Which Humidifier is Best – Warm Mist or Cool Mist Humidifiers?
Periodically, I receive a number of emails, asking me virtually the same thing. Warm mist vs cool mist humidifiers which is better? What is the difference between cool and warm mist, or whether our cool mist humidifiers disperse mineral dust? In addition, some people just wish to know which the BEST humidifier is and want to drill down deeper beyond the comparison charts and our detailed product write ups. Others are asking about combination humidifiers and air purifiers. So here goes…this is what I would say if I were on the phone personally to you.
Mineral Dust: That’s an easy one. None of our humidifiers, cool or warm disperse mineral dust.
What’s the difference between Warm and Cool Mist?
At the risk of being facetious, one humidifier gives out a warm mist, the other humidifier gives out a cool mist. One is cool, the other is warm. Need more explanation? Well, imagine being in a greenhouse that is how a warm mist feels. People who like warm mists generally live in colder parts of the USA or like to put a warm mist humidifier into a baby’s room. However, if you cannot make a choice, Boneco by Air-O-Swiss has three models which can be used in warm or cool mist mode offering the ultimate in convenience.
Conversely, people who like cool mist humidifiers live in warmer climates, because the last thing they want is to warm the place up a few degrees. If you live in a colder climate, the cool mist humidifier could feel a trifle clammy if you over-humidify the room. To avoid over-humidification we recommend a built-in humidistat or a standalone humidistat.
The BEST humidifier?
There really is no cookie cutter answer for you. Our humidifier comparison chart does try and rank order them for you, and we always do annual edits to this chart, but it all depends what features are most important to you, apart from the geographical considerations mentioned above.
Features: There are however certain features which I consider important. Ease of Cleaning
Here the Boneco by Air-O-Swiss Care Free humidifier line wins hands down with their ionic stick and mineral cartridge patented system. No changing of filters ever, and only cleaning once a season. Definitely, the humidifier of choice for people on the run or who hate extra cleaning chores.
I think this is a great feature to have on a humidifier. Why? Because the tendency is to over-humidify a room and then cause mold and dust mite problems. I used the PowerPure 5000 humidifier all last season, and was amazed when I set my humidity level at 35%-45%, well below mold or dust mite causing levels, how often the machine turned itself off, and the water tank lasted anywhere from 2 to 3 times as long as my previous machine. In fact, the water lasted about 6 days in our very dry condo.
This is a matter of personal choice, but everyone dislikes very noisy appliances. Be very clear about one thing, all appliances of this kind have SOME degree of noise attached to them. Some people are very noise sensitive. For those people I recommend a PowerPure Humidifiers , even their cool mist humidifier is exceptionally quiet. The least noisy of the other cool mists are the Boneco by Air-O-Swiss Humidifiers. My noise-sensitive husband has a hard time hearing any noise from the PowerPure humidifiers and has not complained about noise since we installed it.
Automatic Shut Off:
When empty or humidity level reached. I think this is an important feature but some people who are noise sensitive do not like any sound of an appliance going on or off which is audible in most humidifier models. Those noise sensitive people who just want to set a continuous humidity level and never have the machine turn on and off might like the PowerPure 5000 (with digital controls) and Boneco by Air O Swiss U200 (with manual controls) models. However the other Air-0-Swiss models are so quiet to begin with you have to strain to hear them click off.
Except for the Boneco by Air-O-Swiss models, you really do have to wash out humidifiers at a very minimum on a weekly basis, or every time you refill the water tank. This is why I only use them when I have to, which is in winter when my sinuses are killing me. The Air-O-Swiss Ultrasonic machines are the most maintenance free of all.
Combination Air Cleaner and Humidifiers
Generally speaking, this is when you get the worst of both worlds, and yes we have tried out all the new combo models. Most are overpriced, and poor quality. I could froth at the mouth about this trend. I have seen NO appliance of this type I want to rave about. However, if you twist my arm, the Boneco by Air-0-Swiss air washer is the best product of its kind to reach the market. It is not a hepa filter so it only filters out large dust and pet hair[which in my home is useful!] and it is bit messy to clean out dirty water but unlike the air washers, it has the Air-O-Swiss patented ionic stick system for making sure that the water is bacteria free. It also has a built in humidistat and covers a large space. So if you want an air washer, this might be the time to take the plunge.
Whole House Humidifiers
We have been leery of the ones you build into the furnace. Too many potential mold problems can occur if you forget, and do not clean them religiously, however our AirCare 13 Gallon Humidifier is pretty good and our customers love them. For whole house preservation of antiques and wood floors a whole house humidifier cannot be beat.
President’s Pick. So what is my designated humidifier winner for this season?
Personally, my first choice would this season is the PowerPure 5000 ultrasonic and it is our category winner.
Here is my reasoning:
I am too busy to clean these darn things. It is not because I am lazy, I just work an incredible number of hours per week and I have very little time left for other things. In addition, I am firmly in favor of built-in digital adjustable humidistat and my husband hates noise. The new PowerPure Humidifier line scores well on all these important features. Boneco by Air-O-Swiss would be my second choice, especially for those needing a value machine.