while evaporative humidifiers expel wick-absorbed water with the help of an internal fan. For babies, cool-mist evaporative and ultrasonic humidifiers are safer choices.
If you choose to go the ultrasonic route, it’s important to only use purified water or find one with a demineralization cartridge to prevent the release of white powder, which is mineral residue.
What Are Some of the Other Benefits of Cool-Mist Humidifiers?
While cool-mist humidifiers are helpful for clearing stuffy noses and relieving inflamed sinuses, these appliances do offer other benefits. For instance, humidifiers are able to balance a room’s relative humidity to inhibit mold growth, which is a huge asthma trigger.
Plus, the additional moisture in the air can alleviate dry skin, and the gentle noise of moving water and a running fan make humidifiers a great white-noise machine.
Why Is Distilled Water Better Than Tap Water for Use in a Baby’s Humidifier?
Even though municipal water goes through multiple stages of treatment before it reaches the tap to make it safe to drink, the overall water quality differs from one city and county to the next, especially in terms of mineral content. Even well water is not immune to mineral-deposit contamination.
Hard water, or water with an elevated volume of minerals, can foster the growth of bacteria. When you use hard water in a humidifier, your baby breathes in all those minerals, triggering and exacerbating respiratory problems.
In addition, the minerals can clog the humidifier’s mist outlet, damaging the machine and reducing its efficiency.
However, distilled water is prepared by boiling the water, which removes minerals and other contaminants. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about your child breathing in minerals or breaking your humidifier.
The lack of minerals means the white powder mentioned earlier won’t float through the air and settle on nearby surfaces. Purified water is an alternative to the distilled variety.
This type of water undergoes deionization or reverse osmosis to remove minerals and other impurities. You can use either kind of water to get the same benefits. Distilled water does cost more, but the price difference is negligible, so it’s all a matter of personal preference.
What Makes One Humidifier More Effective Than Another?
There is no point in buying a humidifier if its efficiency is subpar. With the myriad of models on the market, it’s hard for the average consumer to determine what features make a humidifier one that can handle the job. There are two characteristics to pay attention to when you’re browsing.
The size of the tank is important, but it becomes crucial if the humidifier will be used in a large room or overnight. The smaller the tank, the more often you’ll be refilling it. Many humidifiers have timers that include a continuous function, which tells the humidifier to run until the tank is empty.
You need the humidifier to be able to reach every cubic inch of air in the room, so its output strength must be strong enough to provide complete coverage. While you don’t want one that has such a high output that the air becomes too moisturized, you also don’t want one that is weak.
The humidifier’s water capacity will play a role in the output; however, the mist strength is the main determiner.
What Cool-Mist Humidifier Features Offer Convenience for Parents?
Even though you’re buying a humidifier for your baby, you’ll be the one operating and maintaining it. Obviously, you want a humidifier that’s easy to take care of and use. Convenience becomes more important when you’re already exhausted and frazzled from taking care of your sick baby.
Options are always great to have, but not if the controls are overly complex. After all, you don’t want to refer to the manual every time you need to change a setting. Make sure you carefully look at the controls.
Whether the humidifier has dials, switches, push buttons or a touchscreen, the controls should be clearly labeled if the panel contains a lot of them. While you may be tempted to get a humidifier with the least number of controls, make sure it still has the basic functions you need.
If you want a heavy-duty humidifier that can run for long periods of time, the humidifier must be sized to support that kind of use. Even so, you don’t want a humidifier that is too heavy or bulky to handle.
Ideally, it should be compact and lightweight, so it’s small enough to put on a tabletop and light enough to tote back and forth to the sink. In addition, you want to make sure the base is wide enough in comparison to its height to prevent the humidifier from wobbling or falling if someone accidentally bumps against the table.
Appliances must be kept clean to function properly. When it comes to humidifiers, cleanliness is crucial not only to their efficiency but also your baby’s health. You certainly don’t want him to breathe mist made from dirty water.
Therefore, make sure that you empty the tank once per day and never leave standing water in it for days on end. The specific cleaning procedures you should follow depends on the model, and the manual should have instructions on how to appropriately clean the humidifier.
Besides never running the humidifier with old water, there are other aspects involved with humidifier care. Unless the manufacturer says otherwise, you should rinse the humidifier’s reservoir every time you dump the water.
A daily rinse will remove droplets of old water and the accompanying minerals that remain. To make sure no stale water is left behind, take a soft, absorbent cloth and wipe down the inside of the tank.
If the inlet is too small for your hand to reach to the bottom of the tank, just flip the reservoir upside down until the water is drained and the tank is dry.
