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Which car humidifier is best?

The average solo commuter driver spends 30 minutes on the road to work each way. For workers in dry climates or travelers with respiratory issues, those 30 minutes can be very uncomfortable. Car humidifiers help alleviate discomfort by supplying the dry air inside a vehicle with moisture, much like humidifiers in bedrooms or offices. Before buying, consider how much reservoir capacity you will require if you plan to use it in multiple settings or what type of power source you will need. You may want a car humidifier that can also diffuse essential oils, like the ZAQ Tour Essential Oil Car Diffuser.

What to know before you buy a car humidifier


Most car humidifiers stand 7 to 8 inches tall with a narrow base that can fit snugly in a cup holder. Before buying, measure the cup holders in your vehicle or wherever you prefer to place the humidifier to ensure that the humidifier will fit and not be an obstruction or distraction while driving.


Nearly all car humidifiers are made of BPA-free plastic, making them light and fairly durable. For you and your passengers’ health, check that your humidifier’s plastic construction is BPA-free before buying.


Unlike humidifiers made to sit on a desk or nightstand, car humidifiers will experience more wear and tear, whether from bumps in the road, rounding corners or quick braking. Ensure that your car humidifier can fit snugly in your cup holder or wherever you plan to place it to help increase the device’s longevity.

Capacity and runtime

Depending on the size of the reservoir, a car humidifier can hold 50-300 milliliters and runs 2-20 hours. Usually, the more water a car humidifier holds, the longer it can operate and the less often it needs to be refilled. However, humidifiers with adjustable or faster mist speeds can shorten the runtime. Consider the length of your commute, if you plan to use the humidifier in more places than your vehicle and how often you plan to refill your humidifier before purchasing.


Most car humidifiers have built-in reservoirs that will need refilling. However, some models forgo the built-in reservoir and instead use everyday water bottles to supply the humidifier with water.

Cool mist vs. warm mist

Though both cool mist and warm mist humidifiers moisten the air, each has unique features which may make one more preferable than the other. Cool mist humidifiers tend to be cheaper, run quieter and are ideal for vehicles with small children as cool mist models lower the risk of accidental burns. However, cool mist humidifiers can attract more bacteria than their warm mist counterparts and need cleaning more often. Warm mist humidifiers are less prone to bacteria but tend to cost more and use more power.

Power source

USB or battery-powered model

Many car humidifiers use a car adaptor as a power source, though some models are USB or battery powered. If you plan to use the humidifier in areas other than your car, you may want to purchase a USB or battery-powered model.

What to look for in a quality car humidifier

Mist modes

two mist modes

Quality car humidifiers have two mist modes: continuous and intermittent. In continuous mode, the humidifier constantly produces mist. In contrast, in the intermittent mode, the humidifier will alternate between producing and not producing mist. Though the intermittent mode creates less mist, it uses less water, allowing the humidifier to operate for a longer period.


Some car humidifiers have built-in LED lights, indicating whether the device is on or off, what mode is currently active and if the reservoir is low or empty. 


Most car humidifiers have a simple, one-button switch to turn the device on and off. Some high-quality models have controls that allow the user to adjust mist modes and built-in LED lights.

Automatic shutoff

Some car humidifiers have automatic shutoff features, which will automatically power off the device after a certain number of hours or when the water reservoir is empty. Automatic shutoff features help conserve water and prevent the device from running with a dry reservoir which can damage or destroy the humidifier.


You can use certain car humidifiers as a diffuser for essential oils. However, not all humidifiers can diffuse essential oils, and adding oils to the device can damage or destroy the humidifier.

How much you can expect to spend on a car humidifier

There is little price disparity between car humidifiers. You can expect to spend between $15-$20.

Car humidifier FAQ

Will I need to clean my car humidifier?

A. Regular cleaning of your car humidifier’s reservoir will deter the growth of harmful bacteria, but the frequency and intensity of sanitization will differ from product to product. Some models are dishwasher safe, while others need to be cleaned by hand and may also require cleaning or replacing the filter.

How loud is a car humidifier?

A. Usually, a car humidifier is as loud as one designed for a bedroom or home office. However, if noise is a concern, consider purchasing a humidifier with a noise level below 35 decibels or invest in an “ultrasonic” model.

How can I decide between cool and warm mist?

A. Both cool and warm mist moistens the air, so deciding which to use comes down to preference. Cool mist humidifiers do not need a heating element, making them more energy-efficient and, typically, quieter. Warm mist humidifiers may be noisier and need more energy to run, but the warm mist can be more pleasurable, especially during cooler months.

What’s the best car humidifier to buy?

Top car humidifier

ZAQ Tour Essential Oil Car Diffuser

ZAQ Tour Essential Oil Car Diffuser

What you need to know: This is a quality car humidifier that can also improve the smell of a vehicle using essential oils.

What you’ll love: It diffuses essential oils as it humidifies the air, uses sturdy and BPA-free plastic and automatically shuts off after 4 hours.

What you should consider: The smell of essential oils could be stronger.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top car humidifier for the money

Epoch USB Car Humidifier

Epoch USB Car Humidifier

What you need to know: This humidifier is ideal for those looking for a budget humidifier without sacrificing quality.

What you’ll love: It is small, lightweight and quiet, producing less than 35 decibels. It also runs continuously for over 4 hours and up to 9 hours intermittently.

What you should consider: It is not as durable as other humidifiers.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

EEssen Car Diffuser Humidifier

EEssen Car Diffuser Humidifier 

What you need to know: This option is inexpensive and includes USB ports, allowing you to charge mobile devices.

What you’ll love: It is small, ultrasonic and BPA-free. You don’t have to choose between using your humidifier or charging your phone.

What you should consider: The small capacity reservoir means it can only run for 2-4 hours.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Gerrad Frei writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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