Hydronic Electric Baseboard Heaters vs Standard

heater

Hydronic Electric Baseboard Heaters vs Standard

In the first part of this article we’ll go over a few differences between hydronic and standard electric baseboard heaters. After that we have an extensive list of important features to look for in a baseboard heater. Luckily these features can be found on both kinds of heaters.

Advantages of Hydronic Baseboard Heaters

The biggest advantage hydronic heaters have is higher efficiency and lower costs. They apply electricity to a liquid, causing it to heat up. Once the liquid reaches the appropriate temperature it begins heating the air in the room. The heated liquid stays warm even after the electricity shuts off. This is just like boiling water on the stove. Even after turning off the burner the water remains hot for a long time.

Advantages of Standard Baseboard Heaters

Standard electric baseboard heaters do not have the liquid heating element, so they retain heat for a much shorter period of time. This leads to more cycles of the appliance of turning on and off. Generally, the start up period is the more energy intensive time for a machine. However, standard electric heaters begin heating the room much faster than a hydronic system.

Our recommendation for the best type of Baseboard Heater

In most instances the heater will not be raising the temperature in a freezing room. Because of this, the longer warm up time of hydronic baseboard heaters is less of a disadvantage. The increased efficiency and energy cost savings offered by hydronic heaters far outweighs the few minutes longer it may take to start feeling heat. We have included a search bar in the ad below to help you find relevant products based on the content of this page.

Similarities between hydronic and standard Baseboard Heaters

Regardless of the type of baseboard heater you decide to purchase, be sure to look for one that has these two standard safety features

  • Automatic overheat shut off – this will turn the heater off in case something is in the way of the heated air and causes the unit to become too hot.
  • Tip over switch – this feature will automatically turn off the power to the heater if it is knocked over. A carpet or other floor covering could easily catch fire without this safety measure.

Both types of baseboard heaters come in 120V and 240V versions.

  • 120V models can be plugged directly into an outlet in the wall. If you plan to use the heater seasonally or need to move it between rooms or buildings you need a 120V version.
  • 240V models need to be wired into the wall. A certified professional will need to install 240V units. While it is more expensive and permanent this kind of set up looks very clean and modern. The unit will also likely be secured to the wall. Tipping over a unit like this is no longer a concern.

Standard and hydronic heaters both have models with optional thermostats that come as part of the unit. They can also be used in conjunction with separately sold thermostats. Honeywell makes a great lineup of thermostats for exactly this purpose. Due to the nature of the way the thermostat functions, you do not necessarily need to purchase a Honeywell baseboard heater. We have included a search bar in the ad below to help you find relevant products based on the content of this page.

Best Air Purifier for Pet Allergies and Asthma

dog with plant - two allergy triggers

You love your pet but that doesn’t mean your respiratory system does!

More than 50 million Americans have allergies, with many of them suffering all year long. A lot of money is spent to alleviate allergy symptoms with air purifiers and humidifiers but how do you know which one will work for you?

Finding the best air purifier for pet allergies and asthma can be confusing but we’re going to walk you through what you need to look for when purchasing one.

This article does a great job laying out a ton of information about allergies, asthma and pets. However, it is pretty long. If you would rather skip ahead to the product reviews, click this link here. Otherwise, read on to learn more about how to manage the allergens in your home.

Air Purifier and Humidifiers

When you’ve been diagnosed with allergies, the first thing you want to do is stop your runny nose and itchy eyes. You may look at your pet and think, “What can I do to stop your dander from wreaking havoc on my body?”

Since no one is going to give their dog or cat up, we have to look at other ways to stop the allergy symptoms. Many people look to air purifiers and humidifiers but don’t realize there’s a big difference between the two.

A humidifier adds moisture to the air. Many people use humidifiers in the winter to combat dry skin and nosebleeds but too much humidity can be a bad thing. The EPA recommends an indoor humidity level between 30-60% to make dry air bearable and to reduce mold growth safely.

Air purifiers cleanse the air from pollutants like dust, pet dander, bacteria, and pollen. While air purifiers don’t do anything to humidify the air, they do help with sneezing, stuffy or runny noses, skin rashes, and other respiratory issues like asthma. You can use an air purifier for pet odor and other household odors as well.

Price-wise, both will cost you roughly $100-500, depending on the manufacturer, size, and effectiveness. It really comes down to what you need it to do and in this case, it’s to help alleviate allergies.

History of Allergies and How They Were Treated

Allergies may be a hot topic now but there was a time when it was only talked about during the spring when flowers were blooming and foliage was coming out of hibernation.

Despite this, allergies have been around for thousands of years. The first known case was King Meses of Egypt, who died as a result of a wasp sting between 3640 and 3300 BC.

Herbs have been used for medicinal purposes in Asia since 2700 BC when Shen Nong began using them to heal ailments. Legend has it, he was the first to taste ephedra and use it for asthma-like symptoms. Today, ephedrine is used to treat breathing problems and as a nasal decongestant, both of which are allergy symptoms.

The Ancient Egyptians used inhalants for asthma-like symptoms as pointed out in the Ebers Papyrus, a medical journal dating back to 1550 BC. In the medical scrolls, Egyptians detailed heating frankincense, yellow ochre, and grapes over a fire and breathing the steam to help restricted breathing.

Hippocrates (460-375 BC) is considered the “Father of Medicine” and used science and reasoning as his basis of healing during the Classical Greek period. His findings are widely regarded as what modern medicine was founded on, including his beliefs on the causation of diseases, including asthma.

Before 1492 when Columbus sailed the ocean blue, ancient Americans used both plants and religious customs to heal respiratory illnesses. After Europeans began arriving in the New World, other herbal discoveries like the dried root of the ipecacuanha shrub and balsam started to be used as expectorants. In fact, balsam is still found in cough medicine.

Today, allergies are the sixth-leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S., with 30% of adults and 40% of children suffering from allergies.

How Allergies Affect Us Today

Science hasn’t been able to pinpoint why the number of allergy cases increases over time but leading experts believe it starts in the immune system. When we inhale pollen, dust, or other allergens, our immune systems treat them like invaders and put up defense mechanisms to stop them from causing harm.

Part of this defense mechanism is producing Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. The IgE antibodies release histamine, among other chemicals, which causes us to sneeze, cough, have a sore throat and other allergic reactions. That’s why your doctor advises you to take an anti-histamine when your allergies flare up.

The most common causes of respiratory allergies are pet dander, dust, and pollen. Allergies and asthma usually go hand in hand but there are differences between the two.

Asthma is a disease in the bronchial tubes which restricts breathing. Allergies can cause asthma-like symptoms like breathing issues. Like allergies, asthma diagnoses have steadily been on the rise.

Believe it or not, better hygiene is one of the reasons, according to researchers. Scientists believe that because we put more of an emphasis on washing our hands and using a hand sanitizer that children are not building up strong immune systems later in life.

We also have more cleaning products with harmful chemicals that we are constantly breathing in and coming into contact with.

Pet Dander And Allergies: What You Need to Know

85 million families, about 68% of Americans, own a pet. You know that 30% of adults and 40% of children suffer from allergies, which means there’s some overlap.

Pet hair is often blamed for sneezing and runny noses in our homes but it’s actually the pet dander, not the hair that causes our allergies to go haywire. Pet dander is tiny flakes of skin that come off our pets with their hair or fur when they shed.

