Which Is Better: A Warm or Cool Mist Humidifier?

Reviewed on 12/3/2020

Which option is better?

 Doctors will recommend a certain type of humidifier if necessary.
Doctors will recommend a certain type of humidifier if necessary.

The easiest way to figure out which humidifier works best for an individual is by simply knowing which type of air is easier for them to breathe. If you inhale well in a sauna, then a warm mist humidifier might be the best. If you have allergies or asthma, you might benefit more from a cool-mist humidifier. Doctors will recommend a certain type of humidifier if necessary. However, the choice basically depends on individual preferences. There are slight differences between each, but they both are designed to make breathing easier within the home. Humidifiers release water vapor to increase humidity in the air, helping keep things comfortable and hydrated. 

Cool mist humidifiers: Cool mist humidifiers emit cool vapors to add moisture to the air. They utilize a filter that captures water impurities and is easy to clean. These humidifiers are ideal for use during warmer weather and in areas that experience a warmer climate. These however are slightly noisier than the other type of humidifier.

Advantages:

  • Emit cool vapor; safer for children and pets
  • Easy cleaning and little maintenance required
  • Filter out waterborne impurities
  • Can add inhalants, making them good for cold and flu sufferers
  • Cost-effective
  • Helpful for asthma and allergy sufferers
  • Reduces static in the air

Disadvantages:

  • Bacterial contamination may occur
  • Mineral dust may accumulate from water filtration
  • Operating noise

Warm mist humidifiers: Warm mist humidifiers are often used to treat colds and flu during colder months. They heat water to create vapor, which is cooled prior to being released. 

Advantages:

  • Reduced mineral dust accumulation
  • Can add inhalants to treat colds and flu
  • Quiet operation

Disadvantages:

  • Risk of burns; not suitable for use around children
  • Low energy efficiency
  • More difficult to clean
  • More prone to gather bacteria due to warm temperature.

Overall benefits: Humidifiers are a part of many households. There are many different versions of humidifiers, but they all add moisture to the air. The moisture in turn increases the level of humidity in the living space, which helps alleviate common cold-weather conditions. Below are a few common benefits of humidifiers:

  • During the winter, the air tends to be cold and crisp; we may develop chapped lips and flaky skin. However, with a humidifier in hand, one can get through winter without feeling moisture-deprived.
  • If a person breathes through the mouth while sleeping, they are likely going to be waking up feeling dry. Run a humidifier during the night to help soothe the throat and nose from dryness. It will help an individual to sleep more comfortably while also minimizing snoring. Additionally, running the humidifier during the day as well helps your throat to stay moist.
  • If a home has wooden floors or furniture, keeping humidity balanced can help the wood to last longer. Furthermore, houseplants will benefit from a little extra moisture in the air.
  • Prevent the spreading of airborne viruses. In recent studies, it was shown that airborne viruses were least likely to spread when the humidity was at least 43%. The study showed that nearly 85% of viruses were virtually ineffective in more humid conditions. Moisture can prevent the movement of germs because they drop to the nearest surface when combined with moisture. As a result, it’s more difficult for germs to spread through the air.
  • Humidifiers are also useful when an individual is suffering from breathing issues. They help reduce inflammation in the sinuses and help loosen up any mucus that may have formed. Breathing in warm, humid air can help loosen up pockets of mucus left in the lungs and sinus passages, making illness pass quicker.
  • Patients who suffer from arthritis often report flare-ups during colder, drier months due to low temperatures and lack of humidity in the air. A humidifier can help these symptoms by putting moisture back into the air, which has been tied with reducing the overall swelling felt like a symptom of the condition. The warming properties of humidifiers can also help cut down on the discomfort caused by cold air leaking into a room or home, making the symptoms of arthritis less painful.
  • Humidifiers for allergies can help to limit the discomfort caused by allergic reactions. The vapor released by a humidifier hydrates the nose and throat, thinning out mucus and allowing the little hairs in the nose to move freely and easily. This helps the nasal passages to trap bacteria, dust, and other allergy-causing particles before they enter your respiratory system, thereby helping to prevent swelling and reduce instances of allergies flaring up. Furthermore, in a dry environment, pollen, dust, and other allergens more easily become airborne. Moderate relative humidity levels of around 40% enable moisture to condense upon the particles, weighing them down so that they fall out of the air and are less likely to be inhaled.

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References
What to choose and why: https://coolmisthumidifier.org/warm-or-cool-mist-humidifiers-for-babies-what-to-choose-and-why/

Difference between Cool Mist and Warm Mist Humidifier: https://healthresearchfunding.org/difference-cool-mist-warm-mist-humidifier/

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