If you’re suffering from the symptoms that dry air brings you have my sympathy. It’s terrible!
I’ve battled this problem myself and I got wonderful relief by buying one myself.
However, finding the best humidifier for dry skin, nose, and eye relief is tough and time-consuming. So many choices and so many questions!
In this post, I’ve got 5 of the best humidifiers for your money, each with a short review and pros & cons to help.
How to tell if you need a humidifier
Ever wondered what humidity is causing your dry skin, nose, eyes, or other air quality problems? Here’s a scale I created to help illustrate the ideal range you need by using a humidifier. Your body begins to dry out when humidity falls below 25-30% or so, causing a wide assortment of symptoms. Relative humidity is a term used to describe, in scientific terms, the percentage of moisture in the air for a given temperature.
Ever wondered exactly what determines if you need a humidifier? The most important thing to know is that when the air around you drops below a low (minimum) level you’ll begin to feel the effects of dry air.
When this happens, you’ll need a humidifier to relieve your dry skin or other symptoms and restore the missing moisture around you.
Dry skin and other problems generally become a problem at below 25-30% humidity. It’s especially true during winter and when heaters are used as they have a drying effect in your home’s environment, causing extremely dry air.
I’ve seen levels during winter and after using central heating fall to 15%! As you might expect, I suffered from dry skin, a painful nose, and more.
Healthy humidity levels
Ideally you’ll want to restore healthy skin and internal respiratory moisture (like in your sinuses and throat) by raising the humidity level to 30-50% or so. You don’t need to have it precisely at those levels, just in the general range.
The idea is to restore your air’s comfort level to what feels best to you.
While comfort levels may vary from one person to another, the best rule of thumb is to aim for about 40-50% relative humidity.
This applies to not only adults but babies as well.
How to check humidity levels
A quick tip: Knowing the relative humidity level around you doesn’t have to be a pain! You can use an inexpensive digital humidity gauge (sometimes called a hygrometer) to see measure what’s actually happening in your home. For around $10 I use a great little model like this popular one pictured above from Amazon. It also measures temperature as well and takes the guesswork out of keeping your home comfortable.
Here’s the truth: guessing doesn’t work! In order to know when you need to use your humidifier or change its output setting it’s important to have a humidity gauge. They’re a modern version of older test instruments called hygrometers that were used decades ago.
Using inexpensive but accurate electronics, a humidity gauge constantly monitors the air in a room and calculates the relative humidity level at the room’s temperature. It’s expressed as a percentage you can read.
I use the great (but cheap) fantastic little best-selling ThermPro gauge pictured above which makes it simple. This one, like many others, also displays the current temperature.
Using an accurate gauge removes the guesswork. You can monitor your home or workplace and be confident the symptoms you’re suffering from are related to dry air conditions.
What does a humidifier do?
Humidifiers convert water stored in a tank to a fine mist (often called water vapor or steam) which is then released into a room’s air. When this occurs the room’s humidity is then restored. Not only that, but it’s very similar to the natural, healthy moisture found in nature.
A humidifier works by increasing the humidity in a room as it changes liquid water into a fine mist that fills a room’s air.
Depending on the particular model, one of several methods is used to vaporize the water stored in a tank and cause it to rise into the air.
As this happens the air in a room will gradually become more and more saturated with moisture. When this happens, after a brief period of time (often about 15-30 minutes or so) you’ll begin to feel relief.
It’s the same principle you’ll see when you run a hot shower in the bathroom or after a heavy rain followed by sunshine.
Humidifiers store water in a reservoir attached to the base called the water tank. Before using the unit, the tank is filled with clean water (often distilled water or faucet water is used).
As you’ve learned here, a humidifier’s primary purpose is to make up for lost moisture that your body needs to be comfortable.
However, it’s not only that benefit they provide – there are some that you might not be aware of.
- Reduce airborne germs that cause sickness
- Help colds or other illnesses to pass more quickly
- Keep wooden furniture and objects from drying out
I’ll explain more as well as we go along.
There are several different kinds of humidifiers sold today. However, not all are effective at relieving your dry skin, dry nose, and dry eye problems.
Don’t stress, though! I share with you the 2 main kinds you’ll want to buy. The great news is that in most cases even average models are very affordable and work great.
