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Cool Mist Humidifier vs. Warm Mist Humidifier

Updated on July 24, 2010

There are two main types of mist humidifiers.  They are cool mist humidifiers and warm mist humidifiers.  There are pros and cons to both mist humidifiers.  You should look into getting a mist humidifier if you suffer from a dry cough, sinus problems, allergies, have dry chapped lips and dry skin.  If your home is too dry a mist humidifier would be a good idea.  You can tell if your home is too dry by the production of static electricity.  Keep reading to see the differences in mist humidifiers to decide which would be better for you.

Cool Mist Humidifier

There are two types of cool mist humidifiers. There are evaporative and ultrasonic humidifiers. Most cool mist humidifiers are a bit noisy. Some models have a silent feature if you are planning to use it in your bedroom while you sleep. A cool mist humidifier passes cool evaporated water into the air. This will cause the temperature in the room to drop slightly. The cooler temperature should make it easier for you to breathe at night. With the cool vapor you don’t have to worry about getting burned by steam. Especially if the humidifier is being use in a child’s bedroom a cool mist humidifier gives parents piece of mind. A cool mist humidifier is a great thing to have if you have an infant that has a cold. They are usually not able to blow their own nose so the cool mist opens up their nasal passage for them. For more information on how to help infants with a cold check out Cold Remedies for Infants.

The biggest downside to a cool mist humidifier is that the cool water can become a breeding ground for bacteria and mold.  As a result you need to be diligent on how often you clean the unit.  Also a cool mist humidifier can disperse minerals that reside in ordinary tap water, which can cause health problems.  It is recommended to use distilled water.  Cool mist humidifiers range in sizes.  Some can be attached to your heating ducts so that it can provide moisture throughout the house.  They can also be portable units.  One final advantage for a cool mist humidifier is that they tend to be less expensive than a warm mist humidifier.

Warm Mist Humidifier

Warm mist humidifiers use heating elements to boil the water to release steam into the air.  This distils the water, which reduces the amount of minerals that are released in the air from ordinary tap water.  The steam is like a gentle mist of warm water and is concentrated in the area closest to the humidifier.  Some warm mist humidifiers contain little compartments for medicine.  The downside to a warm mist humidifier is that it needs to be cleaned more often than a cool mist humidifier.  This leads to a higher chance of bacteria or mold growth.  Also with the heating element a warm mist humidifier does carry the risk of getting burned by hot water or steam.  For this reason it is recommended to use a cool mist humidifier for small children. 

In the end both a cool mist humidifier and a warm mist humidifier accomplish the same task.  They add moisture into the air.  Also in terms of the temperature of the mist by the time it reaches your nasal passages, the temperature is the same no matter which unit it came from.  You just need to consider the needs of a mist humidifier. 


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