In-depth reviews guided by a Pediatrician

How We Tested Humidifiers

Sunday September 16, 2018
Our toddler assistant tester pointing out the mist jets.
Our toddler assistant tester pointing out the mist jets.

Our search for the best nursery humidifier started by considering single-room units that use cool mist technology. 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.

The mist diverter on the TaoTronics can be split in two to direct moisture in different directions  but the smaller openings can get mineral buildup and pink mold if you don't clean them regularly.
The mist diverter on the TaoTronics can be split in two to direct moisture in different directions, but the smaller openings can get mineral buildup and pink mold if you don't clean them regularly.

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.

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 are able to 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 produced more noise than the ultrasonic humidifiers in our testing bunch.
As expected, the fan on the Honeywell 350 evaporative humidifier produced more noise than the ultrasonic humidifiers in our testing bunch.

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

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 give 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.