Types of humidifiers
There are 3 common types of humidifiers sold today:
- Warm mist
- Cool mist
1. Warm mist humidifiers
Warm mist models use electricity and heater elements to generate heat and convert water into steam vapor. Unlike cool mist models, they’re more likely to have fixed selectable output levels like low and high instead of an adjustable control. Warm mist (steam) is especially helpful for coughing, congestion, and other cold symptoms which often occur during winter seasons.
Warm mist models generate moisture in the form of a lightly warmed steam mist by heating water electrically.
The warm moisture, containing a slight amount of heat, rises into the air and gradually increases the room’s comfort level. They’re not dangerous or extremely hot as, unlike appliances, they are very controlled and only produce enough heat to vaporize water.
In fact, with many models, you can safely place your face above the output nozzle if you choose, much like old congestion remedies.
Much like cool mist models, however, they also need to be cleaned occasionally especially inside the water tank.
The tank and passageways can build up contaminants from your water supply but especially algae or bacteria over time. If not cleaned as recommended they can release germs into the air.
Standard cleaning intervals are around once per week, typically.
2. Cool mist humidifiers
Cool mist models look quite similar to warm mist products but have several distinct differences, although they serve the same purpose. They don’t add any heat to a room as they use electromechanical methods like an ultrasonic device to vaporize water. They’re especially well-suited for year-round use in dry climates or where you need relief.
Cool mist humidifiers are a bit different than their counterparts. These types don’t use heat but electromechanical devices to vaporize water and release a room temperature mist.
Although in the past electric motors were used to drive spinning propellers which would stir the water and create a mist, today’s products are different.
Many now use an ultrasonic transducer or nebulizer (water-disturbing device) to rapidly effect water which then produces a very light and fine mist. As they don’t need heat to do so, they don’t add heat to a room where they’re used.
What cool mist humidifiers are best for
For year-round use, especially for those who live in dry climates, they’re an excellent choice. This is especially true if you’re in a warmer area and don’t want to add heat to the air.
While a warm mist model’s best benefit is the ability to better relieve sinus or cold symptoms, for cool mist products the largest benefit is that they’re more efficient.
They use less electricity and you’ll also get more use time out of a tank of water, depending on the product.
Note that both are very helpful with dry skin and similar symptoms
3. Evaporative type humidifiers
Evaporative type humidifiers work just like you might have guessed – water is released into the air by evaporation. Like the ones shown here, they’re usually “passive” devices as they don’t use electricity to actively increase humidity. While they’re often the least expensive type sold, They’re incredibly slow and not nearly as beneficial as warm or cool mist models.
Unlike warm and cool mist products, most evaporative humidifiers work without electricity. Instead of actively converting water into vapor they work passively by simply storing water and allowing to evaporate naturally.
While they do some small benefits (simplicity, no energy use, usually lower price) they’re incredibly slow and can’t even begin to compare to how quickly other models can help.
Additionally, unlike warm mist models, they don’t have the additional benefit of being able to better relieve congestion or cold-related symptoms. They’re also not easily adjustable like cool mist models.
While they’re usually very cheap, in my opinion, they’re not a good use of your money and you’ll be disappointed. If you have dry skin, eyes, nose, or throat they’re a poor choice.
They’re simply not helpful to you when you want fast relief.
★ 5 of the best humidifiers for dry skin, nose, and eye relief ★
Our top picks at a glance
|Pure Enrichment MistAire||Check on Amazon|
|Vicks V745A Warm Mist||Check on Amazon|
|Honeywell HCM-350 Germ-Free||Check on Amazon|
|Everlasting Comfort Ultrasonic||Check on Amazon|
|Levoit LV600HH||Check on Amazon|
1. Pure Enrichment MistAire – A cool mist humidifier you’ll love. One of the most popular in the world!
There’s no shortage of cool mist humidifiers to choose from. However, this one really stands out among the competition.
The Pure Enrichment MistAire is one of the most popular models in the world. It’s not difficult to see why!
Great looking, feature-packed, and easy to use, it’s a well-made model I’m impressed with. It’s so quiet it’s basically silent, too.
