Raising a baby is hard enough without having to deal with all the sickness that come along with it. Whether it’s the sniffles, a sore throat, or the dreaded whooping cough, a small bug can become a big issue when there is a little one involved. Not only are babies particularly susceptible to viruses, but they are also unable to communicate (or even conceptualize) exactly how they’re feeling.
Fortunately, for all of the cases listed above, there is a simple (& cheap) solution that has a pretty good chance of getting your baby back to tip-top-shape, and keeping them there. The best humidifier for a baby will not only keep your young one healthy, but they’re also pretty cheap and easy to operate.
We’re having a look at some of the best baby humidifiers of the year, breaking it all down by the most important features. Afterwards we’re going to dive a little deeper into the world of humidifiers, so be sure to stick around.
Does my baby even need a humidifier?
Here’s the thing about humidifiers. They provide the much needed moisture that the body requires to fulfill a number of functions, from skin protection to oxygen intake. Because babies have such small systems, they have a hard time regulating hydration, and thus are particularly responsive to changes in exterior humidity.
According to the Mayo Clinic, humidifiers can ease both skin irritations and breathing irregularities, two things that babies seem to excel at. But that’s not all. Here’s a few more ailments you can look forward to ditching with the help of a humidifier:
The 10 Best Humidifiers for Baby Rooms & Nurseries
Crane USA Filter-Free Cool Mist Humidifier for Kids
The Crane USA Cool Mist Humidifier is a good place to kick off our list because it is easily one of the most iconic products in the industry. With an adorable penguin-shaped tank, this is the perfect way to take control of the humidity in your little one’s room while adding a touch of lighthearted flair at the same time.
This is a great entry-level humidifier that is big on performance but short on extra features. It’s not a good choice for parents who want to use aromatherapy oils in conjunction with their humidifiers. In addition, the lack of the filter allows some mineral buildup to occur over long periods of time, which may require cleaning.
Overall, it’s perhaps the most charming and likable humidifier on the market, and has a built-in night light to boot.
Built in night light
With a tank of about 1 gallon, the CraneUSA has can operate for about 24 hours continuously before you have to fill the tank up again.
Automatic shutoff sensors prevent dangerous power breaks and shorts bu switching off ultrasonic components when no water is in the tank.
She’s about as quiet as a snoozing penguin, and won’t be keeping anyone awake.
iTvanila Ultrasonic Humidifier With Essential Oil Diffuser
If yours is a baby of class and taste, then the Essential Oil Diffuser & Mist Humidifier from iTvanila just might be the perfect fit. It’s design is something you would expect to see in an Apple store, and the sleek black color is surely going to match with any room of the house.
Aromatherapy compatibility is one of the iTvanila’s best features, though the touch screen and large tank capacity are close contenders. As a cold mist humidifier, the lack of having to deal with any hot water is a definite bonus.
It is certainly a more of an adult looking humidifier, but it’s reliable operation and ability to accept essential oils make it a great humidifier to keep around the house.
Large capacity water tank
Integrated Sleep Mode
Works quickly & effectively
Sleek, modern design
With a 5 liter water tank capacity (~1.3 gallons) you can expect the iTvanila ultrasonic humidifier to run a bit longer than your average cool mist humidifier. The consensus among owners is about 30 hours of continuous operation.
As a cold mist humidifier, there is no hazard of being burned by hot water.
A barely perceptible hum
LEVOIT LV600HH Hybrid Ultrasonic Humidifier
The large translucent side panels of the Levoit LV600HH Hybrid Ultrasonic humidifier provide a clean glimpse into the large 6 liter water tank. It’s a reservoir large enough to handle up to 36 hours of continuous use in most cases. Alternatively, it works like a charm for larger rooms that can otherwise be hard to humidify.
The most unique feature of course is that this is one of only a few hybrid-style humidifiers that can operate with either cool mist or warm. This gives the user even more control of the humidity within the baby’s room, and allows for conditions to be modified based on the weather and time of year.
Humidity level readout
Remote control operation
Has both warm and cold mist setting
Essential oil compatible
6 liters (~1.6G) for an approximate continuous run time of up to 36 hours.
The hybrid nature of this cool mist and warm mist humidifier means that it does have an electric heating element, which increase the dangers of accidental burns
Slightly louder than other humidifiers, but hardly noticeable at less than 36db.
Pure Enriched MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier
The perfect humidifier for your baby room doesn’t need to be huge, nor does it need to have a lot of bells and whistles. The Pure Enriched MistAire is proof of this as it has been designed to fit just about anywhere that you could think to put it. The operation is about as simple as it gets, which is always a big plus in our book.
