Never mind the ‘bloomin’ plants. A humidifier saved my marriage.
If you sound like a chainsaw when you’re asleep, then join the club.
Being kicked out of bed at 2 am wasn’t rare. Four nights a week is about the average for me.
My wife, as practical as always, bought a humidifier. Adding some pure moisture to the bedroom air solved my breathing issues pretty fast.
We’re good now, and her plants are healthier than ever.
Until I moved to the northern hemisphere, many years ago, the humidity I knew was the kind you find in baobab country in southern Africa. Have you ever heard of a baobab? Look it up. It’s awe-inspiring.
In that part of the world, where humidity reaches ninety-percent without a cloud in the sky, indoor plants grow like crazy—no need for a humidifier. But here, up north, the climate doesn’t give indoor plants the same balmy atmosphere and endless sunshine it does to those in Africa. Our plants could do with a little help to stay healthy and grow.
If you have indoor-plants that you care about and want what’s best for them, get yourself the best plant humidifier.
How To Choose The Best Plant Humidifier
Plants need moisture to thrive. A lack of humidity could stunt their growth, could make them ill, and give them less chance to survive. Buying a humidifier solves that quickly, but choosing the best plant humidifier can be complicated.
So, to simplify your life, I’ve made a list of the best humidifiers available for the critical job of nurturing your precious plants.
But before we get to it first make a list of the following:
- Determine the size of the area you want to humidify. Is it small (up to 300ft2), medium (up to 500ft2), or large (500ft2 and over)?
- For those of you who’re always on the run, get one with a bigger tank that you only refill every three or four days.
- Depending on how specific you want to be, and how much you’re prepared to pay will help you focus more on the type you should get.
There are three.
An evaporative humidifier is one that blows air over a wet, mat-like surface sending water into the air as vapor.
An ultrasonic humidifier is one where water runs from the tank onto a vibrating plate. The vibration increases the evaporation rate of the water and turns it into a wispy-kind of mist.
There are two kinds of warm and cool air humidifiers:
- A warm mist humidifier releases purified, warm vapor and covers a large area but can be noisy and push your energy bills through the ozone.
- A cold mist humidifier pushes cool air out and is more energy-efficient, and runs longer.
We’ll cover the finer details in a more easy-to-grasp way as we go.
In the next section, I’ve listed my favorite humidifiers. The essential specifications and a couple of ideas from me should help you pinpoint the best one.
The Top 10 Best Plant Humidifiers
While weighing-up your options studying the top 10, keep in mind that my favorites are the practical ones. Many of them have the same features, and often, the only difference is the effort it takes to keep it going. A long time from refill to refill means less for you to do. Also, a big, visible tank makes it easy to see the water level from across the room. And the last thing, if you’re the hard-working type and don’t care much for physical comforts, make a change and get a humidifier with an essential oil chamber.
Why not fill the air with a soothing aroma.
Well, not exactly everlasting, but long enough. Here is a humidifier that runs for 50 hours and has a water capacity of 1.6 gallons, the longest and biggest on the top 10. That’s 3 days of not doing an extra chore. Maybe it’s a mission to refill, but it’s still less effort in the long run. There’s an illuminated water level indicator to make your life easier, and if you forget, it will automatically shut off.
The ultrasonic cool mist humidifier runs quietly and is suitable for medium-sized areas. There’s a dial to adjust the humidity as well as a two-way, 360° nozzle to direct the plant nourishing mist. Apart from being good for your plants, the health benefits for you are the reduction of airborne viruses and bacteria. There is no filter, so distilled water is recommended for better results. The essential oil chamber is terrific if you want to create a soothing atmosphere with a few drops of lavender oil. It only weighs 4.15 lbs and is the best buy for a budget-conscious plant lover.
Water capacity, running-time, and price makes it my top choice.
- Set and forget
- Takes essential oils
- Bottom filled
- Carry to fill-up
Coming in at second place is the TaoTronics ultrasonic that pushes out cool mist to refresh your plants. It has a water capacity of 1.06 gallons and can run for up to 30 hours, which puts it in the top 3 in size and operating time. The visible water level is easy to track from anywhere in the room and will automatically shut off if you forget to fill it. This humidifier purifies the water using a microporous cartridge. It also uses an ionization process, to remove micro-organisms and bad odor from the water. Because it’s a bottom-filled tank, it could be a mission to refill. This unit only weighs 3.5 lbs.
It runs quietly at 36dB, which is only twice as loud as a whisper and is best suited for use in small and medium-sized areas. You can select 3 different mist levels as well as direct the mist with a 360° dual-direction nozzle. There’s an LED display with a Humidistat that indicates the humidity levels. It has a shut-down option you can set for up to 24 hours ahead as well as a night and sleep mode. It’s relatively inexpensive, runs quietly, and ultimately a good value buy.
