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Best humidifier 2024: Relieve dry skin and breathe easy

A selection of dehumidifers against a blue backgrund

Breathe easy, improve your health and get a good night’s sleep with the best humidifiers we’ve tested and reviewed

Using central heating and air conditioning can help to keep the temperature just right, but it also has a nasty habit of drying out the air, leaving us prone to all manner of malaises, from cracked lips and static shocks to asthma, eczema, sore throats and psoriasis. And while too humid air can have bad effects – nobody wants clammy conditions or mould creeping in – your home needs a certain level of humidity. Above 60% can be bad, but below 40% can make many symptoms worse.

A good humidifier can help you keep that balance right, even if you only use it for a few hours in the living room or to add some extra moisture while you’re sleeping. But which humidifier should you buy? My expert colleagues and I have tested a range of makes and models, including more traditional steam humidifiers and the newer ultrasonic devices. Listed below you’ll find the nine humidifiers we feel are best for different needs and budgets. And don’t worry if you need more advice before you choose – there’s a full buying guide with all the info you need, right after the reviews.

Our expert picks

Best budget humidifier

SmartDevil Humidifier 500ml: Best budget humidifier

SmartDevil 500ml

Price when reviewed: ~ £19

‘It’s cheap, but this pint-sized humidifier covers the basics, putting out a fine mist for up to 12 hours from a full tank, or 18 hours if switched to intermittent. It’s almost silent and very easy-to-use, and its soft night light makes it perfect for the bedside table.’

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Best all-round humidifier

Aennon Cool Mist Humidifier: Best all-round humidifier

Aennon Cool Mist Humidifier

Price when reviewed: ~ £40

‘What’s not to love about this humidifier? It’s incredibly quiet, but puts out a good flow of vapour, and it will turn itself off automatically. The 2l tank lasts for ages, and you can add essential oils to change the aroma or switch the soft lighting to a different colour. It’s even easy to clean.’

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How we test humidifiers

We test humidifiers by setting them up in a small room with the doors and windows closed. We take baseline measurements of the humidity levels with an air quality monitor before turning the humidifier on, and again after 15 minutes and after 30 minutes.

Measuring ambient humidity levels
Whenever there’s any operating noise, we measure sound levels using a smartphone sound meter app and, if the unit is mains-powered, we measure power consumption using a passthrough power meter. Finally, we use the humidifiers around the house and/or in a greenhouse to find out how easy they are to use, fill and clean, as well as whether any niggles that may annoy in the long term become apparent.

READ NEXT: Best dehumidifiers

The best humidifiers you can buy in 2024

1. Aennon Cool Mist Humidifier: Best all-round humidifier

Price when reviewed: £40 | Check price at Amazon

Aennon Cool Mist Humidifier: Best all-round humidifier

  • Great for… strong steam flow, automatic switch-off, customisable coloured lighting
  • Not so great for… can create damp patches on curtains and furnishings

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 rooms, thanks to the auto turn-off), but powerful enough to improve the air quality of the whole house.

I 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 for the built-in soft lighting until you find your ideal ambience, and add oils such as eucalyptus to give the room a lovely fragrance.

With a large 2.8l capacity, I only had to fill up the tank once a day and it’s a doddle to clean. I also found the release of mist much more consistent than with some cheaper machines (and even some more expensive ones). Be warned that the mist can cause dampness on fabrics, so keep it away from curtains and furnishings but, that aside, this humidifier is hard to beat.

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

2. SmartDevil Humidifier 500ml: Best budget humidifier

Price when reviewed: £19 | Check price at Amazon

SmartDevil Humidifier 500ml: Best budget humidifier

  • Great for… seriously cheap, fine mist, gentle LED night light
  • Not so great for… low tank capacity

You’ll find several versions of this cheap humidifier on Amazon, and they’re all about as simple as humidifiers get. You have a choice of continuous and intermittent sprays, depending on whether you press the on/off button once or twice, along with a gentle LED night light when you hold down the button. The unit is powered via a micro-USB connection to a USB power bank or charger, and a full tank will last you up to 12 hours in continuous mode, or 18 hours on intermittent. With just 500ml, you haven’t got the tank capacity of larger humidifiers, but what you’ve got should more than get you through the day or night.

The good thing about this budget beauty is that it delivers a decent quantity of moisture; my small test room saw its humidity rise by 18% in half an hour. Plus, where some cheap models coat the area with condensation, this one puts out a nice fine mist, while staying virtually silent. From inches away, I could hear a low hum, but this was indiscernible above ambient sound levels at 1m. If you’re not fussed about automatic settings or other features, the SmartDevil is a solid budget buy.

