In selecting the best humidifiers we weighed several factors, including performance (moisture output), ease of use, noise and the ownership experience, looking for both the best performers, and those that deliver the best bang for the book.
Both expert and user reviews were evaluated. On the expert side, it's tough to find a better resource than ConsumerReports.org, which tests more humidifiers than anyone else. However, not all of the humidifiers listed on the site are current models (though many are) and the results of its hands on tests can only be viewed by subscribers. TheSweethome.com consults ConsumerReports.org and other experts and reviewers, but then conducts its own testing to find the best choice. BabyGearLab.com conducts its own hands-on evaluations, and, while that review is aimed at someone looking for a humidifier for a nursery, anyone looking for a single-room humidifier will find the insights there useful.
While experts often -- but not always -- agree on which humidifiers are best, we found a sometimes startling divergence of opinion when it came to user reviews. This is likely because issues that don't always manifest during the short time experts have to evaluate a humidifier do show up after weeks or months of use. In some cases, issues that apply to one user, or a minority -- hard water, for example -- don't apply to others. As a result, user ratings for humidifiers as a class are often mixed. Be that as it may, we consulted the user reviews at Amazon.com, HomeDepot.com, Lowes.com, Sears.com and others in compiling these recommendations.