The small water tank means that the Pure Enriched mist humidifier isn’t going to last as long as some of the other units we have looked at so far. You can expect about 16 hours of continuous operation on the “low” setting, which is more than enough to get baby (and yourself) through the long dry night.
The optional nightlight is a bonus feature that we weren’t expecting but we absolutely love.
Two different speed settings (high & low)
Has an optional nightlight mode
Small & compact design make it easy to put this wherever you need it
It’s one of the smaller tanks at only 1.5 liters, but can reportedly operate continuously (on the slow setting) for up to 16 hours.
As a cold mist humidifier, this is safer than one that uses warm mist. There is an automatic shutdown feature that will turn off the unit when the water runs dry.
If we’re being honest, there is a little bit of a hum to this one. Personally, I kind of like the subtle white noise of a humidifier, and that’s the exact tone that this one has. Either way, you will most likely forget all about it after a few seconds.
URPOWER 2nd Gen 300ml Aroma Essential Oil Diffuser Humidifier
Even though essential oils can be quite expensive, they are often worth it for the added aromatherapy that they can offer. The way we see it, if you’re going to bother getting an ultrasonic humidifier, you might as well get one that is capable of diffusing them.
The URPOWER 2nd Gen is the newest incarnation of a humidifier that differentiated itself from the crowd by utilizing a calming yet bold blue color scheme with opaque water tank. The LED light providing the color can actually be shifted between seven different colors, a handy thing for a humidifier that is most likely going to be carried from room to room.
The URPOWER is the most affordable cool mist humidifier on our list, so we have to give it a few points for that fact alone.
Four different timer options
Seven different LED color options
Very lightweight & portable
Automatic shutoff feature
Certainly the smallest water tank at only 300ml. Still, the manufacturer advertises a full 8 hours of continuous run-time.
Automatic shutoff feature; no danger of heat burns
The Honeywell HCM350W is one of the most unique Cool Mist humidifiers that we have had the pleasure of researching. For one, it has some germ-free components that no other models do, including an antimicrobial filter and germ-resistant water chambers. Any nursery would do well to include a germ-fighting machine like this one.
There are three different moisture output levels to choose from on the HCM350W, which is nice for a number of reasons. The high output mode can be a little loud, for instance, while the low setting does not release enough moisture to humidify anything but a small or medium room.
One thing Honeywell is doing right is offering different kinds of add-ons and upgrades that can make your humidifier even more valuable for your home, like humidity monitors and cleaning balls.
Anti-germ chamber technology
Utilizes an anti-microbial filter with a moisture balance system
Multiple speed & moisture output settings
Variable humidity levels
With a one gallon tank, you can safely expect the HCM 350W to operate continuously for up to 24 hours per filling.
Germ-free chamber technology and an antimicrobial filter provide additional levels of safety
The noise gets a little louder with each output level, but in general, this is a fairly silent cool mist humidifier.
URPOWER has a couple of cool-looking humidifiers for baby rooms, but if we’re being honest, there is no reason that you could not use this one anywhere in the house.
The innovate square construction makes it look more like a piece of decor than a functional mist humidifier. The polished wood trim and accent pieces create a sense of genuine style, and the fact that you can choose form seven different LED light colors makes it suitable for almost any design scheme.
Not that your baby will be particularly interested in design choices, but who knows. The LED settings are not only adjustable for color, but for brightness as well, so at the very least it isn’t going to be keeping anyone awake.
Essential oil compatible
7 different LED color light settings
Automatic shutoff feature
At 700 ml, this is more than twice the capacity of the other URPOWER mist humidifier that we looked at.
No warming element (cool mist humidifier), automatic shutoff switch
There’s nothing like going with a trusted brand name when buying new things for your baby’s new nursery, or for that matter, for any room in the house. Vicks has been in the vaporization game for a long time, and it would perhaps not be inappropriate to say that they helped define it.
Here is a cool mist humidifier that uses ultrasonic cool mist technology to create a perfect balance of humidity and temperature, ensuring that your baby isn’t experiencing any of the avoidable symptoms of overly dry air.
There’s no filter here, which as we have said can both be a blessing and a curse. Its lighter and easier to operate, but without a filter there might be more cleaning required down the road.
As opposed to essential oils, the Vicks Filter-Free Ultrasonic Humidifier is designed to work hand in hand with Vicks VapoPads. The proprietary pads are pre-loaded with different soothing herbal combinations, such as menthol for congestion and lavender for a more relaxing effect.
