What Does A Humidifier Do? An In-Depth Guide

What does a humidifier do featured image

If you’ve asked yourself, “What does a humidifier do?” this post will help answer that.

Recently during the winter, I became sick with a sinus cold. The dry air (due to electric heaters in my home) actually made me suffer a lot more than I would have otherwise.

I bought a wonderful little humidifier and felt better immediately. It’s one of the best purchases I’ve ever made!

Buying one was a great decision – so much so that I was inspired to write this and share with you what I’ve learned.


Infographic- What do humidifiers do? Facts and benefits

What does a humidifier do infographic

How does a humidifier work?

Vicks V745A humidifier imageHumidifiers work by taking water and converting it into fine steam or mist that increases the amount of moisture in the air around you. It’s similar to how running a hot shower in your house steams up the air. The water tank stores water to allow it to run for several hours – especially overnight use. Shown here is a Vicks warm mist humidifier with a large water tank.

Humidifiers are devices that increase the humidity in a room. They work by changing liquid water into a mist or steam which increases the humidity in the air. Humidity is a word used to describe the amount of moisture, as a percentage, in the air around you.

However, it’s not just adding moisture into a room’s air that makes them so helpful. It’s the other benefits you might not yet be aware of that can really boost your quality of life.

There are several kinds of humidifiers that I’ll cover in more detail below.

Don’t stress though – for the average person, the most important thing to worry about is getting one within your budget and needs. Honestly, you don’t have to worry too much about particular details unless you have special requirements.

How humidity affects you – the good and the bad effects

Relative humidity comfort scale image diagram

In the scale above you can see a general guide for the relative humidityThis is a way of expressing the amount of water vapor in the air compared to dry air for a certain volume & temperature. For most people, we feel comfortable if the relative humidity falls within a certain range.

Too low, and we feel cooler, our skin gets dry, and we are prone to various problems & sickness. Too high, and we can’t cool off as well and we’ll feel uncomfortable and much hotter.

The humidity around us can have a huge impact on our comfort and health.

Believe me, as I traveled in the past to various countries like Panama and Colombia, the high humidity was really tough at times and it was so hot I was constantly sweating everywhere I went!

Cities near the ocean like those are typically very high in humidity.

On the other hand, some areas like in Arizona (where humidity is low and the air is dry) and in seasons like winter the moisture is reduced greatly. This means the humidity is lower, as colder air can’t hold as much moisture as warm air can.

Dryer air means dry sinuses, skin that gets dried out and cracks, and a bigger chance of getting sick. It can also cause waking up the next morning with stuffiness, congestion, and an uncomfortable feeling in your nasal and respiratory passages.

Not only that, but dry air makes it more difficult to recover from colds and other common sicknesses we have to deal with.

In my personal experience, 40%-60% is the ideal comfort range but what works for me could be different for you.

The different types of humidifiers

Humidifiers are commonly available in three major types:

  1. Warm mist
  2. Cool mist
  3. Evaporative

1. Warm mist humidifiers

Vicks warm mist V90 humidifier example

Warm mist humidifiers like this Vicks V90 model can increase the moisture – and hence the humidity – in your home by using heat to vaporize water. The water tank is filled when it runs out and can allow several hours of uninterrupted use. I own one similar to this, and it greatly helped me when I was sick!

These types produce moisture as steam by heating the water with a hot heating element that heats water to a boiling point. Moisture released into the air is warm but generally safe enough to put your face up to the output opening.

These types sometimes can be used with additives like scent pads or optional soothing vapor liquids if you need cold and nasal or breathing problem relief.

Some models include a filter to trap minerals and other elements that may build up from the water used to produce the steam.

They, like some others, should be cleaned periodically to get rid of bacteria that can build up over time. You’ll usually notice this build up as spots or “gunk” that starts appearing in certain areas.

2. Cool mist humidifiers

These types produce moisture in the air without warming the water and without using heat to produce steam.

