Vaporizer vs Humidifier: Which Is Better For Improved Breathing?

Confused about choosing a winner between a vaporizer vs humidifier? As both of them provide hydration to the dry air it can be a bit tricky to choose between the two. Therefore, I invite you to check out this detailed comparison guide and make a better choice. Let’s get started!

Quick Answer

In the realm of indoor comfort, both the vaporizer and humidifier work to give you a level of quality air and health you will enjoy. They share the following traits:

  • Help in alleviating respiratory problems, stuffed nose, and inflamed airways.
  • Add moisture to the air and improve the overall quality.
  • Help with dry air and skin to a more nourished state.

While they have a lot of common ground, there are still distinct features like using hot and cold mists to hydrate the air, noise level, and risk of bacterial growth and dust mites that separate the two.

Continue reading to know this in detail as well as the pros and cons, of working, and the functionalities of the two amazing devices. Let’s dive into the details!

Read also: Can You Use a Humidifier Without a Filter? 3 Important Points

Vaporizer vs Humidifier: Comparison Table

Here is a quick overview of humidifiers and vaporizers:




Mist type:

Cold or warm


Heating element:

Cleaning frequency:



Safety for children and pets:






Electricity usage:



Noise level:



Suitability for respiratory conditions:

Allergies, asthma, bronchitis, colds

Coughs, sore throats, sinus infections

Mineral and impurity release:

High if tap water is used

Low if boiled water is used

Vaporizer: The Good and The Bad

Let’s have a look at the advantages and disadvantages of using vaporizers:

  • You can pair them with aromatherapy for better medicinal benefits.
  • Few impurities in vapors as the water is boiled.
  • Helps relieve dryness, and congestion in the nose, throat, and lungs.
  • May be unsafe for pets and children as there is hot water.
  • Consumes more electricity and is louder than a humidifier.

Humidifier: The Good and The Bad

Here are some of the benefits and drawbacks of humidifiers:

  • Safe for use as they do not utilize boiled water.
  • Affordable and cost-saving due to low energy use.
  • Adds moisture to the air soothing the eyes, nose, and throat.
  • Require frequent cleaning and filter changes to avoid mold growth.
  • Make air humid and can trigger mite breeding.

Working Process Explained: Humidifiers and Vaporizers

Both of these devices have different methods of adding moisture to the air. Here is a quick breakdown of their functionality:

vaporizer vs humidifier_functions


The vaporizers work in the following way:

  • A vaporizer boils water and releases the vapor produced into the air as steam.
  • Hot steam poses a burn risk as it may topple over by children or pets.
  • Mineral deposits may foster bacterial buildup.


Here is how humidifiers operate:

  • Humidifiers add moisture using cold mist or spray.
  • You can warm the mist or use a cold water tank.
  • No risk of burns as the water is not heated.
  • Less likely to have mineral deposits, so no need to worry about bacteria buildup.

Now that we have learned about their work, let’s explore their positive influence.

Ultimate Guide to the Positive Impact of Humidifiers and Vaporizers

Both vaporizers and humidifiers are effective during cold and flu season, especially when moisture is needed. They help relieve excess mucus, chapped lips, and sore throats, reducing some allergies and ill symptoms.

Also Using them is a great way to care for your child’s skin and viral particles. Let’s discover deeply!

Benefits of vaporizers and humidifiers

Read also: Air Purifier vs Humidifier: Look Out 5 Important Differences

Effectiveness Against Allergies

The following is how they help with allergies:

  • Humidity soothes nasal and throat passages.
  • Both devices help in making the mucus thin which results in easy breathing.
  • They also help in creating an optimal humid environment which helps to get a relaxed sleep.
Note: You should consider using a warm mist and cool mist humidifier if indoor humidity is low (below 30%).

How They Aid with Asthma

Both devices provide some relief to people suffering from asthma by moisturizing air which results in easier breathing. However, excessive usage of devices doesn’t go in favor of asthma patients. You should take the following precautions:


  • Use humidifiers and vaporizers with caution, as higher humidity levels may not be safe for you.
  • Clean the device diligently and keep the humidity levels at a maximum of 30 percent.
  • Excessive humidity can lead to mold, bacteria, and mildew growth.

How they are Beneficial For Babies

Here are the perks of these devices while using them around toddlers.

baby and humidifier
  • Increased humidity comforts sensitive baby skin and nasal passages.
  • For the baby’s room, the humidifier is a safer choice than the vaporizer due to the cool mist and the involvement of hot water.
Caution: You need to make sure to clean them daily and monitor the humidity level in the room.

How They Help with COVID-19

One of the factors that may affect the transmission of COVID is the level of humidity levels in the air. Increasing humidity in the air may lead to lesser viral particles. Though it is not a standalone solution for COVID-19 as you need to carefully sanitize all surfaces you come in contact with.

Alongside air purifiers to clean the air, these mist devices are also beneficial.

Things to Keep in Mind

Humidifiers and vaporizers both may help you breathe easier, but they are insufficient to prevent COVID-19 completely. You should strictly follow the safety rules set forth by WHO, such as:


Read also: Do HEPA Filters Remove Viruses? Latest Information and Data

  • Wearing a face mask;
  • Keeping a 5m distance;
  • Washing your hands regularly.
Note: You can also use an air purifier, to get rid of virus particles from the air. Go for a device that comes with medical grade HEPA filters such as Medify Air Purifier or Honeywell devices to make sure you stay safe.

So keep an eye out for all the regulations and do not rely on a single method of protection.

