Did you know the Environmental Protection Agency recommends that “Indoor relative humidity (RH) should be kept below 60 percent — ideally between 30 percent and 50 percent, if possible” If the answer is “No,” you are far from alone. Many U.S. homes fail to maintain a proper humidity level — and that can cause several problems.
While some homes struggle with higher levels, even more struggle with low humidity levels.
During warm summer months, houses usually run air conditioners that filter cool, dry air throughout the home. In the cold winter months, homes are often heated with warm, dry air. All of this dry air is what causes low humidity levels in homes.
If this dry air problem sounds familiar and you just don’t know where to look for a solution, we hope this article on household humidifiers will help. We will be looking at the benefits of using a humidifier, the different types available, and some expert tips on using them.
There are several brands of humidifiers on the market, but we will be reviewing 5 models from the industry-leading Vicks company. Our research concluded Vicks brand humidifiers are superior to rivals’ due to excellent prices, features, and variety of options.
Benefits of Using a Humidifier
A humidifier is a device used to add moisture into the air to maintain proper humidity levels in a home. Let’s look at the benefits of using a humidifier.
Humidifiers Help Prevent Dry Skin
Several factors can contribute to dry skin, including genetics, air temperature, and health conditions. Another major factor is the humidity level in your home.
If you live in a place that has dry air, you will probably notice that your skin naturally dries out over time.
Using a humidifier is one way to keep your home’s air humid and your skin’s moisture level normal. This will restore a normal humidity range, which can help keep skin moist and soft.
Congestion is Loosened or Relieved
The more hydrated you are, the more your congestion will be relieved.
While drinking water is one way to stay hydrated, sometimes that isn’t enough. If you live in a dry environment, it is even harder to stay properly hydrated. A humidifier can help your room stay humid and you hydrated.
After using a humidifier, you will notice that your throat and nasal passages are lubricated, which will help quickly relieve your congestion.
Humidifiers Reduce the Spread of Germs
Using a humidifier will also help reduce the spread of germs and your chances of getting sick from airborne viruses.
A study performed in 2013 found the flu infection rates were a staggering 70-77 percent in households with low humidity levels. However, in homes within the recommended humidity range, the infection rate was only 14-22 percent.
Why is this, you ask? The answer goes back to the survival conditions of germs. Many types of germs, such as flu, live and spread in drier conditions. If you have a more humid room, it is harder for these germs to spread and infect you.
Your Cold or Flu Symptoms May Go Away
Another benefit to using a humidifier is that it can help alleviate cold and flu symptoms.
No one likes being sick, especially when you’re stuck with a dry throat, dry eyes, and a headache. Being in a dry room can worsen these symptoms when all you want to do is rest.
By moistening the air, a humidifier helps to alleviate, and possibly eliminate, some of these symptoms.
You will notice that your nasal passages aren’t as dry and your throat will return to a normal moisture level. If you have a headache, a humidifier may also help relieve it.
Humidifiers Help Protect Floors and Furniture
Many types of furniture and flooring weren’t designed to handle low humidity levels. For example, the leather on your sofas and chairs can dry up if a room isn’t humid enough. Wood is especially prone to cracking or splitting with low humidity.
Humidifiers can help keep your furniture and flooring in their original conditions by increasing the humidity levels in your home.
Snoring May Be Reduced
Living in a dry home can increase the likelihood of everything drying up, including your skin, nose, throat, and even your hair. You may have noticed that when your airway is blocked by mucus and inflammation, it is difficult to breathe.
Inflamed nasal passages increase the chances of snoring when you are asleep. Occasional snoring isn’t inherently bad. However, if you experience serious snoring or have snored for most of your life, it could be a sign of sleep apnea, which is a harmful health condition.
One way to reduce snoring is by ensuring your home has proper humidity levels. While there is no guarantee, you may snore less thanks to the humidifier eliminating the too-dry conditions in your bedroom.
Different Types of Humidifiers
As we said earlier, Vicks is one of the highest-rated brands of humidifers and offers many excellent varieties. Vicks prides itself on the high quality of its humidifiers. The company’s humidifiers are designed to have additional features, such as being able to use medicated liquid mixed with the water in the tank.
