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Best Portable Humidifier for 2023

Show your lungs, sinuses and skin that you love them this Valentine's Day with these air humidifiers.

CNET staff
5 min read

In the summertime humidity feels more like an enemy than a friend. However, when winter hits, the lack of humidity can have a noticeable impact on your body. When you're in your house and you're suffering with nosebleeds, sinus issues, cracked lips and more, you have a humidity problem -- the problem is your home's humidity level is too low. A portable humidifier is an effective and simple way to add the right amount of humidity to your household. It can help balance the exposure you've had to harsh, dry air and adds a delicate amount of moisture to the air in your home. Using a mini humidifier while you sleep could help to alleviate these uncomfortable symptoms, often overnight.

With so many options available, it can be difficult to figure out what the difference is between an evaporative humidifier, an ultrasonic humidifier (complete with demineralization cartridge, so you don't have to only use distilled water to avoid mineral buildup if you have hard water coming from your tap) and an essential oil diffuser. So to simplify your life, we went out and found some of the best portable humidifiers suitable for any smallish space, perfect for a bedroom or baby's nursery.


The Ourry humidifier.


Here's what we compared, beyond price:

  • Size: How easily can it be packed or carried around?
  • Duration: How long does a single fill last?
  • LED lights: Are there LED lights? Can they be disabled (to avoid disturbances)?
  • Design: Is it aesthetically pleasing?

Portable room humidifiers are small but mighty devices that help increase moisture level in the air and raise the humidity, no matter where you are. Not to be confused with an essential oil diffuser, these room humidifiers come in many different forms, depending on your preferences. Some use a water bottle as a tank, for example, while others have a built-in water reservoir to create water vapor.

Most portable humidifiers work using cool mist ultrasonic technology, which uses high-frequency sound vibrations to create water particles that get expelled into the air, raising the air's moisture level. Unfortunately, we couldn't identify a portable evaporative steam humidifier, which is generally considered to be healthier, especially when you're using tap water. It is important to clean these ultrasonic humidifiers regularly to avoid introducing contaminants into the air like mold growth, dust and bacteria. 

Read more: 7 Hand Soaps to Fight Germs, From Cheap to Luxury

As you probably guessed, a travel humidifier will not add moisture to an entire house. At a minimum, it will increase the humidity levels of the air immediately around you (such as when placed on a bedside table); at most, it can be used to humidify a small room (about 200 square feet). 

This guide will give you an overview of the options available and considers types of humidifier models that meet a certain threshold of features, price, safety and customer satisfaction. Note that products that receive less than a B+ grade on Fakespot are excluded due to the overwhelming number of suspected fake or biased portable humidifier reviews. We've also omitted claims about the area (square footage) these devices can humidify since that can really only be determined through measured tests. 

Read moreThe Benefits of Using a Humidifier


Dewy is marketed first as a skin and hair hydration device, jumping off the trendy idea that your skin is thirsty and what it needs is more moisture in the air. In the end, Dewy is another compact ultrasonic humidifier with a contemporary, Instagrammable design for people who want to take cool moisture with them everywhere. 

Like some of our other picks, Dewy is powered by a USB cord, so you can plug it into your laptop, car or any standard USB charging brick. On its normal, continuous setting, it releases a cool, clean mist for 10 hours; change it to the intermittent setting and you'll get a total of 20 hours of added cool moisture. 

Dewy is more expensive than cool mist room humidifier options with similar specs, but you might feel better knowing that 10% of the company's profits go to The Water Project. It has LED illumination, which provides a soft night light for use in the bedroom.

Ostad is really just a humidifier wand (like the Ourry) that comes with an accompanying cup water tank. That is to say, you don't have to use the included cup; you can place the wand in any container. The benefit here is that the larger your water reservoir, the longer Ostad will emit a cool mist. 

Including the cup, the humidifier is about 7 by 3 inches and much smaller as a wand. This makes it incredibly portable, easy to pack and a great travel humidifier. Like some of our other picks (like Dewy and Ourry), Ostad is powered by USB, so you can take it in the car, plug it into your computer or even power it with a portable battery pack. 

Ostad uses a cotton wick to release cool moisture, which you'll need to replace as often as weekly, depending on how frequently you use your humidifier. Ostad does glow blue when it's running, so this may not be a good choice for the bedroom. 


Water bottle-based portable humidifiers are theoretically more compact since the reservoir water tank isn't built into the device. The downside to this design is that some Amazon customers report difficulty in finding bottles that fit perfectly. Pure Enrichment doesn't seem to have too many of these complaints, though. 

Pure Enrichment is compact and aesthetically pleasing. But that doesn't usually matter as much as the run time, which is a light 6 hours per 16.9-ounce water bottle. At $30, we expected this humidifier to have a longer misting time but included it as an option for those dedicated to finding a water bottle-based model. 

The biggest concern with this portable room humidifier is its light. It can't be turned off and reviewers have complained it's simply too bright -- especially for a bedroom.

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Originally published earlier and updated periodically.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.