What Should I Set My Humidifier To?

If you aren’t sure what to set your humidifier to, check out our guide below. 

Humidifiers these days have a ton of options and adjustability. You would be forgiven for feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the settings. 

Here, we recommend what to set your humidifier to based on several factors, such as your geographic location, the relative humidity, and any health concerns you might have. 

Even inexpensive units would have features like adjustable humidity levels if you bought a humidifier any time this decade. 

But getting into the more premium stuff, you’ll find a ton more adjustability features such as variable mist speed and volume, adjustable nozzles, cool/warm mist modes, and the like. 

The best of the best even have auto modes that use sensors to intelligently regulate relative humidity without any human input necessary. 

So how should you set up your humidifier? Well, keep reading to find out. 

Humidifier Settings Explained

Before explaining what to set your humidifier to, we must familiarize ourselves with the various features and what each one does. 

Relative Humidity Adjustment

This is one of the most essential features of your humidifier and likely the reason you bought the thing! Relative humidity measures how much water vapor a given amount of air is holding compared to how much it COULD hold. 

Recommended setting: 30%-50%

Generally, humans feel most comfortable between 30% and 50% relative humidity. That number changes based on the time of year, the geographic location, and even from person to person, but generally speaking, you should be good in that range. 

Mist Volume

Mist volume is the amount of mist produced by your humidifier in a given time. It is usually measured and quoted in ml/hr (milliliters per hour). The mist volume is what increases or decreases relative humidity. The mist volume you set will also be governed by how large the space you’re trying to humidify is. 

Recommended setting: Depends on the size of the room or space 

Higher mist volume will humidify your space faster than lower mist volume, and vice versa. And if you are trying to humidify a larger space, you will definitely have to crank up the volume. 

Mist Speed

This feature is often seen on the more expensive humidifier units. It is largely the same as the mist volume. It refers to how fast the humidifier ejects mist into the atmosphere and how quickly it humidifies the surroundings. 

Recommended setting: Higher 

You should increase mist speed to get faster humidification in a room or space. It may even help you cover larger areas such as living rooms, open-plan homes, and the like. 

Cool/Warm Mist Modes

Another feature reserved for the best humidifiers is cool/warm mist modes. As the name suggests, these modes regulate the temperature of the mist and make it cooler or warmer. 

Recommended setting: Depends on personal preference

Both cool and warm mist functions have their benefits. Both make for a noticeable difference in the ambient temperature, though neither will replace your AC or furnace. 

Generally, you can expect warm mist to humidify a space faster while also helping relieve you of coughing. Warm mist also has limited anti-microbial properties, which is a plus. You will end up using a bit more power for warm mist, and these humidifiers may pose a burning hazard if mishandled. 

The cool mist will take a bit longer to humidify a space. However, the effect is quite pleasant once it gets going. It is also really effective at reducing snoring. As for drawbacks, if you use the cool mist setting on your humidifier regularly, you might have to clean it more frequently or deal with bacteria build-up in the unit, but that’s unlikely. 

Auto Mode

Auto mode on high-end humidifiers is pretty self-explanatory. These humidifiers use integrated sensors to intelligently regulate the relative humidity of a space. That’s it!

Recommended setting: ON, with some exceptions

The results can be a bit hit or miss with auto modes on humidifiers. While most work really well, there are some that may feel a bit uncomfortable or excessive. Really, you just have to use the auto mode on your humidifier and see if it works for you. 

And if it does, it is a really convenient feature to have. Furthermore, some humidifiers allow you to adjust the parameters for the auto mode to better suit your needs. 


A lot of humidifiers come with a timer function that you can use to automatically turn the humidifier off after it’s been running for a while. Some allow you to set the exact time interval you want, while others have predetermined intervals for you to choose from. 

Recommended setting: ON

If your humidifier offers a timer function, we highly recommend using it frequently. This is especially true if you use your humidifier while sleeping or in a baby room/nursery. If the humidifier keeps running for longer while you sleep, it might become uncomfortable, so using the timer is highly recommended. 

Adjustable Nozzles

Adjustable nozzles can be used to direct the mist to one particular spot in the room or space where the humidifier is placed. And while you might be tempted to run the humidifier with the nozzle pointed directly at you 24/7, doing so might be a bit excessive, especially if you’re sitting very close to the humidifier. 

Recommended setting: In your general direction, but not too close or right in your face! 

Summing it up

And with that, we hope we’ve helped you figure out what to set your humidifier to. The real takeaway here should be that you need to spend time playing around with the various settings and figure out the best combination for your particular needs. 

To sum up, set your humidifier to keep the humidity between 30% and 50% depending on the time of year. Turn up the mist volume and speed if you want faster humidification or if you’re trying to humidify a larger space. 

Cool/warm modes can be very useful if you are trying to combat the effects of dry throat, snoring, or just get better sleep. 

Timers are underrated, auto modes can be convenient, and putting the nozzle right up against your face is probably too much of a good thing!


Shawn Willis is all about humidifiers. After working for some of the biggest names in the industry, he started HumidifierGuys with Scott Dawson. Now, the dynamic duo helps others figure out what they need in their next humidifier.

Shawn is an avid sports fan, motorcycle enthusiast, and has two dogs named Whiskey and Boba.