We hope the information we provide will not only help you understand the different Vicks humidifiers on the market, but also to guide you in your quest to purchase the type that is best for you.
Evaporative humidifiers take the evaporation process and speed it up to produce water vapor. This is done with a fan that pulls in air and blows it through a wick filter. Water then evaporates and is pushed into the air as cool mist.
This type of humidifier is popular with consumers because it filters out bacteria and harmful minerals before they enter the air. This lowers the risk of illness caused by these invisible agents.
This model is a “cool mist” humidifier and does not use hot air, which makes it a safer option than its warm mist counterpart we will discuss later in this article.
An ultrasonic humidifier uses high-frequency sound waves to achieve its results. This type of cool mist humidifier creates sound waves that send out vibrations to produce the mist that is then expelled into the air.
Ultrasonic humidifiers are very safe because no hot water is involved, reducing the risk of accidental scalding. However, because it does not use hot water, the humidifier will need to be cleaned thoroughly to kill any bacteria that may be present in the cool mist.
Ultrasonic humidifiers don’t need filters. This not only makes them less expensive but also quieter than other options.
The third type of humidifier is the vaporizer. These humidifiers work by using electrodes that instantly vaporize water contained in a pot. The electrodes’ warm steam then goes into the surrounding air. A vaporizer humidifier helps relieve many common cold symptoms and can also help people with allergies because the warm steam loosens congestion, provides warmth, and moistens dry nasal passages caused by colds and allergies.
Though this type of humidifier provides extra warmth and comfort, it poses a safety hazard to young children because of the hot mist. To avoid accidents, the humidifier should be placed in a hard-to-reach place.
Warm Mist Humidifier
Warm mist humidifiers are the most straightforward. A heating element boils the water and then releases warm mist out of the top.
Many people choose warm mist humidifiers specifically for when they’re sick because the warm mist helps relieve heavy congestion and helps to break up the mucus that’s caught in nasal passages.
As noted earlier, a warm mist humidifier needs to be placed in an area where people are not likely to get hurt from the mist. While the hot water will address any bacteria in the humidifier, you will need to clean if often to prevent the buildup of minerals from the evaporated water.
Top Tips on Proper Usage of a Humidifier
Using a humidifier may initially be confusing or difficult to understand. These tips will help “clear the air,” so to speak, about how to use your humidifier.
Know What You Want
Before you buy a humidifier for your home, we recommend you have ideas in mind as to which type meets your needs.
After you have made your selection, be sure it best suits the place where you will use it. For example, if you are placing a humidifier in only one room — such as the bedroom — you won’t need a large or heavy-duty option. You don’t want to over-humidify the room.
Have a Humidity Reader
A humidity reader, or hygrometer, measures a room’s humidity level. This is important enough that we recommend buying a hygrometer before you put your humidifier to action. This will allow you to check the humidity levels before turning on the humidifier, while it is operating, and after you have turned it off. This information will help you determine how long you should run the humidifier to reach and maintain your desired humidity level.
Clean the Humidifier Often
Regularly cleaning your humidifier is important to prevent the growth of mold or other bacteria that can be harmful when released into the air. This will also extend the useful life of the humidifier.
Read the humidifier’s user’s manual for instructions on how to properly clean the device.
Don’t Use Tap Water
When minerals and bacteria are exposed to the air, they spread quickly and can cause illness. To prevent this, use only distilled, demineralized, or purified water in your humidifier. These types of water are clean from minerals and other bacteria.
While the water from your home’s tap is perfectly safe to drink, and has been treated to eliminate water-borne bacteria, the local water plant is not equipped to remove all of the minerals in water from underground aquifers and surface reservoirs. As the humidifier’s water evaporates, it will drop the heavier “passengers” it was carrying, which can leave a mineral build-up in your humidifier.
Pick a Place to Put It
Just as in real estate, the three most important things to consider to get the most out of your humidifier is “location, location, and location.”
We have already pointed out that for safety reasons the humidifier needs to be in an out-of-the way place and high enough so tiny hands can’t reach it.
