A humidifier is a device for normalizing the microclimate in a room. Modern models have additional functions, can clean, heat and cool the air. It is known that low humidity not only negatively affects the flooring and furniture, but also leads to health problems: infections, skin peeling, respiratory diseases.
These devices are very easy to use, but not so easy to choose. The size of the tank, noise level, additional features affect the effectiveness of the device. We looked at the characteristics of different humidifiers and selected the criteria by which you can buy the best one.
1. Basic selection criteria
What to look for when choosing a humidifier
Despite the variety of models, all humidifiers have a standard set of functions:
- Performance. On this criterion depends on the size of the apartment, which will be able to serve the device. Judging by user reviews, for a room of up to 30 m2 humidifier capacity of 300 to 400 ml/h will be enough. Powerful devices can work for apartments up to 70 m2 (large two-room apartment). The capacity of such devices reaches 500-600 ml/h. Some people buy humidifiers “to grow out”, but this leads to excessive power consumption.
- Power. Performance directly depends on the power. The right combination of these characteristics affects the cost of operating the humidifier. The more additional functions the model has, the higher the power figures. Consequently, the amount of power consumed increases. Average figures for most humidifiers are from 30 to 35W without the inclusion of additional functions.
- Noise level. When the air is dry, the humidifier will run for hours (especially in winter). The noise level determines how comfortable it is to arrive in the same apartment with a functioning device. The best models make virtually no noise, allowing you to watch TV, socialize and even sleep with the unit on. Standard noise level in humidifiers is 25 dB (quiet whispering).
- Filter type. The effectiveness of the purifier depends on the quality of the filter. If the degree of demineralization is low, allergens and infection can enter the air together with steam. For this reason, ionic filters have recently gained popularity. Judging by the reviews, they not only humidify, but also soften the microclimate. A quality humidifier is able to remove inorganic mixtures from the air, including magnesium salts.
2. Steam humidifier
How to choose a steam humidifier
Steam humidifiers with the hot vapor principle are very popular. Water is heated by electrodes, reaches the desired temperature and turns into steam, saturating the air. The hot particles kill harmful germs and bacteria, while having no negative effect on humans.
One of the positive sides of this device is the possibility of strong air humidification – from 60%. Productivity is up to 700 ml/h, one model is enough for a huge room. Many are equipped with an indicator of the amount of water in the tank, some humidifiers stop working when the minimum is reached. When buying it is important to consider the design of the model – the design must be stable, so the device will not tip over, pouring out all the liquid.
These devices do not have no nozzles, which can clog. There are no filters that require regular replacement. They don’t need to be constantly refilled with distilled water, which leaves a salt buildup.
Most steam humidifiers are made of heat-resistant plastic that is resistant to hot liquid. It is advisable to check the safety system of the device: for example, if the lid is not closed tightly, the unit will not turn on. The unit should stop at full evaporation. Steam humidifiers do not need cartridges or filters, they are easy to use and relatively inexpensive.
Because of their high power and low cost, these devices are installed in greenhouses, greenhouses and conservatories. They create a tropical microclimate that is favorable for many plants. For the same reason they are less often used in apartments and houses. The power is so high that in a short period of time the air will become too humid, as if before it rains.
3. Ultrasonic humidifier.
Strengths and tips for choosing a high-frequency humidifier
Ultrasonic humidifiers are relatively new thanks to modern technology. They are considered a perfect type of device, which has almost no disadvantages. The devices create high-frequency vibrations, turning water into an invisible cloud. The fan in the humidifier draws in dry air, which passes through the humidified environment. A cold mist enters the room. Such a device is absolutely safe, it is impossible to get burned by the steam. They are recommended for an inquisitive child who will want to turn the “toy”.
The strengths of these humidifiers are considered:
- The unit automatically turns on and off according to the status of the hygrostat, keeping the humidification at the set level.
- It comes with a filter cleaner. It gets rid of minerals and salt-containing mixtures in the water. This protects the furniture and walls from white deposits. One filter lasts for three months, but the lifetime depends on the degree of contamination and hardness of the water.
- If the liquid in the tank runs out, the device turns off. It is very useful to leave it on when no one is in the apartment. Ultrasonic humidifiers do not make much noise and often have a rotating spout. The user chooses in what direction to direct steam.
