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How an Ultrasonic Humidifier Works


M aintaining proper humidity levels is not an easy feat but it’s necessary for your comfort and well-being. During the cold season, moisture in the air tends to get low, and if you don’t solve the situation using a humidifier, you will be more prone to catching colds and your sinus congestion will act up, among other unwanted occurrences.

To steer clear from these issues, one device you can use is the ultrasonic humidifier that relies on a special technology to turn water into mist that is dispersed into the air to enhance moistness. But how exactly does the system work? Is it as effective as advertised? Here, we will provide you with info regarding its operation, as well as all the notable upsides and downsides to give you a thorough understanding of the ultrasonic technology.

What Is an Ultrasonic Humidifier?

Check out the best ultrasonic humidifiers available at the moment and compare options to make an informed decision when you acquire your new air moistness increase device.

Evidently, it is a moisture increasing system that is actually quite popular among interested buyers due to a few perks it provides that other systems don’t deliver, like an ultra-silent operation that makes it suitable for placement in the nursery or bedroom. Moreover, it’s hassle-free when it comes to operation and maintenance, making for a user-friendly device even first-time users will feel familiar with from the get-go.

How Does It Work?

With the use of a ceramic diaphragm that vibrates at an ultrasonic frequency, the humidifier creates droplets that it expels into the air as fog. The moistness is either pushed by a small fan or this part lacks completely from the operational process. However, a complete lack of fan is generally seen only in personal mini models. There is another mention-worthy aspect to the system, more precisely the fact that it can either provide cool or warm mist, so you can opt for a model that makes the surroundings feel a tad cooler or warmer, depending on your preference.

Tip: If it is not a warm mist model, beware that impurities in the water and reservoir can end up in the released mist as boiling is not used during the operating process. This is why it’s generally recommended to use distilled water for filling the humidifier’s tank.


  • Health benefits: As indoor air moisture is maintained properly, there are quite a few notable health benefits to reap as a result. First off, using the device during winter reduces the chances that you will get or transmit infection, and it will help relieve cold symptoms like sneezing and coughing. Blocked sinuses will clear easier and you won’t be as susceptible to nose and throat infections either. As your throat is properly moistened, snoring will be reduced and you will sleep better too, which benefits your immune system and overall health.
  • Efficiency humidification: Undeniably, ultrasonic systems do quite a thorough job at increasing air moisture levels. Beware that it is recommended to opt for a model that features a humidistat and if not, keep an eye on how its functioning develops as there is the risk of over-humidification because of the high release of moistness into the air.
  • Silent operation: A notable upside especially for those who intend to use the humidification device for the nursery, bedroom, office, or any other room where they need to maintain a quiet environment. The only noise they make is a silent hum that won’t pose a distraction.
  • Compact design: Another perk stands in the small size that makes it suited for placement on the nightstand or a crowded desk without having to free up much area for it.
  • No upkeep costs: Unlike evaporative humidifiers that feature a wick or filter, ultrasonic systems lack this part. This means that there are no costs down the road related to the replacement of the wick/filter as it isn’t part of the operating process.
  • Low power draw: As these systems generally use little energy when they run, even if you leave yours on throughout the night, it won’t add much to the electric bill at the end of the month.



Question #1: What does it do?

Answer: Forces out mist that it produces via ultrasonic frequency vibrating of a diaphragm so that it amplifies dampness levels in the air, helping relieve and even prevent cold symptoms, congested sinuses, and dry skin.

Question #2: Can it harbor germs?

Answer: The water basin can harbor germs if not cleaned periodically. However, with some models, a UV light is integrated into the basin so that it kills germs, the possibility of bacteria growth inside it not existing. Thus, the answer depends on the model at hand.

Question #3: Does it need filters?

Answer: Some models feature filters that make the basin a more sanitary environment for the water, ensuring the mist released into the air does not contain microbes or contaminants. Nonetheless, this is not a common trait for ultrasonic systems.

Question #4: Which is better, ultrasonic or evaporative?

Answer: Both humidifier types are more than effective at raising moistness levels, so the decision comes down to other factors. When it comes to noise production, ultrasonic systems have the upper hand as they are more silent in their operation. In terms of pricing, evaporative systems are usually less expensive upfront, but the filters they use require routine replacement, which makes them costlier in the long-run. If you factor in these two elements, ultrasonic would be the better option.

Question #5: Is it dangerous?

Answer: Completely safe to use as the ultrasonic technology is harmless and there are no heat-producing components in its build. Suited for nurseries due to this design trait.

Question #6: What is the average lifespan?

Answer: Depending on how well you maintain the humidifier, how much you run it, what type of water you use to fill the basin, and the actual build quality of the product, expect for it to provide a lifespan ranging from 2 to 5 years.

Question #7: What daily cleaning/maintenance chores does it require?

Answer: On a daily basis, you should remove and rinse the mist nozzle using water, remove the tank, empty it so that the water doesn’t become stagnant, wipe it dry and clean, and refill it.

Question #8: What weekly cleaning/maintenance chores does it require?

Answer: Deep cleaning of the humidifier is required on a weekly basis. What the procedure requires of you is to empty the tank and fill it with lukewarm water with vinegar or bleach so that any mineral residue, or mold or bacterial growth is removed. After approximately 30 minutes pass, rinse it carefully, wipe the interior clean using a cloth, and you are done.

Question #9: What is the optimal placement for it in the room?

Answer: It is recommended to keep a distance of approximately 2’ to 3’ between the humidifier and the place where you usually sit. This means that in the bedroom, you shouldn’t place it on the nightstand, or if you do so, direct the nozzle away from the bed. The same goes for the office, if you have to put it on your desk, direct the mist away from you.

Question #10: Does it leave behind white dust?

Answer: Yes, but only when you use unfiltered tap water to fill the basin. If you use distilled water that has been deprived of mineral particles, you won’t see any white dust residue on surfaces in the room.


While with a few downsides, as all products for that matter, ultrasonic humidifiers are indeed more than effective in their pursuit to enhance moisture levels and ensure dry air won’t be an issue for you even when winter comes. Generally small and cheaply priced as opposed to their evaporative counterparts, with other perks down their sleeve like a more user-friendly and silent operation, ultrasonic systems are fan favorites for those who are in need of humidity increase. Now that you are aware of the system’s functioning as well as the pros and cons it presents, you can decide whether ultrasonic is the way for you to go when it comes to normalizing humidity indoors.

Tobey Hunter
Tobey Hunter
Tobey is the editor-in-chief at Optima Institute, his prior experience as a niche product reviewer in air quality improvement systems helping shape his path to conduct thorough research toward selecting and analyzing products so that customers are satisfied with the provided recommendations. During his carrier, Tobey also gathered technical input that makes him well versed in understanding advancements in modern systems, helping readers in turn to better understand how modern devices help improve life quality.