Check out some of the fantastic features you’ll get:
- Easy-to-fill tank
- Up to an amazing 16 hours of use on 1 tank
- Near-silent ultrasonic operation
- 360 degree movable nozzle
- Optional night light
- Auto-off when water is out
- Electronic on/off push button
- 2 year warranty
- Great customer support
Left: It’s easy to clean and even includes a handy brush! Use it to reach those hard-to-clean areas and save time. Right: The output nozzle features 360 degrees of rotation and works well. Use it to direct the mist anywhere you like for best results.
The updated model uses a 2-level control electronic touch control combined with an adjustable output nozzle. You’ll get custom-tailored humidification just like you want.
Rotate the nozzle to point the soothing, gentle water mist anywhere you like – there’s a full 360 degrees of rotation available. It works well and it’s really easy to adjust, too.
Got children or want a bit of night illumination? A lovely optional night light feature is included. Just switch it on or off using the push button control.
Build quality is very good and in my opinion, it’s a modern, sleek, and elegant design.
A lovely blue night light is built into the MistAire. Unfortunately, when the night light is switched off, a lower light remains on so there’s no way to dim it 100%.
A great night light feature is built in and I definitely recommend for those with children or adults who like a little glow at night.
However, if you’re sensitive to light at night, you should be aware that even with the night light off there’s still an internal light that remains on.
It’s a minor complaint given how good the humidifier is, however, so you’ll want to either cover the unit or place it out of sight (my recommendation).
Refilling the empty tank is a breeze! Just pop off the tank, unscrew the cap, and fill it with fresh, clean water. It only took me about 2 minutes get a full tank and nearly another day’s worth of use. Not bad at all!
Although the water tank is smaller than many models at 0.4 gallons (1.5L) in size it’s efficient. Expect up to an amazing 16 hours of use on one refill!
The dry skin, nose, and eye relief works great in my opinion. It’s also fast when set to high so you won’t have to wait long. In only 15-30 minutes or so (depending on the room size and humidity level) you’ll begin to feel better.
- Simple push button touch control
- 2 output level settings
- 360 nozzle rotation
- Good cough, cold, and congestion relief
- Auto-off water tank feature
- Easy to refill
- Up to 16 hour use
- Empty tank indicator
- 2 year warranty
- Nearly totally silent
- Night light feature
- Includes cleaning soft brush
- Internal (low) light remains on
- Tank is easier to tip over than some competitors
- No more color options
- Cannot use liquid medicated additives for colds/cough
- Congestion relief not as effective as warm mist
- No scented oil tray
The MistAire checks all the right boxes when it comes to a great choice for getting dry skin, nose, and eye relief.
An adjustable nozzle, near-silent operation, excellent build quality, and more make it a winner.
Don’t continue to suffer! Head over now and see why it's one of the best-rated and highest-selling models at Amazon.
2. Vicks V745A – One of the best values for your dollar and simply a great humidifier, too!
Just want an all-around winner and best value? You’re going to love the wonderful Vicks 745A warm mist humidifier.
At around $40 or so and below, it’s competitively priced and one of the most popular models today! Not just that, but it packs some of the best features that even more expensive competitors don’t have.
I’m also a very happy Vicks owner myself and love mine!
The V745A delivers a lot for your money:
- Can use medicate liquids or menthol pads for enhanced sinus & congestion relief
- 2 steam/humidity levels: High and low
- Auto-shutoff and indicator light when water is out
- Easy to refill
- 1 gallon water capacity
- Simple operation
left: A 2-level switch allows high or low steam vapor output choices for slow or faster humidity relief. Right: Pour optional medicated liquids into the medicine cup to boost sinus, cough, or congestion relief. Great for colds or flu!
Speaking from personal experience, it’s one of the easiest models I’ve used. Just fill the tank with clean (ideally distilled or faucet water), switch it on, and in about 20-30 minutes you’ll begin to feel better.
The V745A model allows you to use Vicks Vapo Steam or VapoPads for additional cold or congestion relief. It’s a great feature to have during tough times like flu season!
Just add a small amount of the available medicated mix to the medicine cup and you’ll get instant relief you can inhale right away. Optionally you can use soothing menthol VapoPads (available separately) instead, which insert into a small side compartment.
A generous 1 gallon water tank ensures you can use the unit overnight without having to get up and refill it. On the low setting, I’ve gotten roughly 12 hours of use out of it between refills.
