Cool Mist or Warm Mist Humidifier?

While shopping for a new humidifier, you’ve probably noticed they come in two main types: cool mist or warm mist. These types refer to the temperature of the released water from the humidifier out into your room. Which one is best for you?

In this article, we’ll go in depth into both options, describe what they are, how they operate, and their pros and cons – so you can make the best decision for you and your family!

What is a Cool Mist Humidifier?

The most popular type of humidifier and the one most easily found is the cool mist option. A cool mist humidifier gently releases a fine misting spray of cooler or room temperature water out into your room. The water is kept in a storage water tank as part of the humidifier, so, depending on its size is how much mist is let out into the room.

Many humidifiers come with a nozzle that rotates up to 360 degrees, so that you can point this spray in any direction you choose. You can also choose from different misting modes, such as a night mode where it is softer and quieter, a low mode, a medium mode, or a high mode.

Pros

  • The cool mist humidifier, unlike a warm one, will not burn anyone who uses it. This makes it especially safe to use in nurseries, near pets, or around children. Many humidifiers are large enough to fit on the floor, so safety precautions are a must when using these machines
  • Cool mist humidifiers are often less expensive than warm mist humidifiers, if comparing the exact features to each other. This is because the cool mist doesn’t need a separate heating element to warm up the water. Less parts means less cost. You can purchase a cool mist humidifier for as little as a few dollars
  • Also, with a cool mist humidifier, you don’t have to wait for the water to heat up. You can simply plug it in, and it immediately begins misting. There’s no warm-up period of time spent waiting

Cons

  • Many of us want to use humidifiers in the winter, to add moisture to the air. A cool mist humidifier blows out cool air, so it can lower the temperature in the room. If you have a colder room, you’d be better off choosing the warm mist option
  • Since you’re using distilled water or tap water, there’s definitely a chance the water hasn’t been sterilized properly. Heating the water in a warm mist humidifier naturally kills bacteria, germs, and other harmful substances. A cool mist humidifier is only as clean as the water you put in it
  • Cool mist humidifiers have a reputation for leaving a fine white powdery substance on surfaces. You’d definitely notice that, despite using different types of waters to add humidity to the room
  • Cool mist humidifiers tend to be noisier than the warm mist option, because they have fans or compressors that create more noise

What is a Warm Mist Humidifier?

Now that you’ve learned about cool mist humidifiers, then let’s discuss the warm mist humidifiers. These operate almost exactly the same way as their chillier counterparts, but they contain some sort of a heating element within that heats up the water. If you’ve ever set out a kettle to boil water, then you’ve felt a little bit of what warm mist humidifiers do. The water is heated to the point where steam is created, and then it’s misted out into the room through the machine’s nozzle.

As with the cool mist option, warm mist humidifiers also have their share of pros and cons.

Pros

  • To have a warm mist humidifier in a cold winter climate is definitely the number one benefit of this model. You’ll definitely feel a temperature difference that will impact the overall warmness of the room you’re using it in, too
  • Heating water removes a lot of its impurities, including bacteria, mold, viruses, and other bad components. Using a warm mist humidifier over a cool one makes the water safer to use. That means less bacteria floating around in the air while using the machine, making it a better alternative for babies or those who suffer from asthma and allergies
  • Without a fan to blow the mist, warm mist humidifiers are much quieter than the cool mist ones. If you’ve had a problem with noisy humidifiers in the past, then definitely choose this option. They’re great for light sleepers, in a nursery, or in an office

Cons

  • One immediate negative you’ll notice with warm mist humidifiers is price. These are definitely more expensive than their cooler cousins. They have more components, which drives the cost up
  • Another con is that, while the misting air is safe, inside the water tank of a warm mist humidifier is often coated with mineral deposits. You might see this phenomenon also occurring on the inside of a boiling kettle, too. Those impurities that don’t enter the air in your room are left on the water tank walls
  • Have a large room that you want to add moisture to? Then a warm mist humidifier is not the best option. It doesn’t cover as much square footage as the cool mist option does

The Power of a Humidifier

So, these are the major differences you’ll see between the cool mist and warm mist humidifiers. Whether you choose cool or warm is dependent on several factors, including price, the size of the room, the temperature of your climate, and personal preferences as to whether you like warm or cool.

There are humidifiers that combine both warm mist and cool mist into one machine, as well. That way, you can have the best of both options, running the warm mist side during the winter and switching to cool mist for the summer. As with all wonderful machines, take care of them by keeping them clean and they’ll reward you with moister, better and more breathable air for many years to come.

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