Does your infant or young child often wake up with a stuffy nose, suffer from coughing throughout the day, or catch colds more frequently than seems normal? If your home or climate is especially low in humidity, adding a little moisture back into the air with a handy humidifier just might help.
Dry air is uncomfortable for everybody – it can lead to itchy skin, dry eyes, sore throat, and a whole slew of other everyday symptoms that many people take for granted. But finding the best humidifier for baby nurseries isn't just a matter of comfort. With their delicate bodies and undeveloped immune systems, nobody feels the effects of dry air more than infants and young children.
For babies, low humidity levels are more than just uncomfortable. Dry air easily irritates the sensitive lining of the nose and throat, increasing the risk of developing colds and sometimes even serious infections. Not to mention, this irritation is a common cause of those annoying stuffy noses that make it harder for babies to breathe, sleep, and nurse. Anybody would be fussy under those circumstances!
The good news is that there are plenty of humidifiers on the market, spanning a wide variety of forms and features to suit just about any situation. Whether you're looking for something to tide your family over during the dry winter months or need something durable enough to run year-round, there's sure to be something out there that fits your preferences as well as your budget.
- Which Humidifier Style Is Right For Your Nursery?
- Size and Form Factor
- 1. Tabletop
- 2. Console
- 3. Induct
- Exploring The Top 5 Humidifiers For babies 2018 - Comparison Table
- 1 Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier (V745A)
- 2 Honeywell Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier (HCM350W)
- 3 Honeywell Cool Moisture Console Humidifier (HCM-6009)
- 4 MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier
- 5 TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier (TT-AH001)
- Avoid These Pitfalls When Buying An Infant Humidifier
- Tips and Tricks For Using a Humidifier In The Nursery
- How To Measure The Humidity
- Keeping Your Baby Humidifier Clean and Safe
- Controlling Humidifier Noise At Night
- Baby Humidifier Frequently Asked Questions
Which Humidifier Style Is Right For Your Nursery?
Let's take a look at a few things to consider when you're shopping for your next humidifier for your babies. It's easy to become overwhelmed by the vast number of options, but you can narrow down your selection quickly just by deciding between the important features and comparisons below.
Cool vs Warm Mist
While cool mist humidifiers use ultrasonic or evaporative technology (more about that below), the mist from warm mist models is actually the result of steam. Warm mist humidifiers are considered more sterile than cold mist options because the water in the tank is brought to a boiling temperature as the steam is released into the room, killing any germs or viruses that might be lurking in the water.
The power of warm mist humidifiers does come with an increased sense of responsibility. It's important to keep these humidifiers out of reach of children because the heating element – and sometimes even the mist itself – can cause burns with direct contact.
Consider any mobile toddlers or younger children who might have access to the infant's nursery before investing in one of these powerful warm mist units. On the other hand, even cool mist humidifiers should be kept out of reach of children because of small parts, water, and electrical hazards, just like any other household appliance.
Ultrasonic vs Evaporrative
Cool mist humidifiers can work in two ways. The more traditional models are evaporative – these use a large wick to absorb water, and a small fan distributes the moisture from the wick into the room. Ultrasonic models are a newer technology that uses high frequency vibrations to excite water particles and propel them into the air.
Evaporative humidifiers tend to make a little more noise because of the fan, but some parents prefer the gentle white noise because it helps to lull the baby to sleep. On the other hand, even ultrasonic models can potentially make noise, like occasional bubbling as the water settles or beeps from built-in sensors.
Filtered vs Filterless
Humidifier filters don't play a direct role in terms of function, but they can definitely effect the convenience and cost of the unit over time. Most ultrasonic humidifiers do not require filters at all, saving on replacement costs over time. However, there is a drawback to filterless models – they tend to leave a "white dust" around the unit since any minerals from the water gets dispersed rather than filtered out.
Evaporative humidifiers (and some ultrasonic ones) have filters to catch any minerals before they can get distributed through the mist. Check the manufacturer's recommendations to find out how often these filters should be replaced. It's always a good idea to check the cost of replacement filters before investing in any humidifier that requires a filter.
Size and Form Factor
– These small humidifiers are the smallest and most compact options. They range from models that are small enough to hold in the palm of your hand (nice for desktop use and immediate relief) to larger tabletop sized models that can control the humidity of an entire room. When it comes to nursery needs, the higher-capacity tabletop models are the most popular solution.
– If you need something to humidify a large family room or other wide open space, a console humidifier might be right for you. These models are often too large to sit on a tabletop and instead sit on the floor. Because they can be heavy, they often come equipped with wheels.
– Humidifying an entire home requires a heavy duty solution. Induct humidifiers distribute humidity through the actual ductwork of your home. Unfortunately, induct humidifiers often require professional installation since they need to be wired directly into your home's electrical system and tapped directly into your water lines.