Another placement consideration is to avoid putting your humidifier by a vent. The purpose of the humidifier is to help the house maintain a proper humidity level. When a humidifier is put by a vent, the house is actually working against it because vents dispense a constant stream of dry air. This can throw off the reading of your hygrometer. To ensure a consistent reading of the humidity in the room, place the humidifer in the center of the room.
5 Top Models
Now we come to the moment you have been waiting for — our review of five of the best Vicks humidifiers on the market!
1. Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier for Small to Medium Rooms
The first top option is the Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier for Small to Medium Rooms. As its name implies, it is the warm mist type of humidifier that works to bring humidity levels back to where they should be. This Vicks humidifier is made with the younger family members in mind. Because it is small, it is an excellent option for babies’, children’s, and young adults’ rooms.
This warm mist humidifier will help to relieve your child’s cough or congestion caused by illness or allergies. This quiet-running model has a 1-gallon tank and can be combined with Vicks VapoSteam for the highest quality medicated vapor. One tank can last you up to 24 hours for consistent relief.
If this sounds like a product you’re interested in, find it for $39.99 on Amazon.
2. Vicks Filter-Free Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier
The Vicks Filter-Free Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier is a perfect choice for your baby or child. Not only is this option quiet because of the ultrasonic design type, but it can also fit 1.2 gallons of water that will last up to 30 hours.
With this humidifier you will have long-lasting relief from a cough, cold, congestion, and allergies. Furthermore, its compact design allows you to place it anywhere you want for easy access. This cool mist humidifier is filterless, which eliminates the need to replace a filter. Its large opening makes cleaning easy.
Find this excellent cool mist humidifier for $39.96 on Amazon.
3. Vicks Mini Filter-Free Cool Mist Humidifier
Our third option is the compact Vicks Mini Humidifier. With a half-gallon tank, this small humidifier makes a great addition to a nursery or child’s room. This model does not have a filter, so there is no need to buy replacements. This means lower maintenance costs for the humidifier.
This cool mist humidifier is also designed to work with Vicks VapoPads, which offers a medicinal mist for those suffering from a cough, allergies, congestion, or other sickness. You can adjust the mist’s settings to dispense as little or as much cool mist as desired.
Even though this is a miniature humidifier, you or your child will be able to seek relief for up to 20 hours per tank, which goes a long way when trying to get a good night’s rest.
If you’re looking for a small, quiet humidifier, this option is perfect for you. Find it for $47.94 on Amazon.
4. Vicks Starry Night Filtered Cool Mist Humidifier
The Vicks Starry Night Filtered Cool Mist Humidifier was designed specifically for children. One of the coolest features of this humidifier — other than the cool mist itself — is that it comes equipped with a projector that will turn your child’s ceiling into a starry night sky at the click of a button. Now that’s cool!
This humidifier is meant for medium to large rooms and features a 1-gallon tank that will blast the room with cool mist for many hours.
Is your child not feeling well? No problem! Combine this humidifier with a Vicks VapoPad to help provide extra relief for your child’s congestion, cough, or cold.
Consumers have made this humidifier one of the top-rated choices available. You can find it for $52.09 on Amazon.
5. Vicks Ultrasonic Humidifier
The Vicks Ultrasonic Humidifier was designed specifically to help those who are “under the weather.” It is perfect for providing relief from a persistent cough, nasty congestion, and sickness due to allergies
Its ultrasonic design makes it very quiet. It can run for up to 24 hours on one tank, eliminating the need to get up often to add more water. This model is recommended for larger rooms.
Although it is a more heavy-duty model, its lightweight design allows you to easily carry it from room to room, wherever its soothing mist might be needed.
This has been a favorite of consumers for some time, and could be yours. Find it for $69.99 on Amazon.
Regardless of the type you choose, humidifiers work to add moisture to a room. They also relieve major symptoms for those suffering from congestion, a cough, and other illnesses.
With the information in this article, you will be able to easily find a Vicks humidifier that addresses all your needs. As noted earlier, our research finds that while other humidifiers will do a fine job too. You can’t go wrong with Vicks!