Key specs – Dimensions: 9.5 x 9.5 x 12.9cm (WDH); Tank size: 500ml; Running time: 12 hours (continuous), 18 hours (intermittent); Automatic shut-off: Yes; Warranty: 1 year

3. Vicks VH845 Warm Mist Humidifier: Best humidifier for winter

Price when reviewed: £42 | Check price at Amazon

Vicks VH845 Warm Mist Humidifier: Best humidifier for winter

  • Great for… comforting warm mist in winter, optional menthol aroma
  • Not so great for… use in the summer, recommended daily cleaning

This great-value machine could be your new best friend if you’re fighting a cold or flu – or even when you’re 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 the comforting menthol aroma you probably remember from childhood. That might be all it takes to help you get a little shut-eye, or some sweet relief during the day.

The Vicks humidifier may not be ideal for everyday use in summer, given its air-warming properties and warm mist. And even though it’s easy to assemble and clean, I still didn’t like the fact that you’re supposed to clean it daily. Seriously, who has time for that? But it has a super-sized 3.8l water tank and an auto shut off feature, and the price is pretty reasonable even if you only use it during the colder months.

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

4. Levoit Dual 150: Best humidifier for bedrooms

Price when reviewed: £50 | Check price at Amazon

Levoit Dual 150: Best humidifier for bedrooms

  • Great for… high-capacity tank, fine directional mist, optional aromas
  • Not so great for… no humidity sensor or automatic controls, as on pricier Levoit models

The Levoit Dual 150 is a definite step up from most budget portable humidifiers, with a larger 3-litre tank that will keep it running for up to 25 hours. I found it incredibly easy to use, as well. You just twist the central knob to turn it on, then turn it to the right to increase the level of mist. I like that you can adjust the angle of the vapour stream by rotating the outlet at the top, and the way the lid just lifts off for easy filling.

You don’t get a sensor or any automatic controls – you’ll need the more expensive Dual 200S for that – but the Dual 150 puts out plenty of fine mist, raising the humidity in my test room by around 18% in half an hour. It’s also very quiet; I measured 28dB at most, which isn’t actually audible above the ambient noise level in my living room or bedroom. And if you want to add an aroma to the steam, you can add essential oils to the water without fear of damaging the ultrasonic mechanism. Compact, effective and affordable, the Dual 150 is an excellent choice for a quiet bedroom or any smaller space where you’ll spend a lot of time.

Key specs – Dimensions: 18.3 x 20.6 x 29.4cm (WDH); Tank size: 3l; Running time: Up to 25 hours; Automatic shut-off: Yes; Warranty: 2 years

5. Stadler Form Eva Humidifier: Best humidifier for large rooms

Price when reviewed: £169 | Check price at Amazon

Stadler Form Eva Humidifier: Best humidifier for large rooms

  • Great for… larger rooms, high capacity tank, stylish design
  • Not so great for… warm mode seems less effective, costly consumables

Another ultrasonic machine, this more expensive model has 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, or about the size of a large two-bedroom flat. Its massive 6.3l tank can handle the high steam output, lasting for up to a full day, and its auto mode prevents it from dispensing more steam than it needs to when the room is already at the set humidity level. I found it works a treat, and with noise levels typically at well under 30dB, it didn’t disturb me during the daytime or keep me awake through the night.

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 even control the Eva by Wi-Fi through the Stadler Form smartphone app. The warm mode doesn’t seem to do much, however, and you will need to fork out for maintenance-related extras like filtration cartridges, but if you’re looking for a stylish humidifier that can manage larger areas, you won’t do better.

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

6. Babymoov Hygro+: Best humidifier for kids’ rooms

Price when reviewed: £80 | Check price at John Lewis

Babymoov Hygro+: Best humidifier for kids' rooms

  • Great for… clear instructions and easy setup, helpful touch controls, large tank, multicoloured night light
  • Not so great for… night light may be too bright with speedy colour cycling

This cool-mist humidifier is our top choice for improving your tiny tots’ air quality – and it’s an excellent choice for grown-ups’ rooms too, especially on warm, dry summer nights. It gets full marks for clear instructions and an easy setup. I found that the touchscreen controls made it a doddle to monitor the ambient humidity and temperature, then adjust the settings as required.

A full water tank lasted through two nights, with the timer switching it off automatically during daytime hours, and I loved the fact that you can add essential oils to the vapour, even if the aroma doesn’t last all that long. The Hygro+ is also quiet and simple to clean, and the multicoloured night light is another nice touch, though it may be too bright for some sleepers, with no dimmer to turn the brightness down. Parents may also find it more restful to stick to one colour than use the colour cycling option; the colours change quite fast and might be more conducive to an infant disco than an early night.

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

Check price at John Lewis

7. Sharp UA-HD40U-L: Best 2-in-1 air purifier and humidifier

Price when reviewed: £270 | Check price at Amazon

Sharp UA-HD40U-L: Best 2-in-1 air purifier and humidifier

  • Great for… air purifying plus humidifying, high-capacity tank, automatic features
  • Not so great for… noise levels at high speeds

Anyone buying a humidifier to help alleviate skin allergies or respiratory problems could probably benefit from air purification, too, which is where combo purifiers/humidifiers such as the Sharp UA-HD40U-L come in. It’s an effective purifier, complete with intelligent air quality and humidity sensors, and an anti-bacterial and viral Ion Shower mod. Yet it also provides humidification through an evaporative process and a removable 2.5-litre water tank. This unlocks when you push down the release lever and can be filled from a distilled water bottle or straight from the tap.

