It’s never fun seeing your baby all congested without you being able to do much to help them breathe better. They’ll be all cranky and fussy, and you’ll feel bad just sitting there and watching them suffer.
Or is that so? They’re not old enough to eat a tablespoon of honey to feel better yet, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing else you could do to make them feel better.
If you haven’t already registered for a baby humidifier yet and crossed that item off of your newborn baby essentials checklist, what are you waiting for?
It’s not exactly something you’d feel excited about adding to your baby registry – at least not as exciting as a vibrating baby seat, for example – but it remains a must have item, nonetheless.
Have a look at what we believe to be some of the best baby humidifiers of today, ones that will help keep a stuffy nose and sore throat at bay.
Best Baby Humidifiers – A Quick Look At Our Top 10 Recommendations
Pick #1: Honeywell HCM350W Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier
Pick #2: Crane USA Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier
Pick #3: Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier
Pick #4: URPOWER 2nd Version Essential Oil Diffuser & Cool Mist Humidifier
Pick #5: Vicks Germ-Free Warm Mist Humidifier
Pick #6: LEVOIT Cool Mist Humidifier
Pick #7: AIRCARE MA1201 Whole-House Console-Style Evaporative Humidifier
Pick #8: Everlasting Comfort Ultra-Quiet Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier
Pick #9: Safety 1st 360 Degree Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier
Pick #10: BONECO Travel Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier
*Note: Upon clicking on any of the links in this section, you will be redirected to the respective product listings on Amazon.com where you can learn about the product’s price, customer rating & customer reviews.
Why Does My Baby Need A Humidifier?
Has baby got a stuffy nose that’s preventing them from breathing properly? A humidifier is a necessity at this point, not an option. Thanks to the warm and moist air it produces, it helps clear your baby’s nasal passages by thinning out the secretions.
Many babies, especially newborns, experience skin problems such as dry and itchy skin. A humidifier that makes the air moist can help relieve your little one from these conditions.
You don’t want your little one to experience dry patches and chapped lips, right?
In some of the more serious cases, conditions such as eczema can become much worse with dry air, making it much more difficult for you to keep things under control.
Adding Moisture To The Air
Humidifiers add much needed moisture to the air, especially the case during dry months or if you just happen to live somewhere that rarely experiences rain.
Not only is having moist air exceptionally important for a delicate newborn so you can keep respiratory problems at bay, it’s also important for you and other family members as well.
Speaking about respiratory problems, if you or your baby have asthma, you should talk to your doctor/pediatrician first to see whether adding a humidifier to the room/nursery is a good idea.
In some cases, it’s been proven that adding a humidifier helped improve breathing in babies with asthma.
Harmful viruses and bacteria thrive in dry air, and that’s definitely not something you want your little one to get exposed to – not with their weak and sensitive immune system.
Ideally, the air which your baby breathes should have humidity levels between 30% to 50%.
No More Nosebleeds
Humidifiers also do an excellent job in keeping nosebleeds at bay, because of baby’s nose remaining moist instead of being dry.
With everything mentioned above, it becomes increasingly difficult for your little one to get a good night’t sleep.
It even becomes difficult for them to get a good nap during the day, which leaves them all agitated and fussy.
Smaller Utility Bill
During cold winter months, having a warm mist humidifier in your home can sometimes have the same effect as artificial heating – except that you won’t be incurring as much costs on your next utility bill.
Overdoing it with central heat often leads to dehydrating your baby, so using a humidifier to keep your little one cozy and warm indoors is an excellent alternative.
What Should I Look For In The Best Humidifiers For Babies?
Easy To Clean
The best humidifiers are also usually the easiest to clean, since cleaning humidifiers is definitely not a once in a while chore.
Sometimes, you’ll find yourself having to clean a humidifier on a daily basis to prevent harmful bacteria and mold from forming. If harmful bacteria and mold are present in a humidifier, they disperse into the air and pose serious health risks to your baby.
So, if you’ll need to clean a humidifier multiple times a week – and sometimes even every day – the easier it is to clean and the less time it requires, the better.
Trust me, I’ve been there and done all of that – this is one of the biggest factors that influence whether you end up regretting getting a humidifier or rate it as one of the best purchases you’ve ever made in your lifetime.
Easy To Re-Fill
For the most part, you’ll want a water reservoir that’s easy to remove, re-fill with water and put back in.
A wide mouth also makes re-filling with water a breeze, as opposed to a narrow mouth which can be annoying.
Cool Mist VS Warm Mist
When looking for humidifiers, you’ll be faced with two different types you can buy: cool mist humidifiers and warm mist humidifiers. The obvious question is, which of the two should you get? And why?
