Humidifiers vs Vaporizers | The Complete Comparison

| Last Updated: November 17, 2023

Humidifiers vs Vaporizers-One thing most people tend to ask about when discussing humidifiers is the difference between them and another very similar looking product line known as vaporizers.

Understanding the difference between the two can be tricky (we have all been there), but clearing up the confusion is easy.

In this article, we are going to tell you all about the differences and similarities between these two products. We will also guide you on what to look for and which unit to invest in to fulfill your humidifying (or vaporizing) needs.

Comparison of the Top Humidifiers and Vaporizers

  • Best humidifier overall
  • Easy to maintain and only needs a refill once a day
  • Three different speed levels allow you to customize the mist output
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  • Runner-up humidifier
  • User-friendly and easy to use
  • Comes with its own humidity reader that moisturizes according to the humidity level in the room
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  • Best budget humidifier
  • Exceptional user-friendly features
  • You can set the time on this humidifier and enjoy different LED options as well
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  • Requires no filters
  • Best vaporizer overall
  • Ideal for medium and large-sized rooms
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  • Runner-up vaporizer
  • Can humidify spaces up to 700 square feet in size
  • Ultrasonic technology is quiet enough to provide you with a peaceful sleep
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  • Best budget vaporizer
  • Ideal for your kid's bedrooms and nurseries
  • LED light on this product acts as a lamp and provides the room with a peaceful environment at night
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What is a Humidifier?

Humidifiers are versatile devices that are flexible in terms of their performance. The working principle in these units is the same; water vapors are released from the product, which helps in improving and maintaining the humidity of the surrounding area. These vapors are released by a turning disk that is immersed inside the water present in the unit’s tank.

Humidifiers vs Vaporizers

Humidifiers are slightly expensive and also require proper maintenance. These products come with very few potential hazards; still, it is important to keep them away from people who experience respiratory issues and to keep warm mist humidifiers away from children (since they use hot water to function).

Humidifiers also have different types, each with their own particular functions and price points; these include cool mist, impeller, warm mist, and ultrasonic humidifiers (which make use of a diaphragm to keep their functions quiet).

What is a Vaporizer?

Vaporizers function in a slightly different way; a heating element present inside the unit boils water, causing it to emerge in the form of bubbles. The primary use of this unit is to extract nutrients from herbs and plants to treat diseases and ailments. Even though these units do not have side effects related to health, they can worsen a medical condition when used carelessly.

There are two types of vaporizers currently on the market. One is a simpler unit known as a steam boiler, which heats water that is released as steam in your atmosphere; these can be used with herbs to treat flu and asthma.

The other is called the waterless vaporizer, which is new and has pads inside that become moist when used with oil or other liquids. This can be an expensive item for some since the pads have to be replaced after some time.

Humidifiers vs. Vaporizers - Similarities and Differences

A humidifier is ideal for the inside of your house due to its numerous benefits. It keeps the air inside the house clean, comfortable, and moist. Vaporizers also have many benefits but these benefits differ from a humidifier. So what is it that makes these two units different? And what do they share in common?


Below are the main differences between the two:

Type Of Humidity

A humidifier and a vaporizer differ with one another when it comes to the type of humidity they release. A humidifier tends to release cool mist into the air by breaking up the cool water particles. These particles get developed through a disc that turns rapidly when submerged in water. The outcome of this cool mist causes humidity to be released, and this moisturizes the room.

A vaporizer, on the other hand, is made with a heating element. This unit tends to boil water and then distributes the steam throughout your room. A vaporizer is an ideal device if you want to make use of inhalants such as plant extracts, medicinal vapors, and herbs in order to cure cold and coughs symptoms.

Price Point

Humidifiers are, without a doubt, more expensive when compared to vaporizers. The reason behind such a price disparity is that a humidifier comes with features and properties a vaporizer lacks. For example, some humidifiers break up the cool water particles and provide cool mist into the air, whereas vaporizers are limited to using hot water and steam to function.


