On one hand, we absolutely need to blast our heater in the winter, especially when the temperature starts dropping into the single digits. On the other, cranking up the heat can seriously dry out our skin, eyes and nasal passages.
We're not about to settle for feeling dried out in our own homes, and neither should you -- when a simple humidifier can allow you to feel warm and snuggly, without your skin suffering the consequences.
What exactly does a humidifier do? At the bare minimum, these devices emit water vapor or steam into your rooms to increase the moisture in the air. This helps soothe dry and cracked skin and makes the air easier to breathe (which can be a real godsend if you're battling a winter cold, flu or sinus infection).
Humidifier options diffuse water vapor through cool mist or warm mist. There are pros and cons to each. Cool mist humidifiers typically use less electricity and, since they don't boil water, are usually safer to use in homes. Warm mist humidifiers, however, can remove mold and bacteria from the water through the boiling process. But regardless of design, all humidifiers can do the trick.
While emitting water vapor into the air is the bare minimum, many also double as oil diffusers, and some are even designed with various lighting settings, to set the mood or act as a night light. These added perks are especially beneficial if you're looking to integrate your humidifier as part of your designed living or bedroom space, rather than just throwing it in the back of your closet when you're not using it.
When properly cared for, a humidifier can help your skin feel hydrated and your eyes and sinuses feel less irritated. However, it's important to clean your humidifier, as the moist conditions allow bacteria and mold to form, and those could be spread around your house along with the moisture.
Humidifiers come in a variety of prices, so to help you find one that best suits your needs and budget, we've come up with a list of options that range from budget-friendly to premium, and from basic humidifiers to ones that have all the bells and whistles.
Humidifiers under $30
VicTsing Cool Mist Humidifier ($29.99; amazon.com)
PureGuardian Nursery Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier ($25.99; jet.com)
Urpower Essential Oil Diffuser and Cool Mist Humidifier ($16.99; amazon.com)
Asakuki Essential Oil Diffuser and Humidifier ($26.99; amazon.com)
Humidifiers from $30 - $50
Pure Enrichment Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier ($39.99; amazon.com)
Humidifier Factory ($50; store.moma.org)
Crane USA Humidifier ($37.49; amazon.com)
iTvanila Cool Mist Humidifier ($45.99; amazon.com)
Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier ($34.19; amazon.com)
Zeigga Lab Oil Diffuser and Humidifier ($41.59; amazon.com)
Humidifiers over $50
Lasko 9 Gal. Recirculating Efficiency Digital Control Humidifier ($109.99; jet.com)
Dyson AM10 Humidifier ($399.99; amazon.com)
SPT Ultrasonic Aroma Bamboo Diffuser and Humidifier ($54.99; overstock.com)
VicTsing Cool Mist Humidifier ($59.99; amazon.com)
Teo Aroma Essential Oil Diffuser and Humidifier ($80; amazon.com)
Note: The prices above reflect the retailers' listed prices at the time of publication.