Though slightly less popular than cool mist humidifiers, warm mist humidifiers are just as effective, perhaps even more effective in certain circumstances.
They ensure optimal indoor moisture levels, which is critical for your health and your family’s health. Optimal humidity is a natural solution to cold and flu symptoms and vital for people with allergies and asthma. It’s also a natural remedy for dry skin and scalp and can help with specific snoring issues.
Your pets and plants need sufficient moisture too. In the absence of enough moisture, pets may experience dry skin, and plants quickly wither.
So, which warm mist humidifier should you purchase, and what do you need to know before you head out shopping? More importantly, how do warm mist humidifiers even work? Let’s find out.
What’s a Warm Mist Humidifier?
A warm mist humidifier is a humidification device that produces warm moisture as opposed to standard humidifiers that produce moisture at room temperature.
The exact temperature of the warm mist usually difficult to tell. For one, it varies significantly from one humidifier to the next. Additionally, all warm mist humidifiers feature some form of temperature control to ensure that the warm moisture that eventually gets into your rooms isn’t excessively hot.
However, the bottom line is that the mist is several degrees warmer compared to the moisture from cool-mist humidifiers.
How Does a Warm Mist Humidifier Work?
Warm mist humidifiers boil water to evaporation and pump the resulting vapor into your rooms. Standard, portable room humidifiers will emit the vapor via a nozzle often located towards the unit’s top. HVAC models, which install onto the central heating system’s furnace, direct the warm moisture into the home’s main duct system for distribution throughout the home, sometimes alongside heat from the furnace.
A humidistat triggers the entire process. The humidifier regularly consults the humidistat to determine whether indoor moisture conditions are meeting the desired levels (i.e., the humidity level set on the humidifier). When the humidistat senses that the moisture levels have fallen below the levels you set, it sends a signal to the steam humidifier, instructing it to raise the home’s humidity levels.
The humidifier then springs into action. The heating element is turned on and as it heats up, boils water in a reservoir inside the humidifier. The water is converted into steam, then pushed out of the humidifier and distributed throughout your home.
Warm-mist vs. Cool-mist Humidifiers; Which is Better?
Both warm and cool-mist humidifiers are effective for adding moisture to the home. Cool-mist models tend to be slightly more popular among consumers compared to cool mist models for safety reasons. But, either option would be a value-for-money investment.
Nevertheless, both warm and cool mist humidifiers come with a few advantages and disadvantages over each other as follows;
Cool mist humidifier pros and cons
Cool-mist humidifiers are very common. If you walk into a home and spot a humidifier, it’s likely a cool-mist model. The following are some of the pros and cons of these humidifiers;
Cool-mist humidifier pros
- No risk of scalding: Cool mist humidifiers generate mist at room temperatures. Indeed, in the warmer months, the moisture may feel slightly cooler than indoor moisture since it creates a breeze. The cool humidity creates zero burn risk.
- Safer around kids: Since there’s no risk of scalding, cool-mist humidifiers are safer around kids than warm-mist models. They are also a safer bet if you have pets. Remember that water spilling remains a risk, though.
- Better for night use: Some people prefer to run the humidifier overnight for more restful sleep. Cool-mist models are a better choice for overnight use, too, because of the inherent safety qualities. There’s less risk of burning overnight.
Cool-mist humidifier cons
- Risk of mold and bacterial growth: Standing water, as is with humidifiers, creates the perfect breeding ground for mold and bacteria. Cool mist humidifiers make an even better breeding ground for these organisms because the water is at room temperature.
Warm mist humidifier pros and cons
Warm mist humidifiers eliminate some of the challenges associated with cool models. But they, too, come with a few downsides.
Warm-mist humidifier pros
- Source of supplemental heating: This is especially true in the colder months. While a warm mist humidifier alone cannot provide the heat needed to keep everyone in the home warm, they complement your space heater.
- Eliminate the risk of mold and bacteria: As we’ve seen, warm mist humidifiers involve heating water to boiling point. Mold and bacteria spores cannot survive at such high temperatures. As a result, you don’t need to worry about antibacterial chemicals and treatments.