The two do go hand in hand, but it’s not the hair itself that is causing you to sneeze, contrary to popular belief.

Another myth we can dispell is that pet dander isn’t reserved for dogs or cats, either. Birds, hamsters, ferrets, and guinea pigs also give off dander. And it gets worse with age (your pet’s age, not yours!).

As our pets age, their skin gets drier and they shed more. That’s why you may have noticed your allergy symptoms getting worse as your pet gets older. It’s not so much you as it is them.

If your allergies are on the extreme side, you’ve probably purchased a vacuum with a HEPA filter but there is more than you can do.

Why Finding the Best Air Purifier for Pet Allergies and Asthma Is Important

Why it’s important is the easy answer – because you want to breathe better! Allergies can also cause long-term damage to your organs like inflammation and possibly chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Keeping your air as free from these pollutants will put you on the right track for years to come.

An air purifier is how you do this. These devices pull dander, hair, and odor out of your air so you’re breathing fresh, clean air instead. Your allergies and asthma will be reduced and you’ll probably kick yourself for not getting one sooner!

What to Look For

All air purifiers will help clean your air one way or another but when you are a pet owner, you’ll want to go above and beyond the base model of any brand. These are the features you need to look for when making your air purifier purchase:

HEPA Filter

HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air. It works by forcing air through a fine mesh that traps the particles. You may come across filters that claim to remove all particles from the air but unless it says “HEPA filter,” don’t trust it.

A HEPA filter is the only one certified to remove 99.97% of allergens as small as .3 microns. Most air purifiers come with a HEPA filter for this reason but always double check the product info to be sure.

The more you run an air purifier with a HEPA filter, the less pet dander will be in your air and, ultimately, in your body.

A Washable Filter

Many HEPA filters are washable, either by water and soap or by vacuuming them. This may cost more at the onset but in the long run, will save you money. If you run your air purifier regularly, it will get dirty fast.

Replacing a HEPA filter when this happens is expensive but with a little time and effort, washing one is a good alternative.

Carbon Pre-Filter

A carbon pre-filter takes larger particles (bigger than .3 microns) out of the air. This helps your HEPA filter to collect more pollutants since the carbon pre-filter is removing larger contaminants like pet hair, it’s allowing the HEPA filter to do what it does best – trap smaller allergens like pet dander without getting clogged up.

Do you know what else a carbon pre-filter does? It removes pet odor! A carbon pre-filter will also remove Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which are essentially gases from cigarette smoke, painting, cleaning products, those types of things.

When used with a HEPA filter, your air purifier has a one-two punch for removing pet dander and odor.

Check the CADR Rating

The Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) is a numerical value given to air purifiers from the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM). Since 1980, the AHAM has been performing independent tests on air cleaners to measure their effectiveness.

The process an air purifier goes through to get its rating is pretty simple but the results are important:

  • An air purifier is placed in a 1008 cubic foot testing chamber.
  • The amount of contaminants in the chamber is measured before it’s turned on.
  • The purifier runs for a total of 20 minutes.
  • During this time, the amount of contaminants is checked every minute.
  • After the testing period ends, the number of contaminants is compared to their natural reduction rate.

The testers then assign a rating to the unit. The CADR rating is used by air purifier manufacturers, the EPA, and the Federal Trade Commision, so the results are considered effective.

Room Coverage

Make sure when you’re looking at the different air purifiers on the market that you check the room coverage! It sounds like a no-brainer, but the best air purifier for pet allergies will have a maximum coverage limit and you want to fall within that or the purifier won’t work as well as it should.

What to Avoid

Because your goal is to remove pet dander from your air, there are some buzzwords in the air cleaner business that sound good but doesn’t necessarily help you.

Air Ionizers

“Air ionizer” is perhaps the biggest buzzword in the industry. Many modern air purifiers currently on the market have built-in ionizers, but you need to know a few facts about them before deciding using an ionizer is what you want to do.

Ionizers are marketed to clean the air but what they do is add ozone particles to the air. These particles are harmful to your lungs and can aggravate allergies and asthma even more.

Sounds a little counterproductive, doesn’t it? The EPA doesn’t approve or recommend the use of ionizers even though you will see an “EPA establishment number” on a product that contains an ionizer.

The EPA is very clear that this number is used to determine the specific facility that makes the product, it is not an endorsement!

If you do find an air purifier that ticks all the boxes you’re looking for but has an ionizer, see if you are able to turn it off. Many modern air purifiers will give you the option or allow you to remove it completely.

Beware of the Dust Mite Hype

A HEPA filter removes dust mites, not the air purifier itself. This is important to note because there is a lot of marketing out there specifically targeting dust mites.

It’s another buzzword in the industry that has people scrambling to purchase a product that eliminates it without people fully understanding what it means.

There has been no indication that air purifiers themselves cause a reduction in dust mite allergies. Again, it’s the HEPA filter, not the unit!

The Best Air Purifiers for Pet Allergies and Asthma

Here is a list of some of the best air purifiers available on Amazon that also meet the specifications and recommendations we outlined above.

First up we have the Levoit LV-PUR131

  • Odor Control with Carbon Filter YES
  • HEPA filter YES
  • Treatable area 322 sq ft
  • UVC sanitizer NO

As you can see, this air purifier meets all the major points necessary to cut down on the indoor air pollution like dander and hair that your pet leaves behind. This unit does not feature an ionizer, which have been shown to cause lung irritation when they are used. It is also capable of filtering the air in a large room of over 300 square feet.

The only downside is that it does not come with an ultraviolet germicidal lightbulb. If that feature is important to you, check out our next air purifier.

Next up we have the Oregon Scientific Air Purifier

  • Odor Control with Carbon Filter YES
  • HEPA filter YES
  • Treatable area 323 sq ft
  • UVC sanitizer YES

The Oregon Scientific Air Purifier has all the features you can find in the Levoit LV-PUR131 and a little more. As we mentioned above, this air purifier features an ultraviolet light inside the purifier that sanitizes the air. The UV light kills germs and bacteria that are too small to be captured by a HEPA filter.

Here we have the GermGuardian AC4100

  • Odor Control with Carbon Filter YES
  • HEPA filter YES
  • Treatable area around 200 sq ft
  • UVC sanitizer YES

The GermGuardian AC4100 has all the features you need in a slightly smaller size and a lower price point. While this unit is more affordable it does cover a smaller area.

Do You Have More Questions?

Finding the best air purifier for pet allergies and asthma is important to you, which makes it important to us. Our blog was specifically designed with your comfort in mind. We have product reviews ranging from automatic pet feeders to deciding on what essential oil diffuser for allergies is best for you.

Best Humidifier for a Baby with a Stuffy Nose

A happy baby

Does your baby have a stuffy nose, a cold, congestion, or maybe even the flu? When they’re in any amount of discomfort, you want to do everything you can to fix it, and it’s possible that a room humidifier is the missing ingredient that’s going to give them relief.

Many pediatricians recommend using a humidifier in your home to help alleviate these symptoms and even help with dry skin, itchy skin, and allergies. Humidifiers are also known to help eliminate germs from the air, making it the healthiest option for your baby to breathe.

Before you hear the good news and go rushing out to get a humidifier right away, make sure you get the best humidifier for babies.

