Humidifiers and Dehumidifiers

Bionaire Humidifiers

Tabletop to small-home coverage

Console and tabletop humidifiers make up Bionaire's product line and cover areas from 400 to 1,700 square feet. In the humidity biz since the early 80s, Bionaire specializes in cool-mist products that use evaporative technology and wick filters, with a fan to distribute the mist. Warm-mist units boil the water with a heating element to produce a vapor.

As with Holmes, FilterCheck monitors many Bionaire humidifier wicks, eliminating the guesswork and telling users when the wick needs replacing. A humidistat maintains selected humidity levels, and a remote control allows operation from a distance. The humidifiers are promoted as being easy to clean, with dishwasher-safe bases. Microban anti-microbial protection is also built into parts to inhibit bacteria, mold and mildew. Reusable filters come with some models, low-water indicators and wheels for easy mobility with others. Medicine cups are available on warm-mist units.

Air filters can cost between $4 and $50, and wicks run around $10 to $20. There are also water purification filters, cleaning solutions and scent tablets available. The humidifiers themselves cost between $20 (small warm-mist) and $180 (large console). The biggest ones accommodate a 10-gallon daily moisture output and run for up to 36 hours per fill, requiring two filters. A console unit with built-in air purifier removes 99 percent of airborne particles.

Bionaire humidifiers come with a two-year warranty and are noticeable for their streamlined good looks.

Reviews

Bionaire user reviews can fluctuate from very good to poor. Pros given are that they work well for small areas, they have quiet operation and attractive designs and their large tanks require infrequent filling. For smaller models, users have commented that they can be put in out-of-the-way places and would be good for travel. There are no problems reported with white dust.

Cons include inaccurate humidity gauges, frequent cleaning, the possibility of breakage, the refill light coming on when it's full and warm-mist models being louder than most.

One Bionaire warm-mist humidifier was rated well in a Consumer Reports study done in 2004. It was found to meet claimed output and work very well with hard water, although it ranked poorly when it came to noise. A cool-mist model was ranked second-lowest of the bunch despite being one of the highest priced. It didn't meet claimed output and was noisy, but it worked efficiently and was also good with hard water.

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