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In this guide
Things that enjoy being dry: cactuses, air plants, the desert, your sense of humour. Things that don’t enjoy being dry: your breakfast wheat biscuits, any type of baking, your skin. Dryness in your home saps moisture from the air. Which in turn, can sap moisture from your skin and sinuses. Which might mean your skin gets dry or you wake up with a stuffy nose. Adding moisture to the air can help prevent dryness.
This is where humidifiers come in. The best humidifier is safe and easy to use. It has a large water tank capacity so you’re not constantly refilling it and it’s simple to clean too. It might also double as a nightlight or aroma diffuser (check out essential oil diffusers if you're looking specifically for lovely smelling air). Here are our picks for Australia’s best humidifiers, informed by hours of research and real consumer insights.
How we picked
Normally we’d start with CHOICE, Australia’s leading consumer advocacy group. Turns out they’ve reviewed plenty of dehumidifiers, but, so far, no humidifiers. A quick look across the ditch to the Kiwi equivalent, Consumer, revealed the same.
So, we’ve been led by real Aussie consumer insights. We used a Canstar Blue guide to humidifiers in Australia, which gave us a good starting point for humidifier brands. We then worked through ProductReview.com.au, Australia’s first consumer opinion website, to see which brands and models are popular.
We’ve paid attention to the bad stuff, like a humidifier being impossible to clean. We’ve been slightly more lenient when it comes to complaints about them breaking after a few uses. Although it raises interesting points about the product’s quality and durability, there’s a reason why appliances come with warranties. If something goes wrong, especially the first few uses, you should return it under warranty.
We were looking for humidifiers that were easy to clean, with a large tank that didn’t need too many refills, and backed up by good consumer reviews, ideally around 100 with a minimum 4-star rating. We considered an aromatherapy feature a bonus, not an essential. If you’re after room-filling scent, you’re best with an essential oil diffuser, not a humidifier.
We believe these humidifiers are also the best baby humidifiers. Some have nightlights, making them suitable for children’s rooms. But they’ll all do a job, regardless of whether they’re in an adult’s or child’s room. If you’re using a humidifier in baby’s room, ensure there’s no risk of burns from warm-mist humidifiers and that you regularly clean them to prevent mould and bacteria build up.
The best humidifier for most
Choose this if
If you’d like a simple to use humidifier that doubles as a nightlight and an aroma diffuser, you can’t go wrong with the Medescan Rainbow Mist. The cheapest humidifier we reviewed, with a RRP of $75, it’s loved by Aussies and comes with an impressive 2-year warranty and long runtime.
What we love
Vapour flow control
Set the right vapour flow for you and your environment.
7 LED coloured lights
You have the option to create an ambient glow by cycling through 7 colours, sticking with one, or turning it off altogether. This could also work well as a child’s nightlight.
If you’d like to lightly scent the air, you can also use the aroma diffuser.
Whether you fall asleep with it on, or leave the house while it’s running, it’ll automatically shut itself off once the water tank is empty.
Large water tank size
At 2.8L, you won’t be constantly refilling the water tank.
It’ll last up to 10 hours on the maximum setting, and up to 20 on the minimum.
All the pieces come apart (and back together) easily, and you clean the water tank with diluted vinegar.
Simple to use
With a dial to control the vapour flow and a light on / off button, it’s simple to use.
With a low RRP of $75, it represents good value for money for all the features you get.
Which is impressive for such a low price and should give you confidence in your purchase.
Loved by Aussies
It’s the most popular humidifier on ProductReview.com.au, racking up over 100 reviews and a 4-star rating.
The not so good bits
Lack of access to water tank
When you’re cleaning the water tank, you can’t reach inside it to scrub any build up. Which means you’ll need to regularly and thoroughly clean it and trust that the diluted vinegar is doing its job.
The Medescan Rainbow Mist is our winner because it’s more than a humidifier. It also offers 7 LED colours plus an aromatherapy option. This makes it a multifunctional device and represents good value for money – its RRP is $75, the cheapest humidifier we reviewed.
For your money, you’re getting an ultrasonic humidifier with an adjustable vapour flow to suit your needs. It has 7 LED coloured lights, which you can turn off, or cycle through them all, or stick with your favourite colour. This creates an ambient glow or makes a good nightlight for a child’s room.
It also has an aroma diffuser, allowing you to diffuse scents as you use it.
If you use the Medescan Rainbow Mist at its maximum flow setting, it’ll last around 10 hours. On the minimum setting, it’ll last up to 20 hours. This is thanks to its generous 2.8L water tank capacity.
It comes with an automatic shutoff and a 2-year warranty.
