Some of the best humidifiers require you to use a filter to clean the water you add to the tank, while others use the filter as a wick of sorts. The filter your humidifier is using may also be using it as a wick. In some cases, it’s a must. It’d be amazing if you could simply clean a filter and use it over and over without having to replace it, but it just doesn’t work that way. So, it’s necessary for you to find affordable filters to use in your humidifier, if it requires them.
The best air humidifier filters are those that work well in your particular humidifier, that work in various humidifiers, and that are affordable. Not all humidifiers require filters, though, so be sure to go over the information in this guide to see whether you would benefit from buying filters. And if you’re unsure of which one you should choose, read through the best air humidifier filters reviews below.
Best Air Humidifier Filters Comparisons
Why Do Air Humidifiers Need Filters?
There are three main reasons your humidifier may need a filter to work properly. And in some cases, your air humidifier requires a filter for all three reasons. Let’s go over the ways filters work in humidifiers.
When a humidifier uses a filter to clean, what it’s doing really is keeping your air clean. The filter will suck in dust, smoke, allergens, and other minute particles and trap them. So, when your humidifier pushes out the moisture you want in your air, you won’t get all the stuff you don’t want. It also manages to clean the water you’ve put in the tank, but more on that in a moment.
A humidifier that requires a wick will use a filter that acts as a wick. It absorbs the water you pour into the tank and sucks it up. And then a fan typically blows across that wick to create evaporation. The result is clean moisture that’s pushed back into the air you breathe in your home.
It makes sense that a filter absorbs bits and pieces from the water you add to the tank and the air that gets sucked into the humidifier, but it also will absorb minerals from your water. If you’re using tap water, and let’s be honest, not everyone’s water is soft and perfect, a filter can help by filtering out the minerals of hard water. This means you shouldn’t see any white dust on your belongings when you use a humidifier that makes use of a filter.
Of course, all humidifiers that use filters are going to need to be cleaned. Mold, bacteria, and other icky stuff could always potentially grow in humidifiers and on filters. So, not only does the tank need a good cleaning, but the filter itself. Some filters can be reused if you soak them in a vinegar and water mixture or a light bleach soaking. Be sure you rinse them well, though, before using them again. Some people prefer to simply replace the filter every month or so.
Do You Have to Buy the Brand Name Filter Meant for Your Air Humidifier?
You might not realize just how expensive it can be to replace the filters of your humidifier until it comes time to do so. And it could be at that point that you regret your purchase. The good news is, many air humidifiers can make use of generic filters, but not all. Do some comparison shopping and be sure to check the details of a description to find out whether a filter will fit your humidifier. You might want to buy your brand name filter to ensure a perfect fit, but you could save money by buying a generic filter, and all you’d sacrifice, likely is the fit.
It’s also entirely possible that you won’t need a filter in your humidifier at all. More on that below.
Types of Humidifiers that Need Filters (and Those That Don’t)
So, it isn’t a hard and fast rule that one type of humidifier always uses a filter. For example, there are some warm mist humidifiers that use filters, but others that do not at all. There is one type that doesn’t ever use a filter, but will make use of a demineralization cartridge, drops, or tablets. Here’s your handy cheat guide:
An evaporative humidifier works largely because of the filter it requires. A filter in one of these machines also acts as a wick. It sucks up the water you add to the unit, and then a fan blows onto the wick, which creates evaporation. It’s that evaporation that’s expelled into the air, which you breathe. These are effective humidifiers, though you typically cannot see the humidity released into the air. It’s also near impossible to over-humidify a room with one of these. Filters are necessary for these types.
Many warm mist humidifiers, also known as vaporizers, will require a filter to help keep the air in your home clean, but they’re not quite air purifiers. The filter can catch all sorts of particulates, which is helpful. And the heat of the water can kill off lots of bacteria and some viruses. Not all warm ones require filters, though.
This cool mist humidifier works by sending water through a diffuser from a rotating disc. The diffuser works with the water the same way it would with essential oils, breaking it up into tiny droplets, or humidity, which is then pushed out through a spout and into your air. Impeller humidifiers typically require filters, and these need to be replaced often because bacteria and mold can grow on them.
The latest technology in humidifiers is ultrasonic, which uses high-frequency sounds that vibrate against a small metal plate. These vibrations shake water molecules until they break into a small mist, which is then expelled. It’s humidity you can see and feel, and it’s typically a cool mist. This may be the only humidifier that doesn’t require a filter at all, but demineralization cartridges can help reduce the white dust (minerals) that also exits the spout.
The 5 Best Air Humidifier Filters Reviews
Essick Air AIRCARE 1043 Replacement Space Saver Wick
If you purchased one of Essick Air or AIRCARE console humidifiers, then you already know how helpful it is in raising the relative humidity of one or more rooms. They’re powerful humidifiers, but they cannot operate well without a strong, thick filter. The good news is that a handful of them use the same filter and wick, so you won’t have to search high and low for a single filter that works for your console humidifier. This Essick Air AIRCARE 1043 Replacement Space Saver Wick (from Amazon) can fit seven different models. It can catch things from the air you don’t want to breathe, such as dust and pet hair, and it filters out minerals from your water to make the moisture emitted cleaner.
These filters are meant to work for about 90 days or longer, which means you should only have to replace this filter once per year. That’s assuming you only use your humidifier during the winter, the driest season. If you use your humidifier more often, then you might need to replace it more often. At the cost of this filter, it can seem pricey if you’re using the humidifier year-round. Otherwise, it’s mostly affordable. Not everyone found this filter to be long lasting, though, saying it quit before the season ended. Although you could flip this filter over to try to extend its life, it is made of paper, so it’s a bit fragile and could fall apart in the process.
