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New Dyson humidifier wants to end your dry-weather woes

Dyson channels its existing Air Multiplier tech with this brand-new "self-cleaning" humidifier-fan hybrid.

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Megan Wollerton
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Megan Wollerton

Senior Writer/Editor

Megan Wollerton covers renewable energy, climate change and other environmental topics for CNET. Before starting at CNET in 2013, she wrote for NBC Universal's DVICE (now SYFY). Megan has a master's degree from the University of Louisville and a bachelor's degree from Connecticut College, both in international relations. She is a board member of the Louisville chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. When Megan isn't writing, she's planning far-flung adventures.

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Dyson unveiled a robot vacuum called the 360 Eye back in September -- a first for the luxury small-appliance brand. Now Dyson is back with a new first, a humidifier that hits Japanese stores today and costs a whopping 59,800 yen (that's roughly $560 in the US, £350 in the UK, and AU$645 in Australia). This new humidifier, dubbed the Hygienic Mist in Japan, will have a different name when it reaches the US in fall 2015 and the UK and Australia in spring 2015.

Dyson's humidifier is modeled after the same blade-free Air Multiplier-equipped fans and heaters that pepper its existing product lineup; supposedly, it can even double as a fan to deliver cold- and warm-weather benefits (why not a humidifier, a fan and a heater while we're at it?).

So we know it doesn't look like other room humidifiers and can function as a fan too, but Dyson also added a new feature to the mix: ultraviolet light. Dyson says that other humidifiers are flawed. Bacteria can thrive in their water reservoirs to the extent that you're pumping a stagnant, particulate-filled cesspool into your house rather than, you know, clean moistened air. Not ideal.

Dyson's humidifier wants to combat dry winter weather (pictures)

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The ultraviolet tech that's in this model is designed to take care of that problem. It takes a couple of passes at the water, which Dyson says will zap 99.9 percent of bacteria. That's helpful, but this whole thing sure sounds alarmist. Even if bacterial growth is a real concern, couldn't you just buy an inexpensive humidifier like Amazon's top-rated $47.46 (converted, about £29 and AU$54) Crane Drop Shape Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier and be extra-vigilant about cleaning between cycles? Do I really need UV light to keep humidifier pollutants at bay? Dyson sure thinks so.

The humidifier can hold 3 liters of water and can operate for as long as 18 hours before needing to be refilled. It has a remote control that you can use to create sleep timers -- anywhere from 15 minutes to 9 hours -- and to adjust airflow from levels 1 to 10. It also has built-in temperature and moisture sensors.

While I'm not convinced that this product is worth the price, it's clear that it can do a lot more than traditional humidifiers. The fact that Dyson went through 643 prototypes and spent over $60.4 million (roughly £38 and AU$69 million) to develop this thing sure sounds impressive. I guess we'll find out for sure in fall 2015.

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