If you’re out there shopping for a humidifier, filter-free models are an option you may want to consider. These humidifiers work pretty much like the other humidifier types, except that they don’t use filters. Instead, they depend on other mechanisms to solid particles and potentially harmful microorganisms from water and outbound moisture.
Since these humidifiers don’t use filters, long-term costs are kept at a minimum. You don’t need to worry about cleaning or replacing filters. You also don’t need to worry about dirt buildup in the filter contaminating tank water or the moisture destined for your rooms.
This guide should help you pick out the right one for your needs. We discuss how filterless humidifiers work, their benefits and drawbacks, and ideal situations for filter-free humidification, among other things.
So, how do you identify the best filter-free humidifier for your needs? The following are several points to keep in mind.
What are Filterless Humidifiers?
A filterless or filter-free humidifier is a humidification system that doesn’t feature a filter. It’s common for humidification systems to include a filter. Filters help to;
- Trap solid particles: These could be dirt particles, debris, etc. from the water fed into the humidifier. If allowed to leave the humidifier alongside the moisture, these particles can compromise the quality of the indoor air. Breathing in the dirt particles can lead to various health issues.
- Trapping microorganisms: Filtration systems also block out tiny organisms that may contaminate indoor air. These microorganisms, including mold and bacteria, can cause health complications, including asthma and lung infections.
Types of Filter-Free Cool Mist Humidifiers (And How They Work)
Filter-free cool-mist humidifiers come in two broad categories – ultrasonic and impeller. Here’s what you need to know about each type;
Ultrasonic humidifiers use a diaphragm that vibrates at an ultrasonic frequency to break down water molecules into fine mist particles. They can be cool mist (producing cool/room-temperature mist), warm mist (that involves boiling water to generate steam), or hybrid models that can make cool or warm moisture.
- Very quiet because there are no fans involved
- Can be warm mist, cool mist, or hybrid
- They are stylish with tons of modern features
- Ultrasonic humidifiers can’t serve large spaces
- Tend to be pricier than impeller and evaporative humidifiers
Impeller humidifiers use a rotating disc to throw water at a diffuser, which breaks the water into fine mist particles. The mist is then forced out of the humidifier into the room. Impeller humidifiers consume less energy compared to the other types of humidifiers. However, it’s also a more archaic process. Thus the products have become less popular among both manufacturers and consumers.
- More energy efficient than other humidifier types
- No hot parts or surfaces to worry about
- Generally more affordable than other humidifier types
- Tend to be noisier because of the rotating disc
- They aren’t very popular anymore
Pros and Cons of Filter-Free Humidifiers
The presence or absence of a filter is something very few people think about when buying a humidifier. But, if it’s something you really value, the following are several reasons to consider a filter-free humidifier;
- No filters to clean/replace: This is, without double, the most significant advantage of filter-free humidifiers. Filtered humidifiers require that you clean the filters at least every two weeks. For single-use filters, you may need to change them every time you deep-clean the humidifier. It’s a lot of work.
- Lower operation costs: Replacing filters every two weeks may also add to maintenance costs. Considering that some humidifier filters cost about $3-$5, you could find yourself spending hundreds over $100 on filters alone in a year. That’s money you can save if you opt for filter-free humidification.
- Quieter operation: The filtration process tends to add a degree of sound to the humidification process. Therefore, eliminating the filter can significantly reduce humidifier noise. Indeed, filterless ultrasonic humidifiers are considered the quietest in the industry.
- More energy efficient: Filtered humidifiers typically also feature a fan to draw air into the humidifier and push moisture out of the unit. The fans not only create an additional noise source but consume electricity. Filter-free models are, therefore, a lot more energy-efficient.
There are, however, a few challenges associated with filterless humidifiers. You may want to keep the following in mind;
- White dust: The biggest drawback of filter-free humidifiers is that they offer zero protection against white dust. Minerals in tap water cause white dust. A filter inside the humidifier usually blocks out most of the dust. However, in the absence of a filter, the dust exits the humidifier and enters your rooms without any hindrance.
