Ultraviolet (UV) humidifiers sanitize water with UV light, spreading clean water particles throughout your room.
UV humidifiers are one of four main types of humidifiers, along with cool mist, warm mist, and ultrasonic humidifiers.
A UV humidifier increases the humidity of your room or home, which could lead to various health benefits. The UV light sanitizes the water before diffusing it, which could reduce the spread of germs and bacteria.
Can a UV humidifier sanitize the air you breathe? Can it destroy germs in the water before they’re released into the air as droplets? With the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic and ultraviolet light sanitizers, it is no surprise to see the uptick in interest for UV humidifiers.
Find out everything you need to know about ultraviolet humidifiers today in our guide. We’re listing the best UV humidifiers available today.
Ranking the Top 10 Best UV Humidifiers of 2023
Here are the best UV purifiers available today.
Honeywell UV Cool Moisture Germ Free Humidifier HCM-350
The Honeywell UV Cool Moisture Germ Free Humidifier HCM-350 is a $70, medium-sized humidifier that claims to kill 99.9% of water-bred germs, bacteria, mold, and spores using UV light. It also uses “QuietCare Technology” that makes it 30% quieter than similar evaporative humidifiers.
The UV humidifier is dishwasher safe and easy to fill, clean, and carry. It’s designed for medium-sized rooms. There are three speed settings to adjust moisture output and sound level. With a 1.1 gallon capacity water tank, you can leave the unit running to spread clean, UV-sanitized moisture throughout the room.
Many reviewers also appreciate the clean, sleek design of the Honeywell UV Cool Moisture Germ Free Humidifier HCM-350. It looks like something from the future. You can buy the UV humidifier through Amazon or the official Honeywell website in black or white color. With 6,300 reviews on Amazon, the HCM-350 has an average rating of 4.0 stars out of 5.
Pure Guardian H5450BCA Cool Mist Humidifier
The Pure Guardian H5450BCA is a popular, well-rated UV humidifier made by Guardian Technologies. It’s more than just a UV humidifier: it’s an ultrasonic, warm, and cool mist humidifier that uses UV-C light to sanitize water before spreading it throughout an area.
The unit features a two gallon tank, which runs for up to 100 hours while covering rooms of up to 380 square feet. It’s not nearly as powerful or wide-ranging as other UV humidifiers on our list, but it provides effective humidification and sanitization in a smaller area. It’s ideal for being placed on a desk or on a nightstand, for example.
Pure Guardian’s H5450BCA also sanitizes water using silver. It features Silver Clean Protection in the humidifier tank, which means it has added protection against germs and bacteria. There’s even an aromatherapy tray where you can add essential oils.
Honeywell Germ Free Cool Moisture UV Tower Humidifier HCM-315T
The Honeywell Germ Free Cool Moisture UV Tower Humidifier HCM-315T is another popular Honeywell unit. Like the HCM-350, the HCM-315T claims to kill up to 99.9% of certain bacteria, mold, fungus, and viruses in the water.
The unit has a more vertical design than the HCM-350, resembling a typical home fan. The device features easy-to-use electronic controls, an adjustable humidistat, an antimicrobial treated filter, and three speed settings to adjust moisture output and sound level. It’s also 30% quieter than other evaporative humidifiers.
The HCM-315T is a larger, heavier-duty model than the HCM-350 above: with a full tank (1.5 gallon capacity), the unit can run for 24 uninterrupted hours. It’s ideal for larger rooms. Your purchase includes one wicking filter (the HAC-504 series replacement Filter A), and you’ll want to buy replacement filters periodically.
Vicks UV Germ Free Humidifier
Vicks makes a range of humidifiers, including cool mist humidifiers and UV humidifiers. The company’s UV humidifier claims to clean 99.999% of germs from the air.
Vicks also claims that their humidifiers can improve the health and safety of your home. According to Vicks, keeping your humidity at 40 to 60% can reduce the survival of the flu virus on surfaces and in the air, help you breath better and sleep more comfortably, and keep your throat and nasal passages hydrated, among other benefits.
The Vicks Germ Free UV humidifier features a two gallon tank. It also has a medicine cup that works with Vicks VapoSteam, letting you spread Vicks throughout your home to improve air quality.
Honeywell HCM-300T UV Humidifier
This is the third Honeywell UV humidifier on this list. The HCM-300T uses QuietCare fan technology to run up to 30% quieter than other humidifiers. It has a three gallon tank, making it ideal for medium and large-sized rooms. The slim, vertical design helps the HCM-300T fit into any room in the home.
