The 7 Best Cheap Humidifiers To Buy Now

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Whether you're dealing with dry skin, allergies, or illness, having a humidifier on hand can make all the difference. The only problem is that it can be hard to find a quality unit on a budget — but that doesn't necessarily have to be the case. The best cheap humidifiers add clean, healthy moisture to dry air, and some even come with added perks like essential oil trays and smart technology that tell you the current humidity level in a room.

Before you start shopping, it's helpful to understand the kinds of humidifiers out there, since you're likely to come across terms like ultrasonic and evaporative in your search for the perfect model. While both types of humidifiers effectively add moisture to the air, they do so in different ways. An ultrasonic humidifier uses vibrations to expel a fine mist into the air and that mechanism tends to be extremely quiet, whereas an evaporative humidifier blows moisture through a filter, which can be a noisier process. So, for a whisper-quiet unit, ultrasonic is the way to go.

From there, it's time to talk cool mist versus warm mist. Again, both types are effective at adding some much-need moisture to a space, but for overall safety — especially if you have children — cool mist is preferable because steam vapor can burn.

With that in mind, it all boils down to the size of your room, since you want a humidifier that's going to add enough moisture to cover the square footage of the space. The humidifiers below were selected based on coverage for different-sized rooms. All are highly rated on Amazon and seriously budget-friendly too, with several picks priced under $45.


The Best Humidifier For Small Rooms

While the tank on this ultrasonic cool mist humidifier is on the smaller side at 1.8 liters, it still has an impressively long run time of up to 20 hours on a full tank. It can cover up to 260 square feet, making it ideal for an office, bedroom, or smaller living room. There’s a built-in humidity sensor that reads what the current moisture levels are in your space, and it will adjust its output accordingly. It runs almost silently, and you can even turn off the LED display for a distraction-free sleep. The humidifier shuts off automatically when the water runs out for safety, and there's even an essential oil tray for adding some aromatherapy to your mist. The top-fill design makes adding more water a breeze, too.

While there isn’t a filter to clean, some reviewers recommended using distilled water to prevent any mineral buildup.

Helpful Review: "So quiet, easy to fill, no filter, easy to clean & runs all night on one tank! This humidifier is everything I was looking for! Highly recommend!”


The Best Humidifier For Medium-Sized Rooms

Whether you're looking to humidify a larger bedroom or living room, or even a small yoga studio, the LEVOIT cool mist humidifier is a great choice. Equipped with a 4-liter tank, it's designed to humidify up to 376 square feet and can continuously run up to 40 hours on low mist. The ultrasonic, filter-free humidifier is whisper-quiet and comes with a fully rotating nozzle so you can aim the mist just where you need it most. Choose from three mist levels (low, medium, and high), or use the tray for essential oils to add a calming scent to your space.

The unit will turn off automatically when the water level is low, and the wide tank opening makes refilling a hassle-free experience — although you will have to refill it at the base. The brand recommends using filtered or distilled water, and cleaning once a week (there's a nifty cleaning brush included).

Helpful Review: "This humidifiers looks great and decor well in bedroom or living room. The mist is super fine and can be adjusted in 3 different speed. The most impressive thing is that the humidifier is super quiet and I cannot even recognize when it is working. Cannot wait to try it with some oil essence!!”


The Best Humidifier For Large Rooms

With a 4.4-star rating on Amazon and more than 38,000 customer reviews, it's easy to see why the Everlasting Comfort ultrasonic cool mist humidifier has earned a large and loyal fanbase. The 6-liter, large-capacity tank humidifies rooms up to 500 square feet and can last up to 50 straight hours between refills. By far one of the biggest selling points is that this unit is completely filterless, which means that while you pay more upfront, you won't ever have to buy expensive replacement filters, and you don't have the hassle of cleaning a filter either. For refilling water, you will have to refill at the base.

