Humidifiers vs Vaporizers | The Complete Comparison

| Last Updated: June 14, 2021

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.

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.

Honeywell HCM350W

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.

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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.

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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.

Top Pick Between Humidifiers And Vaporizers

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.


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, 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.