Nebulizer vs. Humidifier – Which One Is Better?

Nebulizer or Humidifier. Which is better? The answer to this question will vary depending on who you ask, but what are the differences between them?

A nebulizer is a machine that converts liquid medicines into an inhalable mist. A humidifier increases the humidity in your home by releasing water vapor into the air using a heating element and fan. 

They both perform the same function of converting a liquid into a mist or steam. However, the two do it differently. The nebulizer does so with a compressor and impeller, while the humidifier uses warm-hot water.

If you have an illness that is helped by moist air or breathing in steam, then a nebulizer will work better than a humidifier for this purpose. If you don’t need any moisture in your room or home, then it doesn’t matter.

Both of these machines also have their pros and cons. In this blog post, we will go over the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Nebulizer vs. Humidifier

Nebulizers are great for converting medicine to an inhalable mist to make breathing easier on those with respiratory issues. They also come in various sizes, so you can get one that works well for you.  

On the other hand, humidifiers are great because they can increase your home’s humidity, especially during winter. They are also great for those with breathing issues, as moist air helps to make it easier and more comfortable.

What is a Nebulizer?

A nebulizer is a machine that converts liquid medicines into an inhalable mist. People use it to make breathing easier for those who suffer from respiratory issues like asthma. It can be used at home or in the hospital, and there are even travel-sized ones available, so you never have to stop using it!

Pros and Cons of Nebulizer

Just like any other product, nebulizers also have their pros and cons. 


  • Converts liquid medicine into an inhalable mist making it easier to breathe in for those with respiratory issues. 
  • The nebulizer also comes in smaller sizes, making it easier to use.
  • Great for those on the go and need their medicine quickly without the hassle of finding a giant machine around them wherever they go!
  • A nebulizer is used at home or in the hospital. 
  • The nebulizer can be used by anyone, no matter your age.


  • Nebulizers can irritate if you use them too often, so it is vital that people only use them when necessary and not just because they can.
  • The nebulizer can be pretty expensive, depending on the brand you buy and your insurance coverage. Some require regular maintenance or replacement parts which would increase the cost too.
  • If not taken care of properly, it could break if dropped or mishandled in any way, which could cause additional costs.
  • Wastage of drugs as the liquid can spill out as it is being converted into a mist.

What is a Humidifier

A humidifier is a machine that adds moisture to the air using a heating element and fan. It is excellent for the winter months, and it can even help someone who has breathing issues like asthma, bronchitis, and pneumonia. 

The humidifier also helps with dry skin because moist air can help with skin moisturization. You can get one that works well for any sized room, no matter where you need humidity in your home!

Pros and Cons of Humidifiers

There are pros and cons to using a humidifier as well, so let’s take a look at those now! 


  • Humidifiers can increase the humidity level in your home or area, which can be helpful for one that works well for those who have respiratory issues.
  • You can use humidifiers to help with dry skin as the moist air helps moisturize your skin!  
  • The humidifier comes in different sizes and capacities, and you can get one that works well for any sized room. 
  • Humidifiers bring comfort to your home during the winter months, especially if you live in a colder climate. 
  • The humidifier can help with sleep issues, too, because moist air helps to keep dust mites away, which may be causing allergies or insomnia at night for some people.
  • Humidifiers are portable, and they do not require much effort or maintenance, making them very convenient.
  • Humidifiers protect the plants. Plants in your home require moisture to grow, so it is essential to ensure they get enough of it.
  • Humidifiers take care of household furnishings. When the air in your home is completely dry for long, the paints, wooden floors, and furniture can crack and break, which is unsuitable for any of them.


  • The humidifier can be pretty expensive, depending on the brand you buy. If not taken care of properly, then it could get damaged if dropped or mishandled in any way.
  • Humidifiers require regular cleaning to prevent bacteria and mold growth which can be pretty hard work. You must clean your humidifier after every use because the moist air helps with dust mites, but it could cause health issues or worse if left unattended!
  • The smell of a dirty humidifier may be unpleasant! Using a humidifier with fragrances or scents in the water used for moisturizing could interfere with your breathing. 
  • Humidifiers take up space in the room they’re put in if you do not have enough room.
  • Noise; If you’re someone who sleeps lightly, then the noise of a humidifier could disturb your sleep.
  • White dust around your home. If you use certain humidifiers, it could release white dust in the air that may settle on your furniture and floors. These are traces of minerals found in the water.

