A good humidifier creates a comforting indoor condensation level that can soothe your cracked skin and help you breathe more easily. A great humidifier does all of that without requiring too much maintenance, attention, or thought. For that, we recommend the Honeywell HCM-350 Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier—it’s quiet, durable, and easier to clean than any other humidifier we’ve tested, with a 1-gallon tank that will last all day.
There are two different kinds of humidifiers: evaporative and ultrasonic. Evaporative models evaporate moisture through a wicking filter, and ultrasonic models use a vibrating diaphragm to launch microscopic droplets of liquid water into the air. In general, we prefer evaporative humidifiers because they’re less messy and less likely to over-humidify a space. But in this guide, we have recommendations for both types.
The evaporative Honeywell HCM-350 Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier has been our pick since 2015. It has outperformed more than two dozen competitors in round after round of tests. And in all that time, we haven’t uncovered serious flaws in any of the nine units that Wirecutter staffers have tested across the country. That’s because the HCM-350 does almost everything right: It humidifies the air quickly, runs quietly, maintains a comfortable moisture level, and doesn’t beep or blink at night. Its durable tank is extremely easy to fill and clean, with parts that you can run through the dishwasher. Good for spaces as large as 400 square feet, the HCM-350 works fine for most bedrooms and living rooms. And because it’s an evaporative humidifier, this model can’t over-humidify the air or spread white mineral dust the way ultrasonic humidifiers can. Our only real complaint about the HCM-350—in addition to having to clean it, as you do with any humidifier—is that it requires a wick replacement every few months, which adds a small but annoying ongoing cost.