Vaporizer vs. Humidifier: What Is The Real Difference?

When you are in a store to buy a humidifier or a vaporizer (recommended by your doctor), you may get confused about which one to purchase.

Since both of them looks to be pretty similar, your action may be common to what people do most of the times – check on the package and walk back to home with a device which is available at reasonable price.

Well, you can find both humidifier and vaporizer in all sizes, shapes and prices.

But for getting the maximum benefits you should only get the one which is best suited and recommended for easing your health issues.

Below you will find the details about both of these devices and tips on how to choose the one that is most suitable for you and your family.

Check the basic difference between them, before you pick one for your use…

Vaporizer vs Humidifier

Difference Between Vaporizer and Humidifier

CriterionHumidifierVaporizer
The Use and Mist TypeAdd COOL mist of moisture into the atmosphere and relieves problems like allergies, cold and dry skinAdd WARM Vapors (using a heated element) into the atmosphere to relieve winter cold and dry skin
To Whom It Benefits?Beneficial for people suffering from dry air problems like dry skin, skin irritation, irritated respiratory tracts, etc. Beneficial for people suffering from winter cold, flu, congestion, allergies, etc.
Most Common TypesUltrasonic, Evaporative, Central, Impeller, Warm MistSteam or Warm-Mist, Waterless
Recommended for BabyYes: Due to Best Safety OfferedNo: Due to Risk of Getting Burns and Accident
Kills Bacteria/ Virus?No: As water is not boiledYes: Due to water getting boiled
Water UsageDistilled water recommendedCan use Tap water
Usage of MedicationNo medication allowedCan add medications or inhalants for faster relief
CostExpensive Comparatively Cheaper

The most important factor you should keep in mind while choosing a vaporizer or a humidifier is that humidifiers and vaporizers have difference in their working principles.

Although both of these may look same and are designed to provide similar benefits, the functional side is different for each of them.

How Vaporizer Work?

Vaporizer produces a mist of warm steam by boiling the water, by using a built in heating element.

Some of these devices are waterless and include pre-moistened pads (infused with essential oils or aromatic oils) to provide therapeutic benefits.

Since the medicinal oils or inhalants are produced from the extracts of plants or other sources it is good for inhalation purposes and overall health.

But as the vaporizer produces hot vapors and imposes the risk of burning the skin, it is not an ideal most device for children, infants and pets at home.

When it comes to noise level, vaporizer produces lesser noise than humidifiers.

How Humidifier Work?

Ultrasonic humidifier works by breaking up the water particles, thereby producing a cool refreshing mist into the air.

The device produces the mist ultrasonically with the rotation of a disk that is submerged in water.

As the appliance emits cold vapors it does not make any harm to children or pets in your home.

However since it does not boil the water to produce cold mist vapors, it promotes the growth and spreading of molds or bacteria.

You therefore need to clean the device more often, which is one of the important demerits of the humidifier.

What Doctor Says and Recommend?

There is no doubt that everyone of us like to get an advice of our doctor before deciding which particular treatment to get for better health.

When it comes to symptoms such as cough, congestion, sinus, asthma, bronchitis, etc most of the doctors usually suggest buying a good quality humidifier (rather than a vaporizer) to get the maximum relief.

These devices help get rid of bacteria and viruses present in dry air by humidifying it, thus providing relief to the people suffering from chronic dry cough and bronchial congestion.

Choosing between a vaporizer or humidifier for baby cough and congestion is also a state of dilemma for people, when they need to get a good humidifying device for nursery.

Most of the pediatricians recommend using a humidifier (and not a vaporizer) due to the latest features and extra safety it provides to the users.

Installing a good humidifier can take care of your baby’s health in all seasons as it can help in relieving problems such as cold, congestion, stuffy nose, croup, etc.

Which One is Better for Your Family and Why?

Whatever your doctor or friends suggest; the final decision is up to you.

You have to keep an eye on your real needs and home architecture before selecting the product.

If you do not have kids at home, you can go for a vaporizer. This can provide greater relief in winters as compared to cool mist humidifiers.

However if you are sensitive to heat and have kids in your home, it is better to go for a branded cool humidifier.

What about The Cost, Cleaning and Maintenance?

Cost and maintenance of the device is the factor that helps you take the final decision.

Humidifier is obviously more expensive than vaporizers. This can be due to the filters that need to changed often.

But the features you get with the best humidifiers are worth your investment.

Anyhow if you are running short of budget, then it is better to select vaporizer. The only factor is that you have to take care of your children and pets in your home.

When its time to clean, if you use your device (humidifier or vaporizer) regularly, you should give supreme importance to the instructions properly regarding the regular maintenance of the device.

But since a humidifier produces humidity without boiling the water, the risks of building bacteria in the sitting water is higher in these units.

And if you fail to clean your cool misting humidifier, it may spread the bacteria to open air causing you greater trouble.

Overall, both humidifier and vaporizer provides the similar benefits and environmental effects.

Its time to select the best one that better suits your need and budget. Go for the one that can help all your family members for long.