Best Baby Humidifier of 2021
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|Pros||Very effective, high quality, limited parts, fill from the top||Price, easy to clean||Cute, easy to clean base, filterless, large tank||Easier to clean and use||Easy to fill tank, effective|
|Cons||Expensive, louder, some parts are hard to clean||Small capacity, limited features, louder||Mist output varies, larger footprint||More noise and less effective, expensive||Wet mist can accumulate on surfaces|
|Bottom Line||Highly effective option that is easy to use but some parts are hard to clean and it is expensive||Budget-friendly compact choice with basic features and super easy to clean parts||Cutest package with high mist output and a family-friendly price||More expensive option that is somewhat noisy and less effective||Long run time with easy to fill tank, but not as effective as others|
|Rating Categories||Boneco U300||Honeywell HUL520||Crane Adorable||Levoit LV600HH||Sunpentown SU-4010|
|Ease Of Cleaning (45%)|
|Ease Of Use (10%)|
|Specs||Boneco U300||Honeywell HUL520||Crane Adorable||Levoit LV600HH||Sunpentown SU-4010|
|Tank Capacity||1.3 gal||0.5 gal||1 gal||1.5 gal||1 gal|
|Visible Water Reservoir||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Room Humidification Area (Sq Ft)||540 sf||Small Rooms||250 sf||285 sf||500 sf|
|Max Run Time||Not Specified||Up To 20 hrs||Up To 24 hrs||Up To 20 hrs||Up To 10 hrs|
|Humidity Output Control||Variable Mist Control||Variable Mist Control||Variable Mist Control||Variable Mist Control
|Variable Mist Control|
|Empty Tank Auto-Shut Off||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dimensions (BGL)||12.3"W x 12.7"H x 6.6"L||8.1"W x 9"H x 8.1"L||9.5"W x 12"H x 9.5"L||7.6"W x 11.2"H x 12"L||12"W x 13.6"H x 5.8"L|
|Empty Weight (BGL)||6.5 lbs||2.6 lbs||4 lbs||5 lbs||6 lbs|
|Max Operation Noise Level in dB (BGL)||#REF!||#REF!||#REF!||#REF!||#REF!|
Best Overall Humidifier
The Boneco U300 is a high-end, ultrasonic option you can fill without removing the tank. This easy to use humidifier has a modern aesthetic and includes a cleaning brush to reach smaller spaces. We like that this option is easy to refill silently while your baby sleeps and that it has a straightforward dial you can use without a steep learning curve or pages of directions. The Boneco is the most efficient product in our lineup, creating more mist at a faster rate than the competition, making it an excellent choice if your goal is a lightning fast uptick in humidity.
The Boneco is the most expensive choice in this review, making it a poor selection for those on a tight budget or anyone who only plans to humidify occasionally. It is also one of the loudest ultrasonic products in our tests, so it could be a bad choice for those who struggle to sleep with ambient noise. However, it is still fairly silent and far quieter than evaporative technology, which typically includes louder fans. Despite these minor hiccups, we feel the Boneco is a good choice for families looking to raise humidity levels efficiently and quickly if the price is not a concern or you hope to humidify daily.
Read review: Boneco U300
The Honeywell HUL520 is a compact, ultrasonic option that is small enough to fits almost anywhere you need to place it. We like that this basic product is easy to use and works out of the box with no learning curve. This product has a smaller tank, but it can hold enough water for a full night at high mist volume with no refilling required. Happily, when the tank is empty, the machine will shut off. This model has a dial adjustment, stands on its own to fill in the sink, and is efficient enough to keep humidity levels on track in smaller spaces. This option is budget-friendly with a low price most families can afford.
This Honeywell has a small tank opening, so you'll need a bottle brush to reach the inside. The base is easy to clean, but the float is easier to clean with a small straw brush. This product is somewhat loud compared to other ultrasonic products, but it isn't loud enough to keep little ones awake, so we think the level is acceptable by comparison. It also isn't the most efficient in this review, but if your goal is to humidify a smaller area, then you'll find it does the job well even if it takes it a little longer.
Read review: Honeywell HUL520
The Crane Adorable is a cute ultrasonic product that comes in a variety of animal options, with each more adorable than the next. We like that this option is a nursery standout where it can be a focal point. This unit has a nice-sized tank, is ultra-quiet, and one of the most effective options. If all this weren't enough, it has a lower price than much of the competition.
The fill tank of the Adorable has a small opening and has trouble standing on its own, which can make it challenging to fill. It can be harder to clean if you don't have the right tools, and our bottle brush couldn't reach the far end of the tank. The Adorable also lacks features beyond variable mist control with a single knob, and it has an inner light that is always when in use. However, if cute is the demand, it is hard to find an option cuter than the Adorable, and the tests show it is more effective and quieter than much of the competition. Effective and cute is tough to beat!
Read review: Crane Adorable
Why You Should Trust Us
We've been testing humidifiers for over seven years with our early testing, including humidity measuring and white dust comparison not found in competing reviews. The review process lead is our founder, Dr. Juliet Spurrier, a board-certified pediatrician and mother of two. Dr. Spurrier uses her background in infant health to choose products with baby well-being and safety in mind. The test team leader is Bob Wofford, father of 7 and Senior Review Analyst with BabyGearLab since 2013. Bob has developed testing procedures for this and previous humidity reviews. Senior Review Editor, Wendy Schmitz, rounds out the team with her experience analyzing humidifying products since 2015. With over 20 years of combined experience choosing, testing, and analyzing humidifiers, we have the expertise necessary to help you determine what is essential in this kind of product and what to look for when you make your next purchase.
