How To Find The Best Cool Mist Vaporizer

Believe it or not, there are multiple categories of vaporizers out there, so if you're a beginner with humidifiers, we have all the information that you need. A cool mist vaporizer is a great way to help take away some of the symptoms associated with a dry environment without needing to use any pharmaceuticals. If the humidity level in your home is really low, or you live in a very dry climate, a cool mist vaporizer can help add much-needed humidity into your living space. 

Problems associated with a dry climate:

  • Scratchy, dry throat
  • Itchy, irritated eyes
  • Dry nasal mucosa, or occasional nosebleeds
  • Headaches that seem to be sinus related
  • Snoring
  • Dry oral mucosa, or cracked, dry lips

If you have any of these problems, you might consider buying a cool mist vaporizer to help ease your symptoms. 

Why Choose a Cool Mist Humidifier?

Cool mist vaporizers are affordable, safe, and generally preferred over warm mist vaporizers. These devices function by either vibrating to create mist from a refillable water tank or by using a small fan to create a cool mist of humidity. Sometimes, high end models have an extra input or pocket to add essential oils made of herbs and other natural elements for health reasons or make the room smell pleasant. 

In contrast, warm-mist models rely on a heating element to release hot air and steam the traditional way. They're often accompanied by the warning that they can be dangerous for households with children and pets, because that heating chamber can really get warm. 

Compared to warm mist vaporizers, cool mist vaporizers are generally more affordable, they work to humidify a larger area than other compact, portable units, and they are very easy to refill and clean. 

The only maintenance required for a cool-mist vaporizer is to change the wick on occasion, to clean the unit regularly, and refill the water tank. It’s important to do regular maintenance on this kind of vaporizer so it doesn’t develop mold or bacteria in the water tank. 

Different Kinds of Cool Mist Vaporizers

Evaporative Cool Mist Humidifiers

This is the most common, oldest kind of cool mist vaporizer available. They have the added charm of being more affordable because they have been around longer. These work by having a fan blow across a filter soaked in cool water and out into the room. The filter also functions to remove impurities in the water, so that the mist is clean and won’t put anything in the air that causes sickness.

One thing to consider with this kind of humidifier is to place it somewhere that it will not disrupt your sleep. If you are an especially sensitive sleeper, the fan in the unit might keep you awake. 

Evaporative cool mist humidifiers require frequent cleaning in order to avoid the growth of mold, and you’ll have to remember to replace the filter, which will also add to the long-term cost of owning one. One of the main downsides of evaporative cool mist humidifiers in comparison to ultrasonic ones is that they’re loud. Since many people keep their humidifiers in the bedroom, the noise could potentially have a negative effect on your ability to sleep soundly through the night.

Ultrasonic Cool Mist Vaporizers

Ultrasonic cool mist vaporizers are a newer technology than evaporative vaporizers. They are popular with fans of cool mist humidifiers because they run more quietly than the evaporative models. 

This type of humidifier has a diaphragm that vibrates, forming water into mist, which is then released into the room air. There is no filter to replace, but there is still a need to keep the unit clean and fill the water tank regularly. Besides having no fan and being quieter to operate, they are also more energy-efficient.

One of the main issues that some users find is that this humidifier releases a fine, white kind of dust that will distribute all over the room while the humidifier is in use. Secondly, they can’t humidify as large of a space as an evaporative vaporizer. 

Other Things to Consider

  • Auto-Shutoff — This is an option that is often available and is useful for letting you know that the water tank is getting low. Other models have an auto-shutoff when the room has reached a predetermined humidity level. (see ‘Humidistat’)
  • Humidistat — A humidistat option is able to measure humidity levels in the room and automatically shut off the unit. 
  • Timer — A timer is useful for setting the humidifier to turn off at a specific time. You can let the unit run for whatever time periods you want by using this feature. You can use this to set the unit to start a few minutes before you return home from work at night or to try to save electricity or water.
  • Combination Models — Some humidifiers offer dual settings, offering both warm mist and cool mist options. Some people prefer using two different kinds of vaporizer, depending on the season.
  • Adjustable Output — This is a nice option to have. It lets you adjust the humidity in the room depending on your personal tastes. This allows you to better control the humidity in your house. 
  • Maintenance Reminders — It’s important to service your vaporizer regularly to prevent the growth of mold or bacteria that can develop in the areas of the vaporizer that store water. The filter is especially important to change regularly because it is a place that is especially hospitable for mold or bacteria to grow. 
  • Space Issues -- The least expensive vaporizers you find aren’t usually designed to work in a large area. You may want to choose a vaporizer that has a larger capacity tank if you need to humidify a larger space. 

If you only need to add humidity to a small room, like a bedside model, you can get a desktop vaporizer or a small, portable vaporizer. These humidify an area up to around 300 sq. feet and up to 500 sq. feet. 

If you need to cover a large room or a couple of rooms, look for a vaporizer that says it’s a “whole house” model. These can usually cover the space of 500--1000 sq. feet.

If you aren’t sure of the size of your room, you should probably get a quick measurement, so you have a better idea of the area that needs to be humidified before you buy one. It’s better to do a little homework instead of getting a model that isn’t the right size for your needs.


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