If thirst, difficulty breathing, or nosebleeds wake you up regularly, dry air could be the culprit. A good humidifier can help put a stop to it before the lack of sleep wreaks havoc on your focus and grades. Here’s my review of five different humidifiers, along with a quick look at what you need to know to pick the right dorm room humidifier for you.
Table of Contents
Why Is Dorm Room Humidifier Important?
A humidifier is a machine that adds moisture to dry air. Headaches, nosebleeds, and trouble breathing are just some problems dry air is notorious for. There are two reasons that make humidifiers important in dorm rooms.
Dry Winter Air
Since the biggest chunk of the academic year falls in fall and winter, you’ll be cranking up the heating in your dorm room for a long time. This dries up the air, bringing the humidity levels down as low as 10%, lower than the Sahara Desert.
A humidifier keeps the humidity levels in your dorm room within the ideal 30-60% range, ensuring you sleep well and wake up well-rested and refreshed.
Instead of bringing an end to your winter troubles, spring usually brings with it seasonal allergies. This means many of the same problems winter heating brings, from dry skin and itchy throats to asthma symptoms.
A humidifier can help relieve allergy symptoms, giving you the rest and focus you need for that final lap toward the finals.
Considerations When Buying a Dorm Room Humidifier
Here’s what you should keep in mind when choosing a humidifier for your dorm room.
Ease of Cleaning
You’ll be cleaning your humidifier every week, more or less. Skimping on cleaning means letting mold and mildew grow rapidly. You can end up breathing in dangerous mold spores, which will make your symptoms worse and could be highly toxic.
A good humidifier should let you reach every part that gets wet, because that’s where mold loves to grow. Avoid humidifiers with hard-to-reach nooks and crannies where mold and bacteria will grow freely.
Ease of Refilling
Depending on your humidifier’s capacity, you’ll need to refill it every one to two days. Your ideal pick should have a lid you can open and close easily.
If you can fit the tank in the sink, you’ll have an easier time filling it and you’ll spill less water. If you have to bring water to the tank, make sure to have towels or rags in place. You don’t want spills damaging the floor or your roommate’s possessions.
A humidifier usually runs at night while you and your roommate are asleep. The ideal buy is one that automatically shuts off when the tank is about to run out of water.
Some humidifiers will gurgle, beep, or make other loud noises. This is especially true of the evaporative type, because of its fans. Some people find that soothing white noise, but it can keep light sleepers up all night.
Some humidifiers have bright power buttons or LED displays that can’t be turned off. Unless you know for a fact that a night light is fine with you and your roommate, go for something where the light is optional.
Benefits of Dorm Room Humidifiers
A good humidifier’s benefits don’t stop at giving you a better night’s sleep. Take a look.
Helping with Asthma, Breathing Difficulties, and Nasal Congestion
Here’s why I prefer evaporative humidifiers: They trap airborne contaminants such as pet dander, pollen, and dust in their filters so you don’t breathe any of it.
If you have a stuffy nose, the humidity in the air helps thin the liquid stuffing up your nose, which helps you breathe easier.
Weakening the Flu Virus
Humidity levels can be an effective way to shorten the life of the influenza virus. Its life is shortest in a humidity range between 40% and 60%.
Types of Humidifiers
Humidifiers can be classified in two different ways.
Based on mist temperature, there are cool-mist humidifiers or vaporizers, and warm-mist humidifiers or steam vaporizers. According to their technology, there are evaporative humidifiers and ultrasonic humidifiers.
Here’s a quick look at each type.
Cool-Mist Humidifier vs. Warm-Mist Humidifier
Both types are equally effective in humidifying the air. In a dorm room with a roommate you still don’t know too well, a cool-mist humidifier is the safe option.
Warm-mist humidifiers heat the water, then push the resulting hot steam out into the air. If your roommate is a little careless, the hot steam could burn them if they get too close. If either of you has a habit of knocking into things, the boiling water could spill and burn you.
Evaporative Humidifier vs. Ultrasonic Humidifier
Ultrasonic cool-mist humidifiers have a tiny motor that makes the water in the tank vibrate at a literally ultrasonic speed, hence the name. The water particles then go out into the air through the mist nozzle. These particles are the cloud like white mist that you see.
Evaporative cool-mist humidifiers, on the other hand, use a fan and a filter. The fan pulls air into the humidifier and forces it through the filter, which absorbs the water. The moisture is then forced out into the room.
Even better, the filter also traps all the particles and minerals in the water. This protects you from breathing them in, which is a huge bonus that ultrasonic humidifiers lack.
Another bonus to evaporative cool-mist humidifiers is that they don’t release the white dust ultrasonic humidifiers are notorious for. The dust isn’t a danger to your health, but it covers all your surfaces and you’ll have to wipe it down or dust it off quite often.
Noise is one area where ultrasonic cool-mist humidifiers have the advantage. They don’t have a fan so they’re a lot quieter than their evaporative counterparts.
Ultrasonic humidifiers have another bonus: They have no filters you have to keep replacing. This can make a big difference in your budget.
to deep, uninterrupted zzzs!
