Air O Swiss 7144A humidifier can be the best way to combat the dry skin, chapped lips, and scratchy throats that come from living in the warm, dry air your furnace is churning out right now, and it's a great way to ease discomfort from a stuffy nose.
But which humidifier should you buy? Well, as with most things, you get what you pay for ...
A scan of humidifier reviews found the Air-O-Swiss 7144 (photo at left) was top-rated by every consumer review site (although it only got 3.5 stars on Amazon). It clocks in at around $200, depending on where you buy it. It's an ultrasonic model, which means it disperses water through a nebulizer to create mist. Unlike less expensive models, you can choose warm or cool mist. And you don't have to deal with icky filters ... it uses a special permanent filter with silver ions to keep the water clean and minimize microbes.
Heaven Fresh HF 707
Amazon's highest-rated humidifer model was the Heaven Fresh HF 707 Digital Ultrasonic Cool and Warm Mist Humidifier With Negative Ions and Remote Control ($129). This sleek-looking little number uses a ceramic nano-silver filter to kill germs and has a very large water tank that doesn't need to be refilled daily. It also has auto-dimming LED controls, which would be a nice feature, as would the remote control.
Honeywell HCM-300TAfter that, things get a lot less unanimous. Good Housekeeping liked the Honeywell HCM-300T, but Laura Moser at Slate and a lot of Amazon reviewers experienced leaking. It's shaped more like a long, tall tower fan than a squat box, which could make it a good bet for small spaces.
Kenmore 15408The Kenmore 15408 ($109) was the favorite of Moser, and was a runner-up for Consumer Search, although they gave the bigger Kenmore 15412 top marks. Reviewers on Sears.com (Kenmore is exclusive to Sears) gave it three out of five stars. It is easy to fill and allows you to set your desired humidity level digitally. It can also cover 1,700 square feet, which is pretty great for a small model.
Crane EE 5301My personal favorite was the Crane EE 5301 Cool Mist Humidifier ($44.99). It's a typical small-tank, room-size cool mist humidifier with no bells and whistles, but it's really cute and comes in a bunch of nice colors. If all you need is a humidifier to run occasionally when someone in your house has a cold, this would be a nice budget choice. It gets four out of five stars on Amazon and was Consumer Search's best budget pick.
Do you have a favorite humidifier? What do you like about it?