The 5 best humidifiers on the market this winter

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Dry air is the cause of so many problems, from stuffy noses and sore throats, to dry skin and cracked lips. Investing in a humidifier can help put more moisture into the air to relieve these symptoms, and more.

Choosing the best humidifier for your needs is important since they do require a moderate amount of upkeep.

We took a look at a variety of humidifiers to compile a list of the top models you should consider, whether you plan to use it daily, to help you sleep, or to feel better during a bout of the flu or a cold.

Here are our top five humidifiers:

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If you're looking for an affordable humidifier that serves its daily purpose of sending a cool mist into the air to make breathing more comfortable, it's hard to beat the Ultrasonic from Pure Enrichment, Amazon's #1 best seller. Its quiet operation is ideal for a medium-sized office or bedroom (it even has a nightlight), and you can choose from high or low mist output.

A nice feature for this budget choice is the automatic shut-off when the water tank is empty, but if you fill before use, you'll get a solid 16 hours of operation.

There are no filters to replace, and at only 1.75 pounds, emptying and cleaning it daily isn't much of a hassle.

Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier, $39.99, available at Amazon.

Best for when you're sickBest for when you're sickAmazon

Although warm mist humidifiers do have a slightly higher risk of injury because the water is boiled, nothing beats them if you're fighting cold or flu symptoms. This pick from Vicks releases warm, moist air into the room, creating a soothing atmosphere to relieve congestion.

The real bonus is that you can place Vicks Vaposteam in the unit's medicine cup to release the comforting VapoRub smell of your youth.

You probably wouldn't choose this humidifier for regular use in the warmer months, however, since it does warm up the air.

Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier with Auto Shut-Off, $29.86, available at Amazon.

Best for kids' roomsBest for kids' roomsAmazon

If you're making your purchase decision strictly on customer reviews, you should know that Crane's Cool Mist Drop Shape model is consistently ranked high for its ease of use, small size, and near-silent operation.

It holds one gallon of water, making it just the right size for overnight use. Available in a variety of colors, you can even match the décor of your children's bedrooms. Like some of the other models, there is no filter. The only slight drawback is that the cone shape makes cleaning the container a bit awkward, especially if you're working in a smaller bathroom sink.

Crane Cool Mist Drop Shape Humidifier, $49.99, available at Amazon.

Best for germaphobesBest for germaphobesAmazon

One of the tough things about not properly cleaning your humidifier is that you're potentially doing more harm than good by shooting bacteria out into the air. If that's your concern, you'll rest easier with the Honeywell Germ-Free Humidifier.

The main draw is its UV technology that claims to destroy up to 99.9% of bacteria, mold, and fungus that could be lurking in the water. It's easy to clean, too, since all parts are dishwasher safe, and the tank's design allows you to reach in and scrub out.

One con is that the Honeywell has a filter that needs replacing very few months, and they cost about $11 each. However, some might say that's easier and not much more expensive than having to buy white vinegar for regular weekly cleaning as is recommended for other humidifiers.

Honeywell Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier, HCM-350, $69.99, available at Amazon.

Top of the lineTop of the lineAmazon

This one comes in at a higher price point, but you'll get some pretty cool features for the extra expense. For starters, there's a built-in sensor that figures out how much humidity is in the room, and then automatically adjusts based on the setting you specify. When the humidity goes above that level, the Seneo will stop running. The unit also swings 45 degrees each way so that the mist is distributed across the room.

As for aesthetics, the color-changing night light (seven colors in all), creates a cool lava lamp-like vibe. You can choose one color, or let it rotate automatically.

Seneo 3.0L Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifiers with Sensor Control, Auto Swing, $69.99, at Amazon.

This article was originally published on 6/16/2016.

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