The first question you might be asking yourself is “Does my baby really need a humidifier?” While our grandmothers tell us they raised our mothers happily without one, it might fast become a tempting purchase the first time your little one falls ill.
Cough and cold medicines are not safe for babies or toddlers under two years old, so a humidifier may be your best bet to return moisture to the air, making it easier to breathe and sleep through the night.
Some living arrangements can really dry out the air in your home: a clothes dryer running in a small apartment, or windows that rarely get opened to protect baby from the noise, pollution and elements.
The air con that keeps bubba comfy in summer also dries out the air she breathes, and in winter the forced hot air is even drier. When baby has a winter cold, low air moisture can exacerbate congestion, itchy eyes, dry throats, and even sensitive skin and eczema, leaving a nasty dent in the whole family’s precious, precious sleep!
When looking for a humidifier for baby, you’ll want to consider the size of the room, how much noise and light you can sleep through, and how easy it is to clean.
Additionally, many humidifiers these days come with nightlights and oil diffusers for extra relaxation, so if you don’t already have either, you might ideally want a product that does all three.
As a bonus, you might find any indoor plants get a boost from the extra moisture in the air, too!
Keeping features, functionality, affordability and design in mind, here are our top ten picks for the best cool mist humidifier for babies currently available in Australia.
1. Philips Air Humidifier
The silent faithful giant you can set and forget
Price AUD: $139.00
The most industrial and reliable of our picks, this Philips is the best baby humidifier, and the quietest high-volume disperser on the market. At a maximum dispersion rate of 250mL per hour and only 26dB on “silent mode”, the higher cost will be worth it to extremely light sleepers, as it’s essentially completely inaudible.
Apart from its silence, the Philips Air Humidifier features a tank that’s easy to clean and fills with water from the top, far more convenient to fill than units that must be turned upside-down.
The natural evaporation process draws dry air in and humidifies it, dispersing such fine molecules that there is no visible mist, wet spots or white dust. No water-intake valve means no bubbling sound while you’re trying to sleep. Finer molecules carry less bacteria, so this machine is moderately more hygienic than the others.
There are other bonus features such as a nightlight and a relative humidity display, but the feature that really makes this humidifier stand out is the automatic humidification setting. This setting stops the machine when it senses that your requested optimal humidity has been reached, allowing you to leave it alone and get on with your day.
However, at 25x25x34cm, this is easily the largest humidifier on our list, roughly the size of a small paper shredder. But for those with the space to spare, the muted design will blend in and look at home in most rooms. Another consideration to keep in mind is the replacement filters and wicks, they’re a bit hard to find in Australia, and importing them can become expensive fast!
2. Beurer Air Humidifier with Aromatherapy
A slender and minimalist humidifier that matches style with performance
Price AUD: $125.12
If you’re looking among the best air humidifiers and aroma diffusers in Australia, this classy machine is small but powerful, with a strong focus on aromatherapy. Their aroma pads are designed to evenly disperse essential oils through the humidification system to allow the powerful diffuser to disperse the fragrance freely around the room. Many users are finding the even coverage of scent across the room is an optimal level for the baby room, a noticeable and calming presence without being overbearing.
The sleep mode setting turns the product whisper-quiet and turns off all lights, so you won’t have to face it towards the wall at night. The shape is only 11cm from the front, allowing it to easily fit in amongst your other decorations on a shelf or desk, but this comes at the cost of area of coverage; for best effect, it should be placed in a room no larger than 20m².
The tank allows 2L of water, a welcome surprise for such a thin and elegant unit, and will disperse up to 220mL per hour. Again, far more than expected of a machine so small. The water tank is removable, making it easy to fill, and three mist levels give you decent control over the output.
The Beurer’s most appealing feature is perhaps its commitment to minimalism, unobtrusively tucking away in any small surface and looking like part of your curated interior design. An excellent range of humidification options are all accessible from the one lone button on the front, which is certainly an appealing design visually, but may require you to memorise or write down how to adjust the settings.
