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 that 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 better 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 the top two picks priced under $45.