- No white dust
- Low cost for many benefits
- Led shows humidity level
- Remove tank to fill
- No essential oils chamber
- Clean the filter
I like this humidifier because it has a 48-hour running-time with only 0.5-gallons of water. The ultrasonic cool mist humidifier has the second-longest run time on the top 10 list. The refilling process could be a chore because it’s bottom filled. It only weighs 1.5 lbs and light enough to carry. It does have automatic low water-level shut-off, which is also indicated when a red LED goes on in case you miss the easy to see water level.
It’s best utilized in medium and large areas. It has an adjustable mist output controller and a no-spill valve for extra safety. Included are 2 flexible and adjustable hoses that can be attached to its output so you can direct the mist to specific areas. If you want constant high-humidity for a bargain price, then you’re heading in the right direction with this one.
- High mist output
- Runs for very long
- Small but strong
- Noisy at high levels
- Bottom filled tank
- Needs distilled water
The LV600 is an innovative, hybrid humidifier that pushes-out warm and cold mist. A useful for- all-seasons unit that’s perfect for large areas. The bottom-filled water tank carries 1.6 gallons and can run for 36 hours, precisely the same as the Everlast, but double the price. A sensor automatically shuts it off when it runs dry. With this one, all you do is ‘set-and-forget’ using the remote or dial, and away you go. You can set it for up to 12 hours in advance.
It has a quiet, no-lights, sleep-mode setting, and a humidity sensor that self-regulates at your preferred level. In winter, the warm mist warms the air and kills airborne bacteria at the same time. The cool mist keeps the atmosphere hydrated and cool during the summer. It runs in almost total silence while pumping-out a lot of mist, which you can direct with the 360° dual-direction nozzle. There is an aroma chamber for your refreshing tea tree oil. Included in the purchase is a cleaning brush. If you want to spread humidity to all the corners of a large room, then this, 4.92 lbs, unit is a good buy at a price slightly higher than the cheapest ones.
- 360° dual-direction nozzle
- Aroma box
- Hybrid – warm & cool mist
- Some effort to clean
- Replace filter
- Heavy to turn upright when full
I would call this warm mist humidifier a hybrid because it’s useful to both plants and us. It is similarly priced and has half a gallon more tank-space than the Pure Enrichment MistAire, at number seven, further down the list. The shorter run-time of 12 hours, and a tank capacity of 1 gallon, is why it’s only at number five. It has a transparent tank to see the water level easily, but will automatically shut-off if filling it up slips your mind. The tank, like most top-filled ones, is easy to clean and fill. Use distilled water for better long-term results. It is handy for medium to large-sized areas and sounds like a slow-boiling kettle, pretty quiet.
There’s a high or low dial, and a night mode setting to choose from. The mist it pushes out removes 95% of air-bacteria, kills 99% of odor related bacteria, and doesn’t release white dust either. It has an in-built, patented anti-microbial Aquastat that keeps your unit cleaner for longer.
Now that your plants are content take care of yourself by dropping some invigorating spearmint oil in the medicine chamber. It is filter-free, but you can insert a demineralization filter that you buy separately. Weighing in at 5 lbs, it is one of the best warm mist units, and your third-best bargain buy.
- Clean once a week
- Takes medicine/essential oils cup
- Destroys bacteria while hot vapor warms the air
- Riskier boiler type – heats up
- Only 2 output settings
- Produces white dust if the water is hard
This is a brand synonymous with technological innovation, that’s why two of them are on the list. This germ-free, cool mist humidifier has a water tank capacity of 1.5 gallons with a wide opening for easy top filling, just like you would a kettle. It runs for 24 hours and will automatically shut-off when empty. There’s a dial with 3-speed options and adjustable sound settings. It is suitable for medium and large areas. A 360° nozzle allows you to direct the soothing moisture anywhere you want for a cleaner breathing environment. This unit runs quietly and is self-regulating, meaning it takes the decision-making process on itself to make your life easier.
The best part of the Hsm-350 is what happens to the water. Ultraviolet technology and filters sterilize and disinfect the water. This prevents the spread of pathogens and allergens into the mist. The anti-microbial filter removes salts and minerals as well as kill 99% of the bacteria, mold, and water-spores you find in water. The filter can be washed or replaced. Weighing in at 9.5, it’s the second heaviest and costs slightly more than the bargain buys. This is, on average, one of the best-rated humidifiers and, if following the herd is your thing, it’s a great buy.
- Easy to clean
- Dishwasher safe
- Easy too set up
- Replace filter
- No auto shut-off
The shape of this ultrasonic cool mist humidifier appeals to me the most because it resembles a drop of water, which is the point of having one. It has an extended run-time for such a small, 0.4-gallon tank. The water level is easily visible, which also cuts out when the level gets too low. Use distilled water to get the most out of it. It runs quietly and is best for small areas.
Weighing in at 2.27 lbs, this very light unit has a simple on/off switch, and a 360° nozzle for all-direction mist options. There is no filter, but you do get a disc cleaning brush with your purchase. Price-wise it’s a bargain, but I’d buy it more for the illuminated-planetary effect it has in the dark.