Periodically, you’ll need to perform other maintenance tasks. Manufacturers often recommend that consumers cleanse the internals of the humidifier each week by running the machine with diluted white vinegar. Other parts need maintenance too. You should wipe down the outside of the humidifier with a clean, damp cloth.
Don’t neglect the humidifier’s mist outlet. Some humidifiers come with a cleaning brush to help you get into the nozzle. If yours doesn’t, a soft brush like the one you use to clean your baby’s bottles will also work.
Our Recommended Humidifiers for Babies
OPOLAR Digital Humidifier
Talk about user-friendly. The control panel on the OPOLAR digital ultrasonic humidifier couldn’t be more streamlined. On the sleek, cubic-style cool-mist humidifier, there are five touch buttons, all of which are logically illustrated to clearly denote their meaning.
Since it only weighs 4.6 pounds and measures 10.3 inches by 10.2 inches by 5.6 inches, it fits nicely on an average-size nightstand. Plus, the highly visible, blue LED screen works great as a nightlight.
With its removable 0.8-gallon tank, you can run it for 12-16 hours on a single fill-up, depending on your chosen mist setting. This model doesn’t contain a filter, which means less maintenance for you.
However, since this is an ultrasonic humidifier, you should only use distilled or purified water. Its rotating nozzle evenly distributes mist throughout a 500-square-foot room at a maximum rate of 300 milliliters per hour. When the tank is empty, a warning indicator illuminates on the display panel, and the humidifier shuts itself down to prevent damage to the unit.
Read our full in-depth OPOLAR Digital Humidifier review here.
Inside this cool-mist humidifier, there is a humidistat that monitors the room’s relative humidity. You can utilize this function to set the humidifier to maintain the room’s humidity anywhere from 45 percent to 85 percent. You also have the option of setting a timer up to 9 hours.
There are even three mist setting and a night mode that turns off the LED light. With a sound level of 35 decibels, this humidifier is always whisper-quiet.
Cambond Cool Mist Humidifier
If you’re looking for a humidifier that can run all day and night, you’ve found it. The Cambond Ultrasonic Large-Capacity Cool-Mist Humidifier provides over 24 hours of mist on its lowest output setting.
Measuring 10.5 inches by 5.9 inches by 6.3 inches, this model is suitable to put on a bedside table or dresser. There are only three touch buttons on the front panel, all of which are labeled, illustrated and lit by different colored LED lights for visibility and clarity. Cambond also offers a 12-month warranty for peace of mind.
This cool-mist humidifier is equipped with an integrated 3-liter tank; therefore, you can simply fill it with a pitcher of water instead of removing the tank to lug it to the sink. Even better, the entire lid comes off, making it super easy to clean.
Inside the tank, there is a built-in, permanent filter that removes impurities from the water, so you can save the money you would spend on purified water.
In order to customize the mist level to the room size, you can change the output to one of three strengths. High output moves the mist at a rate of 185 milliliters per hour for 13 hours, and medium output emits 120 milliliters of mist per hour for 16 hours.
For over 24 hours of cool mist, set the humidifier to the low setting, and it will release 80 milliliters of mist per hour for an impressive 30 hours. The 360-degree nozzle lets you turn the outlet to any direction you want, and sleep mode allows you to shut off the LED light.
Aennon Cool Mist Humidifier
Although the Aennon Cool-Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier is peppered with multiple touch-button controls, it comes with a few bonuses. This egg-shaped humidifier stands 11.8 inches tall.
At its widest point, the diameter is 8.3 inches while the base’s diameter is 7.3 inches. Therefore, it has plenty of stability to prevent tip-overs. It also never gets hot to the touch, so nobody will scald their hands.
To fill the 2.8-liter tank, the dome top lifts off, allowing you to easily add water. With this reservoir’s capacity, a full tank lasts 20 hours, and the machine shuts off when the tank is dry. The humidifier does have a filter, which means you can safely use tap water in the tank.
This filter lasts 6 months instead of monthly like some models; twice yearly replacements keep maintenance expenses down as opposed to monthly replacements. You can turn the 360-degree nozzle to point the mist outlet wherever you wish.
In order to change the mist volume, there is a simple-to-use dial knob with over 15 levels of output. Above the knob, there is a push button that lets you activate or turn off the seven-color light show.
If you like using essential oils such as lavender or chamomile, this cool-mist humidifier has a pull-out drawer just for this purpose. You even get three scented sachets as well as two e-books and one e-course on health and wellness at no additional cost.
MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier
The Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier cool-mist humidifier is ideal for overnight use and those who want effortless portability. Shaped like a teardrop, the ultrasonic humidifier is 9 inches high and 6 inches wide, which is perfect for any tabletop.
It only weighs a feather-light 1.8 pounds; therefore, you won’t have any issues lifting and moving it. Plus, you get MistAire’s 2-year warranty to protect your investment.
Whenever the 1.5 water tank is empty or removed from the base, the humidifier automatically turns off, so the internal components won’t malfunction. Its size means that you get 16 hours of non-stop mist, which is more than long enough to last through the night and into the morning. However, there is no filter, so make sure you use distilled water in the tank.
Read our full in-depth MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier review
There is only one button to turn the power on and change from low to high output speed – It doesn’t get easier than that. At high speed, the cool-mist humidifier emits 150 millimeters of mist per hour to cover rooms up to 250 square feet. For your convenience, there is a fully rotating mist nozzle you can manually turn, and the blue LED creates a soft glow to promote restful sleep.
GENIANI Ultrasonic Cool Mist AROMA Humidifier
Quiet and simple – That’s the GENIANI Ultrasonic Cool-Mist AROMA Humidifier. This bullet-shaped appliance stands slightly under 1 foot, and it measures about one-half-foot wide. It’s also lightweight at just 1.7 pounds.
Therefore, it fits perfectly on slim-profile nightstands and works efficiently in small and medium-size bedrooms. Like the MistAire at our number 7 spot, this humidifier comes with a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty.
To fill the reservoir with water, all you need to do is lift the tank off its base and pour in 2.4 liters of distilled water. The LED indicator light on the base turns from green to red if the tank runs out of water. Then, the humidifier turns off, so you don’t have to worry about it overheating.
It’s equipped with a turn dial that lets you choose from one of eight mist outputs. If you keep the output on the lowest setting, you’ll get a whopping 48 hours of mist from the hand-turn 360-degree nozzle.
You won’t find a bright nightlight on this cool-mist humidifier. The only light it creates is the one from the indicator, which is small and non-obtrusive. Since the machine doesn’t make any beeps or disturbing noises, it is ultra-quiet and won’t wake up your baby.
You have the option of adding a few drops of essential oil directly into the tank for aromatherapy. Plus, you get a complimentary e-book about essential oils and 10 milliliters of eucalyptus and mint oil, which many people use to successfully clear stuffy noses and relieve sinus pressure.
SimpleTaste 4L (1.06 Gallon) Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier
Designed with safety in mind, this cool-mist humidifier from SimpleTaste does not have any sharp corners. Instead, the edges on the 11.8-inch tall, rectangular humidifier are curved.
With a base that’s approximately half the height of the humidifier, this 2.8-pound appliance won’t tip. It boasts a crisp LCD display with illustrated and labeled touch buttons. From this display, you can view the current indoor temperature, mist selection and timer.
The 1.06-gallon water tank has an easy-lift lid that covers the circular inlet. Since it contains a 500-hour demineralization filter, you can go a couple of months before needing to replace it. An auto shut-off mechanism powers down the humidifier when it’s empty, and the highest mist setting puts out 300 milliliters of mist per hour for 13 hours while the lowest setting gives you 20 hours of continuous mist.
Read our full in-depth SimpleTaste Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier review
There is also a medium mist setting and fully rotating nozzle for further control over the humidifier’s output. No matter what setting you choose, the machine’s sound production is less than 35 decibels.
This cool-mist humidifier is also made to soothe your baby in other ways. It has an elongated vertical nightlight that dimly shines in seven colors that cycle or remain stationary. However, you have the option of nixing the nightlight if you wish.
To add essential oil to the water, open the tray and apply the oil to the sponge. Plus, you can set the ultrasonic humidifier to run at one of four timer settings if you’d prefer it not to run until empty.
GENIANI Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier
Like the other GENIANI on our list, this GENIANI Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier is made for ease of use. Shaped like a small egg, the cool-mist humidifier is only 12 inches by 8 inches and 3.6 pounds.
It’s equipped with thin yet wide protruding feet to give the humidifier extra stability, and it even has a carrying handle under the nozzle to make toting it a breeze. You also get GENIANI’s generous 2-year warranty to protect your purchase.
Constructed from antimicrobial material similar to materials used to treat medical and food processing equipment, the 3-liter water tank keeps bacteria growth in check. Thanks to its auto shut-off feature and ability to go 48 hours on one tank, you don’t need to get up in the middle of the night to refill the reservoir. There is no filter in this ultrasonic humidifier, so stick with distilled or purified water instead of tap or well water.