The general consensus among experts seems to be this: cool mist wins. Why? Safety reasons, first and foremost.
Warm mist humidifiers work by boiling water to very high temperature levels before dispersing steam into the air. If your baby gets close to the humidifier and for some unexpected reason hot water spills over, they will get burned.
Even if they just come close to the warm steam, they could get burned as well.
After all, it’s not in vain that the AAP recommends parents use cool mist humidifiers instead of vaporizers if they have the chance to.
Then there’s also the fact that warm mist humidifiers tend to be more costly to run than cool mist humidifiers, because of the heating element involved.
You might be thinking that warm air a warm mist humidifier has to offer is more beneficial to your baby than cool air, but that’s not exactly how it works. In reality, by the time the warm air enters your baby’s nasal passages and makes its way into their lower lungs, it’s going to have a cool temperature regardless.
Cool mist or hot steam, it’s all the same as your baby’s body temperature at the end.
The only benefit that comes to mind when using a hot steam vaporizer is that the higher temperatures are more likely to kill off any harmful bacteria present at the time.
Not all humidifiers are created alike – some are noisy while others aren’t, and there’s advantages and disadvantages to both.
Obviously enough, if it’s noisy then it’s going to annoy the life out of you if you and baby are sleeping in the same room. However, many babies love the white noise humidifiers make and sleep better because of it.
In the end, it’s a matter of knowing what works best for your baby and doesn’t interfere with their sleep.
Specifically Designed For Baby?
A common question parents ask when looking for the best humidifiers they could get for their little ones is: “do I have to get a humidifier specifically labeled as ‘for baby’?”.
In short, no you don’t.
Any humidifier will do just fine, whether labeled as “for baby” or not, as long as it meets all baby-safe criteria and properly moisturizes the air.
So, there’s no reason you should stay away from using home and office humidifiers in your baby’s nursery if they meet all the criteria discussed so far.
Controlling Mist Function
Some humidifiers allow you to control the amount of mist being emitted into the air, a useful feature for parents who want to go the extra mile and make sure everything’s going according to plan.
Auto Shutoff Function
Look for a humidifier that shuts off on its own as soon as the desired level of humidity in the air is achieved.
Without this feature, you’ll have to constantly check on things yourself and know when to turn it off yourself at the perfect time – which, obviously enough, isn’t practical.
You’ll be going in and out of the room with a hygrometer to monitor moisture levels in the air and make sure they don’t become too high.
Not to mention running the risks of over-humidifying the air, over-heating the humidifier itself and shortening its lifespan, causing damage when it still tries to work even though the tank is dry, as well as incurring unnecessary electricity costs.
Over-moisturizing the air in your baby’s room also means an increased likelihood of mold and other allergens forming – all counterproductive to what you’re trying to achieve.
Speaking of which, lots of humidifiers nowadays have built-in adjustable humidistats that measure humidity levels in the air and adjust mist output as needed.
Many parents prefer this over having to buy a separate hygrometer on its own and do the measuring themselves manually.
Total Area Covered (Humidity Output)
What are you planning to get the humidifier for? Different humidifiers have different limits to how much of an area they can cover at once – referred to as humidity output – so this is going to differ based on individual needs.
You can afford a unit with lower humidity outputs for smaller spaces, but will need a unit with high humidity output to cover larger spaces.
Some humidifiers come with built-in night lights, but this is not a standard feature all manufacturers and brands adhere to. Some babies can’t fall asleep or sleep through the night without a baby nightlight in their nursery, while others are indifferent about it.
Does size matter? Well, if you’re talking about a humidifier’s tank size, it sure does!
The larger a humidifier’s tank size, the longer it can operate without having to be re-filled with water.
If you don’t mind being there to re-fill it once every 6 hours, a small tank is no problem.
However, if you want more of a “hands off” approach, a unit with a tank size of 1 liter is a better option for you.
What Different Types Of Humidifiers Can I Choose From For My Baby?
You’re not stuck with just one or two types of baby humidifiers to choose from. On the contrary, there’s no shortage of different types available out there, each having their advantages and disadvantages.
This section will clear everything up so you know which type is best for you and your little bundle of joy.
Regardless of different types, all humidifiers do the exact same thing: emit water vapor into the air to add moisture. How these different types of humidifiers do this, though, is where things differ.
Ultrasonic humidifiers are usually some of the quietest you’ll ever find – so if minimal noise is a priority of yours, this is a great option to consider.
They work by creating either cool mist or warm mist, depending on which type you get, by means of ultrasonic, high frequency sound vibrations. Thanks to the technology involved, they can use up less electricity than different types.
