Best humidifier 2022: Breathe easy with the best portable humidifiers for your home

Jane Hoskyn Kate Hilpern
24 Feb 2022

Increase your air quality, improve your health and get a good night’s sleep

The best humidifiers go a long way to making you happier, healthier and much less itchy. In our desperation to dry out our air with aircon and central heating, we've triggered all manner of malaises, from cracked lips and static shocks to asthma, eczema, sore throat and psoriasis.

Air that's too humid isn't exactly comfortable either, of course. No-one craves clammy summer days or damp winter mornings, and our homes certainly don't benefit from being too soggy. The trick is to find the right level of humidity. Comfortable air quality has a relative humidity of around 40%, and anything over about 50% spells a damp, mouldy playground for harmful bacteria.

A decent humidifier will help you get that balance right. Humidifiers disperse an invisible mist – cold or warm – to keep the moisture in your home's air at just the right level. In a moment, we'll reveal the best models you can buy, but first here's a quick buying guide.

READ NEXT: The very best air purifiers you can buy

Best humidifier: At a glance

  • Aennon Cool Mist Humidifier: Best all-around humidifier | Buy now
  • Babymoov Hygro+: Best humidifier for kids' rooms | Buy now
  • Vicks VH845 Warm Mist Humidifier: Best humidifier for winter | Buy now
  • Sharp UA0HD40U-L: Best purifier and humidifier on a budget | Buy now
  • Stadler Form Oskar Humidifier: Best compact aromatherapy humidifier | Buy now

How to buy the best humidifier for you

How can I check my home's current humidity level?

Many humidifiers come with a built-in hygrometer that measures and displays the current humidity level, but you can buy battery-operated hygrometers for less than £20 online. Lakeland currently has a Beurer Thermo Hygrometer for £16.

Does using a humidifier have health benefits?

Humidifiers are commonly used to treat issues that arise when the air is too dry including dry and cracked skin, congestion, allergies and a dry throat. They can also help you to sleep while alleviating snoring.

On the other hand, using a humidifier too much can present its own problems when humidity levels become too high. As mentioned, 40% is optimum but indoor humidity levels between 30% and 50% are considered fine for health and comfort. Lower than 30% is too dry, and risks causing short-term health problems and exacerbating long-term problems. Higher than 50% creates a welcoming environment for bacteria, dust mites and mould – not to mention a musty smell.

What other features should I look for in a humidifier?

You'll find oodles of clever optional features such as antibacterial UV lights, digital control panels, spill-proof tanks and air-cleaning “pre-filters” that are designed to trap pet hair, dust and even some pollen. However, perhaps the most important features in a humidifier are these:

  • Automatic safety shut-off, which means the machine turns itself off when it runs out of water.
  • Warm mist or cool mist? Some humidifiers can handle both, but most are either/or.
  • Timer so you can set it to switch off after you fall asleep.
  • Ease of use with clear instructions and hassle-free setup.

Also make sure you're buying the right size humidifier. Smaller models are easier to move, while larger ones cover a larger area. Here are the three main sizes:

  • Tabletop humidifiers are designed to humidify a single room. They're lightweight and easy to carry around, and usually have a removable water container.
  • Console humidifiers are larger freestanding units, designed to provide moisture for a whole office, flat or an area of a house. A good console humidifier can balance the air quality in a whole house, provided the house isn't too big!
  • Whole-house humidifiers do a better job of covering the entire home but are more complex to install, because they connect to a home's heating and cooling system.

If you’re particularly concerned about air quality, or struggle with allergies or asthma, then you might want to look at an air purifier with a built-in humidifier function. This will filter out pollutants from the air and humidify it at the same time. However, it’s likely to be a bigger unit – not to mention more expensive.

Are humidifiers easy to maintain?

Humidifiers are generally low-maintenance appliances, but they do need regular cleaning to protect against mould and bacteria. You should also check the mist outlets regularly to keep the mist flowing smoothly, and clean or replace the filter if your machine has one.

How much should I spend on a humidifier?

For a decent and affordable humidifier, you need only spend between around £30 and £50. The Vicks and Aennon humidifiers that we’ve featured in our roundup are both decent, albeit basic, humidifiers that fall within this price range.

