Winter is coming with its glistening white snow, nights by the fireplace and — dryness. While not ideal, dryness and winter go hand-in-hand. Good news is that using a humidifier can help greatly in keeping moisture in your home during the harsh winter months, and even year-round.

When it comes to humidifiers, units traditionally fall into two categories: warm mist and cool mist. But what makes these units different and which unit should you buy? Read below to differentiate between the two:

Warm Mist Humidifiers and Vaporizers

PAUW1 is a warm mist humidifier that serves small to medium spaces, with no filter to change!

Warm mist humidifiers use an internal heating mechanism to heat up or boil water before releasing it into your space as a mist or steam. These humidifiers are seen as being very hygienic, as the heating of water will eliminate mold and other bacteria from entering your space, as well as fight off mineral build up.

Warm mist humidifiers are best used in smaller areas, like a bedroom or an office. These units tend to have lower maintenance than cool mist humidifiers, as warm mist units typically don’t operate with filters that need to be replaced. That being said, warm mist humidifiers typically consume more energy due to their heating element, but the heat given off can slightly increase room temperatures, which can reduce the need to heat your house as much.

It’s important to keep in mind that warm mist humidifiers may not be the best or safest option for children, as the steam being dispersed can burn a child if they get too close. If using a warm mist humidifier, make sure that it is kept out of reach of children to avoid possible hazards.

Cool Mist Humidifiers

Cool mist humidifiers disperse room temperature mist throughout a space and usually come in two forms: evaporative and ultrasonic.

An evaporative humidifier uses an internal wick filter to absorb water, while a fan blows air through the filter, resulting in water evaporating throughout your space as a fine, invisible mist. The internal fan can be a little noisy for some. It’s also important to note that evaporative humidifiers have filters that need be changed fairly often.

PAUWG14 is an ultrasonic cool mist humidifier that serves medium to large spaces.

Ultrasonic humidifiers use an ultrasonic vibration to create an ultra-fine, visible cool mist that is quietly released throughout your space. These units are typically very quiet as they do not have an internal fan blowing and, for the most part, do not require a filter to be changed.

Unlike a warm mist humidifier, cool mist humidifiers can be used in a variety of spaces from personal or travel units to whole-house consoles. And because these humidifiers do not have heating elements, they typically consume less energy than their warm counterparts, but can leave a space feeling slightly cooler.

Parents are encouraged to use cool mist humidifiers for their children as they seen as the safest option, and are recommended for use by the American Academy of Pediatrics. It’s important to note that by the time the mist reaches someone’s airways, it is the same temperature regardless of whether it started out warm or cool.

All in all…

Both warm and cool mist humidifiers are effective in humidifying an area or space. Both humidifiers will help ease cold or flu symptoms like coughing, sore throat, sneezing and congestion, and will even help out with things like dry eyes, eczema, nose bleeds and other nasal infections.

When picking a humidifier, choosing between a warm and cool mist unit is largely up to personal preference.