When shopping for a humidifier for the bedroom, cool mist humidifiers are usually recommended over their warm mist counterparts. Although either would be a good option, cool mist humidifiers are inherently safer. Warm mist humidifiers, by comparison, come with a burn risk.
But, which product exactly should you buy? How should you compare the different cool mist humidifiers to determine the best for your needs? Moreover, since you’d be shopping specifically for a unit for your bedroom, what makes a great bedroom humidifier? What factors should you prioritize?
That’s what this guide is all about. We discuss everything you need to know about cool mist humidifiers, what makes them an excellent choice for the bedroom, and what other factors you need to consider when shopping.
About Cool Mist Humidifiers in General
There are two broad categories of humidifiers – cool mist and warm mist. Warm mist humidifiers produce heated moisture (i.e., vapor), whereas cool mist humidifiers deliver moisture at room temperature.
The vapor from warm mist humidifiers is the product of a heating process inside the humidifier unit. Water is heated until it boils and evaporates into vapor. The vapor is then released through the humidifier nozzle and distributed throughout the room.
Cool mist humidifiers don’t involve any heating or boiling. Water particles are broken down into fine mist (often invisible) and distributed throughout the room at room temperature. However, it can feel a little colder than room temperature because it comes out of the humidifier nozzle as a breeze.
Types of Cool Mist Humidifiers
There are four main categories of cool mist humidifiers – ultrasonic, evaporative, impeller, and central humidifiers.
However, impeller and central humidifiers aren’t usually practical options when shopping for a bed side humidifier. Impeller humidifiers work by using a rotating disc to fling water at a diffuser to break the particles into fine mist. It’s an incredibly effective process. Unfortunately, it’s also a rather noisy and manual process. Since you need a quiet operation in the bedroom, they aren’t a good choice.
Central humidifiers, meanwhile, are impractical for their size. These systems are whole-home humidifiers. They are typically worked into the rest of the home’s HVAC system and use the home’s ductwork to distribute moisture.
That leaves us with ultrasonic and evaporative humidifiers. Here’s what you need to know about these two humidifier types;
- Ultrasonic humidifiers: Ultrasonic humidifiers work by producing a sound vibration that helps break down water particles into fine moisture. The process produces the finest mist of any humidifier. It’s also an extremely efficient process. These humidifiers are filter-free, very quiet, and come with all the bells and whistles of a modern humidifier.
- Evaporative humidifiers: Evaporative humidifiers are filter humidifiers. They depend on a wick (which doubles up as a filter) to draw up water from the tank. Air from outside the humidifier is then forced through the soaked wick filter, which breaks down the water particles into microscopic moisture particles.
How Do you know that your bedroom Needs a Humidifier?
Every bedroom would benefit from humidification. Indeed, every home would benefit from one. But, if you’re looking for signs that you need a humidifier, consider the following;
- The weather/climate in your location: If you live in an area with extreme winters, you need a humidifier in your home (and bedroom). That’s because the cold winters are also extremely dry. Moisture in the air can drop as low as 20%. This is dangerous for your health.
- You have allergies or asthma: Dry air worsens allergies and asthmas. It causes the mucus membranes to dry out and become itchy. If your allergies were causing you to sneeze, the itchy sinuses would worsen the sneezing. Breathing is also impacted, potentially worsening asthmas.
- You have cold or flu symptoms: Symptoms of cold and flu include incessant coughing, sneezing, running nose, headaches, and muscle spasms. Humidification alone may not resolve the issues, but boosting moisture levels in the room helps improve breathing, which can go a long way in easing these symptoms.
- You snore a lot: Here too, humidification alone may not completely resolve the problem. Some snoring issues can only be treated medically. However, sometimes we snore because of blocked airways. Humidification is the most natural way to clear your airways as you sleep.
- You have dry skin: Chapped, scaly skin and a dry scalp are telltale signs of low humidity in the home. Both can lead to more severe health issues, such as eczema and dandruff. Sleeping with a humidifier in the bedroom is a natural remedy for this problem.
Cool Mist of Warm Mist Humidifier, Which is Better?
Both are good options, depending on the situation. For humidification in the sitting room where you’re sure of turning off the humidifier before you go to bed, there’s minimal risk in having a warm mist humidifier. In such a situation, the benefits of warm mist humidification would just about outweigh the benefits.
