Humidifier vs Dehumidifier: Which One Do You Need?

We explain the different functions of both appliances and cover the situations when you might need to use one of them.
Bella is a skilled copywriter who holds a degree in English studies. Her lifelong passion for decor and interior design is evident in her work, which is inspired by the beau read more
Reviewed By
Expert Consultant
Tommy is an expert consultant at HouseAndBeyond, with extensive experience in home improvement. A master of all trades, he offers invaluable expertise in areas such as carpe read more
Last updated: August 14, 2023
HouseAndBeyond is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here

Are you interested in maintaining the perfect temperature in your home? If you are, then you are likely invested in several air quality appliances. Two of the more popular air quality appliances are the humidifier and dehumidifier. But what is the difference between the two? Which should you use, and when should you use it? Well, in this humidifier vs dehumidifier review, we will answer these questions and more.

How does a humidifier work?

Humidifier vs Dehumidifier: Which One Do You Need?

Before we delve into the differences between the two, let’s consider how the two work. First, we will consider how the humidifier works.

To do this, we need to consider the different types of humidifiers that we have.

Types of humidifiers

There are different types of humidifiers. The two main types of humidifiers are:

  • Cool mist
  • Warm mist

Which of them is better? Let’s dive in.

Cool-mist vs. warm-mist

The primary types of humidifiers, the cool mist, and warm mist. These warm mist humidifiers are also referred to as steam vaporizers. The two types of humidifiers add moisture to the air. So which is better? Let’s consider each one first and then determine which is better.

Cool mist humidifier

This is how many cool-mist humidifiers work:


Many of these types of humidifiers have an impeller. The impeller is actually a plate of metal that vibrates very quickly. As it vibrates, it churns the water and makes it into tiny droplets. The droplets then leave the humidifier through a designated opening and are spread through the air.

Overall, cool mist models are built to break up the water into small particles before it is then passed to the room’s air as water vapor.

The water is always cool at all stages and will ensure that the air is moisturized and that it is cool as well.

The Everlasting Comfort Cool mist humidifier is an excellent option that many reviews have praised for its overall performance.

To know more about cool mist humidifier, we also have to consider two sub-categories in the cool mist type designation of humidifier.

These are evaporative and ultrasonic.

Evaporative vs. ultrasonic

Evaporative and ultrasonic humidifiers fall into the cool mist humidifier category.

In the evaporative style, the cool air blows into a wet object by a fan. This adds coolness to the air and then passes through a belt or filter before returning to the air.

Ultrasonic, on the other, involves a spinning disc in water moving at high speeds to create tiny water droplets. These exist in steam form and then leave the humidifier.

The difference between the two is the mechanism that they use to release mist into the air.

Warm mist humidifier

Humidifier vs Dehumidifier: Which One Do You Need?

The warm mist humidifier employs a heating element to boil the water. It then passes the steam out of the humidifier and can increase the temperature of a space. Many recommend using warm mist humidifiers if you want to reduce the number of bacteria and germs in the room.

Which is better?

After considering the two types of humidifiers, which is better for you?

Well, both of them do a great job at increasing the humidity and moisture in the air of your home. If you suffer from respiratory problems, they can help ease any discomfort you might have.

If you have kids, it is recommended that you go with the cool mist option since it poses a lesser burn hazard to pets or children. However, keep in mind that the warm mist model effectively reduces germs and bacteria in the air.

The best, therefore, depends on your preference.

When do you need one?

Given what the humidifier does, when do you need one in the house?

Because the colder air cannot carry plenty of moisture, especially when compared with warm air, most homes would enjoy using a humidifier in the fall and winter. Here are some of the signs that indicate that it might be time to get a humidifier for yourself or your family:

  1. You get shocked by your family

The static electricity in the air can result in getting mild shocks whenever you come in contact with other people in the home or some articles of clothing. If this is the case, then you will need a humidifier to eliminate this problem.

  1. You have dry skin

Are you out of balm and lotion again? Do you suffer from eczema and flare-ups on your skin? If so, then a humidifier might just be the solution to your problems. It will ensure enough moisture in the air and get rid of all that itching on your skin.

  1. You have allergies

Because of the dryness in the air, it might find its way into your body. You might therefore experience problems like nosebleeds, cough, and allergic reactions. If you or your family member has asthma, then the dry air might increase the problem. You definitely need a humidifier when the dry air makes this common.