Exploring The Top 5 Humidifiers For babies 2018 - Comparison Table
Now that we've talked a little bit about the different humidifier styles that are available, let's look at some real world examples. These are the most popular and highest-rated picks, both among people shopping for nursery needs and for general household purposes as well.
|Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier|
|Honeywell Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier|
|Honeywell Cool Moisture Console Humidifier|
|MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier|
|TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier|
Want to get to know these models a little better? Check out these detailed baby humidifier reviews, covering each item on the top 5 humidifier list above.
Avoid These Pitfalls When Buying An Infant Humidifier
With a little research, it's easy to avoid the most common mistakes people make while buying humidifiers for a baby's nursery. Finding the right humidifier often comes down to figuring out how much time and effort you can dedicate to maintaining the machine and keeping it running, as well as how much you want to spend to do so.
1. Recurring costs
Does your favored humidifier require filter replacements? It pays to see how much those replacement filters will cost before investing heavily in a certain model. Plus, you'll need to consider how often those filters need to be replaced – sometimes it makes sense to buy the model with the more expensive filters if those filters need to be replaced less frequently.
Some models are definitely easier to clean than others are. All it takes is one long weekend of neglect before noticing that mildew, mold, or other problems have developed. Warm and wet environments like the inside of a humidifier are breeding grounds for all kinds of fungus. Sometimes harmless mildew is easy to wipe away, such as if it's just on the inside of reservoir, but other things like filters are harder to cleanse.
Although everybody hopes their new humidifier will run perfectly out of the box, there's always a small chance that something could go wrong. Read reviews to make sure the manufacturer actually responds to requests for returns. And don't forget – even top brands can discontinue their products at any time, making it difficult to find replacement parts like new filters or seals.
Bigger capacities are always better, right? The answer really depends on how you plan to use your humidifier! Larger capacity reservoirs need to be refilled less often, but they can be heavy to carry when they're full. Humidifiers with big capacities also tend to take up more space, making it harder to find somewhere out-of-reach to plug it in. Consider making up for a smaller capacity by looking for a model that uses water efficiently and has a longer run time.
5. Hidden Features
It's always annoying to find out that a helpful "feature" is actually a detractor that keeps the baby awake at night or makes the humidifier harder to care for. A few common examples are power lights that shine too brightly, sensors that beep when the water level runs low, and decorative reservoir shapes that seem impossible to clean.
Tips and Tricks For Using a Humidifier In The Nursery
How To Measure The Humidity
The best way to measure humidity is with a hygrometer. These inexpensive devices will give an accurate reading instantly. You can keep one somewhere near the baby's crib (out of reach, of course) to know the exact humidity level at any given moment. Ask your doctor or take a quick peek at the FAQ section to find out the best humidity level for your infant's nursery room.
Keeping Your Baby Humidifier Clean and Safe
All humidifiers need to be regularly cleaned and inspected according to the manufacturer's suggestions. Some models require the filter to remain wet for the unit to operate, but most of the time, it's good to avoid prolonged moisture or standing water when you're not going to use the machine for a while.
The good news is that there are products that can reduce the amount of cleaning you'll need to do. For example, there are antimicrobial water treatment cartridges made specifically for home humidifiers. Of course, it's always good to ask the manufacturer which products they recommend before putting anything other than water in your machine.
Controlling Humidifier Noise At Night
It's hard to find a humidifier model that truly makes zero noise at all. Even the most whisper-quiet models might bubble or beep under certain circumstances. Not all of this noise is avoidable. Some of the noise can actually be beneficial – white noise, like the sound of an evaporative humidifier's fan, can actually help drown out other noises and help lull babies to sleep at night.
Otherwise, consider investing in a best humidifier for babies with a timer or find out whether your current humidifier will work with the type of timer that hooks directly to a wall outlet. As long as your baby's nursery is relatively well-insulted, the room should continue to hold at least some humidity throughout the night, although the results will definitely pale in comparison to leaving the unit running.
Baby Humidifier Frequently Asked Questions
What is the ideal humidity level for a baby's nursery during sleep?
Many professionals suggest keeping nurseries at humidity level between 40-60%, easily achievable with any of the models listed previously in this guide. If humidity is too low, the dry air can irritate the infant's delicate nasal passages. If humidity is too high, it can promote the growth of mold in the nursery.
How often should I change the filter on my evaporative humidifier?
Every humidifier is different. The manual that comes with your machine should have specific answers, although you may need to clean more or less frequently depending on exactly how you tend to use it. Always change the filter immediately if you notice the growth of mold or mildew to prevent particles from entering the air.
Is it okay to use essential oils in my humidifier?
Unless the product was marketed specifically as an essential oil diffuser, the answer is usually "no" – consult your manual before putting anything in the water reservoir or filter. The same goes for water treatment kits intended to cut down on mildew and bacteria growth. Consulting the manual, and then following up with your child's doctor, is always the safest way to go.
Do I need to use purified water in my humidifier or is tap water okay?
Purified water is almost always easier on the inner components of a humidifier. Unless your tap water is exceptionally "soft", minerals will eventually build up around moving parts or within the reservoir. It's still possible to use clean tap water without harm – just consult the manual to find the manufacturer's recommendations for removing any accumulated scale.