There is no filter required, so no obligatory ongoing costs, but because this machine’s focus is on dispersing essential oils, it will require a commitment to weekly cleaning to keep everything functioning smoothly.
3. Breville The Easy Mist
A huge tank and powerful workhorse in a compact unit
Price AUD: $129.00
The Breville Easy Mist packs a punch, dispersing over 260mL per hour from a massive 5L tank. Even large rooms should get decent coverage from this dispersor, making it our best cool mist humidifier for baby, for loungerooms and large bedrooms.
The unit features an aromatherapy tray, removable water tank, and three mist level settings to disperse vapour as you see fit. You might want to avoid the highest setting except for in truly dry weather though, some buyers are finding that the machine can get a tad overzealous, leading to a little too much moisture in curtains and carpet in the area around the unit.
Breville advertises their big selling feature for this product as being the ability to switch between cool and warm air mist: cool mist vaporizer for summer, and warm mist for winter. This description is perhaps a little misleading; this is a cool mist humidifier, the only kind safe for babies, with the option to turn the cooling off, dispersing vapour that is perhaps not warm but rather room temperature. The “warm” room temperature mist hits cold air and becomes cold immediately, so this is hardly a selling point, but utilises less electricity than the cool mist mode, in any case.
4. TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier
A feature-packed humidifier that won’t break the bank
Price AUD: $76.49
This humidifier and vaporiser for baby room has the strongest features-for-cost ratio, with automatic shut-off when optimum humidity has been reached, three mist levels, a large 4L tank and a powerful dispersion rate of 300mL per hour on the highest setting. With optional nightlight and sleep mode, you can choose whether to have the nightlight and soft hum to sleep with or turn off light and LED display for when you prefer to sleep in complete darkness.
The relative humidity display is the best we’ve seen, showing the current settings, humidity, level of dispersion and auto settings in a clear easy-to-read display. The buttons underneath correspond to each section of the display, making using this machine much more intuitive to adjust than most others.
The large tank is transparent, so you can easily see how much water is left at a glance, and how clean the tank is. Keeping the tank clean is the most important maintenance you can do to keep your machine running for years to come, so the transparent design can make needed cleaning easier to notice.
The filters are microporous cartridges that significantly lower the rate of bacteria and odours dispersed in the air and are made of plastic so can be cleaned and reused. This is a great way for TaoTronics to handle the double-edged sword of requiring filters, because if you look after them well, they may not need replacing for years, significantly reducing that ongoing cost.
5. INNObeta Air Humidifier for Baby
A long-distance remote makes this machine the best baby vaporizer for mums in bed
Price AUD: $79.99
Perhaps the most baby-friendly of our picks, you can really tell the designers of this humidifier have experienced the sleepless joys of parenthood for themselves! The INNObeta features a remote, a sorely needed feature in other machines – companies take note – when we’re locked into breastfeeding our miserable sniffly little babies at 3am, we do not want to have to interrupt the cuddle session to turn on the blue nightlight or increase the vapour dispersion!
The LED display is a bit busy, but a cool blue colour, easily visible from across a dark room without being glaringly bright. The aromatherapy tray adds a gentle fragrance to the room, but some people may find the effect to be a bit on the subtle side.
The humidifier comes with a free thermo-hygrometer that displays the time, ambient temperature, and relative humidity in the room. For our fellow NSW mums, it’s the exact same one that came in our free baby bag at the hospital, a simple and accurate device that’s still sitting above my baby’s bed.
Optional antibacterial water filters are not included in the purchase, but also not necessary to run the machine. They run a little bit on the costly side though, so it’s always good to check out their current cost before purchase, if that’s what you’re going to need.
6. Hysure Air Humidifier
A simple, lightweight humidifier that is practical and easy to use
Price AUD: $63.42
This humidifier is the basic, easy, “I don’t want the bells and whistles I just want it to work!” pick of our recommendations. Simple design and functionality make this portable machine a popular choice for those who are looking for a baby shower gift that will suit any personal taste.