- Produce more mist/hour: If you were to compare two identical humidifiers – one a cool-mist model and the other a war-mist option – you’ll notice that the warm mist humidifier produces more mist per/hour. This makes warm-mist humidifiers more suited to large-space heating compared to their cool-mist counterparts.
Warm-mist humidifier cons
- Risk of scalding: The biggest drawback of warm-mist humidifiers is the risk of scalding. Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius. Imagine if the unit were to tip over accidentally! The risk to too much. Additionally, the moisture, especially as you get closer to the nozzle, can be a little too hot.
- Higher power bills: Unfortunately, the boiling process also means you need to budget for higher energy bills. The exact increase in your energy bills will depend on the humidifier’s power rating and how often you use it.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Warm Mist Humidifier?
Picking the right large-capacity warm-mist humidifier shouldn’t be too difficult. Aside from making sure that it’s a warm-mist humidifier, consider the following;
- Size of room
So, you want a humidifier for a large room. But how big is the room? Determining the exact size of the room will help you estimate the right-size humidifier for your needs. So, measure the room’s length and width and multiply the two numbers to determine the area. You can then use this figure to shop for the right-size humidifier.
- Size of the humidifier
Far from what many people think, a humidifier’s size isn’t just about the tank capacity. You need to consider three metrics – the tank capacity, mist output/hour, and estimated daily moisture output. All these three metrics need to be at a level that is sufficient for the room you’re looking to humidify.
- Recommended coverage area
We only include this because an increasing number of manufacturers indicate the recommended coverage on their product labels. For instance, the recommended coverage could be 600-750 square feet. Ideally, you want to ensure that the “size of the room” metric you determine earlier falls somewhere within this recommended range.
- Noise rating
Although warm mist humidifiers are far quieter than cool-mist models, the noise ratings vary. Smaller-capacity ultrasonic models can be as quiet as 25 decibels, while large-capacity evaporative consoles are typically rated 50-65 decibels. Make sure to pick one with a noise rating with which you’re comfortable.
- Design and style
We’ve already mentioned console models, which are the largest portable humidifiers. Other popular design styles include freestanding tower humidifiers that stand on the floor, table-top models that sit on the table, bedside models designed for the bedroom, and kitchen models. You may also want to consider shapes and color options.
- Convenience features
Convenience features are the features that make the humidifier easier to use and control. Thus, they include digital controls, LCD control panels, remote control, and smart control. For instance, a few modern humidifiers are compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home. This significantly boosts convenience. Other convenience features are night lights, an in-built humidistat, and multiple mist settings.
- Safety features
Aside from convenience features, a good humidifier also packs several safety features to ensure safe use throughout. These include alerts (sound/lights) when the water level drops below a specified point and automatic shutoff when the tank runs dry. Additional protection against mold and bacteria is also welcome.
- Essential oil use
Does the humidifier allow for the use of essential oils? Although many warm-mist humidifiers do, don’t just assume that all do. Make sure that the manufacture indicates expressly that you can use essential oils in the unit. Also, make sure to find out how the oils are added. Do you drop them directly into the water, or are you required to use a special tray?
Finally, always buy a humidifier that’s backed by a solid warranty. It should be a long enough warranty that covers plenty of bases.
Positioning a Warm Mist Humidifier in Your Room
Positioning a humidifier is a crucial topic among consumers and even more critical when buying a warm-mist humidifier. You need to take maximum precautions to ensure that no one is at risk. Remember that safe positioning also protects your home and items in the house. Consider the following tips;
- Place it away from people: A warm mist humidifier should be placed at least a meter away from where people would sit or sleep. This means at least three feet away from seats, the table, and the bed.
- Place it away from the wall: Excess moisture too close to the wall is bad for the home’s structural integrity. It might be harmless initially, but over time, it tends to weaken the wall. It can also destroy wallpaper and paint.