Dorm room Humidifier Mini-Reviews
1. Honeywell HCM350W Evaporative Cool-Mist Humidifier – My Top Pick
The only evaporative humidifier on my list, this humidifier shows you the humidity level and the temperature. You can take it apart and clean the tank and the bottom in the dishwasher if your dorm has such luxuries. If not, the tank’s wide opening makes cleaning it by hand quite easy.
Many customers resent having to keep buying new filters, especially since this humidifier is already pricey. They also find the fans noisy and hard to clean. It should be said that all fans are notoriously hard to clean, although compressed air cans are a great solution.
It’s also impossible to set the humidity level to a specific number. You only have high, medium, and low. That said, many customers said they’ve been using it for years, which is a wonderful testament to its durability.
- UV technology kills 99.9% of bacteria
- Doesn’t leave white dust on surfaces
- Can handle untreated tap water
- Only compatible with Honeywell replacement filters
This 4-liter humidifier can cover large spaces up to 220 square feet. This means it can moisturize for 18 hours on high and 24 hours on low. It comes with three manual speed settings so you can choose from low, medium, or high.
You don’t need to remove the lid to refill it; simply pour in the small slot in the lid. The transparent water gauge tells you roughly how much time you have until the next refill. This humidifier also comes with an optional LED night light.
This humidifier also has a built-in diffuser if you like to relax with lavender essential oil. Just make sure that’s the only place you put any and all essential oils. Remember: Extracts can go in your mouth; essential oils go in your diffuser and nowhere else for your safety.
Some customers said that, according to the manufacturer’s instructions, you need to remove the lid to fill the tank rather than pour water through the slot.
Opinions were divided on the diffuser’s effectiveness: Some customers found the diffuser didn’t fill their space with fragrance as they expected. However, others commented on how it made their space full of the scent they chose.
Others were dismayed they had to add essential oils to the infusion sponge rather than to the water directly. I found this very strange given that essential oils should never go in a cool-mist humidifier’s tank; otherwise they ruin it.
- Built-in intelligent humidity sensor
- Pricey, although it covers a much larger space than the cheaper options
This should work for 16 continuous hours on high, so you don’t need to get up in the middle of the night to refill it. You can adjust the speed and mist direction so it doesn’t hit any electronics, books, or anything else you don’t want it directed at.
The 1.5-liter tank is large enough to cover small rooms up to 150 square feet, which means more than ample coverage for your dorm room. This humidifier also comes with a night light that you can turn off if you want.
It also comes with an AC power adapter, a 360-degree mist nozzle, a disk cleaning brush, and a user manual. The manufacturer offers an outstanding five-year warranty and customer support seven days of the week.
People have complained about the power light. Many found it overly bright and didn’t like that it wasn’t optional. If you or your roommate can only sleep in pitch-black dark, this may not be ideal for you.
A number of people have complained about this humidifier leaking profusely.
- Auto shutoff when water level is low
- Easy to assemble, take apart, and clean
- Only distilled water
This 1.2-gallon humidifier can run for up to 30 hours on low and up to 15 on high. It can cover medium rooms ranging between 100 to 400 square feet. The tank is transparent, so you can monitor the water level easily.
It comes with one Vicks VapoPad, but it has slots for two of those pads if you want a stronger vapor.
Many customers found the printed cleaning instructions confusing compared to the video, so stick with the video. Some customers complained that it dripped, but others said it was normal condensation. They placed a rag next to the humidifier and didn’t think any more of it.
Opinions on noise varied: Some customers said it wasn’t quiet enough. Others said they were light sleepers and yet weren’t woken up by the motor hums and the water gurgles and bubbles.
- Adjustable mist control
- Auto shutoff
- Easy to fill
- Hard-to-clean crevices may grow mold
Available in a set of two, this humidifier is a black or tan ceramic bowl and a white clay sphere. Pour water into the bowl or on top of the sphere until the bowl is full. The clay then absorbs the water and humidifies the air
This humidifier comes in two sizes: The small humidifier is 3.5” x 3.25”. The large one is 4.5” x 4”. Keep in mind that the sphere doesn’t attach to the bowl, so a clumsy roommate might knock it over in the dark.
People who bought this seem divided on its functionality. Several were happy with it. Others weren’t sure it had even worked in the first place with the water level unchanged.
Many of those unhappy with this humidifier still kept it as makeshift decor. With its cheap price, compact size, and modern design, they didn’t want to throw it away. A number said that the water did evaporate but that there was no relief from their dry-air symptoms.
- Easily portable
- No electricity or batteries
- 100% silent
- Hard to tell if it actually works
- May leak
The only evaporative humidifier on my list, the Honeywell HCM350W evaporative humidifier is my top pick hands down. It’s easy to clean and fill and can handle untreated tap water like a champ.
Its UV technology kills 99.9% of the bacteria in that water and the filter traps everything else, which is why evaporative humidifiers will always win in my book.
If you’d rather not keep replacing filters and you don’t mind dusting more often, the GENIANI ultrasonic humidifier is your best bet. Because this has no fans, it’s also the better option for light sleepers.
A good humidifier will take any sleep-deprived breakdowns out of the equation. Cramming for the finals or the occasional party can make you stay up every once in a while. Dry air, on the other hand, should never be the culprit. Here’s to deep, uninterrupted zzzs!