Humidifiers are high maintenance units since they will eventually develop mildew and mold. Because of this, you will have to regularly check the tank and watch out for the presence of black and brownish marks, which can appear on the ceilings and walls of your unit.

Vaporizers, on the other hand, don’t require much maintenance and will only need cleaning once every two weeks (at most). Since they make use of boiled water, mold and mildew accumulate much less quickly.


Below are the main similarities:

Relief From Flu And Cold

A cool mist humidifier is very similar to a steam vaporizer in that both can be used to combat cold and flu congestions. These devices work by providing humidity in your room so that moisture can reach your blocked nasal passages and provide relief to your lungs.

Both such machines add moisture to your surroundings and have the ability to reach the same humidity levels, though they have different methods of doing so. Regardless of which product you use, the water that reaches your lower airway tends to be of the same temperature.

Relief From Excessive Dryness

Humidifiers and vaporizers both have the ability to combat excessive dryness, prevent the buildup of static electricity, and relieve discomfort associated with your skin and nose. With these two devices, you can prevent infants and children from developing certain breathing problems caused by dry air.

These units also help in alleviating certain symptoms caused by allergies and the common cold, such as congestion and coughing. People suffering from bronchitis and asthma may also find comfort with these devices.

Review of our Favorite Humidifiers

Finding the right kind of humidifier can be a mind-numbing task due to the numerous options available on the market. To make this choice easy for you, we have compiled our top three humidifiers along with their pros and cons.

Best Humidifier Overall:
Honeywell HCM350W

Honeywell Cool Moisture Humidifier, Medium Room, 1 Gallon Tank, White – Invisible Moisture Humidifier for Baby, Kids, Adult Bedrooms – Quiet and Easy to Clean with UV Technology for Everyday Comfort


  • Dishwasher safe
  • Comes with a stylish design
  • Kills around 99.9% of germs and bacteria
  • Easy handle to carry around and easy to refill


  • No water refill indicator
  • Large size might be a problem for some

Our Review

The Honeywell HCM-350 is an exceptionally stylish humidifier. This unit comes with a smooth bottom design and an ergonomically made handle that makes it easy for you to carry it around. This product is also very easy to refill since the lid on top can be removed easily. Even though this humidifier is large in size, its weight is pretty normal, which allows you to place it wherever you want.

This humidifier makes use of evaporative technology, enabling you to regulate the cool mist automatically. This mist output of this unit can be adjusted based on the ambient temperature of the room where it is located. Moreover, this unit has three different speeds, allowing you to choose a lower and quieter speed if you prefer or even go for a faster speed. The UV technology on this product destroys and kills all kinds of germs and bacteria. The best aspect of this item is that it is dishwasher safe.

Due to its large tank, this humidifier can run easily for a whole day without any refilling. In regard to the noise level, you should know that the noise of this unit differs according to the speed selected.

On low speed, this humidifier is incredibly quiet, whereas, on medium speed, it gives a gentle and peaceful noise. But when placed on high speed, this humidifier sounds like a fan in the room.

Bottom Line

Even though this product lacks certain features you might be looking for, it is a very solid option. This is an effective, affordable unit with three different mist output levels, quiet performance, and stylish design. We believe it thoroughly deserves the top spot on our list.

LEVOIT 6L Warm and Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier

LEVOIT Humidifiers for Bedroom Large Room Home, 6L Warm and Cool Mist Ultrasonic Air Vaporizer for Plants and Whole House, Built-in Humidity Sensor, Essential Oil Diffuser, Whisper Quiet, Timer, White


  • Features a humidity reader
  • Fragrance pads provide you with aromatherapy
  • Due to ultrasonic technology, this unit is extremely quiet
  • Remote control allows you to control humidifier wherever you are


  • Display light on this unit might be too bright for some and can’t be turned it off or dimmed

Our Review

With the Levoit Humidifier, you can enjoy the benefits of either cool or warm mist, conveniently provided to you in one exceptional unit. This humidifier has humidity sensors and a meter on the digital LED display that lets you know the exact level of humidity present in the air. Moreover, this humidifier comes with three different mist output levels.

