How do you choose between a humidifier and a vaporizer?

How do you choose between a humidifier and a vaporizer?

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Hello, and welcome to our this site. Our main focus on this site is on humidifiers vs vaporizers and how to select the ideal one. This is often a confusing choice for many people since they both add moisture to the air, but do so in a different way. Hopefully we can point you in the right direction, and help you to find which one will work best for your needs. To start off we will talk about the differences between these two machines, and after that you can check out some of the good and bad models in our Reviews Section. If you want to skip straight onto the reviews area you can do so over here otherwise keep reading below for more info on the differences between these two machines.

What is a vaporizer, and how does it work?

First off lets talk about some of the differences between these two products. A humidifier works by creating a cool mist from water, whereas a vaporizer works in almost the opposite way by boiling water and releasing steam. We should also mention at this point that vaporizers are also known as “warm mist humidifiers” or “steam humidifiers” to avoid any confusion further on.
The intended usage of these two items should be your main consideration, as both can have their advantages and disadvantages. For example, if you intend to use a vaporizer with children, you must be very careful where it is placed. Since this product emits hot steam, you could burn a child if it is placed too close to them. Another thing to worry about is that the unit could get knocked over when it is in use, and cause some major burn injuries.
However that doesn’t necessarily mean a vaporizer is a poor choice for kids. A vaporizer will kill any germs or chemicals present in the water by boiling them, hence it can be considered quite safe to use. In addition to this, vaporizers are designed to be used with certain kinds of medical inhalants and oils. This provides a quick and easy means to help get these vapors into your system to provide some relief. Vaporizers also tend to run much quieter than humidifiers (except for the ultrasonic kinds), so this is another advantage to consider.

What is a humidifier?

A humidifier on the other hand simply spits out whatever is in the water reservoir, which means that any bacteria or chemicals present in the water may be distributed into the air, which isn’t a good thing. At the same time, this doesn’t mean a humidifier will necessarily distribute bacteria or chemicals, assuming you take proper care of it. If you decide to get a humidifier, then you should empty and refill it every day to remove the old water. Most manufacturers also suggest you clean it at least once a week (assuming it is in daily use), and this is often done with vinegar or bleach to get rid of any potential bacteria.
Vaporizers should also be cleaned on a regular basis to help prevent any buildups in the unit. When you use a vaporizer, most manufacturers suggest adding some salt to the water. This helps to soften the water, and enables the vaporizer to run a little easier. Over time these bits of salt can add up and solidify, causing the machine to get blocked up. So regular maintenance on these machines is also something you will need to do to keep them in top shape.
Adding a bit of salt is also quite confusing, since you don’t really know how much you need to really get your water to the ideal softness. Adding too much or too little can cause issues, which is why many people simply go for the hassle free option of a humidifier instead.

What are the different types of humidifiers?

There are a variety of different types to consider. As we explained above vaporizers simply boil water, while traditional humidifiers come in a few different designs. The first main design is the traditional evaporator type which are the cheaper varieties. These consist of a reservoir, a fan and a wick. The wick absorbs water from the reservoir, which is then evaporated by the fan which blows onto the wick. This is a simple basic design which works ok, but it is dependent on the current humidity of the room. If the room is already humid then the humidifier won’t provide much output, whereas in a low humidity environment it will work quite well. The wicks tend to get encrusted with mineral deposits over time, so care must be taken to ensure they are properly cleaned and dried or replaced to keep them in optimal shape.
The other popular choice are ultrasonic humidifiers. These work by means of a metal diaphragm which runs at ultrasonic frequencies. This in turn creates very fine water droplets which rise into the air. This will turn everything in the water into vapor, including any impurities so care should be taken with this. Distilled or filtered water are ideal for these types, and they should be cleaned frequently like the wick types above. A major advantage of these types is that they are virtually silent which is ideal for anyone who needs peace and quiet to fall asleep!

Pricing and maintenance

When it comes to pricing a humidifier vs vaporizer you will notice that vaporizers are often a little cheaper. Most vaporizers cost in the range of $15-$25, while humidifiers tend to cost a little more for a quality unit. Vaporizers are cheaper to produce, hence the lower price. However there also tends to be a larger failure rate on the cheaper units, which is often reflected in customer reviews. Most people buy a cheaper vaporizer for a season, throw it out, then buy another one the next year. There is nothing wrong with doing this, but it does seem a bit wasteful considering that you can get a quality humidifier that will last many years for around double the price. This would save you money in the long run.
If your mind is set on a vaporizer then make sure you go for a well known quality brand. Both humidifiers and vaporizers need cleaning to keep them in top shape, so there is no avoiding that. However a quality cool humidifier will last for many years, and there are no safety aspects to worry about (as long as you follow the recommended maintenance instructions). In our experience a humidifier is the most cost effective and reliable solution, but you should always read some user reviews to make sure that you are getting a worthwhile product before you make any purchases.


If you still can’t make up your mind at this point then you might even consider a dual model. These are a little on the pricey side, but can emit both warm and cool mists. This way you can switch between the two modes when necessary and get the benefits of both types. This is the optimal solution, but these models do cost a fair amount.
To help find the best model for your needs, you can take a look over at our Reviews Section.