The Best Personal Humidifiers That’ll Help You Breathe Easier This Winter

updated Nov 8, 2021
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Aroma oil diffuser lamp on the table on a blurred background with a beautiful spring bouquet of tulips.
Credit: puhimec | Getty Images

Winter is almost here, and your skin is probably in the midst of a bitter protest against the dry, cold air. Chapped lips, dry skin, and overall redness are all the telltale signs of very unhappy cold-weather skin, although dry skin can be a year-round battle depending on location, indoor climate control, or just genetics. When lathering up on moisture isn’t enough (and moving to a tropical climate isn’t feasible), there’s an inexpensive, effective strategy we love: a personal humidifier. Beyond adding moisture to the air around you, humidifiers can also help ease congestion and coughing, making them perfect in cold and flu season, or even for relieving some seasonal allergy symptoms.

Humidifiers come in two varieties: warm mist and cool mist. Warm mist humidifiers heat up the water used and release hot steam that kills off bacteria and provides the highest level of moisture saturation. Cool mist is considered the safer option, especially in households with children. These models don’t use heat, meaning there’s no risk of burns from spilled hot water. They are also especially helpful when fighting congestion.

While large-scale humidifiers are useful for home, personal humidifiers are definitely more convenient and have the added benefit of a smaller footprint. You can keep one on your desk during the day, or place it on your nightstand when you sleep. There are also USB-charged models that can be used in your car and even packed on carry-ons for trips. No matter what your needs are, we’ve found the best personal humidifiers so you can soothe your dry skin anytime, anywhere.

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This super-tiny (and very cute) humidifier is a perfect desk companion. Its small size makes it easy to carry to work and back, or throw in your suitcase during travel. Plus, how cute is this cacti design? Run time is four hours, and it has auto power-off and lighting functionality — all the trappings of a larger humidifier for a much lower price.

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A diffuser-humidifier hybrid, this fun pick lets you enjoy more humid air and your favorite essential oils. It has two misting modes (continuous and intermittent) and has seven different light settings to achieve that full relaxation effect. Easy-to-use and budget-friendly, this option is a great choice for first-time users of either humidifiers or diffusers.

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Another diffuser-humidifier hybrid, this wood grain, natural-looking style is very popular. With six hours of continuous run time, two mist settings, and ultra-quiet operation, this humidifier is perfect if you’re looking for something to keep on your nightstand while you sleep. Even better: It has a nightlight with seven color options, making it a good choice for kids’ bedrooms.

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If you need an excuse to get another plant, let this humidifier tempt you. With its own potting box for little plants, you can add both moisture and greenery to your desk. Four-hour auto shut-off ensures that you won’t accidentally leave it running all night (or day) when you’re away. A soft nightlight in addition to the plant make this pick an attractive addition not just to a desk, but to a nightstand or dresser as well.

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Powered by USB and with ultra-quiet functionality, this mini humidifier is another solid option for desks or even cars. It comes in three colors, has an auto shut-off function, and uses cool mist so you don’t have to worry about it getting too hot to the touch. Simply designed, this pick isn’t obviously noticeable, blending in easily with the rest of your desk supplies.

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From Japan, this diffuser-humidifier uses advanced vibrating technology to break up water molecules evenly. It boasts 10-16 hours of operation depending on your misting mode (there are two, plus three timed settings), and seven LED color options. We love the clean, modern look of the all-white model, but it also comes in natural and dark wood shades.

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Beautifully designed with a matte ceramic finish, this diffuser is an AT favorite – it even made our Best List! It runs for three hours non-stop, or seven hours if it runs at 30-second intervals, and comes in six stunning muted colors.

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West Elm

Another AT favorite, this teardrop-shaped humidifier looks more like a decor piece than a functional tool for better health. A bit larger than others on our list, we’re still calling this a personal humidifier. It won’t humidify your entire home, but it’s great for bedrooms and home offices. It runs for 18 hours, has auto shut-off, and uses warm mist to kill off bacteria.

Sarah M. Vazquez also contributed to reporting.