You also get a touchpad and remote control with this unit. This allows you to set the humidifier to auto mode. Such a mode enables this unit to determine the moisture level on its own depending on the humidity in the environment. Moreover, this unit comes with a timer that automatically turns the humidifier off after one to twelve hours of continuous operation, depending on the settings.

With a six-liter water capacity, this hybrid humidifier provides you with warm and cool mist in larger bedrooms and even living rooms. This unit can work for up to twenty-four hours straight (depending on settings). Also, the ultrasonic technology on this humidifier makes it incredibly quiet.

Levoit also has another major advantage; it is exceptionally easy to use. At the same time, this unit is also very easy to clean thanks to its small size, large opening, and fewer surfaces to clean.

Bottom Line

This humidifier has the ability to switch from warm to cool mist with the touch of a button. It is not a very expensive model and has some excellent features, including a remote control and an LED touch display. Even though the look of this product may appear cheaply made to some, this is a very good humidifier that works perfectly.

Best Humidifier for the Money:
VicTsing Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier

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  • Easy to clean and refill
  • Allows you to use fragrant oils for aromatherapy
  • Sleek and stylish design allows you to place it in any room of your choosing


  • Lacks a high mist setting
  • Due to its small size, this humidifier doesn’t hold a lot of water

Our Review

The VicTsing Cool Mist humidifier is incredibly lightweight and portable. This product has a unique design that makes it look good wherever it is placed. VicTsing humidifier is the best humidifier relative to its low price point. This device may look small, but it has the ability to integrate essential oils and provide you with aromatherapy.

This humidifier operates perfectly well in offices and rooms for ten hours straight. Also, since it makes use of innovative ultrasonic technology, this product is effective and makes sure you sleep peacefully. The mist released through this humidifier is effective in winter as well. This humidifier has two different modes and seven color options to choose from, making it ideal for kids’ bedrooms and the baby’s nursery.

If you enjoy the effects of aromatherapy, you’ll be pleased to learn that this unit can imbue the moisture it expels into your home with a sweet fragrance. This unit also gives you the ability to choose between different LED light options and set the time. In most cases, many humidifiers fall behind in either design or functionality, but VicTsing meets all requirements quite well.

Bottom Line

This is an exceptional unit and has amazing features. The best aspect of this product is its stylish and sleek design, which allows you to place this product in any room you like.

Review of our Favorite Vaporizers

Due to recent advancements in vaporizing technology, numerous different models of vaporizers have started to infiltrate the industry. With so many options available on the market, choosing the perfect one can be a difficult task. To make your choice easy, we have compiled our top three vaporizers here.

Best Vaporizer Overall:
Bionaire Ultrasonic Warm and Cool Mist Humidifier

Bionaire, Humidifier Ultrasonic no filters needed, medium to large rooms


  • Adjustable comfort levels
  • Ideal for different sized rooms
  • Easy to use digital control vaporizer
  • Two-gallon tank capacity allows it to work easily through the night


  • Filling it to full capacity may cause it to leak

Our Review

It is vital that you have the proper levels of humidity in your household in the dry months of winter. This Bionaire Warm and Cool Mist humidifier not only provides you with exceptional functionality but also delivers style. This unit is designed to operate quietly and disperse a visible and uniform mist into the air for maximum freshness and comfort.

This unit helps in alleviating the sinus irritation and dry, chapped skin that dry air can cause.

This unit offers cool mist as well as warm mist, which makes it a versatile investment in the long run. The cool mist helps by humidifying the air by dispersing cool and gentle mist all around. The warm mist helps by adding comfort during the winter months and keeping your skin hydrated. Moreover, this unit provides users with humidistat technology along with medicinal cups, which disperse inhalants and provide you and your household with more relief.

Bottom Line

This is an excellent vaporizer that comes with plenty of useful features and functions. It allows you to set the mist level according to your needs and choose between warm or cool mist. Its one drawback, the possibility of leakage, can be avoided through awareness and caution; we believe that one flaw is strongly outweighed by this unit’s exceptional advantages.

