The Sunpentown SU-4010 is an ultrasonic humidifier that performed well in our previous humidifier competition. However, the new contenders included in this round gave it a run for its money and it struggled in the face of the competition. The Sunpentown is relatively effective and has an easy to fill tank, but it is louder than other ultrasonic options and it isn't as easy to use. It does have an included ionic exchange filter cartridge designed to reduce mineral output. While we like this unit and our founder uses it herself, we think there are similarly priced options that are more effective, easier to clean, and quieter.
Sunpentown SU-4010 Review
Pros: Easy to fill tank, effective
Cons: Wet mist can accumulate on surfaces
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
Sunpentown International Inc. (SPT) launched in 1993 with a plan to distribute innovative appliances with quality and value. Eventually, SPT began manufacturing products with comfort and ease in mind. SPT offers hundreds of products from air quality, refrigeration, lighting, massage, and dishwashers. SPT attempts to meet demands by making quality, sustainable products.
Ease of Cleaning
The Sunpentown SU-4010 has slightly below-average ease of cleaning. The water tank opening is large enough to accommodate a hand to wipe down the inside on almost all surfaces except far-reaching spots at the end of the tank (above left). This humidifier comes with a small brush (above right) to clean the ultrasonic vibrating plate and some of the other small spaces in the base. The brush fits neatly into the base for storage. You'll need a bottle brush for cleaning the mist tube, but this is true of any humidifier with a long tube.
The base of the unit (above left) does have some smaller spaces that will require patience and the brush to keep free of bacteria and mold. One extra cleaning step to be aware of with this humidifier is the inlet grille filter on the underside (above right). Sunpentown doesn't make a recommendation on how often to clean the inlet grille filter, but during our in-home testing, we found that this was not necessary every week; houses with pets may notice that more frequent cleaning is required.
This humidifier is effective compared to the competition. This unit starts strong with impressive mist production that increases the ambient humidity quickly. As time goes on, it levels out, and some of the competition surpasses it after an hour of operation. That said, this unit is more effective than about half of the competition. We rarely need to use this option at full mist output, and by using the middle setting, we can maintain ideal humidity levels overnight without saturating surfaces.
This unit is louder than most of the competing ultrasonic option. The decibel reading of the Sunpentown is 43. With much of the competition coming in below 40, it is quiet but not as quiet as others.
Ease of Use
This humidifier isn't the easiest to use with a below-average performance for ease of use. The Sunpentown has a 1-gallon tank, which is average for the competition and enough to run overnight without refilling. Its rectangular shape makes it stable and hands-free during refills (below left). The Sunpentown also sports a useful handle making the tank easier to carry when full.
This unit includes an ion exchange filter cartridge (above right), so you can use regular tap water. This cartridge filters hard minerals out the water before generating a mist, which also reduces the amount of white dust you'll find on surfaces. The manufacturer recommends changing the filter every six months, assuming a mid-output for 6 hours/day on average use.
The Sunpentown has continuous variable mist output control, with auto-shutoff, and adjustable dual mist jets. This unit features two dials, one for humidity level control and the other to choose between cool or warm mist. Because this product has a warm mist option, you'll want to keep it out of the reach of curious kids.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD and Bob Wofford