Considering purchasing a humidifier for your young child or baby? Crane provides some very interesting (and cute!) humidifiers that provide relief from dry sinuses, skin, and other problems for young children. In my Crane elephant cool mist humidifier review I’ll tell you how it stacks up and if it’s worth the money.
Additionally, there’s some helpful information below to help you better understand humidity, how to know what humidity levels are best for your baby, and more.
I picked up my Crane elephant humidifier from Amazon in order to give a hands-on review and really get into the details that count. There are a lot of choices out there so I’d love to help you be well-informed before buying.
- 1 Getting familiar with the Crane Adorables humidifiers
- 2 Unboxing the Crane elephant humidifier
- 3 How’s the quality?
- 4 Getting started
- 5 Checking out the humidifier controls
- 6 Specifications
- 7 What humidity level do I need for my baby?
- 8 Video clip example
- 9 Carrying and moving the water tank
- 10 What’s the best water for a humidifier? Do you need a filter for the Crane?
- 11 How much water does the humidifier use per day?
- 12 The owner’s manual
- 13 Noise levels
- 14 Maintenance and cleaning the humidifier
- 15 Final thoughts and review summary
Getting familiar with the Crane Adorables humidifiers
Crane actually produces 19 variations of their children’s humidifiers in the Adorables product line. All share the same basic design but have different styling and cosmetic design. Not all animal choices are available at any given time, so I’ll focus on the Elliot the Elephant model (Crane product ID EE-3186) as it’s one of the most popular.
The Crane Adorables are cool mist ultrasonic humidifiers which include a number of interesting features. Right away, I could see the 1 gallon water tank is a great benefit, based on my personal experience. Believe me when I say you don’t want to have to constantly refill a humidifier!
Additionally, unlike other models on the market today it features a rotary, rather than 2 or 3-position, humidity output control. There’s also an auto-off sensor to shut it off automatically in case the water tank is empty.
The humidifier’s main job is to increase your child’s comfort level and/or relieve sickness or other dry air issues by increasing the humidity in a room.
I’ll explain more about humidity, cool mist vs warm mist humidifiers, and more below. Note that under normal circumstances, no internal filter is required for this model. I’ll cover that in more detail later.
Unboxing the Crane elephant humidifier
The humidifier arrived well-packaged and safe. Crane uses eco-friendly packing materials including the inserts made of recycled cardboard. The owner’s manual uses non-toxic materials as well. Both are a plus in my book. It’s well-packaged and arrived in good shape when I got it.
My humidifier arrived in great shape and well packaged. One thing that stood out was the owner’s manual. It’s written in very clear and simple-to-follow details. Additionally, the company notes that they use recycled materials for both the packaging and the owner’s manual.
I found that a positive and a great little addition, personally.
A basic quick-start guide is printed on an inner box flap. It’s visible as soon as you begin opening the box. It’s a nice touch and for the most part contains all the basic instructions you need to get started right away.
Additionally, right upon opening it up you find some helpful basic instructions. That’s a nice touch as well, and one I haven’t seen on but a few other air quality products.
As I like to do, I then inspected it for any quality or construction issues before starting it up.
How’s the quality?
Build quality is very good! I’m happy with it and although it’s a rather “simple” looking kid’s humidifier, everything looks & feels solid and well-made.
The water tank seams have no leaks, gaps, or production defects. The base is well designed, with the company obviously keeping the (basic, foundation) simple with a single plastic shell that houses the other components.
The elephant’s eyes (the paint/printing) look sharp and are aligned properly. There’s a semi-gloss plastic finish nearly everywhere except for the tank. The water tanks has a nice-looking translucent plastic design.
Overall, everything looks really good and doesn’t feel cheap or low-quality at all. We’re off to a great start!
Getting started was really easy – I just finished unpacking it, removed the plastic, cover, and then removed the filling cap/valve and then filled it with tap water. I found it very simple to do. I still recommend, however, reading the instructions to avoid any issues before, after, or during use – mostly due to water choices.