And I don’t know if this is just me or others agree with me on this, but, ultrasonic humidifiers look plain awesome.
The main downside is that they’re not as robust as evaporative humidifiers, they’re easier to break, and they’re not the cheapest either (again, especially when compared to evaporative humidifiers).
Ultrasonic humidifiers also tend to produce white dust that appears on the machine and around the room, such as on furniture, for example. This happens because ultrasonic humidifiers don’t have built in filters.
The white dust is nothing for you to worry about health-wise, it’s just one more thing you’ll have to clean up.
Usually, ultrasonic humidifiers need daily maintenance – cleaning, changing water, etc .. If you don’t have the time or energy for that and prefer something not as high-maintenance, an evaporative humidifier might be the better option for you.
Evaporative humidifiers tend to be more expensive than ultrasonic humidifiers, but just the fact that you can afford to clean them every once in a while and change their filters once every few months makes it a worthwhile investment for many parents.
You also won’t have to deal with the annoying white dust problem that pops up with ultrasonic humidifiers.
Keep in mind, though, that evaporative humidifiers have high-powered built in fans used to move the air, so they tend to be more noisy than their ultrasonic counterparts.
How Long Does My Baby Need A Humidifier In Their Room?
As for how long your baby needs a humidifier in their room, here’s a useful video that does a great explanation.
Best Baby Humidifiers – A More Detailed Look At Our Top 10 Recommendations
Pick #1: Honeywell Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier
Though Honeywell’s humidifier runs cool, as many others do, it has the unique benefit of sanitizing the water before it begins the mist cycle. A built-in UV light ensures the water is clean before the machine even starts, reducing the number of germs the humidifier emits.
The unit includes a large opening, easy for both filling and cleaning, as well as a filter which helps reduce the number of pollutants in the air. And while the filters require changing depending on how often you run the unit, the UV light continues to kill viruses and bacteria which could prove harmful if ejected into the air.
The large reservoir makes this unit ideal for those who need to run a humidifier full-time. It’s also helpful for babies who may have allergies or who are otherwise sensitive to dust or other irritants in the air.
If you’re hoping to add essential oils to your humidifier, however, the Honeywell humidifier may not be the best choice for you; it’s recommended against using essential oils with this machine and could possibly void its warranty.
- UV light technology to sanitize water
- Wide opening for filling and cleaning
- Compatible with accessories like a humidifier cleaner and a humidity gauge
- Runs all day on a full tank
- Cannot use essential oils with this unit
- Must purchase replacement filters
- Still need to clean the interior water reservoir; the UV light doesn’t pass over the reservoir itself
Pick #2: Crane USA Humidifier
A filter-free option with a one-gallon water reservoir capacity, the Crane USA Humidifier fits in small spaces and remains whisper-quiet while operating. Its water tank lasts up to 24 hours on the lowest setting, and it can humidify up to 500 square feet.
Though the unit doesn’t use internal filters, it does use an anti-microbial material to help reduce potential bacteria and mold growth. It also turns off automatically when the tank is empty.
If you’re looking for a humidifier for small spaces, such as the baby’s nursery, the Crane USA unit may be just the right fit you’re looking for. Its quiet operation is also ideal for babies who are bothered by too much background noise while sleeping.
For parents who are hoping to humidify a larger space, such as the parents’ bedroom or another space, you may want to look for a larger unit with higher water capacity. You may also want a larger unit if you want to keep it running constantly throughout the day and night.
- Can last 24 hours on low settings
- Anti-microbial material to reduce mold and bacteria growth
- No filter required
- Directional nozzle so you can point the moisture flow
- Requires demineralization product if you have hard water
- Only humidifies up to 500 square feet
- Low water volume in comparison with larger units
Pick #3: Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier
With two output settings and the potential to add in Vicks VapoSteam, the Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier is a great choice for both daily use and cough and congestion due to illness.
Rather than putting vapor rub on your infant or child, you can use VapoSteam to help break up coughs and achieve a better night’s rest.
Unlike other units which use a cool running mist, the Vicks Warm Mist unit heats water to a pure steam vapor, ensuring it’s up to 96 percent free of bacteria.
If sanitation is a concern, this unit may be a good choice for you, especially if you prefer to avoid filters. It may also be a good option if you have a baby who often gets sick or congested, as the VapoSteam adapter lets you administer medicine without getting your baby’s clothes messy.
However, if you hope to use essential oils or simply don’t need the Vicks VapoSteam adapter, you may want to look at another unit instead. Also, some parents are wary of using steam humidifiers altogether, since they can pose a hazard to young children due to the heat they use to produce vapor.
