Reviews You Can Rely On

How We Tested Humidifiers

Monday June 20, 2022
humidifier - we ran all of our models in a climate controlled room and closely...
We ran all of our models in a climate controlled room and closely monitored the humidity.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Our expert team regularly tests the most popular home appliances on the market. To find the best humidifiers available today, we tested everything from their humidifying performance to how easy they are to maintain and use for those who like easy to use options. We divided our tests into four separate metrics.

Humidifying Performance

We tested humidifying performance using a 150 square foot testing room, which correlates to an average-sized bedroom. We assured that this room was at the same temperature and starting humidity when we tested each model with the help of a dehumidifier. We then ran each model on its highest setting in this room for 3 hours, monitoring the humidity using an Extech RHT20 Humidity and Temperature Data Logger to monitor the humidity. For the models with their own built-in humidity meters that regulate mist output, we compared the readings on these meters to our Extech meter to ascertain their accuracy. We awarded scores based on the speed of humidification, the maximum level of humidity reached, and the accuracy of the built-in humidity meters.

humidifier - we tracked relative humidity over a 3-hour test period, and charted...
We tracked relative humidity over a 3-hour test period, and charted this data to accurately compare all of these models.
Credit: GearLab Test Team

Ease of Cleaning

Our testing required multiple rounds of cleaning for each model in our review. We kept careful notes on how easy it was to scrub each water tank, whether there were nooks where mold could hide, and whether there was any scale buildup. We also assessed the clarity and specificity of the manufacturers' cleaning recommendations.

humidifier - see all of those nooks and crannies in the water tank? those can be...
See all of those nooks and crannies in the water tank? Those can be hard to clean.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

User Friendliness

Our user friendliness testing focused on two things: each model's interface and how easy it was to fill each water tank. Interface testing involved having everyone in the office change the settings on each model and then score how intuitive and easy it was. Our other metrics required many tank refills, so we kept careful notes on whether we could fill a tank directly from a sink and whether we encountered any specific annoyances in the refilling process.

humidifier - we had multiple people assess each model's interface.
We had multiple people assess each model's interface.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Operating Cost

Our operating cost testing took three things into account: upfront cost (list price), electricity usage, and, for applicable models, the costs of any replacement filters or wicks. To determine electricity usage, we plugged each model into a wattage meter and ran them on medium for 2 hours. To calculate an estimated lifetime cost, we assumed a 5-year lifespan, an average of 12 hours of use per day, average electricity costs ($0.12/kWh), and that we would replace any replacement filters according to manufacturer specifications.

humidifier - the honeywell hcm-350's base is dishwasher safe, making cleaning a...
The Honeywell HCM-350's base is dishwasher safe, making cleaning a breeze. However the wick can become quite moldy if left wet with the machine turned off. These filters also need to be replaced, adding extra cost over time.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

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