Set up is really easy and I was able to have the humidifier up and going in only a few minutes! Essentially, all you’ll need to do is:
- Finish unpacking the humidifier & remove the plastic bag
- Remove the water fill cap/valve
- Fill the tank with the recommended water (see below for more info)
Note: Crane has several recommendations when filling the tank:
- Don’t fill the water quite all the way to the rim
- Do not add oils, medication, salt, or etc to the water
- Be sure to carry the tank by the handle when full
Also, standard temperature (not hot water) is recommended. I’m sure using slightly warm water is fine, however, very hot water wouldn’t be a good idea.
The company also recommends placing it on a surface that won’t be affected by water spray. However you can also place it on other surfaces (such as wood) if using a cover or tray of some type.
Regarding this, in my experience I never had a problem with water droplets reaching the table I used it on.
Filling the tank is easy and only takes a few moments. After removing the filler cap, simply fill it with clean tap (faucet) water or distilled water. Crane recommends clean, filtered tap water or distilled water as “hard” water may contain minerals, additives, or debris which can clog the humidifier and leave residue around it.
It’s kind of fun filling the tank up as it means you’re only moments from getting to have more comfortable air. I was also excited to see how it compares to my Vick's warm mist humidifier I own and have tested as well.
Final set up and switching it on
Installing the tank is simple, but I recommend making sure it’s basically correctly lined-up before putting it in the base. That’s because once the tank is fully or partially installed, the water will be released into the base. It’s easy to spill water outside of it if you start the tank from the wrong position.
Once the tank is filled, just:
- Move the humidifier a flat surface to allow airflow underneath
- Place the tank carefully on the base (keeping it aligned as shown in the manual)
- Put the nozzle/cap on top
- Switch on the humidifier and adjust
… and enjoy!
The humidifier started working immediately which is a bit different from warm mist humidifiers. They require a minute or two to begin generating water vapor. That’s one “pro” for this design.
There’s no need to worry about the humidifier running out of water and the risk of damage to it – there’s a built-in water level switch. When the water reaches the empty level, the red LED indicator will light and the humidifier will be switched off automatically.
Placing the top section of the humidifier in place
To finish setting up your Crane humidifier, you’ll only need to place the top section on the water tank. It’s extremely simple and a breeze to do. Everything takes only a few moments. However, in my experience, it’s possible to accidentally knock the top off. There’s nothing locking it into place to prevent it.
As I mentioned above, after filling the tank and placing it on the base you’ll need to put the top back in place.
The reason is that the top also acts as a “nozzle” from the nebulizer (the component that changes liquid water into mist) into the outside air. It basically acts as a pipe for the mist to vent into the room.
However, I did find one relatively minor complaint: the top is easy to knock off if you’re not careful. It goes easily onto the top of the water tank and fits very well, but there’s nothing locking it into place once on it.
Once or twice I found myself accidentally having the top fall into the floor. It’s a pretty small gripe, so don’t let that discourage you.
Checking out the humidifier controls
The controls are ultra-simple. Just turn the dial right to switch on power and adjust the mist output level. The green indicator light (right) shows that it’s operating. The left indicator, when water is low, will indicate that the humidifier is off and the tank should be refilled.
The control, a rotary dial with switch, works great and has a very nice “feel’ to it. I just switched on the humidifier and adjusted it to a few different humidity output levels for testing.
The “0” position is the leftmost rotation position and is the off position. “1” is the lowest output level, for reference.
There’s not much more to say as it’s so easy to use. It’s definitely a great choice for parents and just about anyone who hates complicated electronics.
box title=”Crane Adorables Model EE-3186 specifications” bg_color=”#303b94″ align=”left” text_color=”#FFFFFF”]UV-C germ killing light
Ultrasonic type water nebulizer (cool mist)
Room size: up to 500 sq. ft.
