In recent years, humidifiers have evolved to employ different technologies to help you control dry air at home. The oldest type of humidifying method is evaporation and, to this day, evaporative humidifiers are still wildly popular despite the rise of newer humidification methods.

Evaporative humidifiers are also known as wick humidifiers and are considered the safest type of humidifier due to their self-regulating system that eliminates the risk of over-humidification. They work by using a wick filter to absorb water from the tank, filtering out minerals and other impurities in the process. With the help of an internal fan, the water in the filter evaporates and is released into the room to help relieve dry air symptoms.

Are you in the market for an evaporative humidifier? If so, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll learn more about evaporative humidifiers and find out which models are the best in the market.

  • Cool mist, evaporative humidifier
  • Can remove air pollutants and allergens as small as 0.3 microns in size
  • Covers up to 400 sq. ft.
  • Tank can hold 2 gallons of water
  • 3 output levels
  • 10-year warranty

  • Cool mist, evaporative humidifier
  • Covers up to 1000 sq. ft.
  • 4-gallon tank capacity
  • Automatic humidity control with built-in humidistat
  • Vortex-assisted humidity control
  • 5-year warranty

  • Cool mist, evaporative humidifier
  • Covers up to 500 sq. ft.
  • 1.1 gallon tank capacity
  • Patented UV technology eliminates 99.9% of water-bred germs, bacteria, and mold spores in the water
  • 3 output levels
  • 3-year warranty

  • Cool mist, evaporative whole house humidifier
  • Covers up to 1000 sq. ft.
  • 2-gallon tank capacity
  • Automatic humidity control
  • Check filter indicator
  • 2-year warranty

  • Cool mist, evaporative humidifier
  • Covers up to 1900 sq. ft.
  • 3-gallon dual tank capacity
  • Automatic humidity control
  • Adjustable humidistat
  • 3-year warranty

  • Cool Mist, evaporative humidifier
  • Can remove impurities such as dust, pollen, and particle-bound odors
  • Covers up to 540 sq. ft.
  • Tank can hold 1.18 gallons of water
  • Built-in container for essential oils
  • 5-year warranty

  • Cool mist, evaporative whole house humidifier
  • Covers up to 1000 sq. ft.
  • 2-gallon tank capacity
  • Automatic humidity control
  • Check filter indicator
  • 2-year warranty

  • Cool mist, evaporative humidifier
  • Covers up to 400 sq. ft.
  • 0.8-gallon tank capacity
  • 2 output levels
  • Break-resistant water tank
  • 3-year warranty


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Venta LW25

The Venta LW25 Airwasher is a a top-performing evaporative humidifier that has become one of the most popular airwashers on the market. It’s capable of covering areas up to 400 sq. ft. with its large 2-gallon tank. The Venta Airwashers work similarly to the Boneco W200, which means it doubles as an air purifier as well.

The LW25 is the most expensive evaporative humidifier on this list, which is surprising considering its specifications pale in contrast to the other cheaper humidifiers. It also lacks a lot of smart features and has a dated and bulky aesthetic.

People don’t purchase the LW25, though, for its aesthetic or its specifications. The reason the LW25 is so popular is because it’s effective, easy to use, low maintenance, and incredibly durable (as evidenced by Venta’s industry-leading 10-year warranty!). Best of all, your upfront payment will pay off in the long-term because there are no filters to replace.

Pros

  • Low maintenance
  • Large room coverage and large tank
  • Quiet
  • No filters to replace
  • Energy efficient
  • No white dust
  • Compatible with Venta aromatherapy oils
  • Excellent for humidifying and purifying air at the same time
  • Long warranty

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Fewer features
  • No humidistat/hygrometer
  • Somewhat dated and bulky exterior

The Evapo40 from Vornado is a powerhouse of a humidifier, as evidenced by its large and bulky frame. Flanked on two sides by water tanks capable of holding 2 gallons of water each, the Evap40 can single-handedly service rooms as large as 1,000 sq. ft. in size. With Vornado’s signature Vortex Action, you can rest assured that humidity is evenly distributed throughout the entire room.

