We all know we should use a humidifier when our babies are sick. But with so many choices, it can be hard to know what’s best. Cold mist or hot steam? Filterless or filtered? And what about the size?
We’ve done some digging to find the answers to these questions and more, and we’ve tested and compared all the leading brands.
We’ve created this guide, including our top 10 recommendations for the best humidifiers for your baby’s nursery — to ease your baby’s congestion so you can both get some sleep.
- Easy to operate and clean
- Runs for up to 30 hours
- Controls humidity levels
- Calming night light function
- Runs for up to 16 hours
- Multiple settings
- Space saver
- Comfortable transport
- 18 hours run time
- Has a handy night light
- Can be used with medicated inhalants
- Operates quietly
- 50 hours of operation
- Incredibly silent
- ETL certified for safety
- Doesn't require a filter to function
- Can run for 24 hours
- 360-degree lid
- Safe, cool mist
- Comes with a 5-year warranty
- Up to 20 hours runtime
- Automatic shut-off
- Easy to operate
- Runs for 16 hours
- Nearly germ-free
- Easy to fill
- 360-degree mist outlet
- Easy to clean
- Runs quietly
Should You Have a Humidifier in Baby’s Nursery?
While not a necessity, a humidifier can help ease your baby’s cold symptoms.
It does this by:
- Thinning the mucus, so it’s more easily expelled.
- Soothing a dry throat to reduce the severity of a cough.
- Moistening nasal passages and sinuses to promote faster healing (source).
Using a humidifier can not only help your baby (and the rest of your family) endure and recover from a cold, but it also has preventative health benefits. Humidity significantly hinders airborne viruses’ ability to travel, so keeping your air moist can help prevent your baby from catching the flu, colds, or other viruses that make the rounds during the winter.
How to Choose a Humidifier for Baby
When purchasing a humidifier for your nursery, consider the following:
Cool Mist or Hot Steam
Decide whether you’d prefer a cool mist or hot steam unit. Generally, “vaporizer” means it will emit hot steam, while “humidifier” means it will expel a cool mist. However, sometimes the terms are used interchangeably, so make sure you read the product details thoroughly.
Filter or No Filter
A built-in filter will keep potential irritants out of the air, but it can also be a source of ill health if you don’t keep it clean. If you choose one with a filter, be prepared to clean it regularly, or be prepared for the ongoing expense of replacing it.
Each humidifier has a different sized area for which it’s suitable. If you’re only using it in your baby’s room, a machine that covers a 100-square-foot area may be suitable. If you’re planning to use it in your main bedroom, you’ll need something larger.
Some humidifiers can be paired with scents or essential oils, emitting a pleasing aroma, offering health benefits, or helping to ease congestion. Depending on the brand and model, you may be required to purchase a specific diffusing product. If you want a simple humidifier to add moisture to the air, skip those with this particular feature.
The Best Humidifiers for Baby of 2022
Here are the top humidifiers for your baby’s nursery.
1. Vicks FilterFree Humidifier
This easy-to-operate humidifier has a visible reservoir, so you know exactly when you need to replenish the water. You won’t have to do it that often, though, because one fill-up can make the unit run for up to 30 hours. If you let it run dry, it will shut off automatically, so the machine won’t be damaged.
It’s designed to be used with Vicks VapoPads, which can introduce menthol or lavender into the air to soothe your little one (although first verify that this is appropriate for your baby’s age).
There are no filters to replace and few safety concerns as the water is atomized into a mist by a high-frequency vibrating plate rather than creating heat and steam. You can also control the mist output with a simple, foolproof design — dial up for more mist, dial down for less.
- You can use Vicks VapoPads.
- It has a large opening for easy cleaning.
- Runs for up to 30 hours.
- You can control the humidity level.
- Cool mist doesn’t kill bacteria.
2. Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier
Babies with coughs or stuffy noses often need humidifiers at night to help them sleep soundly. Thanks to this humidifier by Pure Enrichment, they can also enjoy a peaceful and soothing ambiance.
The tank is rounded and made of clear plastic, which is aesthetically pleasing, and a simple press of the button turns it into a night light. With a soft glow, it can help calm your baby as they struggle to sleep through the night.
You can fit 1.5 liters of water inside and choose from high or low-speed settings to adjust mist direction and intensity. Because it can run for up to 16 hours, you can use it throughout the night. However, if the water level is too low or something dislodges the water tank, the humidifier will automatically shut off to ensure your baby’s safety.