Simple rotary control
Power-on and water empty indicators
Instruction manual included
Customer support phone & internet contacts provided
Auto-off empty water feature
Ultra-low noise operation (~ 37dB)
Anti-microbial material in base
BPA and phalate free materials
1 gallon (3.78 L) tank
24 hour (max.) water run time
Power used: 45W
Power requirements: 120V AC / 60Hz
Parts and accessories available
Cord length: 6 ft.
Size: 9 x 12.75 x 9″ (22.9 x 32.4 x 22.9 cm)
Warranty: 1 year limited
What humidity level do I need for my baby?
Low humidity brings with it a number of side-effects for babies and children. Sicknesses like colds, sore throats, and others take longer to recover from when your child’s air passageways are dry. Using a humidifier will help them sleep better as it will help relieve some of the very uncomfortable effects a lack of moisture brings.
Generally speaking, to get the most out of the humidifier you’ll want to use it with a setting to bring the air moisture level somewhere between 30% to 60%. That is, not too dry and not too humid.
However, a good rule of thumb I recommend is a humidity level of roughly 40%-50%. The comfort level varies from person to person, but with that range you generally can’t go wrong.
Of course, that assumes you have some idea of what the humidity in your child’s room is. If you don’t you’ll then need to rely on trial and error.
However, when using the Crane humidifier, I recommend starting at 1/2 on the dial and go from there.
In my testing I’ve seen the humidity rise due to using it in about 2-3 hours by about 15 to 20% when set to maximum. If your air isn’t very dry then certainly there’s no need for that.
Just in case you’re wondering if you should get an air purifier or humidifier, check out my helpful post about air humidifiers vs air purifiers for babies.
How to check humidity levels
The easiest way to figure out the current humidity in your child’s room is using a temperature gauge with a humidity level meter. They’re inexpensive and are an excellent way to know how the moisture in a room is rising or falling. During winter and especially when indoor heating is being used, you’ll be surprised to see the low reading’s they measure!
Honestly, the simplest way to be able to check the humidity in your child’s room is to simply pick up a hydrometer (humidity level) gauge. My advice is to use an easy and inexpensive one that also features a temperature readout, too. Here's a great example of one that works well and fits any budget.
Using one of those you’ll be able to see how the humidity rises or falls (especially falls). You’ll also begin to see how the dry air affects your child without having to guess.
Video clip example
Here’s a short clip I’ve provided to see it on the maximum setting. Note that when set to a lower position on the control, vapor may not be visible although it’s still being produced. In the video I’ve set it to maximum.
Carrying and moving the water tank
There’s a convenient handle built onto the water tank which I found to be very solid and sturdy. Crane actually recommends using not just the handle but another hand underneath when moving it.
When filled, it weighs several pounds so I definitely recommend that as well.
What’s the best water for a humidifier? Do you need a filter for the Crane?
Ideally, as I mentioned earlier, you’ll use distilled or good-quality filtered or very clean tap (faucet) water.
The issue many people run across is that water quality varies from location to location. Some areas have water – even from the city supply – that has additional minerals, debris, or other substances that will result in the humidifier leaving residue nearby.
Definitely, well water is not acceptable!
The effects of using hard water in a humidifier
Humidifier residue, when water with high mineral content is used, is often found as white spots near it and on nearby surfaces. It’s a problem common with humidifiers in general and it has nothing to do with this particular model.
That being said, those with water heavier in minerals may expect to have a fine white dust left after use.
A filter isn’t necessary ordinarily, but if you have a water supply with “hard water” that has minerals, you can pick up the demineralization filter. It inserts in place of the existing water tank fill cap.
The demineralization filter is an optional add-on (Product ID: HS-1932) that absorbs substances in mineral-heavy water. Minerals are separated from the water mist in the air and can build up on surrounding surfaces.
How much water does the humidifier use per day?
Crane advertises the humidifier as having a 24 hour (approximate) use time with a full tank. In my experience you can get that range on the low setting.
On high, expect about 8-9 hours or so. For example, if using it overnight on high during especially dry seasons you should expect to need to refill it some time in the morning. That’s the same water consumption rate I’ve found on other humidifiers as well, so it’s as expected.