If you have a console humidifier that this filter will fit, then you may prefer the brand name over the generic that’s similar.
- Fits several models
- Long lasting
- May be fragile
- Might not last a season
BestAir D88, Duracraft Honeywell Replacement
Not all humidifiers require that you buy the brand name, and in the case of this BestAir D88 paper wick humidifier filter (from Amazon), you can potentially get better performance from it than the ones sold by your humidifier brand. The difference between this round paper filter and the ones from the brand names is that this one includes an aluminum mesh cage around the outside of it. This gives it more strength, which means it should hold up longer and be less likely to break when you adjust it, compared to the plastic mesh ones.
As a filter, it works as well as any other. Impurities will cling to the filter, while clean water and humidity travel through the humidifier and into the air in your home. This filter is much more affordable than the brand name ones, which means you can swap it out more often, if needed. It should last about three months, but some people haven’t had great luck. Some people have reported defective filters, where one worked for only a few weeks, but another for months. Also, this filter may be a bit tall and not fit perfectly in your humidifier, but it should still work.
If you’re looking for a more affordable round filter for your Honeywell or Duracraft humidifier, this one could work well for you.
- Aluminum reinforcement
- Long lasting
- Strong design
- Defects reported
- May not be a perfect fit
RipaFire Humidifier Sticks Cotton Filter Sticks
Perhaps you got it as a gift, or you bought one yourself. They’re undeniably cute, but what happens when those adorable little USB humidifiers and diffusers use up the wicks they come with? Your tiny evaporative humidifier doesn’t have to be tossed. You can pick up a pack of these RipaFire Humidifier Sticks. You get a total of 10 in each order, and they’re long enough to fit some humidifiers, but they may not fit yours. The good news is these are made of thick cotton, and all you have to do is cut one to size. Even if these are not long enough for your device, you can make it work by cutting what you need and then adding a whole one.
These last a surprisingly long time. You can potentially use one for up to three months, depending on the quality of the water you use. If you’re cutting these wicks in half, you’ll be getting double the use out of them, and they’re already affordable. As versatile as these wicks are, they aren’t guaranteed to work with every model, and there isn’t a list available. So, you’ll have to do a bit of trial and error.
If you need replacement wicks/filters for a small humidifier or diffuser, these may work well for you.
- Can be cut to size
- Fits several types
- May not work
- No model list
Honeywell Wick Humidifier filter 3 Pack Special
Once upon a time, Honeywell created filters for its humidifier that was quite fat and would last quite a while. Just like many other companies, though, it seems Honeywell might be cutting back on the amount of materials they use, a way of cutting corners, but still charging the same amount to increase profit margins. The jury is still out on this latest product that seems to be skinnier overall, which means it might not last nearly as long. That results in needing to change filters more often. The good news is that this is a two-pack, so it provides a good value. Additionally, these are relatively affordable filters, anyway.
Obviously, these filters should fit well with your Honeywell models that take the Honeywell filter. These also work with Duracraft humidifiers. There’s also a good chance that this filter could work with other models, but they aren’t listed, so buy at your own risk if you’re using a different brand altogether. They don’t have any reinforcement on the outside of the filters, so they may be a bit fragile. You would likely tear the filter if you try to clean it and reinsert this in your humidifier.
If you’d prefer to stick with brand name filters, then this two-pack of filters from Honeywell could be a good fit for your humidifier.
- Fits well
- Works with Honeywell
- Good value
- Filter is skinny
- A bit fragile
BestAir H64, Holmes Replacement, Paper Wick Humidifier Filter
Simply put, you cannot find a better price for replacement filters than this one from BestAir. This filter, H64, is designed to fit several different brands of humidifiers, including Holmes, Sunbeam, Touch Point, Westinghouse, Hamilton Beach, and Bionaire models. Not all models will use this one, though, so it’s important to look for your model number.
This filter seems to fit most models it’s made for well, but it might not be a perfect fit. It should still work, however. Also, this filter has an antimicrobial treatment applied, which helps to fight bacteria and mold. The reinforced aluminum mesh cage around the outside of the filter can help with the strength of this filter. So, if you need to remove it for any reason and then put it back into your humidifier, it should hold up well.
If you need a filter for your humidifier, and you see your model number on its list of compatible humidifiers, this affordable option could be the best for you.
- Fits well
- Works with several brands
- Reinforced mesh
- Defects reported
- May not fit perfectly
The Bottom Line
If a humidifier requires a filter, then you’re going to have to buy replacement filters. Sure, you could try soaking your filter to extend its life, but eventually, it’s going to fall apart. Finding the best filter isn’t as hard as you might think, though.
The best air humidifier filter is the one that fits, works well, lasts long, and doesn’t cost you an arm and leg. Of course, there are all kinds of different filters out there that different humidifiers need, so you’ll have to pick the right one for your humidifier. Considering the price and versatility, though, it seems that the BestAir H64, Holmes Replacement, Paper Wick Humidifier Filter (from Amazon) really is the best option out there. There’s a good chance that this paper filter with its aluminum mesh outside reinforcement could work better than even a brand name option. And you have a good chance of getting this one to fit on a humidifier that isn’t even included in its list of compatible models.
Last update on 2023-06-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API