The Best Cool Mist Humidifier –
What to Look For!

How do you like your air? Somewhere between 68 and 72 degrees sounds about right. Any lower and you start hearing the complaints, “I’m freezing!” Any higher and you get something similar, “Is it hot in here or is it me?” When we think of comfort, temperature is usually the first factor we consider. But temperature is only one part of the answer. Humidity also plays a major role in keeping you comfortable in your home. Well, just as you can adjust the temperature with heating and air conditioning, you can also adjust the level of humidity with a humidifier.

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What Does a Humidifier Do?

A humidifier can add water vapor to the air in your home when the air is too dry for comfort. Room air in many homes can become drier than the earth’s desert regions. For example, the average relative humidity in the Sahara Desert is around 25%. Due to some home heating systems, the humidity in many homes can drop to average lows of around 15%. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends that indoor relative humidity be kept between 30% and 50%.1 That’s where humidifiers come into the picture.

The Benefits of Using a Humidifier

Humidity Can Impact Your Health

A humidifier can help improve your quality of life. Using it frequently, especially in the colder winter months when air tends to be driest, can help relieve dry, flaky skin, itchy eyes and scalp, dehydration of the throat and nasal passages. To address these types of symptoms, some folks like to regularly use a humidifier at night for more comfortable sleep. Some even claim that it reduces the frequency and intensity of snoring.

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When you have cold or flu symptoms, such as a stuffy nose, you tend to breathe through your mouth which creates a parched, dry tongue and throat. The added moisture from a humidifier can reduce this discomfort and even help unstuff those blocked sinuses by loosening mucous and aiding in its expulsion.

Humidity Can Impact Your Environment

The dry air that occurs in the cold winter months and in dry climate areas can take a toll on anything made of wood, such as furniture and hardwood floors. If you have indoor plants, the boost in humidity can also help them to flourish and go longer between waterings.

A humidity level in the normal comfort zone of around 40% to 50% can also help keep airborne dust particles to a minimum. Static electricity can make dust stick to carpets and furniture. A little moisture can keep the static down and make dusting and vacuuming a little more efficient.

Different Types of Humidifiers

Creating water vapor to disperse in the surrounding airspace is not an overly challenging engineering task. The challenge comes in developing a humidifier that’s efficient on power, quiet during operation, easy to clean, and attractive to look at, with a price point that anyone can afford.

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Warm or Cool Mist Humidifiers

All humidifiers produce either warm or cool mist water vapor. Warm mist humidifiers heat the water to produce steam, and therefore use more power to operate. The heating process controls bacteria and mold, so they do not have to be cleaned as often as a cool mist unit. A cool mist humidifier is much safer, especially for homes with children and pets, because there is no heating element and no chance of hot steam burn. This type must be cleaned frequently to avoid dispersing impurities into the air. So, the key in choosing a cool mist humidifier is to find one that is easy to clean!

Note: The mist produced by a cool mist humidifier is heavier and more dense than the vapor produced by a warm mist humidifier. Therefore, cool mist does not disperse across a large room as easily. It will usually stay approximately within a 5-foot radius around the humidifier. Cool mist humidifiers are great for adding humidity to your personal space, such as on a nightstand near the bed for sleeping, or on a coffee table near where you plan to sit while reading or watching TV. Warm mist is lighter and will disperse more evenly, thereby raising the humidity level throughout an entire room.

There are basically five different types of humidifiers available for you to choose from:

Ultrasonic Humidifiers

This type of humidifier uses the ultrasonic vibrations of a ceramic diaphragm to create micro-sized water droplets that are expelled as a cool mist into the surrounding air. (Ultrasonic refers to sound waves that vibrate at a very high  frequency above the level at which a human being can hear.) The tiny droplets evaporate very quickly into the air, increasing the relative humidity, the amount of airborne water vapor. Because this is a cool mist humidifier, the unit must be cleaned frequently to prevent the growth of impurities, and the buildup of calcium or other minerals from the water.

Impeller Humidifiers

The impeller-type humidifier is another cool mist producer. Impellers consist of a rotating disc that propels water through a diffuser to create those micro-sized water droplets that evaporate quickly once ejected into the surrounding air, just like the ultrasonic type. The filter or diffuser inside of an impeller-type humidifier must be changed periodically for efficient operation, and regular cleaning is needed.

Evaporative Humidifiers

These are also called wick humidifiers. The evaporator humidifier uses a fan to draw air into the unit which is then propelled through a filter saturated with water that has been wicked (or soaked up) from a reservoir. This process causes the water to evaporate into the air inside the unit, which is then pushed out into the surrounding air, raising the relative humidity in the room. This type must be cleaned regularly and the filter (or wick) needs to be replaced periodically to prevent a buildup of impurities that could be released into the air.

Steam Vaporizers

The steam vaporizer is warm mist (actually a hot mist) humidifier that boils water to vaporize it. The hot mist is ejected from the unit by the pressure that builds up inside due to the expanding gaseous water vapor. The high temperature required to boil the water keeps the unit free from bacteria and mold, and there is usually no mineral buildup. Many of this type have a cup where a medicated liquid can be added to mix with the warm mist to provide additional relief for those suffering with respiratory ailments. The biggest drawback of this kind of unit is a risk of steam burns to children and pets. Even adults can get burned if not careful.

