The 5 Best Humidifiers For Sinus Problems

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by Lisa Fogarty
Originally Published: 
Bustle / Amazon

Sinus pain can be agonizing. Unlike a common cold, which at least has the decency to pass when you sleep it off and take the right medications, managing chronic sinus pain is a bit trickier. Luckily, investing in one of the best humidifiers for sinus problems can help.

“Unlike acute sinusitis, which is usually caused by infection, chronic sinusitis often has more complicated symptoms, and the causes can be multifactorial or difficult to determine,” says Dr. Vinh Nguyen, a family medicine physician at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California. 

Nguyen says sinus problems aren't always related to infections. “Abnormal anatomy of the nose or the sinuses can contribute to chronic sinusitis. These include nasal polyps, sinus polyps, or a deviated septum.  Environmental allergies are also much more common in people with chronic sinusitis. Also, a small number of people have chronic sinusitis, because of immune system problems. If you have chronic sinus pain or congestion, you should see your doctor to get a further evaluation.”

So, what can you do to help? Well, for one thing, make it a habit to sleep with a cool-mist humidifier in your room.

“Adding moisture to the air that you breathe using a humidifier can help to relieve sinus congestion by loosening up the mucus secretions of the nasal passages,” Nguyen says. “We recommend cold mist humidifiers for sinus congestion and cold symptoms. Warm mist humidifiers have not been shown to reduce symptoms, and may result in burns.”

This list of highly-rated cool-mist humidifiers include options for large rooms, medium-size rooms, and anyone who travels a lot and needs relief on the go. There's even a humidifier that doubles as an essential oil diffuser. Trust us: your sinuses will thank you.


The Best Standard-Sized Option: MistAire Ultrasonic Cool-Mist Humidifier

With more than 29,000 reviews, this cool-mist humidifier stands out from the rest because it boasts features like high and low speed settings that allow you to adjust the amount of mist you need for your space, an optional soothing night light, and a generous 1.5-liter tank that moisturizes the air for 16 hours at a time. This humidifier is ideal for medium-size rooms like bedrooms and offices and it has a 360-degree mist nozzle so you can direct mist in any direction.

According to one reviewer: "Love this humidifier. Its very dry where I live and I was suffering from major sinus issues. Waking up with sinus headaches. I have had ZERO sinus issues since using this humidifier. Its easy to use and if you fill it up with water you wont have to add more for a few days!"


The Best For A Large Room: BOYON Ultrasonic Cool-Mist Humidifier

Enjoy up to 30 hours of sinus pain and cold relief with this powerful cool-mist humidifier that holds up to 5 liters. You can select sleep mode for middle mist output or choose among low, middle, and high settings. Not only will the sleep mode ensure it runs quietly, but it'll also turn the display off so there's no light pollution in your space. The automatic shut-off feature turns this humidifier off the second it's emptied of water so that it won't overheat. Best yet, this humidifier has a built-in humidity sensor that allows you to set your desired humidity, and the machine will automatically adjust until your space reaches that level.

According to one reviewer: "This got rid of my sinus pain from the extremely dry air. I turn it on throughout the day and night. The remote works really well.It’s easy to use. It took more than a week for me to have to refill it again."


The Best Compact Option: PureGuardian Cool-Mist Humidifier

This affordable cool-mist humidifier is smaller than most, portable, and perfect for trips — but it runs for a surprisingly long time (30 hours). You can expect a mostly bare-bones design with low and high cool-mist settings and an optional night light. But it also boasts a few sweet tech advancements like Silver Clean Protection to fight mold and mildew and Ultrasonic Technology for a quiet experience that won't keep you up at night or disrupt your train of thought at work.

According to one reviewer: "I've had this humidifier for a couple of years, now. This has been an awfully cold, dry year and family members have developed sinus infections and other minor respiratory ailments. This unit has become invaluable! It's been running for days and just keeps on plugging. We've moved it to different rooms, depending on the person's problem, and it's been incredibly beneficial. The extra humidity aids in a long, restful sleep."


The Best Humidifier-Diffuser Hybrid: Everlasting Comfort Ultrasonic Humidifier

Why choose a cool-mist humidifier with one great benefit when you can score one that does it all — including serving as a soothing essential oil diffuser? This large-room humidifier features a separate aroma tray where you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. The tank holds 6 liters of water and the knob adjusts the mist output for up to 50 hours of continuous use. It also has a built-in ionizer to keep bacteria, microbes, and allergens in check.

According to one reviewer: "I bought this to see if it would help my husband sleep better since he has sinus issues. It seems to have helped him a great deal. He snores less and wakes up with less congestion. I also love that it’s super quiet and that we can turn off the led lights if we want. I would definitely recommend this product to friends and family."


Also, Great: Vicks Mini Filter-Free Cool-Mist Humidifier

If you're struggling with sinus problems, you've probably heard of Vicks before. In addition to their famous VapoRub, they make this cool-mist humidifier to help with congested sinuses. This humidifier has an impressive 20-hour run time and can hold half a gallon of water. Even better? You can use Vicks VapoPads with this humidifier, which are non-medicated pads infused with menthol that many people with congestion have found deliver even more relief.

According to one reviewer: "I absolutely love this thing! I would not have survived this winter without it. It is compact so easy to store in small places, and weighs about 2 [pounds] max. It has been an absolute dream having this to alleviate sinus pressure this winter and I love it!"


Dr. Vinh Nguyen, a family medicine physician at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center

Is a cool-mist or warm-mist humidifier better for sinuses?

If you're looking for a humidifier for your sinus problems, choose a cool-mist humidifier. While both warm- and cool-mist models successfully add moisture to your air, cool-mist humidifiers have been shown to help cold symptoms, whereas warm-mist humidifiers have not.

Do humidifiers help with sinus problems?

Because congestion can lead to even more discomfort in your sinuses, keeping your air moisturized via a humidifier can help with sinus problems. That said, if you have persistent sinus issues or pain, you may want to consult with your doctor to get personalized advice.

What can you put in a humidifier to help with congestion?

If you're using your humidifier to help with congestion, keeping it bacteria-free is going to be paramount. Some experts recommend putting a bit of vinegar in the tank or perhaps a cleaning tablet in order to ensure your humidifier stays clean. Other humidifier models will allow you to include essential oils and, while these may add scent to your air in a pleasant way, there's little research to suggest essential oils in humidifiers benefit those with sinusitis.

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