The 7 Best Energy Efficient Humidifiers of 2022

Maintain the right humidity levels in your home.

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Humidifiers add moisture into the air of interior spaces, which can be useful in dry areas and during winter months, since the water vapor in cold air condenses more readily, removing it from the local atmosphere. This can result in unpleasant side effects, like dry skin and chapped lips. By reinserting water vapor into the air, humidifiers can increase localized humidity. This can help with symptoms of dryness and even relieve flu or cold symptoms, like sore throats and stuffy noses.

A humidifier can also be helpful with tropical house plants, which thrive best in high humidity environments.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), humidifiers accounted for about 0.11% of total household electricity use in 2012, making them a small part of the typical household's energy use. But even appliances that consume relatively little energy can benefit from eco-conscious decisions. The EPA estimated that nudging the market toward more energy efficient models could collectively save hundreds of megawatt hours and tens of millions of dollars every year.

Picking the right humidifier for your environment can be an eco-friendly way to improve your indoor air quality. We found the best energy efficient humidifiers for any situation.

The Rundown
A sleek design, advanced settings, and moderate price make this ultrasonic humidifier our top choice.
This tower humidifier is an affordable option for small to medium-sized rooms.
This large capacity humidifier has a humidistat to maintains consistency throughout the home.
A clever, lightweight design makes this device extremely portable and effective.
Compatible with most smart systems like Alexa, this humidifier is a perfect addition to offices and other small rooms.
The Elechomes humidifier can alter up to 755 square feet of atmosphere, all while staying whisper quiet.
The Livatro humidifier and diffuser includes an easy-to-use scent tray for essential oils.

Best Overall: HuPro 773 Warm and Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier

HuPro 773 Warm and Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier

The HuPro Ultrasonic Humidifier is a sleek, reasonably priced humidifier that’s loaded with modern features. With a 5.5 liter capacity, it's also versatile enough to be used in most average-sized room (up to 500 square feet). The digital screen allows you to set the humidly levels and fan speeds, and the sleep mode timer reduces sound to less than 30 decibels. On cool mist mode, the humidifier uses less than 30 watts.

When humidifier reservoirs aren't properly cleaned, they can become a breeding ground for microorganisms, dispersing them into the air. The HuPro Ultrasonic helps protect against stagnating water with an included filtration system, which combines a ceramic filter with active charcoal to maintain water quality.

Additional features include an essential oils tray, a remote control, and a detachable water tank for easy refilling.

Best Budget: PureGuardian H940AR Cool Mist Ultrasonic Tower Humidifier

PureGuardian H940AR Cool Mist Ultrasonic Tower Humidifier

If you’re shopping for a humidifier on a budget, the PureGuardian Cool Mist is an affordable choice that can handle up to 350 square feet of space. Although it doesn’t have a humidistat to monitor levels like some of the pricier choices, the ultrasonic humidifier uses just 25 watts of power. The PureGuardian humidifier can run for up to 30 hours on its half-gallon tank, and includes an indicator light for when the water reservoir is low. With its clean curves and small footprint, this ultrasonic tower humidifier is tabletop ready. It also includes a tray for essential oils and a night light feature.

Best Splurge: AIRCARE Whole House Console-Style Evaporative Humidifier

AIRCARE 5 Gal. Evaporative Humidifier

If you need a quiet humidifier that can add moisture throughout your entire home, the AIRCARE Digital Whole-House Humidifier is a worthwhile splurge. The unit itself is fairly large, with a 15 by 24-inch footprint, but the honey-oak paneled humidifier can handle up to 4,000 square feet—suitable for a large house. For efficiency, the digital humidistat automatically maintains the desired humidity level and will shut off when that level is reached.

The AIRCARE Whole House Evaporative Humidifier has four adjustable fan speeds and a 5.4 gallon water reservoir that allows it to operate for up to 45 hours.

Best for Travel: Pure Enrichment MistAire Travel Portable Ultrasonic Humidifier

Pure Enrichment MistAire Travel Portable Ultrasonic Humidifier

Combining a nearly handheld base with a standard water bottle for a reservoir, the Pure Enrichment MistAire Travel humidifier is true to its travel-friendly name. Plus, since it works on 100 to 240 volts, it's ideal for international travel.

The unique design uses any standard 16.9-ounce water bottle, so you can reuse bottles from around the house and recycle them when the bottle needs to be changed out. The humidifier weights just 1.2 pounds and has a 5.6 by 3-inch footprint—small enough to fit in a purse or tote.

The MistAire Travel can run for up to six hours on one bottle of water. It also features a soft blue mood light, but be warned: it can't be turned off.

Best for Small Rooms: Levoit Dual 200S Smart Top-Fill Humidifier

LEVOIT Dual 200S Smart Top-Fill Humidifier

If you’re searching for a humidifier for a smaller room, the 24-watt, Levoit Top Fill Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier is full of added functions, including several smart settings that can be adjusted using a free smart phone app. The built-in humidistat can be set to maintain the target humidity, and the device is compatible with Google Home, Alexa, and Siri Shortcuts.

Levoit's top-fill humidifier is designed for spaces between 100 and 300 square feet and has a runtime of 25 hours. The 3-liter water tank is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. 

