humidifier
Credit: People/Dera Burreson

The Best Humidifiers We Tested in Our Lab

The Levoit Classic 300S Ultrasonic Smart Humidifier reigned supreme
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  • Best Overall
    Levoit Classic 300S Ultrasonic Smart Humidifier
    $75.00
    ($80.00)
    shop it
    Amazon
  • Best Budget
    GENIANI Portable Small Cool Mist Humidifier
    $23.00
    ($28.00)
    shop it
    Amazon
  • Best Splurge
    Dyson Purifier Humidify+Cool Formaldehyde
    $919.00
    shop it
    Best Buy

Some home appliances just help make a house feel like a home. While refrigerators, freezers, washing machines, and vacuums may be the first items to pop into mind, today we're here to remind you of an oft-overlooked small appliance that can transform the way your home feels (literally). 

Enter: cool mist humidifiers. In addition to instantly reviving the air quality in your home, assisting with dry coughs and persistent colds in the process, Beverly Hills-based celebrity dermatologist Dr. Harold Lancer says that humidifiers — whether cool or warm — are valuable assets if you want a glowing complexion (hence why celebrities like Kendall Jenner, Celine Dion, and Mariah Carey swear by the small home appliances).

We spent several days PEOPLE Testing 27 of the most popular humidifiers on the market. In doing so, we paid special attention to how easy each machine was to set up and clean, how effective each was, and how well each performed overall given their design and size. The winner is the Levoit Classic 300S Ultrasonic Smart Humidifier.

Keep reading for the best humidifiers that PEOPLE Tested.

Best Overall: Levoit Classic 300S Ultrasonic Smart Humidifier

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Credit: Amazon

Buy It! $75, amazon.com

Pros: Levoit Classic 300S Ultrasonic Smart Humidifierhas smart features and is very easy to use. In fact, the manual is nearly unnecessary.

Cons: The cord isn't very long, and there's no timer option on the touchscreen display.

After days of testing, this reasonably-priced humidifier was the clear winner, with top scores in just about every category. Right out of the box, our testers found that this desktop, top-fill humidifier was incredibly straightforward and easy to use. The one thing that took some finagling was the display, however, once understood, our testers found that it gave a comprehensive view not only of what the machine was putting out but what was happening in it, as well. "Once you understand the display, you have even more of an appreciation for the machine because it gives you an in-depth look at how it's progressively becoming more humid," one of our testers shared.

In addition to being able to pinpoint the rising humidity, our testers enjoyed this humidifier's varying outputs, which allow you to tailor the mist power and direction of airflow. Speaking of airflow, despite this humidifier's output, our testers found it to be practically silent, making it an especially great option for those who prefer to go without white noise in the background. 

Beyond the benefits of the Levoit Classic 300S Ultrasonic Smart Humidifier, our testers couldn't help but applaud the design. This humidifier is white with a clear gray panel, which gives it a modern, minimalistic vibe. 

Best of all, this humidifier can be controlled entirely from the accompanying WiFi-enabled smartphone app, so users don't have to get up to adjust the settings. What's more, given its lightweight silhouette and relatively small footprint, it's easy to move around and store when not in use. 

For all of these reasons, the Levoit Classic 300S Ultrasonic Smart Humidifier came out on top when tested alongside 26 other popular humidifiers. 

Type

WiFi Smart Desktop Cool-Mist Humidifier

Dimensions

9.6 × 7.5 × 13.4inches

Weight

4.4 pounds

Capacity

6-liter tank

Range

215 to 505 square feet

humidifier
Credit: People/Dera Burreson

Best Budget: GENIANI Portable Small Cool Mist Humidifier

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Credit: Amazon

Buy It! $23; amazon.com

Pros: This affordable humidifier is very quiet while in use, and it comes assembled, so setup is a breeze.

Cons: It has a very short cord that is a USB and not easy to plug into a wall. Also, the settings button is not very intuitive. 

If you're in the market for a humidifier for your deskspace or nightstand, the GENIANI Portable Small Cool Mist Humidifier is the way to go. After reviewing it for days on end, our testers found that this dual-setting humidifier performs well, in that it gives off a cool-feeling mist that immediately feels noticeable in the air. And the price is impossible to beat. 

That said, as easy as it is to set up this humidifier, and how quietly it works while turned on, the GENIANI Portable Small Cool Mist Humidifier isn't the optimal choice for every situation. After all, with a tank capacity of just 250 milliliters, it runs out rather fast. Another downside? It has a short USB cord that's best used plugged into a computer or desktop strip (as opposed to a wall outlet further away) — which can be daunting considering not many people enjoy placing water in close proximity to their expensive tech. 

