Difference between a Cool Mist and a Warm Mist Humidifier

Updated on June 27, 2017

Cool mist and warm mist humidifiers are invaluable households tools that act as a vaporizer. Even though they serve the same purpose, they are distinct in a number of ways. This article provides information on the differences between the two.

Definitions

Cool Mist
Cool mist humidifier

A cool mist humidifier is a household device used to maintain the ideal humidity level of a room. Designed to disperse cool vapor into the air, a cool mist humidifier does not have a heating element.

Cool mist humidifiers exist in two main types: ultrasonic and evaporative. Ultrasonic humidifiers use ultrasonic vibration technology to release cool mists, while evaporative types use a filter to absorb water and disperse cool vapor.

warm mist humidifier
A warm mist humidifier

A warm mist humidifier is a device that regulates and maintains the normal humidity level of a room. It is designed with an internal heating system that boils water to release warm vapor into the air.

A warm mist humidifier, also known as a steam humidifier, is available in many variants. Some models have a built-in reservoir for eucalyptus and other types of oil, while others are built with a pad that absorbs minerals from the water before dispersing warm vapor into the air.

Cool Mist vs Warm Mist Humidifier

So what’s the difference between cool mist and warm mist humidifier? Although they are both used to vaporize water, they are far from being alike.

Firstly, a cool mist humidifier is a household device used to maintain the ideal humidity level of a room by dispersing cool water vapor into the air. A warm mist humidifier, as the name suggests, regulates humidity by releasing warm water vapor. Since they release different types of vapor, they affect room temperature in different ways. While a cool mist humidifier significantly lowers room temperature, a warm mist humidifier increases it.

Cool mist and warm mist humidifiers also regulate humidity by using specific working mechanisms. A warm mist humidifier, known as a steam humidifier, is designed with an internal heating system that boils water to release warm vapor into the air. A cool mist humidifier, on the other hand, exists in two types: ultrasonic and evaporative. Ultrasonic humidifiers utilize ultrasonic vibration technology to release cool mist into the air, while evaporative humidifiers use a wick filter and a fan to release cool vapor into the air. Since cool mist humidifiers have a built-in fan, they are noisier than warm mist humidifiers.

Another significant difference between the two is their diffusing system. A warm mist humidifier typically has an absorbent pad that filters dust and minerals from hard water before dispersing warm vapor into the air. Since cool mist humidifiers lack this feature, dust and minerals can be dispersed along with the steam. To avoid calcium and mineral build-up on household furniture, distilled or purified water is ideally used for this device.

Also, unlike cool mist humidifiers, most warm mist humidifiers are designed with a built-in reservoir for eucalyptus, oil, and medical inhalants.

In terms of safety, a cool mist humidifier is ideal for families with children or pets mainly because a warm mist humidifier’s internal heating system heightens the risk of burns and fire.

Lastly, bacteria thrive in a warm, moist environment, making it necessary to clean warm mist humidifiers more frequently. Since it filters mineral deposits, it can be harder to clean and maintain than to a cool mist humidifier.

Comparison Chart

Cool Mist HumidifierWarm Mist Humidifier
A household device used to maintain the ideal humidity level of a room by dispersing cool water vapor into the airA household device used to maintain the ideal humidity level of a room by dispersing warm water vapor into the air
Lowers room temperatureIncreases room temperature

Ultrasonic or evaporative humidifier

Steam humidifier

Uses either a wick filter or ultrasonic vibration technology to release cool water vapor into the airUses an internal heating system to release warm water vapor into the air
NoisierQuieter
Does not filter dust and minerals from hard waterFilters dust and minerals from hard water
Not designed with a built-in reservoir for eucalyptus, oil, and medical inhalantsDesigned with a built-in reservoir for eucalyptus, oil, and medical inhalants
Safer for children and petsIncreases the risk of burns and fire
Does not require frequent cleaningRequires frequent cleaning because of risk of bacterial growth
Easier to cleanHarder to clean because of mineral build-up