The choice between a warm-mist and cool-mist humidifier is a matter of preference. Both are equally effective in adding humidity to the air. Children should use a cool-mist humidifier for safety purposes.
Making the air more humid helps to ease coughing, congestion, as well as dry skin and nasal passages. A warm-mist humidifier boils the water releasing a distilled steam, while a cool-mist machine passes water over a wick and emits a vapor that cools the room. Cost can play a factor in choosing cool-mist over warm-mist. Cool-mist humidifiers are less expensive because there is no heating element and energy costs may be lower.
The Honeywell QuickSteam Warm Moisture Humidifier and the Air-O Swiss Ultrasonic Cool Mist received the best ratings from Health magazine. The Crane Frog Cool-Mist received the best marks for children.