Depending on many external factors such as outside climate, amount of time available for maintenance, energy costs, and the amount of money you are willing to spend, some humidifiers (including cool mist and warm mist humidifiers) will be more suitable for your needs than others. You should be aware of all of the specific needs you have, the amount of time and money you are willing to spend, cleaning the products, and the advantages and disadvantages of each system before you make your purchase.
Evaporative humidifiers are the simplest in design and provide the most basic level of services and features. The idea behind these machines is straightforward: water from the humidifier’s basin is transferred to a wick, which is next to an electric fan. The wick has a large surface area and when the fan is turned on, it blows the evaporated water into the surrounding atmosphere. An evaporative humidifier is also self-regulating since the relative humidity determines the rate at which water evaporates and thus the amount of mist being blown into the air.
The main advantages to using this humidifier are that the humidifier is relatively inexpensive and easy to use, and that these humidifiers have an easier time covering large areas. However, a major problem with these humidifiers is that they also need maintenance regularly. The wick can easily become moldy if they are not completely dried out after use. Also, they need regular rinsing since any minerals found in the water will fill into the wick over time.
Warm Mist Humidifiers
Warm mist humidifiers are similar in design to evaporative humidifiers. The main difference here is that a heating device is used next to the wick to warm up the mist produced (hence the name). Often, these devices will also come equipped with a mineral absorption pad that will collect the minerals left behind by the warm water.
Warm mist humidifiers are much more durable than evaporative models, and solve the problem of mineral buildup effectively. They are also more practical than evaporative humidifiers if you live in a colder climate but still want the humidity in the area to be higher. However, warm mist humidifiers tend to be more expensive and also pose a hazard for small children, both in terms of the changes in the atmosphere and the risk of burning from the device itself.
Cool Mist Humidifiers
A cool mist humidifier, also known as an ultrasonic humidifier, doesn’t use a wick but instead uses a small metal diaphragm vibrating at an ultrasonic frequency to break the water down into tiny water droplets. When they are blown by the fan, they become a fine vapor mist.
These humidifiers are incredibly quiet and use very little electricity. They also don’t require any replacement filters if you use distilled water in them. If distilled water is not used, the device also produces a “white dust” made from the minerals in the water. The device is also prone to bacteria growth if not cleaned properly.