Humidifier VS Dehumidifier: Which is Best For You?

Humidifier VS Dehumidifier, which one is right for you?

A humidifier adds moisture to the air while a dehumidifier removes moisture from the air. If your indoor humidity level is below 30%, you’ll need a humidifier. If the indoor humidity levels are above 50%, you’ll need a dehumidifier.

Below you’ll find out different types of humidifiers and dehumidifiers and their pros and cons.

Let’s get started.

What Does a Humidifier Do?

Humidifiers release water vapor and/or steam to increase the humidity levels in the air.

They’re used often in the winter months to help bring humidity levels back to the optimal level of 30-50%.

In short, humidifiers add moisture to the air.

Types of Humidifiers

Warm Mist Humidifier

Warm mist humidifiers have a heating element that boils water from a reservoir, then releases warm mist back into the air.

They don’t require fans as the heating process builds up enough energy for it to release the built-up steam within.

One downside of a warm mist humidifier is that it can be a hazard as they boil water.

If you have children or pets that may knock over your humidifier, it’s best to look into a cool humidifier instead.

It’s important to note that while they do use a heating element, by the time you breathe in the mist, it will be the same temperature as its cool mist counterpart.

Cool Mist Humidifiers

Cool mist humidifiers work by using an internal wick filter that absorbs water, then a fan blows air through the filter creating a cool mist.

These units are often a bit louder than a warm mist humidifier.

Cool mist humidifiers are safer as they don’t use a heating element, so they are ideal to use around children and pets.

Ultrasonic Humidifiers

Ultrasonic humidifiers can be both warm and cool humidifiers.

They work by using sound vibrations to send out water droplets into the air.

These droplets are extremely small and the mist is absorbed into the air, increasing the indoor air humidity.

Benefits of a Humidifier

  • Help with dry skin
  • Alleve irritated eyes
  • Prevents bloody noises
  • Soothes cracked lips
  • Aides with sinus headaches
  • Can prevent the flu
  • Reduces snoring
  • Keeps skin and hair moist

Downsides of a Humidifier

  • Humidifier lung is a risk
  • If any mold or minerals are in the water tank, it will be dispersed through the room
  • Can increase the humidity level too much
  • Warm mist humidifiers can burn children or pets
  • Can cause damage to furniture/wallpaper/flooring if too much moisture is in the air
  • Needs distilled water for proper operation which can be expensive

What Does a Dehumidifier Do?

A dehumidifier reduces humidity levels in the air by extracting water from the moist air.

They draw in warm air and cool the air over a coil, then the air is condensed on a cold surface and the resulting condensed water droplets are collected.

The dry air is released back into the room.

Types of Dehumidifiers


Refrigerant dehumidifiers are similar to air conditioning units or refrigerators.

They draw in warm air which then passes through cold coils.

The humid air condenses, gets collected by a water bucket and then releases the dry air back into the room.

Refrigerant dehumidifiers are the most common type and what you’ll normally find in a residential setting.


Desiccants are a material that absorbs water. They’re those packets that come with your shoes and beef jerky.

Desiccant dehumidifiers use a large wheel with desiccants that rotate, allowing for humid air to pass through them.

While a portion of the desiccants is used to absorb the moist air, the rest are heated so the moisture is released into the water bucket below.

One benefit of desiccant dehumidifiers is that they’re less noisy than refrigerant dehumidifiers and can work in much lower temperatures.

They’re ideal for removing high humidity in cold storage environments and cold homes.

Benefits of a Dehumidifier

Downsides of a Dehumidifier

  • Can increase energy bills
  • May require maintenance
  • Creates heat in the room
  • Dry air can cause asthma, dry skin, dehydration, and higher stress levels (If dried beyond the optimal humidity level)

Should You Buy a Humidifier or a Dehumidifier?

The optimal humidity level in your home is 30-50%.

If the humidity level is below 30%, you’ll want to purchase a humidifier.

If your humidity levels are above 50%, then you’ll want to purchase a dehumidifier.

If you don’t know how to measure the humidity in your home, then the most optimal solution is to get a cheap hygrometer.

Remember that overly drying the air or humidifying the air can both have their downsides.

It’s important that you aren’t guessing when it comes to controlling the humidity levels in your home.

This way, you’ll avoid doing any damage to your home and health.

Final Thoughts

Knowing when to use a humidifier vs a dehumidifier is essential for your health and home.

If you find that your indoor air quality is suffering, you can also look into air purifiers as well.

Remember that above 50% humidity you want a dehumidifier, and below 30% humidity, you want a humidifier.

Be sure to use the right type of water in your humidifier or you may suffer from mold buildup and white dust.

About Roy Cohen

Roy Cohen has a burning passion for heating, cooling, and ventilation. He aims to help you save money on expensive repairs and bring you the best HVAC products. He has years of experience behind him in HVAC repair and garage maintenance.

You can find Roy at his LinkedIn or his email: [email protected]

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