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Quick Fact
A vaporizer can be called a humidifier, but the converse is not true. This is because, a humidifier is a device that increases the humidity of a place, but doesn't necessarily create steam.
The little ones look extremely cute when they are gleeful and happy. Naturally, most parents and adults are unable to the bear the sight of their little ones in a miserable state due to some very common ailments like the blockage of the nasal passage, congestion, cold, nosebleed, allergies, or dryness of skin.

These health issues can make babies irritable and cranky. Also, newborns or infants are susceptible to these minor ailments due to a comparatively weaker immune system. So, how do you deal with these symptoms? Well, one ideal solution is to use either a vaporizer or a humidifier. A vaporizer converts water to steam, whereas humidifiers increase the humidity by means of evaporation.

Let's try to understand the functions, advantages, and disadvantages of each to help you decide better.

Vaporizer Vs. Humidifier

Purpose
The basic premise for these two devices is to increase the atmospheric moisture, thus decreasing atmospheric dryness and providing relief from congestion and other symptoms. Breathing moist air can rid the dryness in the baby's nasal passage and throat, moisturize dry skin, and relieve it from congestion and irritation.

Function
A humidifier could be a better option for babies as it emits a soothing and cool mist. This could be easier for the babies to tolerate. The most basic humidifier consists of a reservoir, wick, and fan. The reservoir is filled with water, which is absorbed by the wick. The fan blows air onto the wick leading to the evaporation of water. Similarly, there are other humidifiers like impellar and ultrasonic humidifiers. The former has a wheel which propels water towards a diffuser, the diffuser breaks down the water into fine droplets which float in air. The latter uses ultrasonic sound frequencies to create water droplets, which are quickly evaporated, resulting in increased moisture.

On the contrary, a vaporizer releases hot steam into the air by boiling water either by thermal conduction, thermal radiation, or convection. In a conduction vaporizer, a heating element is submerged into the water, thus heating it to produce steam. The other two variants do not involve submerged heating elements. The thermal radiation vaporizer produces radiation via a heated element (metal) towards cold water, whereas a convection vaporizer has an inlet for cold air and an outlet for steam; the cold air is heated by a coil, which ultimately heats the water and produces steam.

Advantages

Vaporizer
  • Less bacteria or mold buildup
  • Cheaper than humidifiers
  • Less noisy
  • Inhalants can be added
Humidifier
  • No risk of burning
  • Keeps the room cool
  • Soothing mist
Disadvantages

Vaporizer
  • Risk of burning
  • Doesn't create a soothing atmosphere
  • Unnaturally heats the room
Humidifier
  • Prone to bacteria and mold buildup
  • Expensive as compared to vaporizers
  • Generates noise
  • Inhalants cannot be added
  • Needs frequent cleaning
From the above points, it is quite evident that, in most cases, a vaporizer gains an upper hand. However, humidifiers are popular as they produce a cool and soothing mist, thus keeping the temperature down and making the atmosphere pleasant. Your choice depends on your own personal interests, and your little one's needs.