- 5-year warranty
- No filter
- Easy to clean and fill
- Clean twice a month
- No place for essential oil
The second Levoit on the top 10, runs for 40 hours – 3rd longest of all. It has an illuminated display to indicate the water level of its 1.05-gallon tank. Turning it upside down to refill the tank could be a burden for some, though. You’ve probably realized, by now, that I prefer top-filled humidifiers because it’s just easier to pour water in than to grapple with it. The ultrasonic unit pushes out enough cool mist for a medium-sized area and gives you the choice of 3 humidity levels.
This EPA certified humidifier also has a 360° two-way nozzle so you can blast mist anywhere you want. There’s a chamber to drop your essential peppermint oil in to revitalize the space you’re in. It has no filter and comes with a cleaning brush. Weighing in at 4.8 lbs, this Levoit is the second-best budget buy here.
- Easy to carry
- Essential oils
- Long running time
- Carry to refill the tank
- Bottom fill
- Doesn’t self-regulate
The second Honeywell to make it can run for 36 hours, on a low setting, with just one gallon of water. The water level indicator is illuminated for easy tracking. This cool mist humidifier is the easy, top-filled type and will automatically shut-off once it’s empty. It has a self-regulating evaporative system with a choice of 3 mist settings and is ideal for a medium-sized area.
The ultrasonic humidifier does emit some noise on the highest setting, but that’s a minor if you take its air-purifying function into account. The Protec anti-microbial filter eliminates 99.9% of bacteria contaminates in the water, mold, and various other allergens. The same wick filter also blocks white dust. You can buy a demineralization cartridge if your water supply is of the hard kind—this bargain-priced unit weighs-in at 4.22 lbs. My only complaint is that the gaps on the top make it too easy for small bits of debris to fall in. Other than that, it’s a fantastic humidifier.
- Simple design and only 1 part to clean
- Great for hard water
- 36 hours running time
- Often change expensive demineralization cartridge
- Noisy when on max setting
This humidifier has the innovation you’d expect from the Swiss. It doubles-up as a humidifier and air purifier. That’s why it’s the priciest one on the list. The tank holds 1 gallon and runs for 10 hours. Although you cannot see the water level, it does shut-off automatically when it runs dry and lets you know with a red LED indicator. It is easily filled directly without moving. You wouldn’t want to move this weighty, 11.2 lbs, unit around too much for obvious reasons.
The ultrasonic unit pushes out cool mist and is ideal for a large area. You have a choice of 2 settings as well as a day/night function. The night mode runs quieter than the day one to ensure you have a restful sleep. It self-regulates the humidity at the setting of your choice. An innovative evaporator-mat cleans the air of large particles such as pollen and dust.
There is a chamber where you can add your tangerine essential oil if you need cheering up.
- Water base can be filled directly
- Dishwasher friendly
- Easy to clean
- No white powder
- Hard to refill
- Struggles to reach highest humidity levels
- Big machine with low capacity
Should I get an evaporative or ultrasonic humidifier?
It’s a question that could keep you analyzing the pros and cons for far too long.
An evaporative humidifier is similar to the cool mist type, but instead of heating the water, it blows wind over it. Think of wind blowing over a lake capturing drops of water and releasing them into the air except that it’s a fan-generated wind doing the same thing. And because there’s no heat involved in the process, it’s a very safe option. These are low maintenance, easy to clean, and cost-effective. They do tend to be noisy, gather mineral dust, and can become contaminated with bacteria. Purified water is a must with these.
An ultrasonic humidifier, on the other hand, uses a vibrating metal diaphragm that creates water drops that dissipate into the air. It is also low-maintenance, easy to clean as well as energy-efficient. It doesn’t heat-up and runs quietly. Same as an evaporative one, it can become contaminated with bacteria and collect white dust. This is also a pricier option to go for.
Warm mist humidifiers heat up water that gets pushed into the air as vapor, and it does this with minimum noise. The heat factor makes it riskier on the one hand but kills water bacteria, minimizes mineral dust build-up on the other. It requires more maintenance, is harder to clean, and is not very energy-efficiency.
A cool-mist humidifier is similar to an evaporative one. It uses two ways. The first is a fan that blows air through a water-saturated internal wick-filter. The other is a vibrating plate that creates droplets. Both turn water into vapor. It has a filter that purifies the water to some extent, but bacteria and mineral dust do build up still. It operates quietly and is cost-effective—a perfect choice for a cool environment in the hot summer months.
The choice, if you grow indoor plants, is not whether you need a humidifier, we’ve already established that. It’s about choosing the best.
I’ve presented the facts openly to give you a clear picture of what’s available.
For what you get from a portable humidifier, it’s worth it to have one if not two to keep the air in your hothouse warm, humid and pure every day of the year.
And if you’re new to the fabulous life of an indoor gardener, a humidifier should be a priority if healthy, happy plants are what you want, whatever the weather outside.