Read our full in-depth GENIANI Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier review
You also get the benefit of a 360-degree manual-turn nozzle, which disperses mist in two directions. From the dial on the base, you can gradually increase and decrease the mist output. If you want a humidifier with a nightlight, this one has a soothing blue one that glows from inside the tank.
When you want to turn it off, simply push the button labeled as light, which is located next to the mist dial.
Vornado Evap3 Whole Room Evaporative Humidifier
The black, modern-style Vornado Evap3 Whole Room Evaporative Humidifier features an oval-shaped, silver control panel complete with soft buttons and LED lights for visibility at night. Since it weighs 7.25 pounds, this evaporative humidifier can be used on a table, but it’s better suited for the floor.
At 12.1 inches tall, 10.25 inches wide and 15.1 inches deep, you don’t have to worry about it getting knocked over, especially if put on the ground instead of a table. Vornado also gives you 5 years of warranty coverage in case any issues arise.
For precise air-moisture control, there is an electronic humidistat that you can set to a relative humidity from 35 percent to 60 percent. When you preset the humidity, the machine turns off when it reaches that selection, but continuous mode lets the humidifier run non-stop until the huge 1.5-gallon tank is empty. In addition, you can choose whether or not to turn on the deep-blue nightlight.
Within the evaporative humidifier, there is a fan that generates vortex airflow to blow air over the dual air wicks. In turn, mist is released in a double-spiral pattern to cover 700 square feet of space. In one day, this fan can put out 2.6 gallons of moisture, making the humidifier perfect for large bedrooms. However, if your baby’s bedroom isn’t big, you can set the fan speed to the medium or low-speed setting instead of the high one.
Honeywell HCM350W Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier
Mold and bacteria stand no chance in this Honeywell HCM350W Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier. This stout, rectangular humidifier weighs a sturdy 9.8 pounds, and it measures 18.6 inches by 10.4 inches by 13 inches. Therefore, it will remain in place even if someone bumps against the table.
Thanks to Honeywell’s inclusion of QuietCare technology, this humidifier sounds 25 percent less noisy than evaporative humidifiers of a similar build. Plus, you get 3 years of warranty coverage in case the humidifier needs to be replaced.
The 1.1-gallon water tank is nestled inside a recessed compartment for easy removal. This tank is made of break-resistant plastic, so you can count on it to stand up to years of use. You can even wash the tray and tank in the dishwasher to sanitize them. With a tank this large, the humidifier can emit 24 hours’ worth of use before needing a refill.
Read our full in-depth Honeywell HCM350W Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier review
Choose from among three fan speeds to get the prefect amount of moisture released into your baby’s room from the humongous slated outlet. The cool-mist humidifier contains a Protec antimicrobial wicking filter, which eliminates 99.99 percent of germ growth. To aid the humidifier in destroying mold, bacteria and viruses, there is even an ultraviolet light built into the machine.
TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier
The last cool-mist humidifier on our list is the TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier. Standing at a height of 11.3 inches, this humidifier is great for slim tables, nightstands and dressers.
It has an integrated handle, so you can carry it with ease, and it comes with a 12-month warranty on labor and replacements. Plus, it’s equipped with a bright LED screen that displays the settings you select and the room’s relative humidity.
With its 4-liter water tank, you can get 15 hours of unending mist on its maximum output. There are also two other mist settings if the room your baby sleeps in isn’t large. TaoTronics designed this humidifier to be used with a filter cartridge to keep the mist clean, so you can use water straight out of the faucet.
In addition, the nozzle rotates in a full circle, allowing you to change the angle in which the mist is emitted.
Read our full in-depth TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier review
The labeled buttons below the display panel let you set a timer from 1 hour to 24 hours. However, if you choose to run the humidifier continuously, you’ll get 15 hours of mist output before the machine turns off automatically.
You can also choose to maintain the room’s relative humidity within a range of 45 percent to 65 percent. If the blue light bothers your baby, you can put the cool-mist humidifier in sleep mode. As far as sound goes, you don’t have to worry about loud noises – This ultrasonic humidifier never climbs above a sound level of 38 decibels.
Humidifiers – The market is saturated with all types of these health-and-wellness appliances. For babies, the general consensus among pediatric medical experts is that cool-mist producing humidifiers are the best because there is no heating element that heats the water to scalding temperatures that cause may cause burns in the event of a tip over.
From ultrasonic to evaporative cool-mist humidifiers, there are still many variations from one model to the next, which makes choosing one difficult even with warm-mist humidifiers out of the equation.
What Are the Essential Features to Look for in a Cool-Mist Humidifier?
