Top 6 Cool Mist Humidifier in 2020

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If you have been searching for the best cool mist humidifier, you may have become overwhelmed rather quickly. They are the top-selling style for a reason, and it’s not uncommon for a single brand to have a dozen systems on the market at once.

That can make choosing the right model challenging, which is why we put our experts to the task. In our guide, we’ve addressed some of the most important areas to consider when humidifier shopping. Our team also did the research so that you don’t have to by putting together a list featuring six of the best cool mist humidifiers on the market today.

The Best Cool Mist Humidifiers

While we’ve covered the best humidifiers for winter and systems that can cover large areas, finding the best cool mist humidifier proved a challenge to our team. That’s due in part to the volume of cool mist humidifiers available online and locally, and the number of smaller brands that have systems with surprisingly strong ratings.

After some serious deliberation and countless hours of digging through reviews, we narrowed our list of 20 choices down to only six systems. There are comparable machines that didn’t make the cut, but we feel these humidifiers offer the best bang for the buck in several different areas.

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Vicks V3900

Honeywell HEV620

  • Type: Evaporative
  • Capacity: 1.5 gallons
  • Coverage: 750 sq. ft.
  • Mist Levels: 3
  • Warranty: 3 years
Vornado Evap40

Vornado Evap40

  • Type: Evaporative
  • Capacity: 4 gallons
  • Coverage: "1,000 sq. ft."
  • Mist Levels: 3
  • Warranty: 5 years
Air Innovations MH408

Air Innovations MH408

  • Type: Ultrasonic
  • Capacity: 1.1-gallon
  • Coverage: 400 sq. ft.
  • Mist Levels: Variable
  • Warranty: 1-year
AIRCARE EP9500 Pedestal

AIRCARE EP9500 Pedestal

  • Type: Evaporative
  • Capacity: 3.5 gallon
  • Coverage: "2,400 sq. ft."
  • Mist Levels: 9
  • Warranty: 2 years
Pure Enrichment HUME

Pure Enrichment HUME

  • Type: Ultrasonic
  • Capacity: 0.92 gallons
  • Coverage: 270 sq. ft.
  • Mist Levels: Variable
  • Warranty: 5 years
Vicks V3900

Vicks V3900

  • Type: Evaporative
  • Capacity: 1-gallon
  • Coverage: 
  • Mist Levels:
  • Warranty: 3 years

#1 Honeywell Top Fill Tower Humidifier

Vicks V3900

Unless you buy a console humidifier that resembles a piece of furniture, portable systems tend to a similar form factor. Honeywell introduced something unique with the design of the HEV620, a cool mist tower humidifier geared towards medium-sized rooms.

The Honeywell HEV620 humidifier features a front-facing tank that can be filled with a pitcher from the top. You can also remove it and fill it at the sink, but it’s not hidden, so you’ll always have an idea of what the water level is. If you happen to forget, a notification light will remind you, and there’s one for the wick filter as well.

The tank on this system can hold around 1.5 gallons of water. The runtime is 24 hours on low, and less on the higher speeds. It’s rated for areas up to 700 square feet and has three speeds to go along with a digital humidistat. There’s also a 12-hour timer for added convince and an automatic shutoff feature, which turns off the system when the water tank is empty.

Honeywell included a solid set of features on the HEV620 humidifier, and homeowners were happy with its design and performance. Dual fill capabilities are a welcome addition to any humidifier, but it works exceptionally well on this system. While we did notice several complaints in regard to filter prices, those problems are easily addressed through third-party alternatives.

Pros: Dual fill tank system and digital humidistat. Excellent coverage range, 12-hour timer, and a 3-year guarantee.

Cons: Short runtime at higher speeds.

You may also like: Honeywell Humidifier Reviews and Buying Guide

#2 Vornado Evap40 Evaporative Humidifier

Vornado Evap40

While we’ve seen a number of dual-tank humidifiers over the years, Vornado took a different approach with the Evap40. A quick glance lets you know it’s different, and while unassuming, it’s one of the highest capacity portable humidifiers on the market today. 

The Vornado Evap40 is flanked by a tank on each side. Unlike other dual-tank humidifiers, the tanks on this system are external, which allows you to see the water level at all times. Each holds 2 gallons of water, which gives this humidifier a total output of 4 gallons on high. That’s impressive, and so is the coverage range of 1,000 square feet.

While this humidifier packs a punch, there aren’t many features. There are two dials on the front; one for the moisture level and one for the fan speeds. There are three speeds, and the mist level is variable, but there are no other features – not even automatic shutoff. It can run for up to 24 hours at full speed and uses two of the company's MD1-0034 wick filters.