Trusted brand name
Utilizes VICKS aromatherapy pads
Variable humidification control knob
1.2 gallons is a pretty decent size when compared to the competitors. That means you can expect (roughly) 20 hours of continuous operation before it’s time to refill the reservoir.
Very simple to operate; a cool mist ultrasonic humidifier doesn’t have any heating elements or require hot water.
Noise Level:We’d put this one at a solid 3 out of 5 on the noise scale. You can hear it working, but it’s hardly more than a gentle purr.
Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier
There’s something about a classic that always gets us excited.
If you’ve ever owned a humidifier in your life, chances are it was probably made by Vicks. Though the model has been updated several times since its release some decades ago, the basic size, shape, and performance of this humidifier have largely stayed the same. And for good reason too.
Though it is not one of those fancy new cool mist humidifiers, it has one of the most reliable performance profiles of any unit that we tested. The amount of moisture actually being put out per minute feels far greater than any of the competitors … truly a testament to a brand that has has some serious staying power on the market.
The crowd-favorite feature is no doubt the medical liquid cup, which allows you to add scented and/or medicated liquids directly into the water tank. While these medicated liquids can be just as expensive as essential oils, they are specifically formulated to help alleviate things like dry skin, coughing, and poor sleep.
Effectively moistens dry air
Classic model with a proven track record
Medical cup for liquid therapy additions
Easy to clean
1 gallon total, which works out to about 12 hours of operation. (Remember that warm mist humidifiers go through significantly more water that cool mist varieties).
Automatic heating element shutoff switch
About as noisy as a passing cloud on a Sunday afternoon
URPOWER Essential Oil Diffuser Humidifier
The final ultrasonic cool mist humidifier on our list is hands down the fan favorite in terms of aesthetics. The polished dark-wood exterior pattern make this humidifier stylish enough to leave out in the open in any room.
The LED lights on this model are not quite as in-your-face big as it is with the other two URPOWER models that we looked at. There is less area where the light is shining through, so overall you have a product that is less bright. However the color becomes more of a subtle accent, and certainly increases its overall appeal.
But as the old Egyptian saying goes, “looks don’t make the ultrasonic cool mist humidifier.” It takes performance to do that, and this unit has got that part of it covered. While the water tank is a bit small, it puts out moisture at an impressive rate.
The ability to diffuse essential oils while being this stylish sends this humidifier towards the top of our list.
Gorgeous dark wooden finish
7-color LED lighting system with two brightness settings
A smaller water tank with about 200ml in capacity. It will need to be refilled more often, but is so lightweight and portable that you can take it just about anywhere.
Automatic heat shutoff switch
Very quiet operation
Buyer’s Guide: Things to Consider when Buying a Humidifier for Baby Nurseries
If it was all about looks, then it would be pretty obvious which cool mist humidifiers we would recommend to our loyal readers. (The penguin-shaped one, of course).
But humidifiers are a bit more complicated than that, and there are in fact several big things that you want to evaluate before making your decision.
Here they are, in no particular order:
Cool Mist vs. Warm Mist Humidifiers
You may have already noticed that all of the humidifiers on our list fit into one of these two categories. While warm humidifiers are the gold standard and have been around since the beginning, cool mist technologies have started to claim a significant portion of the market share.
Cool Mist Humidifiers have ditched the traditional electric vaporizing elements in favor of faster, quieter, and safer ultrasonic technology. A small nebulizer creates vibrations that separate the water into vapor sized particles, at which point these particles are pushed out into the air like a very fine mist.
PROS: No heating elements, so they’re significantly safer for infants and babies
CONS: Generally, nebulizers and essential oils aren’t great bed buddies, so cool mist humidifiers are not the best option for aromatherapy.
Warm Mist Humidifiers are what you might call a “traditional” humidifier. These units use a small heating element to vaporize the water the old fashioned way before pushing it out into the air in a small, foggy jet.
PROS: Well-suited for essential oils and other forms of aromatherapy
CONS: Heating element poses a small, yet worrisome threat for little ones
The amount of water you can fit into your humidifier is perhaps the largest factor in estimating how much continuous operating time you are going to get before having to refill, as well as how much moisture you are capable of putting into the air in that amount of time.
The humidifiers that we looked at here range from 200ml to almost 2 gallons. Unfortunately, there is no 1-to-1 rule regarding how much operation time a liter of water will get you. This is because each unit is going to vary slightly in their humidification rates, or rather, how much water they can actually humidify per minute.
Differences in heating elements and propulsion systems are largely to blame for this discrepancy.
The whole reason you are looking for information on which humidifier is best for a baby is because you have a legitimate safety concern about bringing an appliance, however small, into the nursery. And for good reason.
