THE DRUGSTORE humidifier has been a sick-day essential since the 1920s, when the electric version replaced its predecessor, the perilous open-flame alcohol croup kettle. But it’s also essential to maintain moisture in your everyday air, said Dr. Stephanie Taylor, an infection-control consultant at Harvard Medical School. Our immune systems function best when indoor relative humidity levels are at 40%-60%, she said. That ideal range can also decrease the number of harmful airborne particles—including respiratory viruses like Covid-19—in indoor environments.
Today’s evolved humidifiers, no longer the obtrusive, glugging gadgets of the past, elevate air quality without destroying ambience. Here are four picks:
For WFH Warriors
Like a mini water cooler, Canopy’s namesake humidifier can perch on a home office desk and hydrate up to 500 square feet. Available in white and three pastel colors, it includes an old-school, paper-based filter with embedded UV lights that prevent mold. To help you focus, diffuser pucks scent the air with essential oils such as eucalyptus and lavender. A subscription option sends fresh filters and aroma-kit refills every 45 days for $25 a shipment.
If the idea of placing any kind of appliance in your living space makes your nostrils flare with indignity, look to the H4 Hybrid humidifier from the equally design-obsessed brand Objecto. Its graceful teardrop silhouette blends discreetly into any space. Ultra quiet, the machine comes with a remote control in a matching miniature shape.
For Problem Sleepers
Shaped like a cartoon cloud, Pure Enrichment’s device not only emits a cool mist, it glows. Choose a single color for a night light, or cycle through eight for a bedtime light show. “Most people tend to sleep with their mouths open, so the already dry winter air causes our mucus to thicken, clogging our nasal passages,” explained Dr. Casey Kelley, founder of the Chicago clinic Case Integrative Health. With a humidifier, mouth-breathers can wake up less congested and dry.
For Skin-Care Zealots
According to Los Angeles aesthetician Shani Darden, whose clients include Jessica Alba and Chrissy Teigen, using a moisturizing humidifier can help offset the aging effects of free radicals in polluted air. As compact as a coffee mug—not to mention super-portable and USB-chargeable—Hey Dewy’s facial humidifier can be used in a skin-care routine in the morning and at night or as a pick me up throughout the day. The angled spout directs the spray, evoking a fancy spa device.
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