There are smaller systems from Vornado and ones with a far more modern style, but none have the sheer power of the Evap40. This simple humidifier is easy to use and can run for days at lower speeds, but to say the features are basic would be an understatement. That’s a trade-off well worth making if you need a reliable machine, and this one is backed by a 5-year guarantee from Vornado.

Pros: Dual 2-gallon water tanks, three speeds, and variable mist control. Excellent coverage range, and a 5-year warranty.

Cons: It’s wide and light on features.

You may also like: Vornado Humidifier Reviews and Buying Guide

#3 Air Innovations Cool Mist Humidifier MH408

Air Innovations MH408

Tabletop humidifiers are the top-selling style for a reason as they can pack a punch without taking up too much room on a desktop or nightstand. Air Innovations has several systems in that category, but the MH408 stands out because of its price point and specifications.

With a coverage range of 400 square feet and a runtime of 70 hours, the Air Innovations MH408 can take care of a medium-sized room for days. There are other systems with similar specs, but this cool mist humidifier is only 14” tall and 8” in diameter. Considering the antimicrobial tank is 1.1 gallons, the tank makes up the majority of this system.

That’s evident by the elongated water window in the front, which lets you check the levels with a quick glance. There is an indicator light as well, and the mist level is controlled through a variable speed knob. The mist is dispersed through a 360-degree rotating nozzle. There are no timers or nightlights, but this system has automatic shutoff and a permanent ceramic filter.

This attractive humidifier won’t break the bank, and the wide opening and handle ensure the tank is easy to fill. Operating time is outstanding as well at 70 hours on low, and we like the fact the variable dial has marked settings. While there have been some random reports of quality control issues, that’s common for ultrasonic humidifiers in this range.

Pros: Slim attractive design with an antimicrobial tank. Budget-friendly price tag and a runtime of up to 70 hours on low.

Cons: Some quality control issues.

You may also like: Air Innovations Humidifier Reviews and Buying Guide

#4 AIRCARE Digital Pedestal Humidifier

AIRCARE EP9500 Pedestal

Not every humidifier actually looks like a humidifier, and AIRCARE is a company that specializes in producing those types of systems. The EP9500 Pedestal humidifier lives up to its name in the design department and has several interesting features as well.

At 27” tall, this humidifier is one of the largest systems on our list, but it can double as a piece of furniture. While the plastic exterior isn’t the most appealing up close, there is a natural stone insert on the top of the AIRCARE EP9500. This allows you to use safely sit things on top of the system, and the stone insert can be easily replaced with any 12” x 12” tile.

Inside this humidifier lies a large 3.5-gallon tank. A small drawer slides out and allows you to fill the system without removing the tank, and it’s rated with an output of 7.4 gallons per day. There is a digital control panel that accesses the humidistat and lets you adjust the speed. There are nine levels to choose from, and the humidifier is rated for rooms up to 2,400 square feet under optimum conditions.

When you need a large evaporative humidifier for areas over 1,500 square feet, it’s hard to go wrong with the AIRCARE EP9500. It has more speeds than other humidifiers, although it’s loud on high with a rating of 68dB. We would have liked to have seen a longer warranty from Essick, given the price, but those are the only real negatives to this humidifier. The AIRCARE pedestal humidifier comes in several different colors and has a 2-year guarantee.

Pros: Can double as a piece of furniture with a natural stone insert. Nine speeds, digital humidistat, and a runtime of up to 60 hours. Easy to use and maintain.

Cons: Design won’t be for everyone. Short warranty for the price.

You may also like: AIRCARE Humidifier Reviews and Buying Guide

#5 Pure Enrichment Hume Ultrasonic Humidifier

Pure Enrichment HUME

This Pure Enrichment Hume is another discreet but powerful humidifier designed to humidify small areas. While it doesn’t measure up to the MH408 when it comes to runtime, it isn’t far behind, and it’s several inches smaller as well.

This diminutive machine measures 11”H x 7”W, which makes it the smallest cool humidifier on our list. It’s a step up from the personal class, however, and has a tank that can hold close to 1-gallon of water. The design allows you to get an idea of the water level inside the system and is clean with no buttons and only one small operating light.

You can remove the tank on the Pure Enrichment MH408 with ease, and a side opening at the bottom is large enough to accommodate your hand. It’s easy to clean and easy to use as there’s only one knob that turns the systems on and controls the mist level. This variable speed humidifier has a runtime of up to 50 hours on low but tops out at 12 hours on high.