However the ultrasonic cool mist humidifiers on our list are each designed with a few handy safety features in mind. While it’s going to vary from unit to unit, here are some of the features you are likely to find:
Automatic shutoff switch
Heat-free humidification (cool mist varieties)
Humidity level indicator
To be blunt, humidifiers are not a very loud product in general. Even when you can hear it, it is usually no more than a gentle background hum, which people like yours truly actually find quite soothing.
Still, some units are noisier than others. For an ultrasonic humidifier with whisper-quiet operation, we recommend taking a look at URPOWER’s Square Humidifier. It is perhaps the most silent of the bunch.
Essential Oil Compatibility
Not all humidifiers are built to be aromatherapy machines. This is because of the way that some units humidify their water source. While warm mist units evaporate the water in the traditional sense, cool mist units use an ultrasonic nebulizer to separate the water into mist-like particles.
These nebulizers are a significant advancement in the technology, however, they can also be prone to clogging due to oil exposure.
There are some nebulizer humidifiers that feature specially placed trays for these oils, thus allowing you to use the unit for whatever oil-based fragrances that you see fit.
How to Clean & Maintain Your Humidifier for Good Hygiene
Even if the only thing you are putting into your humidifier is water, it is possible for mold and bacteria to grow, thus threatening the ongoing health of both you and your little one. Keeping your humidifier properly cleaned is especially important for very young babies. Fortunately, it’s not all that complicated:
1.) Ditch the old humidifier
If you are expecting a newborn, the first thing you want to do is toss out that old humidifier that you’ve had for all these years. Even if it looks clean, it can be harboring secret nasty buildups and mineral accumulations. This can be bad for your health, as well as decrease the operating efficiency of your unit.
2.) Use only distilled water
The minerals present in tap water can accumulate inside your humidifier over a remarkably short period of time. These minerals will then get pushed out of the humidifier as a fine white dust, which can be devastating to your furniture. Using pure distilled water avoids this possibility altogether.
Depending on how often you are running the humidifier, we recommend giving it a thorough cleaning at least once per week. All it takes is a quick solution of about 3% hydrogen peroxide for both the tank and the unit interior. Afterwords, give it a good rinse and let it air dry before operating it again.
4.) Don’t leave standing water in the humidifier
If you’re done using it for the day, go ahead and empty the remaining water supply into your favorite houseplant and allow the humidifier to dry completely. Even distilled water can come to harbor bacteria and mold over time.
Best Humidifier for Baby: Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is too much humidity bad for babies?
A: According to information compiled by the Akron Children’s Hospital, extreme amounts of temperature or humidity can be harmful to infants and small children. However it is important to note that the kind of mist humidifiers that we looked at for this guide do not produce enough vapor to raise the moisture levels to a dangerous rate. Extreme climate-related conditions can do that, so it partially depends on where you live.
However, studies have shown that keeping an eye on your baby’s ambient temperature is quite important. For this reason, cool mist humidifiers have become increasingly popular because of their ability to use ultrasonic technology to create the vapor, as opposed to an internal heating element.
Q: Do cool mist humidifiers work with essential oils?
A: That’s a great question. In fact, it is not recommended to use essential oils with cool mist humidifiers. It is possible for these oils to clog the nebulizer, which is the chief component of a cool mist humidifier. When this gets clogged, it can lead to pressure build up and even cracking of the tank.
If you are interested in using you humidifier for aromatherapy, we recommend going with a warm mist humidifier.
If you are unsure whether or not your humidifier is compatible with essential oils, refer to the product specifications for more information. There are some cool mist units that have specialty trays that protect the nebulizer.
Q: What’s the best way to control the humidity level in a baby’s room?
A: Monitoring the humidity in your baby’s room is about more than just humidification. That’s because it is actually quite possible to make a baby room too humid. While a humidifier can relieve and prevent symptoms of coughing and irritated dry skin, too much moisture can lead to colds and runny noses while encouraging the growth of bacteria and mites.
A simple humidity indicator is the simple to see what the humidity level inside the nursery is. Pediatricians often recommend a humidity level between 50% and 70% for optimum baby health.
Conclusion: Best Baby Humidifier… ?
It would be hard to tell you with full confidence what the best humidifier for baby safe purposes is. There are a lot of products in this market, and each one seems to be specializing in something a little different.
If you’ve got a fresh newborn on the way, how could you resist the penguin-shaped charm of the Crane USA Humidifier? The built in night light is also a pleasure.
But if you need something with a little bit more desktop appeal, the URPOWER Square Humidifier is certainly the classiest of the bunch.