They generally work using 1 of 2 methods, although most modern designs are solely ultrasonic. (Impeller type products are rare now and are generally outdated)

Ultrasonic type humidifiers

Example of an ultrasonic humidifier : MistAire Cool Mist

Ultrasonic models such as MostAire Studio Ultrasonic model are a more modern approach. They use an extremely high-speed nebulizer to rapidly oscillate, causing water to be dispensed as a fine mist into the air.

They’re a good choice if heated water is not desired and may use less electricity as well.

They often look similar in appearance to their warm mist counterparts but don’t need nearly as much power to work since they’re more energy-efficient.

Impeller type (electromechanical) humidifiers

Impeller humidifier example image

An impeller type humidifier, unlike others, has a motor and “fan” assembly to stir the water and produce a fine mist. This is an older technology and is less commonly found today, but can still offer a simple and easy to use way to keep a room at a comfortable moisture level. This Vicks V400R model is a great example.

Products classified as impeller models are those like I had as a child. They work by using a rapidly spinning disk with “fingers” sort of like fan blades to disturb the water and allow tiny droplets to escape as a water mist.

These make a bit more noise when operating and aren’t as common as they once were due to the newer ultrasonic and warm mist models available today.

3. Evaporative type humidifiers

Example of evaporative humidifier

An example of a simple evaporative humidifier. This model is perfectly silent and slowly releases moisture into the air. If you need improved humidity quickly, you’ll need one of the other types instead. These lower-cost Bluestone decorative humidifiers are a good example of an old-fashioned but stylish way to humidify your home with zero noise added. Note that there are motorized models that use a fan as well.

Evaporative products are those that normally generate moisture into the air directly. That is, they work either by simply providing a way for moisture to gradually evaporate and enter the air or by blowing a fan over a wet wick to speed up the process.

These are the simplest and often the most inexpensive models, but also are the slowest to affect the humidity in your room.

What humidity should I set my humidifier to?

Typical humidifiers don’t have a “humidity level” (although some models with more advanced features do) so you’ll need to adjust the level manually.

For example, you may need to turn it to the “high” or “low” setting depending on how the one you buy works.

For most of us, a range of about 30-50% humidity is ideal.

Recommended humidity level image

As a general rule, about 50% is a safe bet. Too low and you’ll begin feeling the effects of dry air. Too high (say 60% and higher) and you’ll feel hot, may have trouble sleeping, and generally may be very uncomfortable.

The main issue that a humidifier can help resolve is low humidity caused by indoor heating. I’ve often noticed how low in moisture my indoor air became during the wintertime and especially when the heat was in use.

These include electric heat, natural gas-based heating, and especially wood fireplaces and heaters.

ThermPro TP50 humidity and temperature gauge

Note: Don’t worry! You’ll never see 99% humidity…this is likely a display test being shown. You’ll likely never see above 60% or 65% except for when there’s a huge amount of moisture in the air. This happens after running a hot shower for a long time or other similar sources of steam. Digital Thermometer, ADiPROD Indoor 3 in 1 Hygrometer Alarm Clock LCD... works well, doesn’t cost much, and is easy to use.

A great idea is to use an inexpensive digital temperature and humidity gauge with your humidifier.

Having a gauge will allow you to see how low the humidity is where you’re at. It’s a good way to figure out the setting you’ll need to use on your humidifier.

For example, I keep one of these both in my bedroom and my work office. Before bed and during the day I’m able to tell what mode I need to put my humidifier in.

If the humidity is extremely low and I know I’ll be using the heat nearly all day or night, I normally just leave it on high to keep the room near 50% humidity.

When using the heater less often, the humidity inside when I arrive home (especially on days where it’s not so cold) is higher, I’ll use it on the low setting.

If you buy a humidifier with automatic humidity control, that’s fantastic! Set it between 40-50% and experiment with what works best for you.

How much does a humidifier cost?

Ecommerce computer image
Humidifiers for small to medium-sized rooms cost about $30 to $150 or so.
What you pay greatly depends upon the features and output capacity.

