Call me 26-going-on-50, but I adore humidifiers. So much so that I recently came across a meme mocking people who act like humidifiers can cure depression, and unironically thought, It’s me.
In the past, I’ve been attached to a certain mini Leibal USB humidifier. It moved with me from one arid office environment to another, where people seemed perplexed and delighted by it when they passed my desk. Emily Gould has the same one and loves it, which is fair, since it resembles an impossibly chic spaceship vaping away. But it did absolutely nothing for my skin. It would puff out thin wisps of air every so often, though on the most brutal January days with the heat cranking, my skin would get so irritated and flushed that I had to liberally reapply face mists, oils, and moisturizers just to stop my face from hurting.
So I did what any Strat staffer would do: hunt for a similar, cheaper, and better option. I’m suspicious of light-up, color-changing ones that look like they might belong at a rave or New Age-y gyno’s office. I’m also wary of humidifiers in general being a piece of junk. At my last job, I tried to hook up a room-size Honeywell humidifier that would serve me and all of my colleagues, if it hadn’t crapped out the minute I plugged it in.
After some digging, I found this all-white, ridged option from Bestek. Let me rattle off some of its perks. It’s understated and doesn’t take up too much real estate on my cluttered desk. It plugs right into my monitor, thanks to its USB cord. To me, it looks like a design-y urn (morbid, but true), while my colleague Maxine maintains that it resembles some sort of albino cactus. The tank is small, so I have to refill the humidifier daily for maximum puffing action. But it’s very powerful for its size. This little guy never stops misting, so there’s a continuous stream of cold air blowing on your face (if you, like me, keep it directly in your line of sight, occasionally lifting it to your face like you’re in a Coca-Cola commercial). And my skin definitely feels better: more hydrated, not exactly “dewy,” but definitely not in pain anymore.
Unlike others that produce whirring noises, this one is whisper-quiet. For those feeling extra crunchy, you can even add a drop or two of your favorite essential oil (though I don’t recommend doing this at work unless you’ve established that your neighbors share your love of grapefruit patchouli).
And if you’re reading this thinking, News flash, winter’s almost over, you have never felt the sensation of a chill mist flowing over you in the depths of summer (or experienced springtime allergies). With extremely dry skin like mine, the added bliss of a little more moisture in the air is everything. If nothing else, there’s something therapeutic about having a little vape machine puffing away at your desk like a functional art piece.
If you’re looking for a different style of USB humidifier, here are some highly reviewed options from Amazon, according to hyperenthusiastic shoppers.
The Best Water-Bottle USB Humidifier
“Most hotels we stay in when we travel during the winter are severely lacking humidity. We wake up with our nasal passages dried out and uncomfortable. Yuck! I came across this nifty travel humidifier and decided to give it a try. It is wonderful. I purchased a bottle of Dasani water, drank it, and refilled it with distilled water to use in the machine. A full bottle lasts us at least three nights. The distilled water isn’t necessary but a choice I made to delay any possible mineral build up. The mist is gentle, quiet, and works to add moisture to the air. The whole thing takes up very little space. Great invention.”
The Best Night-Light USB Humidifier
“I LOVE this humidifier. It’s so quiet that I forget that it’s on. I get nosebleeds during the winter due to the dry air in my apt. I use this specifically in my enclosed bedroom and plug it in to use the whole night. I rest much more comfortably each night. There’s something so soothing about the feel of the subtle movement of air within the room when I sleep. My partner, who snores for an entire choir, now barely gives a grunt during the night. Little did we know, we both suffered from the dry air in different ways. There’s also the optional yellow light, which looks pretty romantic and warm. And three settings modes by pressing the ‘on’ button multiple times. All in all, I love my purchase, and I will recommend it to my colleagues who also want to use it in the office.”
The Best USB Humidifier Fan
“After looking over so many personal misting fans, I decided on this item for my mother for a trip to NYC. My mother gets overheated very easy and we had some extremely warm and humid days ahead of traveling. I cannot say enough about this fan, as it not only kept my mom cool but she was also sharing it with my son and other family members because it worked so well. The fan works extremely well, is made well, is very sturdy, looks cool with all the available colors, is very light and easy to carry, is rechargeable, and was very easy to hold. More than a dozen people during our trip asked where we got it. If you are looking for a misting fan that looks great and is easy to carry, then I would highly recommend this well-made unit.”
The Best Ultrasonic USB Humidifier
“I got this for my bedroom to put on my nightstand for when I sleep. The air here in the desert is so dry, and when I sleep my nasal and mouth tend to get really dry also, especially when I run the AC. It is perfect for a small area like a bedroom or office, and it really helps to keep the air in my bedroom moist and help keep my nose and mouth from getting dry. It runs for about three, maybe four hours before it shuts off, so it doesn’t run when the water chamber is empty and ruin the unit. The mist that it sends into the air is also cool, which I love. The unit is totally silent; it doesn’t bug me when I am sleeping, or if you use it in your office, it won’t bug your co-workers. I highly recommend this little unit and give it five stars for portability, effectiveness, cost, and construction.”
The Best Round USB Humidifier
“This humidifier arrived and was exactly as described. It is definitely a mini-humidifier, meant to cool a small area. I have it plugged into my computer at work, as the air is very dry there. It works very well for humidifying a small space. I know it is working well because the papers next to me felt a little damp after it ran for a while. I put in the exact amount of water it would hold, and it lasted me all day. The light is not so bright as to be distracting, but it casts a nice color. It worked well, it was quiet, and put out a steady stream of humidity into the air. I would definitely recommend it for a very small space.”
The Best Color-Changing USB Humidifier
“The output on this is incredible — great for a humidifier, not to mention a diffuser. This puts out way more mist than my larger, more expensive home model. I am actually thinking of buying a bunch more for my home, as I purchased this one for my office and travel.”
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