- Place it away from electrical sockets: Water and electricity don’t mix. When the two meet, there’s a high risk of electric shocks and possible electrocution. So, you want your humidifier at least three feet away.
- Place it away from curtains and books: Things that can get damp from excess humidification or catch fire from overheating create a significant safety risk. So, items like books, curtains, papers, clothes, bedding, etc. should be several feet away from the humidifier.
- Set it on a solid base: You want the humidifier raised at least two feet off the ground to prevent floor damage from splashing water or excess humidification. But, make sure the base is made from a material that doesn’t catch fire easily.
Warm Mist Humidifier Cleaning and Maintenance
Warm mist humidifiers require regular maintenance, just like other humidifiers. Make sure to change the water once daily or as recommended by the manufacturer. Also, remember to rinse the tank before refilling the unit. Above all, make sure to deep-clean your humidifier once weekly with vinegar/bleaching agent solution and rinse thoroughly with fresh water.
- Does a Warm Humidifier Kill Bacteria? Yes. Warm-mist humidifiers completely kill bacteria. None of these organisms can survive at boiling temperatures.
- Does a Warm Mist Humidifier Cause Mold? Yes. Similar to bacteria, mold and mildew are living microorganisms. Pretty much all microorganisms die when exposed to boiling water for an extended period.
- Does a Warm Mist Humidifier Relieve Cough? Yes. All humidifiers relieve cough. The improved humidity helps reduce sore throat and alleviates cough and other cold and flu symptoms.
- Does a Warm Mist Humidifier Help with Congestion? Yes. Congestion is primarily caused by irritation or inflammation of the nasal tissues. Dry air conditions can cause this inflammation. Humidification is, therefore, a natural remedy for congestion.
- Is a Warm Mist Humidifier Good for Flu? Absolutely. Although improved indoor humidity alone cannot treat flu, it’s very effective against most cold and flu symptoms, including dry cough, congestion, runny nose, and sore throat.
- Can you Put Vicks in a Warm Mist Humidifier? The short answer is – NO. You’ll notice that a few humidifier models use VapoPads, which contains Vicks. That’s okay. However, never attempt to add the product directly to your humidifier. For one, it contains flammable components, thus very risky for warm-mist humidifiers. Additionally, Vicks contains petroleum jelly, which can destroy your humidifier.
- Is Warm Mist Humidification Good for Bronchitis? Yes. Here too, improved humidification alone isn’t the solution. You need to see a doctor. However, even the doctor is likely to recommend improved humidity to alleviate bronchitis symptoms such as incessant coughs, runny nose, and sore throat.
Before answering the many questions you may have, and discussing the tips and factors to consider when shopping, the following are ten top-of-the-range warm mist humidifiers to consider for your large room.
- BONECO Steam Humidifier S200 with Cleaning Mode (0.8 gallons)
- Powerful humidification
- Ideal for up to 430 square feet
- Enjoy 1.8 gallons of moisture every 12 hours
- Anti-mineral pads and EZCal included
- Features a Self-cleaning mode
- 3-year limited warranty
- No auto mode
- It’s a manual control product
The BONECO S200 is a hygienic and simple-operation steam humidifier with a built-in fan that cools down the steam before it’s pushed into your indoor air. As a result, you don’t need to worry about burns from steam. It has two output levels. Selecting between the different mist levels is as easy as turning a knob.
Cleaning the S200 is even easier. Fill the humidifier’s base with water and add the decalcifying agent (EZCAL is recommended). Then, activate the Cleaning Mode. The unit will self-clean, scrubbing every corner inside the unit. Once done, rinse and wipe the base.
Above all, the S200 has a fragrance tray where you can add essential oils for those relaxing nights. Remember that adding oils directly to the humidifier tank is prohibited.
- BONECO Digital Steam Humidifier S450
- Large 1.85-gallon (7-liter tank)
- Ideal for up to 860 Sq. Ft.
