With cold weather, the air gets drier. Add to that most heating systems dry out the air in your home and it's easy to see how a humidifier can come in handy this time of year.
Sales of humidifiers triple in winter months. And a humidifier can help with symptoms like itchy eyes, sore throats, and stuffy noses. Consumer Reports tested 13 portable humidifiers that cost anywhere from about $30 all the way up to $180.
Testers checked how big an area the humidifiers claim to cover, then tested each one to see if it creates enough humidity to cover that claimed area. In a special chamber, testers set the humidity to 30% and the temperature to 70°. Each humidifier is then run on the highest setting for two hours.
Testers also checked each machine to see how loud it is, how easy it is fill the tank, how often you have to clean and disinfect the tank, and also how easy the controls are to read. Consumer Reports top-rated the $170 humidifier from Air-O-Swiss model 7135. It covers 650 square feet so it's good for all but the biggest rooms.
If you're looking to spend less, the Ultrasonic 360 from Safety First also rates excellent. While it doesn't have as many features, it's very quiet and costs just $30. And it covers about 330 square feet. That's more than enough for most bedrooms. Be aware the Safety First Ultrasonic 360 is sold in baby and kids' supply stores, or you can order it online at Target and Amazon.com.