Humidifiers vs Vaporizers: Which one to Choose?

Both humidifiers and vaporizers are helpful in combating the dryness and increase moisture content in the air.

Even if their main functionality is similar, the working mechanism of humidifier and vaporizer is different.

     Humidifier uses ultrasonic technology to release cool-mist into the air.

    Vaporizer uses internal heat technology to release warm mist into the surroundings.

When it comes to choosing the best among these two variants – the winner is determined based on the personal preference or purpose.

In this article, we tried to analyze these two options based on several factors. Go through the information to determine which option is suitable for your requirements.

Table of Contents

What is a Humidifier?

What is a Vaporizer?Humidifier and Vaporizer – Brief Comparison

Detail Analysis of Comparison Between Humidifier and Vaporizer1. Adding Moisture to the air:

2. Cleaning:

3. Safety:

4. Allergies:

5. Congestion:

6. Bronchitis:

7. Children:

8. Cost:

Frequently Asked Questions:


What is a Humidifier?

A humidifier is a small portable electric device that increases the humidity level in your room/house. Humidifiers create vapor from cold water, as it uses a fan, a wick and a reservoir to function and releases cool mist into the air. It consumes less energy and works efficiently to make you breathe comfortably. The only drawback is that it has to be cleaned daily (including its filters). For more humidifier benefits, Click Here.

What is a Vaporizer?

A vaporizer is a type of warm mist humidifier used to humidify the room. They boil/heat water and convert it into steam/mist. It allows you to add some medicinal inhalants to them to cure cold & flu symptoms. They won’t have any fans or wicks like humidifiers. They produce heat with moisture and they may get overheated and cause electrical disturbances. Also, it might be dangerous around kids.

Humidifier and Vaporizer – Brief Comparison


Heat Producing

Release of Vapor
Cold Mist
Warm Mist

Suitable Type of Water
Distilled/Pure water
Tap water


Chance of Spreading Bacteria


Chance to Add Medication


Safety to Kids

Detail Analysis of Comparison Between Humidifier and Vaporizer

Let’s check out some differences that help you in making the right decision on which one to choose.

1. Adding Moisture to the air:

Both vaporizer and humidifier add moisture to the air and make you have comfortable breathing. But how they work will differentiate them.

  • Humidifiers/Cool Mist Humidifier – It uses a rotating disk that submerges in the device. It moves to break up the water into miniature particles, which is inhaled. It suits perfectly for dry weather where breathing is difficult or uncomfortable. A few models use ultrasonic vibrations to disperse a cool mist of water into the air.
  • Steam Vaporizer/Warm Mist Humidifier – It uses electricity to power up a heating element, which in turns boils water to create steam. This steam enters into the air to moisten and increase the level of humidity. Also, you can add inhalants to this vaporizer to have a soothing effect.

Verdict – Both are effective in adding moisture to the air. In case having kids or pets, prefer to use humidifiers whereas the hot water in vaporizers may cause burns if it spills. Remember that mist produced by the vaporizer is hygienic because the water boils before coming out of the machine.

2. Cleaning:

Cleaning your humidifier and vaporizer daily while you’re using will keep away the buildup of minerals, bacteria, or mold. The type of water you’re using will make all the difference – vaporizer needs tap water, whereas humidifiers use distilled/purified water.

  • Refill the tank with freshwater daily after emptying it and drying all surfaces.
  • Once every week, again empty the water tank and follow the cleaning procedure as per the manufacturer instructions to remove any debris.
  • For storing, follow the cleaning instruction in the manufacturer’s guide. Store them in a dry and cool place. Discard the dirty filters of the humidifier before its storage.

Verdict – Even though both are humidifiers but their cleaning process is quite different. Clean them as per the instructions mentioned in the user manual.

3. Safety:

The mineral deposits and other contaminants are a major safety concern of humidifiers, which gets emitted into the air. If they inhaled may irritate your airways and cause breathing issues. So, to get rid of the problem, you have to use distilled water and thoroughly clean the unit regularly.

Vaporizers won’t emit any harmful minerals or contaminants into the air. The only drawback is that it has a risk of having burns from spilt or steam water. So, try to sit 4 feet or more from this vaporizer to avoid any risks.

Verdict – Humidifier is your perfect choice if having kids or pets to prevent the risk of burns.

4. Allergies:

Moisture in the air will soothe your irritated airways but do you know high humidity levels will result in indoor allergies. As dust mites and mold or unclean filters will develop if indoor humidity levels are high.

One should use a hygrometer while running a humidifier to measure the indoor humidity levels and thereby to clear those common allergens. While vaporizers have fewer contaminants, as the vapor produced by boiling water.

Verdict – Vaporizers are considered the best option for those who are suffering from indoor allergies.

5. Congestion:

Both a humidifier and a vaporizer will work equally while dealing with flu and cold congestion. The reason is that they moisture dry air and increase the humidity in the room to soothe the irritated nasal passage and lungs, despite their working mechanism.

Verdict – Both works well but most experts suggest humidifiers to prevent the risk of burns from spills/steam.

6. Bronchitis:

Bronchitis is the inflammation in the bronchial tubes with coughing and increased mucus as its symptoms. Raising the humidity levels will ease the symptoms associated with bronchitis. Here both humidifier and vaporizer will do the work effectively.

Verdict – Use any one of these devices to get rid of the problem.

7. Children:

Babies and young children who are unable to blow their noses need the proper humidity to ease congested nose, nasal stuffiness and cough. Most experts suggest not to use a vaporizer around children, as they boil water and lead to burns.

Verdict – Use humidifier rather than vaporizers in your child’s room to ease their nasal irritation.

8. Cost:

Humidifiers cost a bit more than a vaporizer. So, it completely depends on your budget level on choosing either of these devices. But make sure to check the size of the unit and room before its purchase to make it effective.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. What are the ideal indoor humidity levels?

Low or high humidity levels in the air will not only cause harm to your skin, and health but also to electrical devices in your room. The ideal indoor humidity level at your home should be 30% – 50%. To prevent this humidity problem in dry weather, you have to use either a humidifier or vaporizer.

2. Is vaporizer, a type of humidifier?

Yes, a vaporizer is a type of warm mist humidifier, which is designed to alleviate the humidity level in the air. They boil water and turn it into a warm mist. Also, you can add some medical inhalants to relieve your cold symptoms.


Both a humidifier and steam vaporizer will add humidity to the air. Humidifier adds a cool fine vapor whereas the vaporizer heats the water to add steam to the air. Both will ease your nasal and skin dryness. Coming to which one to choose completely depends on your personal preference, budget, kids, and health issues.

Do let us know which one you’re going to purchase in the below comments section.







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