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If the air in your room is too dry, this can cause a variety of problems. Dry eyes, throat, and skin can all be caused or made worse by dry air. A humidifier is a great way to combat dry air, however, they need to be cleaned regularly to prevent bacteria from forming and being dispersed into the air. Unfortunately, many humidifiers are not designed with cleaning in mind and it can be a real chore when they do need a clean. Luckily, some models have been designed where ease-of-cleaning has clearly been a priority.
In this guide, we will first run you through the benefits of an easy to clean humidifier. Next, we’ll talk about what to look for in a humidifier that’s easy to clean (top fill designs are usually the best). Then we’ll run you through our recommendations for easy to clean humidifiers. At the end we have included a general humidifier buying guide.
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What are the Benefits of an Easy to Clean Humidifier?
Keeping your humidifier clean is very important. A humidifier is the perfect place for bacteria to thrive, and if not kept clean, that bacteria will be emitted into the air along with the water mist.
Cleaning is also important to keep on top of mineral build up inside the tank. Water (hard water in particular) contains minerals such as calcium and magnesium. Over time, these minerals will build up in the water tank and can eventually cause damage to the humidifier if it isn’t regularly cleaned. So not only is cleaning your humidifier important for your own well-being, but for the well-being of your humidifier too.
Unfortunately, despite the fact that it is incredibly important to keep your humidifier clean, many manufacturers don’t make this easy. Hard to reach areas and parts which can’t be washed in the dishwasher can make maintaining a humidifier a nightmare. This is particularly true for elderly people and those who don’t have the best mobility.
Luckily there are a few humidifier models that have been designed with easy cleaning in mind which we recommend further down the page.
What to Look for in an Easy to Clean Humidifier
For the most part, the easiest humidifiers to clean are those that have a top fill design. This means they have a large opening in the top which gives you easy access inside the humidifier making it super easy to clean. There are some easy to clean humidifiers that aren’t top fill, but generally speaking, a top fill design will make cleaning much easier. The other advantage to top fill humidifiers is that they are easy to fill which makes them perfect for the elderly or people with mobility difficulties. All three of the humidifiers in this guide are top fill.
The other thing we were looking for in an easy to fill humidifier is no tight spaces that are hard to get to. Some humidifiers are notorious for having areas that are difficult to get to and clean. All of the humidifiers in our guide have been praised by customers for being particularly easy to clean in comparison to other models.
Best Easy to Clean Humidifiers
We have chosen the best easy to clean humidifier for each different type: cool mist evaporative, warm mist, and ultrasonic. All three models have a top fill design making them super easy to clean, however, there are other advantages and disadvantages that you will need to consider. We will go through the pros and cons for each one.
1. Honeywell HCM-710
If you’re looking for an easy to clean cool mist humidifier, we recommend the Honeywell HCM-710. With a top fill design, it’s super easy to clean and refill. It is an evaporative humidifier which means it uses filters to remove impurities and minerals from the water. A great choice for using with hard water. The filters do need to be replaced regularly though, and this humidifier is quite noisy.
2. Honeywell HWM-340
For cooler climates, you might want to consider the Honeywell HWM-340 which is also a top fill design. This humidifier also won’t emit white dust, but this one doesn’t rely on a filter and instead heats the water. The good news is that there are no filters to regularly replace and it’s a quiet humidifier. The bad news is that mineral deposits will build up quickly so it will need cleaning more frequently, although the top fill design makes this easy to do. Since it uses a heating element and will contain hot water, we don’t recommend this humidifier around children.
3. VAVA Ultrasonic
The final humidifier on our list is the VAVA Ultrasonic top fill humidifier. This produces a cool mist so is great for warmer climates and suitable for use around children. Since it is an ultrasonic model, it is super quiet and doesn’t have any filters to clean or replace. However, this also means it will produce white dust if you don’t use distilled water. If you plan on using tap water, we recommend either using demineralization capsules or purchasing a distiller.
Humidifier Buyers Guide
If you are still not sure what to look for in a humidifier, the guide below goes over the different types of humidifiers and features to look out for in a humidifier.
Types of Humidifier
There are three main types of humidifier: cool mist evaporative, warm mist, and ultrasonic. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages which we will take a look at now.