Like other Honeywell UV humidifiers, the HCM-300T claims to kill up to 99% of germs by sanitizing the water with UV light. Just place the water inside the tank, run the unit, and it will spread clean air throughout the room.
Huahua 5-in-1 UV Humidifier
Chinese company Huahua makes a 5-in-1 UV humidifier with an LED light and USB plug. The device sterilizes water using UV-C light. It also has an essential oil diffuser for aroma therapy.
Because the Huahua UV humidifier is a 5-in-1 unit, it does more than just sterilize and humidify the room. It also functions as a fan and air conditioner, for example. Huahua has added two UV lights inside the cover of the UV humidifier, making the air and filter cleaner while in use. Just like other UV humidifiers on this list, you fill the tank with water, turn it on, and let the Huahua UV humidifier spread clean, germ-free air throughout your room. Huahua describes it as “like a swamp cooling system”.
JCJ-Shop UV Humidifier
Amazon retailer JCJ-Shop makes a UV sterilization humidifier that claims to use “smart humidification technology” to raise humidity in any environment. The device sterilizes the water using a UV germicidal lamp, then spreads that water throughout the home
You can set the humidifier for anywhere between 45 and 90%. The product features a 5L capacity water tank, which means you add water once and let the unit run for the entire day. It also claims to be silent, letting you sleep peacefully every night.
As with other UV humidifiers on this list, JCJ-Shop is just a retailer. The company seems to import a UV humidifier from China, then sell that humidifier online via Amazon.
Nwlzx Portable UV Humidifier
Amazon retailer Nwlzx sells a budget UV humidifier and swamp cooler with multiple functions. The rechargeable unit works as a swamp cooler, mist diffuser, humidifier, and UV purifier all rolled into one. It offers 3-in-1 refrigeration, humidification, and air purification. There are three speed settings based on your noise and diffusion levels.
Another nifty feature of the Nwlzx Portable UV Humidifier is its seven light designs for sleep. You can set the device to display soft yellow, green, or purple colors while you sleep, for example. The UV humidifier runs for 6 to 8 hours on a single fill. Although the device is similar to the Huahua UV humidifier further up the list, it’s available at a fraction of the price.
FACAI UV Humidifier
The FACAI UV Humidifier is a high-priced, futuristic-looking UV humidifier with three advanced settings, including intelligent constant humidity, sleep mode, and timer. You can adjust the UV humidifier for anywhere from 45 to 90% in 5% increments based on desired humidity.
Just remove the lid, add cold water, and turn the device on using the built-in control or remote control. The tank sanitizes the water with UV-C light, then diffuses the water throughout the air. The FACAI UV Humidifier claims to “atomize water into micron-sized water molecules”, creating a fine mist to humidify your home.
Detailorpin Multifunctional USB UV Sterilization Humidifier
Detailorpin and multiple Amazon sellers offer a multifunctional USB UV sterilization humidifier. All of these sellers import the unit from China, then sell it under various brand names online. We’ve also seen this product labeled as the Iannan Multifunctional USB UV Sterilization Humidifier.
Whatever you call this device, it features a 1,200mAh rechargeable battery and a USB interface. It’s small and designed to be placed on your desk, nightstand, or any other spot where you need humidification in the immediate area.
The unit not only claims to humidify your air: it also claims to disinfect your air and offer aromatherapy via essential oil cartridges.
How We Ranked
Every UV humidifier claims to sanitize and moisturize the air. However, UV humidifiers vary widely by quality and value. Our editorial team ranked the UV humidifiers above based on the following:
Area Coverage: Some UV humidifiers cover just 300 square feet of space, while others cover over 1,000 square feet.
Tank Capacity: UV humidifiers have tank capacities ranging from less than 1 gallon to over 3 gallons.
Runtime: A good UV humidifier runs for over 12 hours with a single tank fill – enough to get you through the night without needing a refill. Tank capacity isn’t everything. Some UV humidifiers run for just a few hours even with a larger tank, while others run for 24 hours or more on smaller tanks.
UV-C Technology: Some UV humidifiers share specific details about their UV technology, while other humidifiers do not.
Sanitization Effectiveness: Some UV humidifiers specifically claim to kill 99.9% of germs and viruses in the air, while others make no claims about their effectiveness.
Noise: Most people do not want a loud UV humidifier. Honeywell’s products use QuietCare technology to run up to 30% more quietly than competing humidifiers. Whether using the UV humidifier while you sleep or during the day, we always appreciate quiet design.
