The Best Humidifiers For Cough Relief – 5 Great Picks

In this post, I’ll show you 5 of the best buys for your money along with detail and, pros & cons. I own and recommend one of the top-rated and best-selling ones, too!

There’s also some detailed info to help you understand the types of humidifiers available, how they work, and what to look for when shopping.

How to tell if you need a humidifier

Relative humidity comfort scale image diagram

Here’s a helpful scale that helps better understand humidity levels as well as good and bad ranges. A humidifier helps by bringing the low humidity up to a healthier, much more comfortable level that helps relieve coughing symptoms.

Basically, the most important thing to know is that you need a humidifier when the humidity drops below a comfortable and healthy level. This is generally 30% humidity and below.

For the maximum amount of comfort (and cough relief), you’ll want to live and breathe in a range of about 30%-50% or so. Note that it doesn’t have to be an exact level, just as long as it’s within a general range.

While comfort levels vary from person to person, ultimately the best rule of thumb is to aim for about 40-50% relative humidity.

That’s great for not only adults but babies as well.

How to check humidity levels

ThermPro TP50 humidity and temperature gaugeThe simplest and least expensive way to know the humidity and temperature levels in your home or office is by picking up a handy little humidity and temp gauge. Also called a “hygrometer” in scientific terms, it’s just a digital meter that measures and displays air conditions in the room where you use it. I own one and absolutely love it!

Here’s the truth: guessing doesn’t work! To know the humidity levels around you, it’s essential to have an instrument that can measure temperature and moisture levels to calculate relative humidity accurately.

The great news is that it’s easy to solve this problem!

I use a digital humidity and temperature gauge just like this best-selling model both at home and at work. The scientific name is actually hygrometer which is a gauge used to measure humidity, especially for weather conditions.

By doing so I can get an exact readout of what’s really happening in the air around me. Is it really hot or cold? Is the air dry?

Using an inexpensive meter like the one I mention here is the best solution in my opinion. The best reason is that unlike instruments of days gone by, they’re very simple to read, work quickly, and cost less than $10-$15.

What do humidifiers do?

Image of infant girl next to humidifier releasing mist vapor

Humidifiers work by changing water stored in a tank into a fine water vapor that fills the room. When the water vapor is released into the air the room’s humidity increases in a healthy, natural way very similar to how moisture works in nature.

Humidifiers work by adding humidity as they change liquid water into a very light water vapor which is released into the air.

They do so by using one of several methods to change liquid water (stored in a tank in most cases) into a fine mist or steam that gently floats into the air around you.

When this happens, the humidity around increases in a way that’s very similar to what happens after rain outdoors or when you run a hot shower at home.

Crane elephant humidifier water tank carry handle

Warm and cool mist humidifiers use a water tank to store clean water (normally faucet or distilled water) which they slowly released into the air as a gentle mist.

However, it’s not just adding moisture that makes them so useful. There are added benefits you might not be aware of that can really improve your comfort and quality of life. I’ll explain more as well go. There are several different kinds of humidifiers that I’ll cover in more detail – not all are effective at relieving your cough symptoms!

Don’t get stressed out, either. For the average person you won’t need to spend much to get a wonderful model that really makes a difference.

Types of humidifiers

You’ll find 3 major types of humidifiers when shopping:

  1. Warm mist
  2. Cool mist
  3. Evaporative

1. Warm mist humidifiers

Vicks V745 warm mist humidifier image

Warm mist humidifiers use electricity to generate heat and turn water into steam vapor. The vapor is released into the air slowly, increasing the room’s humidity and restoring a comfortable air condition that reduces cough symptoms. They’re also ideal for colds and congestion.

Warm mist humidifiers produce moisture as light steam by heating water using electrical power.

Warm moisture is released into the room’s air. They’re not dangerous or extremely hot, but instead are safe enough to put your fingers or even your nose or face close to the unit.

Warm mist humidifiers are ideal for colds, congestion, and cough symptoms as well. Additionally, some models allow the use of medicated liquid additives or solid pads to offer enhanced cold or congestion relief if desired.