- The need to use distilled water: If you choose to purchase a filter-free humidifier, there’s an even greater need to use distilled water in your humidifier. It’s the only way to prevent white dust. Keep in mind that distilled water is a lot more expensive than tap water.
- Smaller room coverage: Finally, filter-free humidifiers tend to be smaller-capacity units designed for small rooms. Many of them are designed for spaces not exceeding 600 square feet – the standard room size. Filtered humidifiers (i.e., evaporative models), meanwhile, can serve the entire home.
When and When Not to Use Filter-Free Humidifiers
Although filter-free models are a worthwhile option when shopping for a humidifier, there are times when buying one makes sense and other times when you would be best off with the filter model. Consider the following are guidelines.
- How much dust are you exposed to? If you live in a dust-free environment, especially away from the busy city life, then you may get on without the humidifier filter. However, if you live along the road in a busy town, you need to consider a humidifier with a filter.
- Do you have kids in the house? Kids are the most susceptible to dust and other micro-particles found in indoor air. Therefore, although you can get by without the filter in a home without kids, people with kids should only shop for filter humidifiers.
- Do you have someone with respiratory illnesses in the house? Respiratory diseases include asthma, bronchitis, pulmonary disease, lung disease, pneumonia, etc. These people need the cleanest air possible. Otherwise, there’s a risk of their illnesses worsening.
- Do you intend to add inhalants to the humidifier? Some people choose to add inhalants to humidifiers for healthier indoor air. In this case, you don’t need a filter as inhalants perform the duty of the filter.
Factors to Consider When Shopping for a Cool Mist Filter-Free Humidifier
If, after studying the pros and cons of filter-free humidifiers, you choose to buy one anyway, the following are key factors to consider;
- Ease of cleaning
This is perhaps the most crucial factor to consider. Since the humidifier has no filter, you’ll need to keep it sparkling clean at all times. As such, it should be easy to clean. You’ll know that a humidifier is easy to clean if it’s easy to take apart (disassemble), and all the corners easy to reach.
- Tank capacity
Your choice of tank capacity will depend on your humidification needs. How big is the space you are looking to humidify? Remember that a larger tank capacity allows you to run the humidifier for longer without replacing the water, i.e., you benefit from fewer refilling frequencies. On the flip side, though, larger-capacity humidifiers tend to be pricier.
- Coverage area
Most manufacturers usually indicate the recommended coverage area for each product. If you check the label, you may see something like “recommended for 299-250 square feet.” Use these figures as guidelines. Ideally, you want to pick a humidifier with a recommended coverage range that includes your room size.
- Sound level
We’ve mentioned that filterless humidifiers are, in general, quieter than their filtered counterparts, which is excellent. Nevertheless, you still want to find a model that’s as quiet as possible. Quietness is measured in decibels. So, check the label for the decibel rating and pick a model with the lowest rating you can find.
- The presence of a humidistat
A humidistat is a crucial tool in the humidification process. It monitors humidity levels in the home and automatically adjusts the humidifier to produce more or less moisture depending on indoor conditions. Therefore, a humidifier with an inbuilt humidistat makes more sense. It guards you against over or under humidification.
All great humidifiers have a warranty. This way, in case the product malfunctions through mechanical failure, you can return it for repair or replacement. Two things to look for in a humidifier warranty are the warranty’s length and the range of malfunctions/parts covered. You want a long warranty that covers a wide range of possibilities.
- Convenience features
Finally, you should also pick the humidifier that makes your work easy. Always look for convenience features such as a digital/LED control panel, remote control, and multiple mist settings. Additionally, consider smart models. A few modern humidifiers, for instance, can pair with home voice systems such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Such convenience would be much welcome, right? A few ultra-modern models are also Wi-Fi compatible, thus controllable from mobile apps.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you still have questions about cool mist humidifiers without filters, the following are answers to frequently asked questions on the topic.
- What’s the Difference Between Filtered and Filter-Free Humidifiers?
