Nebulizer VS Humidifier (What Is BETTER For Home Air?)


Are you thinking of buying a nebulizer or a humidifier but not sure which one to go for?

Do you want to know some more features of both so that you can understand which one will suit you the best?

Would you like to understand what each type of device does specifically so that you can make a more informed choice?

***NOTE: Know exactly how much humidity is in your air at home. A great hygrometer will reliably detect your home humidity levels whenever and wherever you need to know them.

If these are the kind of things you are looking for, this article may be able to help you with the information and the answers. It is common to mistake one for the other, so we first take a look at if they are actually the same or if there are some specific things that each can do. We talk about what a nebulizer and a humidifier does, whether there are certain things each can’t do, and when going for one of these specifically will be a better choice. So, if this is what you think can help you decide, do read on.

Are nebulizers the same as humidifiers?

It is quite common actually that people often think of a nebulizer or a humidifier as the same thing, and feel that they both have the same functions and benefits.

  • This is especially because both the nebulizer and the humidifier are used in aerosol therapy, which is a type of therapy that helps to treat different types of breathing problems.

Are they similar in any way?

While a nebulizer and a humidifier are essentially not the same thing, there are certain ways in which they are similar to each other.

  • Also, another area of work where both the nebulizer as well as the humidifier may come across as similar in their function is that both these devices convert a liquid into a fine mist form.
  • The mist that is thus created out of the liquid through the humidifier or the nebulizer easily enters the airways and makes it easier for people to breathe in.
  • As a result, both the nebulizer and the humidifier in some way help to ease some form of breathing problems.

How does a NEBULIZER work and what can it do?

A nebulizer is a type of device that helps to transform a liquid into a fine mist. Here is a look at the way it works:

  • There is a tube kind of thing inside a nebulizer, and pressurized air passes through this tube.
  • Once that happens, the liquid machine that is passed through the tube turns into a mist form.
  • This is especially helpful for those who are prone to asthma attacks or frequently have breathing problems, as the fine mist is very easy to inhale, even for those who have breathing issues or asthma. A nebulizer makes it easier for an affected person to inhale the medicine, even when the airways are choked.
  • This is an easier way for the medicine to pass through the affected person, and as a result it is able to give faster and more efficient results and benefits.
  • Nebulizers are helpful because they can give relief from breathing problems in two different ways – they can either give you short acting relief or long acting relief.
  • In the case of short acting relief mode, which is more a form of a rescue when there is an emergency-like situation, the nebulizer gives instant help and a form of rescue from the immediate problem.
  • In the case of long acting relief mode, which is mainly a long term solution to help manage breathing problems better, the nebulizer helps to prevent any form of acute asthma attack.
  • Some of the types of medicines that are usually used inside a nebulizer include formoterol, albuterol, budesonide and ipratropium. Your doctor will first examine you and then suggest which medication is best for you to use. 

How does a HUMIDIFIER work and what can it do?

A humidifier is a type of device that helps to transform a liquid into a fine mist. Here is a look at the way it works:

  • Humidifiers are mainly of two types – cool mist humidifier and warm or hot mist humidifier.
  • Both types of humidifiers use water to create the mist, but as the name suggests, the warm or hot mist humidifier creates a warm mist, while a cool mist humidifier creates a cool mist.
  • A warm mist humidifier has a water tank, and this water moves in to the water channel where it is first heated up. Once the water starts to heat up, it turns into a kind of mist, which is warm. This mist gets dispensed out into the air where it helps to add back moisture to the air and helps to increase or balance out the humidity levels.
  • A cool mist humidifier also has a water tank, but instead of getting heated up, it moves through a fan or motor that helps to break up the water into very fine particles. This results in creating a form of very fine mist, which then gets dispensed out into the air. This mist is cool and not warm, and it also helps to add back moisture into the air and increase or balance out the humidity levels in the room or home where it is being used. 

Difference Between Nebulizer and Humidifier

While both a nebulizer and a humidifier help to dispel a form of fine mist into the air, there are quite a few differences in both the devices that you should be aware of:

What a nebulizer does

  • A nebulizer uses some form of liquid medication that it then dispenses out in a fine mist form.
  • A nebulizer is most commonly used to deliver a quick form of help in case a person is not able to breathe properly.
  • The main use of a nebulizer is for medicinal and treatment purposes.
  • A nebulizer is best suited for young babies or children who require medication for breathing issues.

What a humidifier does

  • A humidifier uses either plain water and sometimes an additional essential oil or vapour addition that it then dispenses out in a fine mist form.
  • A humidifier is most commonly used to add back moisture into the air and balance out the humidity levels in that room or space where it is placed.
  • The main use of a humidifier is for some form of healing, especially to help reduce irritation and discomfort that arises out of dry air.
  • The benefits of a humidifier can easily be enjoyed by the entire family.

When is a nebulizer a better option for you or your home, and when is a humidifier a better option?

A nebulizer is mainly good when you have some form of serious breathing related issues, such as asthma or breathing problems. It also helps to prevent attacks in those people who are prone to it. A humidifier is more suited when you live in an area where the air is dry, and as a result using it can give you relief from problems such as breathing problems associated with pollution or dry air, and reduce problems of skin irritation and so on.


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