Aromatherapy Tray: Many humidifiers have aromatherapy trays where you can add essential oils.
Additional Sanitization Systems: Some UV humidifiers contain silver or other sanitization systems to boost the effectiveness of the UV filtration system.
Speed Settings: The top-ranked UV humidifiers on our list have multiple speed settings. You may want high-speed (and high-noise) during the day or when you’re away from home, for example, and a slower (quieter) speed setting at night while you sleep.
Manufacturer Reputation: Honeywell is a proven, well-respected manufacturer with a history of making quality products. Some of the Chinese companies further down our rankings do not have the same reputation.
Ease of Use: Some UV humidifiers are surprisingly difficult to use or have a clunky interface. Others are easy to use, clean, and refill.
Other Features: Some UV humidifiers have nightlights, low water indicator lights, timers, multi-directional mist, and other features to enhance the effectiveness of the unit.
Who Should Use a UV Humidifier?
UV humidifiers are often marketed to allergy and asthma sufferers – or anyone sensitive to particles in the air. UV humidifiers inhibit the growth of symptom-triggering allergens, preventing them from being released into the air.
Some people live in a dry climate and want to use a humidifier to rectify the issue. A humidifier can raise indoor humidity above 50%, which reduces dust mites in the environment. Dust mites thrive in low humidity conditions.
UV humidifiers are also popular among people with pets. A UV humidifier adds humidity to the air and cleanses odors and bacteria.
Some people use UV humidifiers to clear up skin issues. If your skin is dry and sensitive, for example, then a humidifier could solve the issue.
Others have breathing problems, allergy symptoms, or other health issues related to dryness.
Some people breathe better and sleep more comfortably with a humidifier.
UV humidifiers can also reduce static electricity in the air. Dry air leads to an increased risk of static shocks.
Some people use UV humidifiers to protect furniture. Dry environments and fluctuating humidity can warp furniture – especially wooden furniture.
UV humidifiers are also shown to reduce the spread of airborne or surface bacteria – including the influenza virus. Environments with higher humidity inhibit the spread of influenza bacteria on surfaces and in the air, which could protect the health of you and your family.
If you use tap water or other water sources in your humidifier (instead of distilled water), then there could be germs inside. UV light will kill these germs before they’re spread throughout your home.
Some people just like to be extra cautious. They appreciate the extra layer of defense provided by ultraviolet light. It gives peace of mind that the air in your home is clean.
Others use UV humidifiers for aromatherapy. Some UV humidifiers have essential oil cartridges, for example. Others allow you to add a few drops of essential oil directly into the reservoir.
Benefits of a UV Humidifier
Humidifiers have proven benefits, and UV light is a proven disinfection agent. By combining these two technologies together, UV humidifiers can provide multiple proven benefits.
Many hospitals use UV light to sanitize surfaces, for example. Ultraviolet light has been proven to kill bacteria, germs, viruses, and pathogens at a specific wavelength.
Today, ultraviolet humidifiers can give you the benefits of humidifiers and UV light in one convenient product. You get clean, germ-free air distributed around your home.
UV humidifiers are a type of germ free humidifier. The humidifier uses ultraviolet light to sanitize the water before releasing the water into the air as droplets. You get the same humidifying effect in your home, but with clean water instead of contaminated water.
Most tap water will not contain significant levels of germs or other bacteria. However, if you’re using a contaminated water source to fill your humidifier, or if tap water is poor-quality in your area, then it’s possible some germs can enter the humidifier and spread throughout your air. That’s why experts recommend using distilled water – not tap water – in humidifiers. A UV humidifier neutralizes germs in tap water, making it safer to spread throughout your home.
UV humidifiers are one of three types of germ free humidifiers. Along with UV humidifiers, you’ll find antibacterial silver humidifiers and hot steam humidifiers, all of which claim to remove germs from the water. UV humidifiers work differently from germ-free humidifiers like hot steam humidifiers, which boil water to warm it before releasing it into the air. This kills the germs using sterilizing heat.
Sanitization is the main benefit of an ultraviolet humidifier. Sylvane claims their ultraviolet humidifiers eliminate 99.999% of germs, bacteria, viruses, and mold lurking in the water, for example, which is incredible disinfection ability compared to other products.
Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation is a proven sanitization method used extensively since the 1950s. The sanitization system uses ultraviolet C (UV-C) light to kill or inactivate microorganisms. It destroys nucleic acids and disrupts the DNA of microorganisms, effectively neutralizing them by making them unable to perform vital cellular functions.
