Difference Between Humidifier and Vaporizer | A Detailed Comparison

difference between humidifier and vaporizer

Confusion regarding the difference between humidifier and vaporizer has been common as they both serve similar purposes, helping people suffering from colds, allergies, or dryness to breathe.

The main difference between a humidifier and a vaporizer is that humidifier creates a cool mist, whereas a vaporizer creates warm and hot steam. This key difference comes with other dissimilarities like motive, risks, cleaning, costs, and effects.

This article has discussed the difference in detail. Keep Reading.

Comparison chart

Basis of DifferenceHumidifierVaporizer
            PurposeBoost the moisture content in the air by letting out vaporsAdd humidity and moisture by letting out hot steam
Working OperationWorks by releasing cool mist with the help of moving disk or ultrasonic vibrationsWorks by creating steam from boiling water with the help of an internal heating element and electricity
Safety RisksSafe for families with children and also petsNot safe for children and pets
Feeling and EffectCreate a cooling effectCreate a warm, humid and swampy effect
Cleaning and MaintenanceNeeds to be cleaned regularly as more open to bacterial and fungal attacksKills bacteria with warm water, so it doesn’t need to clean regularly
CostTo set up at the house, the cost can come around fifty dollarsCost around fifteen to thirty dollars

What Is A Humidifier? 

A humidifier adds moisture to the air by releasing a cool mist and comforts people suffering from cold, flu symptoms, or respiratory sickness. A humidifier can maintain an optimal indoor humidity of 40 to 60 percent.

Types of Humidifiers

There are three types of humidifiers, namely –

A central humidifier

A motor and a rotating belt give this type of humidifier power to humidify the whole house. With the same mechanism, there are also table tops to humidify a room only.

Impeller humidifier

By rotating discs and throwing water in the opposite direction of a diffuser, an impeller humidifier creates tiny drops of water. Then the humidifier releases the water droplets into the air as cool mist.

Ultrasonic humidifier

Ultrasonic humidifiers use ultrasonic vibrations to transform water into a cool mist.

The Conveniences A Humidifier Offers

Humidifier is a piece of great equipment that comes with severa conveniences. 


There are several types of humidifiers that you can use according to your needs.

A central humidifier can humidify a whole house, whereas table tops can only be used to humidify a room.

To especially capture the pollutants and minerals, an impeller is the one you can go for. Besides, Ultrasonic humidifiers come with a special feature and don’t make a sound like other humidifiers. So, you can enjoy the fresh air in a quiet environment.

Health Benefits

Generally, infants and children are most affected by cold, dryness, or any respiratory illness because they don’t have immunity against colds like the elders have.

That’s where humidifiers come into action with their benefits. Humidifiers are safe for children and pets as they produce a cool mist to fight against dryness, preventing discomfort with dry noses, skin, and the common cold.

Energy Saving

Humidifiers cost more than a vaporizer, but the electricity you need to run a humidifier is much less. In their residential humidifier scoping report, the EPA stated that humidifiers only use around 0.11 percent of the total electricity of a house. That’s why you save electricity costs, making a humidifier affordable.

Absence of mineral deposits

The humidifier is less likely to leave any mineral deposits, so you don’t have to worry about bacteria buildup.

Drawbacks of A Humidifier

Even after offering so many benefits, there are reasons why people have doubts while buying a humidifier. They are-

  • Humidifiers need to be cleaned frequently, or else it contributes to bacteria or mold growth.
  • As it creates a cool mist, the water isn’t purified.

What Is A Vaporizer?

Vaporizer follows the same basic function as a humidifier. It alleviates dry air by adding moisture to the air.

However, a vaporizer is also called a “warm mist humidifier” since vaporizers create hot steam using boiled water.

Vaporizer has an internal heating system to boil the water and then discharge it into the air as a warm mist. Electricity is used to give power to the heating system.

The Benefits of Having A Vaporizer

Even after working against the same problem, certain benefits set apart a vaporizer from a humidifier.

Unique Attributes

In a vaporizer, as the water is boiled first, the water is purified and then creates a warm mist. This mode of operation opens up the opportunity for the air to be free from contamination.

You can even add an inhalant or essential oil into a vaporizer to improve air quality.

Both of these attributes are not available in any other humidifiers.


Manually, you can handle a vaporizer. Unlike other appliances, you don’t need to set it for a house or a room; you can simply buy a portable vaporizer and use it in any room you need.


As a vaporizer boils the water before emitting vapor, there’s no risk of bacteria or mold in the air.

Also, because of being risk-free, a vaporizer doesn’t need to be cleaned frequently.


A Vaporizer costs much less than a humidifier. Within one hundred dollars, you can find the perfect vaporizer you need.

