If you’re looking for a new humidifier to use in the summer or winter, there’s a good chance that an ultrasonic system is on your radar. They are the most popular style with consumers today, which means there are hundreds of options to choose from.
The best ultrasonic humidifier doesn’t have to cost a fortune or have cutting-edge features, but it should meet a few important criteria. We’ll cover those in our guide, and we’ve also put together a short list featuring some of the top models available.
- The Best Ultrasonic Humidifiers
- #1 TaoTronics TT-AH018 Warm and Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier
- #2 Pure Enrichment MistAire Studio Cool Mist Humidifier
- #3 Honeywell Designer Series Cool Mist Humidifier HUL430
- #4 Boneco Travel Ultrasonic Humidifier U7146
- #5 Vicks EasyFill Cool Mist Humidifier VUL570
- #6 Pure Enrichment MistAire Cloud Humidifier
- How to find the Best Ultrasonic Humidifier
The Best Ultrasonic Humidifiers
Do you need an ultrasonic humidifier that will blend in with your bedroom or a portable model that allows you to use essential oils? The options are virtually endless if you’re not picky about brand names or quality control, but the number of viable systems shrinks once you begin digging through details and reviews. While there were well over a dozen models that qualified for our list, we narrowed our picks down to six ultrasonic humidifiers.
- Mist Type: : Warm & Cool
- Capacity: 1.4 gallons
- Speeds: 3
- Room Rating: 450 sq. ft.
- Warranty: 2 years
Pure Enrichment MistAir Studio
- Mist Type: : Cool
- Capacity: 0.7 liters
- Speeds: 2
- Room Rating: 175 sq. ft.
- Warranty: 5 years
- Mist Type: : Cool
- Capacity: 1.25 gallons
- Speeds: Variable
- Room Rating: Medium
- Warranty: 2 years
- Mist Type: : Cool
- Capacity: Varies
- Speeds: Variable
- Room Rating: 50 sq. ft.
- Warranty: 1-year
- Mist Type: : Cool
- Capacity: 1.25 gallons
- Speeds: Variable
- Room Rating: Medium
- Warranty: 2 years
Pure Enrichment Cloud
- Mist Type: : Cool
- Capacity: .48 gallons
- Speeds: Variable
- Room Rating: 250 sq. ft.
- Warranty: 5 years
#1 TaoTronics TT-AH018 Warm and Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier
We’re big fans of the TaoTronics lineup of humidifiers, and homeowners feel the same way. It wasn't easy to choose a favorite from the company, but the TaoTronics TT-AH018 is an excellent choice when you need a 2-in-1 system that you can use throughout the year.
This humidifier is a top-fill system, but one with a removable tank. It gives you the best of both worlds when it’s time to refill your system, and the tank can hold 1.4 gallons of water. That gives it a runtime of around 45 hours, depending on the mode and settings you choose. The TT-AH018 will provide you with plenty of options as well, considering you can adjust both the output level and temperature of the mist.
The ability to switch between warm or cool mist at a moment’s notice is a bonus, but so is sleep mode. While this dehumidifier will dim the lights like other models, it also turns warm mist mode for safety reasons. The memory feature is another nice touch along with the dual 360-degree nozzles. Homeowners found this system to be extremely quiet on low and easy to keep clean.
TaoTronics installed a humidistat on the TT-AH018, which gives you a finer measure of control of the levels in your home. It has the standard automatic shutoff feature and a 12-hour timer. It’s a filter-free system but does use mineral absorption pads to help keep the humidifier clean. This humidifier is a little boxy at 12.6”H x 10.2”D x 8.7”W, but light with a weight under 7 pounds.
This slick 2-in-1 humidifier can keep a family comfortable all year long, and the runtime is more than respectable with a range between 16 to 45 hours. Its ability to turn off warm mist during sleep mode is something we’d like to see more of from other manufacturers as well. On the downside, you can’t use essential oils with the TT-AH018, something most 2-in-1 humidifiers offer. This system is backed by a 2-year warranty from TaoTronics.
Pros: Good looking humidifier with an adjustable digital humidistat and twin 360-degree nozzles. Removable top-fill water tank, multiple settings, night mode, and a 12-hour timer.
Cons: Can’t use essential oils.
#2 Pure Enrichment MistAire Studio Cool Mist Humidifier
Ultrasonic systems are available in a wide range of sizes, but the smaller the system, the more poorly they tend to perform. The MistAire Studio Cool Mist Humidifier from Pure Enrichment bucks that trend as this compact machine won’t let you down and is small enough to take on the go.