Today, UV-C radiation is used in a variety of applications, including food, air, and water purification. Many hospitals or other sterile environments rely on UV-C radiation to clean tools and surfaces.
By adding UV-C lights to humidifiers, manufacturers can ensure only clean air gets spread throughout your home. The UV-C light neutralizes germs in the water before they can be diffused.
An ordinary humidifier spreads water throughout your home without disinfecting it in any way. A UV humidifier takes the time to disinfect the water, leading to a cleaner environment, fewer smells, and a healthier home environment.
There are obvious benefits to reducing airborne germs in your home. It reduces the risk of illness, for example, protecting the health of you and your family. It can also neutralize odors in the air.
However, there are also proven benefits to boosting humidity in your environment. Studies show that raising household humidity levels above 50% leads to a significant reduction in dust mites, for example, which thrive in dry conditions. Dust mites can increase the risk of allergies or asthma symptoms, among other issues.
Good humidifiers can also fight influenza. As reported by Honeywell, studies have shown that maintaining an indoor humidity level between 40 and 60% can reduce the survival of flu viruses on surfaces and in the air. An RH level of 40 to 60% reduces the survival of flu viruses on surfaces and in the air compared to lower RH levels.
Humidifiers have also been shown to protect furniture. Low humidity environments cause wood to lose moisture and shrink. Extreme humidity changes can cause warping and cracking.
This study published in Environmental Health in 2010 is one of the most-cited studies in the humidifier industry. In that study, researchers found that relative humidity (RH) and absolute humidity (AH) conditions impacted virus survival in the environment. Researchers found that a humidity of 40 to 60% significantly reduced the survival of the influenza virus in the air and on surfaces.
Similar studies have reinforced the idea that humidifiers prevent the spread of airborne viruses. This study published in 2013, for example, found that raising indoor humidity levels to at least 43% had a dramatic effect on approximately 85% of airborne viruses. The higher humidity rendered these viruses virtually ineffective.
Researchers concluded that “maintaining indoor relative humidity >40% will significantly reduce the infectivity of aerosolized viruses”.
There’s also evidence that humidifiers prevent snoring. Some people snore because of dryness in the mouth and throat. Adding moisture to the air can soothe the tissues at the back of your throat, helping you sleep more comfortably.
Others like UV humidifiers to prevent dry skin. Over 60% of the human body consists of water, and living in a dry environment can be bad for your skin. Adding humidity to the air can improve the appearance of your skin and reduce irritation.
You may notice other bodily benefits with regular UV humidifier use. Some people get chapped lips, bloodshot eyes, and other irritation in dry environments, for example. A UV humidifier can reduce these issues.
Do you feel like your home is always cold? UV humidifiers may help it feel warmer – even at the same relative temperature. When there’s more water in the air, sweat evaporates more slowly, letting you feel warmer. Some homeowners run a UV humidifier to feel warmer.
Overall, there are plenty of benefits linked to UV humidifiers. Some people enjoy health benefits – like reduced skin irritation or asthma and allergy symptoms. Others run humidifiers to protect their home and furniture. Some run UV humidifiers to reduce the spread of germs and bacteria.
FAQs About UV Humidifiers
Q: What is UV light?
A: Ultraviolet (UV) light is light at a specific wavelength on the edge of the visible spectrum. At the UV-C wavelength, UV light is proven to kill microorganisms, neutralizing bacteria and other germs.
Q: How does UV light work?
A: UV light cleans water by disrupting the nucleic acids of microorganisms, preventing them from functioning. It disables the bacteria, leading to cleaner air and water.
Q: How does a UV humidifier work?
A: A UV humidifier has a water tank with a UV light. You fill the tank with water, then turn on the humidifier. The light sanitizers the water over a 1-2 hour period, then diffuses the water throughout the air – just like an ordinary humidifier, but with cleaner water.
Q: What are the benefits of a humidifier?
A: Humidifiers have been shown to reduce the spread of airborne germs, neutralize influenza bacteria in the air and on surfaces, reduce symptoms of allergies and asthma, and improve skin health, among other benefits.
Q: How humid should my room be?
A: Most UV humidifiers let you adjust humidity between 40% and 95%. Studies show that humidifies of 40 to 60% can reduce the spread of germs. Beyond that, adjust humidity based on personal preference.
Q: Can humidifiers reduce symptoms of allergies or asthma?
A: Evidence suggests that humidifiers can reduce symptoms of allergies and asthma. A dry environment is more susceptible to dust mites and other contaminants that could increase symptoms of allergies or asthma.
