The best humidifiers of 2024 to hydrate dry skin and soothe allergies, tried and tested (2024)

Room humidifiers can be used to counteract many problems caused by dry indoor air, such as dry skin, asthma, a sore throat, and even cracked lips. Since my two year-old son has quite reactive, eczema-prone skin, I was curious to try out the best humidifiers to see if they could help with that.

They’re also credited with being useful in the winter, when heating and dehumidifiers remove humidity from the air at home. I know all too well how the change in the temperature outside can leave my son’s skin feeling extra dry (not to mention my own), so I’m always open to finding ways of managing it. An added bonus to testing humidifiers, which I hadn’t considered, is how much they’ve helped my house plants to grow thanks to the added moisture in the air.

I tried nine of the best humidifiers on the market and you can read my reviews further down, followed by some advice on how to use them. But if you’re in a hurry, here’s a quick look at my top five:

Which are the best room humidifiers of 2024? At a glance

How to choose the right humidifier for you

“Many adults suffering with asthma, eczema or allergies choose to buy humidifiers,” says DrSemiya Aziz,General Practitioner and Founder of Say GP. “However, it’s important to do your research before purchasing. For example, cool-mist humidifiers may ease a stuffy nose during a cold, whereas a heated humidified air doesn’t seem to have the same result and may be of no benefit.”

The take home message, Dr Aziz says, is that before buying a humidifier, make sure to do your research. “If you suffer with allergies or asthma, or skin conditions, try to talk to a health care professional regarding suitability. It’s important to keep in mind that a humidifier is a home remedy and not a medical treatment.”

They also differ in capacity. Some are quite large and designed for bigger rooms, while other models are very compact and ideal for using in a bedroom or child’s nursery. There’s also the option with some humidifiers to add aromatherapy oils or vapour discs to enhance the overall experience.

How we tested the best room humidifiers

I tested the best humidifiers over the course of three weeks, placing each one in different areas of the house where I thought they would work best. I also placed many of them side by side so that I could compare how each humidifier performed and looked. I also took into consideration how easy they were to set up, whether they could be used with aromatherapy oils or additional filters, and how powerful a mist they produced.

Humidifiers vary in how much noise they make, how much water they can hold and how far the mist reaches – which dictates the maximum room size they work in. So I have rated them all on these criteria where available. I also looked at how easy each was to set up, the designs, how easy each was to clean, size, whether any had a hygrometer and general value for money.

Best humidifiers

1. DysonPurifier Humidify+Cool Formaldehyde PH04

£699.99, Dyson

Best overall, 10 out of 10

We like: it cools, purifies and humidifes

We don’t like: requires quite a bit of space and is fairly noisy

  • 3.8l water tank
  • For use in rooms up to 27m²
  • Maximum noise level of 61dB
  • Remote control function

​​No best humidifier roundup would be complete without mention of Dyson. While the not-so-snappily-named Dyson Purifier Humidify+Cool Formaldehyde PH04 is the largest out of our roundup, it offers the most impressive technology.

Not only does it cool, purify and humidify, but one of its main USPs is that it detects and destroys formaldehyde, a potentially harmful chemical used in building materials and found in smoke from wood fires, automobile emissions, tobacco smoke and even burning incense. Gov.UK says that this can lead to irritation of the nose, mouth and throat and, in severe cases, even respiratory distress and swelling of the larynx and lungs.

The Dyson humidifier is controlled by a small remote which allows you to switch from breeze mode (the powerful cooling fan) to my personal favourite, diffuse mode (which diverts purified and humified airflow through the back of the machine without cooling you).

The lower one-gallon tank features a water management system that promises up to 36 hours of hygienic humidification, so it doesn’t need regular topping up. As expected, there’s an app to give you vital stats on air quality and the option to sync it with other smart devices. In short, it’s everything you’d expect from Dyson and is a very clever bit of kit.

