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What Size Humidifiers Do I Need?

Choosing the correct type of humidifier for your house can bring a drastic improvement in air quality.

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There are different sizes of humidifiers available that are suited to cover a certain square footage. Matching a suitable model with its corresponding square feet is vital to get the most benefits out of it.

While there are whole-house humidifiers available, using one unit for a single room has its own benefits as well. Saving on power consumption and controlling which rooms are ventilated - just to name a few.

With so many considerations and factors that affect the efficiency of a humidifier, what is the best size for your home? We will go over this and a few quality models to choose from in our comprehensive guide.

Without further ado, let us get into it!

What Size Humidifiers Do I Need?

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Humidifiers - Mist Temperature

Humidifiers are available in two options of what temperature mist they release. You can go with either a cool mist or a warm mist humidifier.

Going with either temperature variant has its own unique benefits to add moisture back into the air. After all, regulating the moisture output and humidity of a space can help cut down on respiratory allergens.

A. Cool Mist Humidifier

Cool mist humidifiers are used widely for their coverage and health benefits. In homes with young children and pets, the cool mist given off by the humidifier can limit the number of fire hazards in a room.

Additionally, cold mist humidifiers are versatile in that they purify the air besides maintaining the humidity level of a space. The number of square feet that a cool-mist humidifier covers are more than that of its warm mist counterpart.

In essence, a cool-mist humidifier is a two-in-one unit that does it all with more energy efficiency than a warm mist model. It does this by turning the warm air cold with the cool mist droplets.

However, they come at a higher price tag as compared to a warm mist model. Additionally, the cool mist generated requires an internal fan to maintain the temperature as the mist is released. As such, the noise levels can be high when working in higher settings.

It is a great investment if a cool temperature and additional health and safety benefits are what you are looking for.

Types of Cool Mist Humidifiers

There are two types of cool mist humidifiers available - classified depending on the method of distribution of the water particles into the air. These come in either an evaporative or an ultrasonic unit.

In evaporative cool mist humidifiers there is a wick filter within the unit that absorbs the water from the tank. This water is then evaporated and spread throughout the room by a fan blowing air through this wick filter. The resulting output is a fine cool mist spread throughout the room

The second cool mist humidifier type is known as an ultrasonic humidifier. These units use ultrasonic vibrations to generate the ultra-fine mist. What's more, they are usually quieter in operation as compared to the evaporative models.

Features Of A Cool Mist Humidifier

Using a cool mist humidifier can bring about a change in the air quality and temperature in the room. As the unit does not require any heating, there is a considerably lower power draw, saving you a bit on the electric bill.

Additionally, these models are safe for use around children and pets as there are no potential accidents due to hot water. The cool mist adds a refreshing feeling to any room's humidity levels.

Using a cool mist humidifier does have a few drawbacks such as the higher noise level. Furthermore, the colder mist can make a room feel slightly colder. If you live in cold climates, you may want to reconsider before spreading cold moisture throughout your rooms.

B. Warm Mist Humidifier

Warm mist humidifiers are widely used as they are able to remove bacteria by heating up the water in the tank. Before the steam and warm mist are released into the air, mold spores and bacteria are killed off.

As the mist has been heated, it is able to have a higher concentration in the air. This can be especially beneficial in acting as a heating element in colder rooms.

What's more, warm mist humidifiers ensure minimal noise levels during operation. And the internal fan that is necessary for the cool mist model is not required in this humidifier.

Features Of A Warm Mist Humidifier

Using a humidifier that utilizes warm mist to regulate humidity levels in a room can bring additional health benefits. By heating up the water to a boiling point within the tank, any bacteria and mold is killed off right away.

Furthermore, the warm mist humidifier works silently as there is no internal fans required for its operation. This makes using them in areas where noise is a factor such as nurseries and offices more plausible.

However, warm mist types of humidifiers are not as efficient in terms of their coverage. The warm mist takes time to travel and is limited to the immediate area around the humidifier. As the mist is evaporative, by the time the droplets travel away from the system, they have cooled down and dissipated.

What's more, the price of buying one of these machines tends to be more than the cool mist counterpart. Although, it is beneficial in doubling as a heating element and potentially save some energy spent on heating.

What Is The Ideal Humidifier Size?

If an air humidifier is not a centralized unit, it is typically portable to some extent. These smaller-sized units are used to control the humidity level of a single room at a time.

Classifying the types of humidifiers according to their size can be done based on their water tank size, how many square feet they cover, and their water output.

A. Small Size Humidifier

On one end of the spectrum, there are small 1/4-liter humidifiers that can be powered with a USB cord. These models are not as effective as a larger-sized model.

When it comes to efficiency and effectiveness of these types of humidifiers, they are more suited for smaller rooms and areas. The moisture output is not sufficient to have an effect on the overall humidity of a room.

Due to their compact design and limited effective area, they are ideal for use in cars and small office spaces. In fact, controlling the humidity is much easier when the area to be covered is small.