- Runs for 12 hours
- No filter required
- Compatible with Vicks VapoSteam for medicated vapor
- Compatible with other products like a humidity gauge and humidifier cleaning balls
- Nightlight feature
- Two settings
- Low water volume in comparison with larger units
- Runs hot; could be hazardous to young children if not properly planned
Pick #4: URPOWER Essential Oil Diffuser Cool Mist Humidifier
A compact unit which diffuses essential oils while humidifying the air, the URPOWER humidifier is a small diffuser with plenty of features to offer.
It has an auto-shutoff for when the reservoir empties, plus seven LED lights for your choice of night light color.
The unit is a small yet efficient way of dispersing essential oils into your room or the baby’s nursery without a clunky machine taking up lots of space.
If your primary focus is to diffuse essential oils while adding humidity to the air, this unit might be the right choice for you. You can also opt to set it to intermittent mist, which will help preserve the water and not saturate the room with spray.
For babies who sleep better with a nightlight, or if mom or dad needs a bit of light to see while checking on an infant in the middle of the night, this unit provides both gentle mist and high visibility in the dark.
If you want to humidify a larger area, however, you may want to look at a larger humidifier with a bigger water tank that could last for more than a few hours of operation without needing any refills. This diffuser only holds 100mL of water, which lasts approximately six hours.
- Diffuses essential oils
- Has seven nightlight options
- Auto-shutoff for safety
- Two settings: intermittent and continuous mist
- Will run out of water after six hours (100mL capacity), meaning you’ll be re-filling more frequently than some other humidifiers
Pick #5: Vicks Germ-Free Warm Mist Humidifier
Another warm-operating unit which promises to kill a high amount of bacteria, mold, and spores, the Vicks Germ-Free Warm Mist Humidifier also accommodates Vicks VapoSteam or VapoPads for cough and cold symptoms.
The unit runs for up to 24 hours on two gallons of water, making it a smart pick for larger rooms or for babies who tend to sleep for longer stretches at night. You can also select a custom output option to suit the room and the people sleeping in it.
If you have sufficient counter space and want a humidifier which will run all night (or longer) on one tank of water, this might be a good choice for you. The steam vapor function also helps reduce worries about contaminants in the mist, helpful for parents of children with health issues or frequent illness.
If you happen to be short on space or have a smaller nursery, however, this may not be the best choice for you. You may want to look at a more compact unit with a lower water capacity if space is an issue, or if you don’t need the ability to use VapoSteam or other decongestants with the unit.
- Runs for 24 hours
- Two-gallon capacity
- Runs warm; manufacturer claims it kills up to 99.999 percent of bacteria, mold, and more
- Multiple humidity levels
- Operates quietly
- Initial steam production can take up to seven minutes
- Takes up a significant amount of counter space
Pick #6: LEVOIT Cool Mist Humidifier
For families who need constant humidifying, the LEVOIT Cool Mist Humidifier might be the ideal solution. Its oversized 4.5L water reservoir produces up to an impressive 40 hours of mist on the highest setting, meaning you won’t have to worry about filling the tank as often as with other smaller units mentioned in this list.
Plus, the unit offers compatibility with essential oils, and the purchase also includes three aroma pads for you to use (one arrives installed). It also comes with a cleaning brush to make the occasional scrubbing easier; the manufacturer recommends cleaning once per week to extend the product’s life.
If you’re looking for a high-capacity humidifier with plenty of customization options—such as adjustable humidity levels, essential oil diffusion, and a directional nozzle to point the vapor, this might be the right choice for you.
For many parents, the cool mist feature is a reassuring safety touch; there’s no hot vapor function for parents to worry about burns with.
However, if you’re short on space or only need occasional humidifying, you may want to look at something simpler. A smaller humidifier with a lower water capacity would probably better suit your needs.
- Up to 40 hours of continuous use
- Over-sized 4.5L water reservoir
- Operates quietly
- Adjustable humidity level
- Compatible with essential oils
- Directional nozzle
- Takes up a lot of counter space
Pick #7: AIRCARE Whole-House Console-Style Evaporative Humidifier
For families who require humidifying throughout their home, the AIRCARE Whole-House Evaporative Humidifier is a simple – yet very effective – solution. It rests on wheels so you can maneuver it throughout your home, but for ideal results, you’ll want to place it in the most central location in the house.
The 3.6-gallon tank allows for up to 36 hours of whole-house humidifying, but the unit is also energy-efficient to reduce operating costs. It comes with a wick-type filter which traps mineral deposits and helps ensure clean air.