More expensive models are equipped with a humidification indicator, a rotary knob and touch buttons. These features are not mandatory, but add to the cost of the device. Some can even be controlled from your phone through an app.
The main disadvantage of these humidifiers is the price. In addition to the initial cost, you’ll have to regularly purchase filters, clean the tanks, and purchase batteries. If price is not an important factor for the buyer, an ultrasonic humidifier will be the best choice.
4. Classic humidifier
Which standard inexpensive humidifier to choose?
Cold evaporative humidifiers, which can still be found in stores, were the first on the market. The user pours regular water, it hits the special elements of the device. A fan sucks in the air in the house and runs it through the liquid in the tank. The microclimate in the room gradually changes, especially near the device.
These humidifiers are very energy-efficient, don’t make much noise and don’t require much maintenance. They have a minimum set of functions, have no hygrostat (you can not set the degree of humidification) and will work until the user turns off the power. Buyers in the reviews advise to put the classic humidifiers near the batteries and in places of air circulation. Then the evaporation level will increase, the room will be saturated with vapor and cleaned of dirt, dust and microparticles. Even wet cleaning will not give the same result as a quality device.
It is recommended to buy devices with a transparent tank or fill indicator to add water in time. The best models have antibacterial cassettes that destroy harmful organisms. Cartridges need to be replaced every few months.
Classic humidifiers are great for home and office. They are absolutely safe (the water in the tank remains cold) and are put even in children’s rooms. The only big disadvantage is considered a humidity limit (about 60%), so they are not suitable for greenhouses and greenhouses, nor for any place that needs a tropical climate.
In a standard apartment, the classic device will be able to solve the problem of dry air, especially in winter. In summer, the effect is almost imperceptible. In winter, the air has a high relative humidity, so when it enters the room, it greatly changes the microclimate. This affects the respiratory tract and contributes to the spread of infection. A quality cold humidifier solves all these problems.
5. Air Purification
Which humidifier with air washer and purifier to choose
Not too long ago, devices that combine a humidifier and a purifier to eliminate harmful particles, bacteria and impurities from the room have appeared on the market. They work by using several technologies: the air enters the fan, then is sent to the evaporator. Humidified, it returns to the room in the form of steam.
The cleaning function is represented by one or more filters for different purposes. For example, parents buy anti-allergenic cartridges that trap plant pollen and harmful particles. The air enters the vaporizer, passes through the filters and leaves dirt, dust, tobacco smoke and unpleasant odor in the water. Some humidifiers have an additional ionization function.
Such devices are larger than conventional ones and require caution during use. It is recommended to buy a device with handles to carry it and the electronic system from place to place. Filters, batteries, and other consumables will need to be changed periodically. The liquid tank gets dirty regularly, it is important to wash it monthly with hot water and soap.
Such humidifiers are installed in houses, apartments and offices, but are especially popular in rooms with foreign odors and large amounts of dust. The standard device consists of a system of plastic discs, so you can not drop it. When transporting it is important to be careful with the filters, which are also easily damaged.
Despite the disadvantages, the advantages of modern humidifiers are quite a lot:
- several power levels (day and night, depending on the allowable noise level);
- ease of use;
- humidification of the air to the desired level;
- Destruction of bacteria, harmful substances and odors.
Standard limitation of humidification of the room is 60%, but there are more powerful devices that increase the value up to 70-80%.
6. Cost of maintenance
How much does it cost to run a humidifier?
When choosing a model, it is important to look at the availability of consumables and their cost. It happens that a relatively inexpensive humidifier requires regular replacement of cartridges and reservoirs, which will have to be ordered from another country. At the same time, steam and classic devices have no consumables at all and are the easiest to operate.
Most technological humidifiers have one filter for liquid evaporation. Its replacement is sufficient to twice a year, if the buyer uses purified or very soft water (passed through a special system, boiled or distilled). If you pour the one that flows from the tap, the filter will become contaminated in 2 months of regular operation.
Ultrasonic humidifiers have many more filters, they additionally need to replace the ion exchange resin. One pack costs about a thousand rubles, you will have to replace it several times a year. If the water is of low quality, the resin will run out in 3-4 months.
When the ultrasound humidifier has only one filter, it uses distilled water (at most, boiled). Using other fluid will greatly reduce the life of the device. In any case, such humidifiers imply regular expenses for materials.