Best for Large Rooms: Elechomes Warm and Cool Mist Humidifier

 Elechomes Warm and Cool Mist Humidifiers

For larger spaces, the Elechomes Top Fill 5.5-Liter Humidifier has an outreach of up to 755 square feet, yet this ultrasonic humidifier is also extremely quiet, with a sound range between 20 to 32 decibels. The humidifier has both a cool and warm mist mode with three levels, a night setting, and child lock. The digital display screen allows you to set desired humidity on a 12-hour timer, or you can use the included remote. The Elechomes humidifier is compatible with essential oils.

On a low, cool mist setting, the device uses just 16 watts, though the heating element used for warm mist uses quite a bit more energy, consuming approximately 80 watts of power on a low mist setting.

Best for Essential Oils: Livatro Humidifier and Diffuser 2 in 1

Livatro Humidifier and Diffuser

Humidifiers operate best on distilled water, so adding anything to the water reservoir can gunk up the machine and effect its operation. The Livatro Humidifier and Diffuser solves this problem by including a separate essential oils tray (a feature also found in a few other humidifiers in this roundup). This allows the simultaneous release of humidifying mist and aromatherapy scents. The Livatro also includes a UV light to sterilize its water reservoir.

While the Livatro works great for essential oils, it lacks a few other humidifier features, like adjustable humidity levels, relying instead on a timer setting. With its 4.5-liter reservoir the Livatro can run up to 45 hours and humidify 400 square feet of room space.

Final Verdict

The HuPro Warm and Cool Mist Humidifier (view at Amazon) is our top pick overall with a stylish design, multiple functions and moderate price. If you’re on a budget, the PureGuardian 0.5 Gal. Cool Mist (view at Wayfair) is a low-watt, ultrasonic option for mid-sized rooms, and if you’re traveling, we like the unique, compact design of the Pure Enrichment Cool and Warm Ultrasonic Tabletop Humidifier (view at Walmart).

What to Look for in an Energy Efficient Humidifier

Unfortunately, Energy Star does not certify humidifiers, but when determining if a humidifier is energy efficient there are a few things to look for to help guide your decisions.

Humidifier Type

Due to the heating element required in warm mist humidifiers, they draw significantly more energy than those that use cool mist (about four times as much). Check the wattage on your humidifier’s product details—an efficient portable humidifier (on a cool mist setting) uses less than 30 watts.

Energy Star finds that ultrasonic humidifiers, which use high-frequency sound vibrations to propel moisture, are more energy efficient than cool mist or warm mist alternatives that do not use this technology. 

Does it have a humidistat? 

According to Energy Star, “Portable humidifiers that do not have a humidistat will run continuously until they run out of water.” Luckily, many modern humidifiers are now designed with digital humidistats that can be set to a chosen humidity amount, making it easy to control levels. 

If you can’t find a humidifier with a humidistat that suits your needs, consider using one that has a timer on it. 

Room Size

When searching for an energy efficient humidifier, you’ll want to find one that matches the room size you plan on using it in. Using a large volume humidifier on a small room can lead to excessive humidity levels (and can contribute to mildew), and energy waste. 

FAQs 

Where it the best place to put a humidifier?

The best placement depends on the type of humidifier. If you’re using warm mist, it shouldn’t be placed too close to an individual, so allow several feet in between. You can set it on a shelf, desk, or table, but it’s best to leave some space between the device and the wall and put a tray underneath in case it leaks.

If you’re using a cool mist humidifier, you’ll want to place it in the vicinity of people and closer than a warm mist humidifier. Avoid areas that are already showing any type of moisture damage (like leaky pipes or windows).

Can a humidifier cause mold? 

Yes, adding moisture into the air can increase mold and mildew buildup, but there are ways to prevent this when using a humidifier. Mold flourishes with humidity levels above 55 percent, so monitor the humidity levels in the home. According to the EPA, you’ll want to keep humidity levels between 30 and 50 percent. If your humidifier doesn’t have a built-in humidistat, you should consider purchasing a humidity reader to monitor the levels inside your home. 

It is important to change the filters regularly (every one to three months) and to use distilled water (not tap water) to fill the tank. Be sure to properly wash, rinse, sanitize, and dry the water chambers every few days using vinegar or hydrogen peroxide. 

How do you recycle a humidifier?

If your humidifier is still working, consider donating it to a charitable organization or thrift store, or by listing it on websites like FreeCycle or Craigslist. If it’s inoperable and can’t be repaired, it should not be disposed of in the trash or placed in regular-service recycling bins. Many local transfer stations accept them, and the EPA offers several resources for locating an electronics recycling center in your area. 

Why Trust Treehugger?

Treehugger is committed to helping readers reduce the environmental impact of our day-to-day lives. While living off grid, the author, Amber Nolan has been researching and writing about energy-efficient products for several years.

View Article Sources
  1. "Humidifiers and Health." National Library of Medicine.

  2. "ENERGY STAR Market & Industry Scoping Report - Residential Humidifiers." United States Environmental Protection Agency.

  3. "Indoor Air Facts No. 8 - Use and Care of Home Humidifiers." United States Environmental Protection Agency.

  4. ENERGY STAR Market & Industry Scoping Report Residential Humidifiers.” Energy Star, Oct. 2012.