Related: How We Tested Humidifiers
Analysis and Test Results
For this review, we tested top humidity creators side-by-side in our lab and in real homes with scientifically measured analysis to determine efficacy at humidity creation, being easy to clean and use, with low noise and dust. Our testing gives you the details required to make an informed buying decision for your little one based on your needs with an emphasis on effectiveness and how easy they are to clean.
Related: Buying Advice for Humidifiers
Award-winning products create acceptable levels of humidity in a reasonable period, and they are easy to clean so you can avoid exposure to the bacteria, hard water minerals, and mold that can build up inside many units.
Our testing indicates that in the world of humidifying products you typically get what you pay for. However, we still found some effective products that don't empty your wallet and some others that may cost a little more but have features or functionality that bring value to those with specific goals. The Honeywell HUL520 is affordable and ranks fairly high in our lineup. This option is easy to clean and fairly efficient for a small space-saving design. If you are looking for something more baby-centric, the Crane Adorable is budget-friendly, effective, and ultra-cute.
Ease of Cleaning
We feel ease of cleaning is one of the most critical test metrics for this kind of product because keeping your humidity maker clean is essential to ensure that it works and does no harm. When water sits stagnant in the tank or base, it naturally accumulates bacteria and fungi. Although there are ways to reduce these troublemakers, there is no healthy way to eliminate them permanently or as you go. As your child's health protector, you need to clean all of the unit's parts weekly or daily to keep mold and bacteria at bay.
You might be surprised that descaling or reducing mineral deposits on the base is also a necessary step in the cleaning routine. Doing this helps reduce the potential for unhealthy pathogens being released into the air. To start, you can reduce the required descaling effort by using distilled or filtered water instead of tap water.
The Honeywell HCM-350 and the Honeywell HUL520 are both super easy to clean with scores of 9 and 8 of 10, respectively. Both products come with large tank openings for whole-hand access and limited nooks and crannies for bacteria and mold to hide. The HCM-350 top and bottom are dishwasher safe, which is a unique plus that can make regular maintenance far more manageable. The hardest options to clean scored only 5 and include the Crane Adorable, Crane Drop, Safety 1st 360, and the Vicks Filter-Free V4600. These options either have lots of nooks and crannies (above left), limited access to parts you must clean (above right), or are challenging to sterilize or descale. Some of these units come with little brushes for reaching the small crevices, but even the manufacturer's tiny brushes couldn't help ease all of the cleaning pain. We worry parents will hesitate or avoid regular cleaning of these products, which wouldn't be a good idea.
We test effectiveness by measuring the humidity levels in a room that is about 150 sq ft. Award winners generate a lot of mist in a short time to raise humidity levels quickly and keep them there. This functionality is key for a worthwhile mist maker.
Throughout testing, we kept conditions as similar as possible so we could focus on each product's mist creation. The effectiveness of each option to create significant humidity may not be as relevant to you as the amount of noise it creates or how easy it is to clean if your goal is to humidify a tiny room or only the area around the crib. All of the options we considered can raise the moisture level adequately in the vicinity immediately around the unit, even if they didn't affect the entire room.
The most effective option in this review is the Boneco U300, with a score of 9 of 10. This product creates significantly more mist than most of the competition. The Crane Adorable, frog edition, is right on its heels with an 8 (other animal editions vary). The least effective option that took longer to raise the humidity in the room or struggled to raise the moisture in the entire room is the Honeywell HCM-350. This product is the only evaporative style in the group. However, if you don't want an ultra-sonic option, it has other attractive features like the lack of white dust creation.
Humidifier noise can range from barely audible to sleep disruptive, depending on your sensitivity or feelings surrounding white noise. We considered the decibel levels from a sound meter placed 1 meter from the unit operating on its highest setting, as well as the kind of sound produced. Is it high-pitched? Repetitive?
We feel that "white noise" is more conducive to restful sleep than a single specific pitch that could be grating over time.
Five of the options earned 9 of 10 with comparatively silent operation in our tests. Each resulted in less than 40 decibels on our reader, and none are offensive or annoying or might keep a sick child awake. These include the Crane Adorable, Crane Drop, Safety 1st 360, and the Vicks Filter-Free V4600. The loudest product is the Honeywell HCM-350, with sound over 60 decibels in our tests. This volume is the fan required for evaporation to happen. However, if your baby or child enjoys the sound of a fan, the louder white noise may not be an issue.
Ease of Use
We compare each option's user interface, features, and design, as well as additional functionality not found in all of the competition. Ideally, you want a product that is "plug and play," so you don't need to spend an excessive amount of time referencing the manual or setting it up.
However, you may not want a simple product that lacks the features and options to meet your needs. Some of the competition has a simple dial for on/off and the level of mist creation. Other options sport digital interfaces with more features to control the humidity percentage in the air or a shut off/run timer. Depending on your goals, a simple dial may be all you need or not enough.
The Boneco U300 and Levoit LV600HH earned 7s for ease of use.
Selecting the right humidifier for your child's room can be an important decision. Having a useful and effective humidifier on hand to help raise the moisture content of your baby's room can significantly help your little one sleep when congested or feeling unwell. With a marketplace full of potential contenders with a variety of features, selecting the right option for your baby can be harder than you might think. To help you determine which humidifier is best for your needs, we tested each product in our review to assess performance, ease of cleaning, and functionality. While we believe the award-winners are the best of the bunch, other top-scoring humidifiers could be a better fit for you if they have the features want. Armed with our testing details, you can find the best product for your baby and your budget.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD and Bob Wofford