This humidifier is 9” tall and 5” in diameter with a 0.7-liter water tank. It can operate between 7 to 10 hours depending on the speed, and there are two to choose from with high and low. There are no complicated controls or digital displays on this system, just a simple button for the power and to cycle through the speeds.
There are no real features to speak of on this humidifier, aside from a built-in nightlight feature and automatic shutoff. It’s easy to take apart and clean as well, with one exception. Some homeowners had trouble cleaning the mist vent or tube, although the base of the unit is easy to open and very easy to maintain.
While there are smaller humidifiers and machines with more features, the MistAire Studio provides consumers a great value for their money. It’s quiet enough to sit on a desktop and leave you undisturbed while you work, and the perfect size to pack away and take on a trip. The Pure Enrichment MistAire Studio is rated for rooms up to 175 square feet and comes with a 5-year warranty.
Pros: Simple to use and small enough to take on the road. Optional nightlight feature, two speeds, and a 5-year guarantee.
Cons: Certain parts of the tank may be tricky to clean.
#3 Honeywell Designer Series Cool Mist Humidifier HUL430
With around 20 humidifiers, Honeywell has an expansive lineup that consists of both portable and whole-house systems. While most of their humidifiers are evaporative, this sleek ultrasonic HUL430 humidifier from their Designer Series caught our eye with its interesting design.
The Honeywell Designer Series humidifier is an attractive system with a textured housing and minimal controls. The tank slides out from the top, which makes it easy to load and fill. A small slit in the base allows you to check the water level on the tank, while a light inside transforms this unit into a very large nightlight.
You can set the illuminated water window to bright, dim, or turn it completely off. Aromatherapy is an option through an essential oil tray on the back, but the only other feature is variable mist control. The Honeywell HUL430 has a 1.25-gallon water tank and can operate for up to 24 hours at the lowest setting.
This humidifier is simple to use and has a more modern design than most ultrasonic humidifiers this size. It will look good in any room, although we would have liked to see a timer or a few more features given the price. The Designer Series Cool Mist HUL430 humidifier comes with a 2-year warranty from Honeywell.
Pros: Well-designed system with wide tank opening. Essential oil tray, variable mist levels, and illuminated water window.
Cons: Basic set of features.
You may also like: Honeywell Humidifier Reviews and Buying Guide
#4 Boneco Travel Ultrasonic Humidifier U7146
While the MistAire Studio is small enough to pack away for a trip, it’s not a true portable like the Boneco U7146. This ultrasonic travel humidifier can fit inside a purse, glove box, or backpack, and we think you will be surprised by how capable it is given its size.
Measuring only 3.2” tall and 4” deep, the U7146 is tiny compared to the other systems on our list. It weighs 0.7 pounds and has two small feet on the bottom, which provide stability for tabletop use. The mist outlet is at the top, but there is no tank on this humidifier. That’s because it can work with the kind of common plastic bottles used for soda or water.
The runtime on the Boneco U7146 varies on the size bottle used, but also by speeds. This small humidifier has a variable output lever on the back, and will even shut itself off when the bottle of water runs dry. While you won’t find timers or other bells & whistles typically found on larger machines, it does have an LED indicator that is Blue when the unit is running and Red when it’d out of H2O.
There are several companies with systems that have a similar to design to the U7146, but they weren’t created by Boneco. They don’t work nearly as well as this little machine is very capable, although you can’t turn off the indicator light. That isn’t ideal if you plan on using it at night. The Boneco U7146 has a 1-year warranty and comes with a travel bag, interchangeable plugs, and a cleaning brush.
Pros: Small enough to take anywhere and works with plastic water bottles. Variable output levels, automatic shutoff, and solid extras in the box.
Cons: Can’t turn off the operating light.
#5 Vicks EasyFill Cool Mist Humidifier VUL570
The water tank is an important part of any humidifier and an area that receives a considerable amount of complaints from consumers. The minds at Vicks realized that when they designed the VUL570 EasyFill Cool Mist Humidifier, so this system can be filled in two different ways.
The highlight of this humidifier is the tank. Like most systems, the water tank can be removed and carried to the sink. You can also leave the tank attached and simply pour water into the top of the system as needed. The 1.25-gallon tank is easy to clean, but not designed for use with essential oils. There is a vapor tray on the Vicks VUL570 that allows you to use two VapoPads, however.
