Humidifier vs Vaporizer; what should you choose?

Humidifier vs Vaporizer

When the cold season is just around the corner, humidity tends to fall below the ideal 35%. The dry spell can seriously affect overall breathing quality, especially in children. This can lead to cough, nosebleed and nasal congestion.

These minor inconveniences really affect our daily lives, making us feel tired throughout the day. Not only that, drier air makes skin problems much more common. Therefore, low humidity is considered harmful for our routine.

There are two potentially efficient solutions to deal with dry weather; Humidifiers and Vaporizers.

What is a Vaporizer?

A vaporizer produces warmer mist by boiling hot water and letting the steam moisturize the atmosphere. Vaporizers can also make a soothing and beneficial mist from essential oils.

Vaporizers are used more individually to deal with congestion and asthma. However, depending on the brand, they can be used to cover a bigger chunk of the room. That’s why their ideal placement is near your bedside.

What are the different kinds of vaporizers?

Steam Vaporizer:

Steam vaporizers work by heating water to high temperatures and releasing the steam into the air. The moisturizing gas released is also free from allergens due to being boiled.

Waterless Vaporizer:

These vaporizers don’t need water for functioning. Instead, they have moistened pads which absorb essential oils. The steam created from these is very beneficial as a natural and herbal solution to the throat and nasal infections.

What is a Humidifier?

A humidifier produces a cooler mist than a vaporizer. Its main function is to humidify the air and improve the overall breathing conditions.

Humidifiers generally are used to cover a larger area. Many models can saturate your whole entire house! Their ideal placement can be anywhere from the bedroom to the living room.

What are the different kinds of humidifiers?

Ultrasonic Humidifiers:

These humidifiers possess a kind of diaphragm that can vibrate at really fast frequencies to create cool vapors that are released as mist.

Dual Ultrasonic Humidifiers:

These devices have pretty much the same functioning as a simple ultrasonic humidifier. What makes them different is their ability to release a mist of varying temperatures. Their diaphragm can be heated to release warmer mist as well as the usual cool one.

Evaporative Humidifier:

This is the basic humidifier that uses a wick filter and a fan to operate. In the simple process, the fan blows air towards the damp wick which releases brume. Evaporative humidifiers can regulate the mist production as well.

Impeller Humidifier:

The last kind of humidifier uses rotating disc for splashing water at the diffuser which converts it to tiny droplets released in the dry air. This produces a very cool mist. Unlike others, impeller humidifiers are fairly uncommon in markets.

What are the notable differences?

While they serve a pretty alike purpose, there are some very recognizable differences:


You need to take more precautions before using vaporizers than you need to take while using humidifiers. This is due to the fact that vaporizers use heated water and steam for moisturizing the air while humidifiers use cool water.

This limits the buyer attraction because curious children and pets are likely to hurt themselves while checking out the vaporizers. If you’re a parent, you have to store it away on a daily basis.


Cool humidifiers cost around $25-$50. The range varies due to new features and sizes.  Besides the price, they require more maintenance and filter changes.

Vaporizers are comparatively cheaper, ranging between $15-$30. This is a more economical choice, as they need services less frequently.


Modern humidifiers and vaporizers have slightly different functions but mostly same features. These include humidistat and thermometer for keeping track, auto shutoff, timers and service notifiers among others.

Anti-Allergenic Properties:

While both possess healing properties towards the nasal region through their mist, vaporizers have one more quality.

Vaporizers use boiling water, which kills even the sturdiest bacteria. This gives you the surety that what you are inhaling is actually refreshing and clean. Plant extracts can be added to the water for soothing properties.

Waterless vaporizers also use essential oils in the production of mist. Oils like tea tree oil have antifungal, antibacterial and antiseptic properties, which can be a very healthy solution to curing diseases.


Both devices need to be properly cleaned before they are used. Humidifiers are prone to mold infestation as cool temperatures are a breeding zone. Harmful bacteria released with mist can dangerously affect health.

For humidifiers, you should change the water daily and clean all surfaces. Besides that, it is necessary to clean it with dish soap twice a week.

For vaporizers, the water should be changed daily. Along with that, it needs to be properly cleaned once a week. A good agent would be vinegar.


Evaporative humidifiers are the noisiest of the bunch. They can be much distracting. Ultrasonic and Impeller humidifiers create much less noise pollution.

However, vaporizers produce the least noise and are often very quiet. They are a better option for people who like to work without being distracted.

Room Coverage:

Although this may depend more upon the brand and the models, cool humidifiers usually cover more area across the room and around the house. This feature helps in maintaining a regular humidity level everywhere.

Vaporizers, on the other hand, don’t affect a large area. They are limited to diffusing steam in a few foot radius. But as technology advances, we now have vaporizers that cover more area, but still not as much as humidifiers.

What are the potential hazards?


Warm mist humidifiers and steam vaporizers use the heating technology to their benefit. The boiling temperatures can easily leave second-degree burns. This is why it’s encouraged for parents of young children to buy cool mist humidifiers.


Although may sound like a stretch, it is still a possibility. Since the machine uses water, vaporizers can give electric shocks, if the switches are loose or the wires are not arranged. Thus, when changing filters, storing water or cleaning, it is advised to unplug all connections.

Over Humidification:

This is a product of carelessness. If humidification is not regulated, the machine can produce excess mist and over-humidify a room. This not only causes discomfort but promotes the growth of molds and bacteria.

Bacterial Growth:

If the humidifier or vaporizer hasn’t been cleaned in a while, chances are it’ll be infected by molds that are trouble to kill. In order to prevent this, the air regulators should be cleaned daily and should have their filters changed often.

The Final Verdict:

Vaporizers and Humidifiers have their own uses. Both of them have pros and cons, and the pros outweigh the cons in either of the two.

Whatever the temperature of the mist, it is regulated inside your body, so both humidifiers and vaporizers are efficacious at their job. They are equally fine in adding moisture to the environment.

In the end, the choice-making depends on the budget, family, space and your requirements. Both humidifiers and vaporizers are good at getting rid of dry air and both of them enhance the quality of life!

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