How Do They Work?

There are warm mist and cool mist humidifiers, both of which work to bring moisture to your home.

Warm mist humidifiers heat up the water inside of their storage and produce warm steam that tends to be visible. You can also feel the warmth of the steam. The warm mist of the steam helps to kill bacteria in the air.

Cool mist humidifiers release cool mist into the air in a plume and tend to be quieter than warm humidifiers. These humidifiers typically use filters to help to remove impurities in the air.

If you buy an ultrasonic humidifier, which are the majority of the higher end humidifers on the market, you’re getting a humidifier that uses ultrasonic vibrating to shoot water in the air that’s micro-fine by going through a vibrating diaphragm device.

You can also opt for an in-duct humidifier that has the capacity to humidify your whole house. These are more pricey than other regular humidifier units, tending to range anywhere from one hundred to two hundred dollars. With an in-duct humidifier you can appropriate the humidity levels through your whole home, but a regular standing unit should be more than powerful enough to humidify a nursery.

What are the Benefits of a Humidifier?

Humidity levels in a home should be around thirty to fifty percent. Most humidifiers have a measurement for this built into them so you can monitor the indoor humidity. If it doesn’t have a this measurement function, you can use a hygrometer, a device that measure the optimal humidty levels in the air.

Humidifiers aid in the prevention of germs. Moisture in the air can help to eliminate viruses that might be floating around your home that survive more easily in drier air.

The humidity in the air helps to sooth irritation that your baby could be experiencing in their throat, nose, sinuses, or eyes. They also help to ease up the symptoms of a common cold by spreading moisture in the air that helps combat the germs, and returning necessary hydration to the body.

Humidifiers also aid in relieving dry skin, and break down the build-up of mucus that can easily accumulate.

Most warm mist humidifiers emit white noise that can benefit your baby’s ability to go to sleep and stay asleep. They help open up nasal passageways and give you a more clear passage from which to breathe.

When you have optimum humidity levels in your air at home, you can even protect the integrity of your wooden furniture and wallpaper.

Humidifiers can also help alleviate nosebleeds that are caused by dry nasal passages.

Be sure you are in fact monitoring the moisture you’re using, because too much moisture can actually be a bad thing. Too much moisture can cause mold growth, and not properly cleaning your humidifier when it needs maintenance can cause it to grow as well. Some people reccomend using a vinegar solution and running the humidifier to make sure that there’s no risk of mold growth.

Get the Best Humidifier for Babies with Stuffy Noses

Be sure that you’re looking at humidifiers, and not diffusers, a mistake that’s not difficult to make. You can also compare humidifiers to diffusers if you’re thinking of using one for yourself, but a humidifier is the way to go for your baby.

Best All Around Humidifier

This top pick MistAire humidifier is equipped with a one-gallon water tank and uses ultrasonic cool mist technology.

This humidifier is whisper-quiet, so you don’t have to worry about any sounds if your little one is a light sleeper. It’s big enough to fill a large room, up to 500 square feet.

Still, when using it in a nursery, you can adjust the amount of humidity output it creates so that you don’t overwhelm a smaller room. It additionally comes with a nightlight that you can use for your child’s room that’s adjustable according to how much illumination you need. The light turns off when the water tank is empty.

Some people reported this humidifier lasting up to four nights if the mist was on low. It comes equipped with a directional nozzle so that you can choose where you want the mist to be aimed.

The duration of the tank is up to twenty-four hours, which means that you don’t have to keep refilling it with water, especially if you have it on a lower setting. It comes with a cleaning brush that self-stores, so you can conveniently keep your humidifier clean.

It also comes at a relatively affordable price point at around sixty dollars.

Because this machine is so efficient, it’s easy to over-do the function. Once you get used to the way it outputs steam, it’s a perfect, simple, and beautiful addition to any nursery to start alleviating stuffy noses.

Best Warm Mist Humidifier

The Vicks V745A humidifier is one you can’t go wrong with when you’re looking to help soothe a stuffy nose. It supplies you with one gallon of water for a runtime of twenty-four hours.

With warm mist humidifiers, it’s important to watch out for your child’s safety. Because the nature of the humidifier means that it needs to heat up in order to function, you’re going to need to ensure that your baby can’t get anywhere near the humidifier because of the hot water and safety concerns.

Once you take the proper precautions, this is a powerhouse of a humidifier that easily humidifies a room up to 350 square feet, which is more than the average nursery needs.

For a warm air humidifier, it barely emits any noise. While it’s on, it’s helping to kill 95% of the bacteria in the air, so you can feel good about the environment you’re putting your children in.

For stuffy noses and colds, you can use this machine in conjunction with Vicks’ medicated vapors in order to kick those colds to the curb faster than with traditional steam. This humidifier will literally let you breathe easy once you have it.

The Cutest Humidifier

The Crane Elephant humidifier is one of the cutest ones out there that you can buy, which makes it not only perfect for putting in your nursery, but also for getting rid of that stuffy nose.

If an elephant doesn’t match the decor of your room for whatever reason, you can also choose from a number of other animal humidifiers from the Crane line, including a polar bear, a monkey, a tiger, a penguin, a hippopotamus, and more.

When things are this cute, they sometimes sacrifice the quality for the gimmick. This is not the case when it comes to the Crane humidifier. The humidifier lasts for twenty-four hours without having to top it off, so you can let your baby get a whole day’s worth of relief from stuffy noses without having to adjust this humidifier at all.

It’s also surprisingly energy efficient. This humidifier uses less electricity than a small light-bulb, so you can also be worry-free when it comes to cost-efficiency.

This is a small humidifier, so it only maintains humidity across rooms that measure about 250 square feet or less.

The Most Innovative Humidifier

This Miro CleanPot is a cool mist humidifier that’s extremely different from its competitors in that it doesn’t have any water tank at all.

The humidifier floats in a bowl. This way, you can refill the water without having to stop operation of the humidifier at all. All you have to do is have water on hand and pour water into the bowl whenever you need to fill it back up.

Because of the bowl design, this humidifier has no pumps and no filters. When it needs to be cleaned, you can easily disassemble it and wash it when you wash the dishes. When you’re busy taking care of your baby, even a simple step like this can seem like a time-saving miracle.

The capacity is also larger than most competitors, the bowl allowing you to vaporize a little over two gallons of water, which lasts well over a day. It uses ultrasonic technology and is extremely quiet in use.

You’ll never have to worry about mold growth because of the design – it’s the easiest humidifier out there to keep clean. You can also use it as an essential oil diffuser by simply adding the oils to the water bowl.

You can use the essential oils that you choose to include in your humidifier to assist in clearing up your baby’s stuffy nose. Lavender essential oil helps to maintain a feeling of calm and other oils like tea tree and lemongrass help to remove bacteria and have antibacterial properties that can help to squelch that cold.

Because of its innovative design, you’ll be intrigued by it – which means that your little ones probably will be, too. One of the few drawbacks of this machine is that it can easily attract the attention of your baby. Make sure that it’s stored and used in an area that they won’t be able to access it and cause an unwanted accident by touching it.

Best Humidifier for Travel

If you’re going on a long road trip and taking your baby with you, you want them to be as comfortable as possible – which is difficult if they have a cold or a runny nose.

