Traveling can be an exciting adventure, but it can also be tiring and stressful, particularly because it can upset the natural rhythms of your body as you encounter different locations and environments. If you are traveling for an extended period, it’s important to be comfortable as possible and also keep yourself in optimal health. Recycled air and parched atmospheres in cars, planes, and hotel rooms can lead to dry sinuses, nosebleeds, and cracked lips, all of which create breaks in the skin barrier and leave the body vulnerable to bacteria and infection.
Travel humidifiers can mitigate these problems and help improve health by supporting skin hydration as well as making you more comfortable en route. Cool-mist humidifiers may also help to ease symptoms of a cold or other respiratory condition while traveling. In this guide, find a multitude of features to consider as you shop for a travel humidifier. Check out the selections below for some of the best travel humidifiers on the market to help you remain as healthy and comfortable as possible during your travel adventures.
- BEST OVERALL: GENIANI Portable Small Cool Mist Humidifiers
- BEST MINI: AUGOLA Portable Mini Humidifier, Quiet Small Cool
- BEST FOR WATER BOTTLES: Fancii Cool Mist Personal Mini Humidifier
- BEST COOL-MIST: UODBUYO Portable Cool Mist Humidifier, 300ml
- BEST QUIET: Homasy Humidifier, 320ml Portable Mini Humidifier
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Travel Humidifier
A surprisingly diverse field of travel humidifiers is available on the market today. They differ in areas ranging from size, mist type, length of use, noise level, filter configuration, and other factors. It can be overwhelming to know what to look for, so consider these factors to find the best travel humidifier for when you’re on the road or once you’ve arrived at a new destination.
The keyword for a valuable travel humidifier is “compact.” It should fit inside a suitcase at the very least, but ideally, it can find a place in a purse, tote, backpack, or carry-on bag while traveling. Additionally, anyone who enjoys having a personal humidifier while traveling by car should choose a model that can fit in a console cupholder.
Most travel humidifiers are cylindrical-shaped with a diameter of 2.5 to 3.5 inches and a height of 5 to 7 inches. Travel humidifiers in non-traditional designs and in a variety of shapes and sizes are plentiful as well. Keep looking until one suits your needs, sense of style, available space, and travel requirements.
Type of Mist
Four common types of travel humidifiers are available on the market today. The most common type is an ultrasonic humidifier, which creates a cool mist by utilizing ultrasonic sound vibrations. The impeller, or cool-mist, humidifier produces a mist by employing a high-speed rotating disk. An evaporative humidifier transfers moisture into the environment by fanning air through a moistened, absorbent material, such as a filter, belt, or wick. A steam vaporizer creates steam by heating water with electrodes or an electric heating element.
Some types, like the evaporative humidifier, do not produce any noticeable mist or steam. Regardless, each travel humidifier will create the desired effect: a more humid atmosphere while traveling or living in a temporary space.
Two main factors will determine how long the travel humidifier operates and produces humidifying effects. First, most humidifiers provide an auto shutoff feature when the reservoir or water tank is depleted, which helps prevent overheating. The second factor is the capacity of the water tank itself that is included with the humidifier. These dedicated water tanks for travel humidifiers range in size from 250 milliliters (approximately 8.5 ounces) to 500 milliliters (approximately 17 ounces).
There are also several types of humidifiers that are designed to use a disposable water bottle as a reservoir, as long as it has a standard-length neck. Other humidifiers can utilize almost any open water-bearing container as a tank. The variability in volume determines how long the humidifier will operate.
On average, travel humidifiers will run continuously from five to 10 hours before they automatically shut down or are depleted of water. While they will continue to work beyond this time period, the tank will need to be refilled and the unit will need to be restarted.
Night-lights are popular additions to humidifiers, especially travel-size models. When on the road, the environment may be unfamiliar and unsettling. A night light provides a subtle, warm glow, making it easier to orient yourself in a new space and navigate in the dim light, if necessary. Avoid blue-colored night lights, as they can negatively affect circadian rhythms.
Multicolored lights are also a popular feature on travel humidifiers due to their entertainment factor. A colorful light display may not be ideal for sleeping, but it could have an uplifting effect during daylight hours if surroundings are dull and gray. Regardless of what kind of lights a travel humidifier may offer, any light features should have the option of turning them off.
A great travel humidifier should not introduce noise pollution into the environment. According to the World Health Organization, it’s ideal to keep ambient bedroom noises below 30 decibels (dB) for optimal sleeping conditions.
A few models offer “whisper quiet” functionality, which means the humidifier can operate at the noise level of a whisper in a quiet room, which is about 19 decibels. In other models, the small motor’s ambient whirr can act as a kind of white noise generator that might be soothing to the sleeper.
Built-in vs. Disposable Filters
As a humidifier operates, it draws in air and expels it as either a cool mist or a warm mist. During this process, dust, dander, and other contaminants become trapped in the filter and are not returned to the room. Over time, these airborne contaminants clog the filter and hamper the proper operation of the humidifier. A clogged filter could also be expelling dirty air and spores into the room. Manufacturers generally agree that wick-type portable humidifier filters be changed after one to three months or even sooner, if necessary.
