What Is An Ultrasonic Humidifier and How Does It Work?

How do ultrasonic humidifiers work? You may be wondering about this after you buy one and realize just how efficient it is.

When looking for an ultrasonic humidifier, you will find many varieties. I would recommend that you buy yours on Amazon.com, where you will find user reviews, more images, and proper product descriptions.

This way, even if it is your first time to buy a humidifier, you will feel like an umpteenth-time buyer. Here are a few ultrasonic humidifiers that you may order on Amazon.com. 

Well, in simple terms, we could say that they work by producing ultrasonic vibrations. These vibrations then break water droplets into the tiniest droplets. They are then released into the room as fine cool mist.

In this regard, you could say that an ultrasonic humidifier is also a cool mist humidifier. Well, to some extent. Why? I will show you.

You see, a cool mist humidifier releases a cool mist that assuages your nasal linings and feels smooth on your airways and throat. It is the preference of many people with babies.

And sure enough, even the ultrasonic humidifier does this. However, it goes the extra mile just for you. In the process of creating the ultrasonic vibrations, this humidifier also kills some bacteria and viruses.

Thus, you can be sure that the air you are breathing in is pure, as if it has gone through the filters of an air purifier like this one.

How an ultrasonic humidifier works

The warm and cool mist humidifiers have fans and wick filters, all contained in the same contraption. The wick filters release water and the fan whips it causing the release of a fine mist with the right amount of moisture.

However, the ultrasonic humidifier does not work that way. If anything, it does not have wick filters. It may have a very efficient fan. By efficient, we mean that you will never hear the fan working.

What this humidifier does is that it has a metal diaphragm that vibrates at ultrasonic frequency. By the prefix ultra, you can guess that this means extremely.

The human ear does not hear the vibrations at such a high frequency. This, you will be able to sleep peacefully through the night without worrying.

These vibrations will “pound” the water in the humidifier’s reservoir into a fine mist. The fan (for those with one) of the humidifier will then whip this mist into the room, thus releasing air with the right amount of moisture for your family to breathe.

Ultrasonic humidifiers don’t have fans

However, please note that these humidifiers come without fans. They have been designed in such a way that they do not have fans. Do not be surprised when most of the models that you find on the online marketplaces do not have fans.

Like all the other humidifiers, even ultrasonic humidifiers come in all sizes, shapes, and styles. Even if you want a small humidifier for traveling, you will find it on the market.

Then there are large ones that can be used to humidify a good-sized room. Let us just say that whatever you need is available in the market.

If it does not have a fan, how then does the water get into the room? Well, simple enough. When the oscillations start, they occur on the film of the water in the tank, right on the surface.

So when the tiny droplets form, they evaporate easily into the room, where they spread the humidity all around.

How do the vibrations occur?

On both sides of the diaphragm, there is a nickel electrode. These provide the electric current that causes the metal or ceramic diaphragm to vibrate at ultrasonic frequency.

Now, the water will try to match the vibrations and move with them. However, due to its mass, it is too heavy. It then breaks down to form these tiny droplets that evaporate into the air in the room.

Between the oscillations and the evaporation of the fine fog, many things happen that scientists would care to explain.

Benefits of Ultrasonic Humidifiers

How do ultrasonic humidifiers work? We all want to know the ultrasonic humidifier benefits. That is why we buy them so that we can enjoy life indoors some more.

Humidifiers have many benefits, but all of them have different and unique benefits that only they can give.

In this case, we shall look at the benefits of ultrasonic humidifiers:

1. Ultrasonic humidifiers are quiet

This is the main benefit that you enjoy from an ultrasonic humidifier, one that you might not find with other humidifiers.

Ultrasonic frequency may involve vibrations of a metal or ceramic diaphragm, but the frequency is quite tiny such that human ears cannot pick it up. If you fear that running a humidifier through the night is going to disrupt your sleep, buy an ultrasonic humidifier.

While the warm mist, cool mist, and evaporative humidifiers have white noise that even helps babies fall asleep. You can use this humidifier even in the room of a baby who is a few days to a few weeks old.

2. Keeps the house warmer in winter

This is a benefit across the board, that is, for all humidifiers. Damp air is easier to keep warm than dry air. Thus, in a way, running a humidifier in the winter ensures that you do not use a lot of energy for heating the house.

It does not matter whether you use a cool mist or warm mist humidifier in winter. As long as there is good humidity in the air, it keeps you warmer and retains heat longer.

While the drop in energy bills might be negligible, if you run the humidifier for about 6 months in a year, you will save a good amount of money.

3. There is a humidifier for everyone

There are big and small ultrasonic humidifiers. Whether you just want something that you can place on your desk when you are working or a big one to humidify a big room, there is one for you.

Just read the description of the product before buying so you can know what size of space it is recommended for.

4. It is easy to maintain

Humidifiers do require maintenance and care from time to time. Thus, an ultrasonic humidifier also requires the same, but not as much as the warm mist or cool mist humidifiers. The latter has wicks and filters, which must be cleaned from time to time, but the ultrasonic one does not.

However, please note that this does not mean that you do not need to give your humidifier good care. You see, while ultrasonic frequencies may kill some viruses and bacteria if you have stale water in the tank, the same will be used to increase humidity in the air.