Central System Humidifiers

Central humidifiers are built into the home’s central heating and air conditioning systems. They can control the humidity in your entire home automatically with a humidistat, which you can set to the desired level. Installation of a central humidifier requires a licensed HVAC professional and can be expensive.

How to Choose the Right Humidifier

Unless you have the resources to install a central humidifier system in your home, chances are you’ll be looking for a portable model that you can place in a bedroom and move from room to room as the need arises. So, to help make that choice, here are a few key points to take with you when shopping:

The Conair Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier Model HUM01
The Conair Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier - Model HUM01
  1. Easy to Clean: All humidifiers need to be cleaned from time to time, especially cool mist humidifiers. Bacteria, viruses, mold and mildew can develop quickly wherever water exists at room temperatures. The key here is to find a humidifier that is easy to clean. The interior of the water reservoir and the channel through which the vapor flows should be easily accessible with as few tight spots as possible.

  2. Filter Free: Some humidifiers use a filter to disperse the water vapor through as it leaves the unit. Filters must be changed regularly because they can harbor impurities after a relatively short time of operation. A design that is filter free will let you avoid that responsibility and expense.

  3. Quiet Operation: If you’re planning to use a humidifier in a bedroom, or nursery, quiet operation is a must. Avoid units with noisy fans, buzzing motors, or hissing steam jets. Peaceful, undisturbed sleep can be assured with the right choice.

  4. Operating Time: Make sure the humidifier you choose has a sufficiently large water reservoir, which will enable the unit to run for a minimum of 8 hours. You want to reduce the number of times you’ll have to replenish the water supply—and for bedroom use, you’ll want it to get you through the night, so you can wake up refreshed and ready to start the day.

  5. Safety: The key here is to choose the right humidifier for your family or individual preferences. Both warm and cool mist humidifiers are designed with safety in mind. However, if you have a family with children and pets, a cool mist humidifier might be the best choice because there is no risk of steam burns. With a cool mist unit, you just need to make sure it is kept clean, and when not in use, it should be kept dry to avoid the development of mold and bacteria.

Warm mist humidifiers, such as the steam vaporizer produce vapor at higher temperatures. The heating process kills bacteria and mold spores, so there is much less risk of injecting impurities into the air in your home.

The Best Cool Mist Humidifier

In its commitment to provide high quality, affordable products for the home, Conair has engineered an innovative cool mist humidifier. The Conair® Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier features a unique, innovative design that restricts water to the reservoir, separating it from the internal components that produce water vapor and power the device. This makes it exceptionally easy to clean. Simply open the top and wipe it clean to prevent the development of mold and bacteria before it starts.

The Conair Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier - Components separated.

If you use tap water or other types of water that contain minerals, occasional decalcification of the ultrasonic transducer at the bottom of the water tank will help keep the humidifier working most efficiently, a quick and easy procedure. The Conair® Ultrasonic Humidifier is designed to keep these required cleanings to a minimum. Therefore, distilled water is highly recommended for use in any humidifier.

Inside the water tank of the Conair Cool Mist Humidifier
Inside the Conair® Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier Water Tank

The ultrasonic generator in this appliance operates very quietly at an ultra-high frequency to create a micro-fine mist that disperses from the top of the water tank out into the surrounding airspace. And, this humidifier does not use a filter. That means no filter to clean or replace. The Conair® Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier features a 27-ounce water reservoir, allowing up to 10 hours of steady operation on the High setting and up to 15 hours on the Low setting between refills. Conair took special care to make sure this humidifier would be the most convenient and easy-to-clean humidifier available at a reasonable price.

Travel Smart® by Conair Travel Humidifier

Traveling on airplanes and staying in hotels can present a variety of different environmental challenges. Dry, stale air might be waiting for you at any number of different places. That’s why Travel Smart® by Conair® developed the Travel Humidifier. Small enough to fit in a suitcase or carry-on bag, the Travel Humidifier slips into most ordinary water bottles and is USB powered. Comes with two moisture wicks, a USB cord, and a travel pouch. It will give you up to 5 hours of mist time on a full water bottle, and functions as a nightlight in the bedroom. Perfect for use in the office, too. Check out the video!

Travel Smart by Conair® Travel Humidifier
Travel Smart® by Conair® Travel Humidifier

Best Water for a Humidifier

Just like other appliances that use water, humidifiers work best with distilled water. Ordinary tap water contains minerals and impurities that can build up in a humidifier over time. Many commercial bottled waters contain minerals as well. The process of distillation removes all the minerals and impurities from water, making it the best choice for use in any kind of appliance such as steam irons, fabric steamers and humidifiers.

How to Clean a Humidifier

Mineral deposits, such as lime and calcium, can build up over time in any humidifier. That’s why distilled water is recommended for use in any appliance that uses water to make vapor. Such deposits don’t clean off with a simple wiping with a wet cloth. The most common and safest method is to use white vinegar.

Apply the vinegar to the stained areas and let it sit for a few minutes. The acid in the vinegar breaks down and softens the minerals so they can be wiped away with a soft cloth. Then, rinse the unit with distilled water and dry with a clean towel.

By virtue of its advanced engineering design, the Conair Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier is fast becoming recognized as one of the easiest humidifiers to clean.

Come Take a Look

You can find Conair humidifiers at selected retail stores and online at Stop by for a visit. We have lots to show you!

1 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Indoor Air Quality www.