If you’re in need of a small humidifier for a room up to 270 square feet, the Pure Enrichment HUME is an excellent option. It’s stylish and can run for days on medium to low and certainly won’t keep you up at night with a decibel rating of 35dB. There are no serious drawbacks to this system, and it has a 5-year warranty, which is impressive considering its price.

Pros: Small and efficient ultrasonic system with a runtime of up to 50 hours. Easy to clean, low noise level, and comes with a 5-year guarantee.

Cons: Nothing significant.

#6 Vicks Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier

Vicks V3900

Vicks makes some of our favorite warm mist humidifiers, and you can find them in millions of homes when wintertime rolls around. They have an excellent range of cool mist humidifiers as well, like the V3900, a system with ultraviolet technology.

The V3900 has a built-in UV-C light, which is capable of destroying up to 99.9% of bacteria or viruses in the water tank. That’s a common problem with cool mist humidifiers, although it won’t be with this one as long as the system runs for two hours continuously beforehand. It’s a little large at 11”H x 11”W x 10”D, but can run for up to 24 hours on low.

This system has a 1-gallon water tank and uses the company’s Protec Wicking Filters, which have received an antimicrobial treatment. There are three speeds, but not features on this system. The light from the UV-C bulb in the knob does act as a nightlight of sorts, although some consumers thought it was a little too bright in a dark room.

Vicks humidifiers are relatively low-tech compared to other brands, so it was a surprise to find a system with a UV-C light in their arsenal. It’s ideal for homeowners that want a cool mist humidifier without worrying about bacteria entering the air from the tank, although we wish it had a few more features for the price.

Pros: UV technology kills up to 99.9% of contaminants in the tank. Three speeds, easy to use and maintain.

Cons: No automatic shutoff. The light in the knob may be too bright for some during nighttime use.

You may aslo like: Vicks Humidifier Reviews and Buying Guide

How to find the Best Cool Mist Humidifier

Whether you walk into your local big-box retailer or head straight to the humidifier section on Amazon, there are a wide variety of machines to choose from. While we highlighted some of the top models in our cool mist humidifier reviews, here are a few tips to keep you on track when searching for the best cool mist humidifier for your home.

Pros and Cons of a Cool Mist Humidifier

Cool mist humidifiers are the most popular type of humidifier and outnumber steam or warm mist systems by a large margin in the marketplace. That doesn’t mean there aren’t problems with these systems, however, which is why we are going to address the pros and cons of cool mist humidifiers below.

Pricing is a major pro to purchasing a cool-mist humidifier, and it ties into another advantage as well – variety. You can find evaporative humidifiers that can handle areas both big and small or cheap ultrasonic humidifiers you can tuck into a glove box or purse. With the sheer number of options available, you’ll also find more features on cool mist humidifiers.

Compared to warm mist humidifiers or steam-based systems, cool mist humidifiers are generally safer to use as well. That’s something to keep in mind if you have pets or children in your home or are prone to accidents yourself. The mist may not be hot enough to cause a burn, but the water in the tank certainly can.

The downside to purchasing a cool mist humidifier is the increased chance for mold and bacteria to build up in the tank or machine. Steam humidifiers have an edge in that regard, and can also eliminate mineralization from hard water. That’s a problem with ultrasonic cool mist humidifiers, which can leave white dust behind, although wicking filters in evaporative systems help address that issue.

Cool Mist Humidifier Pros

  • Wide variety of systems to choose from
  • Plenty of budget-friendly models
  • More features and options 2-in-1 machines
  • Safe for homes with children or pets

Cool Mist Humidifier Cons

  • Increased chance for bacteria buildup
  • Can be more difficult to maintain
  • Cool mist evaporative systems can be noisy

Ultrasonic or Evaporative Humidifier?

Before we dig into the tech specs, it’s time to consider whether an evaporative or ultrasonic humidifier is the right choice for our home. We touched on some of the differences when we broke down the different types of humidifiers available. With that in mind, an ultrasonic humidifier may seem like an easy choice, but you may be surprised by the differences that separate these two types of machines.

Both evaporative and ultrasonic humidifiers can produce a cool mist, but evaporative systems have wick filters and fans. The wick draws moisture from the water tank with an evaporative humidifier, whereas an ultrasonic system uses vibrations to produce an ultrafine mist. Some ultrasonic humidifiers have fans as well, but they are quieter than evaporative humidifiers.

