Looking for a quiet/soothing, easy to clean cool mist humidifer
December 17, 2013 11:29 AM   Subscribe

A year and a half ago, we got a a cool mist humidifier, but now we're looking for a new one, with the caveat that it has to be quiet, or at least the noise it generates is calming or similar to white noise.

We had a Crane brand penguin-shaped humidifier. It was pretty good, but not great, and then it broke when it fell off of a table. If it was easier to clean, we would probably get another one, but because we had issues clearing the calcification and other residue that would build up from near-constant use, we bought another brand. We picked up a Vicks V4600 FilterFree Cool Mist Humidifier, and it appears to work without issue, but it's noisy in a way that keeps up the humidifiee, our young son. The noise is louder and more high-pitched than the Crane penguin, which emits a lower-tone hum. My wife and I could probably sleep while the Vicks ran, but the sound was notable or annoying enough to him that he woke up a few times, and only went back to sleep when we turned the humidifier off.

With that, we're looking for recommendations for relatively quiet cool-mist, filter-free humidifiers. We're opting for cool mist because of the minor concern with running a warm mist humidifier near a little guy who has the vague potential pull it down on himself.
posted by filthy light thief to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
It's pricey, but I love my Air-O-Swiss Ultrasonic humidifier. Going strong in its fourth Chicago winter season. It's quite quiet in my opinion, and my local Bed Bath & Beyond usually has it set up and running so you could even go check out how loud it is. Plus then you can use one of your three dozen BB&B 20% off coupons. It has a cool or warm mist setting, and I haven't found cleaning all that difficult. I just clean it out with some vinegar and it even comes with a little brush to get into some crevices. Though the Clean Now indicator never turns off, I think theres some on-off-a-b-up-down rigamarole I'm supposed to go through to reset the cleaning indicator and I just don't bother. I haven't replaced the cartridge demineralizer thingy yet either, though I suppose I should at some point.
posted by misskaz at 11:54 AM on December 17, 2013

I've been using humidifiers of various kinds since 1979. The quietest type I know is made by Venta. Note: not cool mist but disk-evaporation style. I may add that the overall "feel" in terms of clean air is actually better too, calmer, in fact, so in spite of your headline, you might consider switching.
In terms of clean-friendliness I can't say whether they are better or worse than others (we have our own well here with low residue levels). Venta sells a product that is supposed to clean them.
The sound these things make is a hollow, regular, soft fan sound (unless you jack up the speed - mine has three steps and step three is a bit noisy, though usually not necessary).
posted by Namlit at 12:30 PM on December 17, 2013

I'm surprised you had trouble with your Crane; I adore my Crane Drop Shape humidifier. It is quiet as can be. Do you have hard water? Perhaps using distilled water would help?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:42 PM on December 17, 2013 [2 favorites]

This Holmes is on my bedside table. Very quiet, I've never even heard it gurgle, the reservoir shape means it's easier to fill in a shallow bathroom sink, and not a huge footprint. It'll run 10 hours unless it's open full-bore.

One downside is that the giant orange light is giant and so very orange, and I know it's because people put them on the floor and it's a trip hazard but it shines right in my eyes. I ended up using black paint because it shone through everything I tried to tape over it.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:42 PM on December 17, 2013

It's not just the hard water, but also some muck that needs to be scrubbed out of the edges. It's generally not an issue, but there's one region in the basin that is really hard to scrub. Also, the tube often feels a bit slimy after prolonged use.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:56 PM on December 17, 2013

The cute froggie humidifiers they have at Target are great.

If the water you have is problematic, I'd consider filling your humidifiers with distilled water, which is usually a buck a gallon, or less.
posted by colin_l at 2:20 PM on December 17, 2013

Ha, I was just coming to recommend the Crane Penguin which I just got and am happy with.
Every few weeks you are supposed to soak everything in vinegar to get the slimies off. Do you do that?
posted by rmless at 2:22 PM on December 17, 2013

seconding colin_l's suggestion to try distilled water in your humidifier. takes care of calcification and other similar issues (usually.)
posted by raihan_ at 2:48 PM on December 17, 2013

I definitely soak mine weekly in a vinegar/water solution. It feel like a tortuous chore (especially now that we have two, one in each bedroom), but it seems to keep things from getting too disgusting.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:29 PM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

I have this Honeywell humidifier and I really like it. It has different humidity level settings and is super easy to clean. Once a week, I put the removable parts in the dishwasher and soak the rest in vinegar/water. Give it a quick scrub, and it's ready to go.
posted by dorkydancer at 6:35 PM on December 17, 2013

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