Cool Mist Humidifier on table next to succulents in front of woman reading book on couch

Low humidity can cause dry skin, itchy eyes and throat, and may even exacerbate problems with allergies and asthma. Different types of humidifiers all accomplish the same goal but they do so using various technologies. Humidifiers are generally divided into two categories: a cool mist humidifier and a warm mist humidifier. 

Today we’re going to clear the air on what a cool mist humidifier is and what it does. We’ll also explore the differences between cool mist and warm mist then introduce you to our top five recommendations available on Amazon.

What Does a Humidifier Do? 

At its most basic level, a humidifier increases humidity in a space by releasing water vapor into the air. They are manufactured differently but all of them take water from a reservoir tank and turn it into vapor. 

One of the most common types of humidifier is an evaporative humidifier. These work by dispensing water from the tank into a basin. From there, water is absorbed into a wicking filter and the fan blows air through the wet filter, evaporating the water which is then released into the air. 

Ultrasonic humidifiers are also very popular. They use a metal diaphragm that vibrates at an ultrasonic frequency to turn water into mist then releases it into the air as a cool fog. Impeller humidifiers use rotating discs to send water through a comb-like diffuser that breaks it up into mist. 

Vaporizers are a type of warm mist humidifier that boils water from the tank to create steam. They use heat, which generally makes them less safe for use around babies and children.

How Are Cool Mist Humidifiers Different? 

Both cool mist and warm mist humidifiers have their pros and cons, but cool mist humidifiers are typically the safer option for a nursery or child’s room

The primary thing that makes cool mist humidifiers different is, of course, that they do not heat the water. While warm mist humidifiers come with some risk for burns, they don’t have the same bacterial or mineral concerns as cool mist humidifiers. It’s also possible to add medical inhalants to a warm mist humidifier to treat coughs and colds. 

Cool mist humidifiers release room temperature vapor into the air. They tend to be much quieter than warm mist humidifiers which is a benefit if you’re using the unit in a bedroom. Cool mist humidifiers are generally more energy efficient as well. 

The main concern with cool mist humidifiers is the potential for bacterial growth and mineral deposits. Stagnant water is the prime breeding ground for bacteria which can be released into the air if you don’t keep the unit clean. If you don’t use distilled water in your humidifier, mineral deposits can build up over time that might compromise the unit’s functionality.

What To Look For in a Cool Mist Humidifier

There’s no shortage of options on the market and all you need to do is figure out what features matter most to you in order to narrow them down.

Here are a few things to think about when shopping for a humidifier: 

  • Size – The size of the humidifier tank determines the size of the space the unit can humidify effectively. It also determines how long the humidifier can run before needing to be refilled. 
  • Control – Many humidifiers are simple to operate with a knob you can use to choose between multiple fan settings. Some have smart technology that enables you to control the unit remotely and some have a built-in humidistat that allows you to set a desired humidity and the unit will automatically adjust. 
  • Ease of Cleaning – Keeping your humidifier clean is a must, so look for a unit that makes the process easy. Top-fill models are usually a good choice, especially those which have wide openings or a removable top so you can fit your hand or a tool into the reservoir.

It’s also wise to think about where you intend to use the humidifier. Not only does this affect the size of humidifier tank you need but it also affects the size of the unit. Smaller units can be placed on bedside tables while larger units may need to sit on a dresser or a table of their own.

Cool Mist Humidifier Top Picks

Having learned the basics about cool mist humidifiers, you’re ready to start shopping and luckily we’ve done all the research. Here are five of our top picks from Amazon.

LEVOIT Smart Cool Mist Humidifier 

cool mist humidifier 

Humidifiers with smart technology take all the hassle out of humidifying your space. This LEVOIT model has a large 6-liter tank and is WiFi compatible so you can control it by app or using smart home devices like Alexa. It humidies spaces up to 505 square feet and can run for up to 60 hours on one fill.

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Pure Enrichment MistAire Humidifier

cool mist humidifier 

A humidifier should be easy to use and simple to customize. This 1.5-liter humidifier features a 360-degree nozzle so you can direct the mist wherever you want it. The tank is easy to fill and the unit is simple to operate. It even comes with an optional nightlight and an automatic shut-off feature for safety.

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raydrop Cool Mist Humidifier

cool mist humidifier 

This raydrop model features a large opening so you can fit your hand or a brush inside to clean it without the hassle. This model comes with a 2.2-liter tank which offers a runtime up to 30 hours on the lowest setting and 10 on the highest. It operates quietly at just 30dB which makes it a good choice for a nursery or bedroom. 

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AquaOasis Cool Mist Humidifier 

cool mist humidifier 

Humidifiers with filters can be a pain but the AquaOasis is completely filter-free. This model has a large 2.2-liter tank and a convenient 360-degree nozzle so you can adjust the mist output. It operates in near-total silence and is easily controlled through a knob dial. 

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LEVOIT Humidifier for Large Room 

cool mist humidifier 

A humidifier with a large reservoir tank is best if you need something for a a large room or bedroom. This LEVOIT cool mist humidifier has a 3-liter tank with a convenient top-fill design that makes it easy to clean. It’s also dishwasher safe. This model humidifies quietly at just 28dB and runs for up to 25 hours on a single fill.

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Cool Mist Humidifer Bottom Line

No matter what humidifier you choose, it’s important to read the manufacturer’s directions to ensure proper use and cleaning. Not only is a clean humidifier safer, but it’s going to last longer as well. 

Cool mist humidifiers are usually safer, quieter, and more energy efficient than warm mist humidifiers. If you’re looking for one to use in your home, you can’t go wrong with any of the five products recommended above.