Downsides of A Vaporizer

Whenever people can buy an application at a low price with additional benefits, they tend to lean towards that. Then why do people still ponder whether they should buy a vaporizer? It is because –

  • Vaporizers are extremely dangerous for children and pets. Because the heat and steam can cause burns. And keeping a device full of boiling water
  • near children and pets is too risky.
  • Consumes a lot of electricity, resulting in a rise in electricity bills.
  • Leaves mineral deposits which can generate bacteria and mold.

The key differences between humidifier and vaporizer

  1. Humidifiers create cold mist using cold water, whereas vaporizer boils water to produce warm steam.
  2. Humidifiers can be safely used around children and pets because cold water can’t give them burns. Moreover, it’s properly set in the house. While in contrast, vaporizers continuously generate warm mist from boiling water. The warm steam can burn the skin. And as a matter of fact, the portability of vaporizers also comes with danger. You or anyone may spill the boiling water. And you can’t be careful with children or pets around you every time.
  3. Humidifiers should be cleaned regularly. On the other hand, you don’t need to clean a vaporizer daily. 
  4. Though a vaporizer is cheaper than a humidifier, the problem is that a vaporizer consumes much more electricity than a humidifier. So, even if it costs more to set up a humidifier, it’s a cost-effective decision in the long run.
  5. Even if the vaporizer prevents bacterial buildup by boiling the water, it tends to leave mineral deposits, which later can create bacteria to worsen the cold. On the contrary, humidifiers don’t leave mineral deposits.
  6. With a vaporizer, you can add inhalants or essential oils, which help clear your nasal passages to breathe better. But unfortunately, humidifiers don’t offer you the same benefit.

Humidifier Vs Vaporizer: Which One Is Better In Different Health Conditions?

Picturing yourself in a health hazard and then knowing which is better for you during that time is the easiest way to pick between a vaporizer and a humidifier.

Let’s see some of the health conditions and determine which appliance between these two works best. 


If you suffer from allergies indoors, that’s more likely because the humidity level in your house is below thirty percent. In that case, you should use a humidifier because hot steam can flare up your allergy symptoms by circulating allergens and warm air.

Also, sometimes cold creates skin allergies which worsen because of the swampy feeling.

Moreover, people suffering from allergies should always clean their appliances daily, so a humidifier is a good option.

Common cold or flu

Adding humidity to a house while you or your baby is suffering from a cold is helpful to clear the nasal and throat and to breathe normally.

However, adults can adjust to both warm and cold vapor. But babies have sensitive skin so that the warm vapor can blister or burn. That’s why to be extra careful; a humidifier is the right choice.

Dry Skin

Humidifiers and vaporizers can help solve dry skin problems. But if an older person suffers, a vaporizer is more beneficial as the swampy, warm feeling works against dry skin. As long as children are concerned, a humidifier is always the go-to appliance.

Frequently asked questions

Which one is more affordable a vaporizer or a humidifier?

A vaporizer is more affordable than a humidifier. Buying a vaporizer costs around 15 to 30 dollars, whereas you’ll need around 50 dollars for a humidifier.

Is it risky to use a vaporizer or humidifier?

Humidifiers are comparatively risk-free, but if you don’t wash them regularly, bacteria are likely to build up. Vaporizers are risky because they produce hot steam that can cause burns, and if your children or pets come in contact with the device, this may result in a more serious issue.

Can a humidifier or vaporizer produce bacteria or mold?

Both appliances are capable of producing bacteria or mold. Humidifier can produce bacteria or mold if it isn’t washed regularly. And the mineral deposits of the vaporizer cause bacteria or mold.

Is it helpful for an asthma patient to use a humidifier or a vaporizer?

Asthmatic patients shouldn’t use a humidifier or a vaporizer as they produce bacterial or mold growth. But to avoid dry air, if an asthma patient must use a vaporizer or humidifier, they need to keep a close watch so that the air doesn’t become too humid.

Which one uses less electricity, a vaporizer or a humidifier?

A vaporizer uses more electricity than a humidifier because the internal heating system doesn’t work without electricity. Moreover, a humidifier is more energy-saving.

Final Verdict

The difference between humidifier and vaporizer needs to be clarified because both devices serve the same purpose: adding humidity to the air. 

However, choosing a humidifier would be a much better decision because a humidifier is energy-saving and safe to use. Moreover, it doesn’t even leave mineral deposits, and you don’t need to pay a huge electricity bill. 

A vaporizer, on the other hand, also has advantages, like you don’t need to clean it regularly. Read the complete article to get a clear idea about the comparison between these two useful devices. 

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