6 Best Humidifiers for Coughs, Sore Sinuses and Itchy Throats

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Last updatedLast updated: September 21, 2021
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Coughing can be terrible when you’re trying to get a good night’s sleep. Fortunately, a humidifier can ease your symptoms, lubricating your sinus membranes to relieve itchy throats, sore sinuses and coughing. However, you need to ensure that you choose the right humidifier.

Our team of researchers has assessed more than 30 humidifier models to see how they perform. We’ve compiled a list of top picks and our editor’s choice, the Elechomes UC5501 Ultrasonic Humidifier offers some fantastic features and great performance. However, we’ve also ranked other models at different price points to ensure a top pick for everyone.

Our research team spent a great deal of time searching for the best humidifier for coughs. We’ve looked at the different types of humidifiers and features including capacity, runtime and coverage, which impacts overall performance. We’ve presented our findings in a basic overview table and a list of detailed reviews. However, we’ve also included a buying guide to help you make your final purchase decision.

Top 6 Humidifiers for Coughs Review 2021

1.

Elechomes UC5501Editor’s Choice

Features
  • Type: ultrasonic, cool and warm mist
  • Capacity: 6 liters
  • Coverage area: 750 sq. ft.
  • Runtime: up to 40 hours

Other features: 360°adjustable dual nozzles, built-in humidity sensor, LED screen, under 34dB

The Elechomes UC5501 Ultrasonic Humidifier offers a great deal of functionality at a reasonably fair price and this is why it’s our editor’s choice. This may be the best humidifier for asthma and coughs thanks to the 360º nozzle that releases warm and cold mist at the same time. This humidifier has around 40 hours’ worth of mist when the lower settings are used continuously in a 550ml/hr maximum humidity environment. The UC5501 has a safety shutoff feature and water filtration to prevent the buildup of limescale inside the unit.

The UC5501 is easy to use, there is a handy “Auto Mode” that allows the user to switch the unit on and let it run independently with excellent results. A built-in smart humidity sensor will detect the humidity levels automatically and display the results. Then the user can set their desired humidity level and the UC5501 will do the rest. The humidifier is easy to navigate with the built-in touchscreen or you can use the included remote control. The UC5501 is very quiet at only 34dB when operating and the unit will shut off automatically when the desired level of humdification is achieved. The UC5501 can also be used to diffuse essential oils for aromatherapy and the water reservoir is easy to remove and fill.

What are our favorite features?

  • Users like the large coverage area.
  • This humidifier can be used for aromatherapy.
  • The operation is quiet.
  • The automatic mode is very helpful.

What could be better?

  • This is an expensive humidifier but well worth the extra money.
RELATED: 6 Best Humidifiers for a Guitar Room – Keep Your Instruments Safe!
2.

LEVOIT LV600HHPremium Pick

Features
  • Type: ultrasonic, cool and warm mist
  • Capacity: 6 liters
  • Coverage area: 753 sq. ft.
  • Runtime: 20-36 hours

Other features: built-in sensor, 12-hour timer, essential oil compatible, remote control

The Levoit LV600HH Humidifier for Large Room may be the best hot air humidifier for coughing and this is why it’s our premium pick. The LV600HH has a PTC heating system that warms the water for an effective warm mist setting. The purified water is well dispersed in a pure mist and if you want a cool mist the humidity of a large room can be increased by up to 25%. The LV600HH can be controlled by the digital touchscreen on the unit or with the included remote control. The functions are easy to understand, the 1.5-gallon water tank is easy to fill and the LV600HH is simple to clean. The generous water tanks size means that the LV600HH can continually disperse 500ml of water per hour and on the lowest mist settings the mist could last for up to 36 hours.

As a larger humidifier, one might think that the LV600HH would be louder than some other models on our list. But, this is not the case, this unit has a whisper quiet operation and it would be suitable for a babies room. The LV600HH is simple to use, set the unit to the automatic mode of your choice and it will adjust to the humidity levels automatically. Essential oils can also be used with the aroma box if you want to try out some aromatherapy treatments at home.

What stands out?

  • A large tank capacity for longer misting sessions.
  • Many users love this humidifier and report that the customer service from Levoit is excellent.
  • Essential oils can be used with this product.
  • This is a durable product.
  • Very quiet operation.

What cons did we manage to find?

  • Some users mentioned leaking issues if essential oils are added.
  • A more expensive humidifier but well worth the investment.
RELATED: 6 Most Effective Humidifiers for Plants — Help Your Home Garden Flourish!