Devices with a washing and cleaning function require more money. They have several different cartridges that get dirty every couple of months. For example, the HEPA filter that traps allergens and dust needs to be replaced once a season. The one that destroys unpleasant odors needs to be renewed every 3 months.
Which humidifier you can add oils to
Aromatherapy is the addition of essential oils to the water tank and then spraying them in the form of steam. The smell spreads evenly around the room, so many users think it’s a great idea to use a humidifier for this purpose. However, not every model is safe to use in this way, some can simply be spoiled.
Manufacturers strongly advise against adding oils to:
- traditional humidifiers.
These models cannot be disassembled and cleaned from the inside of the oil, as the body is made of a piece of plastic. Filters and membranes will remain contaminated, which will immediately affect performance and, over time, lead to breakdown. The only thing manufacturers allow is a drop of oil on the steam outlet.
Humidifiers with the function of washing the air are allowed to use for aromatherapy, if you immediately rinse all the compartments with soap and water. There are also special devices with a compartment for oils. It is convenient to remove and easy to clean, but such devices are much more expensive and do not humidify the air as effectively.
Ionization function, pros and cons of aeroions
Ionization of air is the creation of aeroions in a room. If studies are to be believed, there are more of them in nature than in urban apartments and houses. Now the air is much more polluted because of industrial plants and a huge number of machines. Indoors, computers, televisions and other appliances affect its quality. Humidifier-ionizer can make the air as it is in the woods or near the village pond.
Inside the device are special electrodes under high voltage. They emit aero ions that interact with oxygen and ionize it. Often this feature is presented as an absolute plus, improving health and giving a restful sleep. However, the effectiveness depends directly on who is in the room with the humidifier. Before you make your final choice, you need to learn about the negative properties of aero ions:
- If the device works in a room where someone with any viral disease is present (or there are already molecules involved), they are very likely to get to healthy people by airborne droplets. Ionized air spreads infections much faster than normal dry air.
- Such a microclimate is bad for people with high temperatures. It speeds up the metabolism, warming the body and worsening the condition of the patient.
- Airoions stimulate the metabolism and can provoke sluggish diseases. Humidifiers with ionization should not be installed for cancer. It is better to consult your physician.
- Air ions stress the respiratory system more than normal air. This complicates the course of asthma and some other diseases.
- Many people are not even aware of their aeroion intolerance (or hypersensitivity). It is advisable to check the seller’s warranty before purchasing and return the product if the ionized air is uncomfortable to breathe.
- A child under the age of a year or people after surgery do not need the extra stress on the respiratory tract. They will be fine with classic humidifiers.
9. For baby
How to choose a humidifier for a child’s room
There are several basic criteria to consider when choosing a humidifier for a child:
- The size of the child’s room determines the power of the device;
- the volume of the water tank (the larger it is, the less often you need to take out and refill the device);
- very low noise level;
- replaceable filters and the possibility of buying them;
- electricity consumption.
Children’s humidifiers are often made of colored plastic in the form of various animals and cartoon characters. They do not have the same set of functions as devices for other rooms, and cost much cheaper.
One of the main indicators is the quietness of the humidifier. However, it is impossible to check the noisiness without turning the device on. It is recommended to choose a proven manufacturer with good warranty conditions.
10. Additional features
What else to pay attention to when buying
Important criteria to consider when buying a humidifier:
- the regularity of use of the device;
- additional features;
- Water quality and quantity.
Most modern humidifiers have several additional functions. Judging by the reviews of parents, the baby does not need sensors to determine the humidity and air temperature. They show information in the place where the device stands, not next to the crib. As a result, parents get the data wrong. Both of these functions are performed by separate handheld devices.
There are a few additional criteria that are suitable for a standard apartment:
- A simple and inexpensive humidifier is sufficient for the child. It is recommended to avoid devices with hot steam and complicated electrical equipment, especially if children are able to reach them. Traditional device is suitable for most rooms. An ultrasonic would be a good choice, as long as you keep it away from the child and change the cartridges regularly.
- It is ideal to get a compact humidifier with a roomy reservoir that can be left overnight.
- If the device is near a crib, the noise level should be less than 24 dB. Many devices go up to 40 dB and are not suitable for small children.