Hands-on Gear Review

Crane Drop Shape Review

Price:   $55.00 List | $37.99 at Amazon - 31% off
Pros:  Filterless, simple operation, small footprint, available in multiple tank colors
Cons:  Potential problems with motor performance and durability, unit light cannot be turned off
Bottom line:  Sleek design with basic ultrasonic humidification, but we found inconsistent performance
Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
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  • 5
Dimensions (BGL):  9" W x 9" D x 13" H
Empty Weight (BGL):  3.5 Lbs
Max Operation Noise Level in dB (BGL):  48
Manufacturer:   Crane

The Skinny

Available in many different colors, the Crane Drop Shape is a basic ultrasonic humidifier presented in a stylish and attractive design. Although the Crane Drop Shape received our lowest rating overall, it is still worth considering for small spaces needing a less powerful contraption.



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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Ellen Baker & BabyGearLab Team

Last Updated:
Sunday
June 14, 2015

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The Crane Drop Shape humidifier presents itself well. Available in many different colors to coordinate with your nursery's color scheme, its small footprint and simple construction make it very visually appealing. The design is simple and meets the basic goal of putting extra humidity into the air.

Performance Comparison


Crane Drop Shape Cool Mist Humidifier in Yellow

Ease of cleaning


The base of this unit has only a few small nooks and crannies, which made it relatively easy to clean. The water tank, on the other hand, presented more of a problem and earned the Crane Drop an ease of cleaning score of 4 of 10. The opening of the water tank is too small to allow a hand to fit inside. Although a brush can be inserted into the opening, the design of the tank prevents it from reaching all surfaces. However, we appreciated the limited number of parts (base, tank with cap, and mist nozzle) needing attention during cleaning and found weekly cleaning to be quick and painless.
Parts of the Crane Drop Shape water tank can be cleaned with a brush  but not all surfaced on the inside can be accessed for cleaning.
Parts of the Crane Drop Shape water tank can be cleaned with a brush, but not all surfaced on the inside can be accessed for cleaning.

We experienced a concerning problem after cleaning the ultrasonic vibrating plate as recommended on four occasions with two different units. After using a soft cloth to wipe the ultrasonic plate and getting the humidifier up and running post-cleaning, we discovered that it produced almost no mist. By using our nails to scrape around the washer, we were able to get mist production going again, but the sensitivity of the ultrasonic plate to cleaning (in addition to the high-pitched whirring noise of the motor explained below) made us concerned that construction of this model might not be up to par.

If you are using unfiltered tap water with the Drop Shape, use of their accessory filter is highly recommended as it will reduce minerals in the water and, thus, minerals in mist as well as accumulation of said minerals (a.k.a. white dust) on surfaces. The filter (#HS-3161) must be purchased separately for about $11. Soak filter for 30 minutes prior to first use to activate it. For best results, Crane recommends replacing the filter after every 30-40 fillings under normal use. Also, if the humidifier has not been used for an extended period of time, replacement is recommended.

Effectiveness


Earning a 3 of 10, we had some difficulty getting this humidifier to produce adequate mist right out of the box. Our effectiveness testing revealed a distinct "break-in" period during which the humidifier had to operate for a few days before it achieved its maximum ability to raise humidity levels in our testing room. Once we had the humidifier operating at full capacity, we were surprised to find that it scored on the bottom end of our effectiveness rating, second lowest only to the much smaller Duux Ultrasonic.

Noise


Both Crane Drop Shape units that we tested produced a high-pitched whirring noise. With a score of 6 of 10, although neither unit produced a great volume of noise, we found the type of noise produced to be more grating on our ears than the constant standby noise of the Boneco U7147 Digital or the bubbling of the Duux Ultrasonic.

Ease of Use


The simple design of this humidifier made it easy to put together and operate and earned it a 5 of 10 for ease of use. The single mist jet is easily adjustable to change direction of the mist, and the continuously variable mist output knob allowed for good control over output. The compact design made it ideal for placement on a night stand.

We found the "on" light to be distracting at night - it can't be turned off, but by turning the unit to face the wall, the brightness was greatly reduced.

Finally, we were put off by the design of a handle on the tank with a "Do not carry full tank by handle" instruction embossed into the plastic. Although it appears that the handle can be used with the empty tank, we feel that any handle included in the design of a humidifier should be able to support the tank whether it is empty or full.
The carrying handle for the Crane Drop Shape is embossed with the words "Don't carry full tank by handle."
The carrying handle for the Crane Drop Shape is embossed with the words "Don't carry full tank by handle."

Value


When compared to our other tested humidifiers, the Crane Drop Shape is a less expensive alternative at face value. Filtered or distilled water is recommended, which should also play a factor in determining overall cost. If you are planning to use tap water, you may also need to use and periodically replace a Crane demineralization filter at about $11 per unit.
The Crane demineralization cartridge for the Drop Shape (#HS-3161). The included note above reads: "Filter may discolor water during the initial use due to the protective coating on the pellets. The natural orange color is safe and will disappear after 2-3 tank fillings." After years of using these filters  we have never noted a tinted water color but the internal pellets indeed appear light orange.
The Crane demineralization cartridge for the Drop Shape (#HS-3161). The included note above reads: "Filter may discolor water during the initial use due to the protective coating on the pellets. The natural orange color is safe and will disappear after 2-3 tank fillings." After years of using these filters, we have never noted a tinted water color but the internal pellets indeed appear light orange.


Conclusion


An acceptable choice for small spaces that may not need a powerful performer, and for people who are less sensitive to noise.

Additional accessories


Crane offers a Universal Crane Humidifier Demineralization Filter as an additional accessory to help reduce white dust production if you are using tap water. To use the filter, you will need to soak it for 30 minutes and simply place it the base of the unit.
The Crane Drop Shape base with the demineralization filter cartridge (available separately) installed.
The Crane Drop Shape base with the demineralization filter cartridge (available separately) installed.

Video



Ellen Baker & BabyGearLab Team

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