3.

Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier V750Best Humidifier for Asthma and Coughs

Features
  • Type: warm mist
  • Capacity: 1 gal.
  • Coverage area: medium/large room
  • Runtime: up to 24 hours

Other features: filter-free, auto shut-off, whisper quiet operation

Vicks is a well-known maker of humidifiers and the Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier V750 is one of their best-selling models. This is an affordable steam humidifier that’s ideal for people with health issues, such as: asthma, coughs and colds. As a Vicks product the V750 has a medicine cup that allows the user to add Vicks Vaposteam and Kaz Inhalant products when steaming. This is a great option for babies and children that have sinus issues and dry coughs.

The V750 has a 1 gal. water tank and it can work for up to 24 hours continuously before it needs a refill. An auto shutoff function prevents the unit from running dry and you can see the water level through the clear container. This humidifier has two settings, high and low and these can be used in a variety of conditions. The operation is quiet making this an ideal choice for a child’s bedroom or a nursery. When the humidifier is working it emits a soft light which many kids may like but this cannot be adjusted or turned off. This product has a filter free design and you don’t need to buy any extra filters later. But, the V750 does need to be washed from time to time to work effectively.

Why did it make our list?

  • Many users like the medicinal inhalant functionality.
  • This is an affordable option.
  • The filterless design is easy to use and clean.

What is not ideal about it?

  • The nightlight cannot be turned off.
Features
  • Type: inhaler, warm mist
  • Capacity: 0.5 gal.
  • Coverage area: up to 250 sq ft
  • Runtime: up to 8 hours

More features: heats up to 131 degrees Fahrenheit, whisper-quiet, auto-shutoff, compatible with Crane Vapor Pads

Do you have coughs, congested mucous membranes, or difficulty breathing? To solve this, you don’t need to spend too much money on a humidifier. There is a very economical option, perfect in a small bedroom or office: the CRANE EE-5202. It is intended exclusively for small areas. If you are looking for a living room humidifier, then this is not the ideal option.

However, it is a multifunctional humidifier with two functions: a warm mist humidifier and an inhaler. Thanks to the Crane Vapor Pad, you can inhale germ-free warm mist and relieve yourself of cough and other respiratory problems.

The corded electric model can combine as a small humidifier and as an inhaler. You can use it in a small room, a bedroom, or place it on a table in a working environment. It is one of the quietest models of our selection. The sound volume produced is low. You can breathe easier while staying focused on your projects.

The maintenance instructions are clear, and cleaning is quick to implement. The wide opening allows a much easier renewal of the water than in some other models. The device can reduce the growth of mold and bacteria by up to 99 percent.

What makes it special?

  • Works quietly
  • For inhaling and humidifying
  • Great for those with congested mucous membrane
  • Auto shut-off function

What cons did we find?

  • Small design and low capacity humidifier
RELATED: 6 Best Crane Humidifiers – Low Humidity Is Not Just about Discomfort
5.

Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist HumidifierBest Hot Air Humidifier for Coughing

Features
  • Type: ultrasonic, cool mist
  • Capacity: 1.5 liters
  • Coverage area: 250 sq. ft.
  • Runtime: up to 16 hours

Other features: high and low speed setting, optional night light, auto shut-off

The Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic Humidifier is the smallest unit on our list with a 1.5 litre water tank. However, despite its smaller size this humidifier can still run for up to 16 hours which is longer than some of its larger rivals. At first glance this is a very aesthetically pleasing machine to look at and it would certainly fit in with a modern decor. The shape looks like a drop of water and it’s small enough to place in a corner of your room or perhaps on a bookcase or small dedicated stand.

When you switch the MistAire on, the power button is illuminated in blue and the water tank can be lit up with a blue night light if required. The blue lighting adds a great deal of ambience to any room and although this is a secondary feature it’s a nice touch. This humidifier starts to make a noticable difference to the room humidity in around 10-15 minutes. The MistAire is more effective in smaller to medium sized rooms and Pure Enrichment have stated that this product is suitable for rooms up to 250 sq. ft. The mist nozzle is probably the weakest point, it’s quite thin and it doesn’t seem to turn easily leading to an uneven mist distribution.

Why is it special?

  • Users like the stylish ergonomic design.
  • This humidifier is quiet in operation.

What are the flaws?