Image of how ultrasonic humidifier works

Since most bacteria and germs lodge in the tank, you should keep it clean so that it does not disperse bacteria with the cool mist.

In any case, maintaining this humidifier should be easier than maintaining a cool or warm mist one. Without fans and filters to clean, you should save time, as you mostly need to clean the tank.

Even how often you need to clean the tank may depend on the kind of water that you use. If you live in an area with hard water at home, you might want to use distilled water. That way, there will be no mineral deposits to worry about.

There will also be no white dust on your furniture to worry about. Usually, this is caused by using hard water in the humidifier. When the moisture in the air evaporates, the mineral deposits settle on furniture floors and walls, forming what we call white dust.

5. It is a safe humidifier

How do ultrasonic humidifiers work? Well, when buying one, the first question that most people ask is whether it is safe.

If you will use it in the baby nursery, you want to be sure that it is safe. This is why most people look for cool mist humidifiers because there is no boiling water involved, which could pose a hazard to your kids.

Place the humidifier at the right distance from the kid’s bed. You do not want to have it too close. Even if the water in the tank is cold, you still do not want it to pour out on your kid. Besides, there is electricity involved, and water poses a hazard.

6. Goodbye chapped lips, dry skin and colds

All humidifiers are good for colds, dry skin, and chapped lips. Collectively, you are going to enjoy many health benefits from using a humidifier.

Dry and cold air is not only terrifying for your lungs, but it is also bad for the skin. It sucks the moisture from your skin, leaving it dry, sensitive, and ready to break out at any time. Thankfully, this is easily rectified with a humidifier.

If you notice that your baby has chapped lips, it is time to get a humidifier. Dry, cracking lips are an indication of dry air in the house.

7. Automated features

An ultrasonic humidifier can have automated features that set it off and on depending on the level of humidity in the house.

If the moisture in the air rises to the required level, which should be between 43 and 50 percent, the humidifier shuts down. It will also shut down if the tank runs empty.

Thus, even when you are at work or traveling and you leave the humidifier on, you will be at peace in your mind, knowing that the humidifier takes care of itself.

If the tank has water, the humidifier will turn itself on as soon as the humidity runs below the required level. Thus, when you come home, you will find the indoor air of the quality that you love.

Apart from filling the tank with water and the occasional cleaning of the tank, you will find that there is not much to know about how ultrasonic humidifiers work.

It is easily one of the most user-friendly humidifiers on the market.

How ultrasonic humidifiers work: FAQ

While humidifiers are not complicated appliances, they come in different types. It is best to know how each type works. For instance, between an ultrasonic and evaporative humidifier, which works?

What are the benefits of an ultrasonic humidifier?

They have a simplified humidifying mechanism, so they are small but very powerful. They are quieter than fan units, and they are made to last a long time.

Are ultrasonic humidifiers safe?

You will never find a safer humidifier than a cool mist ultrasonic unit. There is no hot water involved, which makes them safe to have around children and pets. Most come with functions such as auto-shutdown when the tank runs out of water for extra safety.

Do ultrasonic humidifiers use a lot of electricity?

These units do not consume as much electricity as most of the other humidifiers. However, a bigger unit will consume more than a smaller one.

Do ultrasonic humidifiers need to be cleaned?

Ultrasonic humidification sinks can harbor germs, protozoans, and bacteria in their tanks. Thus, failure to clean the unit will cause the dispersion of the same in your mist. If you inhale the bacteria, they can cause humidifier sickness symptoms.

Can ultrasonic humidifiers make you sick?

Yes, if you do not clean the tank and other parts thoroughly. Standing water causes germs to breed, which will be dissipated in the mist. If you inhale these bacteria, they will cause different types of illnesses, starting with lung cancer.

Can I use tap water in my ultrasonic humidifier?

Tap water contains minerals, and when you use it in an ultrasonic unit, it will cause white dust. You should only use distilled water or buy a demineralization cartridge to remove the extra minerals.

What is the difference between an ultrasonic humidifier and a regular one?

Ultrasonic humidifiers are smaller, more powerful, and more compact since they do not have filters. They create mist using high-frequency sound vibration, which creates very tiny droplets of water. These are then dispersed into the room as a fine mist to increase humidity.

Why do ultrasonic humidifiers create white dust?

The ultrasonic unit only causes pale dust when you use tap water in it, which has a lot of minerals. While this dust is not harmful, it can be a nuisance when it settles on surfaces and books. To avoid creating dust, use distilled water in your unit.

Do ultrasonic humidifiers bother dogs?

If your dog stays too close to the ultrasonic humidifier, the ultrasonic sound vibrations will cause a high-pitched noise that can hurt his ears. Thus, keep the unit at least 15 feet away from your dog.
Image of ultrasonic humidifier


Given a choice, I would go for the ultrasonic humidifier anytime. It looks advanced, and it produces a fine, cool mist. In addition, it is safe and quiet, and it does not disrupt sleep. This humidifier is also energy-efficient.

As to the question of how ultrasonic humidifiers work, well, you have seen the nitty-gritty of the workings behind the scenes.

Although the devil is in the details, you do not want to bother yourself too much about the science behind it. The good thing is that it works, and when you turn it on, you will promptly sense the change in the air.