- Cleaning mode for decalcification
- Features an on/off timer
- 3-year warranty
- A little pricy at over $250
- No remote control
If you’re a fan of BONECO humidifiers but desire a slightly bigger unit, the S450 should meet your needs. It has a much higher tank capacity that allows it to deliver at least 3.5 gallons of moisture every 24 hours. This makes it ideal for large rooms, up to 860 square feet. An electronic refill reminder indicator alerts you when it’s time to refill the tank.
This unit, too, allows for the use of essential oils. However, you’re required to add the oils into a fragrance container (included) rather than directly into the water tank. The unit doesn’t use filters, so you don’t have to worry about the related expenses.
The S450 is an intelligent humidifier with a touch control panel, digital LCD display, and multiple modes, including Sleep Mode, Econ Mode, and Auto Mode.
- Steamfast SF-920 Warm Mist Humidifier and Steam Vaporizer
- Quiet, filter-free humidification
- Heats up in just three minutes
- Features auto-shutoff
- Two steam settings
- Runs for up to 24 hours
- Ideal for medium-sized rooms
The Model SF-920 from SteamFast comes with a beautiful compact humidifier with a one-gallon tank and two steam settings. It heats up in just three minutes, meaning you can start enjoying the warm moisture almost instantly. The tank is removal (has a handle).
This humidifier delivers up to two gallons of warm moisture every 24 hours and doesn’t use filters, thus lower operating costs. The even better news – it accepts essential oils! The oil is added to a special oil ring – not directly into the water tank.
The SF-920 is an easy fill top-fill humidifier that also very easy to clean. It comes with a 2-year limited manufacturer warranty.
- LEVOIT LV600HH Humidifier for Large Room, Warm and Cool Mist
- Large, 6L tank
- Features an Auto Mode
- Features digital LCD display
- Ultra-quiet operation
- Convenient remote control
- Bottom fill
The LV600HH from LEVOIT is a trendsetting appliance that has already won a couple of awards in its short life. The 1.59-gallon (6L) humidifier can deliver warm or cool moisture at speeds of up to 500ml/hour. It also runs continuously for up to 60 hours.
The unit is recommended for spaces up to 753 square feet and allows for essential oil use. An aroma box is included for this purpose. It also features an auto-shutoff function that springs into action when the tank runs dry.
Other key features of the LV600HH include a 1-12-hour timer and remote control, so you don’t need to leave the sofa.
- Elchomes Warm and Cool Mist Humidifier SH8820 Top Fill
- Large 1.45-gallon tank
- Remote control
- Whisper quiet at 20-32 dB
- Multiple modes, including Sleep Mode
- 360-degree rotating nozzle
- 18-month warranty
- Leaves lots of white dust
- Distilled water required
Another impressively modern humidifier with a large tank, the SH8802 from Elchomes is a 5.5-liter with one of the highest mist outputs per hour (600ml/hour in maximum setting). This makes it an excellent pick for large rooms, up to 755 square feet.
It runs for 12-40 hours on a full tank on the low and high mist settings, respectively. This means you may not need to refill the tank every day. Take note that it’s also a hybrid cool and warm mist humidifier, making it useful throughout the year.
The SH8802 is a top-fill humidifier. It has an essential oils tray for adding your aromatherapy oils. It also features a humidistat sensor for accurate indoor climate control.
- Proscenic 808C Humidifier with App Alexa and Google Voice Control
- Large capacity (5.3 liters)
- Multiple filtration system
- Essential oil use
- Negative ion function
- Informative LED display
- It’s one of the pricier options
- No remote control
The 808C is a large capacity 5.3-liter humidifier that runs for up to 30 hours on the low mist setting. It features seven mist settings. You’ll also love that it has an aromatherapy function. You can add essential oils to an aroma container and let the soothing smells come out together with the mist.
This humidifier is also very modern. It is Wi-Fi compatible, meaning you can control it from any smart device such as your laptop or smartphone. What’s better, it has a smartphone app that you can download from either of the two major app stores (Android and the Apple Store). You can also use it with Amazon Alexa and Google Home.