2. Humio Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier

£89.95, UK Juicers (currently out of stock) or £49.99, Amazon

Best value humidifier, 8 /10

We like: attractive design with large water capacity and lights

We don’t like: would have also liked in-built sleep sounds

  • 1.3l water tank
  • For use in rooms up to 8.4m²

The Humio ultrasonic cool mist humidifier sits in a similar bracket to the Crane (below) as it works well in a bedroom or nursery. It has a large tank, rotating nozzle that can be positioned in different directions and a choice of ambient colours to aid sleep. It’s very simple to set up and use via the two front buttons that control the light and mist. There’s also the option to add essential oils to the oil sponge to create a fragranced mist.

I was a little worried about carrying it from the base to empty the water out until I discovered the top handle, which makes transportation to the sink much easier. Just unscrew the neck to refill it and clean. It also looks really nice in a living space.

3. Glow Dreaming Kids Humidifierand Sleep Aid

£119.95, Glow Dreaming

Best humidifier for baby, 9 /10

We like: helps to aid the sleep of babies and children

We don’t like: hard to transport to the sink without spilling

  • 500ml water tank
  • For use 1m away from your bed
  • Maximum volume of 70dB (for the pink noise)

Designed by a NATO research engineer, Glow Dreaming is a humidifer and sleep aid specifically designed for children. I’ve used this model for months and, when my youngest son was a small baby, it became an essential at bedtimes. Why? It features the same specific red LED light therapy used to help NASA astronauts sleep in space, along with pink noise that’s proven to further aid sleep, and a cool mist humidifier to ease breathing and snoring.

It’s also safe to be used with medicinal grade essential oil to relax the muscles and mind. I used this with lavender and sometimes menthol when my son had a cold.

4. Crane 4-in-1 top fill humidifier

£74.95, Cheeky Rascals

Best humidifier for coughing at night, 10 /10

We like: helps to promote and aid relaxation and sleep

We don’t like: there’s nothing we disliked about this humidifier

  • 3.8l water tank
  • For us in rooms up to 46.5m²
  • Maximum noise level of 35dB

This was one of my favourite humidifiers during testing and I really like its large, curved design. A top option for a baby’s nursery or child’s bedroom, the 4-in-1 cool mist humidifier not only refreshes and purifies the air but also helps to kill viruses and reduce symptoms of colds and coughs.

It also has an in-built sound machine with the choice of three calming nature sounds and seven different nightlight colours that enhance melatonin for a better night’s sleep. You can also add essential oil into the aroma oil tray for added relaxation.

5. Beurer wellbeing humidifier

£64.75, Amazon

Best humidifier plants, 8/10

We like: slim, compact size that’s ideal for bedrooms and living spaces

We don’t like: design is a little basic

  • 4l water tank
  • For use in rooms up to 30m²
  • Maximum noise level is 25dB

This humidifier from Beurer is a great option if you want to fragrance your room while controlling the humidity as it comes with 15 aroma pads. Aside from this, it features low-noise ultrasonic humidification technologyand humidification output up to 300ml/h.

I really liked the visible water level and colour display that allowed me to easily see when the four-litre tank was running low. If it does run out of water without you noticing or when running in the night, the automatic shut-off function makes it safe to leave unattended. It uses Microfine atomization with ultrasound which means it creates a good mist while being very quiet. Combined with a five-hour run time, it’s a good option to place in a bedroom to ease breathing in the night. It’s a happy coincidence that most of my house plants are in my bedroom, so they benefit from the added moisture in the air.

6. Vicks Warm Mist humidifier

£43.89, Amazon

Best humidifier for coughs and colds, 9/10

We like: good option for easing symptoms of a cold

We don’t like: only comes with one oil ‘VapoPad’

  • 3.8l water tank
  • For use in rooms up to 37m²
  • Maximum noise level of 54dB

When cough and cold season is upon us, this warm mist humidifier from Vicks is a Godsend. It has a large 3.8-litre water tank that creates a strong mist and a humidity level of between 40-60%. It’s also designed to help you sleep and breathe more easily when you, or your children, are congested. (Much in the same way as the Vicks vapour rub works when you rub it on a child’s chest at bedtime). The tank should give you enough water for approximately 24 hours of use, which is ideal for using overnight.