For such a powerful humidifier, it’s no surprise that the Evap40 comes with a hefty price tag. One of the biggest flaws to this model, however, is that it’s incredibly difficult to find replacement filters for it. To make matters worse, the Evap40’s filter needs to be replaced regularly. If you’re looking for a powerful evaporative humidifier that’s capable of covering large rooms or even entire residences with the convenience of automatic humidity control, though, then the Evap40 is a solid choice.

Pros

  • Large room coverage and tank capacity
  • No white dust
  • Not too loud
  • Vortex action distributes humidity evenly throughout room
  • Automatic humidity control with built-in humidistat
  • Easy to use, fill, and clean

Cons

  • Large and bulky
  • Slightly expensive
  • Replacement filters are hard to find
  • Need to replace filters regularly
  • No automatic shut off

The Honeywell HCM-350 is one of Honeywell’s most popular products to date for good reason: for such an affordable price, you get a humidifier that’s capable of covering areas up to 500 sq. ft. in size. With its UV technology, you can rest assured that the mist it produces is bacteria-free and safe for the entire family.

The biggest drawback to the HCM-350 is that it doesn’t have as many features as other humidifiers of its calibre. It doesn’t have a humidistat/hygrometer, an automatic shut off feature, or even a low water indicator. In addition to those shortcomings, you have to deal with its wick filter that needs to be replaced regularly. Despite these flaws, however, the HCM-350’s key attributes still make it an excellent choice for homeowners everywhere. It’s effective, quiet, easy to use, and durable overall.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Easy to clean, fill, and maintain
  • Quiet
  • Durable
  • High daily humidity output
  • Large room coverage
  • UV technology eliminates bacteria and germs in water
  • No white dust

Cons

  • No humidistat/hygrometer
  • No automatic shut off
  • No low water indicator
  • Need to replace wick filter regularly

Essick Air is a well-known manufacturer of evaporative humidifiers and the MA1201 is arguably the most popular one they have. Capable of covering entire residences up to 3600 sq. ft. in size, the MA1201 is an incredibly powerful evaporative humidifier equipped with a tank large enough to hold up to 3.6 gallons of water.

Considering its impressive specifications, it’s no surprise that the MA1201 comes in a pretty large and bulky frame. It also has a dated design. A lot of users have also complained that it’s exceptionally loud for a humidifier so you might not want to use it at night. With all things considered, however, the MA1201 is undeniably one of the most powerful evaporative humidifiers on the market. For an affordable price, you get a highly effective humidifier with automatic humidity control and other useful features.

Pros

  • Whole house humidification
  • Affordable
  • Large tank capacity and humidity output
  • Easy to maintain
  • Automatic humidity control
  • Energy efficient
  • Durable
  • No white dust
  • Casters for mobility

Cons

  • Loud
  • Dated design
  • Large and bulky
  • Need to replace wick filter regularly

If you’re looking for an evaporative humidifier that’s capable of covering entire residences, then you might like the Honeywell HCM-6009. The HCM-6009 is a console evaporative humidifier equipped with two tanks that can hold 1.5 gallons of water each. It’s rated to cover up to 1,900 sq. ft. of space.

Although not inexpensive, the HCM-6009 is quite reasonably priced especially considering its performance and room coverage. As with most console type humidifiers, the HCM-6009 is also incredibly bulky with a dated design. Furthermore, due to its powerful fan, it tends to be quite loud white it’s running. Nevertheless, the HCM-600 has excellent specifications and several features that allow for a more convenient user experience. It even has casters for easier mobility. With this powerful system running, you can rest assured that your entire home is getting the humidity it needs.

Pros

  • Large room coverage and tank capacity
  • Easy to clean, fill, maintain
  • Casters for mobility
  • Automatic humidity control
  • No white dust

Cons

  • Slightly expensive
  • Large, bulky
  • Dated design
  • Loud
  • Need to replace wick filter regularly

The W200 is Boneco’s pioneering airwasher, beautifully designed to both humidify and purify the air at the same time. It comes equipped with a 1.18-gallon tank and is capable of servicing areas up to 540 sq. ft. in size. It works similar to the more famous Venta airwashers wherein it cleans polluted air by running it through specially textured evaporative mats to add moisture to the air while effectively removing the pollutants.