The modest 2L tank is removable and fills from the top, which makes it easy to clean and refill. A top-filling machine allows you to easily add water before the chamber runs out, which is a convenient feature for humidifiers to have. Top-filling machines also mean that there is no uptake valve at the bottom, which can sometimes result in hearing a bubbling noise during operation.
The dispersion rate will comfortably cover a medium bedroom evenly, with a quieter operation and finer mist than we would usually expect at this price point. It has the regular safety features like auto shut-off when the tank runs dry, a selection of three mist modes, and is reasonably low-cost considering its power and coverage.
7. Rimposky Cool Mist Humidifier
The best dual stream humidifier, perfect for twins or room sharing
Price AUD: $49.88
This neat teardrop-shaped humidifier has an unusual feature, two nozzles that rotate from the top of the unit, allowing you to direct dispersion of humidified air in any two directions of your choosing. This feature would be fabulous for sharing a bedroom with baby, or for twins in their nursery.
The floral design over the metallic base makes for a chic, feminine style, and the unique shape will look elegant in any room. At 3L, the tank is deceptively large, and the unit disperses a whopping 380mL per hour, easily the most powerful humidifier we’ve seen, so it’s recommended you use it in a medium to large sized room.
The soothing nightlight rotates through gradients of green, blue, and purple. This can be a peaceful thing to watch at night, but for those that need the pitch-black dark to be able to sleep, be aware that it unfortunately cannot be turned off.
8. Medescan Rainbow Mist Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier
Affordable humidifier, diffuser, and rainbow nightlight
Price AUD: $61.99
Among ultrasonic humidifiers, this is a great choice for restless nap times, as the cycling colours give baby something to focus on while they try to fall asleep.
The Rainbow Mist Humidifier is designed to be three things at once: a humidifier, an aromatherapy diffuser, and a nightlight all in one. As opposed to other humidifiers that may include these features as an afterthought, this product was clearly designed with all three functions in mind.
As a humidifier, it has a tank much larger than it seems at 2.8L, and an adjustable mist level knob with simple controls. As a diffuser, it takes your preference of oil and water-based aromas and disperses evenly across the room with fair vigour, for a great therapeutic benefit. This might be too strong an effect for some, but can help mask smoke or pet odours.
As a nightlight, the Rainbow Mist lives up to its name by offering a choice of all seven colours of the rainbow, with an option to cycle through them all, or turn the light off.
9. Asakuki 500ml Essential Oil Diffuser
The cute mini aromatherapy diffuser that smells as good as it looks
Price AUD: $43.99
The ASAKUKI (Japanese for “morning atmosphere”) is a sweet little diffuser and nightlight in a stylish circular package. At 16x16x12cm, this oil diffuser is the cute baby humidifier for cute babies.
The tiny tank holds only half a litre and disperses 40mL per hour, so while it is indeed technically a humidifier, the focus is much more on dispersing scent and looking attractive.
And looking attractive is its strong suit; the bamboo finish and circular shape feel calmly artistic and soothing, while the nightlight offers a choice of seven different colours, a setting to cycle through all colours, dim or bright, or off for sound sleep.
The diffuser is quite powerful, requiring only a few drops of your oils for a long-lasting dispersion, but coverage is best suited to quite a small room due to the small size of the unit. The light weight and affordable price makes this humidifier an easy choice for keeping the baby room smelling fresh.
10. SmartDevil Cool Mist Humidifier
A wireless portable option that offers high performance on a tight budget
Price AUD: $32.00
If you’re looking for the ultimate portable option in baby humidifiers, this one is ideal for babies that don’t always sleep in the same place, or cots that aren’t close by to a power point.