Two other things that stand out about the 808C are the intelligent humidistat control and timer function.
- TTLIFE 6L Warm and Cool Mist Humidifier for Large Room
- Large 4.5-gallon tank
- Remote control
- 3x filtration process
- 12-hour timer
- Enjoy essential oils
- Child lock doesn’t keep the tank in place
- LED display dims after only 10 seconds
Another digital-first product on the list, the TTLIFE, is a four-mode humidifier. You can set it in the Constant Humidity mode, Auto mode, Sleep Mode, or Soft LED mode. In each of these modes, the unit functions differently to meet specific comfort needs.
The unit itself is a 6-liter warm, and cool mist humidifier recommended for spaces up to 750 square feet. It features a 360-degree adjustable mist nozzle and can run for up to 40 hours on a full tank. You’re allowed to add essential oils (a special oil tray is supplied with the humidifier).
This humidifier has a smart humidifier to constantly evaluate your humidification needs and adjusts moisture output as necessary to meet those needs.
- BONECO U330 Warm Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier – 1.32 gallons
- Ideal for up to 650 Sq. Ft.
- Convenient top-fill model
- Includes fragrance tray
- Integrated hygrostat
- 3-year warranty
- Takes up to 15 mins to heat up
- No remote control
This is a unique humidifier in that it doesn’t have a special-purpose tank. Instead, the tank is attached to the rest of the humidifier. It’s a wide-inlet tank, however, which makes both cleaning and refilling very easy.
A built-in humidistat automatically turns the unit on and off to keep indoor humidity at the set level (45-60%). The unit itself has a large tank that can output up to 3.17 gallons of moisture per day. The U330 is recommended for rooms up to 650 square feet.
The unit arrives with a 2-in-1 water filter A250 Aqua Pro for pure humidification without residue. It also comes with a packet of EZCal Cleaning Solution.
- Honeywell HWM705B Filter Free Warm Mist Humidifier
- LED refill alert light
- Medicine cut included
- Runs for up to 24 hours
- Least expensive on this list
- No smart controls
- No remote control
The filter-free Honeywell HWM705B provides soothing, visible warm mist to keep you, your family, and your home comfortable. It’s a modest 1-gallon unit that can run 24 hours on a single refill on the low moisture setting. It features two moisture settings.
Other key features of the HWM705B include an easy-to-use manual knob and medicine cup that allows you to add inhalants whenever you need to. The unit is also very quiet and employs an auto-shutoff mechanism that kicks in when water runs out.
This humidifier is recommended for multiple settings. You can use it for regular humidification, in the bedroom, in the kids’ room, or even in the nursery.
- Pure Guardian H7550 Ultrasonic Warm and Cool Mist Humidifier
- Ideal for up to 570 Sq. Ft.
- Silver Clean Protect tank
- Simple, top-fill design
- Smart mist sensor
- Low-water indicator
- No essential oils allowed
- It’s a tad pricey
Finally, the Model H7550 from Pure Guardian is a hybrid warm and cool mist humidifier perfect for colds, allergies, and dry skin. It’s a top-fill unit and very easy to fill too. The 1.32-gallon tank runs for a whole 90 hours on a single refill. This humidifier is recommended for spaces up to 570 square feet.
Although warm-mist humidifiers eliminate any microorganisms in the water during the boiling process, this humidifier doesn’t stop there. It features the famous Silver Protect tank technology that helps the growth of slimy mold and bacteria. The entire process goes on in a very quiet manner.
The H7550 features a digital display, night lights, a timer, and three mist settings for ultimate convenience. It also features a water-low indicator light.
Warm-mist humidifiers are a wonderful companion, especially during the cold season. In addition to adding valuable humidity to your home, they all serve as supplemental heaters. Moreover, the units employ a boiling process that kills all harmful microorganisms in water, resulting in cleaner and healthier indoor moisture.
Ensure to pick the right-size unit, though, as under or over-humidification is bad for your health. Also, make sure to regularly clean and properly maintain the humidifier for longevity and ultimate safety.