The best multi-use humidifier
Choose this if
For a sleek and modern humidifier, consider the German-engineered Beurer LB44. Easy to use and clean, it can also gently fragrance your room. Thanks to its large capacity water tank, it doesn’t need constant refills. It has an impressive 3-year warranty which goes some way to justifying its $140 RRP.
What we love
Easy to use
Just 1 dial to adjust the vapour flow makes it very simple to use.
Adjustable vapour flow
So you can crank it up or down, as you need to.
It can also gently scent the room, making it multifunctional.
Large water tank capacity
At 2.8L, it’s the same as our winner.
Visible water line
Allows you to see at a glance if the water tank needs a top up.
For peace of mind if you forget to turn it off, it’ll turn off itself.
Included cleaning brush
Helps you easily care for it.
Sleek and clinical, it’ll fit into any modern home.
Which justifies the more expensive price.
The not so good bits
You pay almost double the Medescan's RRP, but you’re getting less – there’s no light function.
Limited consumer reviews
It doesn’t have many consumer reviews, yet, and the ones it does have are mixed.
If you’re after something a bit more clinical looking, consider the German-engineered Beurer LB44. Although lacking the LED lights of our winner, it does offer aromatherapy and the same large capacity water tank.
The 2.8L water tank offers a visible water level, letting you know when it needs to be topped up. Although it too has an auto shutoff feature, so you don’t need to worry about it running dry. Easy to use, it has one dial that you control the vapour flow with and a green indicator light to let you know it’s on. It’s also simple to clean and comes with a cleaning brush.
With a RRP around $130, it’s almost double the price of our Medescan pick. It does have a 3-year warranty, however.
Others worth considering
If you’re looking for a small humidifier that’s ideal for your bedside table or travelling meet the Beurer LB12 Mini. This thing is tiny, measuring just 9cm (W) x 7.5cm (D) x 12cm (H). That’s about the size of a block of butter. As well as being small, it’s quiet, making it ideal for bedroom use. Its smart design (German-engineered, naturally) uses a standard plastic water bottle as the removable water tank. Which means it’s easy to fill, although expect fairly regular refills.
It’s also easy to clean thanks to its dishwasher safe parts and included cleaning brush. It comes in around $100 and has great, although limited, consumer reviews.
The Ionmax Hybrid with UV ION90 is packing some serious tech. It boasts both cool mist and warm mist, which Ionmax claims makes humidification faster. It also has ‘UV bio-photocatalyst sterilisation’ which apparently ‘helps to decompose smelly particles to achieve maximum deodorisation and sterilisation effects’. Which means if you love to cook pungent food, have a particularly stinky pet or have piles of sweaty stuff lying around, it might help freshen your home up. Maybe.
The bright LED display and labelled buttons makes it easy to use. The built-in humidistat will automatically monitor, control and maintain the right humidity level for you. You can choose 3 levels of mist output. It also has a 1-9 hour timer, although it can run up to 21 hours on cool mist. This is thanks to its 6.5L tank capacity. Switch it to sleep mode and the display dims and it’ll switch off automatically after 8 hours. Ionmax reckons it’s low noise, which means it’s good to use while you’re sleeping. Safety features include a water shortage indicator and an auto switch off when the tank is empty.
As you’d expect, serious tech means a serious price. With a RRP around $300, it’s very expensive. It gets great, but limited, consumer reviews. Andatech Distribution (who own the Ionmax brand) is 100% Australian owned though, so you’d get some warm fuzzies from supporting local.
The Breville the Easy Mist is a bit like the Ionmax Hybrid with UV ION90, but a lot simpler. It too has cool and warm mist and 3 mist levels. It’s also compact. Unlike the ION90, it doesn’t have a LED display, opting for 3 simple, user friendly buttons instead. It does offer aromatherapy though. Although smaller than the ION90’s, the 5L water tank means you won’t be constantly refilling it.
It suits rooms up to 30m2 and comes with a 2-year warranty. It has a RRP around $150 and 1 glowing 5-star consumer review on ProductReview.com.au. It’s also Sensitive Choice-approved, which means the National Asthma Council Australia recognises it as an asthma and allergy-aware product.
The Philips HU4803/70 takes the guesswork out of humidifying your room thanks to its auto humidity mode. Select this mode and it’ll constantly monitor the air humidity, turning itself on and off as needed. This ensures the humidity is at the right level.
It offers 2 other modes: standard and silent. With standard mode, rather than a dial like with our other picks, you choose between 40, 50 and 60% humidity. Sleep mode runs the humidifier at its quietest setting, with minimum lights on. It also has a timer that can run for 1, 4 or 8 hours.