How does a dehumidifier work?

We have considered the humidifier and some of the benefits that it brings. Now, let us consider the dehumidifier.

Dehumidifiers do the literal opposite of humidifiers. Where the humidifier works to add moisture to the air, the dehumidifiers do just the opposite by removing the moisture from the air. If there is plenty of moisture in the air, then this can help you get rid of it.

Here is how these devices work:

  • First of all, the device sucks in warm air through a fan. The air then passes into metal coils cooled by a refrigerant.
  • The warm air then shrinks. And as the hot air shrinks, the tiny water droplets will fall out of the air.
  • The water droplets leave the warm air, and these are stored on the outside of the device.
  • The cooler air is then blown back into space by a tube.

Humidifier vs Dehumidifier: Which One Do You Need?

Types of dehumidifiers

Choosing a dehumidifier requires that you know the different types that there are. There are three main types of dehumidifiers on the market. These are the desiccant, refrigerant, and the whole house. Let us review each of these in detail.


These devices absorb water from the air using something known as the desiccant. This material is one that absorbs water and is similar to silica gel that is found in certain products.

There is a wheel that contains this material, and any air that passes through the device has to pass through this wheel. As the wheel rotates, it collects the water in the air that passes through the humidifier.


The refrigerant is very similar to the fridge in your house. In this type of dehumidifier, a fan draws the room air through the device and passes the air over cool metal plates. The air is thus cooled, and the moisture in it is removed. It does this continually until the entire air in the space is devoid of most of the moisture.


As the name implies, this type of dehumidifier runs through your house. They are often installed in the loft space and push air down into the home. While they might be trickier to install, they are quite economical.

When do you need one?

So, when will you need a dehumidifier? Here are some signs:

  1. Dampness around the home

If parts of the home are damp, especially the basement, you might get rid of the problem using a dehumidifier.

  1. High Humidity

This is a no-brainer. According to  EPA Trusted Source A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture and Your Home | US EPA This guide provides information and guidance for homeowners and renters on how to clean up residential mold problems and how to prevent mold growth. , the best humidity range is between 35 to 50%. If the humidity of the house is higher than that, then not only will it make you uncomfortable, but it might even cause mold to grow in your house. Therefore, if the humidity is higher than recommended, a dehumidifier can help you get the levels down.

Humidifier vs dehumidifier: Side-by-side comparison

Humidifier vs Dehumidifier: Which One Do You Need?

So, how do these two devices compare to each other? Let us see the answer by considering the benefits and drawbacks of one over the other.

Advantages of a dehumidifier over a humidifier

While these are similar devices, they are also quite different. Therefore, there are no ‘advantages’ that one has over the other – only different functions.

The dehumidifier is better if you are trying to reduce the humidity level of the space.

Advantages of a humidifier over a dehumidifier

The only advantage that the humidifier has over the dehumidifier is that it is best for conditions where you are looking to increase the humidity of a space.

For summer

The summer months come with increased heat and humidity. Therefore, the humidifier will be rendered redundant.

Instead of the humidifier, the dehumidifier is the best thing to use in the summer as it will help reduce the moisture level of the air.

For winter

It is not advisable to keep the dehumidifier working in the winter because it will only make the already dry air drier.

For winter, the humidifier is the best option for you.

For different rooms

Well, you can use either for different rooms depending on the humidity level.

Basements, for example, have little exposure to sunlight from outside, which means it tends to collect more moisture, so a dehumidifier would be of use. Bathrooms also tend to be very humid.

To prevent mold growth, a dehumidifier will come in very handy. Reviews have hailed the TaoTronics Dehumidifier as one of the favorite models for basements.

Other rooms, like a bedroom or a living room, can benefit from the use of a humidifier if you feel the humidity level is low there.

Final thoughts

The humidifier vs dehumidifier argument ends in a stalemate as these two devices offer different uses. The humidifier is great when you are trying to increase the humidity of the space. That is why it is best used in the winter and cold months. On the other hand, dehumidifiers find their best use in summer and hot months when you want to reduce the humidity in the air.

We hope that this article has opened your eyes to the benefits that come from using these devices.


A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture and Your Home | US EPA
This guide provides information and guidance for homeowners and renters on how to clean up residential mold problems and how to prevent mold growth.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *