Last updated: August 9, 2021

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Room humidifiers help you to create a healthy indoor climate in your home. Especially in winter months when we heat a lot, they balance out the dry air with their water vapour. Thanks to their many functions, you can use them both at home and in offices.

With our large humidifier test 2021 we want to help you find the ideal humidifier for you. We have compared atomisers, vaporisers and evaporators with each other and listed their respective advantages and disadvantages. In this way, we want to make your purchase decision as easy as possible.




Summary

  • Room humidifiers offer you the opportunity to enrich dry heating air with sufficient moisture, especially in winter. This is especially good for your eyes, throat and skin.
  • A basic distinction is made between room humidifiers, vaporisers, diffusers and evaporators. All variants are available with different functions and performance levels.
  • Vaporisers are particularly powerful and well suited for large rooms, whereas evaporators release moisture naturally and are available for very little money. Vaporisers are very quiet and with LED functions suitable for the bedroom.

The Best Room Humidifiers: Our Choices

Room humidifiers: buying and evaluation criteria

Based on the following criteria, we show you what you should look for before buying a humidifier. In order to find the ideal humidifier for you, you can compare the devices with the help of these aspects:

In the following section, we explain what is important in the various criteria.

Health and hygiene

The health and hygiene aspects play an essential role when buying a room humidifier. Basically, room humidifiers are suitable for colds and allergies. They help to bind suspended matter such as house dust or pollen with the air humidity they emit and thus filter the air.

In the prevention and treatment of colds, the humidity can help to prevent the mucous membranes from drying out.

Changing filters and cleaning them regularly is a must. Otherwise bacteria, mould or yeast will multiply.

However, if used incorrectly, a humidifier can do more harm than good. Bacteria, mould or yeast fungi quickly form due to irregular cleaning or excessive use.

These are then distributed in the air by the device and can trigger pneumonia or further allergies. In addition, too much humidity is harmful. Especially room humidifiers without integrated hygrostat produce uncontrolled humidity and can exceed the healthy level of max. 55 % humidity.

In the long run, this uncontrolled use can cause mould to form on the walls. We therefore recommend that you carefully study the usage and cleaning measures of the respective product before buying. In case of pre-existing conditions and allergies, we also advise you to consider the opinion of a doctor in order to prevent possible damage to your health.

Power consumption

Depending on the function and device, a room humidifier consumes different amounts of electricity. The resulting costs are therefore important criteria when buying.

  • Vaporisers consume a comparatively large amount of electricity, 300 - 400 W, as they have to heat the water to boiling point for the water vapour. When using a vaporiser, it is recommended to purchase a hygrostat, which can also consume up to 400 W.
  • Due to their technology and size,atomisers or diffusers consume much less electricity. These are often equipped with energy-saving ultrasound technology and require 10 - 15 W of energy, depending on the device.
  • Evaporators also consume little electricity because they evaporate the water over a large surface area. These devices thus consume only 6.5 - 15 W of electricity. Room humidifiers that do not consume any electricity are, for example, radiator evaporators that you can hang on your radiator as a container.

Maintenance and handling

There are great differences between room humidifiers and their cleaning and maintenance requirements. Many humidifiers require regular filter and water replacement.

Regular water and filter replacement not only affects the additional costs, but also the user-friendliness of the device.

Vaporised produces germ-free water vapour, but you have to clean the device itself regularly. How often and by what means depends on the product and is stated in the instructions for use. Evaporators must be cleaned often, otherwise bacteria will quickly multiply in the container.

The flow paper in the evaporator must therefore be changed regularly. Depending on the material, the container itself is dishwasher-safe and therefore easy to clean. Due to its disinfecting effect, vinegar is a popular cleaning agent. Atomisers or diffusers also need regular filter changes. Atomisers can also be cleaned with vinegar and are often easy to use.

Performance and functions

Room humidifiers have different functions depending on price and user. Many devices have several of the following features. A built-in timer or a timer switch offers the possibility to precisely determine the time of use. This is not only very practical, it also reduces the risk of overhumidification of the air.

A room humidifier with an integrated air purifier function is particularly popular for allergy sufferers. These models can not only create a healthy room climate, they also remove pollutants as well as dust, germs and bacteria from the air.

A hygrostat can determine the exact humidity value.

A hygrometer or hygrostat can be used as a separate measuring device or integrated in a room humidifier. It makes it possible to measure the humidity in a room and, if integrated, to adjust the output automatically. In this way, the device generates the ideal humidity all by itself.

Many atomisers and vaporisers work with ultrasonic technology. This generates high-frequency vibrations that mechanically break the water into small droplets and rise as a cool to lukewarm mist. This makes these models energy-saving and effective at the same time. Many companies advertise their atomisers and vaporisers with the possibility of aromatherapy. However, the use of scented oils is controversial, as they often do more harm than good. They can trigger allergies in humans and clog the room humidifier.

The performance and useful life of a room humidifier is very dependent on the device and water tank size. Many smaller atomisers and vaporisers can easily run for 12 hours, larger models for up to 30 hours. However, since the water tank should be cleaned regularly, bigger does not necessarily mean better.

Location and room size

A relevant criterion when buying a room humidifier is the location and room size.

Generally, a larger room also needs a larger amount of water. However, there is no standard measure to determine the right humidifier for the room size.

Either the manufacturers specify the room size in m² or the amount of water in g/h. To put this into perspective: with a ceiling height of approx. 2.4 m, 100 g/h is suitable for a small room and 400 g/h for a large room. The right location for a room humidifier is very important because the possible condensation water can damage nearby objects. This is especially true for electronic devices.

The surface on which the humidifier is placed should be waterproof.

Evaporators are well suited for large rooms, such as living rooms or offices. With integrated hygrostat, the humidity is reliably controlled. Ultrasonic atomisers fit well in bedrooms or children's rooms due to their space-saving size.

Room humidifier: Frequently asked questions and answers

We have compiled the following questions and answers to provide you with the best possible information on the subject of room humidifiers. After reading this guide, you will know all the important background information.

What is a room humidifier?

A humidifier, room humidifier or simply humidifier is a technical device for enriching the air with moisture. The application varies depending on the type.

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A room humidifier improves the air quality indoors. It is therefore well suited for home and office use.
(Image source: Anke Sundermeier / pixabay)

Many humidifiers can be placed in a room with the help of a water tank. Other devices are attached to a fixed water connection.

When does a room humidifier make sense?

In general, a room humidity of between 40 - 55 % is recommended. Air that is too dry can strain the eyes, mucous membranes and lungs. Especially in winter, constant heating dries out the air and makes mucous membranes more susceptible to pathogens.

Very dry air also damages wooden furniture and instruments in the long run. Room humidifiers can counteract this effect by adding water to the air.

What types of humidifiers are there?

If you want to buy a humidifier, there are basically 3 types to choose from: Vaporiser, evaporator and atomiser. We have summarised the most important advantages and disadvantages of the 3 types here:
Type advantages disadvantages
Evaporator hygienic, high humidification performance, low purchase costs high energy consumption, risk of condensate and limescale precipitation, risk of calcification, overhumidification and scalding
Evaporator low energy consumption, no overhumidification low humidification performance, regular cleaning and disinfection
Atomiser low energy consumption risk of condensate and limescale precipitation, regular cleaning

The biggest advantage of an evaporator or steam humidifier is the hygiene aspect, because boiling the water kills all the germs in it. This also makes it very powerful. However, using tap water can cause the unit to calcify and deposit condensation on floors and furniture.

In addition, a vaporiser without a timer or hygrostat can quickly exceed the healthy level of humidity. Therefore, we recommend that you pay special attention to regulation measures for vaporisers.

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Diffusers are especially suitable for children's rooms because they work without hot water vapour. So there is no danger for the little ones.
(Image source: Felipe Salgado / unsplash)

The way an evaporator works is very energy-saving because it is often a water container that is attached to a radiator. This allows water to evaporate naturally and reduces the risk of over-humidification.

However, an evaporator releases relatively little moisture into the air.

Due to the heat of the radiator, bacteria and germs can quickly spread in the container. We recommend that you clean and disinfect an evaporator very regularly.

An atomiser, also called a nebuliser or diffuser, also consumes little electricity. As with a vaporiser, there is also a risk of condensation and lime precipitation damaging the furniture.

Moreover, a diffuser is a veritable paradise for bacteria and germs that are released into the air. Regular cleaning is therefore essential.

What does a room humidifier cost?

The cost of a humidifier varies greatly between models and types. Therefore, we recommend that you pay close attention to the features and functions of the respective device. The prices of household vaporisers range from 30 to 100 €, but professional industrial vaporisers with many measuring and filter functions cost many times more.

Evaporators can be inexpensive containers for a radiator, but also devices with timer and hygrostat. Therefore, prices vary between 20 - 120 €. Handling and comfort are a decisive factor and usually justified. Diffusers or atomisers are in a similar price segment, depending on the equipment they cost 25 - 150 €.

Especially with diffusers, you should not be blinded by the beautiful design and aroma function.

Type Price range
Vaporiser 30 - 100 €
Evaporator 20 - 120 €
Atomiser 25 - 150 €

Depending on what kind of luxury humidifier you are considering, the price can be very high. However, you can find well-equipped devices in the price segment we have mentioned.

What are the alternatives to a room humidifier?

There are various methods to provide a room with enough humidity. Humidifiers are one of them. In the following section we show you what alternatives there are.
Alternative Description
Humidity recovery in ventilation system effective but expensive humidity control that is built into ventilation system
Central humidification system humidity control that provides the whole house with optimal air quality, expensive
Plants An indoor lime tree, nest fern, cyprus grass, ficus or even a cobra is an effective oxygen and humidity donor
Heating, pausing and ventilating To achieve a comfortable room temperature in winter without dry air, this routine is essential
Dry laundry and leave bathroom and kitchen doors open this way moisture can be distributed in the air without much effort

Each of these products and methods has certain advantages. However, room humidifiers are usually easy to use and regulate humidity independently.

Where do I put a room humidifier?

In principle, there are many places where you can place the humidifier. However, you should bear the following things in mind. Electronic devices in particular are very sensitive to water. Therefore, we recommend that you place your humidifier at least 90 cm away from any electronics.

Furnishings made of oak, beech or spruce imitation, i.e. pressed sawdust, are also sensitive to water and should be placed as far away as possible from a room humidifier. Furniture made of this material absorbs humidity, deforms and, in the worst case, can become susceptible to wood rot. We therefore recommend that you place your room humidifier on a mineral base, such as stone.

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A room humidifier needs a solid, water-resistant base. Technical equipment or sensitive wooden furniture should be placed at least 90 cm away.
(Image source: Felicia Buitenwerf / unsplash)

The windowsill is also not a suitable location for a humidifier, as the water condenses on the window pane and is thus not released into the air. A vaporiser is unsuitable for children's rooms because the hot water vapour is a source of danger.

How long can I run a room humidifier?

In general, you run a room humidifier until the humidity level is between 40 - 55 %. Humidifiers that have a built-in hygrostat and produce as much humidity as necessary until the air has reached an optimum value have an advantage here. The running time and performance vary from device to device. Therefore, we recommend that you always buy a hygrostat in order to achieve the ideal value.

How do I clean a room humidifier?

Regular cleaning of a room humidifier is important to kill bacteria and mould. If you have a humidifier with a filter, it must be replaced regularly.

How exactly and with what means your humidifier is best cleaned depends on the product. You will find information on this in the instructions for use of the respective device.

A popular household trick is the use of vinegar. Vinegar and vinegar essences have a disinfecting effect and dissolve stuck limescale. If you choose an evaporator or diffuser, you can prevent limescale by using distilled water.

Conclusion

With the help of a room humidifier, you can create a healthy room climate in your home without much effort. Unlike household methods, it works independently and is usually very convenient to use. There are 3 models on the market: Evaporator, vaporiser and atomiser.

Evaporators are uncomplicated, energy-saving and inexpensive. You can hang them directly on your radiator, for example. Vaporisers, on the other hand, are very powerful and are perfect for large rooms. Thanks to their cool water mist, atomisers are best suited for bedrooms and children's rooms. So it all depends on what you want to use it for.

Image source: Yastremska/ 123rf.com

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