However, for bedroom humidification, cool mist humidifiers are preferred over their warm mist counterparts for two key reasons;
- Lower risk of burns: Warm mist humidifiers expose you to the risk of scalding. Since the working mechanism of warm mist humidifiers involves boiling water to evaporation, the risk of scalding is real. Both the hot water (if there’s a leak) and the warm moisture from the nozzle can burn you.
- Energy efficiency: Warm mist humidifiers, owing to the water heating process, consume a lot more power than cool mist humidifiers. Now, imagine leaving the unit to run overnight – for the entire humidification season! The power bill would be enormous.
- Greater safety around kids and pets: Finally, cool mist humidifiers are also a safer option if you have pets and kids. There’s a reduced chance of scalding. Additionally, although the risk of tip-over is much higher when you have kids/pets, you don’t need to worry about significant harm.
Can You Sleep with a Cool Mist Humidifier?
Yes, you can safely use a cool-mist humidifier overnight. That’s because, unlike their warm mist counterparts, cool mist humidifiers don’t pose a significant burn risk. The moisture generated is cool (at room temperature).
As long as the humidifier is positioned correctly, you are guaranteed to enjoy much more comfortable nights.
Benefits and Risks of Sleeping with a Humidifier
The following are some of the key benefits of sleeping with a humidifier. Remember that these benefits only apply to cool mist humidifiers – warm-mist humidifiers must never be used overnight.
- Good for your skin: If you have skin issues, perhaps dry skin, sleeping with a humidifier can add moisture to your skin. Increased skin moisture means healthier, suppler skin. It also minimizes the risk of skin issues such as eczema.
- Humidifiers are good for flu and cold: People with cold and flu symptoms would also benefit immensely from sleeping with a humidifier overnight, especially since flue/cold symptoms tend to worsen at night. The humidifier will moisten your nasal membranes and open up your sinuses, effectively suppressing the cold/flu symptoms.
- Good for asthma and allergies: For people with asthma and allergies, sleeping through the night in a room with dry air can feel like a death sentence. The coughing, sneezing, and gasping for air get bad fast. Bringing in a humidifier can help relieve the symptoms.
- Reduces snoring: If you’ve determined that you tend to snore when sleeping for no apparent reason, sleeping with a humidifier can cure the problem. That unexplained snoring is often the result of dryness at the back of the mouth. Overnight humidification can be the solution.
Although sleeping with a humidifier is good for your health, operating the unit overnight also comes with a few concerns that you need to keep in mind. These include;
- Risk of over humidification: There’s a significant risk of adding too much humidity to the room. Excessive humidification comes with several dangers, some of them health-related. What makes the situation worse is that you wouldn’t be awake to monitor the humidification levels.
- Greater risk of mold growth: One of the critical issues related to over-humidification is mold growth. When you add too much moisture to the room, the humidity trapped on the walls can form the perfect breeding ground for mold and bacteria. There’s also the potential for bacteria growth.
- Damage to wall paint/paper: Too much humidification can also damage wallpaper and wall paint. The damage is often slow but costly. Initially, you may not even notice that the paint on the walls is being affected until it starts to peel off.
- Impact on structural integrity: You must also be careful with overnight humidification as too much moisture can affect structural integrity issues. It weakens joints and may eventually cause cracks, necessitating expensive repairs.
Where Should you Place a Cool Mist Humidifier in the bedroom?
Placement is a big question, even when dealing with a cool-mist humidifier. Although there’s no risk of burning or scalding, there remains a risk of fire, albeit minimal.
The reason is simple. Many people get up at night to go to the bathroom or accomplish other tasks. If the humidifier isn’t positioned safely, someone getting up, perhaps to drink some water, may trip on the humidifier cable and possibly know the unit over.
The result? There’s no telling. The damage can be as little as a small water spill on the carpet to a house fire. Tripping, especially at night, can also injuries, which may be as minor as a few bruises or as bad as broken bones.
For these reasons, you must position the humidifier thoughtfully. The following are a few tips to help you select the right humidifier location;
- It should be away from electric outlets: Humidifiers emit moisture, which is virtually water. Electricity and water don’t mix. So, have it at least three feet away from electric outlets.
