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Experts: The best humidifiers to beat dry winter air

Posted December 26, 2016

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— Cold winter air outdoors and a cranked up heater indoors can both contribute to dry, cracked skin around this time of year. To combat the discomfort, researchers tested top humidifiers to determine which provide the best relief.

Researchers at Consumer Reports tested more than 30 top brand humidifiers to find the best choices. The humidifiers were tested based on their moisture output, noise level and cleanliness.

Experts say there are three main types of humidifiers -- an evaporative-style, which draws air through a wet wick filter, an ultrasonic, which releases a fine mist into the air and a vaporizer, which emits steam.

The Consumer Reports tests found that bacteria can grow in every type of humidifier, but some are better than others at keeping it out of the air. “We found that evaporative-type humidifiers are less likely to put that bacteria back into the air," John Galeotafiore, a tester with Consumer Reports. "It may grow in the tank, but it’s not going to come out."

The LEV320 model humidifier, sold at Walgreens for $32, is a good evaporative style for a medium-sized room. However, while these humidifiers are great choices for beating the dry air, a fan makes them noisier than other types. Shoppers who prefer a quieter model could try the GUL540V1 ultrasonic humidifier available at CVS for $30.

No matter which style you choose, experts say you should empty, rinse and dry out your humidifier every day and disinfect it once a week.

View Consumer Reports' complete humidifier buying guide for more options.

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