  • The mist nozzle delivers an uneven distribution of mist.
  • The settings can be tricky to manage.
  • Some users have reported small water leaks.
RELATED: 6 Best Humidifiers for Coughs, Sore Sinuses and Itchy Throats
Features
  • Type: ultrasonic, cool and warm mist
  • Capacity: 4 liters
  • Coverage area: 500 sq.ft.
  • Runtime: 30 hours

Other features: triple purification, smart humidification system & essential oil diffuser, <30dB, 12-hour timer

The Hupro Premium Ultrasonic Humidifier is an affordable unit that packs in a lot of functionality and this is why we’ve chosen it as our best value pick. This humidifier has a 4-liter water tank that’s ideal for any room up to around 500 sq. ft. in size. With a full tank of water, the unit will run for approximately 30 hours before a refill is required. A smart humidification system with an auto mode means that you can set the humidifier up and it will run well with little to no input from the user. For those that like to get a little more involved there are 5 spell levels to select and constant humidity settings to explore.

The leak proof water tank fills at the top, it’s detachable and it has a built-in handle. So, when you need to fill the tank it’s a simple process and it only takes a minute to fill it to capacity. This humidifier has a touch button control system and setting up the unit is simple. This humidifier also offers air ionization and there is an aroma box for essential oils.

What are our favorite features?

  • This is a very affordable humidifier.
  • Many users have praised this unit because it’s simple to use and effective.
  • The warm mist setting will work up to 140ºF.
  • This humidifier is very quiet and it has a sleep mode.

What could be better?

  • One user mentioned a buildup of moisture on the top of the unit.

Things to Consider

A humidifier can be a great way to relieve the symptoms of a cough or cold, but with so many models on the market, it can be tricky to find the best one. So, here we’ve compiled a buying guide with the features to consider and answers to some common questions to help you.

How does a humidifier help coughs?

6 Best Humidifiers for Coughs, Sore Sinuses and Itchy Throats

When people have a cough, it tends to dry out their throats and nasal passageways. This is more likely if the humidity in your home is too low and many people purchase a humidifier to correct this issue. When the humidity is raised the symptoms of coughs, colds and sore throats are eased significantly. The throat is moistened and any inflammation in the nasal passage is reduced. When the air is more humid sinus congestion is alleviated and most people find that this leads to a more restful night of sleep. If you have a larger bedroom the Levoit LV600HH Humidifier for Large Room is the best humidifier for coughing at night according to many users.

Features to consider when choosing a humidifier for coughs

With so many humidifier options on the market, it can be a challenge to buy the right one. So, here we’ll look at the features to consider before you make your final purchase decision.

Type

Most modern humidifiers can produce both warm and cold mist throughout the day and night. As you might expect, a colder mist is very soothing during the hotter summer months and a warmer mist is a refreshing option when the weather is cold outside.
Most people use their humidifier during the coldest times of the year to combat the effects of the cold and flu season. So, it’s a great idea to ensure that the humidifier that you purchase has the warm mist functionality that you need. If you need a humidifier for a larger room or office or even an entire apartment, the treated air particles will be at room temperature before they reach you. So, it makes sense to get a humidifier that has enough coverage to meet your individual needs or double up and get an extra humidifier for a different area of your home or office. A humidifier with warm mist capability will contain a heating element and it’s a good idea to keep kids and pets away from the unit when it’s operating.

Water tank capacity

The water tank capacity of your chosen humidifier is important for a couple of key reasons. Firstly, the water tank size will determine how much warm or cold mist the unit can distribute into the atmosphere of your indoor space. A humidifier with a larger water capacity can be used to moisten larger areas for longer periods of time. Secondly, a large water tank capacity means that you won’t need to refill the tank as frequently as a smaller water tank. A humidifier with a larger water tank will be more effective and efficient compared to a smaller unit. That being said, a humidifier with a larger water tank tends to be larger, bulkier and heavier than smaller humidifier units.

Runtime

6 Best Humidifiers for Coughs, Sore Sinuses and Itchy Throats

The runtime or mist time refers to the time period that the humidifier can mist before the water tank runs dry. Most modern humidifiers such as the Elechomes UC5501 Ultrasonic Humidifier have multiple settings to select. So, if you notice that the advertising states that a particular humidifier has a runtime of up to 20 hours this is probably true on the lowest setting only. That same unit used on a higher setting may have a shorter runtime of up to 10-12 hours or less. So, if you’re planning to use your humidifier at night you’re going to need a model with a runtime of at least 8-10 hours to cover your sleeping and waking routine.