I recommend that if you plan on using one overnight or for long hours, buy one with a larger water tank capacity.

Models starting around $35 and up like this warm mist model by Vicks can hold 1 gallon of water and the use time can range from about 8 or 9 hours to over 12.

The time depends upon the setting you use (and how much mist is produced as it works).

Ideally, you can plan to at least buy one for each bedroom that’s occupied and one for your living room too, if needed.

Vicks V745A humidifier Editors Choice image

Expect to spend around $35 or so for a competent humidifier that’s a good combination of quality, value, and features. Additionally, don’t “cheap out” on spending or you’ll get a small water tank that requires refills more often. That’s a hassle! Shown here is a great model I enjoy and recommend, the popular Vicks V745A I own and love from Amazon.

Personally I enjoy using one at work as well, as it keeps my office comfortable, reduces my coughing, and helps me avoid complications and sickness.

As a starting point, I recommend you plan on spending about $35 for each room you want an electric-powered humidifier in. Buy one with a sufficiently large container (say 1 gallon/3.8 L) so you won’t have to constantly refill it.

You can spend less, but unless you have relatively small needs, a larger one that produces moisture more quickly provides better relief more quickly.

Does a humidifier help with a cold?

Image of a woman with a cold

Indeed, it can! Humidifier use is a great way to relieve your cold symptoms. It can definitely help aid in recovery when you’re sick. I’ve learned this from personal experience.

In my case on several occasions the dry air caused me to wake up from my sleep. The uncomfortable sinus dryness also made me more susceptible to getting a cold or sinus condition.

We normally need a healthy humidity level to keep our internal breathing passages clean.

The drying out of our nasal and respiratory passages means we’re more susceptible to becoming sick. A healthy amount of moisture in the air will help with your cold suffering and allows you to heal properly.

A study by Environmental Health and Engineering (Environmental Health 2010, 9:55) shows that keeping the air at relative humidity levels between 40-60% can reduce survival of flu viruses on surfaces and in the air. Humidifiers can help achieve and maintain this humidity level.

Low humidity increases the time it takes for your body to rid itself of mucus produced when you’re sick. Also, your throat, sinuses, and bronchial passages will feel quite uncomfortable at times.

Otherwise, you’ll have to use nasal sprays or similar remedies as a work-around. But why not address the problem at its source?

It is definitely no fun being unable to sleep because of painful coughing and sinus or throat pain from it. That’s a terrible feeling I wouldn’t wish on anyone!

Buying a warm mist humidifier was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. 

immediately felt relief at night while the heat was on. Despite the outdoor temperature being near freezing (32 degrees), inside I was comfortable and cozy. The added moisture helped reduce my coughing.

Despite being sick, I woke up with far better feeling sinuses and I no longer had to breathe dry air that hurt my nose and throat. I also had far less mucus bothering me. Also, I no longer had to go run a hot shower to get relief – my bedroom was near 50% humidity nearly all the time!

Cleaning and maintenance

Image of a humidifier being cleaned by hand
Cleaning a humidifier is a required task for owners. Over time, minerals and other elements build up and form deposits. Bacteria can also begin to grow which can be spread into the air if left unsanitized. Vinegar and a soft scrub brush is recommended for washing both the water tank and the body.

Different types of water like well or spring water will cause a humidifier to build up mineral deposits. Even standard tap water (“city” or faucet water) can cause the same. Bacterial growths can occur, too.

You’ll need to periodically inspect and clean both the water tank and the body too. Using a very small amount of vinegar is recommended. Additionally, use cleaning agents that are safe for plastic or a very small amount of bleach can be used.

Using one of the recommended cleaners, rinse both the water tank and the humidifier where build-up occurs. Use a non-abrasive soft brush to clean the areas where mineral deposits are found and wash surfaces thoroughly.

A soft bristle toothbrush makes a great cleaning tool for purifiers.