Dry Skin

Both of these devices are beneficial for dry skin. Here’s how:

  • Humidifiers and vaporizers both eliminate dry air by adding moisture. This helps relieve dry skin and chapped lips.
  • It is generally recommended to hydrate yourself and use suitable skin products as directed by the dermatologist.
Note: You also need to maintain device cleanliness and balanced humidity levels.

How to Strike the Right Balance

While these units work to add moist air, high levels of water in the air can also lead to some problems.

humidity in the room

  • Ideal room humidity is 30% or below for adding moisture
  • If above 60% it will promote pathogens, mildew, and mold.

Quick Guide to Cleaning Humidifiers and Vaporizers

For cool mist and warm mist humidifiers, you should opt for daily cleaning. This will help prevent mineral and bacteria buildup.


Here is a quick guide on how to clean a warm mist and cool mist humidifier:

  • Empty the tank and rinse it with water.
  • Wipe the surfaces with a soft cloth or sponge.
  • Refill the tank with distilled or purified water.
  • Every three to four days, you should also disinfect the tank and other parts with mild dish soap, bleach, or hydrogen peroxide, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • When storing the humidifier, you should remove the filter and dry all the parts thoroughly.


Though, vaporizers are less prone to contaminants buildup as the water is boiled. You still need to make sure to clean it up properly. Here’s how:

  • Empty the tank and rinse it with water.
  • Wipe the surfaces with a soft cloth or sponge.
  • Refill the tank with distilled water.
  • Once a week, you should also descale the tank and the heating element with white vinegar, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • When storing the vaporizer, you should dry all the parts thoroughly.

The Distinction in Cost Between Warm Mist and Cool Mist Humidifiers and Vaporizers

Even though both of them come with a wide range of prices, vaporizers are generally cheaper than cool mist humidifiers:

  • You should expect to pay around $15 to over $700 for a decent humidifier.
  • As far as the vaporizers go, they usually cost around $200.

While purchasing, you should also check the capacity of the machine and whether it can effectively humidify the size of your room. Depending on the features they come with you might have to pay a few extra bucks for the:

  • Timer option;
  • Remote control;
  • Sleep mode;
  • Humidity settings.

How To Use Vaporizer Safely

While steam vaporizers are an excellent way to humidify the surrounding air, the water boils and releases pure steam into the air. This makes sure that the vapors are free from any impurities.

The downside to this is that you will be having a pot of boiling water by your bed. This can pose a variety of hazards and risks especially if you have children or pets. There are some things you need to be careful about:

  • Make sure to keep everyone at a safe distance from the machine while it is working to produce steam.
  • Generally speaking, the unit should be at least 4 feet away from you.
  • Position it at a higher level so your toddlers or furry pets don’t have access to it.
  • Make sure it is steadfast so the boiling water doesn’t spill over anything or anyone.

Here is Dr. Org in this youtube short to teach you how to use a vaporizer safely.

YouTube video

How to Use Humidifiers Safely

Humidifiers are safer than vaporizers as they do not generate steam. However, there is a list of things you should consider:

  • Cool-mist humidifiers may release pollutants into the air such as minerals, mold, or bacteria.
  • These impurities can cause breathing difficulty and trachea irritation if inhaled for longer periods of time.
  • Makes sure to use purified distilled water to avoid harmful substances spreading into the air.

Do keep the above-mentioned things in mind so you can enjoy the benefits of these devices without any harm to your well-being.

Check this video out to see the usage of humidifiers safely in your home.

YouTube video

Which One is a Better Pick For Allergies?

If you are suffering from allergies, you might ponder whether humidifiers or vaporizers are a better suitable fit for you. These devices work to soothe your irritated airways by adding moisture to the air.

However, excess moisture can promote dust mites and mold and cause indoor allergies. Therefore, if you suffer from chronic allergies or asthma both appliances should be used with caution. But if you decide you need one of them, here are a few things to help you decide:

best choice for allergies

  • Efficiency: Both devices are equally suitable for reducing allergy symptoms. But a steam vaporizer is a little more soothing for sore throats or coughs.
  • Medicated Solutions: Vaporizers can be mixed with medical inhalants and essential oils which will help alleviate your respiratory tract symptoms. This is not the case with humidifiers. Only in some models can be added extra components.
  • Cost: Vaporizers are generally cheaper as compared to high-end humidifiers.
  • Maintenance: Humidifiers require more maintenance than vaporizers. You need often clean up cool mist humidifiers to prevent the build-up of bacteria and germs.

Thus in my opinion, if you want to cater to your allergies you may want to side with a vaporizer instead of a humidifier.

Important Note: Before purchasing these devices, it is recommended to talk to your immunologist and allergist who can guide you in a way specified to your conditions and needs.


Is it better to use a vaporizer or humidifier?

It is better to use a vaporizer if you want to avoid contaminants in the mists, but if you don’t want to risk burns from hot steam, then a humidifier will be better.

Should I use a humidifier or vaporizer when sick?

You can use both a warm mist humidifier and a vaporizer when sick as they add moisture to the air, but a vaporizer can be more soothing for a sore throat or cough.

Can I use a vaporizer as a humidifier?

Yes, you can use a vaporizer as a humidifier. It is because both of them add moisture to the air.

Is a humidifier or vaporizer better for sinus infections?

A vaporizer is better for sinus infection, especially if you add saline solution or essential oils to the water.

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When faced with the decision of choosing between a cool mist humidifier and a vaporizer, there are several factors that you ought to consider. It all boils down to the benefits, needs, and specific requirements you have.

If you prefer cool breezy mist comfort, then by all means a humidifier would be a better choice. On the downside, the price may be something that can hold you back.

On the other hand, if you are looking for soothing respiratory symptoms without the fear of breeding contaminants, I would recommend getting a vaporizer.