Still, if you're only looking for a refreshing solution for a few hours at a time, our testers found that this popular portable humidifier is a great option. Beyond its affordable price, our testers applauded this best-selling humidifier for its easy-to-clean design, which features a large opening and doesn't require a special brush. 

Type

Portable Cool-Mist Humidifier

Dimensions

3.4 × 3.4 × 6inches

Weight

8.8 ounces

Capacity

250-milliliter tank

Range

65 square feet

humidifier
Credit: People/Dera Burreson

Best Splurge: Dyson Purifier Humidify+Cool Formaldehyde

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humidifier
Credit: Amazon

Buy It! $919; bestbuy.com

Pros: It's remote-controlled, which makes it easy to adjust the direction of output. It triples as a purifier and fan, too. 

Cons: It's notably heavier than the other humidifiers — and not on casters — so it can be difficult to move.

Last but certainly not least (especially by price standards), we have the Dyson Purifier Humidify+Cool Formaldehyde machine. This top-tier humidifier not only adds moisture to the air, but it also purifies it with an activated-carbon HEPA filter and cools it with a convenient rotating fan feature. In short, it's a machine that can transform nearly all aspects of the air in your home — but it will cost you.

This Dyson tower is easily one of (if not the) most expensive humidifiers on the market. Of course, it comes with its bells and whistles. Namely, it's entirely remote-controlled — either by the included remote or the compatible Dyson Link app. Rather than solely letting you adjust the humidity in your home, the app gives users a full rundown of the air quality in their space and allows them to tailor the machine's output to their specific needs. 

From a capacity standpoint, this sleek humidifier can hold about one gallon of water and is said to humidify a space up to 400 square feet for up to 36 hours — a feat none of the other humidifiers on this list can do. 

Despite its many high-tech perks, the Dyson Purifier Humidify+Cool has its shortcomings, too. Price aside, it doesn't have any lighting options, so it can't be used as a nightlight or source of ambiance the way other humidifiers can. Additionally, it's comparably quite heavy, at 18 pounds, which makes it not only difficult to move around but to store, too. 

Nevertheless, if you're in the market for a full air quality overhaul, our testers found that the Dyson Humidify+Cool is worth the splurge. 

Type

WiFi Smart Tower Cool-Mist Humidifier

Dimensions

11.02 × 12.23 × 36.33inches

Weight

18 pounds

Capacity

1-gallon tank

Range

400 square feet

humidifier
Credit: People/Dera Burreson

Things to Consider Before Buying a Humidifier

Size

The size of a humidifier is important for two reasons. For starters, the size determines whether it will be used for desktop use (say, on a nightstand or office desk) or floor model. In addition to determining where the humidifier will live, the size also designates whether or not it will be easy to store. And, considering many people don't use humidifiers 365 days out of the year, it's great to know if you'll be able to easily stow it away between uses.

Capacity

Taking size a step further, the capacity of a humidifier's tank is vital, for it determines how large of a space can benefit from the machine. With that in mind, where smaller humidifiers may seem convenient for how portable they are, their size also often means that they can only be used for a few hours on end. Larger machines (with larger tanks) on the other hand, can be used overnight and for days on end. 

Ease of Cleaning

Since water can grow mold, an easy-to-clean humidifier makes owning one of the popular machines less of a hassle. As such, look for humidifiers with top-fill canisters, ones you can easily fit your hand inside, or those that are dishwasher safe. All of these things will save you time and effort in the cleaning process. 

When to Buy

Humidifiers often go on sale, however, depending on the time of year, it may be difficult to find one of the humidifiers on the market at a marked-down price. With that in mind, if you see a stellar sale ahead of prime-humidifier season (AKA before summer and/or winter), it's worthwhile to consider snagging the deal while you can. And, don't forget: Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Amazon Prime Day are always great days to shop. 

How We Tested Humidifiers 

Our testers scoured the market for the top 27 humidifiers on the market. They then tested each humidifier across key attributes, including setup, effectiveness, design, size, ease of cleaning, and overall value. Each test criteria was given a rating of one to five. Once all of the data was collected, our testers narrowed down the list of 27 humidifiers to the top three that performed the best. They are the humidifiers featured above.

What Is People Tested?

We created the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval to help you find the very best products for your life. We use our unique methodology to test products in three labs across the country and with our network of home testers to determine their effectiveness, durability, ease of use, and so much more. Based on the results, we rate and recommend products so you can find the right one for your needs.

But we don't stop there: We also regularly re-review the categories in which we've awarded the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval — because the best product of today might not be the best of tomorrow. And by the way, companies can never buy our recommendation: Their products must earn it, fair and square.

In short, PEOPLE Tested provides recommendations you can trust — every day, every purchase. 

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