For best results, clean your humidifier weekly. Sources of water with high mineral levels are not recommended due to the increased build-up they cause.

I recommend standard faucet water or distilled water if that’s convenient for you.

Remember, if bacterial build-up occurs in your humidifier due to a lack of cleaning it could enter your air! Don’t allow that to happen. Follow the manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations.

In summary

To recap what we’ve learned, here are the main ideas to remember about humidifiers:

  • Humidifiers add moisture to the air and increase the relative humidity in your home
  • There are two major types of humidifiers: warm mist and cool mist
  • 40%-60% is the comfort range of humidity for most. Use 50% as a target for your humidifier
  • They can aid in avoiding sickness caused by dry sinuses and dried mucus areas
  • Maintaining healthy a healthy humidity level in your home helps relieve colds and promotes healing
  • Use a temperature/humidity gauge to help you decide what setting to use
  • They’re not maintenance-free: you’ll have to inspect & clean them periodically
  • Expect to pay around $35 or more for a typical warm mist model for small to medium rooms
  • Some models can help relieve your cold by using add-ons like vapor liquids or vapor scent pads

Additionally, don’t forget to always check buyer reviews. For those looking for a basic but good budget model, here's a great one to consider. It’s a best-selling model I’ve actually owned and recommend!

If you have allergies or other air quality problems consider getting an air purifier to use along with your humidifier. Both can be used at the same time without any problems.

You can read more here to help you understand which air purifier you need.

If you children, you’ll find some helpful information here about choosing an air purifier vs humidifier for your baby.

Crane Elephant Cool Mist Humidifier Review: An Extensive Review For Parents

Crane elephant cool mist humidifier review featured image

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.


Getting familiar with the Crane Adorables humidifiers

Crane Ellito elephant humidifier product image

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

Crane elephant humidifier packaging image

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.

Crane elephant humidifier box open showing starting instructions

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?

The 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

Crane elephant humidifier set up image #1

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:

  1. Finish unpacking the humidifier & remove the plastic bag
  2. Remove the water fill cap/valve
  3. 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.

Crane humidifier filling tank example image

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 that 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

Crane elephant humidifier installing water tank

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:

  1. Move the humidifier a flat surface to allow airflow underneath
  2. Place the tank carefully on the base (keeping it aligned as shown in the manual)
  3. Put the nozzle/cap on top
  4. 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

Image of Crane kids elephant humidifier top section assembled

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

Crane elephant 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.


Crane Adorables Model EE-3186 specifications
  • 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
  • Carrying handle
  • 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?

Image of a baby coughing. Humidifier vs air purifier for 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.

Recommended humidity level image

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

ThermPro TP50 humidity and temperature gauge

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 readings 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 the maximum output.

Crane elephant humidifier vapor example

Carrying and moving the water tank

Crane elephant humidifier water tank carry handle
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 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.

Crane humidifier demineralization filter Product ID: HS-1932

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

Crane elephant humidifier 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.

Noise levels

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.

MeasurementVolume (dB)
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:

  1. 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
  2. Rinse warm water through the outlet channel (the top section)
  3. Fill the base with warm water and add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. Let sit for 30 mins. Empty the base and rinse
  4. 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 an 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 supposed 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.

  • Quality - 9.2/10
  • Value - 8.5/10
  • Ease of use - 9.5/10
  • Humidification ability - 8.8/10
  • Features - 8/10
  • Noise levels - 9.8/10

Cute, easy to use, and a great performer. An excellent humidifier choice for your little one.

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 simple to use, I highly recommend it.


  • Ultra-quiet (nearly silent)
  • Low power use
  • Very easy to use
  • Dial control works great
  • Water tank is easy to fill and replace
  • Auto-off feature when water is gone
  • Good owner’s manual & 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
  • 24 hr use for 1 gal. tank (low setting)
  • Available in other animal style


  • Top section is easy to knock off
  • No night light feature
  • Owner’s manual doesn’t specify hard water filter specifications
  • No timer feature