Just like cool mist humidifiers, however, they need to be periodically cleaned as the water tank and passageways can build up minerals and other deposits. Cleaning the device also helps make sure bacteria that might form aren’t released into the air.

2. Cool mist humidifiers

Pure MistAire ultrasonic cool mist humidifierCool mist humidifiers look very similar to warm mist models. However, they have a few distinct differences to be aware of. They don’t add heat to a room like warm mist models as they use a different method to vaporize water. They’re ideal year-round, especially in warm climate areas.

Cool mist humidifiers are a bit different from warm mist models in that they do not use heat to vaporize water. Water vapor is released at room temperature.

These types generally work using 1 of 2 methods, although many now sold are based on ultrasonic (high-speed vibration) technology. Products of this type work using a nebulizer (water disturbing device) that rapidly oscillates water molecules.

This causes the water to be dispensed into the air as a fine mist.

They’re a good choice for dry climates year-round and when you’d rather not add any heat into a room.

They’re also a bit more energy-efficient than warm mist models. However, the drawback is that during winter time and when colds and flu sickness is around they can’t offer the level of relief that warm mist products can.

3. Evaporative humidifiers

Example of evaporative humidifier

Example of an evaporative humidifier set. These are “passive” (non-powered) products that do not release water vapor into the air rapidly. They rely on the natural evaporation of water. They’re not effective for coughs or other dry air symptoms where you want fast and effective relief.

Evaporative humidifiers do not use electricity to rapidly increase the humidity in a room. Instead, they rely on the natural and very slow evaporation of water.

They’re not very effective for helping relieve your cough. Additionally, while they’re absolutely silent and do increase the humidity in a room over time, they’re simply far to slow to give any relief when you need it.

These are inexpensive and very simple but in my opinion a poor use of your money and you’ll be disappointed. I won’t be recommending this type.

★ 5 of the best humidifiers for cough relief ★

Our top picks at a glance

Pure Enrichment MistAire
  • Excellent whisper-quiet operation and easy controls
  • Up to 16 hours of use on a full tank
  • Adjustable output level, auto-off, and night light feature
Check On Amazon →See Customer Reviews →
Vicks V745A Warm Mist
  • Fantastic for cold cough & congestion relief! Great for kids and babies, too
  • Quiet 2-level output with auto-off feature
  • Accepts medicated pads and liquid for enhanced relief
Check On Amazon →See Customer Reviews →
Honeywell HCM-350 Germ-Free
  • Ultra-quiet operation to 24 hrs on 1 tank
  • Can't over-humidify air. UV germ-killing feature
  • Tank is easy to remove and refill. Available in black, too
Check On Amazon →See Customer Reviews →
Everlasting Comfort Ultrasonic
  • High-output, large cacacity with aromatic oil diffuser
  • Rotating nozzle, auto-off, and no filters needed
  • Great for rooms to 400 sq ft, up to 50 hours between refills!
Check On Amazon →See Customer Reviews →
Levoit LV600HH
  • Great for large rooms. Huge tank for long use.
  • Touch controls, humidity gauge, and remote control
  • Easy to fill! Aroma pad capable also
Check On Amazon →See Customer Reviews →

Detailed reviews and pros/cons

1. Pure Enrichment MistAire – One of the best and most popular cool mist models in the world!

Best seller product review badge graphic image

Pure Enrichment MistAire cool mist humidifier featured image

When it comes to cool mist humidifiers and the many choices out there, this one really stands out among the competition.

The Pure Enrichment MistAire cool mist ultrasonic is one of the most popular models in the world and it’s not hard to see why!

It’s great looking, full of features, and super simple to use. It’s almost nearly totally silent, too.

Check out some of the fantastic features you’ll get:

  • Easy-to-fill water 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

It’s one of the best-selling and best-designed models I’ve had to pleasure to check out anywhere.

Pure Enrichment MistAire humidifier cleaning brush and nozzle example images

Left: Clean up is easy and quick using the included brush. It lets you get into those hard-to-clean areas and save time. Right: With 360 degrees of rotation possible, the unique mist nozzle is a great feature. You can easily adjust the mist direction exactly the way you want for the best results.