The humidification feature is automatic. As long as the unit is in Clean Air Humidify mode, it will kick into action when the humidity level drops below 65% at below 18°C, 60% at 18 to 24°C or 55% at 24°C or more. This means you don’t need to worry about over-humidifying damp-prone rooms, and you can check the current level on the digital display. Just be aware that the fan can get pretty noisy; I measured noise levels reaching 47dB with the unit at full power. You’ll also have to clean the humidifying filter, tank and tray periodically, though that’s the same with most humidifiers out there.

This is our most expensive option, but there’s enough purifying and humidifying power here to take care of a 26m² space, while the larger UA-HD50U-L will handle rooms of up to 38m². Splash the cash, and your sinuses or skin will thank you.

Key specs – Dimensions: 39.9 x 23.0 x 61.5cm (WDH); Tank size: 2.5l; Running time: Not stated; Automatic shut-off: Yes; Warranty: 2 years

8. Stadler Form Oskar Little Humidifier: Best compact aromatherapy humidifier

Price when reviewed: £130 | Check price at Amazon

Stadler Form Oskar Little Humidifier: Best compact aromatherapy humidifier

  • Great for… fast humidification, quiet and night modes, stylish and easy to use
  • Not so great for… small tank, not suitable for hard water areas

This evaporative humidifier is compact but packs a punch, with two power levels that can improve air quality to a noticeable level even in fairly large rooms. On its top setting it focuses on boosting your humidity fast, while on the lower setting it’s close to silent. It’s also more economical and environmentally friendly, boasting an eco-friendly filter made of plant and textile fibres which needs to be replaced roughly every two months. Its dimmable LEDs and slow release of essential oils will help you get to sleep, and it looks good, too.

I also found it ticks all the boxes when it comes to ease of use. The water-level window on the water tank makes it easier to see when the tank needs refilling, and there’s an automatic shut-off when the tank is empty. The tank itself isn’t any trouble to remove and fill with water, either. However, like the pricey Dyson, it’s not ideal for hard water areas, while the capacity of the tank is on the small size given how much moisture it puts out.

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

9. Dyson Pure Humidify and Cool: Best high-end humidifier

Price when reviewed: £749 | Check price at Amazon

Dyson Pure Humidify and Cool: Best humidifier for modern homes

  • Great for… good looks, fan and air purifier features, quiet
  • Not so great for… unsurprisingly expensive

Dyson’s products tend to be quite pricey and the Purify, Humidify and Cool is no different. At £749 you’re going to really have to want one to shell out but, in many ways, it’s unique. Not only is it a humidifier, but it also purifies the air, filtering out most common pollutants including pollen, while it also doubles as a bladeless tower fan.

It’s a super-stylish unit and I found it very quiet while it’s just purifying and dehumidifying at its lowest setting, though it can put out 56dB when the fan’s maxed out. It can be controlled via your smartphone or remote control, and it’s extremely easy to keep bacteria-free. With Dyson using 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 powerful tower fan to boot; I measured air speeds of 3.2m/sec with the fan spinning at full tilt. This is an expensive humidifier, but it’s also great for giving you cleaner air and generally staying cool and comfortable. The fact that it’s exceedingly attractive is just the icing on the cake.

Key specs – Dimensions: 28.0 x 28.0 x 92.5cm (WDH); Running time: Continuous; Automatic shut-off: Yes; Warranty: 5 years

How to choose 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. Otherwise, some of the best air quality monitors can measure and track the humidity in a room, or you could buy a stand-alone hygrometer or hygrometer/thermometer. They’re available from Amazon and other retailers for around £8 to £30.

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 often 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 to 60% creates a welcoming environment for bacteria, dust mites and mould – not to mention a musty smell. If your humidity levels regularly rise above 60%, particularly in the winter, you might want to think about investing in a dehumidifier.

What features should I look for in a humidifier?

Different humidifiers use different technologies to create their streams of vapour. The most common now are ultrasonic, using vibrations to turn water into a cool mist. However, there are also steam humidifiers, or vaporisers, which heat the water to create a warmer steam, and evaporative humidifiers, which use a fan to push air through a damp wick or filter. These need more regular cleaning, since bacteria can build up within the system. Ultrasonic and steam humidifiers have the advantage that they’re practically silent, so ideal for rooms where you’re planning to sleep.

Humidifiers often have a choice of continuous or intermittent spray patterns, giving you a non-stop stream for six to 12 hours, or a longer running time with regular pauses. You may also get additional heat, mist or power levels, depending on the technology used.

Beyond the basic humidification functions, 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. Perhaps the most important features in a humidifier are the following:

  • 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 consider the size of the humidifier you buy. Smaller models are easier to move, while larger ones cover a bigger 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 deliver 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 £850 – although that really is the top end of the spectrum. Unsurprisingly, these pricier machines also tend to be more aesthetically pleasing.

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