The main difference is that filtered humidifiers implement a filtration system to sieve out dirt and other particles from water and moisture while filter-free models don’t.
- Are Filter-Free Humidifiers Safe?
Absolutely. Since they don’t have a filter, many people often worry about the safety of filterless humidifiers. These products implement alternative technologies and approaches, such as boiling and antibacterial treatments, to ensure that the air in your home is clean and healthy.
- Can You Use a Humidifier Without a Filter Safely?
Yes, you can use a filter-free humidifier without any significant risks. However, you’re advised to use distilled water and change the water daily. Also, only consider filter-free humidification in homes without children or persons with respiratory illnesses.
- How Can I Clean a Filter-Free Humidifier?
There’s nothing unique about cleaning a filterless humidifier. You need to rinse the unit every day and deep-clean it every week. During a deep-cleaning, switch off the humidifier, unplug it from the electrical socket, and disassemble it. Then, soak the parts in diluted vinegar and tank in bleaching agent solution (both for 30 minutes). After that, gently scrub the parts and tank using a soft brush, rinse with fresh water, and leave the parts to dry before reassembling the unit.
First off, a look at some of the best filter-free humidifiers in the market. These products excel in all the critical performance areas of a humidifier. But the best part is – they won’t burn a hole in your pocket.
- LEVOIT LV600HH Humidifier for Large Room (6L) Warm and Cool Mist
- Digital and touch control
- Remote control available
- Dual function humidifier and diffuser
- Enjoy 2-in-1 warm and cool mist humidification
- Absorption (3) and aroma pads (1) preinstalled
- Most expensive model on this list
- Frequent cleaning needed
The LEVOIT LV600HH is the priciest option on this list, and for a good reason – it’s also perhaps the best filter-free humidifier. It combines cool and warm mist humidification capabilities. Thus it remains useful the whole year and is guaranteed to cut your heating costs in the cold months. It’s also noise-free, meaning you can comfortably use it in the bedroom.
The LV600HH is a modern-design humidifier with remote and touch controls. It notably features a unique auto mode in which an in-built humidity sensor automatically adjusts humidification levels in line with indoor climate conditions. It also features a 1-12 hour timer and supports the use of essential oils.
Above all, the unit is easy to refill and clean, features an auto-shutoff function, and can output 500ml/hour of moisture. It’s ideal for spaces up to 753 square feet.
- Everlasting Comfort Humidifiers for Bedroom (6L)
- A large, 1.6-gallon tank
- Functions as essential oils diffuser
- Ideal for spaces up to 500 square feet
- Auto shutoff function present
- 2-year manufacturer warranty
- No remote control
- No smart controls
Another 6-liter cool mist filter-free humidifier, but at a slightly lower price, this unit from Everlasting Comfort is designed for rooms up to 500 square feet. It outputs a powerful mist of up to 270ml/hour in the high setting. If you use it for sleep time only (8 hours a day), it should last six days. However, regular cleaning is required, so make sure to change the water more frequently.
The unit also comes with an essential oil tray to place all your essential oils for the most relaxing nights. The humidifier circulates the essential oils together with the cool moisture. Used together with the blue LED light, the aromatherapy could be what you need to put your baby to sleep faster.
Other features of the humidifier include an auto-shutoff function that turns it off when the water runs out. It’s also a very quiet humidifier. A 2-year limited manufacturer warranty backs the unit.
- Vicks Model V4600 Filter-Free Ultrasonic Visible Cool Mist Humidifier
- Enjoy scented vapors
- Wide tank opening for easy cleaning
- Easy to refill
- Ultra-quiet operation
- Auto-shutoff protection
- Best for smaller spaces (100-350 Sq. Ft.)
- Requires frequent VapoPads replacement
The Model V4600 humidifier from Vicks is an ultrasonic unit that uses sound vibrations to break down water into fine moisture particles. It’s a 1.2-gallon humidifier that can run continuously for 30 hours, meaning at least two full nights if you only use it at night.
