In-depth baby product reviews led by a Pediatrician

How We Tested Humidifiers

Wednesday July 28, 2021
A nice variety of humidifiers round out our favorites so there...
A nice variety of humidifiers round out our favorites so there should be something for everyone in this group of winners.
Credit: Abriah Wofford
We've been testing in search of the best nursery humidifier for years now, and have years of experience with these products. We focus on single-room units that use cool mist technology, as we think they are best suited for use in the baby room. After selecting models with a variety of different features, we considered online reviews and user options as well as our own experiences and test results to choose the winners.

Testing Ease of Cleaning


We followed manufacturer cleaning instructions during our hands-on testing to compare daily and/or weekly maintenance tasks for each model. We considered the amount of time involved to keep each unit in tip-top shape, as well as the difficulty created by tight spaces, and the need for extra cleaning tools.

Testing Effectiveness


To judge how effective each humidifier is in raising the humidity level in baby's nursery, we placed each humidifier in a closed 120 square foot room and ran it at its highest setting for one hour. During that time, we continuously measured the humidity level, making sure to start each test at equal humidity levels for consistency. This test shows that all products can raise the humidity level to some degree in the small space. There was a wide performance range in this test.

As expected, the fan on the Honeywell 350 evaporative humidifier...
As expected, the fan on the Honeywell 350 evaporative humidifier produced more noise than the ultrasonic humidifiers in our testing bunch.
Credit: Micah James

Testing Noise


We measured noise levels during operation using a decibel meter placed 1 meter from each humidifier. We also test each unit subjectively during hands-on testing, placing units side-by-side to determine their order from quietest to noisiest. During hands-on testing, we consider the type of noise in addition to the overall noise level. Some humidifiers produced a distinct pitch, which tended to fatigue the ears more quickly than options that produce more of a fan or "white noise."

Including a handle in the design of the water tank on the Sunpentown...
Including a handle in the design of the water tank on the Sunpentown SU-4010 made it easy to carry to and from refillings.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff

Testing Ease of Use


Ease of Use considers both features and design with options that offer programmability earning higher ease of use scores. Humidifiers earn extra points for auto shut-off, large tank capacity, internal hygrometers, timers, filters, nightlights, and anything else that gives the user extra control over performance. The design considers each humidifier's features in context. Humidifiers, with too many features, can be complicated to operate and require lots of extra maintenance.