If you tend to experience dry eyes, the best humidifiers for dry eyes may give you some relief by putting additional moisture into the air. In order for a humidifier to be effective, it should have a large enough water tank and be powerful enough to handle the size of the room in which it’s being used. The manufacturer will usually list the maximum number of square feet the unit is intended to handle, so pay attention to this information before you buy.
Beyond tank size, you’ll have your choice between an evaporative humidifier (which has the perk of being self-regulating, so it can’t over-humidify your space) and an ever-popular ultrasonic model, which tends to be quieter. Unlike evaporative models, ultrasonic humidifiers don't have a filter that needs to be regularly replaced — a money saver in the long run, though the machines may be a bit pricier upfront. Humidifiers can put either warm or cool mist into the air, and some can even do both. Warm mist models boil water to make steam, which reduces bacteria and germs, but is potentially hazardous if you have kids or pets around. Cool mist humidifiers can be safer for little ones since they don't get hot, but more frequent cleanings are necessary.
There are certainly other features to look for when purchasing a humidifier. Some units have a built-in nightlight, a remote for easy controls, or even a designated spot to place essential oils so you can fill the room with your favorite scent. You may even be able to get your hands on a unit that has UV light technology intended to kill bacteria, mold, and fungi, or one with a built-in humidistat to monitor and maintain the moisture in the air. No matter which features you want, you should ensure that the machine you choose has an automatic shutoff feature to protect the device from damage if the water runs out.
These five humidifiers all have knockout ratings on Amazon, with tons of reviewers backing up their effectiveness for helping with dry eyes.
1. A Fan-Favorite Cool Mist Humidifier
With a whopping 32,000 (and growing!) ratings on Amazon and a 4.4-star rating overall, this humidifier from Pure Enrichment is undeniably adored on the site because it’s filter-free, easy to clean, and effective. I can personally vouch for this pick, too; we have used it in my daughter’s room for more than a year, and are truly impressed by its ability to add moisture to the room.
This humidifier is an ultrasonic model that puts out a cool mist, and the 1.5-liter (0.4-gallon) tank is intended to handle rooms up to 250 square feet, like a bedroom or office. The device can run for up to 16 hours continuously, but will automatically shut off when the water level is too low. It also has an optional night light that puts off a soothing glow.
When it comes time for cleaning — which, from personal experience, I would say needs to happen quite regularly to prevent mold — this pick comes with a cleaning brush to help you get in all of the nooks and crannies.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: "I suffer from severe dry eye and it was recommended that I use a humidifier as part of my care. Because of its low cost, I had some doubt as to how well it would work. However, this is one powerful little humidifier. It doesn't require a filter, which makes it easy to clean and to use. This humidifier is not designed for a large room, so I initially bought the humidifier for use in my bedroom. It worked so well in my bedroom, that I subsequently purchased a second humidifier for my family room. It comes with easy to use instructions. I would definitely recommend this product to others."
- Room size: Up to 250 square feet
2. A Warm & Cool Mist Humidifier For Large Spaces
This humidifier from LEVOIT is built to handle large spaces. Boasting a massive 1.6-gallon water tank, the humidifier works in rooms that are up to 753 square feet in size, and it can run for up to 36 hours continuously on the low-mist setting. Another major plus to this pick? It has the ability to generate both cool and warm mist. The ultrasonic humidifier is super quiet, and it doesn’t have a filter — a cost-saver in the long run.
This pick has a built-in humidistat, a 12-hour timer, and an automatic shut-off feature when the water level is too low. A remote control lets you easily adjust all of the settings. This pick is also compatible with essential oils; simply add your favorite one to the aroma box, and soon the room will be filled with the scent. When it comes time to clean this pick, you’ll be able to do so quite easily thanks to the wide water tank opening.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: "I live in the California high sierras where the Humidity is VERY low. This product has been a godsend! I run in the evenings when I go to bed. It has helped tremendously; I now wake up without cracked lips and dry eyes! The water container holds enough to run all night. I like that I can also set a timer if need be. Not exactly completely silent, ( which I doubt can ever be for any Machine!) but I am a very light sleeper and the very low hum or steam sound you hear is not bothersome or loud. A good product."