Nebulizer vs. Humidifier – In-Depth Comparison


In cost comparison, a humidifier is more expensive than a nebulizer. For example, a humidifier price ranges from $70 to $800, while reasonable nebulizer costs from $60 to $80.

You will also have to incur an additional electricity cost, buying distilled water and fill the humidifier. With the nebulizer, however, all you have to do is buy the medicine.

When to Use

In as much as both of the devices perform the same function, there are instances you will need to use a nebulizer and not a humidifier. This is especially when your doctor has recommended that anti-asthmatic medicine be inhaled in high concentrations. 

In such a case, humidity would only dilute the medicine, so it becomes less effective or ineffective at all. Using a nebulizer would make your anti-asthmatic medication more effective.

On the other hand, a humidifier will do just fine when moisturizing the dry air. A nebulizer cannot water your home’s air as it is not function.

Use for Asthma, Cough, Congestion, and Babies


When it comes to using these devices for asthma, a nebulizer is the best option. Asthma causes breathing difficulties due to inflamed airways. A nebulizer works by turning liquid medication into a mist that you can inhale, which will help reduce inflammation and relax muscles in your lungs for better airflow.

A humidifier, however, helps in moisturizing dry air. It does not treat asthma but helps prevent asthma attacks.

Coughs and Congestion

A nebulizer is the best device for people suffering from cough or congestion. It works by turning anti-mucus medicine into a mist that you can inhale, which will break down mucus in your airways to pave the way for better breathing. 

Although a humidifier does not treat night cough there are best humidifiers for coughing at night that relieves such symptoms by moisturizing dry air to make breathing easier for you. 


A nebulizer is the best option for babies as you can use it safely without any risk of side effects. In addition, the nebulizer provides quick relief from cough and congestion as it can turn anti-cough medicine into a mist that the baby will inhale.

When to use a humidifier, on the other hand, is when you need to moisturize dry air. It does not have any risk of side effects; therefore, there’s no problem using it for your babies. However, if your baby has asthma, you will have to consult your doctor before using a humidifier for them.


A humidifier is not as effective or reliable compared to a nebulizer when it comes to asthma treatment. The nebulizer responds quickly and effectively to anti-asthmatic medicine. It also helps relieve symptoms like cough and congestion.

The humidifier, however, is less effective or reliable because it does not affect coughs and congestions; the only function of the device is moisturizing dry air. Nevertheless, you can count on the humidifier to moisturize your home’s air, a role that a nebulizer can’t perform.


When it comes to safety, a humidifier is not as safe when compared to a nebulizer, but there are best mold free humidifiers that prevents the growth and development of mold. A dirty humidifier can emit mold spores to the atmosphere, which may cause long-term respiratory conditions. A nebulizer, however, is much safer than a humidifier because it does not emit toxins or pollutants to the atmosphere.

Nebulizer vs. Humidifier FAQs

Can a nebulizer be used as a humidifier?

No. A nebulizer cannot be used as a humidifier because it cannot moisturize dry air. It can only turn liquid medicine into a mist to be inhaled for asthma treatment. Additionally, a nebulizer does not have the features of a humidifier that facilitate a constant supply of moisture to the atmosphere.

How to choose a nebulizer

Choosing a nebulizer is easy because it only has two types which are jet and ultrasonic. However, when selecting a nebulizer, you should opt for one that has high nebulizing efficiency. 

How to choose a humidifier 

Choosing humidifiers can be tricky as many varieties of devices in the market today with different features and functions.

However, to experience the comfort that comes with your humidifier, you should choose the correct size humidifier for your home. You should measure the square footage of your home and buy a humidifier that can cover the whole area.


Both nebulizers and humidifiers are essential devices to keep in your home as each device has its specific use. However, their functions vary; a nebulizer is best for asthma treatment, while a humidifier comes in handy when you need to moisturize dry air.

Both of the devices also vary in use, cost, and efficiency. Both also have their pros and cons. You should understand their functions and features before buying one or the other. Additionally, both also vary in safety. A nebulizer is safer than a humidifier because the former has no toxin emission while the latter emits

Choosing both devices might not be easy since they come in different varieties. However, when choosing nebulizers and humidifiers, you should go for a device that can treat your condition or one that has the right features for your home.