Almost all travel humidifiers have disposable filters. Permanent, built-in filters are much larger and would increase the unit’s size to the point where it wouldn’t fit into a cupholder or would be too cumbersome to sit on a desk. Furthermore, when traveling it is more difficult to wash a filter, so having a travel humidifier with a disposable filter while on the road will save time and effort.
The best travel humidifiers will take up as little space as possible in luggage. To facilitate this portability, some designs cleverly make use of the availability of disposable plastic water bottles as a substitute water tank. For these models, you invert a full bottle of water—tap or otherwise—onto the base unit and secure it tightly. Other designs feature a stick-like humidifier resting in an open, upright bottle or glass for a flexible reservoir system. These designs save room in your purse, bag, or suitcase because the size and weight are at least cut in half or more.
Having an available power supply can also be a challenge when on the road. While actual outlets are not always handy, USB ports are becoming more common in cars, lobbies, waiting rooms, airport lounges, and hotel rooms. Most travel humidifiers will have a USB power cord or a battery/USB power option available.
Our Top Picks
Traveling can be fun, but it helps to have the best tools and gadgets to make the trip more enjoyable. Before shopping for a travel humidifier, review some of the best travel humidifiers on the market in a variety of categories.
The lightweight, compact, and efficient design of this portable travel humidifier from Geniani makes it ideal for just about any environment—either on the road or at home. This ultrasonic travel humidifier features two mist modes: continuous and intermittent. Each setting can change the environmental humidity within minutes. It boasts a straightforward one-button control that makes operation easy and an auto shutoff feature for safety and peace of mind.
This cool-mist humidifier measures 2.6 inches by 4.92 inches by 3.7 inches, offers a reservoir capacity of about 7 ounces (250 milliliters), and is rechargeable via a USB connector. It will fit neatly into a car’s cupholder, which is ideal for a long commute. The humidifier will run up to eight hours on one charge and includes an optional warm-colored night light for added comfort. It emits just 30 decibels of noise and also offers added convenience since the filter won’t need to be cleaned or replaced.
This portable mini humidifier by Augola features two mist modes with single-button functionality. Pressing the button once gives continuous spray for 12 hours, and pressing it again provides intermittent spray (stopping every two seconds) for 18 hours. The large 500-milliliter- capacity reservoir allows for an extended operating period compared to most mini humidifiers. The built-in water-level sensor will automatically turn off the power when the water is at a lower than safe level. The strong seal around the reservoir keeps accidental spills to a minimum.
The materials used for this model are BPA-free. The humidifier is powered by a USB connector, and it features a warm-colored night light that is easier on sensitive eyes. The entire dehumidifier measures a compact 5.3 inches by 3.9 inches by 3.9 inches.
Attach a water bottle to this travel humidifier from Fancii to create the tranquil and comfortable atmosphere needed on the road. It utilizes individual water bottles (not included) of 16-ounce or 20-ounce sizes with standard necks; low-profile necks will not work. This simple and compact design is also powerful enough to provide the ideal balance of moisture to help users breathe easier and sleep better.
This personal cool-mist humidifier operates on either battery power or through a USB cable connector (included). It is whisper-quiet, emitting only 15 decibels of noise. The humidifier offers automated timer settings for two-, four-, and six-hour periods and a preset auto shutoff at eight hours. Measuring only 5 inches by 4 inches by 1.5 inches, it’s compact enough to fit in a purse, backpack, or briefcase.
Each UODBUYO cool-mist humidifier features an enclosed dog figurine. Ideal for a desktop or countertop, it is powered by a USB connector and is compatible with any laptop, power bank, socket, or power outlet using a standard USB charger.
The portable humidifier boasts a 300 milliliter reservoir (about 10 ounces), allowing it to last up to 10 hours, and it includes 10 extra humidifier sticks. The base measures 3.46 inches in diameter and at only 5.63 inches tall, it is easy to set on many work surfaces or the nightstand.
This travel humidifier from Homasy is one of the most silent models available, boasting the same reduced noise level as a whisper. This quiet design allows for a more tranquil environment and, at the same time, a way of fine-tuning the quality of the air. Measuring 6.3 inches by 3.15 inches by 3.15 inches, the portable unit features a 35-degree tilted nozzle, enabling users to choose the direction in which the mist is concentrated with greater ease.
The humidifier will automatically power off after running up to eight hours when starting with a full 320 milliliter reservoir. A USB connector powers it for greater usability; switch it on while in the car or anywhere there is a USB charging cord.
FAQs About Travel Humidifiers
If you have further questions about travel humidifiers, the most common queries are here along with their corresponding answers. However, remember to always refer to the individual model’s instructions for specific details about a purchase.
Q. How do portable humidifiers work?
Portable or travel humidifiers are compact, lightweight appliances that produce water vapor via ultrasonic vibrations, heat-steam, rotating disks, or fanning a moistened wick.
Q. Where is the best place to put a humidifier?
When traveling, a humidifier will provide the most significant benefit when placed next to a travel seat while on the road or on a desk or nightstand next to the hotel bed.
Q. How can you keep a travel humidifier in good condition?
To keep a humidifier in good condition, follow a few simple steps. Unplug the unit and wipe all surfaces dry. Clean it every third day with a brush or scrubber to remove deposits. Change the water daily and use low mineral-content water. And, of course, follow the instructions for optimal use.