The MistAire 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 available for rotating it. It works well and it’s really easy to adjust, too.

Pure Enrichment MistAire cool mist humidifier night light example

A beautiful blue night light is built in, although there’s no way to shut off the (dim) internal power light when the night light isn’t in use.

The night light is a great feature, but if you’re like me and are sensitive to light when sleeping, it might be a slight inconvenience, as even when the option is switched off a small amount of internal light is still produced.

However, it’s a minor complaint and the humidifier can be turned away or covered up if that’s an annoyance for you.

Pure Enrichment MistAire humidifier water tank refill example how to

Refilling the empty tank is fast and easy! Just pop off the tank, unscrew the cap, and fill it with fresh, clean water. It only took me about 2 minutes to get a full tank and nearly another day’s worth of use. Not bad at all!

Despite having a smaller water tank (1.5L, 0.4 gallons) it’s efficient and you’ll get up to an amazing 16 hours of use on one tank refill!

It’s excellent at relieving dry coughs, colds, dry skin, and much, much more. Not only that, but it’s one of the best-made and I’m impressed with both the design and build quality.

  • 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

When it comes to cool mist humidifiers, hands down the MistAire is without a doubt a winner!

Excellent cough and dry air relief, the adjustable mist level, great build quality, and much more really help set it apart from the pack.

Head over today and see why it's one of the best selling and highest rated models at Amazon.

2. Vicks V745A warm mist – One of the best values today. Great for cold-related coughs and symptoms!

Vicks V745 warm mist humidifier product image with box shown

Want one of the best for your money? You’ll love the wonderful Vicks 745A warm mist humidifier.

Priced at $40 and below, it’s one of the most popular models sold today. Not only that, but it’s an excellent choice with some of the best features in its price range.

I should know – I’m a happy Vicks owner myself!

There’s a long list of feature the V745A delivers for your money:

  • Allows liquid and solid pads for enhanced cold relief
  • 2 steam/humidity levels: High and low
  • Auto-shutoff and indicator light when water is gone
  • Easy to refill
  • 1 gallon water capacity
  • Simple operation

Vicks V745A warm mist humidifier features image

A 2-level dial (left) allows minimum or maximum humidity production for moderate or fast humidity and cough relief. Right: The “medicine cup” liquid area makes it easy to add medicated liquids to boost cough or cold relief.

The humidifier is easy to use and works great. Within about 20-30 minutes you’ll begin to find the humidity rising and feel relief.

Vicks humidifier vapor liquid and pads example

The Vicks model supports using liquid Vapo Steam or VapoPads additives for extra relief from coughs, colds, and more.

Pour a small amount of medicated into the medicine cup for more cough or cold help. Alternatively, menthol pads can be inserted into the side opening to do the same as well.

It’s easy to do and really helps both children and adults feel better when dealing with difficult coughs, colds, and flu.

The 1 gallon tank means you can run the unit overnight without refilling it. Set it on low and expect about 12 hours of use between refills, too!

It’s very quiet and you almost won’t notice it’s there!

  • 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

In my opinion, it’s one of the best around and an excellent buy for the money, too. Don’t let this one go without checking it out!

For what you’ll get at less than $40 believe me – you can’t go wrong.

Find out why it’s one of the most loved and best-selling choices at Amazon today.

3. Honeywell HCM-350 Germ-Free – A fantastic cool mist purifier that stops germs dead!

Honeywell HCM-350 cool mist humidifier product and boxThe Honeywell HCM-350 Germ-Free isn’t just your average cool mist humidifier – it’s one of the most unique in that it features a built-in ultraviolet (UV) germ killing feature to prevent spreading germs.

It’s a particularly rare feature that makes sure you’ll never have to worry about getting sick from your humidifier spreading germs if you forget to clean it.

Not only that but it features the same excellent build and design quality I’ve come to love and respect from Honeywell.

The HCM-350 works to produce invisible mist by using an advanced design that works using evaporative technology principles. The result is an effective, germ-free way to raise the humidity in a room efficiently.