For extra features such as air purifying and other fancy tech to help with respiratory problems or allergies, then you should expect to pay much more. Dyson’s Pure Humidify and Cool, for instance, uses a UV light to kill bacteria, and will set you back around £600 – although that really is the top end of the spectrum. Unsurprisingly, these pricier machines also tend to be more aesthetically pleasing.

READ NEXT: The best dehumidifiers you can buy

The best humidifiers you can buy

1. Aennon Cool Mist Humidifier: The best all-round humidifier

Price: £37 | Buy now from Amazon

This smart-looking machine is a great all-rounder for a fantastic price. It's small enough to use for one room (including children's, thanks to the auto turn-off), but powerful enough to improve the air quality of the whole house.

We found it really easy to control the strength of the flow of steam, and it barely makes any noise, which certainly isn't the case with many similarly-priced humidifiers. It even lets you scroll through various colours until you find your ideal ambience, and add oils such as eucalyptus to give the room a lovely fragrance.

You only have to fill up the tank once a day and it's a doddle to clean. The release of mist is much more consistent than with some cheaper machines (and even some more expensive ones), but be warned that the mist can cause dampness on fabrics, so keep it away from curtains and furnishings. That aside, this humidifier is hard to beat for the price.

Key specsDimensions: 20 x 21 x 29cm (WDH); Tank size: 2.8l; Running time: N/A; Automatic shut-off: Yes; Warranty: None

2. Vicks VH845 Warm Mist Humidifier: The best humidifier for winter

Price: £48 | Buy now from Amazon

This great-value machine could be your new best friend if you're fighting a cold or flu, or feeling generally run down. It releases warm, moist air that helps relieve congestion, sore throats and other symptoms. You can even use Vicks VapoPads in the humidifier to release that comforting menthol aroma you probably remember from childhood.

The Vicks humidifier may not be ideal for everyday use in summer, given its air-warming properties. And even though it's easy to assemble and clean, we don't like that you're supposed to clean it daily (who has time for that?). But it has a decent size water tank and auto shut off and the price is reasonable.

Dimensions: 14 x 20 x 30cm (WDH); Tank size: 3.8l; Running time: Up to 12 hours; Automatic shut-off: Yes; Warranty: 2 years

3. Stadler Form Eva Humidifier: The best humidifier for large rooms

Price: £181 | Buy now from Amazon

Another ultrasonic machine, this more expensive model boasts five humidity level settings and an easy-to-operate remote control. It looks fantastic and covers a larger area than the others in our lineup – up to 900 square feet, about the size of a large two-bedroom flat – thanks to a huge water tank that will require less refilling.

On top of that, the Eva gets brownie points for being easy to keep clean, and the LED lights can thoughtfully be dimmed or switched off. You can add a scent of your choice, and the auto-mode – which includes automatic shutdown when the room is humid enough – works a treat. The warm mode doesn't seem to do much, however, and you'll need to fork out for maintenance-related extras like filtration cartridges.

Like most humidifiers, the Eva will gather limescale over time in hard water areas, but we don't think that's enough of a flaw to warrant its current one-star Amazon review. This is a powerful, well-designed machine.

Key specsDimensions: 20 x 20 x 42cm (WDH); Tank size: 6.3l; Running time: Continuous; Automatic shut-off: Yes; Warranty: 2 years

4. Babymoov Hygro+: The best humidifier for kids' rooms

Price: £86 | Buy now from Amazon

This cool-mist humidifier is our top tip for improving your tiny tots' air quality – and it's an excellent choice for grown-ups' rooms too, especially on warm, dry summer nights.

The Babymoov gets full marks for clear instructions and easy setup. The touchscreen controls make it a doddle to monitor the ambient humidity and temperature, then adjust the settings as required.

A full water tank lasted us two nights – the timer can automatically switch off during daytime – and we love the fact that you can add essential oils, although the aroma doesn't last all that long. It's quiet and simple to clean, and the multicoloured night light is another nice touch. It may be a little bright for some sleepers, though, and there's no dimmer. We also found it more restful to stick to one colour, as they change quite fast.