Pour a small amount of medicated into the medicine cup for more cough or cold help. Alternatively, you can insert a menthol pad into the provided side compartment to do the same as well.
It’s a very quiet and pleasant model. When working, you won’t even notice it at all!
- Simple operation
- Good cough, cold, and congestion relief
- 2-level control
- Auto-off water tank feature
- Easy to refill
- 8.5-12 hour use on 1 tank (1 gal.)
- Empty tank indicator light
- Vapo Steam and VapoPads support
- 3 year warranty
- Works great, very quiet
- No adjustable dial: fixed at 2 settings
- No night light feature
- Only 1 color option
- Warm mist may not be ideal for all climates
- Not near-silent like cool mist models
It’s one of the best-selling models available today and is a great value for your dollar, too. Don’t pass this one up!
Be sure to head over and see why the V748A is one of the most loved and best-selling choices at Amazon.
3. Honeywell HCM-350 Germ-Free – Germ-free dry air relief. Super-easy to refill, too!
The Honeywell HCM-350 Germ-Free is very different from many other products on the market. It sets itself apart as it features both built-in ultraviolet (UV) germ killer and anti-bacterial filter to prevent the spread of germs.
That’s a feature I’ve rarely seen in humidifiers, if at all, and it’s a great choice for those who have an immune system or other health issue but still want comfortable, healthy dry skin relief.
Not just that, but the HCM-350 has the same great build quality and reliability I’ve come to appreciate from Honeywell.
The design uses a combination of a wick-type evaporative process boosted by a 3-speed fan to rival the performance of cool mist models. The result is a mist that’s invisible to the eye and the humidifier cannot over-humidify your room.
While not the cheapest unit among the competition, it makes up for it in several ways.
The generous 1 gallon tank is one of the easiest I’ve ever tried to refill. The design features a handle right on top so there’s no hassle or headache like many lesser designs.
Just pull the tank up and out, fill it up, then re-insert it into the body. You’re done!
The wicking filter and maintenance
The Honeywell design uses a wicking filter over which air is blown to release moisture into a room. Working alongside the UV germ-killing feature, the filter has antibacterial properties and can kill up to 99.9% of harmful microbes.
The antibacterial filter protects not only against sickness-causing microbes but also minerals and other contaminants that shouldn’t be released into your breathing space. That’s especially important to consider when not using distilled water as some water sources are mineral-heavy.
It’s also effective against mold and algae buildup as well.
As it’s filter-based, you’ll need to periodically perform maintenance (filter replacement, after a number of months). However, replacement filters are inexpensive at less than $10 each.
The top-mounted controls are super easy to use. A 3 speed fan dial is used to select the evaporative fan speed desired. The internal UV germ killer works on the water stored in the tank to destroy germ, mold, and algae build up. During operation the antibacterial filter eliminates germs and microbes before they can be released into the air.
One of the main reasons I recommend it for everyone is the simplicity. Just turn the fan control on to 1 of 3 speeds, and that’s it. The room will gently rise in humidity to a healthy level and you’ll begin to feel relief for your dry air and skin problems.
It’s also one of the longest-lasting on one water refill: you’ll get up to an amazing 24 hours of use out of a full tank of water!
As it doesn’t produce heat, there’s no need to worry about it raising the room temperature like with some other products. Additionally, water evaporation is dead silent and invisible.
The fan operation is slightly noticeable but in my experience it’s pretty low in volume and still great for overnight.
One added benefit is that due to how evaporation works, you can’t over-humidify a room with this one. Leave it on all night or all day and there’s no need to worry.
Noise levels are very low and there aren’t any bright lights to concern yourself with when its bed time.
It’s a wonderful little humidifier that’s energy-efficient, safe, germ-free, and easy to maintain and use. It’s a winner!
