In-depth baby product reviews led by a Pediatrician

Vicks Filter Free Review

Less expensive compact humidifier that is also less effective and pretty loud compared to the competition
Vicks Filter Free
Credit: Abriah Wofford
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Price:   $45 List | $39.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Inexpensive, smaller, filterless, stands to fill
Cons:  Less effective, louder, few features
Manufacturer:   Vicks
By Wendy Schmitz and the BabyGearLab Review Team  ⋅  Jul 28, 2021
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42
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 11
  • Ease of Cleaning - 35% 6
  • Effectiveness - 35% 3
  • Noise - 20% 2
  • Ease of Use - 10% 6

The Skinny

The Vicks Filter Free V4600 is a compact but loud ultrasonic humidifier. It has a slightly below-average list price and a basic variable mist dial that lacks programmable features. This unit has a small footprint so it can be used almost anywhere, but it is one of the loudest options in the group. Also, the humidity output is low from the get-go and continues to stay below most of the competition during testing. While some might be attracted to the Vicks brand name, we think there are better options that are less expensive with better overall performance results.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Vicks Filter Free
This Product
Vicks Filter Free
Awards  Best Value Award  Top Pick Award  
Price $45 List
$39.99 at Amazon
$40 List$55 List
$29.99 at Amazon
$43 List$40 List
$39.99 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
42
70
62
58
54
Star Rating
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Pros Inexpensive, smaller, filterless, stands to fillBudget-friendly, effective, easy to use, cleaning brush includedQuiet, filterless, effective, compact, multiple color optionsBaby-centric, budget-friendly, quiet, easy to cleanPrice, easy to clean, compact, filterless
Cons Less effective, louder, few featuresSomewhat louder than average, requires long handle bottle brush, filterPotential issues with motor performance and durability, light always onNot as effective, average ease of useLouder, not as effective, small capacity, frequent refills
Bottom Line Less expensive compact humidifier that is also less effective and pretty loud compared to the competitionAn impressively effective budget-friendly humidifier that makes a little more noise than the average unitSleek design, basic features, quiet operation with effective humidity creationAdorable baby-centric humidifier that is quiet and easy to maintain, but it isn't very effective compared to the competition and may not meet your humidity goalsCompact and easy to clean but not as effective and louder than most
Rating Categories Vicks Filter Free TaoTronics TT-AH001 Crane Drop TaoTronics TT-AH038 Honeywell HUL520
Ease Of Cleaning (35%)
6.0
6.0
4.0
7.0
8.0
Effectiveness (35%)
3.0
9.0
7.0
2.0
4.0
Noise (20%)
2.0
5.0
9.0
10.0
3.0
Ease Of Use (10%)
6.0
7.0
5.0
6.0
6.0
Specs Vicks Filter Free TaoTronics TT-AH001 Crane Drop TaoTronics TT-AH038 Honeywell HUL520
Mist Type Cool Cool Cool Cool Cool
Technology Ultrasonic Ultrasonic Ultrasonic Ultrasonic Ultrasonic
Tank Capacity 1.2 gal 1.1 gal 1 gal 0.66 gal 0.5 gal
Visible Water Reservoir Yes Yes No No Yes
Room Humidification Area (Sq Ft) Medium 322 sq ft 500 sq ft 269 sq ft Small Room
Max Run Time Up to 33 hrs Up to 30 hrs Up to 24 hrs Up to 30 hrs Up to 20 hrs
Humidity Output Control Variable Mist Control Variable Mist Control
Humidistat
Variable Mist Control Variable Mist Control Variable Mist Control
Demineralization Cartridge/Filter No No Available for Purchase No No
Night Light No Yes No Yes No
Empty Tank Auto-Shut Off Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Dimensions (BGL) 9.4"W x 12"H x 8.3"L 6"W x 9"H x 11.4"L 8.7"W x 13"H x 8.7"L 8.3"W x 12.2"H x 5.5"L 8.1"W x 8.8"H x 8.1"L
Empty Weight (BGL) 3.31 lbs 1.83 lbs 2.24 lbs 3.71 lbs 2.6 lbs
Max Operation Noise Level in dB (BGL) 46 db 41.7 db <40 db <40 db 45.2 db