One bugbear I had with this model was that it only comes with one VapoPad, so it’s worth stocking up when you buy the humidifier as this function is its main USP. (Two pads cost just over £5 on Amazon). That said, it’s still a very good humidifier when used without the VapoPads and is ideal for a larger space or bedroom. Other handy features include an auto shutoff and quiet mode. I also like its very reasonable price point.

7. Meaco Deluxe 202 humidifier

£99.99, Meaco

Best air purifier and humidifier, 9/10

We like: powerful warm or cool mist options

We don’t like: design is a little corporate

  • 5.3l water tank
  • For use in rooms up to 65m²
  • Maximum noise level of 45dB
  • Multiple settings and remote controlled

Given all the bells and whistles that this humidifier from Meaco comes with, it’s actually surprisingly easy to use and set up. It comes with a large limescale filter to soften hard water before it becomes a mist, alongside a hot and cold mist function and a variable mist output that helps the mist distribute evenly throughout a room.

Other functions are its HEPA filter that retains 97.3% of particles 0.3 micrometres in diameter, adjustable humidity level and active charcoal filter that can help remove odours making it ideal for a kitchen.

This is also a good choice if you want a humidifier for a larger room or office space up to 65m². All of this tech makes it slightly more expensive than other more straightforward models on this list, but I think it’s still very good value. Finally, the design, while a little corporate, is very neat and didn’t take up too much space on our kitchen worktop during testing.

8. Stadler Form Oskar humidifier

£129, UK Juicers (currently sold out, also sold at Robert Dyas for £135.99)

Best humidifier for larger rooms, 9 /10

We like: ideal for larger rooms up to 50 square metres

We don’t like: minimalist design may not suit all interiors

  • 3.5l water tank
  • For use in rooms up to 50m²
  • Maximum noise level of 39dB

This futuristic model from Stadler Form may not look like a traditional humidifier but it offers all of the usual functions, plus some great extras. First off, it’s very easy to set up and features two eco-friendly refillable filter casettes in the base that are made from an antibacterial plant material. You pour the water in the side inlet and there’s a handy window so you can see how much water is left when it’s in use.

It’s also economical to use and consumes 6-18 Watts thanks to a built-in hygrometer and two-speed fan. You can also adjust the hygrometer to control how much moisture is put into your environment. Aromatherapy oils can be added into the dedicated compartment to really enhance your environment. It’s worth bearing in mind that the filters need to be replaced every three months and a pack of two costs around £20.

9. Levoit Classic 300s Ultrasonic Levoit smart humidifier

£79.99, Amazon

Best cool mist humidifier, 8/10

We like: can be controlled via app or smart device

We don’t like: leaks a little

  • 6l water tank
  • For use in rooms up to 47m²
  • Maximum noise level of 40dB

This smart humidifier from Levoit is a reviewer favourite thanks to its neat, easy-to-use design and handy app. It can be controlled by the front LED display, or if you’re so inclined, you can connect it to the Levoit app to control humidity levels and adjust mist levels. There’s also the option to connect it to your own smart device to control it via Google assistance.

If you want to use it in the bedroom at night, there’s an option to turn off the LED panel, switching to the quiet sleep mode and night light. The six-litre tank is large enough to run without issue during the night without needing regular top ups, and the mist function reaches to 47m2.I’m not sure I’d personally use it with the app or smart device as it feels like an unnecessary overcomplication, but if you like connecting all of your home systems together, this is the humidifier for you.

Humidifier FAQ

Howdohumidifiers work?