Another perk of this humidifier is the fact it’s a breeze to use. There are no buttons or digital displays – just a dial and the scent door. That dial allows you to adjust the mist level, and the machine can provide up to 36 hours of operating time on low. Automatic shutoff is present along with a demineralization cartridge, which prevents white dust buildup from water with high mineral content.
The Vicks EasyFill Cool Mist Humidifier is best suited for homeowners that want a simple but highly effective machine. The ability to remove the tank or fill it from the top gives it a leg up over other top-fill humidifiers. While we did see some random reports of quality control issues, the price tag is attractive, and it’s covered with a 2-year warranty from Vicks.
Pros: Easy to use with a removable top-fill water tank. Variable mist control, VapoPad compatibility, and an operating time of up to 36 hours.
Cons: Some issues with quality control
You may also like: Vicks Humidifier Reviews and Buying Guide
#6 Pure Enrichment MistAire Cloud Humidifier
There are dozens of humidifiers that are perfect for a nursery or a small child’s bedroom, but some are designed especially for those areas. This cute Cloud humidifier from Pure Enrichment is one such option, and stylish enough to be used in regular rooms as well.
This aptly named humidifier will blend in seamlessly with any child’s bedroom, but can also put on a light show. There are eight soothing colors to choose from, and you can let the colors rotate, or lock in your child’s favorite hue. The nightlight feature can be used independently from the humidifier, so you can use this cool mist system as a nightlight when winter rolls around.
While simple, Pure Enrichment installed a variable speed dial on the back of the Cloud Humidifier. Depending on the mist level, you can expect up to 24 hours from this system before a refill is required. It can hold close to a half-gallon of water, and a wide opening at the bottom ensures trouble-free maintenance.
It was difficult for our team to choose the best humidifier for a child’s room, given the fact some humidifiers look like robots and animals as well. We went with the MistAire Cloud because of its
Pros: BPA-free design with an eight-color nightlight. Wide opening makes it simple to clean. Excellent 5-year warranty.
How to find the Best Ultrasonic Humidifier
With thousands of ultrasonic humidifiers on the market, finding the right model can be time-consuming and frustrating. Most people know that the operating time and capacity is important, but overlook thinks like design or maintenance. In this guide, we’re going to go over the most important areas to consider before you begin to search for the best ultrasonic humidifier.
How an Ultrasonic Humidifier works
While we’ve discussed the different types of humidifiers available to consumers today, ultrasonic humidifiers are at the top of the food chain. They are more high-tech than evaporative or steam-based machines, which means it’s a good idea to know a little more about how they work.
While the design may vary to a degree, all ultrasonic humidifiers have a small diaphragm, a mist chamber, and a water tank. The diaphragm vibrates through ultrasonic frequencies, which we can’t hear, but is highly effective at turning water from the holding tank into ultrafine droplets of water.
These droplets are then dispersed as a fine mist with some assistance from a fan. That’s standard on larger models, but some personal ultrasonic humidifiers are fanless and nearly silent. Ultrasonic are usually cool mist systems, but there are a variety of hybrid machines that can produce both cool and warm mist as well.
The Pros and Cons of Ultrasonic Humidifiers
Ultrasonic humidifiers have taken a large portion of the market share for a reason. They are effective, quiet, and can be easier to clean as well. These systems aren’t without their drawbacks, however, which is why we’re going to debate the pros and cons of ultrasonic humidifiers.
Versatility is a major advantage of ultrasonic humidifiers. You can find dual-purpose warm and cool mist machines, and they come in smaller sizes than evaporative humidifiers, so there are more portable models available.
As there are no wick filters, they are also easier and cheaper to maintain in the long term. Cool mist ultrasonic humidifiers won’t use much energy, and almost all of these systems are quieter than an evaporative humidifier. There are also find more high-tech features on humidifiers in the ultrasonic class, including humidistats and Bluetooth or unique modes.
On the downside, ultrasonic humidifiers can be expensive. Some cost twice the price of an evaporative humidifier with the same output rating and runtime. You’ll also be limited with sizing if you choose an ultrasonic humidifier. While you can find evaporative systems with 5-gallon tanks, the threshold for ultrasonic machines is usually around 2 gallons.
White dust is the other significant drawback to an ultrasonic humidifier, but only if you have water with high mineral content. These vibrating machines can leave white dust around your humidifier, while the wick in an evaporative system can help filter out minerals in the water. It can result in extra time spent cleaning, although using distilled water will take care of the situation.