Coverage area

We briefly touched upon this earlier, every humidifier model will cover a maximum area and it’s important to bear this in mind before you make a purchase. A smaller humidifier could sit on a desk or table and it may have enough coverage to humidify a small room only. The largest humidifiers such as a furnace humidifier would be large enough to cover an entire home. Most domestic humidifiers fall somewhere in between these two extremes but it’s a great idea to match the humidifier coverage to the size of your home. This will ensure that your new humidifier is effective and efficient for that space.

Generally, small rooms are up to 250 square feet, while medium rooms are up to 400 square feet and anything up to 600 square feet is classed as a large room.

Noise level

Even the quietest humidifiers such as the Hupro Premium Ultrasonic Humidifier generate some noise when operating. If you need a humidifier in your bedroom it’s important to consider the operating noise. We all need a calm and quiet bedroom to get a full and relaxing night of rest. Generally speaking, the larger a humidifier is, the noisier it will be and this is another good reason to carefully size your humidifier. It’s also worth noting that evaporative and warm mist models tend to be louder as well. This is due to the heating elements and extra components needed to distribute the heated mist. If you’re very sensitive to sounds at night the Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier V750 is a great model to choose.

Essential oil compatibility

Many people enjoy using essential oils, they add an intoxicating aroma to your indoor spaces and they can help users to relax after a stressful day. If you’re new to essential oils or a regular user you want to purchase a humidifier model that has a diffusing option for your favorite essential oils. Some Humidifier models such as the Levoit LV600HH Humidifier for Large Room are very effective at diffusing essential oils and you can save time and money by only purchasing a single unit for humidifying and diffusing.

Ease of cleaning

6 Best Humidifiers for Coughs, Sore Sinuses and Itchy Throats

Every humidifier will require regular cleaning and the water tank will need to be refilled. A humidifier is designed to distribute clean mist to alleviate the effects of dry air on the nose and throat. If the unit is dirty this will make the humidifier less effective and it may even exacerbate the problem. So, when you purchase a new humidifier it makes sense to get a model that’s easy to clean and refill.

Other features

There are humidifiers such as Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier that are basic in terms of features and yet effective as a simple humidifying system. Generally speaking, the more basic modern humidifiers are less expensive than those with all the extra features. But, there may be some extra features that you don’t want to miss out on because they can be a game changer.

A prime example of a useful feature is the automatic shutoff function which is a great safety measure when you’re using the unit in a bedroom.  A humidifier with auto shutoff can be left running all night because it will automatically shut down if the unit is overheating.
The last thing that you want is a humidifier that overheats in your kids bedroom at night and this could have tragic consequences. We think that an auto shutoff feature should be regarded as a must have on your next humidifier model.

A timer function that can adjust the intensity levels at different times during the day and night is another great feature. This will help the user to get the exact level of cool or warm mist when they need it most without any need to constantly fiddle with the unit.

Some modern humidifiers have a filtration system that can be effective for those with severe respiratory complaints and allergies. But, for most users this is overkill and using filters can add a great deal of expense and hassle. Choosing a filterless humidifier will suffice for most homes and these types of models are usually easier to use and maintain.

Finally, you want a humidifier that has a longer warranty to ensure your peace of mind. A humidifier is a complex piece of electronic equipment and it can fail from time to time. So, it’s always a great idea to have a solid guarantee and a longer warranty shows that the manufacturer has confidence in that humidifier model.

FAQ

Providing you keep your humidifier clean and free of bacteria, using it should not make a cough or your cold symptoms worse.

It depends on the season. However, since you’re more likely to have a cough in winter, you’re more likely to find warm mist more soothing.

Experts agree that it is safe to run a humidifier all night. However, you need to be aware of how your body and home react to the humidity.

Our Verdict

As you can see, there are some fantastic humidifier models on the market. From the affordable Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier V750, which is easy to clean and use, while offering a medicinal inhalant functionality to the Levoit LV600HH Humidifier that has an excellent capacity for larger rooms and longer misting sessions, even with essential oils.

However, the stand out as the best humidifier for coughs has to be our editor’s pick, the Elechomes UC5501 Ultrasonic Humidifier. This fantastic model offers a large coverage area with quiet operation. Additionally, the compatibility with essential oils means that you can use this humidifier for relaxing aromatherapy sessions. Although it is one of the more costly options on this list, the UC5501 is certainly worth the investment.

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