- The calming night light function is perfect for bedtime.
- Runs for up to 16 hours, so it’ll last through the night.
- Multiple settings ensure the perfect moisture level for your situation.
- The small tank opening makes it hard to clean.
3. Honeywell HEV320WD1 Cool Moisture Humidifier
At first, you may think humidifiers remain clean because of all the water you put inside. But think of all the germs and gunk in the air it’s trapping! Cleaning a humidifier is vital for its effectiveness, and the extra-large opening on this Honeywell humidifier lets you do just that.
Because the opening on the water tank is so large, you can scrub more effectively and get into those hard-to-reach nooks and crannies. It also means you can fill it up without worrying about spills.
It’s a cool mist humidifier complete with a 0.8-gallon tank. You can move it from the sink to your baby’s room easily, thanks to its lightweight construction. If you use a humidifier consistently, this is an easy-to-clean option that won’t add extra stress to your life.
- Extra-large tank opening makes cleaning easy.
- Minimalist design and space-saving device.
- Long run time of 18 hours.
- The cost of replacement filters adds up.
4. Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier
This warm mist humidifier has a one-gallon capacity that will last for 12 hours, which is plenty of time to make it through the whole night. But if you forget to refill it, no worries — it has an auto shut off for when it runs dry.
It also has a medicine cup, allowing it to produce a medicated vapor to ease your child’s congestion if they’re sick, and it includes a nightlight to scare away those monsters! You can adjust the steam flow between two comfort settings, and the tank is designed to empty completely (without leaving standing water) to reduce the chance of bacterial growth.
- It has a handy nightlight.
- Use it in conjunction with medicated inhalants.
- It operates quietly.
- Hot steam kills 95 percent of germs.
- You must keep it out of the reach of children to prevent burns.
- The nightlight does not turn off.
- You’ll need to clean it occasionally.
5. Everlasting Comfort Cool Mist Humidifier for Bedroom
Do you need a humidifier to work in a particularly large room? Or maybe you need it to run for a longer time? If so, a large humidifier is the way to go, and we suggest this one from Everlasting Comfort.
With a 6-liter tank, it will work for up to 50 hours. This is great for moms at home all day who need continuous, refreshing air. Better yet, place a few drops of oil in the built-in essential oil tray, and enjoy long-lasting comfort throughout the day.
We also love that because it’s ultrasonic, it’s incredibly quiet and won’t bother your sleeping baby. Combined with the extra-large tank, you can use it at night without any fuss.
The tank holds up to six liters, and the entire humidifier isn’t very bulky, so you don’t have to worry about it taking up extra space in your home.
- The large water tank gives you 50 operating hours.
- Incredibly silent and great for bedtime.
- Guaranteed safe for use by Intertek.
- Refilling the heavy tank can be difficult, but it includes a carrying handle to make it more portable.
6. Crane USA Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier
Many humidifiers work with a filter, something you will then have to replace regularly. Skip the stress and choose the Crane USA Humidifier. It doesn’t require a filter, so it saves you time and money.
However, if you have hard water, you can purchase and insert a filter to avoid damaging the unit.
Overall, it holds up to a gallon of water and uses vibrations to produce a cool mist to relieve the symptoms of coughs, colds, dry skin, and more. Because the mist isn’t heated, it’s especially good for your baby’s delicate skin.
We also really appreciate the 360-degree lid, which allows you to direct the mist where you need it most. It’s whisper-quiet and can run for up to 24 hours.
- No filters mean you save time and money.
- Holds up to a gallon of water and can run for 24 hours.
- The 360-degree lid directs the mist.
- You’ll have to keep an eye on how dirty the inside of the humidifier gets, leading to more cleaning.
7. Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier
This cool mist humidifier will moisturize your air for up to 10 hours, so you know that it’ll operate continuously throughout the night without you needing to refill it constantly. The long mist stream will prevent water from pooling on the floor and help ensure it’s absorbed and distributed as desired.
You have the option to select either high or low mist settings with a touch of a button, and it will help to humidify small to medium-sized rooms. It provides moisture through ultrasonic technology, so you don’t have to worry about burns if your little one gets too close.
- Cool mist prevents burns.
- Five years warranty.
- It’s ultrasonic, so it’s very quiet.
- It has an optional night light.
- The design can be difficult to clean and refill.
