A portable humidifier is an effective way to help you combat the effects of exposure to the harsh dry air while traveling on a plane or staying in a hotel room. Dry eyes, dry skin, nosebleeds, dry sinuses or cracked lips are all telltale signs that the humidity level in your environs could be low. Adding a fine cool mist of water to the air, while you sleep, via a small mini humidifier, can significantly remedy these symptoms, often overnight.
With so many options available, it can be difficult to figure out what the difference is between an evaporative humidifier, an ultrasonic humidifier complete with demineralization cartridge and an essential oil diffuser. So to simplify your life, we went out and found some of the best portable humidifier options suitable for any smallish space, perfect for your hotel room or travel.
Here’s what we compared, beyond price:
- Size: How easily can it be packed or carried around?
- Duration: How long does a single fill last?
- LED lights: Are there LED lights? Can they be disabled (to avoid disturbances)?
- Design: Is the design aesthetically pleasing?
*Max hours assume ongoing (not intermittent) usage.
**With a 16.9 ounce water bottle. Run time varies depending on the size of the water bottle.
Portableare small but mighty devices that help increase moisture level in the air and raise the humidity, no matter where you are. They come in many different forms, depending on your preferences. Some use a water bottle as a tank, for example, while others have a built-in water reservoir.
Most portable humidifiers use cool mist ultrasonic technology, which uses high-frequency sound vibrations to create water particles that get expelled into the air, raising the air’s moisture level. Unfortunately, we could not identify a portable evaporative humidifier, which is generally considered to be healthier.is especially important to avoid introducing contaminants into the air like mold growth, dust, and bacteria.
As you probably guessed, a travel humidifier will not add moisture to an entire house. At a minimum, it will increase the humidity of the air immediately around you (such as when placed on a bedside table); at most, it can be used to humidify a small room (about 200 sq ft).
This guide will give you an overview of the options available and considers types of humidifier models that meet a certain threshold of features, price, safety and customer satisfaction. Note that products that receive less than a B+ grade onare excluded due to the overwhelming number of suspected fake or bias portable humidifier reviews. We’ve also omitted claims about the area (square footage) these devices can humidify since that can really only be determined through measured tests.
Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of products featured on this page.
Dewy is marketed first as a skin and hair hydration device, jumping off the trendy idea that your skin is thirsty and what it needs is more moisture in the air. In the end, Dewy is another compact ultrasonic humidifier with a contemporary, Instagrammable design for people who want to take moisture with them everywhere.
Like some of our other picks, Dewy is powered by a USB cord, so you can plug it into your laptop, car or any standard USB charging brick. On its normal, continuous setting, it releases a cool, clean mist for 10 hours; change it to the intermittent setting and you’ll get a total of 20 hours of added moisture.
Dewy is more expensive than humidifiers with similar specs, but you might feel better knowing that 10% of the company’s profits go to The Water Project. It has LED illumination, which provides a soft night light for use in the bedroom.
Like Dewy, Ostad and Sonifun, this is a reservoir humidifier, which makes it a little less compact than some of the wand styles, but still very portable. It features a pill-style design (similar to Dewy and Sonifun) and comes in black, blue and white color options.
We appreciate that, unlike some of our other picks, Mztdyl’s LED light can be disabled in order to prevent any sleep interruption. It also claims to mist for about 9 hours on a single fill, which is pretty darn good for a $16 portable mini humidifier. It is recommended to clean the diffuser after each use to avoid clogging, and like others, the cotton wick needs to be replaced — a 10-pack is about $9.
How do you pronounce the name of this humidifier, you ask? We tried and failed. We have no idea. But if you want a portable cool mist humidifier with good specs at a cheap price, it probably doesn’t matter.
Ostad is really just a humidifier wand (like the Ourry) that comes with an accompanying cup. That is to say, you don’t have to use the included cup; you can place the wand in any container. The benefit here is that the larger your water reservoir, the longer Ostad will emit a cool mist.
Including the cup, the humidifier is about 7 by 3 inches and much smaller as a wand. This makes it incredibly portable, easy to pack and a great travel humidifier. Like some of our other picks (like Dewy and Ourry), Ostad is powered by USB, so you can take it in the car, plug it into your computer or even power it with a portable battery pack.
Ostad uses a cotton wick to release moisture, which you’ll need to replace as often as weekly, depending on how frequently you use your humidifier. Ostad does glow blue when it’s running, so this may not be a good choice for the bedroom.
Water bottle-based portable humidifiers are theoretically more compact since the reservoir isn’t built into the device. The downside to this design is that some Amazon customers report difficulty in finding bottles that fit perfectly. Pure Enrichment doesn’t seem to have too many of these complaints, though.
Pure Enrichment is compact and aesthetically pleasing. But that doesn’t usually matter as much as the run time, which is a light 6 hours per 16.9-ounce water bottle. At $30, we expected this humidifier to have a longer misting time but included it as an option for those dedicated to finding a water bottle-based model.
The biggest concern with this portable humidifier is its light. It can’t be turned off and reviewers have complained it’s simply too bright — especially for a bedroom.
Sonifun looks and acts a lot like Dewy, but for half the price. What you give up with that $20 difference is a slightly better design and 2 hours of continuous mist time. Not bad.
Sonifun uses ultrasonic technology and is powered by USB, letting you power the unit with a laptop, a USB port in a car or any USB charging brick. The ultrasonic humidifier comes with one cotton tube (which acts like a filter) — one already in the device and a replacement one in the box. A five-pack of additional filters costs $11.
Finally, you have three color options: pink, white and gray. It also includes an LED light that can display a variety of color, but — thankfully — that feature can be disabled so it won’t interrupt a good night’s sleep.
Most water bottle-type portable humidifiers work by having a water bottle screwed into the device. Ourry is different. The humidifier, which looks like a wand, can be dropped into any container of water, including a cup or bottle. The benefit here is that the unit could mist for a pretty long time, depending on how large your container is.
Another one of the pros of this design is the size. At full length, Ourry is about the size of a chubby marker, making it extremely compact. You can make it even smaller by adjusting the wand, which makes it about 5 inches tall.
Like some of our other picks, Ourry is USB-powered, so you can take the unit on the road, plug it into your laptop and even replace the included cord with another one at the length of your choosing. We especially appreciate that this little travel humidifier doesn’t have a bright light, which can be problematic when sleeping.
This article was originally published earlier this year.