Although it doesn’t use filters, you don’t need to worry about the water impurities. The V4600 uses two Vicks VapoPads (one included in the package) to keep bacteria and other harmful microorganisms at bay. Each pad can provide up to eight hours of soothing vapors. The humidifier also has a wide tank opening to allow for easy cleaning. Moreover, the design allows for thorough cleaning.
The V4600 is extremely quiet, which makes it an option for bedroom use. It also features an auto-shutoff function that’s triggered when the tank runs empty. It’s ideal for spaces up to 400 square feet.
- Crane Drop Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier Filter-Free
- Whisper-quiet operation
- Colorful design to add some charm
- Made from antimicrobial material
- Variable control output
- Easy to refill/clean
- No remote control
- The tank is a tad small
If you’re looking for a beautiful cool mist filter-free humidifier, especially for the bedroom, you can’t go wrong with the Crane Drop Model EE-5301. A one-gallon humidifier designed to run for 24 hours on a full tank, this humidifier comes in all the bright colors you can think of – blue, yellow, orange, etc. even better, it has an adjustable mist nozzle so you can direct the moisture with ease.
The whisper-quiet humidifier uses antimicrobial material to keep all harmful germs at bay. The material reduces mold and bacterial growth by up to 99.96%. It’s also very easy to clean. The bottom fill tank detaches with little effort, as do the water level sensor and removable cap. This gives you unrestricted access to the base during cleaning. It’s worth noting that Crane offers an optional demineralization filter (HS-1932) for those with excessive minerals in their water.
The Model EE-5301 features variable speed settings that give you complete control over humidification in the room.
- Honeywell HUL535B Cool Mist Humidifier Filter-Free
- Multiple humidity settings
- Adjustable mist nozzle
- Auto shutoff for safety
- Antibacterial protection
- The tank is relatively small
- Essential oils prohibited
Honeywell makes some exceptional humidifiers, and the HUL535B is another magnificent product. A 1-gallon tank humidifier designed for small to medium-sized spaces, the unit runs continuously for 24 hours on a full tank. An auto-shutoff function will automatically turn the unit off when the tank runs dry. You’ll also love that it offers multiple humidity settings. This way, you can take full control of your indoor climate.
The unit is designed to keep indoor humidity at 40% to 60% and makes the air feel warmer (even though it’s not a warm-mist humidifier). Unlike with other comparable cool mist humidifiers, the mist is visible. Also, the nozzle is 360-degrees adjustable so you can point the mist in a particular direction.
The HUL535B is an ultra-quiet humidifier, making it a viable option for the bedroom and even the nursery. It utilizes Protec Continuous Cleaning cartridges to prevent bacteria and mold attacks.
- Pure Guardian H965AR Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier
- Allows use of essential oils
- Can run for 70 straight hours
- Implements Silver Clean Protection
- Easy to clean and refill
- Optional night lights
- No remote control
- Small (1-gallon) tank
Finally, the Pure Guardian H965AR is another 1-gallon humidifier explicitly designed for small rooms. Ideally, you want to use it in spaces not exceeding 320 square feet. It runs for 70 straight hours on a single refill and easily keeps indoor moisture levels in the 40% to 60% range. It also supports the use of essential oils. An aromatherapy tray supplied with the unit lets to add those soothing aromas to outbound moisture.
The unit utilizes several technologies and methods to stay clean and keep the harmful elements at bay. For one, it uses a silver-clean protected tank. Silver Clean Protection is very effective in fighting mold and bacteria. Additionally, the unit is very easy to clean. The parts disassemble with ease, and all corners are reachable during cleaning.
Other key features of the H965AR include a low-water indicator that lets you know when to refill the tank and night light. Multi-directional mist control, an automatic shutoff feature, and 5-speed mist control are also noteworthy features.
A filterless humidifier is a worthwhile option as long as you don’t have kids or people with respiratory issues in the house. The humidifiers are more energy-efficient and every less expensive to operate. However, keep in mind that the absence of a filter creates an opening for solid particles and microorganisms to enter your indoor air. Therefore, you need to take extra precautions to keep these harmful elements at bay.