If you suffer from dry skin, chapped lips and a sore throat – you might be suffering from a lack of humidity. Luckily, as with most ailments these days, there’s a solution for it. Enter – the humidifier.
What is a humidifier?
A humidifier is a device that emits water vapour or steam to increase moisture levels in the air and prevent dryness. Put simply – it’s designed to increase humidity (the amount of moisture) in the air.
But why is humidity so important, you might ask? Turns out there’s a bunch of different reasons. A lack of humidity can dry out our skin, chap our lips and cause us to wake up with a dry, sore throat in the morning. It also makes us feel colder than it actually is because our sweat evaporates easily (which dries us out even further). Low humidity increases static electricity and dries out plants, which might explain why your fiddle leaf fig has been looking so sad lately.
It’s a lot cheaper to humidify the air than it is to heat it, so investing in a humidifier is likely to save you a lot of money in the long-term. A relative humidity of around 45% is said to be ideal, with 30% being the lowest and 50% being the highest.
What are the benefits?
They’re used to alleviate things like dry skin, dry throats, cracked lips, sinus congestion, headaches and nose irritations. They can also be used to help symptoms associated with the flu and common cold and have even been suggested to lower the risk of coronavirus transmission.
We typically experience these symptoms when the air is drier during the winter months or we’re using air conditioning in the summer (which also dries out the air). This is why humidifiers are often used all year-round – there’s never a bad time to add a little more moisture to the air.
Is there different types of humidifiers?
Yes, there are five types.
The most common type is known as an evaporative humidifier which uses a fan to blow air through the moistened filter. Given that it relies on fan-power, it does make some noise but not overwhelming amount. This device tends to cost less upfront but does have filters which need to be replaced every couple of months which is something to consider.
Ultrasonic humidifiers creates water droplets through vibrations and doesn’t rely on a fan. This means it has a much lower sound output and are a lot quieter than other devices. If you’re looking to keep your humidifier on while you sleep, this is the one for you. It also doesn’t require any replacement filters so could cost you less in the long run.
Next up is the vaporiser humidifier which can blow either warm or cool mist. On the plus side they don’t make much noise and can have inhalants like cooling menthol added to help with cold/flu symptoms. On the downside, they usually have a heavier energy consumption and are more difficult to clean.
The last two kinds of humidifiers are cool mist and warm mist which are fairly self-explanatory. Cool mists are pet and child-friendly, can have inhalants added, are easily cleaned and cost effective. They are however more susceptible to bacterial contamination (which can be remedied with frequent cleaning) and emit more noise than others. Warm mists can also accommodate inhalants and have a reduced risk of bacterial contamination due to heat. Unfortunately they’re less energy efficient and are more difficult to clean.
Where can I buy a humidifier?
Thankfully, it’s super easy to buy humidifiers online. Here’s our pick of the top 5.
This device produces 60 hours of continuous mist to humidify the entire room. It’s noiseless, easily cleaned and even auto adjusts the humidity preset for optimal results.
This device lasts up to 30 hours and gives off an ultrasonic cool mist. It has an LED touch panel, night light and auto shut-off capabilities so it’s your perfect sleeping companion.
For this devices size and price, you get a lot of bang for your buck. It’s completely silent, has a great mist spray range, is easy to clean and is USB chargeable. It’s perfect for keeping on your desk at work, particularly on those long, gruelling days.
This device is one of the safest models available. It’ll tell you the current room humidity, automatically shut off when the water supply runs out and filter out micro-organisms and any odours.
Philips are known for leading the pack with their technology and this humidifier is no exception. Spreading 99% less bacteria than other ultrasonic devices, this model is easy to use and looks great in the home.