- Away from the bed: You don’t want to place the humidifier too close to the bed, either. It creates the risk of breathing over-humidified air. You don’t want to drown in the moisture. So, have the unit at least three feet away.
- Away from the wall and curtains: Too much moisture close to the wall increases the risk of wall damage. So, set the humidifier at least a few feet away from the wall. You also don’t want the curtains to get damp.
- Be careful about the cords: By all means, electric cords must never lie carelessly across the room. It increases the risk of tripping.
- Set the humidifier on a raised base: Ideally, you want the humidifier nozzle (the exit point for moisture) at least two feet off the ground. Additionally, make sure to set a towel at the base to trap any water that may damage the carpet.
How to Maintain a Cool Mist Humidifier
Once you decide to buy a cool-mist humidifier for the bedroom, you must also be prepared to maintain it properly to prevent mold and bacteria growth. Consider the following maintenance tips;
- Change the water daily: For bedroom humidifiers, particularly, it’s critical that you rinse the tank and change the water regularly.
- Avoid tap water: Tap water has too many minerals, some of which are bad for your health. Ideally, you want to use distilled water. But, if you must use tap water, consider demineralizing it first.
- Deep clean the humidifier once a week: Use fresh water and vinegar to clean the parts and lots of water + bleaching agent to clean the tank. Then, rinse thoroughly and leave to dry.
- Change the filters regularly: The manufacturer will tell you the ideal filter replacement frequency. But, if you can’t find the information anywhere, consider replacing your filters every two weeks.
First, though, the following are some of the best cool mist humidifiers you can buy for your bedroom. They are excellent humidifiers that score highly in multiple areas. Most importantly, they are within a reachable price range.
- Crane Model EE-5301W Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier
- Gorgeous water-drop shape
- Available in over seven attractive colors
- Easy to fill the tank
- The unit is easy to clean
- Bacterial protection
- Use of essential oils is prohibited
- The tank is a bit too small
The model EE-5301W humidifier is part of Crane’s iconic drop-shape model humidifier. This particular model is a 1-gallon unit that’s incredibly portable. The tank is sufficient for a medium-sized bedroom, up to 500 square feet, and should last 24 hours on continuous use.
It’s characterized by variable speed settings that allow you to fine-tune the humidification process to meet your specific needs. A 360-degree adjustable nozzle allows it to send the mist in a particular direction. Two other things that stand out about the humidifier are the whisper-quiet operation and anti-bacterial protection. The anti-microbial material eliminates up to 99.96% of germs.
The unit is very easy to clean. For one, it’s made from easy-clean material. Secondly, it’s incredibly easy to disassemble. The bottom fill tank detaches with ease, as do the water level sensor and cap.
- Levoit LV600HH Humidifiers for Large Bedroom (6L) Warm and Cool Mist
- Ideal for large bedrooms
- Essential oils compatible
- Auto shut-off protection
- Near-silent operation
- Convenient digital controls
- Not BPA Free
- You can’t add essentials oils directly to the tank
This Levoit humidifier is a product you’ll come across in many other reviews – because it’s one of the best options when shopping for an ultra-modern humidifier.
It’s a digital humidifier featuring remote control, a timer function, and a smart auto setting in which an in-built humidistat sensor automatically adjusts the humidification process to ensure the perfect indoor climate.
Other qualities that make it a great bedroom humidifier include the fact that it’s ultra-quiet and very easy to clean. The near-silent operation means that often, you won’t even notice that the humidifier is working. The LV600HH also features a display-off setting to help you sleep through the night with zero disturbances while the humidifier runs.
Above all, the unit supports essential oil use of essential oils. All you need to do is all your essential oils to a supplied aroma box, and you’re ready to go. The hybrid warm/cool mist unit is recommended for spaces up to 753 square feet.
- GENIANI Top Fill Cool Mist Humidifier for Bedroom
- 2-in-1 humidifier/diffuser
- Four mist settings
- Filter-free design
- Easy to refill and clean
- 2-year warranty
- The large opening means a greater risk of overflow
- It’s designed for smaller spaces (up to 220 Sq. Ft.)