Cool Mist Evaporative Humidifiers
Since the mist dispersed from these humidifier is cool, they are ideal for warmer climates because they can actually help to cool the room down a little. A cool mist evaporative humidifier uses a wick filter to draw out water. A fan blows over the wick which allows the air to absorb the water. There are two main advantages to evaporative humidifiers:
- They are self regulating. Since the air can only absorb so much water, once the humidity levels reach a certain point the effectiveness of the humidifier will decrease. This prevents over humidification.
- The water is filtered. This is particularly important if you use hard water in the humidifier. Hard water contains minerals which are emitted into the room with a filter-less humidifier. These minerals aren’t great for your lungs and can create white dust which gets all over your room. An evaporative filter will catch these minerals before they get into the air.
The downsides to cool mist evaporative humidifiers are that the filters need replacing every month or so, meaning there are ongoing costs and extra maintenance if you purchase one of these units. Also, these humidifiers are the noisiest.
Warm Mist Humidifiers
Warm mist humidifiers are great for cooler climates because they can add a little warmth to your room. They work by boiling the water until steam is released into the air. There are three main advantages to warm mist humidifiers:
- They don’t cause white dust. Just like cool mist evaporative humidifiers, warm mist humidifiers won’t disperse minerals from the water into the air. This is because when the water is boiled, only the water is released as steam and the minerals get left behind.
- No filters to replace. Unlike a cool mist evaporative humidifier, there are no filters to replace with a warm mist humidifier. This means there aren’t any ongoing costs to keep it running (other than electricity of course).
- They are quiet. Warm mist humidifiers aren’t as quiet as ultrasonic humidifiers, but they are still very quiet and much less noisy than cool mist evaporative humidifiers.
The downsides to warm mist humidifiers are that they are a little more expensive to run in terms of electricity, although you do need to consider you won’t need to regularly replace any filters. They also require more frequent cleaning due to the minerals left over from the boiling process.
Ultrasonic humidifiers are also known as filter-less humidifiers and are usually cool mist but can be warm mist too. Some models offer both warm and cool mist operation. An ultrasonic humidifier works by a ceramic diaphragm vibrating at an ultrasonic frequency creating tiny water droplets which exit the humidifier. There are two main advantages to ultrasonic humidifiers.
- They are ultra quiet. Since the diaphragm in the humidifier vibrates at ultrasonic sounds, we can’t hear them and offer almost silent operation.
- No filters to replace. Like warm mist humidifiers, ultrasonic humidifiers also don’t use filters so the running costs aer much cheaper than with cool mist evaporative humidifiers.
The main downside to ultrasonic humidifiers is that they create white dust. Since there isn’t a filter and the water isn’t boiled before being dispersed, all of the minerals in the water are dispersed into the air. This is particularly problematic if you are using tap water from a hard water area. If you purchase an ultrasonic humidifier, I would also recommend purchasing a distiller or demineralization cartridges cartridges.
Top Fill Humidifiers
Some humidifiers have a top fill design. This means they have a large opening on the top that you can pour water directly into without having to remove the tank. This is especially useful for seniors and people who have difficulties with mobility. They are generally easier to clean too because the wide opening allows you to easily get your hand inside to wipe it down.
If you don’t choose a top fill model, you should still consider how easy the humidifier is to clean and fill because those are the two things you will be doing with it regularly.
There are various features to look out for when deciding on a humidifier. Things like auto-shutoffs and built in humidistat can make operating your humidifier a little bit easier. Below I will run you through some of the common features you are likely to find.
- Built-in Hygrometer/Humidistat: Hyrgrometers work like a thermometer but they measure humidity levels instead of temperature. Humidistats are similar but work more like a thermostat as they have the ability to automatically turn the humidifier on or off depending on the humidity levels.
- Automatic Shutoff: Humidifiers with an automatic shutoff feature will turn themselves off when the water tank is empty. This is great for saving energy.
- Multiple Speed Settings: Some humidifiers can be set to multiple speed levels, usually two or three. This can be useful for when you are sleeping because the lower settings are usually much quieter than the highest setting. It also allows you to save energy by using the lower settings when you don’t require much humidity.
- Indicator Lights: Some humidifiers have lights to warn you when the water level is getting low, the filters need replacing, and the humidifier needs cleaning. Although these can be handy, some models go over the top with the lighting and they can be a bit annoying.
Last update on 2020-09-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API