Key specsDimensions: 26 x 25 x 34cm (WDH); Tank size: 3.8l; Running time: Up to 22 hours; Automatic shut-off: Yes; Warranty: Lifetime

5. Philips 3000i AC3829 Air Purifier and Humidifier: The best humidifier for allergy sufferers

Price: £475 | Buy now from Amazon

Back in the higher price range, this quiet two-in-one air purifier and humidifier promises similar benefits to the Dyson (although no one could argue it's quite as handsome), with a particular emphasis on making life easier for allergy sufferers.

Pollen particles are too tiny for many budget humidifiers to filter, but they're no match for the Philips, which catches particles as small as 0.3 microns. Users report that it really works, providing relief for hay fever sufferers and even children with asthma.

As well as filtering the air using a special evaporation process that automatically adjusts to current air conditions, the Philips has a special colour dial that alerts you when the air is polluted (for example with pollen), so you can boost humidity and speed settings manually if required. There's also a free companion app that lets you tweak settings and set the timer via Wi-Fi from anywhere in the house.

Key specsDimensions: 25 x 36.6 x 70cm (WDH); Tank size: 3.5l; Running time: Varies according to settings; Automatic shut-off: Yes; Warranty: 2 years

6. Sharp UA0HD40U-L: The best purifier and humidifier on a budget

Price: £276 | Buy now from Amazon

If you can’t stretch to the Philips 3000i AC3829, the Sharp UA0HD40U-L is a great alternative. It uses a triple air filtration system to get rid of the microscopic irritants and pollutants that can trigger allergies, but is just as good at humidifying the air, adding moisture from the 2.5l water tank to maintain a constant humidity level. On top of this, it features what Sharp calls “Plasmacluster ion technology”, which emits positive and negative ions that, Sharp claims can fight the impact of bacteria, viruses, odours and static electricity.

There’s a strip on the top which turns from red through orange to green to indicate the current air quality, while the humidity readout gives you the current level in the room. At nearly £300 it’s nowhere near as cheap as a standalone humidifier, but if you struggle with allergies or respiratory issues this machine is tough to beat on all-round value.

Key specs – Dimensions: 39.9 x 23 x 61.5cm (WDH); Tank size: 2.5l; Running time: Varies according to settings; Automatic shut-off: Yes; Warranty: 1 year

7. Stadler Form Oskar Little Humidifier: The best compact aromatherapy humidifier

Price: £121 | Buy now from Amazon

This evaporative humidifier is compact but packs a punch with two power levels that can improve air quality to a noticeable level in fairly large rooms.

It’s quieter than many, as well as more economical and environmentally friendly, boasting an eco-friendly filter made of plant and textile fibres. Its dimmable LEDs and slow release of essential oils will help you get to sleep, and it looks good, too. It also ticks all the boxes for ease of use – including refiling the water tank (and revealing when it needs refilling, thanks to the water level window). However, like the pricey Dyson, it's not ideal for hard water areas and the tank size is rather small.

Key specsDimensions: 24.6 x 18.5 x 29cm (WDH); Tank size: 2.5l; Running time: N/A; Automatic shut-off: Yes; Warranty: 2 years

8. Dyson Pure Humidify and Cool: The best humidifier for modern homes

Price: £599 | Buy now from Sonic Direct

Dyson's products tend to be quite pricey and the Humidify and Cool is no different. At £600 you're going to really have to want one to shell out but, in many ways, it's unique. Not only is this a humidifier, but it also purifies the air, filtering out most common pollutants including pollen, and it's a fan, too.

It's also super stylish, very quiet, can be controlled via your smartphone or remote control, and it's extremely easy to keep bacteria-free. There are no filters here; instead, Dyson uses a high-power UV lamp to kill off nasties before they're pumped into the air. The only cleaning you have to do yourself is periodically to run a so-called "deep clean" which involves, essentially, descaling the parts that accumulate scale over time.

It's also great at filtering out indoor air pollution and a mighty powerful fan to boot. Expensive, then, but it does a lot and looks exceedingly attractive, too.

Key specs – Dimensions: 280 x 280 x 925cm (WDH); Running time: Continuous; Automatic shut-off: Yes; Warranty: 5 years

Buy now from Sonic Direct

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