Humidifier guide: What to know before buying a humidifier

Everything you need to know about buying a humidifier.

Many of us struggle with dry skin, congestion and other undesirable conditions brought on by dry weather, especially during winter. But it’s not just our health that suffers, dry air can actually cause structural damage to our homes by warping and cracking timber.

A humidifier can help you maintain a healthy level of humidity, improve your health and extend the life of your home and furniture. Humidifiers come in a variety of styles and sizes and cost anywhere from $50 to $500 depending on the size and layout of the space you want to humidify.

We’ll walk you through all the options, help you compare humidifiers and ultimately choose the right model to meet your needs.

Popular humidifiers compared

Data obtained at time of publication. Prices are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.
Name Product Price (AUD) Tank Size (gallons) Water Output (gallons/day) Type
Boneco 7135
Boneco 7135
$248.05
1.75
3.5
Ultrasonic
With warm and cool mist modes, the Boneco 7135 can help make any room more comfortable.
PureGuardian H4810
PureGuardian H4810
$137.2
2
2.91
Ultrasonic
A large water tank and automatic shut off feature mean you won't have to refill the tank as often.
Winix AW600
Winix AW600
$413.42
1.3
3.17
Evaporative
The Winix AW600 cleans the water while it runs, helping to eliminate pollutants from your home.
Vornado Evap2
Vornado Evap2
$124.04
1
2
Evaporative
The Vornado Evap2 only requires one refill per day to run virtually non-stop.
Sunpentown SU-4010
Sunpentown SU-4010
$117.83
1
2
Ultrasonic
The Sunpentown SU-4010 uses an ION filter to treat hard water and prevent dust particles.
Crane EE-8065
Crane EE-8065
$110.25
1.2
2.5
Ultrasonic
The Crane EE-8065 is more energy efficient than a typically household light bulb.
Holmes HM2610-TUM
Holmes HM2610-TUM
$48.22
1.2
2
Ultrasonic
Escape the effects of a dry winter with this affordable humidifier.
Honeywell HCM-350
Honeywell HCM-350
$104.66
1.1
2.3
Evaporative
The Honeywell HCM-350 helps eliminates bacteria and mold.
Beurer LB 37
Beurer LB 37
$96.45
0.53
1.23
Ultrasonic
Use aromatic oils to diffuse your favorite scents while humidifying.
HoMedics UHE-WM85
HoMedics UHE-WM85
$179.14
1.5
Ultrasonic
The HoMedics UHE-WM85 can run for up to 65 hours per filling and shut off automatically when empty.
Vicks V3700
Vicks V3700
$82.67
1
1
Evaporative
The Starry Night Cool Moisture Humidifier was designed to help your child sleep.

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What does a humidifier do?

The ideal level of humidity inside a home is considered to be between 30% and 50%. Humidifiers and dehumidifiers can work to help your home achieve this level. While dehumidifiers work by removing moisture from the air, humidifiers add moisture to the air in dry environments.

Generally, air is drier during winter months and indoor heaters further strip the air of moisture. This can cause timber homes and furniture to warp and even crack. Dry air can also be damaging to your health.

What types are available?

There are two main types of humidifiers: evaporative and ultrasonic. Both styles can effectively add moisture to your home or office but they use different methods to do so.

How to compare humidifiers?

The first step in choosing a humidifier is determining what size you need. Common sizes include tabletop or individual room models, console units and central air humidifiers.

Maximum room capacityProsCons
Tabletop or room humidifierSmall to large-sized rooms such as bedrooms or living rooms.
  • Least expensive type of humidifier.
  • Very portable and can be moved easily.
  • Smaller tanks need to be refilled more often.
  • A single unit cannot humidify an entire home.
Console humidifierLarge open spaces up to 300 square metres including entire houses, units and offices.
  • Can effectively humidify your entire home.
  • More powerful than tabletop models.
  • More affordable than a central air humidifier.
  • Will only be effective in homes with open layouts.
  • Larger and less portable than a tabletop humidifier.
  • More expensive than a tabletop model.
Central air humidifierEntire homes, offices and buildings.
  • Connects directly to a home’s central heating and cooling ducts.
  • Very efficient at humidifying large spaces.
  • Requires a central air system to run.
  • Most expensive type of humidifier.
  • Additional costs may apply for installation.

Cost

The price of a humidifier depends on size, type and features. Tabletop humidifiers typically cost between $30 to $200, whereas console humidifiers run from $100 to $300. Central air or whole house models start at around $150 and require an additional installation cost. Keep in mind, larger units also use more electricity and will increase your monthly electric bill.

Which humidifier is best for me?

The best humidifier for you depends on your room or house size, the humidity level of your environment and what additional features you want. To make it easier to help you find your ideal humidifier, we’ve compared five popular models below:

The goodThe bad
Vicks Starry Night Cool Moisture Humidifier
  • Low-cost
  • Projects stars on a child's ceiling.
  • Some users have reported leaking.
  • No automatic shut-off feature.
Boneco 7135
  • Features both warm and cool mist modes.
  • Includes a programmable humidistat.
  • On the high-end of our price range.
  • Requires purified water for optimal performance.
Honeywell HCM-350
  • Affordable.
  • Eliminates up to 99% of bacteria and mould in the water.
  • Does not include a humidistat.
  • No automatic shut-off feature.
Beurer LB 37
  • An aroma oil dispenser allows you to diffuse your favourite scents.
  • You can control the amount of mist being dispensed with an adjustable nozzle.
  • Can cause condensation on nearby surfaces.
  • Requires fresh drinking water, not tap water, for optimal performance.
HoMedics UHE-WM85
  • Can run for up to 65 hours per filling.
  • LCD digital display shows humidity level, humidity target, timer and mist settings.
  • Costly.
  • Only comes with a one-year limited warranty.

How to clean a humidifier

The main thing you can do to extend the life of your humidifier is to keep it clean. Regular cleaning also prevents mould and helps keep your air safe to breathe. Look for a model with an easy to remove water container. Generally, a humidifier that is used daily should be cleaned at least weekly. When cleaning, it’s important to drain, rinse and fully dry the dehumidifier to prevent mould and other undesirable build-up. The specific instructions to clean each model depends on the manufacturer.

If you’re interested in buying a humidifier, start browsing today.
How to safely heat your home in winter

Sarah Brandon

Sarah Brandon is a writer for finder.com.au and loves the challenge of tackling a new comparison. When she’s not at the office, she can be found writing novels or searching for the perfect artichoke dip.

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