“Humidifiers release water vapour or steam to boost the amount of moisture in the air,” explains Dr Semiya Aziz,General Practitioner and Founder of Say GP. Dr Helen Evans-Howells, GP and Allergy Expert adds: “There are several different types, using either an evaporation, steam or ultrasonic technique.

“Many humidifiers have controls to allow you to adjust the humidity level. It is felt that a level of 30-50% would be optimal to improve health.” This is why many choose a humidifier in the winter months to alleviate symptoms such as a dry throat in the hope it may help asthma and eczema control.

What does a humidifier do for you?

“In recent times humidifiers have been found to benefit many people who may suffer with dry skin or allergies. Adding a humidifier to your home can have its pros and cons,” says Dr Aziz. “In those suffering with a dry cough, the moisture produced from a humidifier may precipitate a productive cough, helping to remove phlegm from the airways.

“Some studies suggest that using a humidifier may reduce the likelihood of catching flu or a cold, especially if humidity levels rise above 40 percent.” This, she explains, is because it deactivates the virus particles, making the virus less infectious.

During dry weather spells the lips, hair and skin, all become more fragile, so using a humidifier may prevent the skin from becoming irritated, itchy or flaky. “Humidifiers can also help with snoring as they lubricate the airways.”

Will a humidifier help my eczema?

“Eczema is a condition that results in dry, scaly skin which craves moisture. In this condition, a humidifier can be beneficial in calming, hydrating and keeping the skin supple, thereby reducing the risk of infection through open wounds,” Dr Aziz explains.

“We know that at this time of year, when the heating is put on, eczema sufferers often notice a flare up of their skin condition as the resulting dry air causes increased water loss across the skin,” adds Dr Evans-Howells. “Some, therefore, propose that an air humidifier may be helpful to maintain a steady room humidity of 30 to 50%.

“However, the clinical evidence for the use of humidifiers is mixed with some reporting a reduction in their itch and improvement in skin quality and others suggesting it causes a deterioration in eczema.”

Dr Aziz emphasises that humidifiers however are not a panacea for eczema treatment and needs to be used in conjunction with many other treatments. “Eczema sufferers should manage flares by understanding their triggers, having a daily skin care routine and using over the counter or prescription medication as recommended by a healthcare professional”.

Will a humidifier help with hayfever?

Children who suffer with hayfever triggered by pollens are unlikely to find an air humidifier helpful as the pollen is external to the household and would be better reduced by keeping windows closed during pollen season,” explains Helen Evans-Howells.

“Those who suffer with allergic rhinoconjunctivitis (sneezing, nasal congestion, itchy eyes), caused by mould or housedust mite, may find an air dehumidifier more useful as mould and housedust mite thrive in humid conditions, so by keeping the humidity in the home to less than 50%, this can reduce exposure and thereby improve symptoms.”

Can humidifiers help with asthma?

“In the case of asthma, there is no medical consensus about the use of humidifiers in alleviating asthma symptoms,” Dr Aziz says. “In fact, humidifiers may worsen asthma if they work nonstop or at too high levels, making the air very humid. The dirty mist from unclean humidifiers can harbour bacteria and fungi, which are then released into the air and can exacerbate asthma symptoms”.

She goes on to explain that even the cleaning of the humidifier with products that contain chemicals or bleach may be an irritant to the respiratory system. “Humidifiers can potentially emit minerals and microorganisms which are not necessarily harmful, but the residue can bother people with asthma so it’s important to use distilled water rather than tap water in order to avoid this problem.”

Can humidifiers cause mould?

If humidifiers aren’t maintained properly or if humidity levels are too high, you may do more harm than good,” warns Dr Aziz. “Mould or bacteria can grow in dirty humidifiers defeating the object of using a humidifier in the first place. They may even trigger flu-like symptoms or even lung problems. In situations where there is an increased risk of mould or dust mites as a consequence of excess moisture, a dehumidifier may be of benefit, since it dries moisture from the air.”

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The best humidifiers of 2024 to hydrate dry skin and soothe allergies, tried and tested (2024)


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