Humidifier Vs. Diffuser: What’s The Difference

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By Preston Smith/Sept. 10, 2021 12:03 pm EDT

In recent years, the world of home wares and electronics has exploded with the rising popularity of air humidifiers and diffusers. These are not to be confused with air purifiers. However, when you use a humidifier every day, some magical things may happen. Just make sure you’re cleaning your diffuser and humidifier well!

Let’s look at humidifiers first. What do they do, and why do so many people own them now? “Humidifiers are devices that release water vapor or steam to increase moisture levels in the air (humidity),” explained The Mayo Clinic. They come in different forms, but generally, humidifiers either use a fan that pushes air through a wet wick or filter, or they use electricity to warm water and create steam, which is then cooled before it flows out of the machine.

The humidity level in your home can affect everything from your skin to your health. The Mayo Clinic noted that too dry of a home can lead to cracked lips and bloody noses, among other negative side effects. Therefore, when using a humidifier to remedy these, you want to ensure that your humidity level remains between 30 and 50%, as this is the healthiest range for humans (and their pets). Humidity levels can be measured with a simple hygrometer, which can be found online with ease.

Can certain products act as both diffusers and humidifiers?

Where humidifiers pump moisture into your air, diffusers push something else entirely into your home’s climate. According to Byrdie, diffusers “fill the air in a room with tiny, breathable particles of beneficial essential oils — giving the room a calmer, more pleasant-smelling ambiance.” Essential oils are powerful and can alter your mood, so diffusers are actually more powerful than they look. Because of this, you’re not just choosing oils based on their smell or throwing money away on a machine that simply smells good, you’re investing in aromatherapy.

Outside of the major difference between putting out moisture and essential oils, the two types of machines aren’t entirely different. They both use water to create their mist, though their tanks can vary in size, with diffusers’ tanks often being smaller because they require less water (via Honeywell). The two products are even being combined now so that you can unleash moisture and essential oils into your homes at the same time. Honeywell’s Designer Series Cool Mist Humidifier, for example, functions fully as a humidifier but also contains a tray for essential oils, meaning you can accomplish both goals at once. It can be found on Amazon for $69.99.

Ultimately, both diffusers and humidifiers are great investments. If you can only choose one, humidifiers may be the better option, but both are excellent for your overall well-being.

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