The minimalist design allows you to easily clean it, inside and out, and Philips claims the water tank is ‘easy fill’.
The bottom line
When coughs and colds strike, a humidifier can be your best friend. Providing an infusion of moisture, a humidifier can help tackle the dryness that can cause plenty of discomfort.
We reckon the Medescan Rainbow Mist is Australia’s best humidifier. As well as being a humidifier, it offers 7 LED colours plus an aromatherapy option. With an adjustable vapour flow to suit your needs and a large 2.8L water tank, it’s great value for money, coming in at just $75. Aussies on ProductReview.com.au back up our findings – it’s well loved.
Pay almost double that and you could get our runner-up, the Beurer LB44. German-engineered, it’s far more clinical looking. No LED lights, it does offer aromatherapy and the same large capacity water tank. It comes with a handy cleaning brush and a 3-year warranty which somewhat explains the large price tag ($140).
Features to consider
Look for these features when shopping for your humidifier.
The bigger the tank, the less times you’ll have to refill it. Also, the longer the runtime.
Humidifiers require regular cleaning to prevent mould and bacteria growth. Ensure that you can easily take apart your humidifier and that all pieces are easy to thoroughly clean, with no crevices you can’t reach into.
Once your water tank runs dry, ensure the humidifier will automatically turn itself off to keep your home safe.
Ease of use
Your humidifier should be easy to use. Ideally, it’ll have 1 control that switches it on and off and adjusts the mist flow.
You should be able to choose the mist flow, which allows you to add more or less mist to the room, as needed.
What you get if you spend more
Some of these (especially the aromatherapy and nightlight) aren’t necessarily more expensive features, as both are in the cheapest humidifier we reviewed, our $75 winner. They’re more like non-standard features.
The rest are premium features.
Most of the humidifiers we reviewed had an optional aromatherapy feature. Rather than adding oils directly to the water tank – which can cause damage or discolouration – you soak a pad.
To create an ambiance or comfort your child through the night, some humidifiers also have a nightlight.
To stop you forgetting to turn your humidifier off, some have timers which will run your humidifier for a set time and then turn it off automatically.
A remote control is the ultimate in convenience (slash laziness).
Wondering what the room temperature is, or how humid it is? Some humidifiers have a LED display, showing this information.
Different operating modes
As well as giving you control over the mist flow, you might enjoy different operating modes, including night-time ones. These reduce the sound and light settings to their minimum.
If you’re not sure what’s the best setting for your room, some humidifiers, like the Philips HU4803/70, will figure it out for you.
How does a humidifier work?
A humidifier releases (usually by ‘misting’) water vapour into the air to increase the humidity level (or put another way, to add moisture to the air).
Do I need a humidifier?
Your home needs the right level of humidity to keep you comfortable. Too humid and you’ll feel sticky and drained. (Extreme humidity’s also not kind to your hair. We hear ya Monica.)
Not humid enough and the air can feel colder than it is. It can dry out any wood in your home, causing it to shrink then creak and crack. It can also dry out your skin and the membranes in your nose and throat.
You might need a humidifier if you have a very dry home which is causing dry skin. Sensitive Choice (a not-for-profit created by the National Asthma Council Australia to share information about asthma and allergy management) also reckons “Very dry air increases the prospect of catching airborne viruses like the flu”. This can be a serious asthma trigger, so humidifiers might be a good choice for asthma or allergy sufferers.
Humidifier vs dehumidifier. What's the difference?
This one’s pretty simple. A humidifier adds moisture to the air. A dehumidifier removes moisture from the air.
Too much moisture in your home and you might see condensation on your windows, wet stains on the walls and ceilings and mould growing. Your home might also smell musty and damp and feel clammy.
Are humidifiers safe for babies?
Any device that heats water or emits water vapour is going to be a risk to people, including little ones. That’s because they could touch it or pull it down onto them, putting them at risk of burns. Opting for a stable humidifier that’s kept well out of little hands’ reach (including any dangling power cords) can help reduce this risk.
Another safety concern with humidifiers is what happens if you don’t clean them regularly. Because a humidifier releases mist, anything that’s in the water gets turned into mist too. So, if you don’t clean your humidifier and water sits there for weeks on end, bugs start to grow. These bugs then get turned into mist and get spread throughout your home. Eek. Upshot? Use them correctly and clean them regularly.
Should I buy a humidifier or an essential oil diffuser?
Although some humidifiers have an aromatherapy feature, that’s not their main purpose. If you’re after a room-filling scent, and don’t need to add moisture to the air, go for an essential oil diffuser.