Unfortunately for those on a tight budget, the W200 has an incredibly high price tag. Some people might find this off-putting especially considering the W200 lacks smart features and has a considerably small tank for a humidifier in its price range. The W200 does have a lot of redeeming qualities, though, such as its built-in compartment for essential oils which helps aromatize the air. Overall, the W200 is a cutting-edge evaporative humidifier that is able to combine beauty and power in one machine.

Pros

  • Large room coverage
  • Low maintenance, easy to clean
  • No filters to replace
  • No white dust
  • Humidifies quickly
  • Compatible with essential oils
  • Quiet
  • Energy efficient
  • Long warranty

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Small tank
  • Fewer features
  • No humidistat/hygrometer

The 7D6100 from Essick Air is one of their smaller evaporative humidifiers and is marketed as a table top unit. Don’t let its small size fool you: the 7D6100 is capable of covering extra large spaces up to 1000 sq. ft. in size with its 2-gallon tank. Furthermore, despite such impressive specifications, the 7D6100 is one of the cheaper humidifiers on this list.

Unfortunately, due to its internal fan, the 7D6100 makes a considerable amount of noise. There have also been reports from users claiming it isn’t as durable as other Essick Air humidifiers. In addition, its unique design makes it quite difficult to fill. On the bright side, the 7D6100 easily makes up for these shortcomings by providing a hefty serving of features such as automatic humidity control, digital display, four output levels, as well as indicators for low water and filter change. It’s definitely worth a look if you’re in the market for an affordable, compact evaporative humidifier.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Large room coverage and tank capacity
  • Automatic humidity control
  • Sleek and compact
  • Easy to use/maintain

Cons

  • Loud
  • Durability issues
  • Difficult to fill


The HEV320W from Honeywell is a popular, budget-friendly evaporative humidifier perfect for for those on a tight budget looking to humidify only a medium-sized room. It is equipped with a small 0.8-gallon water tank and is rated to cover areas up to 400 sq. ft. in  size.

The main problem with the HEV320W is that it has low humidity output, making it difficult to bump up the humidity even in medium-sized rooms. In addition to that drawback, you’ll need to refill its tank more frequently because it’s quite small so it empties pretty quickly. The wick filter also needs to be replaced regularly, which is no surprise because it’s the same with most evaporative humidifiers. Overall, though, the HEV320BW is a good choice for small to medium rooms where space is at a premium because it doesn’t take up too much space and has a sleek, modern design.  It’s quiet, too, making it a perfect nighttime companion.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Medium room coverage
  • Sleek design
  • Easy to use and maintain
  • No white dust

Cons

  • Small tank capacity
  • Low humidity output
  • Need to replace wick filter regularly

Evaporative Humidifier Buyer’s Guide


How Evaporative Humidifiers Work

Similar to the age-old concept of placing a jar of water in the middle of a room to naturally add moisture to the air through evaporation, evaporative humidifiers use a wick filter that absorbs water from the tank and filters out impurities before the fan helps the water from the filter evaporate out into the room.

The Safest Type of Humidifier

Evaporative humidifiers are the oldest and most common type of cool mist humidifiers. But did you know they’re considered the safest type of humidifier, too? This is primarily because they don’t use any heating elements and release only cool mist, making them the safer choice for families with children and pets.

However, the best thing about evaporative humidifiers is that they use a self-regulating system. Evaporation is dependent on the relative humidity of the environment so it’s self-regulating and there’s no risk of over-humidifying unlike with ultrasonic, impeller, or warm mist humidifiers. This further validates it as the safest type of humidifier overall.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Evaporative Humidifiers

Below is a list of advantages and disadvantages to using evaporative humidifiers as opposed to other types of humidifiers:

AdvantagesDisadvantages
  • Generally more affordable than other types of humidifiers
  • Generally able to cover larger areas compared to other types
  • Thanks to the filter, mineral deposits are trapped and are not released into the room
  • Consumes less energy compared to other types of humidifiers
  • Evaporative humidifiers have a self-regulating system that adds only as much moisture to a room as needed
  • No hot parts or surfaces, safe around children and pets
  • Needs to be cleaned regularly to avoid build-up of mold and bacteria
  • Wick filter needs to be replaced regularly for the humidifier to keep it working effectively
  • Noisier because of the fan inside the humidifier
  • Higher risk of bacterial contamination because the water used is at room temperature

