Buying Guide: Humidifiers

Humidifiers can help snoring triggered by breathing in dry air. They can be a great way to help snoring caused by nasal congestion and throat irritation.

Dry air can aggravate the tissues of your nose and throat, causing irritation and inflammation that can worsen snoring. Additionally, dry and dehydrated airways have thicker mucus which increases surface tension and heightens the risk of snoring [1].

Who can benefit from a humidifier?

A humidifier on its own probably won’t cure your snoring. Used in conjunction with other remedies and techniques, a humidifier can be a great addition to help snoring triggered by:

Things to consider when purchasing a humidifier

Noise

If you intend on using your humidifier at night (which is a good idea if you want to combat snoring), it is important that the unit is quiet enough to not disrupt your sleep. Humidifiers that use fans are generally louder than those that don’t.

Size

Smaller humidifiers will add moisture to a smaller area, but are easier to move around your home. Consider the reservoir volume; how much water can it take and how long with that volume last. Some humidifiers come with an automatic shutoff feature for when the tank runs dry.

Replacements

Smaller humidifiers are usually cheaper. Make sure this isn’t a false economy as the cheaper models will probably need replacing sooner. Also consider the mechanisms; if the unit uses a filter system, these will often need replacing. Make sure any replacements are easy to get hold of and not too expensive.

Safety

Anything that is perpetually wet will start to accumulate bacteria, mold and fungi. Certain types of humidifier are easier to clean than others, with warm mist types using heat to kill the majority of harmful spores.

Those with children or pets should consider the potentially harmful effects of hot water in certain types of humidifier. Pay attention to the build quality to ensure against leakage. Read user reviews, and check the length of the cord to make sure it can be placed safely and not tripped over and spilled.

Climate

Humidifiers can release either cool or warm vapors. If battling seasonal colds and allergies, think about what season you are likely to use the device. Also consider to your general climate. Warm mist in cool environments, and cool mist in warm environments are the ideal matches.

Different types of humidifier

There are two distinct types of air purifier: cool mist and warm mist. Both add moisture to the air and neither is better than the other at alleviating snoring and other symptoms.

However, there are some key practical differences that should be considered when purchasing a humidifier for your snoring.

Cool Mist

As the name suggests, these humidifiers add moisture to the air using cool water. There are two distinct types of cool mist humidifier:

  • Evaporative. These devices use a cool water reservoir, a wick filter and a fan. The water is drawn through the wick and dispersed to the surroundings using the fan.
  • Ultrasonic. This type of humidifier disperses cool water using high-frequency vibrations that create tiny water droplets.

Cool mist humidifiers tend to be the more popular option. But like everything, they have their good and bad points:

Pros of a cool mist humidifier:

  • The cool water poses no scalding risk if the humidifier is knocked over or if it leaks. This is particularly important if you have children or pets in your home.
  • Less energy is needed to run cool mist humidifiers compared to warm mist.
  • The cool water can serve to cool down a room, so is ideal for warm climates.

Cons of a cool mist humidifier:

  • These devices can develop mold, bacteria and fungi so must be cleaned regularly.
  • Wick filters will often need frequent replacement.
  • Evaporative humidifiers use a fan which can sometimes be a bit noisy.
  • Ultrasonic humidifiers often deposit white dust on the surroundings. It’s important to note that this is harmless and can be mitigated by using distilled water in the reservoir.

Warm mist

Warm mist humidifiers have a heating element that boils the water in the reservoir to disperse steam to the surroundings. This gives it some distinct advantages over cool mist humidifiers.

Pros of a warm mist humidifier:

  • Doesn’t use a fan therefore is much quieter and therefore suitable to run whilst you sleep.
  • Heat gets rid of bacteria and mold that might start developing in the humidifier
  • Can operate without having to change filters
  • Some have absorption pads to soak up minerals
  • Warm mist can heat the room slightly, making these types ideal for cooler climates and winter time.
  • Can have medicated aromas added.

Cons of a warm mist humidifier:

  • Poses scald risk if it leaks or is knocked over. Extra caution should be exercised in homes with children or pets.
  • Due to the heating element, warm mist devices usually require more energy to run.

At SnoreLab, we like the Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier. It doesn’t use any filters, it’s small enough to be easily moved around the house, it’s quiet, easy to clean and can be used with Vicks medicated aromas.

Check out SnoreLab's Recommended Humidifier
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References

  1. Manisha V, et al. Influence of breathing route on upper airway lining liquid surface tension in humans. The Journal of Physiology 2006; 574(Pt 3): 859-866. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16690717

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