Ultrasonic Humidifier Pros
- Extremely quiet
- No filters to replace
- Energy-efficient operation
- Excellent range of features
Ultrasonic Humidifiers Cons
- More expensive than evaporative humidifiers
- White dust from hard water
- Limited to smaller sizes
How large or small is the area you plan to use your new humidifier in? The square footage is one of the first things you’ll need to think about with humidifiers. With any type of humidifier, larger systems will cost more, but that’s especially true when you are shopping for models in the ultrasonic class.
To find the square footage of any room, you need to measure the length and width of one side and multiply those numbers together. A bedroom that’s 10’ x 22’ would require a humidifier rated at 220 square feet. Keep in mind, the numbers manufacturers provide are for sealed rooms and don’t take into account the conditions in your home.
While the easiest way to narrow the field is by humidifier size using square footage, there are a number of companies that use standard terms like small, medium, and large as well. Once you have a good idea of the room size for the humidifier, it’s time to think about the capacity of the system.
Room size, capacity, and runtime are three specifications you’ll find for almost every humidifier, whether it’s evaporative or ultrasonic. Capacity is the most straightforward to understand, as it simply refers to how much water the tank on a humidifier can hold.
With ultrasonic humidifiers that number can range between 12 ounces to 2 gallons. Because of the design, there are smaller ultrasonic humidifiers, although we found that the capacity tends to top out at between 1.5 to 2 gallons. By comparison, you can pick up evaporative humidifiers with 6-gallon tanks.
While the runtime is tied to humidifier capacity, it can vary quite wildly from one system to the next. It’s also not uncommon to see companies tout machines with extended operating times of 40 – 60 hours. Well, those numbers should be taken lightly unless it’s a single-speed humidifier.
If a manufacturer has a humidifier with a 1.5-gallon tank and a runtime of 60 hours, rest assured that it is on the lowest setting. On high, you could see that number halved. Variable speed machines and ultrasonic warm mist humidifiers can have a significant impact on operating time as well.
Humidifier Output Ratings
Once specification we didn’t put in our table or discuss much in our humidifier reviews is output. The output rating is how much moisture a humidifier can produce within a set period of time, which is typically listed at 24 hours. With ultrasonic humidifiers, it can vary between a half gallon to over 3 gallons per day.
It’s an important specification as it allows you to compared sizes within a range of systems but hard to find depending on where you decide to shop online or locally. Certain retailers will post these statistics under the specifications, while others don’t mention them at all. In fact, we found the output rating is missing from many official listings on manufacturer’s websites as well.
Ease of Use
It’s easy to become overwhelmed when you’re looking at dozens of humidifiers, which means you can forget the simple things like ease of use. Every humidifier we chose is simple to use, but how certain areas are designed will have a major impact on how easy a system it to use on a daily basis.
The water tank is the first area to consider. That means you will want to think about whether you prefer a traditional system with a removable tank or a top-fill humidifier. There are pros and cons to each style, and top-fill systems with removable tanks give you the best of both worlds.
It’s also a good idea to think about the placement of buttons and lights on the machine. Controls should be easy to access, but if you have children, you may want to consider a system with a child lock feature. Those buttons can also be tied to operational lights. While there are humidifiers with modes to dim displays, those tiny LEDs can be incredibly bright at night.
From an electrical standpoint, a humidifier is just as safe as a microwave, refrigerator, or window AC unit. Quality control issues can cause these machines to break down prematurely, but you won’t have to worry about fire hazards when you purchase a system from a reputable brand. The water inside the humidifier is a different story, however.
One of the biggest problems people have with a humidifier of any style is bacteria and mold growth. It’s an issue that can affect any humidifier along with things in your home like water pitchers and ice makers. Standing water can be a breeding ground for bacteria, which is one reason that maintenance is key with these types of machines.
Ultrasonic Humidifier Features
Whether you’re buying a used vehicle or a new television, features raise the cost of any product. That’s true with humidifiers, and ultrasonic systems have more bells & whistles than any other type of humidifier. With that in mind, here are the most common features found on humidifiers from the budget-friendly to premium class.
- Dual Mist – The top and most expensive feature found on ultrasonic humidifiers is a machine's ability to produce both warm and cool mist. These hybrid machines are priced at a premium, but allow you to use a humidifier throughout the year.
- Automatic Shutoff – This is the most common feature found on ultrasonic humidifiers. Automatic shutoff ensures your humidifier shuts itself down when the water reservoir runs dry. It’s a simple feature, but one that’s surprisingly missing from a variety of evaporative humidifiers.