If you’re searching for a whole-house humidifying unit to help reduce allergies and symptoms of illness, this could be the ideal fit. With convenient wheels for portability and the ability to humidify even some of the largest homes, AIRCARE’s Whole-House humidifier is a set it and forget it humidifying solution.
However, if you have less floor space to dedicate to a humidifier or don’t really need whole-house humidifying, you may want to look for a smaller unit with a lower capacity. For example, if you only need humidifying in the baby’s nursery, this unit is a bit too much for such a purpose.
- Humidifies an entire home; up to 3,600 square feet
- Automatic shutoff for safety
- Digital humidistat to report humidity and maintain a consistent level
- Evaporative wick traps mineral deposits
- Rolls on wheels for easy maneuvering and portability
- Requires filters (wicks)
- Somewhat bulky; measures 23.5 inches wide and 21.5 inches tall
Pick #8: Everlasting Comfort Ultrasonic Humidifier
Another essential oil compatible humidifier with a larger tank capacity, the Everlasting Comfort Ultrasonic Humidifier takes things a step further with a near-silent ultrasonic operation.
It holds up to 1.6 gallons of water and can produce the highest setting of mist for up to 50 hours. However, it only works best to saturate rooms to the appropriate humidity if the area is less than 400 square feet.
You can diffuse essential oils in the designated tray, and the unit will automatically shut off when the water reservoir is empty. It doesn’t require any filters, but the manufacturer does recommend using distilled or demineralized water to avoid the fine white dust which is produced with mineral-rich water.
If you need to humidify a small area but also want the benefit of essential oil diffusion, this unit might be the right fit for you. It may also prove convenient in the nursery if your child is sensitive to noise since it’s one of the lowest noise emitting units we’ve looked at.
However, if the area you’re trying to cover is larger than 400 square feet, you might want to look into a higher-capacity unit which can maintain a higher level of humidity across the entire space.
- Lasts 50 hours between refills (1.6-gallon tank)
- Near-silent operation, one of the better options if noise is problematic for you
- Compatible with essential oils; has a designated tray
- LED nightlight
- Auto shutoff
- No filters necessary
- Only humidifies up to 400 square feet
Pick #9: Safety 1st Degree Ultrasonic Humidifier
Safety 1st’s compact and adjustable unit helps to provide targeted mist for up to 24 hours thanks to a directional nozzle which rotates 360 degrees.
Its auto shutoff function also helps preserve energy, and an indicator light will notify you when it’s time to refill the tank – meaning less guesswork is needed on your part.
For parents needing a no-frills humidifier which produces little noise but plenty of humidity, the Safety 1st Degree Ultrasonic Humidifier might be a good option.
It doesn’t work with essential oils, per the manufacturer, but it does produce mist at adjustable levels and can be positioned to cover a specific area of the room.
It’s also a cool-operating unit, so parents don’t need to worry about potential burns or hot vapor with this one.
Plus, the lack of a nightlight is ideal for babies who are sensitive to light in their sleep environments, or for parents who don’t want nightlights altogether.
If you’re set on adding essential oils to your humidifying routine or you need a larger capacity unit for a bigger space, though, you will want to consider a larger humidifier or a dual-function one which includes diffusing capabilities.
- Directional nozzle
- Compact unit for smaller spaces
- Provides up to 24 hours of mist
- Adjustable mist settings
- No filters required
- Can be somewhat difficult to clean; since it has a small opening
- Not compatible with essential oils
Pick #10: BONECO Travel Cool Ultrasonic Humidifier
Do you love the humidifier you have at home but need one to take on your travels? If you’ve found your baby sleeps better in a higher humidity environment but you don’t want to pack the full-size unit along for all the obvious reasons, BONECO’s Travel Humidifier might be just what you need.
It can process up to a gallon of water into mist in 24 hours and can sit on a desktop. It’s super portable and includes an adapter for conventional plastic bottles, plus a travel bag for easy packing. You also receive a cleaning brush with the purchase.
Operation is simple too: a blue indicator light displays when the unit is running, and a red light displays when the water is empty. A dial on the front allows you to customize the flow of the mist.
The simple operation and compatibility with a range of bottle sizes with the BONECO humidifier make it easy to refill, and its size makes it easy to take along when traveling.
Of course, if you need a higher capacity model, you may want to look elsewhere, as this unit only accommodates bottles of up to 17 ounces. As far as portability goes, though, we’re sticking by this one!
- Fits multiple bottle types, up to 17 ounces
- Includes a travel bag for portability purposes
- Adjustable mist dial
- Auto-shutoff feature
- Specific positioning required for proper output; otherwise the water might condense on the unit
- Light can be a bit overly bright in some cases