While it cost a bit more than some of the competing models at around $55-$69 dollars, you definitely get what you pay for in terms of ease of use, performance, and maintenance that’s a breeze.

Honeywell HCM-350 tank refill example image

Refilling the 1 gallon tank is one of the easiest I’ve ever seen in products of its kind. There’s an easy-pull handle that truly makes removing the water tank a snap.

Just pull out the tank, fill it up, and you’re done!

The wicking filter and maintenance

Honeywell HCM-350 wicking filter image

An anti-microbial filter works along with the UV germ-killing feature. The filter kills 99.9% of harmful microbes that can cause sickness and can be released into the air by non-filter lesser models.

Unlike other models, the HCM-350 includes a filter to protect against minerals and other harmful contaminants your water may contain (when not using pure distilled water, which is ideal).

The replacement wicking filter uses a patented anti-microbial design that helps inhibit 99.9% of the growth and migration of mold, algae, and bacteria.

The filter can be cleaned periodically but will need to be replaced at a price of a bit less than $10 (if you pick one up from Amazon, for example).

Honeywell HCM-350 side top panel image

Controls are super-simple and there’s no hassle whatsoever! Just set the main dial to 1 of 3 fan speeds and you’re done. The internal UV germ killer works on the water tank to eliminate “resting” germs and algae in the water while the wicking filter also kills germs and other bacteria that remain.

It’s one of the simplest to use despite its advanced design. Just switch the unit to 1 of 3 fan speeds and you’re done.

You’ll get up to a mind-blowing 24 hours of use out of a full tank of water! 

The HCM-350 doesn’t need heat and actually produces a soothing cool water mist that’s invisible to the eye.

There’s no need to worry about over-humidifying your room because evaporative humidity can’t go beyond the largest moisture level at room temperature.

It’s very quiet as well and won’t keep you up at night. I’m impressed and I’m sure you will be too.

The Honeywell is definitely a great little humidifier for those who want to be confident their air quality is germ-free, comfortable, and energy-efficient.

  • Energy-efficient
  • 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 Honeywell HCM-350 offers the best of both worlds: evaporative efficiency and invisible mist production with germ-killing and higher-output modern technology.

It’s also one of the easiest to maintain. Honeywell has done it again!

Don’t pass this one up. Be sure to check the lowest price and see why it received the Amazon's Choice award over at Amazon now.

Honeywell HCM-350B humidifier blackNote: Want a different style? Be sure to check out the fantastic HCM-350B black version as well!

4. Everlasting Comfort Cool Mist Ultrasonic – An advanced large-room humidifier with essential oil aroma ability, too.

Want something that gives you not just cough relief but the ability to have your room or home smell fantastic?

The wonderful Everlasting Comfort Cool Mist Ultrasonic humidifier is a perfect choice.

Available in both white and black color options it’s a truly unique – and best-selling – humidifier that provides not only cold symptom, dry skin, and cough relief but it can freshen your home as well.

It not only restores your home’s humidity to a comforting and cough-relieving level but it also can distribute wonderful and soothing essential oils as well!

Everlasting Comfort cool mist humidifier top section diagram

The top section is actually a generous 1.6 gallon (6 liter) water tank with a top-located handle for easy refilling. A side-located night light adds a touch of night comfort either for you or your children. 

The water fill tank holds a whopping 1.6 gallons (6 liters) of water for an amazing 24 hours of use between refills.

That’s one of the single-biggest water tanks I’ve found of any humidifier I’ve tested and reviewed!

Everlasting Comfort cool mist humidifie features image

Top: The base features a cool little essential oil filling tray. Pour in your favorite soothing oils for a wonderful aromatic scent and the fan will do the rest. Bottom: The controls are simple, effective, and most importantly, easy to use. Use the LED button to switch the night light on or off. The rotary knob works for both the on/off power and the mist output level. Very easy!

It’s also one of the most straightforward to use. Located on the base is a simple rotary control that serves as the on/off control but also allows you to adjust the mist output level to your liking.

Additionally, the LED night light button switches the side-located night light on or off.

It’s a simple but practical design I found easy to use and it works well.