You can take this Boneco humidifier with you on the road to help alleviate cold symptoms, and maintain a properly humidified car or hotel room nightstand.

This humidifier is super compact. It can easily be slipped into luggage and is no larger than an average laptop charger. Even with its size, it still has a high output of up to one gallon of water that lasts about twenty-four hours.

It works by allowing you to input a water bottle into the device, or any other compatible water tank. It comes with a water bottle adapter. Insert a water bottle into the device, and you’ve suddenly got a diffuser that you can use to clear up the mucus that’s blocking your little one’s nose.

This humidifier can last for up to five hours depending on the amount of water you input. It will fill a small to medium room and is also easy to clean because you just throw away the water bottle when you’re done using it.

This humidifier will surprise you with its strength and proves that good things do come in small packages. It’s the perfect humidifier to take with you on vacation and still allow your baby to clear up dry skin or congestion.

Always Do Your Research

Doing your research on the best humidifier for babies will pay off when you’re totally satisfied with your purchase and your baby is breathing in the benefits.

You can also find out which one you need for yourself when it comes to air coolers versus humidifiers.

Once you start doing research that benefits your decisions, you won’t be able to stop. And you shouldn’t – a well-researched product always turns out to be the best product. In fact, 81 percent of people do online research before making a purchase of a product.

Make the most of the internet by doing your research on any product you might be looking for. No one ever said they regretted looking into a potential purchase too much.

Air Purifier vs Humidifier for Baby

A happy baby

Does your baby need an air purifier or a humidifier? We put together a short guide to help you answer this question. First, we list out some common situations where either a humidifier or air purifier would be useful. Then at the end of this article are a few easy steps to help keep your home a comfortable and safe place for your baby. We also include a link to an article that focuses on how to choose an appropriate humidifier for your baby’s nursery.

Humidifiers and their uses

Here are the most common uses for humidifiers

  • Sinus pressure or stuffy nose from a cold – since babies cannot use the same decongestants adults use, a humidifier is one of the best solutions to sinus congestion
  • Sore throats – same thing here, babies cannot use lozenges to soothe sore throats caused by dry air in the winter
  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Dry skin, eyes or hair
  • Excessive snoring

Humidifiers, Bacteria and Viruses

The EPA regularly conducts a Community Water System Survey. In the last survey took place in 2006 and it indicates not all community water systems treat their water.

It is reasonable to assume there are unwanted contaminants in your drinking water. (Remember Flint, Michigan?) If you use a humidifier in your baby’s room be sure to take steps to clean the water.

There are humidifiers that comes equipped with ultraviolet lights designed to destroy bacteria, viruses and molds that may be present in water. The two top models are the Honeywell HCM350W Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier and the Vicks V3900 Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier.

Check out this article that provides an in-depth review of the Honeywell HCM350W Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier. Alternatively, check out either of these products on Amazon by clicking the links below.

Reasons people use air purifiers

Most of the common reasons for using an air purifier do not apply to nurseries, however every situation is different.

  • The room has smells or is stuffycuddly cat
  • Allergy flare-ups are becoming more intense or frequent
  • You have recently painted, varnished or disinfected the room with strong chemicals
  • If someone in your home smokes indoors
  • You need to get rid of cooking smells in a hurry and it is too cold to open the windows
  • There is a dust mite problem (Please note: It is unlikely that an air purifier can remove enough dust mites to reduce dust mite allergy symptoms in all cases.)
  • Pet hair floats in the air

A few simple steps

Step 1 – Check your furnace filter

It is entirely possible that your baby has a cold and you have pets in your home. This does not mean you need to use both a humidifier and air purifier in the nursery. The first recommendation we always give to pet owners is to check your furnace filter. It is one of the best air purifiers on the market and it runs every time your central air unit is working. Furnace filters are almost always a little bit dirty. Some filters can be cleaned with a vacuum while others just need to be replaced once they are too dirty.

If your furnace filter is clean and you and your baby are still having trouble breathing, consider switching to a different kind of filter. There are specialty furnace filters that are specifically designed to capture allergens.

Taking care of your furnace filter is one of the easiest ways to keep the air in your home fresh. There is still a benefit to using a separate air filter that treats a single room. The smaller air filter can run as long as you set it to run. Contrast this with the furnace filter which only filters air while the furnace is running.

Step 2 – Consider purchasing a humidifier for your baby’s room

Earlier in the article we outlined a few reasons why people use humidifiers. This is a condensed list of the most relevant reasons your baby’s room would benefit from having a humidifier:

  • Sinus pressure or stuffy nose from a cold – since babies cannot use the same decongestants adults use, a humidifier is one of the best solutions to sinus congestion
  • Sore throats – same thing here, babies cannot use lozenges to soothe sore throats caused by dry air in the winter

If you are looking for additional advice on the best humidifier for you baby’s room, check out this article that compares three of the most popular humidifiers parents choose.

Humidifier vs Essential Oil Diffuser

essential oils

This article covers information about the similarities and differences between humidifiers and essential oil diffusers. It is designed to help you make to most informed decision possible when making a purchase. Each section contains a single product review to keep things simple. If you would like to see similar products in a specific category compared to each other, there are links to product comparison articles where we go into more detail.

We begin by going over a list of similar features and functions you can find on both types of product. There are some essential oil diffusers that work quite well as humidifiers and have output capacities to add moisture to the air in an average sized room. We include a reference to an in depth article and our recommendation for the top humidifier diffuser combo.

The next section focuses on differences between humidifiers and essential oil diffusers. This is a brief overview that focuses on differences between the two product categories without getting into the details of specific products.

After that we outline a few things to look for in a well-designed single room humidifier in a convenient list. Following this list we give our favorite model on the market today and a link for more detailed reading you may find useful. We do the same research and analysis for an essential oil diffuser suitable for a large space. We specifically picked diffusers that work in large spaces since they will have a high number of similar features when compared to humidifiers.

The end of this article is a set of links comparing essential oil diffusers to a list of other appliances like nebulizers and oil burners that influence the air quality and comfort of your space.

Let’s get to it! Here is everything you need to know about the differences between essential oil diffusers and humidifiers so that you can make a clear choice.

Content continues after the advertisement below

Features of Humidifiers and Essential Oil Diffusers

Humidifiers and essential oil diffusers are designed to positively impact air quality. Both types of appliances add humidity to the air which has a host of benefits. Properly humidified air helps keep airways moisturized and comfortable, cuts down on dry and cracked skin, and even helps protect wooden furniture and home fixtures. We dive into specific details about each of these in the ‘Humidifiers’ section of this article.

There are essential oil diffusers that do not add moisture to the air called essential oil nebulizers. This article focuses on ultrasonic essential oil diffusers that do add moisture to the air. If you are interested in a nebulizer, check out this article – Essential Oil Nebulizer vs Diffuser.

The main feature that ties humidifiers and essential oil diffusers together is their ability to add moisture to the air. The specifications to pay attention to are the capacity of the water tank, which influences continuous run time. We also consider the treatable area the appliance is designed for.

With these specifications in mind, we transition to looking at specific humidifiers and diffusers in the next section. Keep in mind that these appliances are designed to maximize the area for which they can provide aromatherapy and proper humidity levels. Reviews of more space-conscious essential oil diffusers are located under the ‘Essential Oil Diffusers’ heading further down the page.