Cleaning and Maintenance of Evaporative Humidifiers

Truth be told, a humidifier could potentially be a double-edged sword when it comes to allergies. Due to the water it holds, a humidifier can be a breeding ground for dust mites, mold, and bacteria. When a humidifier isn’t properly cleaned or maintained, these microorganisms are released into the room, doing more harm than good. That’s why it’s important to stick to a strict cleaning schedule for your humidifier. The best way to go about this is by reading through the humidifier’s instruction manual.

Generally, manufacturers will suggest thoroughly cleaning the humidifier once a week with white vinegar and bleach. The white vinegar is for descaling the humidifier and removing any mineral deposits that might have stuck to the walls of the water tank and other parts of the humidifier. The bleach is for disinfection, making sure that the humidifier is free from any bacteria or mold. For safety purposes, though, it’s important to rinse the humidifier parts after bleaching so that you don’t end up inhaling any harmful chemicals.

Replacing the Wick Filter

The wick filter is a key feature of evaporative humidifiers as it is able to remove impurities and prevent minerals from being spread into the room. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that the wick needs to be replaced regularly in order for the humidifier to continue working efficiently.

Wick filters can last anywhere from 1 month to 3 months, depending on how often you use your humidifier. When left unchecked for long periods of time, wick filters can become breeding grounds for bacteria and mold or mineral build up, all of which will lead to clogging. A clogged wick filter will greatly impede the performance of your humidifier and cause it to work harder than it should. This, in turn, will cause the humidifier to use up more energy and burn out more quickly.

You can prevent this by checking the wick filter regularly for signs of bacterial and mold growth, which is characterized by a darkening of the filter. Keep an eye on the humidity output of your humidifier as well: a humidifier with a dirty wick will work more slowly even on the highest setting and will take a longer time to empty the tank than normal. Some wick filters can easily be cleaned simply by rinsing them under running water and then allowing them to soak in a mixture of water and white vinegar for 30 minutes. If the humidifier still isn’t performing as it should even after you’ve cleaned the wick filter, then you know it’s time to replace it.

FAQ

Why are evaporative humidifiers so loud?

Evaporative humidifiers are the noisiest out of all the portable humidifiers because they use internal fans to generate airflow and blow moisture into the air. The noise they make is often likened to white noise because it fades into the background. Some people can handle the noise and find it soothing, while others might find it too loud.

Why is my wick filter getting discolored, hard, and crusty?

It’s normal for wick filters to become discolored and crusty over time. As the wick evaporates water, minerals and other impurities in the water get left behind. These minerals and impurities are what causes the wick filter to become discolored and inefficient.

What type of water can I use with my humidifier?

While tap water is more accessible and affordable, experts would always recommend distilled water instead. This is because tap water contains minerals and other pollutants that can create deposits inside your humidifier and its wick filter that promote bacterial growth.

Using tap water for evaporative humidifiers dramatically shortens the lifespan of the wick filter, causing it to become inefficient. Distilled or demineralized water has a much lower mineral content compared with tap water; you can also use a demineralization cartridge if you want to use tap water.

How will I know if the room is over-humidified?

If your humidity levels are too high, you might notice condensation around your home, particularly on the windows, or stained ceilings and walls. Other signs of high humidity levels include recurring allergies, rotting wood, and musty odors. Increased moisture in the air provides a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Pests like cockroaches also gravitate towards more humid environments. To know more about maintaining the right humidity levels, read our article here.

Where should I place my humidifier?

Regardless of the type, humidifiers ideally need to be placed above ground level and out of reach of any children. Humidifiers should also be placed on surfaces that don’t get damaged by water, so wooden tables and other wooden furniture are a no-no. It’s important to note, though, that regardless of where you put it, the area surrounding humidifiers may become moist and slippery from the mist output.

Further Reading