The owner’s manual
The owner’s manual is clear and well-designed. Instructions are simple to follow and customer support information is included as well. However, one complaint I have is that it barely mentions the filter to be used for customers with hard water. It doesn’t list the model number – just the web site name.
The owner’s manual is well-made and very clear, with good content and simple to follow instructions. Well-designed diagrams are included, too. It’s only a few pages in length, but that’s all you essentially need anyway.
The owner’s manual also applies to the other models in the same humidifier family, as they’re basically all the same aside from their animal designs and very small cosmetic differences.
However, while a demineralization filter I mentioned above is available, the manual doesn’t clarify the actual model number. It’s available on the Crane website but in my opinion that information should be made more clear.
I measured noise during use with my trusty noise level meter I picked up over at Amazon. The volume was measured in a quiet room at 1 meter (3.28 feet) from the unit.
|Unit off (quiet room)||39.3|
|On (low to high)||39.6|
This thing was extremely quiet! It’s one of the lowest-noise products I’ve ever tested.
It’s nearly impossible to beat having an almost-silent device. That makes it an excellent choice for a child’s room where you want them to sleep undisturbed.
While the humidifier is incredibly quiet, there is an occasional slight “gurgling” sound from the movement of water inside the tank. However, it’s a very low, quiet sound that I didn’t find distracting at all.
If anything, with the unit running, it’s actually a bit relaxing and pleasant to listen to!
Maintenance and cleaning the humidifier
Crane recommends a few basic tasks for keeping the unit clean and avoiding the build-up of mineral deposits or bacteria. (Note: all humidifiers are subject to this…it’s not unique to this model)
Recommended weekly maintenance is:
- Fill the water tank halfway with warm water. Add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar. Shake and let sit for 30 minutes. Empty the tank and rinse with clean water
- Rinse warm water through the outlet channel (the top section)
- Fill the base with warm water and add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. Let sit for 30 mins. Empty the base and rinse
- Allow the tank and base to air dry
Note that you should never completely submerge the base in water – just rinse it carefully as recommended.
Cleaning and maintenance is pretty easy to do and I found it to actually be very fast. It only takes a few minutes. On the other hand, in reality, you can probably get by without cleaning every single week.
At the first sign of dark spots or any unusual appearances in the water tank however I’d definitely follow the cleaning instructions.
Final thoughts and review summary
As far as humidifiers go, the Crane elephant cool mist humidifier is excellent product and a real pleasure to use. Don’t let the fact that it’s for kids fool you – the quality and performance are right up there with any other in its price range.
It’s a great choice for parents wanting to improve the health and comfort of their little ones. Is the absolute cheapest? No. However, it’s definitely a good quality humidifier that does what it’s suppose to well, does it with style, and makes your life easier too.
I’m sure your little one will enjoy it too.
Want to find out more? You really should see the amazing buyer reviews from many happy parents over at Amazon.
The Crane Elliot the Elephant cool mist humidifier brings healthy and comfortable air quality to your little one's room in style. Part of a family of other fun animal-styled humidifiers, it's a great performer. Setup and maintenance are easy. Using it is a breeze as well. Instructions are clear and well-made. Quality is good and parts fit together very well. The auto-shutoff feature is great to have. It works well in my tests to alleviate dry air symptoms. Amazingly quiet and straightforward, I highly recommend it.
- Ultra-quiet (nearly silent)
- Super easy to use
- Dial control works great
- Water tank is easy to fill and replace
- Auto-off feature when water is gone
- Good, clear owner's manual and quick start guide
- Simple maintenance and cleaning
- Water mist works well to raise moisture levels
- Cute design is appealing to children
- Great construction & design quality
- 1 gallon water tank
- 24 hr use for 1 tank (low setting)
- Top section is easy to knock off
- No night light feature
- Owner's manual doesn't specify hard water filter specifications
- No timer feature