Prefer a different look? A great-looking black version is available as well!

Using essential oils

Just pick up a bottle of great smelling essential oil of your choice, open the side filler tray, and pour it in. That’s it!

The fan will do the rest, filling the room with an aromatic freshness you’ll love while the humidifier does its job.

It’s a unique – and very cool – a feature I haven’t seen on comparable models (most products sold as essential oil vaporizers aren’t very good humidifiers, just so you know!)

Not only do you get all of this, but the Everlasting Comfort Ultrasonic is also available in a sleek, handsome black color 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 $60 and below, it’s not the cheapest you’ll find if you’re simply wanting a budget deal. However, this isn’t a “budget” choice.

It’s a great option for those who want not only cough relief (along with other dry air symptom relief) as well as the option of filling their home or room with wonderful scents using oils.

It’s a great little humidifier that I’m sure you’ll love. Check it out!

You’ll find the best current price and almost 2,000 buyer reviews over at Amazon.

5. Levoit LV600HH – A large room humidifier that’s a class leader. Hybrid technology with exceptional performance.

Levoit LV600HH humidifier front featured image

Ready for the best? The Levoit LV600HH hybrid warm mist/cool mist humidifier certainly is the king of them all!

Levoit produces some of the market’s highest-quality products you’ll find and they’re consistently some of the best-selling and best-rated models money can buy. The LV600HH is no different.

It’s a hybrid humidifier that uses both warm mist and cool mist production as needed to automatically keep your room or home at an ideal comfort level.

Levoit LV600HH humidifier features image 1

The Levoit is one of the most advanced models money can buy. The advanced digital display provides current room humidity readings as well as operational status indicators. The front panel features touch controls or, at your leisure, use the convenient included remote control to operate it from across the room. Very nice!

An advanced digital display panel clearly shows the current room humidity as well as the operational status settings. Touch controls that are clearly labeled and easy to understand make operation easy and a pleasure to use.

For added convenience, a compact and simple-to-use remote control is included. It works well and makes operation even easier!

You’ll also get several other features the competition doesn’t offer:

  • Optional auto-timer settings (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)

Not only that, but there’s also a wonderful little aromatherapy tray to use your favorite essential oil for room-filling fragrance!

Levoit LV600HH humidifier aromatherapy features image

Got your favorite scents? No need to buy a separate essential oil diffuser! Just add a few drops to the handy side tray and the Levoit will do the rest, filling the room with a refreshing aroma naturally and gradually. It’s a great feature I love.

The side-located tray is exceptionally handy, and it’s a great feature. With the LV600HH there’s no need to spend money on a separate oil diffuser.

It works well I really like it.

I do have one minor complaint: despite all the technology and convenience provided, why isn’t there a night light feature built in?

Oh well, it’s still one of the best humidifiers I’ve ever laid my hands on and I recommend it to anyone wanting a large-room (or whole-home) model with the best features around.

It’s a definite “Yes” in my book!

  • 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

It’s an advanced, ultra-convenient way to not only get great cough and dry air relief but to make your home or office smell fantastic.

At a bit above $100, it’s not the cheapest around. However, it’s one of the most advanced humidifiers money can buy. So or what you get it’s actually a really good value.

It’s well worth having a look. Find out now why the LV600HH received the Amazon's Choice award and is one of the best selling models around.

Additional info

Here are some other features I recommend you look for when shopping for a great humidifier:

  • Empty water tank auto-shutoff
  • Low-water/shutoff indicator light
  • Adjustable humidity settings: High, low
  • Medicated liquid and/or medicated menthol pad support
  • Good quality design and simple use
  • Quiet operation
  • Great buyer reviews

By shopping smart you’ll end up much happier. For the most enjoyment, get a model with a larger water tank to avoid the hassle of having to fill up the tank more often.

All of those listed in this post are great choices and will provide nice, soothing help for your coughing, dry skin, and many other conditions.

Grant Williams

About the author

Grant is a professional engineer by trade and has experience with both maintenance and do-it-yourself home projects. He enjoys sharing his expertise & ideas with others to help them improve their comfort and quality of life. Read more »

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