Dry air and allergies: this is a story as old as time itself. By now, you probably already know that dry air is the culprit responsible for many nasal congestions, dry cough and inflammation of the sinuses, cracked and irritated skin, and even dandruff. Needless to say, if you’re suffering from allergies, breathing dry air isn’t going to help you get any better. But how exactly does dry air affect your allergies?
Optimus U-31002 Ultrasonic Humidifier
Vornado Ultra3 Ultrasonic Humidifier
Honeywell HCM350W Cool Mist Humidifier
TaoTronics TT-AH009 Humidifier
Vicks V745A Warm Mist Humidifier
Sparoma Cool Mist Humidifier
As you may know, your nose is filled with membranes that filter items you breathe, like pollen or dust. When you are exposed to dry air, the mucous membranes will dry out as well, not being able to perform their main role. Since your “nose filter” is not moisturized and functioning, you will inhale whatever triggers your allergies.
If you have allergies, they can trigger nasty skin reactions. Living in a house with dry air won’t help, as dry air is responsible for causing skin problems as well or, in this case, aggravating the skin problems already caused by your allergies.
Allergy suffers, you already know that breathing becomes a regular chore. Your nose becomes super-sensitive and dry air will only make it worse.
Basically, you should think of your mucus as a filter that purges allergens that trigger your reactions. If there’s anything that causes an imbalance in your mucous membrane, you are more exposed to elements that damage your health. By adding moisture into the air that you breathe, you are creating a favorable environment for your mucus to function as it should.
So, what is a good humidifier for allergies and asthma? Even if a good humidifier will never completely cure an allergy, it can help you eliminate some of the things that trigger it. By adding moisture to the air that you breathe, you will avoid ending up with nasal congestions, which are a real pain in the… nose, especially when you suffer from allergies. Even more, triggers like dust mites and pollen are dried out when the air inside your home is dry and that makes it easier for you to inhale them.
We’ve reviewed 6 of the best humidifiers for allergies that we could find and we’re going to talk about each of them, showing you the good, the bad and the ugly. So you can choose the best kind of humidifier for you.
The Optimus U-31002 features a 1.11-gallon tank that should allow for a steady operation of 16 hours. The device itself has a simplistic design, which makes it easy to integrate it with your home decorations. There is a mist volume control option and also a system shutdown switch for when the reservoir runs out of the water. The night light is a nice option to have, although it’s very bright and may cause some disturbance at night when you’re sleeping, the designated button makes for an easy turn-off.
Setting up the Optimus is pretty easy. You have to remove the water tank, flip it upside down and then turn the cap counterclockwise to remove it. You can use tap water to refill the tank, although distilled water is recommended. Make sure that water is cool, and you don’t add any other liquids (like essential oils). When you’ve refilled the tank and put the cap back, make sure you place the reservoir in its proper place in the housing, as to avoid any leakage.
Proper maintenance is required at least once a week. To clean the tank, you will need half a teaspoon of chlorine bleach and half the tank filled with half a gallon of water. Leave the tank to rest for 20 minutes with this solution inside and then rinse the reservoir until the bleach smell is gone.
When it comes to a sleek design, nothing delivers like the Ultra3. Incorporating vortex circulation, this humidifier can cover spaces up to 600 square feet. The fan comes with 3 settings: low, high and auto. The visual confirmation of controls is nice, as there are integrated LEDs that let you know a set is active. The water tank can hold up to a gallon of water which delivers 2 gallons output in a time frame of 24 hours.
The humidifier is pretty simple to use, as it includes 3 main controls. Remember that each set is LED backed, so you know the machine is responsive. First, you have the power button, with a simple on/off setting. Second, you have the output control, which is basically a setting for the fan and mist output. You can select between low, high and auto. There is also a button for humidity control, going from 40% to 60% or you can set it to continuous and let the humidifier do its job.
The Ultra3 doesn’t have an automatic shutdown system. What is basically does is, when reaching the input level of humidity desired, it won’t release any more mist, but the integrated fan will still run. The vortex circulation technology used is pretty neat. The Vornado features deep pitch blades that are used to pull dry air through the unit and then circulates humidified air throughout the room.
The Honeywell HCM350W humidifier is one of the best you’ll ever find. It features a 1-gallon water tank that can provide up to 24 hours of humidity on a low setting. A really cool feature is the integrated UV technology which aims to eliminate almost completely the bacteria that generally forms inside water (warm mist humidifiers are known for their lower health risks, as heated water eliminates the formation of mold and bacteria altogether).
How does this UV technology work? Most people prefer to use tap water with their humidifiers, instead of purchasing demineralized or distilled water. This cool mist humidifier features a wicking filter, a component that needs to be replaced regularly. The evaporative technology incorporated in the HCM350W blows moisture off this filter, to release a cool mist into the air inside your room. This humidifier’s UV light will treat the water inside the tank as it passes through the designated water path. After removing all fungus, mold, and bacteria, the water is then absorbed by the wicking filter, located at the base of the device. Then, the filter will absorb the dry air inside the room and release it into the form of a fine mist.
