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?
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 in 2023
For Larger Baby Rooms
Everlasting Comfort Cool Mist Humidifier
Give your child the best sleep possible with the Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier by Everlasting Comfort. Using ultrasonic technology, this 1.6-gallon humidifier increases the humidity in spacious rooms of up to 500 square feet by outputting as little as 275 ml of water per hour.
A single tankful of water and a few drops of essential oil is all it takes to keep your nursery properly humidified for 50 hours nonstop. Rest easy with the set-it-and-forget-it system that automatically turns the motor off when the tank runs completely dry. There’s no wonder Kendall Jenner swears by this product to maintain skin health all night long.
- IMPROVED WELLNESS and COMFORT: Our ultrasonic humidifier works to add moisture into the...
- LARGE 6L CAPACITY: Equipped with a 6L (1.6 gal) water tank, the air humidifier can run up...
GENIANI Top Fill Cool Mist Humidifier
The GENIANI is a 2-in1 cool mist humidifier and diffuser. The top-fill tank can hold up to 1.05 gallons of water at any time to produce a gentle mist for 18 continuous hours. This humidifier is designed for rooms as large as 220 square feet, perfect for nurseries and bedrooms. Thanks to its gentle blue LEDs, this device also functions as a nightlight that you can shut off at any time.
The best thing about the GENIANI is its smart sensors that detect the relative humidity level of a room before turning it on or off. It’s also the winner of the 2019 Red Dot Award, so there’s very little concern over its design and how well it functions.
- ✅ BECAUSE YOU DESERVE THE BEST: Our classic, dual-function air humidifier delivers...
- ✅ INNOVATIVE AUTO-FUNCTION FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE: This cool mist humidifier features an...
For Smaller Baby Rooms
2) AquaOasis Cool Mist Humidifier
The AquaOasis also uses ultrasonic technology to release a cooling, humidifying mist for up to 24 hours. It comes with a transparent 0.6-gallon tank and an auto-shutoff feature for ease of use. Users can also manually adjust the mist’s direction by twisting the adjustable nozzle up to 360 degrees.
Please make sure you don’t use essential oils in the AquaOasis. However, some users have placed a couple of drops of lemon juice to add a slight fragrance without issue. If you want an all-day-all-night humidifier for your baby’s nursery, this humidifier is an excellent option. The lifetime warranty is a definite plus if this is your first humidifier.
- IMMEDIATE DRY AIR RELIEF! Want to eliminate the suffering from the terrible effects of dry...
- OPERATES IN TOTAL SILENCE – SLEEP LIKE A BABY! No humming, whistling, or crackling as...
1) 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.
- INSTANT DRY AIR RELIEF: Ultrasonic cool mist technology safely and quickly moisturizes dry...
- YEAR-ROUND COMFORT: High and low-speed settings combined with a 360° mist nozzle help you...
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.
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Last Update: 2023-03-23 | Affiliate links/Images from Amazon Product Advertising API