All-in-one Humidifier and Essential Oil Diffuser

Here we provide a quick review of an appliance that adequately functions as an essential oil diffuser and a humidifier. The feature we consider the most important is a high capacity water tank (average diffusers have notoriously small water tanks). Here is a comprehensive list of features to consider:

  • Is the diffuser cool mist or warm mist?
  • What is the capacity of the water tank?
  • How long can the diffuser operate between fills?
  • What size room is the diffuser designed for?

Our research and review process pointed us to the Exqline Diffuser as the best option for people interested in a humidifier and essential oil diffuser combo. As we mentioned previously, the capacity of the water tank influences runtime. It has a 1500 mL water tank, just over 1.5 quarts. This diffuser runs up to 20 hours continuously on its lowest setting. Both the capacity and runtime are comparable to single room humidifiers like the Honeywell HUL520L Mistmate Cool Mist Humidifier.

We have included a functional search bar in the ad below. It has been prefilled with a search term to show products relevant to the content on this page. Feel free to use it to explore similar products on Amazon. Click on any of the images to be taken to the product listing.

Mobile versions of this web page will not display the search ad to improve the reader’s experience. To make up for this we made this Amazon text link just for you – 1500ml Aroma Essential Oil Diffuser by Exqline



The Exqline has a continuously variable output, meaning you can make very fine adjustments to how much humidity the diffuser puts out by turning a knob. The safety auto-shutoff feature powers the diffuser down if it ever runs out of water. It provides humidification coverage for up to 325 square feet. The aromatherapy benefits extend to 425 square feet.

For more details about the Exqline Diffuser and the URPOWER 1000 ml Essential Oil Diffuser check out https://www.unhumid.com/best-humidifier-diffuser-combo/. We ranked the Exqline as number one and the URPOWER model as the runner up.

Essential Oil Diffusers vs Humidifiers – the Differences

One main difference between essential oil diffusers and humidifiers is their available capacities. Diffusers are available in very small sizes, some as small as 300 mL – which is 10 fluid ounces. This is smaller than most water bottles and not very practical if your goal is to add significant amount of humidity to the air. However, the small size is adequate for a single room if you are focused on aromatherapy benefits or just want the room to have a more appealing scent. If you remember back to the Exqline coverage areas, the aromatherapy area is 30% larger than the humidification area. Because of this difference, essential oil diffusers are generally designed to be much smaller than humidifiers.

Humidifiers

Humidifiers are little appliances that turn warm water into vapor. This vapor gently fills up any room and helps to add moisture to the air. Like essential oil diffusers, humidifiers come in many different styles as well. Smaller humidifiers are great for filling up small spaces like baby rooms and bathrooms. Larger humidifiers are available on the market and they do a great job of adding moisture in the air of much larger spaces.

This link gives an informative overview of how humidity works in the home and reviews the TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier – https://www.unhumid.com/the-best-humidifier-for-winter/. The unique feature we loved about the TaoTronics humidifier is that it comes with a built in humidistat. The humidistat allows the humidifier to automatically regulate humidity levels within a user-defined range.

We have included a functional search bar in the ad below. It has been prefilled with a search term to show products relevant to the content on this page. Feel free to use it to explore similar products on Amazon. Click on any of the images to be taken to the product listing.

Mobile versions of this web page will not display the search ad to improve the reader’s experience. To make up for this we made this Amazon text link just for you – TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier


Benefits of Humidifiers

The benefits of a humidifier differ from those of an essential air diffuser because of one big reason. Humidifiers are generally not designed to be used with essential oils. So while you will still get benefits, you will not be able to customize them the same way that you would with an essential oil diffuser. Here are some benefits that you will see with a humidifier:

  • Relieve congestion – Humidifiers add water to the air that works to combat that dryness that can cause congestion. This is similar to how taking a warm shower helps with congestion. Adding much needed moisture to help loosen mucus and restore your airways.
  • Heals dry skin – Sometimes in the colder months it seems that no matter how much lotion you use, there is no cure for dry skin. The main cause of this is the very low moisture levels in the air. Cold air is not able to hold as much absolute humidity, which is different from relative humidity. The exact details of the physics go beyond the scope of this article. If you are looking for a very technical read, check out this article.
  • Prevents nosebleeds – The same dry air that cracks your skin can cause nose bleeds. Sometimes dry air gives people nosebleeds because the capillaries inside your nose are very close to the surface of the skin. Once this skin cracks it is very common for it to bleed for a short time.

Drawbacks of Humidifiers

Here we list out some of the downsides to owning and operating a humidifier. Try not to worry though, we provide the best solution to each of these problems so you can have a great experience with your humidifier.

Cons

  • Poorly made humidifiers, especially cheap ultrasonic humidifiers, can make a lot of noise
    • Solution: Look for highly recommended humidifiers. We carefully select the humidifiers we recommend. There is no reason to settle for a noisy humidifier.
  • They require regular maintenance to reduce the build up of mineral deposits.
    • Solution: If you want to avoid the regular cleaning as much as possible then use distilled or filtered water in your humidifier. These types of water have little to no mineral content.
  • The vast majority of humidifiers are not compatible with essential oils. Using oils in them can actually cause damage.
    • Solution: If using essential oils is important to you then look for a high capacity essential oil diffuser with a large water reservoir. Alternatively, check out our reviews of humidifier diffuser combos.
  • They can accumulate bacteria and viruses in thir reservoirs if not properly maintained.
    • Solution: Check out the next section!

Humidifiers, Bacteria and Viruses

The EPA regularly conducts a Community Water System Survey. In the last survey took place in 2006 and it indicates not all community water systems treat their water.

It is reasonable to assume there are unwanted contaminants in your drinking water. (Remember Flint, Michigan?) If you use a humidifier be sure you take steps to clean the water. You can use distilled or filtered water to accomplish this. Also, you can use humidifier bacteriostat or consider a humidifier that sanitizes the water on its own.

There are also humidifiers that comes equipped with ultraviolet lights designed to destroy bacteria, viruses and molds that may be present in water. The two top models are the Honeywell HCM350W Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier and the Vicks V3900 Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier.

Check out this article that provides an in-depth review of the Honeywell HCM350W Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier. Alternatively, check out either of these products on Amazon by clicking the links below.

Essential Oil Diffusers

Essential oil diffusers serve many different purposes, but mainly they are meant to distribute essential oils into the air. By using gentle heat and steam, essential oil diffusers work to slowly fill your room with natural scents. The warm air that circulates will not only be rich in fragrance, it will also help to add moisture to the air which helps to combat the dryness.
essential oils
There are a couple different styles of essential oil diffusers available on the market today. From heat sourced diffusers to evaporative diffusers, the science and benefits are still the same. The biggest feature difference is that one generates cool air stream while the other mists a warm oil steam. You can choose which works best for you based on what type of experience you want.

Benefits of Essential Oil Diffusers

The most appealing thing about an essential oil diffuser is all of the benefits you can get out of one product. Here are some of the top reasons why people prefer to use an oil diffuser in their home:

Pros

  • Better for sleep – By combining an air diffuser with calming essential oils like lavender, some people notice they fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
  • Easier breathing – Using an essential oil diffuser can help reduce inflammation which can cause congestion. For treating congestion, essential oil users often turn to eucalyptus or camphor oil for their diffusers.
  • Keeps the room smelling fresh – In colder weather it may not be practical to open the windows depending on where you live. This lack of air circulation can leave certain rooms a little stuffy and stale.
  • Enhances the mood of the room – While you are waiting for the weather to warm up you can stay comfortable with the pleasant scents of your favorite essential oil.
  • They often come with LEDs that can change colors to add to the décor and vibe of the room.