PowerPure 5000 Warm & Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier

Humidifiers vs Vaporizers-Power pure 5000


  • Remote control
  • User-friendly features
  • LCD panel comes with soft touch buttons
  • Auto-shutoff feature makes this vaporizer worry-free to use


  • The light on this product might be too bright for some and lead to some annoyance for those who prefer sleeping in darker rooms

Our Review

This PowerPure 5000 humidifier is another great product. Not only does this vaporizer look good but it also functions perfectly well. It has the ability to outperform many other models and provides its user with the highest quality manufacturing components on the market. This 5000 model can emit roughly three gallons of moisture per day, allowing it to effectively humidify and moisturize spaces up to 700 square feet. Talk about impressive!

This vaporizer is ideal for small and large rooms. Moreover, this product comes with a remote control that allows you to change, alter, and adjust the settings of the vaporizer from any corner of the room. With this remote, you can even turn the product off without getting up.

This unit provides you with immediate relief from cold and cough symptoms. Moreover, it features an optional negative ion generator, which helps in not only improving the air quality but also elevating your mood and the overall wellness of your body.

The LCD display screen allows you to stay in touch with the relative humidity present in your room as well as with the temperature. The soft buttons on this product allow you to set the humidity level according to your needs and even choose between warm or cool mists and the operation timer.

Bottom Line

This is a great vaporizer with exceptional features. This product’s silent operation and auto-shutoff abilities allow you to enjoy this unit without even noticing its presence.

Best Vaporizer for the Money:
Vicks Nursery 1 Gallon Vaporizer with Night-Light

Vicks Nursery 1 Gallon Vaporizer with Night-Light Warm Steam Vaporizer for Baby Room


  • Very affordable
  • Auto-shutoff abilities turn this unit off when the water is low
  • Contains a medicine cup that allows you to add in VapoSteam for clearing nasal passages


  • Water capacity might be a bit low for some

Our Review

This Vicks Warm Steam vaporizer is an excellent vaporizer for a very reasonable price. It is ideal for your kids’ rooms since its warm mist helps keep your nursery moisturized and aids in providing your family with a night of peaceful sleep. The LED light on this product acts as a lamp and helps in providing a peaceful environment.

Moreover, this unit has a one-gallon water tank, allowing it to work easily through the night after a refill. It also has an auto-shutoff feature, which turns this device off when the water level is too low. This unit helps in clearing nasal passages when they get too dry and provides you with congestion and cough relief when you or your child has a cold, thanks to the steam and humidity.

Simply put, Vicks steam inhalers help you breathe better. You can place them in your bedroom, office, or living room since they are suitable for large areas.

Bottom Line

Without a doubt, this is a very good vaporizer, thanks in part to its excellent features and LED light. It helps in vaporizing the room, and if you feel sick, you can always make use of the medicine cup. Add in VapoPads for additional relief during your sick days.

Top Pick Between Humidifiers And Vaporizers

Considering that all of the six products mentioned above are our top picks in their respective categories, choosing one single favorite can be a difficult thing to do. However, if you ask us, the best humidifier is the Honeywell HCM350W and the best vaporizer is the Bionaire Ultrasonic Warm and Cool Mist Humidifier.

Both these products have exceptional features and commendable working abilities when it comes to giving you the type of air you want. They are slightly expensive, but with their quality manufacturing, long-lasting abilities, and continuous efficacy, they are no doubt the winners in their own groups and a good return on investment in the long run.

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Reliable humidifiers and vaporizers can be a life-changing investment for people who live in dry and cold areas. These units help in moisturizing your skin and clearing your nasal passages during the tough cold and flu season.

We did our best to compile a well-researched list of the top humidifiers and vaporizers available on the market, and we hope this guide helps you make an informed buying decision.

My name is Bob Wells and I am a retired HVAC tech from Washington state. I am currently retired and no longer do much with HVAC, however, I feel like I have a lot of knowledge in the subject and I wanted to create a website where I could talk about what I've learned and help upcoming HVAC techs. Find more info about me and HVAC Training 101.