A Red Dot Award winner, this GENIANI humidifier’s best quality is the ease of refilling and cleaning. The large lid allows you to refill the unit with zero fuss. It also makes cleaning a breeze – which is precisely what you want from a bedroom humidifier. It’s also a large, 4-liter (1.05-gallon) humidifier that can run continuously for 18 hours.
The GENIANI is a 2-in-1 humidifier and essential oil diffuser. Thus, you can enjoy your nights more thanks to the aromatherapy of your favorite essential oils. It’s also very quiet, producing just 38 decibels in normal operation. Above all, it’s a smart humidifier with a built-in intelligent sensor that automatically adjusts indoor humidity levels for the perfect climate. Alternatively, you can select the mist settings manually. There are four settings in total.
Night lights (with a turn-off option), an auto shut-off feature, and filter-free designs are other features that stand out about this humidifier. It comes with a 2-year warranty.
- Magictec 2.5L Cool Mist Bedroom Humidifier and Diffuser
- Runs for 24 hours continuously
- Multiple mist settings
- 360-degrees adjustable nozzle
- Very quiet at 30 decibels
- Functions as an essential oils diffuser
- The design style isn’t very attractive
- There’s no mention of a warranty
This Magictec humidifier was only released in February 2021 but is already attracting a lot of attention. It’s a medium-sized 2.5-liter humidifier that can run continuously for up to 24 hours on a low setting. You don’t need to worry about waking up in the middle of the night to refill the tank. A dial knob allows you to change the mist settings.
You’ll also love that it features a 360-degree adjustable nozzle that can be directed to a specific location. This saves you from having to lift the humidifier to change the mist direction. Better still, the humidifier is super quiet. At just 30 decibels, it’s one of the most silent humidifiers around. A low-water protection mechanism sounds an alert when the water level is low and automatically shuts off the unit if the tank runs dry.
The unit is constructed from healthy, long-lasting material. Remember that it also functions as an essential oil diffuser for those aroma-filled nights.
- Homech Model HM-AH001 Quiet Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier
- Very quiet at 26 decibels
- Large lid for easy cleaning/refilling
- 360-degree rotating nozzle
- Self-cleaning technology
- No essential oils are allowed
- Recommended for smaller rooms (100-300 Sq. Ft.)
The Model HM-AH001 humidifier from Homech is a standard humidifier. It’s more about function than style, with the basic shape intentionally chosen to make it easy to refill and clean. The 4-liter cool mist humidifier uses ultrasonic vibrations to produce fine mist and a 360-degree rotating nozzle to disperse the moisture throughout the house.
It can run for 12 to 60 hours, depending on the mist setting. At the maximum mist level of 300ml/hour, it only runs for 12 hours. Another thing you quickly note about the humidifier is the impressively low noise levels. The unit runs at an unmatched 26 decibels! The unit implements a self-clean technology where the fan rotates for three minutes after it’s turned off to clear any fog.
Other key features of the unit include automatic shut-off when the water runs out, dry burn protection, and a waterproof IC board.
- LEVOIT Humidifier for Bedroom, 4L Ultrasonic with Essential Oil Tray
- Easy to clean/refill
- Comes pre-installed
- Supports essential oils use
- Very quiet at 30 decibels
- No irritating display lights
- No remote control
- No smart settings
Finally, this is another LEVOIT humidifier worth every penny. It’s a 4-liter (1.06 gallon) unit that can run for 40 straight hours in low mode. It still lasts an impressive 10 hours on high mist settings. An ultrasonic humidifier, it’s hushed (at 30 decibels) and delivers very fine mist particles.
Although it has display lights (which you’ll really love), the lights turn off automatically after 30 seconds to help you fall asleep faster. You’ll also appreciate the one-touch button control. It makes it easy to control the humidity settings (there are three in total) and operational modes.
The LEVOIT supports essential oils use. An essential oils tray is included to help you add your oils with ease. It’s effective over 285-376 square feet and comes pre-installed on the base.
There are endless benefits of having a humidifier in your bedroom. They provide a much-needed humidity boost that can help keep at bay health issues such as flu and cold symptoms, dry skin, and snoring problems. Bedroom humidification is also good for your plants and pets. Just make sure to pick the right humidifier and, more importantly, properly maintain it.