Q: How long does a UV humidifier last on a single tank?
A: UV humidifiers last anywhere from 4 to 24 hours on a single tank.
Q: How large should my UV humidifier tank capacity be?
A: UV humidifier tank capacity ranges from under 1 gallon to over 3 gallons.
Q: What’s the best UV humidifier?
A: Any of the top-ranked brands listed above are among the best UV humidifiers available today. Pick a UV humidifier based on your budget and preferences.
Q: Can humidifiers prevent the spread of flu?
A: Research suggests that humidifiers can significantly reduce the spread of the influenza virus (flu) by raising humidity in the room. Higher humidity neutralizes the influenza bacteria.
Q: How do humidifiers work?
A: Humidifiers work by adding moisture to the air. Humidifiers vaporize water in different ways, taking liquid water and turning it into an airborne particle.
Q: Can humidifiers protect wood furniture?
A: Yes, dry environments can harm wood furniture and other items in the home, causing warping and other issues. Many people use humidifiers to protect wood furniture and avoid humidity fluctuations.
Q: What is relative humidity?
A: Relative humidity is a percentage that represents how much water vapor is currently trapped in the air relative to the maximum amount of water vapor the air can hold at a given temperature.
Q: Where do I put a UV humidifier?
A: UV humidifiers work best when placed in a single room. Some of the humidifiers above are designed for spaces of just 400 square feet. Others support sizes of up to 1,000 square feet. Some leave the UV humidifier at the foot of the bed, on a nightstand, or in the center of the room.
Q: Should I place tap water in my UV humidifier?
A: Most people put tap water in their UV humidifier without issue. The UV light neutralizes any germs in the tap water. Others put distilled water into a humidifier.
Q: What’s the difference between ultrasonic and ultraviolet humidifiers?
A: Ultrasonic humidifiers are more common than ultraviolet humidifiers. An ultrasonic humidifier has a demineralization cartridge that pulls mineral content from the water – which is important if using tap water. Ultraviolet humidifiers use UV-C light to neutralize bacteria and germs in the water, preventing these microorganisms from spreading throughout your hair.
Q: What do I do if my UV humidifier stops working?
A: Most UV humidifiers have automatic shut-off functionality. Some shut off after a few hours, for example, while others shut off after running out of water. Refill the water and check the power and plug if your UV humidifier stops working. If this isn’t your issue, then check the user manual. Consider returning the faulty product if you can’t get it to work. All reputable UV humidifiers come with a warranty.
Q: Does my UV humidifier support aromatherapy or essential oils?
A: Yes, some UV humidifiers support aromatherapy. Many UV humidifiers have essential oil containers where you can place an essential oil cartridge. Some people add a few drops of essential oil directly into the water reservoir, which is fine for some standard UV humidifiers – but not others.
Q: How do I clean my UV humidifier?
A: Most companies recommend cleaning your UV humidifier thoroughly every few days to prevent the growth of mold and other germs. However, this may be less of an issue with UV humidifiers, as the UV light sterilizes any germs. Use a soft-bristled brush and mild cleanser (like dish soap or a vinegar solution) to clean your UV humidifier. Check your user manual for any maintenance or cleaning tips.
Q: Why should I buy a UV humidifier instead of a normal humidifier?
A: A UV humidifier is a normal humidifier with a UV-C light. The light sterilizes any germs or bacteria within the water, preventing the spread of bacteria around your home. A normal humidifier has no sterilization system in place.
Q: Should I run my humidifier all night?
A: Most studies show it’s safe to run a humidifier all night. Some humidifiers run for 24 to 36 hours without needing to be refilled. As long as you’re comfortable, you should be able to run a humidifier all night without issue.
Q: Which humidifiers are the quietest?
A: Some humidifiers have silent technology, while others are relatively loud, creating a gurgling noise or loud fan noise during use. Honeywell’s UV humidifiers (including the three listed above) use QuietCare technology to run 30% more quietly than competing options.
Q: Which range of humidity is ideal?
A: Most studies show that a humidity range of 40 to 60% is ideal, although you can adjust based on personal preference.
UV humidifiers add the sanitization power of UV-C light to the humidification power of a humidifier. The end result is a cleaner, more humid environment that could lead to health benefits and other effects.
Although UV humidifiers are not as common as ultrasonic humidifiers and traditional humidifiers, there are plenty of good UV humidifiers available today. Consider buying one of the top-ranked UV humidifiers above.