Downsides of Essential Oil Diffusers

Here we list some aspects of diffusers that may be undesirable depending on what you want to use them for

Cons

  • Diffusers come with the added cost of essential oils.
  • Some models do not have the option to turn off the LED which can be too bright to use at night. We help you sort through this and recommend models that have this option.
  • Generally, they have smaller water reservoirs than regular humidifiers.
  • The wrong diffuser can be very noisy with an annoying humming noise.

Try not to be discouraged by this list of cons though! We carefully curate the essential oil diffusers we recommend to make sure you buy exactly what you are looking for.

If you decide to use an ultrasonic essential oil diffuser, you will also have the added benefits of properly humidified air. Earlier we talked about the way ultrasonic diffusers dilute essential oils in their water tank before turning the mixture into a mist. This mist lets the diffuser add water to the air the same way a cool mist humidifier does.

As promised, here is a link to our in depth review of two ultrasonic essential oil diffusers suitable for large spaces https://www.unhumid.com/best-essential-oil-diffuser-large-room/. You might remember the two products we named as the best all-in-one humidifier and essential oil diffuser. These are the same products – the Exqline Essential Oil Diffuser and the URPOWER 1000ml Essential Oil Diffuser. This is makes sense because an essential oil diffuser that functions similarly to a humidifier will be able to treat a large space or entire room.

We have included a functional search bar in the ad below. It has been prefilled with a search term to show products relevant to the content on this page. Feel free to use it to explore similar products on Amazon. Click on any of the images to be taken to the product listing.

Mobile versions of this web page will not display the search ad to improve the reader’s experience. To make up for this we made this Amazon text link just for you – URPOWER 1000ml Essential Oil Diffuser


Conclusion

We covered a ton of information in this article! There were several product recommendations and a lot of advice on what to look for if you want to do some of your own research. The rest of this article is a set of links comparing essential oil diffusers to a list of other appliances like nebulizers and oil burners that influence the air quality and comfort of your space.

Further reading

Here is a list of other essential oil product comparisons we have on Unhumid.com

  • Essential Oil Diffuser vs Candle – Here we contrast the simplicity of using a scented candle with the endless variety of scents you can create with an essential oil diffuser.
  • Essential Oil Burner vs Diffuser – Dive deep into what you really want out of your essential oil experience. Click here for some insight into do’s and don’ts when it comes to scents and the potential for therapeutic benefits from your essential oils. Some of the highlights include
  • Wax Warmer vs Oil Diffuser – Another head to head match up with scented wax warmers. This time it goes up against essential oil diffusers. This is a pretty interesting read if you are looking for solutions for your  home or office.
  • Essential Oil Nebulizer vs Diffuser – This is one of the most hotly debated match ups in the essential oil world. The main reason is because both nebulizers and diffusers are great choices for your essential oil experience. Because of this, people feel strongly about each of them.


Humidifier vs Vaporizer for Babies

It can be difficult to take care of a baby that has a cold. Adults can take medicine or use home remedies to soothe aching throats or relieve sinus pressure. However, these solutions are not generally recommended for babies. There are other options to help keep your baby comfortable during the day and sleeping better at night when they have a cold. WebMD does recommend using a humidifier to help with babies that have congestion though. Other people might recommend a vaporizer for the same thing. In this article we shed some light on both of these recommendations.

Humidifier vs Vaporizer for Babies

In general, manufacturers use the word humidifier to refer to the kind of device used to restore proper levels of moisture to the air. If you are searching for this kind of product, that is the best search term to use.

On the other hand, a vaporizer can also refer to this same kind of device but it can also reference products for essential oils. If you want to most relevant results for simply adding moisture to the air, look for a humidifier.

The images below include humidifiers we review elsewhere on this site. To read those on specific humidifiers for your baby’s room check out our article here. Otherwise these links will take you to the product listing on Amazon.com. Once you are there you can explore other product listings as well.

Different Types of Humidifiers for Babies

The best kind of humidifier for use in a baby’s room or nursery is a cool mist humidifier. If you take a look at the cute, animal shaped humidifiers they are almost universally cool mist humidifiers. There are two reasons for this. A cue humidifier should put you in a good mood and help keep a smile on your face when you are in your baby’s room. Also, for safety reasons.

Cool mist humidifiers do not heat the water in order to release mist into the air. They use ultrasonic vibrations (silent, so your baby can easily sleep) to agitate the water. This agitation causes small droplets to become airborne and add humidity to the surrounding environment.


Warm mist humidifiers are less safe for a nursery. This type of humidifier heats the water to cause steam to add humidity to the air. Heated water adds the risk of burns if the humidifier somehow tips over. The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends using a cool mist humidifier for this same reason. Safety is always a priority when it comes to babies and small children. Stick with a cool mist humidifier to help your baby through their cold or cough.

Other ways a humidifier can help

An added bonus to using a humidifier to help your baby and their stuffy nose is that it works for adults too. If you need relief and do not want to deal with the hazy feeling cold medicine can bring, try a humidifier. This has some of the same benefits as taking a warm shower. Humidifiers will use a lot less water than taking a shower. You can also keep the humidifier on your nightstand if it is not already in use in your baby’s room.

Baby’s skin is also not as good at retaining moisture as adult skin. Babies frequently develop rashes and irritation if the air is too dry. This may happen before you even notice there has been a change in your own skin.

People also use humidifiers to help them manage:

  1. Baby congestion or stuffy nose
  2. Partial relief from asthma or allergies
  3. Dry or possibly bloody noses caused by cold winter air – We have an extensive article about this topic here
  4. Managing the pain and shortness of breath that comes with bronchitis

It is important to use common sense and seek medical help if you or your baby is sick. Humidifiers can help, but they are no match for the expertise of a medical professional.

Humidifiers, Bacteria and Viruses

The EPA regularly conducts a Community Water System Survey. In the last survey took place in 2006 and it indicates not all community water systems treat their water.

It is reasonable to assume there are unwanted contaminants in your drinking water. (Remember Flint, Michigan?) If you use a humidifier in  your baby’s room then be sure you take steps to clean the water.

There are also humidifiers that comes equipped with ultraviolet lights designed to destroy bacteria, viruses and molds that may be present in water. The two top models are the Honeywell HCM350W Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier and the Vicks V3900 Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier.

Check out this article that provides an in-depth review of the Honeywell HCM350W Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier. Alternatively, check out either of these products on Amazon by clicking the links below.

Wrapping it all up

Hopefully this article has helped answer the question of which is better for a baby, a humidifier or a vaporizer. Humidifiers are the most commonly used term for the product you are looking for to help your baby with congestion or a stuffy nose. Additionally, a cool mist humidifier is safer in the event of a spill since the water is not heated up. This distinction is important and recommended by several different agencies, including the American Academy of Pediatrics.