The 360-degree rotating nozzle lets you customize where you want the mist output, and the dial lets you adjust the humidity level. The unit features an auto shut-off and runs almost silently, plus it comes with an essential oil tray and nightlight. Similar to the other ultrasonic models here, it's recommended that you use distilled water to prevent white dust.

Helpful Review: "Steam starts right away and even on low setting is powerful! This has been a godsend for my toddler when he gets a cough! [...]It’s also great for the oil diffuser right now we have peppermint going! I have a largeroom and living room and it works great for both!”


The One That Runs The Longest

With a whopping 60 hours of run time, the Elechomes cool mist humidifier has the longest continuous misting time on the list. The extra-large 5-liter tank can see you through two and a half days of moisture before you have to refill. It has an auto-shutoff for when that big tank does eventually run low, but you can also program the timer for increments between 2 and 12 hours for a schedule that works for you. It can cover up to 322 square feet, so in terms of coverage, this is suitable for a medium-sized space. There’s a fully rotating nozzle for aiming the mist in any direction and the wide opening at the top lets you easily refill water. Additionally, with this model, there’s no separate essential oil tray; you can simply add your favorite aroma directly to the main water compartment.

Similar to the other ultrasonic picks on this list, there’s no filter but many reviewers recommended using distilled water.

Helpful Review: “Top-fill design helps to reduce water spills. 5L size is perfect for a medium-sized room. The look is attractive, one of my friends ask me to share the link due to its gorgeous look. No complaint so far. A good humidifier with less spending.”


The One With Warm Steam

If you’re looking for the soothing feeling of a warm mist humidifier, this affordable vaporizer from Vicks is hard to beat. It’s a no-frills model that can run for up to 24 hours. The large tank produces a steamy vapor but you can also add the brand’s medicated drops for more healing relief or VapoPads to create a calming sanctuary. There’s no filter on this model and the large tank opening makes cleaning a cinch. While no square footage range is provided, several reviewers mentioned that it can really pump out steam. Just remember to keep kids away since the water inside does get hot.

Helpful Review: “Very nice quality and a great price for this. Much bigger then I expected it to be. The top of the lid has dual scent pad slots for the Vicks pads to be inserted and it also has a Vicks medicine slot for the liquid to go. There's a nightlight on the top as well. Gives off a decent amount of steam. Very happy with this product and it came just in time because we're all sick!”


The One With The Sleekest Design

This affordably priced ultrasonic cool mist humidifier comes in a sleek black design that promises to look elegant with almost any decor. It has a large, 4-liter tank that can cover up a large room (up to 430 feet) and run up to 30 hours straight. It runs quietly and the mist output can be customized using the high-to-low knob. There’s an auto shut-off when the tank runs low, and when you need to clean the unit, there’s a reusable foam filter that’s easy to rinse. However, regular descaling is recommended for the unit. The refill area is inside so this one is not going to be as easy to fill up as a top-fill option, but at an under-$35 price point, it’s hard to beat.

Note: this model does not come with an essential oil tray.

Helpful Review: “It looks good and also does its job. Currently leaving on the office’s desk. Would probably get another one for my bedroom when winter comes.”


The Budget One For Essential Oils

To date, the best-selling model has earned 94,000 ratings, and while it’s not technically a full humidifier, it has a lot of features to love. With an under-$20 price tag, this compact essential oil diffuser puts out a cool mist that adds scent to your space. It doubles as a nightlight with eight colors to choose from, although you can run it without any light too. Choose from two mist modes: The intermittent mode can run up to 8 hours and the continuous mode can run up to 4 hours (and it comes with an auto shut-off so you never have to worry about leaving it on at night). To clean, simply wipe it down with a rag.

Helpful Review: “[...]The mist is steady and plenty. It's amazing that a relatively small amount of water can create hours and hours of mist. I use it with essential oils (2-3 drops, as per the manual), and the mist still rises high and is NOT heavy where it falls quickly. The room fills with the scent. The reservoir is larger than other diffusers I have used recently, providing more hours of mist. [...]”