Wireless humidifiers are often hard to recommend because their portability and convenience usually comes at the cost of performance and longevity. We can make an exception for this small humidifier because the battery lasts a decent amount of run time, long enough for baby’s entire night-time sleep (even if she sleeps through the night!).
The dispersion rate can exceed 50mL per hour, quite high for such a small, battery-powered machine. The battery charges by mini-USB, so you can also keep it plugged by your computer or bedside, and due to its small capacity, it is completely silent on lower settings.
The SmartDevil utilises a minimalist single button to control settings, and an optional nightlight. Our favourite feature of this humidifier is the ability to refill through the top of the unit without removing any lid or compartment. Because the unit is cordless, this is one of the few machines you can literally take to the tap and fill without hassle.
How to choose a humidifier for newborns, infants and toddlers
Let’s have a look at some tips on how to choose a humififier for you and baby, so you can get a deep understanding before choosing.
Are humidifiers safe for newborns?
In terms of treating coughs and colds, it’s actually far safer to make the air easier to breathe for your newborn, rather than pump the air con or attempt to soothe with medicines.
It’s important never to give cough medicines to babies under two, or honey to babies under one, as this can cause serious and sometimes life-threatening illnesses.
On the other hand, if not looked after properly, humidifiers can do more harm than good, so it’s important to keep the cleaning instructions handy and look out for safety features of each product.
Which is better for baby: cool mist or warm mist humidifiers?
Cool mist humidifiers work by pushing dry air through water with a fan, whereas warm mist humidifiers boil water to create steam. Because boiling water, steam, and heating elements are involved, never use a warm mist humidifier for baby, children or pets.
What kind of humidifier is best for baby?
Essentially, any humidifier that does its job safely is the ultimate priority when picking the best humidifier for the nursery. When choosing a humidifier, it’s important to keep these safety features in mind:
- Automatic shut-off. You usually run humidifiers overnight while you and baby are sleeping, unable to keep an eye on water levels. Most humidifiers will feature an automatic shut-off that will sense when the tank has run out of water and turn itself off, so as not to leave electricity running into the diffuser.
- Easy to clean. While it makes your life easier, it’s also important to consider how easy it will be to clean your humidifier to avoid bacteria and mould building up inside the unit. Without proper cleaning, this bacteria and mould can be dispersed across the room, making you and your baby more likely to fall sick, rather than less likely! The best humidifier for baby congestion is definitely a mould-free one. Filters can also accumulate mould if they stay sitting in the water too long while the machine is off. Usually filters are quite easy to simply rinse and sit out to air-dry, but hard water can make mineral deposits accumulate on filters and decrease their function over time. Hard water can leave deposits inside any appliance with a water tank, so for best result, use filtered water, or clean occasionally with vinegar or mild detergent.
- Relative humidity (RH) display. You don’t want the humidity to be too dry or too wet, so an indicator of what relative humidity the room is currently at is a handy feature on any machine. The optimum humidity of the room is 50%, so you won’t want to turn your humidifier on if the ambient humidity is already higher than that.
- Filter vs no filter. While filters are far more effective at removing microorganisms and odours from water, they need to be replaced a couple of times a year, attracting hidden ongoing costs.
- Nightlights. A nightlight is a simple addition to humidifiers to increase functionality and give the room a dim light so you can change midnight nappies without bright lights waking your baby up too much. Nightlights that change colour or display patterns get bonus points, as they give your baby something to stare at while he attempts to soothe himself to sleep.
- Aromatherapy/oil diffuser functions. Some machines come with a dedicated aromatherapy tray where you can put essential oils that will disperse with the vapour. If you’re looking to keep your room smelling sweet, you won’t want to skip this feature – taking a shortcut by putting oils directly into the water can clog nozzles, filters, and breed bacteria.
- The best humidifier for a baby room depends on the baby room. A humidifier that’s too powerful for the room can encourage mould and damp, a humidifier that’s too small is ineffective. Each humidifier recommends the approximate area of coverage you can expect, so consider the size of your room when choosing.