Our Analysis and Test Results

Most people are familiar with the traditional Vick's Vapor Rub that came on the scene about 30 years after the company started in 1890. Vick's continued this trend with other health and wellness products, including throat drops, cough medicine, and the ever-popular NyQuil. Vick's also makes thermometers, vaporizers, humidifiers, and steam inhalers. Helen of Troy Limited, a consumer products group that includes OXO®, Hydro Flask®, Vicks®, Braun®, Honeywell®, PUR®, and Hot Tools®, owns Vicks.

Performance Comparison



Cleaning the Vicks can be done without any special equipment given...
Cleaning the Vicks can be done without any special equipment given the large opening size that allows most hands inside.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Cleaning


The Vick's regular cleaning and maintenance are relatively involved. According to manufacturer instructions, you'll need to clean the tank and components with vinegar regularly with routine bleach soaking to remove trace mold or bacteria not removed during the vinegar process. While not difficult, the tank and base do have some small spaces that are challenging to reach and clean thoroughly.

The Vicks has few parts and the manual outlines cleaning...
The base of the Vicks may require a smaller straw style brush or...

The opening of the tank is more substantial than some of the competition, and smaller hands will fit inside. It is still easiest to clean using a bottle brush, and you'll need the brush to reach the bottom of the mist tube.

The amount of humidity created by the Vicks is low at the beginning...
The amount of humidity created by the Vicks is low at the beginning and as our tests wore on.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Effectiveness


While the Vick's has a slightly higher capacity than some of the competition, it has less ability to provide adequate or prompt humidification for the room. Our tests indicate that from the get-go, it doesn't generate as much humidity as the competition, and this trend only gets worse over time, with the disparity between products growing exponentially over time. At the end of 60 minutes, this unit had created a less humid room than the majority of the competition. This lack of humidity means it may not meet your needs, whether they are related to the crib area or the entire room.

The Vicks creates a significant amount of dust and does not have the...
The Vicks creates a significant amount of dust and does not have the option of adding a filter. If this is a concern for you, the Vicks may not be your best bet.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Also, this unit creates a significant amount of white dust, and while it is nice not to worry about a filter to replace, you'll want to use distilled water in this unit to avoid excessive white dust.

Noise


This unit generates the highest level of noise in the group with decibel readings over 46. there is a lot of dripping sounds and it doesn't sound like a white noise maker like some of the competition. If constant or random noises might keep you or your baby awake, then this is likely a poor choice for your family. We aren't sure why the sound is so high in comparison to the competition or previous test models from Vick's but repeated testing showed the same results.

The single dial on the Vicks is easy to use but it lacks any ability...
The single dial on the Vicks is easy to use but it lacks any ability to set timers or humidity level goals.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Use


The Vick's has a simple single-dial operation, but the lack of adjustable features could be a bummer depending on your goals. The variable output dial is easy to use and can be adjusted to increase or decrease its output as desired. However, the lack of humidity control or programmability means you'll need to keep a watchful eye on the unit to keep your humidity levels under control.

The opening on the Vicks vessel is large and it makes cleaning and...
The opening on the Vicks vessel is large and it makes cleaning and filling easy.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

This unit is easy enough to fill, and the tank stands on its own in the sink, which is a plus and not common in this group. The tank has a carry handle and is relatively lightweight. The opening is large enough for filling, but you can't refill the reservoir without removing it, which isn't as user-friendly as filling it in place while your baby continues to sleep peacefully.

The Vicks includes a compartment for adding scents or Vicks pads...
The Vicks includes a compartment for adding scents or Vicks pads (sold separately) designed to help congestion.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Manufacturer Video



Wendy Schmitz and the BabyGearLab Review Team