For reviews on specific humidifiers for your baby’s room check out our article here. We review three different humidifiers including the Crane lineup of cool mist humidifiers that come in cute animal shapes your baby is sure to love. The lineup below is a small sample of available shapes and designs.

Best Milk Frother

coffee drink with frothed milk

The Best Milk Frother for Coffee Drinks

As they say, “it’s usually the simple things in life that bring the most happiness.” That being said, waking up to a frothy cappuccino or a smooth latte is without a doubt one of those simple pleasures for many people. However, indulging that simple pleasure can get quite expensive if you’re paying out of pocket at a local café or coffeehouse chain like Starbucks. Fortunately, there are an abundance of high-quality frothers which can make that simple pleasure attainable in your own home – with the push of a button.

There are many kinds of frothers available; however, the easiest and perhaps most efficient are automatic jugs. They come with a wide range of benefits, from price and ease of use to washing and cleaning. Therefore, here are two great options that we’re going to compare: The Secura Automatic Electric Milk Frother and Warmer and Philippe Taglioni Automatic Electric Milk Frother Jug.

We’re going to compare and contrast the two options by factors that are most relevant to the average customer such as price, capacity, efficiency/ease-of-use, durability, maintenance/cleaning, distinctive features, and of course, the froth!

CAPACITY:

Both machines have a capacity of 250ml or about 1 cup, which is standard and usually more than necessary for a single latte.

EFFICIENCY/EASE-OF-USE:

If you are like most people, coffee is probably one of the first things to come to mind upon waking up. You want a product that won’t upset your morning routine with complicated features. Here are statements from both sellers describing the process:

The Secura Automatic Electric Milk Frother: “To make hot drinks, press the ON/OFF button once and release immediately, both heater and frother will turn on. Press and hold the ON/OFF button for 2-3 seconds, the frother will turn on, but heater won’t turn on. This makes cold drinks.”

Philippe Taglioni Automatic Electric Milk Frother Jug: “Simply add milk into the milk frothing carafe, press start and in less than 90 seconds you have deliciously thick and creamy froth. Making delicious lattes, cappuccinos, hot frothed milk and hot chocolate is a breeze with this milk frother.”

As you can see, both machines seem to be fairly straight forward and easy to use.

DURABILITY:

Everyone wants a product that will last them a long time and that won’t need repairs. Like most frothers, these two are both made with stainless steel, the ideal material for this machine. Based off of reviews both machines seem durable, repairs and maintenance will most likely not be an issue here.

DISTINCTIVE FEATURES:

At this point, you are probably thinking, “Wow, both machines seem pretty identical to me, I’ll just go with the cheaper one.” A fair assessment, but not so fast, here are some more features that will hopefully make this decision easier for you:

Secura:

Dimensions: It is about 6.5″ tall with a 4.5″ diameter. The corded stand that it sits on, is 1″ so in total it is 7.5″ tall

Warranty: This product comes with a 2-year warranty. A really great feature.

Cleaning: Easy to clean. After using it, rinse it out with water, then place a little amount of water back in it with one drop of dish soap. Then run it like you would do if you had milk in it. The water spinning with the dish soap and heating acts like a tiny dishwasher. Once it’s done, just rinse it out with water. Clean as a whistle.

Phillipe:

Dimensions: 6.3 x 5.1 x 7.7 inches

Warranty: This product comes with a 1-year warranty and a 100% money back guarantee within 60 days of your purchase.

Cleaning: The Non-Stick Interior and Detachable Base makes cleaning the frother super easy.

CONCLUSION:

So as you can see, a difficult choice lies ahead of you if you are deciding between these two products. So here is a summary of the similarities and differences between the two:

Similarities: Both machines are simple, effective, efficient, similar in size, same capacity, easy to clean, and durable.

Differences: The Secura comes with a 2-year warranty. The Phillipe comes with a 1-year warranty but has a 60-day $100 money back guarantee.

So there it is, two really great products, one really tough decision but one that you should definitely make. As we all can agree, there is no better way to set the mood for the day then with a nicely froth based drink. Best of luck to you!

For some extra reading, check out this link to an article on Serious Eats. It goes into more about frothed milk in coffee drinks than you ever though there was to know.

Best Electric Smoker

The Best Electric Smoker

Electric smokers are very easy to use because they regulate their temperature automatically. Essentially, electric smokers include various temperature control so can prepare different kinds of meat, vegetables, and fish. These devices are becoming more and more popular for barbecue cooking because they deliver the same great flavor as traditional smoking methods without requiring a high level of expertise.

The main advantage electric smokers provide is their fuel source. All you need to do is plug it into an outlet. There’s no need to buy charcoal or propane. Make sure to keep your smoker close enough to the outlet so that you do not need an extension cord. Extension cords increase electrical resistance. Using an extension cord can decrease the amount of power going to the smoker and increase cooking times.

Masterbuilt 20070411 30-inch Top controller Electric Smoker

Masterbuilt makes the best electric smokers on the market today. This specific model comes with a remote control that monitors the two main aspects of cooking, time and temperature. The remote runs off AAA batteries which is nice that you do not need to purchase unique batteries that only fit the remote.

The smoker has a temperature range of 100 to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Masterbuilt smokers have a unique design feature that lets you add wood chips without opening the door. A separate, smaller door allows access to the wood chip tray while cooking. The smaller door helps keep cooking temperatures constant if you need to reload wood chips. You can also turn the cooking light on or off with the remote control to check on your food.

Masterbuilt has two significant features to help keep temperatures constant while cooking. The door to access the wood chip tray and the internal cooking light both add ease of use and enhance the quality of your cooking.

One of the best parts about cooking your own food is being up close and personal to the process. The large viewing window, internal light and cooking controls on top of the unit allow you to do exactly that.


This electric smoker has 730 square inches of available cooking space divided between four chrome plated smoking racks. The design allows for up to 100 pounds of food to be cooked at the same time.

A built in meat thermometer pairs well with the thermostat to keep temperatures exactly where you set them. If you have ever cooked with charcoal you know this is difficult to control and requires a lot of attention. The sensors monitor cooking conditions for you. Using a Masterbuilt electric smoker to prepare your food lets you focus on other important things.

A unique way to use your smoker is to prepare jerky. If you want to do this, make sure to open the air damper on top of the unit. Normally, it is kept closed to help hold moisture in and keep food tender and juicy. In the case of jerky moisture needs to leave. Just open the air damper to let this happen. Cooking fish has the same requirement to keep the damper open.

After you are done cooking you can easily clean your smoker by taking out the removable drip pan. Clean up is always the hardest part after a meal. The removable drip pan greatly simplifies everything. Depending on what you are cooking you may need to empty the grease during operation. Of course, you can do this without opening the main door.

Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker, 725 Square Inch

The Char-Broil Smoker delivers many of the same features that the Masterbuilt model at a generally lower price. Some of the key differences are no remote control feature and no way to add wood chips without opening the main door. You can empty the drip pan without opening the main door. There is a food thermometer that monitors temperature with the door closed.

This model does not have instructions for cooking fish or jerky. The Masterbuilt has an air damper to allow excess moisture to leave the smoker to facilitate cooking fish and jerky.

If these differences are not relevant to what you plan to use the smoker for then the lower price may be attractive. However, cooking that takes a long time and requires wood chip refills you will need to open the main door. This leads to a loss of heat and may increase cooking times.


