Have you ever fallen victim to the effects of dry air while sitting at your office desk? Your sinuses suddenly become irritated, your eyes become dry, and your skin starts to itch. The experience is unpleasant to say the least. These are just a few of the telltale signs that you need a little humidity boost in your office.

Offices often have dry air because the thermostat is turned all the way up, especially during the colder months. While a warmer environment may seem more comfortable, a desktop humidifier can be your best defense against that all-encompassing dry air. You’ll find yourself relieved of those pesky symptoms and breathing easier as you work. If this sounds like something you need, then read on to find out more about the best desktop humidifiers available.

  • Cool mist, ultrasonic humidifier
  • Covers up to 250 sq. ft.
  • Clean Control prevents 99.96% of bacterial growth in tank
  • Automatic shut off
  • Variable mist output
  • 1-year warranty

  • Cool mist, ultrasonic humidifier
  • Covers up to 175 sq. ft.
  • 0.18-gallon tank capacity
  • 2 output levels
  • Automatic shut off
  • 5-year warranty

  • Cool mist, ultrasonic humidifier
  • Best for small rooms
  • 0.5-gallon tank capacity
  • Integrated scented pad slot for Vicks VapoPads
  • Variable mist output
  • 2-year warranty

  • Cool mist, ultrasonic humidifier
  • Best for small rooms
  • 0.5-gallon tank capacity
  • Silver Clean Protection fights the growth of mold and mildew on the surface of the water tank
  • 2 output levels
  • 1-year warranty

  • Cool mist, ultrasonic water bottle humidifier
  • Covers up to 215 sq. ft.
  • Automatic shut off
  • Low water indicator
  • Variable mist output
  • 1-year warranty


The Cube EE-5400 is one of Crane’s small-league personal humidifiers, but it can have a big impact on your office space’s humidity. Housing a half gallon tank, the Cube is capable of releasing up to 1.2 gallons of mist per day and covering areas up to 250 sq. ft. to easily surpass all the other humidifiers on this list.

Because of its shape, however, the Cube takes up a little more desk area than we’d like. Other drawbacks include the measly 1-year warranty and the small tank size which needs to be refilled more often. Looking at the bigger picture, the Cube is definitely a cut above the rest in terms of room coverage and daily humidity output. It even has Crane’s signature Clean Control antibacterial treatment which prevents 99.96% of bacterial growth in the water tank! It’s affordable, easy to use, and quiet.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Top fill tank
  • Quiet
  • High humidity output
  • Clean Control prevents 99.96% of bacterial growth in tank
  • Easy to use and maintain
  • Compact, lightweight

Cons

  • Small room coverage
  • Small tank size
  • Bulky design
  • Short warranty

Pure Enrichment’s MistAire PEHUMSML is as slender and sleek as desktop humidifiers can get. Designed similarly to the other wildly popular MistAire humidifiers, the PEHUMSML was developed for personal use, with a tank capacity of only 0.18-gallons and a room coverage capacity of 175 sq. ft.

Of course, with something as compact and as affordable as the PEHUMSML, you can’t expect it to be able to humidify larger spaces, especially with a daily humidity output of only 0.5 gallons on high. Several users have also complained about how difficult it is to clean the PEHUMSML’s nozzle, even with the accompanying cleaning brush. Save for a few flaws, the PEHUMSML remains a solid choice for a desktop humidifier: it’s quiet, sleek, easy to use, and can last the entire day or night without needing a refill. For such an affordable price, you’re definitely getting more bang for your buck with the PEHUMSML.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Quiet
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Easy to use
  • Optional nightlight
  • Sleek design
  • Long runtime
  • Long warranty

Cons

  • Small tank size
  • Small room coverage
  • Low humidity output
  • Releases white dust
  • Difficult to clean nozzle

Vicks is another big name in the humidifier industry, producing humidifiers of all shapes and sizes to suit every type of need. The VUL520P is marketed as a “mini” humidifier, weighing only 3.7 pounds and small enough to use on an office table or a bedside table.

As is the case with all the other desktop humidifiers, the VUL520P is only capable of humidifying small rooms, especially since it only uses a small 0.5-gallon tank, but this shouldn’t be an issue if you’re only planning to use it for your personal office space. The VUL520P also comes with a scented pad slot for which you can use Vicks VapoPads, which can be a huge benefit during cold and flu season.

The VUL520P is said to be difficult to clean and comes with a few durability issues like suddenly becoming defective after a few months of use. These are likely isolated issues, however, as most users are generally happy with their VUL520P. For such an affordable price, it’s no wonder the VUL520P is so popular.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Long runtime
  • Quiet
  • Compatible with Vicks VapoPads
  • Comes in 3 colors
  • Easy to use
  • Good for treating cough, colds, and flu

Cons

  • Small water tank
  • Small room coverage
  • Durability issues
  • Difficult to clean


The PureGuardian H940 is one of many humidifiers produced by Guardian Technologies. It’s compact and just as sleek as the PEHUMSML from MistAire, but it boasts a larger 0.5-gallon tank and a larger room coverage of 210 sq. ft. For something so affordable, you can expect that H940 to have few flaws. Aside from the small room coverage and tank capacity, the H940 has its fair share of angry users complaining about how easily it breaks, a problem made worse by the fact that it is only covered by a short 1-year warranty.