- Difficult to operate at night since the power button LED automatically shuts off.
- Tank empties in ten hours.
8. URPower Remote Controlled Ultrasonic Humidifier
This humidifier makes operation a breeze with a wireless remote control and clear, well-lit indicators for low, medium, or high mist output. The one-liter holding tank means it easily operates for more than half a day without needing a refill, and the sleek design fits in easily with many decor styles.
It shuts off automatically when empty, so it won’t burn out the motor, and the quiet operation won’t interfere with your baby’s sleep. And since it’s ultrasonic, the mist it releases is cool and maintains your little one’s safety. There’s also no filter, so ongoing maintenance is minimal.
- There are no heating elements.
- It has an auto shut-off feature.
- Easy to operate.
- It has a sleek, modern design.
- It only holds about a liter of water.
- You must clean the unit after every 2-3 uses.
9. MadeTec Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier
This humidifying unit acts as both a humidifier and diffuser, which means it will help provide continuous 20-hour humidity in your child’s nursery with just a single filling. This will help prevent any irritation of your child’s sensitive respiratory system. It has three mist settings varying from low, high, or cloud.
The tanks are small enough to fill in any sink, unlike some bulkier models that need to be filled in the bathtub. It runs quietly and won’t disturb your sleep (or your baby’s).
- It runs for 20 hours.
- Covers up to 350 square feet.
- You can fill it up easily in your sink.
- The light on the front is very bright.
- May require a bigger space on the table.
10. Safety 1st Soothing Glow Cool Mist Humidifier
Is heating your house during the winter causing your child to have a dry throat, irritated nasal passages, or even nosebleeds? Some children suffer from nosebleeds during winter if they don’t keep a humidifier running in their bedroom at night.
We like the idea of not having to monopolize the whole electrical outlet with a nightlight and a humidifier when one unit can take care of both functions. And the glow from this one is just right – it’s not too bright, but it’s enough to prevent you from stubbing your toes when checking on your little one.
After giving this unit a test run, we were pleased. The tank was easy to fill, and one tank lasted about three nights.
- The humidifier offers a 360-degree mist outlet which lets you position it anywhere.
- You don’t have to replace any filters.
- It’s easy to clean, which is good for keeping germs at bay.
- It runs quietly.
- If you use it at its highest setting, you’ll need to fill it frequently. Try it at its lowest setting first to see if it does the trick for you.
What Type of Humidifier is Best for Baby?
The AAP recommends using a cool mist humidifier over a warm mist one.
Steam vaporizers heat water and could burn a small child if the device is knocked over. The steam is also hot enough to cause injury if a curious child gets too close. This is why professionals agree they are not worth the risk.
Are Humidifiers Safe for Babies?
When using a humidifier, there are a few things you need to know.
- Burn Risk: Hot-water vaporizers are generally more hygienic as they heat the water to create steam that is hot enough to kill potential bacteria (1). However, they also pose a burn risk for small children. If you choose a hot-water vaporizer, make sure it’s out of reach of your child. Opt for a cool mist humidifier if you can’t ensure your child won’t have access to the vaporizer.
- Cleanliness: If your model has a filter, you need to clean or replace it periodically. In any product that holds water, bacteria and mold can grow, which can cause health problems. Make sure you keep it clean and well-maintained to prevent unwanted health issues.
- Over-Moisturizing: If you introduce too much moisture into the air, it can cause mold and other allergens to grow in your child’s room or other areas of your home. You can purchase a hygrometer to monitor the moisture level and prevent it from becoming too high. A level of 30-50% is ideal for health, while 43% has been shown to be best for preventing the travel of airborne bacteria and viruses (2).
The Bottom Line
Sometimes, simple is best. We think the best humidifier for your baby’s nursery is the Vicks FilterFree Humidifier because it is easy to operate, refill, and clean. It has no filter that you need to replace, and the opening into the water chamber is large enough that your regular cleaning sessions (which you’ll have to do no matter which unit you choose) are a breeze. It’s also compatible with medicated, scented pads to ease congestion. And because it’s a cool mist humidifier, you’ll be at ease knowing there’s no burn risk to your baby.
There are a few tricks you can try when your baby comes down with a cold, and using a humidifier is at the very top of that list. Not only can moist air make your babe more comfortable, but it can also help them heal faster and stay healthy longer. That’s well worth the upfront investment of a humidifier.