- Room size: Up to 753 square feet
3. A Cool Mist Humidifier With UV Light Technology
This humidifier from Honeywell was designed with cleanliness in mind — according to the manufacturer, its patented UV light technology can eliminate up to 99.9% of bacteria, mold, and spores in the water. The cool mist humidifier has a 1-gallon water tank that’s designed for rooms up to 400 square feet in size. It can run on low for up to 24 hours straight, but since it’s an evaporative model it won't over-humidify the space. This pick has a wicking filter that will need to be swapped out every few months, but Amazon reviewers don't seem to mind. Reviewers on the site give this pick a knockout 4.3-star rating overall, among 8,600 and growing ratings, with tons of people indicating that this pick has been a game-changer when it comes to their dry eyes.
The water tank on this humidifier has a large handle that makes it simple to carry to the faucet for filling. The tank also has a wide opening for easy cleaning. Choose from either a black or white model. This pick is also available in sets with one or three extra filters.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: "I have a horrible time with dry eyes and painful dry sinuses year around, but this Honeywell HCM350B is an answer to my prayers! We keep it in our bedroom (which has high cathedral ceilings) and we turn it on at night. No more waking up with dry eye! No more waking up with dry sinuses! [...] Also ease of refilling this humidifier needs to be mentioned.... it has a one piece gallon container that just drops into place after you fill it, no juggling act, no trying to hit the right slot... just drop it in and turn it on! Plus, all parts are dishwasher safe so cleaning is a breeze! This one is a winner, people! Order now... don't wait! Your sinuses will thank you!"
- Room size: Up to 400 square feet
4. A Popular Warm-Mist Humidifier
This warm mist humidifier from Vicks features a large 1-gallon water tank — suitable for medium- to large-sized rooms — that can run up to 12 hours continuously. And according to Vicks, the warm mist is 96% bacteria-free. Reviewers on Amazon are wild about this pick, both for its low price point and effectiveness. Many reviewers have also commented that the humidifier is whisper quiet — to the point where they hardly even knew that it was running!
In terms of features, this humidifier will automatically shut off when the water level is too low. This pick can be used with Vicks VapoSteam for cough relief if you're recovering from a cold. This humidifier also comes with a 3-year warranty. (A quick note on safety — since this pick boils the water to make steam, be sure that it is always out of reach of children and pets.)
Enthusiastic Amazon review: "I love this humidifier! I read tons of reviews and am so glad I picked this one, it's the best value for your money! I've been using it for a month or so now and can't sleep without it! I'm from Florida and when I moved up to PA my eyes, nose, throat, & skin got sooo dry with the heat running here all of the time. There are no filters to change, it's easy to take apart & clean, the night light isn't too bright and it runs super quiet!"
- Room size: Medium/Large
5. A Portable Cool-Mist Humidifier
If you need to humidify your space at the office or on the go, then look no further than this MOVTIP mini humidifier. The USB-powered humidifier is small in size — it’s approximately 3.7 by 3.7 by 5 inches (length by width by height) — and extremely lightweight at under 10 ounces. The cool-mist humidifier has a 500-milliliter water capacity (that's about 0.13 gallons), and it’s super simple to operate. Press the button one time and the unit will continuously run for 12 hours. Press the button again and the device will simply mist intermittently for up to 18 hours. The device will automatically shut off when the water level is too low.
This pick is an evaporative model, so it has a filter that will need to be replaced — luckily replacement filters are super cheap, at around $8 for a 10-pack. Choose from five colors — black, blue, gray, pink, or white.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: "The Ohio winters mean the heat is on basically non-stop & my house was so dry. I was having issues with nose bleeds, dry skin, and itchy dry eyes. I used it at night in my bedroom and in my home office while working. Once my daughter used it one night in her bedroom, I never got it back. I ordered another one less than a week later. We both sleep with them on and all of our dry air issues have been resolved. Super easy to use. So quiet I question whether I remembered to turn it on some days. Definitely recommend!"
- Room size: The manufacturer does not list a maximum room size, but reviewers indicate it is best in small spaces