- Great for coughs and other dry air symptoms
- Good for small-medium size rooms
- Quiet fan noise
- 3-speed fan control
- Ultraviolet (UV) germ killer for tank
- Wicking filter kills 99.9% of bacteria
- Up to 24 hours of use on 1 tank
- Super-easy water tank removal and refill
- Self-regulating evaporative design
- Cannot over-humidify room
- Replacement germ-killing filters are cheap
- 1 gallon water tank
- Clear & helpful owner’s manual
- Great build quality & reliability
- No bright lights at night
- 3 year warranty
- Humidity output is fixed to 3 speeds (no dial)
- Not as fast as warm mist models
- Wicking filter requires occasional replacement
- Not adequate for larger rooms
- No night light option
- A bit more expensive
The HCM-350 offers the best of both worlds: evaporative water efficiency and modern technology.
While it does need periodic filter replacement, it’s simple to do. Filling up the tank is super-simple as well.
I really like it!
I’m sure you’ll be just as impressed. Find out today why the Honeywell HCM-350 has many happy buyers and received the Amazon's Choice label.
Note: Prefer a different style? You’ll find the sharp-looking HCM-350B black version here.
4. Everlasting Comfort Cool Mist Ultrasonic – A quality large-room humidifier with aromatherapy oil ability.
How about getting not only dry skin, eyes, and nose relief, but a fantastic-smelling home as well?
The great Everlasting Comfort Cool Mist Ultrasonic humidifier is the perfect solution. It won’t break the bank, either.
It’s a smartly designed cool mist humidifier that provides dry skin relief in 2 great colors: white or black. It’s also a best-selling model with many happy buyers.
It’s easy to see why!
In addition to being an energy-efficient ultrasonic cool mist model, there’s a handy aromatherapy feature that allows adding your favorite oils.
The Everlasting Comfort’s upper section is actually a very large 1.6 gallon (6 L) water tank. Located on top is a convenient carrying handle. A side located night light adds a touch of class and night time comfort when switched on. It’s a great feature for children or adults.
The top-mounted water tank holds a huge 1.6 gallons (6 liters) of water for a fantastic 24 hours of use between refills.
It’s one of the largest water tanks I’ve seen in any humidifier product yet to date – at least in its price range!
Top: An aromatherapy oil tray on the side opens to allow you to add your favorite room-filling scented oils. Just place several drops in and the humidifier does the rest. Bottom: Controls are simple and practical. I found them easy to use and they grew on me quickly. Use the LED button to switch the side night light on or off. The rotary mist output level allows you to tailor humidity output as needed.
While it’s a smartly designed product, it’s also one of the easiest to use. No hassle!
Located on the base is a practical and sensible rotary mist level control that adjusts the water vapor (mist) output. It also serves as the on/of control as well.
The LED button switches the night light feature, located on the side of the unit, on or off.
While it looks very basic, that’s a good thing. I think the controls are simple to use and take only seconds to become familiar with.
Using aromatherapy oils
Pick up a bottle of wonderful smelling essential oil of your choice, then open the side door. Just place several drops into the tray and you’re done!
The Everlasting Comfort unit will use the internal fan airflow provided to distribute the wonderful aroma into your room and home.
In my opinion, it’s a wonderful little feature that helps set it apart. It’s also more cost-effective than using pricy candles and doesn’t need fire like incense sticks do.
Not only that but the humidifier is available in a sleek-looking black version as well.
- One of the largest water tanks (1.6 gal.)
- Covers up to 400 sq. ft. rooms (large)
- Up to 24 hours of use on one refill
- Great for coughs, dry skin, and dry nose
- Available in black or white colors
- Auto shutoff when tank is empty
- Essential oil dray diffuses oils in air
- Whisper quiet – almost silent!
- Adjustable mist nozzle
- No filters required
- Water tank is easy to remove and refill
- Nigh light
- Adjustable mist control level
- Powerful and fast output
- Great buyer reviews, popular
- 2 year warranty
- No germ-killing features
- Blue night light can be distracting for some
- No filters to trap minerals if hard water used
- Water tank could be knocked off somewhat easily
- Slightly more expensive than other models
At near $60 it’s obviously not as inexpensive as some other choices out there. However, for the quality, performance, long use time, and options, it’s a great choice you won’t regret.
It works great to soothe my dry skin, nose, and eyes. You’ll like it too!
Be sure to head over and see the current price and nearly 2,000 buyer reviews at Amazon.
5. Levoit LV600HH Hybrid – A leader among large room humidifiers. Hybrid technology, great performance, and the best features.
Ready for one of the best money can buy? The Levoit LV600HH hybrid warm mist/cool mist humidifier is an example of great design and features in one package.