That mist is prone to leaving with dust behind, however. It’s a problem with all ultrasonic humidifiers if you use hard water or H20 with high mineral content. Distilled water will address that issue, and some ultrasonic humidifiers have built-in demineralization features as well. While that isn’t a problem with evaporative humidifiers, those filters could have to be replaced frequently.

The other key difference comes into play when you start looking at coverage and features. There are plenty of high-capacity ultrasonic humidifiers with a high output rating, but you can find evaporative humidifiers with tanks ranging from 2 – 6 gallons. They can cover larger areas and are also cheaper. Alternatively, there are more features on ultrasonic humidifiers, including systems that produce cool or warm mist.

Room Size

How large is the room or area you plan to use your cool mist humidifier in? That is the easiest way to find the right model quickly and can slash the field of systems in half if you need a large humidifier. Ultrasonic humidifiers usually can’t handle rooms over 700 square feet, so you’ll want to begin looking at evaporative cool mist humidifiers for any area that size or larger.

While we included a square footage rating for most of the machines on our list, some manufacturers prefer to rate their systems for small, medium, or large rooms. Given the impact sizing can have on humidifier price, you may want to check with the manufacturer on those systems. Placement is another factor to keep in mind, but only if you plan on using the humidifier in several rooms.

Runtime

A humidifier is designed to be used at any time of day or night, and during any season of the year. While warm mist humidifiers are better suited for fall and winter, the runtime is important for a variety of reasons.

Do you need to keep your house humidified while your family is away for the day? Most humidifiers can handle a typical 8-hour shift with ease, but ratings are usually given with the runtime on low. A machine with three standard speeds and a runtime of 30 hours may only be able to do half that on high. Variable speed systems are ideal, but not always an option with evaporative cool mist humidifiers.

Capacity

When you see a manufacturer mention capacity, they are talking about how much water the tank can hold. The reservoir or base on some systems can hold quite a bit of water as well, but that’s not a specification given very often.

The capacity of a cool mist humidifier varies from under 0.5 gallons to 3 gallons on average. There are whole-house humidifiers with larger 4 to 6-gallon tanks as well, however. That range is just for evaporative systems, as ultrasonic humidifiers are usually between 16 ounces to 1.5 gallons.

Choosing a cool mist humidifier with a large tank is never a bad idea, but you should also keep the runtime and output levels in mind. A 5-gallon tank can go dry quicker than you think if the humidifier has five speeds and runs on high throughout the day.

Features

Humidifier features are somewhat limited with warm mist humidifiers, but that isn’t the case with cool mist systems. Between evaporative and ultrasonic humidifiers, you can find machines with a variety of features, although some are more useful than others.

Common features found on both evaporative and ultrasonic humidifiers include automatic shutoff, removable tanks, and multiple mist levels or speeds. There are plenty of models with top-fill tanks as well, along with hybrid ultrasonic humidifiers that can produce warm mist in the winter. 

While we found dozens of humidifiers with timers, they are sparse at the mid-range and budget pricing tiers. Systems with Wi-Fi are also rare, but you don’t have to look hard to find a machine with a built-in nightlight. Aromatherapy trays are another popular option along with humidistats. The former is an inexpensive add-on, but you’ll only find digital humidistats on premium machines.

Humidifier Warranties

On average, you can expect a warranty from 1-3 years with a humidifier, whether it’s ultrasonic or evaporative. The usual rules apply as well, so budget-friendly systems typically have shorter warranties than a top-tier machine.

Some companies that have 5-year warranties on their systems, but that’s about as good as it gets for cool mist humidifiers. Extended warranties are always an option if you set your sights on a pricey system with a short guarantee, and replacement parts can be a great way to extend the life of your humidifier as well.

Cool Mist Humidifier FAQ

Q: When should I run a humidifier?

A: While warm mist systems are ideal in cold weather, you can use any humidifier year-round. A humidifier is commonly used for sinus issues and congestion, along with other problems like dry skin.

Q: What is white dust around my humidifier, and should I be concerned about it?

A: White dust is common with humidifiers when you have hard water or minerals in your water. It’s not harmful but may require you to clean your system more frequently.

Q: What the best type of water to use in a humidifier?

A: Unless your water is free of minerals, distilled water is the best choice for use in humidifier systems.

Q: Is a cool or warm mist humidifier better?

A: Cool mist systems can freshen up rooms on hot summer days, while warm mist humidifiers can add some heat to a room in winter. Both serve the same purpose, so it’s a matter of preference and need. If you’re not sure which system is the right fit, our humidifier type guide can help you find the perfect style.

Q: What is the ideal humidity level indoors?

A: It depends on several factors, but a range between 30% to 50% is highly recommended.

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