- Mist Levels – Sometimes referred to as speeds, mist level control allows you to choose between high, medium, or low. Some systems only have two settings, while others have a variable speed dial that lets you fine-tune the level. There are also warm mist machines that allow you to adjust the temperature along with the speed.
- Modes – Modes are something you’ll find on tower fans and dehumidifiers, but there are several companies that also include them on humidifiers. The most common is sleep or nighttime mode. This will dim the lights on the display, but can also drop the speed down to quieter levels while you sleep. Several machines have special cleaning modes as well.
- Notifications – Notification lights can let you know when something is amiss with your humidifier. Most ultrasonic humidifiers in the midrange to premium tier have a reminder light that lets you know when the water tank is dry. Some also have notifications for filter changes, although those are more common with evaporative humidifiers.
- Lighting – When we talk about lighting on a humidifier, it’s not the kind that will keep you awake at night. It’s the opposite, as there are a variety of bedroom humidifiers with a built-in nightlight feature. Some allow you to cycle through up to a dozen colors while others are simply there to double as a nightlight.
- Timers – This is a feature that’s a must-have for some consumers and something other homeowners may never use. It’s also hit or miss with ultrasonic humidifiers, although more prevalent with midrange and high-end machines. Timers usually range from 8 to 12 hours, but you should pay attention to the increments as well. Some allow you to adjust the timer in small increments while others are set in hourly blocks.
- Essential Oils – With ultrasonic humidifiers, there are two options if you want to use essential oils in your machine. There are humidifiers that have essential oil trays and ones with a medicine cup feature. The former uses pads that soak up essential oils while the latter allows you to add inhalants directly to the machine.
- Humidistat – A humidistat will monitor the humidity in the air where your humidifier is placed. It’s a premium feature, but one that’s well worth it if you want total control over your system. Humidifiers with humidistats usually have an automatic mode as well, which is ideal when you just want to set and forget your system until it’s time to refill the tank.
- Filtration – There are two types of additional filtration found on ultrasonic humidifiers, but both are somewhat rare. There are a handful of systems with pre-filters and UV-C filters. While you can find pre-filters on a number of dehumidifiers and AC units, a UV-C filter can keep bacteria from growing inside the tank of your humidifier and entering the air in your home.
- Connectivity – There aren’t many humidifiers with “connected” features, but a few manufacturers allow you to sync up to your humidifier through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. This opens the door to new features, including the ability to control your system remotely or get real-time data on the air quality inside of a room.
Ultrasonic Humidifier Maintenance
We won’t spend much time here as every manufacturer will have a guide that includes maintenance tips for their humidifier. They also vary somewhat from one system to the next, depending on how they are designed. If you’re still curious about maintenance, you can read more about it in our humidifier cleaning guide.
Instead, we are going to stress the importance of keeping your system clean by simply wiping it down and rinsing the tank after every fill. It’s a small step that can save you from a big headache down the line, although something that should never take the place of routine maintenance. There are also companies that produce humidifiers with dishwasher-safe parts as well.
Ultrasonic Humidifier Warranties
As mentioned, ultrasonic humidifiers are more expensive than evaporative humidifiers, so it pays to look for a system that has a solid warranty. Unfortunately, that’s often tied to the brand more than the price with humidifiers – even on premium systems.
In our research, we found that many brands have blanket warranties on their humidifiers. That means you’ll get a set period of time regardless of how much the system costs. That’s ideal when you are shopping a budget-friendly brand that offers 3-year warranties across the board, but not for brands like Dyson where products are priced a premium with 2-year guarantees.
One way to get around the warranty issue if you find a system you like with a short guarantee is to pick up an extended warranty plan. They are inexpensive and well worth it if you’re picking up a system between $60 - $100. It’s also a good idea to consider the availability of replacement parts and customer service as well.
Q: Can I use essential oils in any humidifier?
A: You should never use essential oils directly in the water tank of a humidifier. It can damage the unit or break down the tank itself over time. Essential oils are typically used in a vaporizing tray, and should only be used as directed by the manufacturer of your humidifier.
Q: What’s the best way to clean my humidifier?
A: While humidifiers are easy to clean, you should take care when using cleaning solutions with your system. If you need help cleaning your humidifier, check out our humidifier maintenance guide.
Q: Is it safe to sleep with a humidifier on?
A: Sleeping with a humidifier is perfectly fine, and many homeowners buy them for this purpose. Some systems have also have built-in sleep modes to keep things quiet or nightlights.
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.