Humidifier Vs Vaporizer: What’s the Difference and Which One to Choose?

Carolina Evans
Carolina Evans
Research Writer
Holds a Master’s degree in Engineering and is keen on her own home’s climate. Sometimes we think that Carolina owns every single product she writes about – that’s ho read more
Reviewed By
Richard Powell
Richard Powell
Expert Consultant
For 8 years, Richard had been working as an HVAC specialist and AC unit installer since his student years. Now, he’s our main consultant on every technical aspect that may read more
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If winter is coming or winter has come, you may find yourself in stores lined with humidifiers and vaporizers. You find the previously unconscious debate of humidifier vs vaporizer submitting itself to your conscious. Your piqued curiosity and restless spirit have brought you here, and we shall definitely provide you with the accessible explanation you have been seeking. While both terms are often used in a single sentence, they are far from synonymous. A humidifier is a device that seeks to add humidity or moisture into your space, a room or an office or the like.

A vaporizer, on the other hand, is for when you wish to fill your nostrils and throat with steam, meaning when you have a cold or a sore throat and wish to provide a little relief to your pitiable condition. Their point of divergence lies in their area of coverage and that fact that you do not consciously sit in front of the humidifier to inhale its steam, while the vaporizer works to that end.

 What is a humidifier and how does it work?

Humidifier Vs Vaporizer: What's the Difference and Which One to Choose?A humidifier is essentially a device that emits water vapor into your space and adds moisture to relieve you of that dry skin, dry eyes, chapped lips and basically all your symptoms of being a dehydrated dryad. The little device can restore your youthful hue and the color in your cheeks. You will feel rejuvenated at the touch of steam or cool mist on your skin.

As far as to how it works, that depends on the kind of humidifier you choose. The categories are:

  • Central Humidifiers – They work similar to central air conditioning and supply the moisture to the entire building or space where installed.
  • Ultrasonic humidifiers – They produce humidity through ultrasonic vibrations.
  • Impeller humidifiers – They work in quite the way a traditional machine is supposed to and produce humidity through a rotating disk.
  • Evaporators – Here, a fan blows air through a wet filter, wick or belt to produce the moisture.
  • Steam vaporizers – Don’t be misled by the name. These kinds create steam within the device but the steam cools before it leaves the machine. But these are a health hazard because they have the potential to burn anyone with the steam that is produced within them. Any careless move can result in harm.

Thus, when you choose what kind you prefer for your space, be it home or office, you will be able to see exactly how your humidifier works.

What is a vaporizer and how does it work?

Humidifier Vs Vaporizer: What's the Difference and Which One to Choose?A vaporizer emits the kind of steam that you can inhale to soothe your irritated throat or blocked nose. You fill a container attached to it with water. The internal heating technology of the vaporizer boils it and you get the subsequent steam through a head that is supposed to direct the steam at your face when you fit it into that opening.

Difference between a humidifier and a vaporizer

The basic point of difference between the two is the space to which they cater. You can use a vaporizer for a small spot, such as your face and that is where all your steam shall be directed. The humidifier is also a little device which shall make quite a big part of your room moist and nice. The cool-mist humidifier is another invention in this regard. It can work minus the steam and only emits cool mist which shall make it a less dangerous thing to be used when compared with the boiling water of vaporizer.

Cool-mist humidifier vs a steam vaporizer

There is a certain comfort to using a cool-mist humidifier. Moisture shall find its way into your space and it won’t make the room stuffy. The cool mist shall keep the room nice and cool. The same cannot be said about the steam vaporizer. It obviously does not cater to an entire living space and restricts itself to just a selected area. It would also be quite a risk to leave your children unattended near such a device that boils water to release steam. The cool-mist humidifier, then, also appears to be child-friendly. But ensure that it is cleaned regularly because it can easily accumulate mold and bacteria and use purified water in it so that it does not emit minerals that are harmful for the body. When these measures have been observed, the cool-mist humidifier becomes extremely advantageous.

Warm-mist humidifier vs vaporizer

The warm-mist humidifier allows for the highest level of moisture saturation while killing off bacteria. This is an advantage, but they will make a little noise. The vaporizer, on the other hand, will continue doing its job and soothing your sore throat or relieving your blocked nose which is a spot treatment that humidifiers do not have any expertise in.

Humidifier vs vaporizer – In-use comparison

For cough, bronchitis or sinus infection

Humidifier Vs Vaporizer: What's the Difference and Which One to Choose?Cough can mean a dry, irritated throat which could use a humidifier. The same goes for a sinus infection where the nasal congestion can be helped with moisture from a humidifier. Bronchitis or the inflammation of the bronchial tubes could also do with a humidifier so as ensure that optimal environment is provided to the patient and a dry space does not envelop them.

While a humidifier can provide a hospitable environment, a vaporizer is definitely needed to endure that the nasal passage, the throat and the lungs receive the steam so as to soothe these organs.

For allergies and asthma

Allergies can be caused by bacteria, pollens and even dust mites indoors. Humidifiers may help to combat the dry coughs, but they can also prove to be counter-effective for the person susceptible to allergens. Humidifiers, if not cleaned properly, become the breeding ground for mites and mold.

Asthma has the same risks. Humidifier may exacerbate the problem instead of curing it. Too much moisture can be potential danger for people with respiratory diseases.

A vaporizer, on the other hand, would provide the required relief by simply exposing instantly produced steam to the person’s face and ending the process as soon as the device is switched-of.

For babies

The obvious risk with a vaporizer, in the case of babies and toddlers, is that a slight negligence on the part of the adults may cause burns. The humidifier, on the other hand, can simply be installed in some forgotten corner of the room or nursery and it will do its job. Moisture is extremely important to protect the respiratory tract of the baby, and a humidifier is a good investment. Even when a baby is ill and needs steam inhalation through a vaporizer, it is not advisable to bring them near one. Thus, for a baby, the humidifier is a better investment.

Humidifier Vs Vaporizer: What's the Difference and Which One to Choose?For dry nose

This is one place where both of these devices are equally beneficial. A humidifier will give out moisture and allow you to breathe well when your dry nose is giving you trouble. The vaporizer shall welcome you as well. Sit before it, inhale the steam it spews, and you shall be rewarded with a nose that is slightly less dry and congested. Both can prove to be suitable devices at this point.

How do you find the right one for you?

It is not difficult to fathom that a humidifier has many advantages over the vaporizer in almost all respects. But when it comes to healing, the vaporizer is a must-have device. Any cold and sore throat can be easily dealt with when you cautiously inhale the steam from the vaporizer. The only drawback to both these devices is that they require regular cleaning. When you put water, ensure that it is purified and keep changing it to ensure there is no growth of mold and bacteria in the device.

With regard to prices, the humidifier definitely costs more than a regular steam vaporizer, but with its coverage, health and beauty benefits, it should be seen as an investment. The best way to make this decision, however, is to look at the climate of your city, town or village.

A very dry climate will require you to purchase a humidifier while the choice of buying a vaporizer rests on your judgement. The basic idea is that when you do buy a humidifier, keep it clean and ensure that it always emits healthy mist that renews your vitality. The vaporizer should also be maintained likewise and shall be your savior when you are under the weather.

Now that you have understood the details of each of these devices and the finer points of difference between the two, the next time you encounter a store filled with these devices, we hope that your mind shall not be clouded with confusion and if you have been deliberating over the humidifier vs vaporizer dialectic this entire time, then you shall have come to know which of these, or both, it is that you exactly want. Choose wisely – find the one that shall restore life into your dry, unhealthy, or simply dull ambience at home.

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