In its defense, the H940 is a great choice for people who suffer from allergies, (insert comma) thanks to its Silver Clean Protection, a treatment used on the surface of the water tank to prevent the growth of bacteria, mold, and mildew. While not specific to the H940, this feature ensures that you’re breathing in clean mist that’s free from mold and mildew, both of which are allergy triggers. It’s easy to use, quiet, and is small enough to easily put inside your backpack.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Small enough for travel
  • Long runtime
  • Easy to use and maintain
  • Quiet
  • Silver Clean Protection prevents growth of bacteria, molds, and mildew
  • Low water indicator

Cons

  • Small room coverage
  • Small water tank
  • Not as durable as other models
  • Releases white dust
  • Short warranty

The Boneco U7146 is a wildly popular water-bottle humidifier and, while it isn’t marketed as a desktop humidifier, it’s small enough (and definitely powerful enough) to handle most small spaces like offices and hotel rooms up to 215 sq. ft. in size.

The U7146 surprisingly takes it a step further than other desktop humidifiers by having both (remove a) low water indicator and automatic shut off feature. It’s important to note, though, that several users have complained of the indicator lights on the U7146 to be glaringly bright. Fortunately, you can purchase an opaque nozzle from Boneco without the indicator lights.

Unfortunately, Boneco is notorious for producing ridiculously expensive devices, and the U7146 is no exception. For a high quality humidifier that packs quite a punch, you can’t really complain. The U7146 is as robust as portable humidifiers can get without taking up too much space on your desk.

Pros

  • High daily humidity output
  • Low water indicator and automatic shut off feature
  • Compact, lightweight
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to maintain
  • Quiet

Cons

  • Small room coverage
  • Expensive for a water bottle humidifier
  • Very bright LED lights

Desktop Humidifier Buyer’s Guide


The Benefits of a Humidifier Brought to Your Desktop

A desktop humidifier is much like your regular humidifier except it’s a lot smaller, lighter, cheaper, and has considerably lower specs. By lower specs, we mean they’re only able to cover small rooms and have smaller tank sizes that can hold no more than half a gallon of water.

Desktop humidifiers are often cool mist ultrasonic humidifiers. This is because cool mist ultrasonic humidifiers don’t need a heating element and have fewer parts compared to other types of humidifiers. This makes them easier to fit inside the small frame of desktop humidifiers.

Key Characteristics of a Good Desktop Humidifier

As the name suggests, desktop humidifiers should first and foremost be small enough to place on a desk without taking up too much space. You’ll also want to get as much room coverage and tank capacity as you can get since desktop humidifiers are often too small to hold anything more than 0.5 gallons of water. If you’re looking to use it in an office space with other people, it would be good to choose a desktop humidifier that is quiet so as to avoid disturbing anyone.

Ideal Desktop Humidifier Uses

Desktop humidifiers could be a great option for the people who:

  • Work in a dry office environment
  • Only need to humidify a small space
  • Don’t have space for a larger humidifier
  • Suffer from respiratory diseases or allergies

Advantages and Disadvantages of Desktop Humidifiers

There are a number of advantages to using a desktop humidifier:

  • It’s affordable and usually retails at less than $40 to $50.
  • It’s lightweight, compact, and portable
  • It’s easy to find a place for it, even when space is at a premium
  • You can use it when traveling
  • It’s effective and great for small spaces or personal use

However, there are some drawbacks, too:

  • It’s not suitable for spaces over 250 sq. ft. in size
  • You’ll be taking it to the sink more often for refills because of the small tank size
  • It’s only available as cool mist ultrasonic types
  • Often less durable than full-sized humidifiers
  • Fewer features (i.e.: low water indicator, humidistat, hygrostat, etc.)

It’s important to keep these advantages and disadvantages in mind when considering what type of humidifier to purchase. It all boils down to your needs, your budget, and which of the drawbacks you’re willing to overlook.

FAQ

Can I place my desktop humidifier on a wooden table?

You probably shouldn’t. Humidifiers produce a lot of moisture when in use and sometimes they even leak. The moisture can cause wood to rot, weaken, and fall apart. You’re better off placing the humidifier on surface that is waterproof or made from plastic so as to avoid this.

Can I travel with my desktop humidifier?

Yes. Desktop humidifiers are often small and light enough to fit into most backpacks or luggage.

Where is the best place to put my desktop humidifier to get the most out of it?

In general, humidifiers should be used in an area where the most people can benefit from it (i.e. living rooms/family rooms). Desktop humidifiers, though, often aren’t sufficient to humidify such large areas. To get the most out of a desktop humidifier, you’d need to place it as close to your breathing space as possible (i.e. bedside table or office table).

Why does my desktop humidifier leave a white film over all my stuff?

As previously mentioned, desktop humidifiers are often cool mist ultrasonic humidifiers. Ultrasonic humidifiers are notorious for leaving white dust over everything, especially when you use tap water or hard water. Tap water is often rich with minerals, and when you use it with your ultrasonic humidifier, these minerals are often dispersed into the room as “white dust”. The easiest way around this problem is to use filtered or demineralized water.

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