B. Large Size Humidifier

On the other side, we have large industrial models that are heavy-duty performers—effectively covering more square feet along with more moisture output.

These humidifiers are capable of covering 3,600 square feet, so regardless of the room size, they will be sure to maintain the humidity level in the air easily. With such extensive coverage, these large models can be essentially used as whole-house humidifiers.

Larger humidifiers typically have a larger water reservoir to store the gallons of water needed for the steam and mist. On average, they can store up to six gallons of water while having an output of 12 gallons. It is easy to see how quickly dry air becomes hydrated and healthier to breathe.

When choosing an air humidifier model, keep in mind the quoted capacity on the packaging refers to the tank capacity, not the moisture output. On average, the volume of moisture output is more than that of the water tank. And a larger water tank volume will benefit in cutting down on frequent refills.

However, a large-size humidifier should be used only in rooms that are capable of taking full advantage of its coverage. A misplaced large humidifier in a small room size can cause mold and bacteria to form. Moreover, the humidity level will saturate the entire room to the point of excess, compromising the safety of your respiratory system.

Taking proper measurements of the square footage of a room is essential to match it with a compatible humidifier size. The relative humidity given off by a compatible unit can determine how beneficial it is in improving air quality in the room.

A safe choice of an adequately sized humidifier is one that can cover 700 square feet. These models are able to cover most bedrooms and a living room easily without compromising on safety. However, to guarantee a large-sized humidifier is the right choice for you, it is recommended to use one only in rooms with an open layout.

Best Humidifiers

1. Honeywell Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier

A quiet humidifier from Honeywell, this model can gently release cool moisture back into the air. It has an incredibly easy refill design from either the top of the humidifier or by removing the tank entirely and refilling at a faucet. By being able to remove the tank, maintenance is also an easy process with this model.

There are no filters involved in this cool mist humidifier, so you won't have to buy a replacement filter eventually. Instead, a nebulizer is vibrated at an ultrasonic frequency then released by a directional mist outlet. Using this unit can cut down on dry air and dust that can irritate the respiratory system.


  • 1.25-gallon tank capacity can be used for 36 hours
  • Low noise level
  • No filter required
  • Automatic shut-off when the tank is empty


  • Requires distilled water to run efficiently

2. Everlasting Comfort Cool Mist Humidifier

Everlasting Comfort has an ultrasonic humidifier that is rated to humidify rooms up to 500 square feet. With such a wide operation range, it can be easily used in almost any room of the house. What makes it unique is the essential oil tray that spreads a fresh aroma throughout the entire room.

Additionally, this humidifier has a filter-less design, saving you on further costs to replace the filter. Although this is a cool mist model, it operates silently thanks to the ultrasonic technology to dissipate the mist.


  • Little to no noise level; less than 30 DB
  • Fragrant oils can be spread by the unit
  • Six liter tank lasts up to 50 hours
  • Perfect for homes; 500 square feet coverage


  • Can be difficult to clean and maintain tank

3. Levoit Cool Mist, Essential Oil Diffuser

Perfect for colder climates, this humidifier doubles as a diffuser for essential oils and can relieve symptoms like dry skin. With a smart connectivity feature, the humidity in a room can be regulated easily.

This model is perfect for nurseries as the noise levels while in operation are minimal. Additionally, there is a sleep mode to keep the control lighting off or dimmed.


  • Automatic shut off when empty
  • 1.05 gallon tank can run for 40 hours
  • 360-degree nozzle for full coverage
  • Three mist control settings


  • Bottom refill design can be challenging to access tank

Why Purchase A Humidifier?

Placing a humidifier in rooms can not only control the humidity of the house, but save you from certain side effects of respiratory irritants. The mist that the system gives out is effective in cutting down on germs and white dust.

Taking into account all the benefits of a humidifier, there is not many things to consider. The benefits of using an air humidifier system outweighs any potential drawbacks.

Some common side effects due to dry air include sore throats, cracked lips, itchy skin and bloody noses. In some extreme cases it is possible to have respiratory ailments and an irritated sinus passage. All these side effects can be minimized or removed completely simply placing a humidifier in your rooms.

Beyond just personal health benefits, a humidifier can preserve the wooden elements in your house. Everything from furniture to the flooring and structural integrity will become more durable and less susceptible to damage. By putting moisture back into the air, the amount of damage due to drying out is minimized.

Additionally, plants can also benefit from having a humidifier in the same rooms they are in. The unit acts as a regulator to humidify the room and remove any dry air. As a result, white dust is kept to a minimum while the water level in the air is kept at an ideal level.

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With the benefits of using a humidifier in your house, it is clear to see how this investment pays off in the long run.

Any of the three portable models listed above can function efficiently regardless of what room size you have. Placing humidifiers in each of your rooms can significantly cut down on white dust and improve air quality.

So, to sum up, investing in air humidifiers are worth the price tag they come with. Your house as well as your respiratory system will thank you, and be that much healthier.

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