Cool Mist vs Warm Mist Humidifier

With the right kind of humidifier, the benefits can be long-lasting. The two mist temperatures of any humidifier are warm and cool.

Depending on where you live or on any underlying health conditions you want to treat, you may need a cool or warm mist humidifier, or a humidifier with both functions.

Warm Mist Humidifier

If it’s winter or you live in a cool climate, you can definitely benefit more from a warm mist humidifier.

Warm mist humidifiers use heat to boil water within the unit. This produces a comforting, warm steam that you can see and feel. Because a warm mist humidifier releases steam, it also kills off most bacteria in the air. This is because virus and bacteria particles have a harder time traveling in warm air.

If you need an even more humid room, it would be best to opt for a warm mist humidifier as its settings allow for the highest level of moisture saturation. Any of these top rated warm mist humidifiers are an excellent choice.

If you have children or pets at home, make sure to keep your warm mist humidifier out of their reach.

Cool Mist Humidifier

Cool mist humidifiers are typically more refreshing compared to warm mist humidifiers because it has no added heat. Most cool mist humidifiers are so quiet, they’re perfect for light sleepers and nurseries.

Many parents prefer cool mist humidifiers for their home and children’s bedrooms. This is because it’s safer to use compared to warm mist humidifiers which boil water in their units. Warm mist humidifiers could potentially be more dangerous to keep around children and pets.

Cool mist humidifiers come in two types—evaporative and ultrasonic:

  • Evaporative
    • How an evaporative humidifier works is a fan pulls in warm air from the room and uses it to evaporate water held inside a wick or filter. The air becomes more humid as water naturally evaporates and is carried away.
  • Ultrasonic
    • Instead of a fan, an ultrasonic humidifier uses high-frequency ultrasonic vibrations to evaporate water. Ultrasonic humidifiers are significantly quieter compared to all other types of humidifiers.

As always, it’s best to go with the top rated products. We recommend these cool mist humidifiers.

So how do you decide?

The easiest way to figure out which humidifier works best for you is by simply knowing which type of air is easier for you to breathe. If you inhale well in a sauna, then a warm mist humidifier might be best. If you have allergies or asthma, you might benefit more from a cool mist humidifier.

For kids prone to the sniffles, it’s worth it to note that both warm and cool mist humidifiers are equally effective. By the time the water vapor reaches your child’s lower airways, the temperature of the mist is the same, regardless of what temperature it started out. Also take note that both cool and warm mist humidifiers require frequent cleaning. This is to reduce mold and bacteria growth that can trigger allergies and asthma.

Still unsure of which humidifier to purchase? There are units with both functions of warm and cool mist. We recommend this LEVOIT humidifier or this TaoTronics humidifier.

If you are interested in adding an aromatherapy element to your humidifier, it might be worth considering a diffuser instead. Learn about the difference between humidifier and diffuser if you are unfamiliar with the features that differ and overlap between the two.