A home air quality industry leader, Levoit produces some of the most popular products sold today. The LV600HH once again proves why.
A unique take on humidifier design, it uses a hybrid design for making cool mist or warm mist humidification possible as needed. The Levoit can automatically maintain room air humidity for the perfect comfort level unattended.
You’ll get some of the best features available for your money. A nice digital display provides the current room humidity level as well as an operational status indication. The front-facing control panel features touch controls. Use the included remote control at your leisure to adjust the unit from across the room. Very handy!
A sharp-looking digital display on the front shows a clear and easy-to-read room humidity status level in addition to current function settings.
The electronic touch controls are clearly labeled and easy to read. They make operation very simple and straightforward in my opinion.
A great little matching remote control is included as well. It works well and you’ll get close to 25 feet of range with it.
The Levoit offers many features the competition doesn’t:
- Optional auto-timer (up to 12 hours max)
- Auto-adjusting humidification
- Warm mist vapor for winter with 25% faster humidity output
- Cool mist operation for year-round or dry climate use
- Sleep Mode, Auto Mode, and Humidity Mode selections
- 20-36 hours of use on one refill
- Up to 430-753 square feet of coverage (med.-large rooms)
There’s also a wonderful little aromatherapy tray to use your favorite essential oils. Add your favorite scent and let the LV600HH do the rest.
Get more than just great performance…get a fantastic-smelling home, too! There’s no need to buy a separate aromatherapy diffuser. The LV600HH provides a simple-to-use side tray for adding your favorite scented oil. It works well and I think you’ll love it.
Located on the side of the unit is a small slide-out tray for adding aromatherapy oils. It’s great to avoid having to buy a separate diffuser and it works well.
Just slide it open, place some droplets of oil inside, and close it. The humidifier will circulate mist in the air along with your favorite scent.
It’s a great feature in my opinion and it works well.
Of course, despite the Levoit LV600HH being one of the best and most advanced humidifiers I’ve had the pleasure to review, it’s not perfect: there’s no night light feature built in.
I don’t understand why considering some of the competitor’s lower-priced products do have that feature. However, that’s a minor mark against an otherwise excellent unit.
All-in-all, it’s a great unit, it works well, and is one of the fastest at relieving your dry nose, dry skin, or dry eyes quickly. Perfect for a large room and even your whole home, it’s a definite “Yes!” in my opinion.
- Hybrid warm AND cool mist production
- Timer, Auto-humidity, and Sleep modes
- Large 1.5 gallon tank
- LED digital display panel
- Touch control panel
- Auto-off timer (up to 12 hours)
- Self-adjusting auto mode
- Amazing 20-36 hour operation on 1 tank
- Remote control
- Displays current room humidity – no gauge needed
- Aromatic oil tray / feature
- Easy operation
- No filters required
- Great quality and reliability
- Excellent room size (430 – 753 sq. ft.)
- Includes cleaning brush
- Option to turn off display
- Near-silent operation
- Efficient ultrasonic operation
- No additional color choices
- Nearly twice as expensive as other models
- No UV or similar germ killing feature (like Honeywell)
- May be too sophisticated for elderly users
- No night light feature
While it does cost more (often price around $120 or so) it’s one of best you’ll find and it also provides much larger room coverage.
The hands-off automatic operation is great as it works well to maintain your air comfort level unattended. I love it!.
Well worth your time, see why the Levoit LV600HH is a favorite seller and received the Amazon's Choice award.
When it’s time to shop for a great humidifier be sure to look for the following depending upon your needs:
- Auto-shutoff feature (turns off when water is used up)
- Low-water/shutoff indicator light
- Adjustable humidity settings: High, low or adjustable
- Medicated liquid and/or medicated menthol pad support (
- Good quality design and simple use
- Many great buyer reviews
Note that in the case of humidifiers noise levels are almost always never an issue. Both of the 2 major types have very low operational noise, with cool mist usually being near-silent.
I also recommend purchasing a model with a large water tank to reduce how often you’ll need to refill it.
Unsure of which product your baby needs? Here’s a helpful post explaining if you need a humidifier or air purifier for your little one.
If you have questions or comments feel free to reach out or leave a note below.