Of course, making sure the price of the humidifier fits into your budget is the most important aspect of choosing a cool-mist humidifier. However, this doesn’t mean you should buy the first one you find. You need to make a short list of the features you want.
Then, choose a humidifier that has those features. While all of the features listed below may not make it to your list, it’s always good to know what manufacturers offer, so you can make an informed decision.
Inside of any appliance is a motor that powers it. Appliances that require water to work should never be operated while empty. If that happens, the motor can easily overheat and burn out or catch on fire. One way to prevent this from occurring is to buy a humidifier with a tank that supports a long run time.
However, a better way to avoid motor burnout is using a humidifier with an auto-shutoff mechanism. This technology instantly powers down the appliance as soon as the humidifier’s reservoir is empty, protecting you, your baby, your home and the humidifier.
Alternatively, there are models that come equipped with a timer function. Depending on the humidifier, you can set the timer to turn off the appliance after 1 to 24 hours of use. Every humidifier has multiple timer settings, but the exact number varies by model.
Timers are a way to not only prevent destroying the humidifier’s motor but also give you more control over its operating time, so you don’t have it running needlessly.
Mist Output and Fan Speed
Whether you choose to go the vibration-driven ultrasonic or fan-controlled evaporative route, the amount of mist the humidifier emits can mean the difference between full and inadequate room coverage.
Many cool-mist humidifiers with push buttons let you change the mist output or fan speed to two or three levels while those with a turn dial have more. Pay close attention to what the manufacturer says about how much square feet the humidifier can cover.
Nobody wants to lay next to a loud machine when they are sick or sleeping, but for babies, the level of sound produced by a humidifier is crucial. Therefore, look for a cool-mist humidifier that never gets louder than 40 decibels.
If an evaporative humidifier exceeds this maximum decibel level on some fan speed settings but not others, be sure to keep it on the lowest setting when your baby is asleep.
Are There Other Features to Consider?
Although not essential, some humidifiers come with premium features that either expand on their overall functions or make it a dual-purpose appliance. Whether or not any of these features are important depends on your personal preferences and your baby’s needs. From LED lights to germ-killing technology, some cool-mist humidifiers have a lot of extras to offer.
A humidistat is a tool that not only measures the relative humidity of the surrounding air but also maintains the humidity to a specified setting. If you have a have a cool-mist humidifier with a built-in humidistat, you can set the machine to keep the room at any relative humidity within the humidistat’s capability range, which typically spans from 35 percent to 65 percent.
Some models even display the room’s current humidity level on a digital screen, so you can input the right humidity selection.
Humidifiers with a nightlight feature create a peaceful environment for babies. Some humidifiers only have one color of light, which is usually blue. Other models cycle among multiple hues or let you choose which of the colors you want it to emit. However, if light seems to disturb your baby while he’s sleeping, make sure you buy a humidifier that lets you turn off the night light.
For babies who are extra sensitive to noise and light, a cool-mist humidifier with a sleep mode is a great choice. This function allows you to turn off all LED indicator lights and displays. On some humidifiers, sleep mode also turns down the speed of the fan and cuts off the noise that is made when pressing buttons.
In ultrasonic humidifiers, the inclusion of a filter may or may not be necessary according to the type of water you plan to use. If you want to use water from your faucet, you’ll need an ultrasonic humidifier with a filter to trap harmful mineral deposits.
However, if you are sticking to just distilled water, a filter is not necessary, but it’s still always nice to have for extra protection.
Related Post: Air Purifier vs. Humidifier for Baby: What to Pick
Any feature on a cool-mist humidifier that destroys germs is always a plus. Some water reservoirs are infused with antimicrobial material like silver additives during the plastic injection molding process to ward off mold, mildew and bacteria. Evaporative humidifiers are sometimes equipped with germ-killing wick filters, which are also antimicrobial in nature.
Both evaporative and ultrasonic-type humidifiers may even have an ultraviolet light that destroys germs on contact. If you buy a humidifier with any of these microbe-destroying technologies, you won’t have to deep clean the machine as often.
Essential oil diffusion
Essential oils offer certain health benefits depending on which one you use. For instance, lavender, chamomile and sweet marjoram can induce sleep while eucalyptus, lemongrass and peppermint can treat cold symptoms. If you want your baby to experience aromatherapy, there are humidifiers that let you safely add essential oils without damaging the machine.
Typically, a cool-mist humidifier that can diffuse essential oils has a specialized compartment with a sponge that you wet by adding a few drops of oil to it. While not as common, some humidifiers let you add essential oil to the tank’s water instead of an isolated drawer.
Our Recommended Humidifiers
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