Which Humidifier is Best - Warm Mist or Cool Mist Humidifiers? Home humidifiers and room humidifier reviews - slant fin, hamilton beach, hunter, and bemis humidifier

This week I have received a number of emails, asking me virtually the same thing. Which are better, warm or cool mist humidifiers? What is the difference between cool and warm mist, or whether our cool mist humidifiers disperse mineral dust? In addition, some people just wish to know which is the BEST humidifier and want to drill down deeper beyond the comparison charts and our detailed product write ups. Others are asking about combination humidifiers and air purifiers. So here goes°≠this is what I would say if I were on the phone to you.

Mineral Dust: That's an easy one. None of our humidifiers, cool or warm disperse mineral dust.
What's the difference between Warm and Cool Mist? At the risk of being facetious, one humidifier gives out a warm mist, the other humidifier gives out a cool mist. One is cool, the other is warm. Need more explanation? Well, imagine being in a greenhouse that is how a warm mist feels. People who like warm mists generally live in colder parts of the USA or like to put a warm mist humidifier into a baby's room.
Conversely, people who like cool mist humidifiers live in warmer climates, because the last thing they want is to warm the place up a few degrees. If you live in a colder climate, the cool mist humidifier could feel a trifle clammy if you over-humidify the room. To avoid over-humidification we recommend a built-in humidistat or a standalone humidistat.
The BEST humidifier? There really is no cookie cutter answer for you. Our humidifier comparison chart does try and rank order them for you, and we have currently completed annual edits to this chart, but it all depends what features are most important to you, apart from the geographical considerations mentioned above.
Features: There are however certain features which I consider important.
Ease of Cleaning: Here the Hunter Care Free cool mist humidifier line wins hands down with their Permawick filters and patented system. No changing of filters ever, and only cleaning once a season. Definitely, the humidifier of choice for people on the run or who hate extra cleaning chores. The most tedious of our humidifiers to clean is the warm mist, but if you want a good warm mist humidifier, it is really the only choice worth talking about. The humidifier line is somewhere in between, as you can wash it in the dishwasher, and filters need changing every three months.
Built-in Humidistat. I think this is a great feature to have on a humidifier. Why? Because the tendency is to over-humidify a room and then cause mold and dust mite problems. I used the humidifier all last season, and was amazed when I set my humidity level at 35%-45%, well below mold or dust mite causing levels, how often the machine turned itself off, and the water tank lasted anywhere from 2 to 3 times as long as my previous machine. In fact, the water lasted about 6 days in our very dry condo. We tested the accuracy of the Hamilton Beach humidifier's humidistat. Impressive, within two degrees of accuracy at all times.
Noise level. This is a matter of personal choice, but everyone dislikes very noisy appliances. Be very clear about one thing, all appliances of this kind have SOME degree of noise attached to them. Some people are very noise sensitive. For those people I recommend a warm mist humidifier. The least noisy of the cool mists are the . My noise sensitive husband has a hard time hearing this one and has not complained about noise. Hunter have made huge improvements to the noise level of their line, and their humidifiers are much less noisy this year, but I am leery of recommending them to people who say that any noise whatsoever at night in their bedroom is a problem for them.
Automatic Shut Off. when empty or humidity level reached. I think this is an important feature but some people who are noise sensitive do not like any sound of an appliance going on or off. Those noise sensitive people who just want to set a continuous humidity level and never have the machine turn on and off might like the humidifier models. The top of the line humidifier models have an automatic shut off when the unit is empty which appeals to me from a safety perspective.
Bacteria Free? Except for the models, you really do have to wash out humidifiers at a very minimum on a weekly basis, or every time you refill the water tank. This is why I only use them when I have to, which is in winter when my sinuses are killing me.
Combination Air Cleaner and Humidifiers; Generally speaking, this is when you get the worst of both worlds, and yes we have tried out all the new combo models. Most are over priced, and poor quality. I could froth at the mouth about this trend. I have seen NO appliance of this type I want to rave about. However, if you twist my arm, the humidifier and air purifier is not over priced, the filter is not a true HEPA, but we tested it at 92% efficiency. Only good for a small room but a nice buy. At least with this machine, I do not feel the consumer is being taken for a ride. In my opinion, avoid anything that talks about "air washing". There are several of them out there. I could give you chapter and verse as to why I do not like them, but try and keep my most scathing comments about particular appliances to a private format for legal liability reasons.
Some people in our office with both sinus and allergy problems use the humidifier in their office cubes to both purify and humidify the immediate area. It is also a good baby nursery humidifier.
We have been leery of the ones you build into the furnace. Too many potential mold problems can occur if you forget, and do not clean them religiously. I would rather you bought a larger area humidifier and used an auxiliary to monitor your home's humidity. We now have some reasonably priced whole house central humidifiers from the line. They do not have much in the way of bells and whistles, but they can humidify a large space.
President's Pick. So what is my designated humidifier winner for this season?
Personally, my first choice would buy one of this season's brand new . There is a separate lengthier review of their machines in our next newsletter issue. Hunter has completely revamped their line up, cleaned up their act after a product recall last winter, and I now feel comfortable giving them a top rating again.
Here is my reasoning. I am too busy to clean these darn things. It is not because I am lazy, I just work an incredible number of hours per week and I have very little time left for other things. In addition, I am firmly in favor of built-in digital adjustable humidistats. The new humidifier line has both these important features. However, in our alternate night test in our bedroom between the two brands, my husband was back to maligning the Hunter (which we used to use) as more noise than he wants to sleep with. So in our house, we are sticking with the . However, if noise is not a critical issue, I predict that Hunter have come out with a winner, now combining ease of cleaning with ease of regulating the humidity.

For a quick updated comparison guide.

Do not forget to see the fast streaming video of the Hamilton Beach humidifiers