The HCM350W humidifier features 3 different fan speeds, from low to high, to make sure that you control the level of mist and noise that the device makes. The user manual is an absolute gem, as it provides image guidelines on how to refill the water tank, replace the filter, how to first set up the unit, where to place it and other very useful information for first-time buyers of this device.
With its 0.5-gallon tank capable of operating up to 24 hours, the TaoTronics TT-AH009 humidifier certainly deserves its place amongst our most favorite units. It integrates a 360-degree nozzle that basically swivels mist out of the humidifier and into the room. You just turn the nozzle into whichever direction you please. The Touch Control feature allows you to switch between several functions with a single press of a button. The button includes a LED light that will flash differently according to the setting chosen.
Once you’ve connected the device to a power outlet, it will automatically enter standby mode. By pressing the power button, you can switch to normal mode. In this mode, you have 3 available options: you can set the device to eliminate high mist with a single short press, you can opt for low mist with 2 short presses or you can stop misting with 3 short presses. When the device is in standby mode, one long press with the switch it to sleep mode and then you can opt for any of the 3 choices we mentioned earlier.
The fact that it features a sleeping mode makes it a great choice not only for light sleepers but also finds its way perfectly into a kid’s room, without creating too much noise when this particular mode is activated. If you set it on low, the device will generate an output of 80 ml per hour, while the high setting goes as high as 125 ml eliminated per hour. When the water tank is empty, the device will automatically shut down, with a red-light indicator flashing for 10 seconds.
We’ve decided to switch to a warm mist humidifier for the time being, mainly because the Vicks V745A is a customer favorite for alleviating allergy symptoms. As you already know, warm mist humidifiers function by heating up the water inside the tank. The manufacturer claims that the device is safe to use in any kid’s room, although we are often wary about humidifiers using heated water and their placement at the reach of kids or pets.
Vicks advertises a lot around the idea that their humidifiers help alleviate cold symptoms, nasal congestions, and even allergies. To support their claim, they even created Vicks VapoSteam. By adding a few drops of it into the humidifier’s water tank, it relieves irritated nasal passages and can help with cough problems. Vicks VapoSteam is sold separately as an accessory and isn’t included in the humidifier’s package. However, the humidifier does include a medicine cup for proper measurement of VapoSteam, should you decide to purchase it.
The V745A humidifier doesn’t require any filter change (like most cool mist humidifiers do), which is one less care and one minus expense. Thanks to the transparent 1-gallon tank, which can provide a smooth 12 hours of operation upon a single filling, you can always see how much water the reservoir still has left. However, you don’t need to stress too much over that, since the device automatically shuts down when the tank is empty. This humidifier also features a soft night light, 2 comfort settings, and reduced noise levels, for everyone who wants to keep the humidifier running during the night.
While we’re always a bit skeptical about humidifiers that only come with a 1-year warranty, the specs and customers reviews for this Sparoma unit convinced us it just might be a good deal. This egg-looking humidifier first impressed us with its variety of mist level settings. Normally, we’ve seen humidifiers that allow for a low or high mist setting, but the Sparoma features a dial that allows you to set the level as low or as high as you want. Just like the TaoTronics TT-AH009, this humidifier also features a 360 degrees rotating nozzle that you can swivel around as you choose.
The tank capacity is 3.5 liters and promises to operate at a noise level lower than 30 decibels, to make sure that you won’t be bothered by the unit even when you’re sleeping. It also promises to cover a room with a surface between 350 and 450 square feet. The fact that you can customize the lights on this device is the second thing that impressed us. On the lower side of the humidifier, you will discover a button labeled “light”. By pressing it, you can choose between pink, yellow, green, blue, purple and red. This really is a nice touch, one that you generally find only in humidifiers that also act as diffusers.
The lid and water tank are made of durable ABS, which is a nice touch considering that we all want resistant units, that are worth what we paid for. Since it’s a cool mist humidifier, and thus more exposed to mold and bacteria, make sure that you empty the water tank on a daily basis and refill it with fresh water. The device will also require cleaning once or twice per week, depending on how often you use it.
This time, it’s really tough to pick a favorite. Each of these humidifiers comes with its pros and cons, so you can narrow down your options depending on your own interests. If it's warrantied you’re interested in, don’t choose a device with a limited 1-year warranty, as you will have to pay for a new one if something breaks down after the first year has expired. For forgetful people, we do recommend a humidifier that features an auto shut down the system, as these devices with turn off once the water tank is emptied, leaving one less thing for you to worry about.
If you want a device that’s silent because you’re a light sleeper or you want one for your child’s room, it’s recommended that you opt for a unit with a low level of noise. No matter which of the 6 humidifiers you choose, you will need to care for it properly. Choosing a cool mist humidifier means a lot more maintenance is required, as they are more prone to accumulating mold and bacteria. Compared to warm mist ones, cool mist humidifier also requires the purchase of consumables, as most have integrated wickers or filters that need constant replacement.
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