Hopefully we have provided enough information to help you make an informed choice when you purchase a new electric smoker to simplify your outdoor cooking.

 

Best Non Stick Pan For Dosa

The Dosa Tava is made with the ideal curvature and thickness to deliver outstanding cooking results when preparing dosa.

Finding the right tool for the job plagues many people. With so many competing brands and gadgets out on the market, making a choice gets tricky. This goes double for cooking equipment, which can easily change a good dish into a mess.

For those that understand the importance of finding the right cookware for the job, the search never stops. No sooner do you buy a dosa pan (called a tawa) then you realize you want a better one.

Why get into the world of dosa? A dish that can be found, for a price, all over the world? Because it is an excellent starter to a world of flavors.

If you want to find the best dosa tawa in one attempt, read through our guide on dosa and dosa pans.

Making Dosa

To start with, it is important to get to know what dosa is and how to make it. For those of you already familiar, you can skip down to the features section. For those who have heard the term and want to get in on the dish, this will get you everything you need to understand what kind of dosa pan you will need.

Also for those newbies check out a basic starter recipe here.

Dosa have been compared to crepes and tortillas. Many cultures came to the fortunate conclusion that flat breads were useful. They allow the creation of quick foods you eat with a variety of fillings and sauces.

The dosa traditionally uses a combination of fermented rice and lentils (urad dal). This gets spread on a hot flat griddle or pan and cooked until crispy on the edges and soft and firm in the middle.

Variations on the basics exist across regions. Some are thicker than others use slightly different starter batters. We’ll talk about some of the most popular and highlight the cooking techniques needed to make each golden and delicious.

We’ll mention the different varieties that require some changes in composition and cooking. We won’t mention dishes with names related to the toppings or fillings (as those are about the recipe, not design).

Sada Dosa

The starter dosa with no frills that will get you going. this dosa starts cooking quickly once it hits the pan. For this reason, temperature control and even heat are essential.

An undercooked or overcooked dosa becomes inedible quickly. This is why it is important to understand the variety of dosa types and cooking techniques needed for each.

A measured amount of batter is applied to the hot pan. The batter should be just sticky enough to allow quick and even spreading without clumping. It is important to hit the pan and get the shape spread out quickly to avoid uneven cooking.

Once the batter is spread around and thin on the dosa pan check the edges. When they are light golden brown they will peel up just a bit. The Sada dosa doesn’t require flipping and cooking on both sides but should be thin enough to be done in one quick cook.

Mysore Dosa

A slight change up to the original, the Mysore dosa gets gunpowder added in the pan. You will recognize gunpowder as the South Indian spicy mix of dry lentils and red chile. the dosa changes to a brilliant red color. Because of this, gauging the doneness of the dish gets tricky.

This is why it is good to be used to the timing needed for a pan to cook a Sada dosa. The cooking time doesn’t change, but cooking visually becomes much harder.

Mysore dosa is best eaten with some sauces to cool it down or heat it up, depending. It is always handy to have a blender ready for making some of these.

Paper Dosa

These huge dosa get spread even thinner than others. The chance to burn them goes up as does the time needed to spread them. A pan designed with a bit of a tilt up in the middle makes it much easier to evenly cook as the time spent spreading from the center out increases.

Large dosa pan technology further increases your chance to make the perfect paper dosa.

Set Dosa

On the other end of the spectrum is the Set Dosa. These are the thickest dosa and come out of Karnataka. You apply the batter thick and look for a rich round shape with tiny bubbles. These commonly require a flip to finish the other side.

Pesa Rattu

Made from mung beans, this dosa from the Andhra area is no-carb. Pesa Rattu requires the filling ingredients to be mixed into the batter itself. The end result is thicker than a standard dosa and on par with a set dosa.

Owing to the different ingredients that can be mixed with the batter, the cooking time varies. Careful temperature control and a flip or two is needed for these. The idea is to make these pliable enough to fold while avoiding burning of some of the ingredients.

You don’t want to leave black spots on the dosa.

Uttapam

This small and thick cousin to the Karnataka Set Dosa also mixes filling in the batter. The smaller size allows for a smaller tawa. The thickness and differences in ingredients also require excellent heat control.

You will also want the ability to flip them to even out the heat. Whenever you flip a dosa you want to be careful to maintain elasticity. A dosa that crumbles will do you no good.

Appam

Our final dosa contains rice flour and coconut milk. This specialty from Kerala can be quick to burn from the higher sugar content in the ingredients. The edges lift up quickly, forming a shallow bowl shape.

Err on the side of undercooked with these as they tend to be firm and the sugar can crystallize if cooked on high heat.

Features

Now that you have a firm idea of what you need to make a dosa come out properly, we can go over the features a tawa presents. Then we’ll go into a review of best pans on the market today.

Size

For smaller dosa, a minimum of 22 cm will do. For larger dosa, especially paper dosa, beyond 30cm will be needed. The largest tawa run around 37cm to give you an upper end.

Coating

A dosa needs to be non-stick to create a proper texture. However, certain too slick polymers will not hold the batter and will make a runny mess. Check out the amazing history of Teflon to understand more about sticky-enough substances.

Heat Source

As we’ve mentioned before, control comes in handy. Different pans will take gas or electric heat better. Check the rating of the pan for the heat source you have on-hand to prevent uneven cooking issues.

Handle

A loose or improper handle can be disastrous for a flip cooked dosa. For those looking to make Appam or Uttapam you want a handle that will not loosen over time. Heat transfer on the handles can also be an issue.

Clean Up

Finally, a good dosa tawa presents an easy to clean surface that won’t mar or get scraped up easily. Pans that clean well last longer. Pans which stick and burn easily may wear out quickly.

Best Dosa Pans Available

Each of these pans is currently available to be found. We’ll give an overview of their features and what types of dosa they work best for. To make things simple the title of each section is a link to that product listing on Amazon.

1. Prestige Omega Select Plus Nonstick Concave Tawa

You will love the abrasion resistant coating which allows metal spoons and other non-sharp implements to be used. The coating also makes for easy cleanup. It is built for gas stovetops.

The handle has a heat safe grip. This gives you cool-to-the-touch control that won’t come loose over time.

The 28 cm size works well for all types of dosa but will leave you a little short on making paper dosa.

2. Hawkins Futura Non-Stick Flat Tawa

Despite the name, this is not flat. It has a small edge, but it is flat.

The heat conductivity works well on gas and electric ranges. The small 22cm size works especially well for Set and Appam dosa.

The coating is a proprietary non-stick made in Germany. This makes for a bit of a tougher grip than Teflon, so it works well for thinner batters.

The handle can get warm if cooking for a long period, so consider a cloth or towel for gripping.

3. Wonderchef Granite Dosa Tawa

The low edges on this flat iron dosa tawa make a great surface for paper dosa. Mysore dosa stands out splendidly against the dark grey color. At 24 cm it has space enough for many sizes.

The aluminum material heats faster and gets hotter than other tawa on this list. This cooks well but take heed not to leave anything on for too long as clean up is rough.

Not the best for Appam or Uttapam because the heat gets too high for the range of batter ingredients.

4. Pigeon Non-Stick Forged Flat Tawa 280

Another entry with a proprietary coating out of Germany, the Pigeon 280 heats quickly. The spiral bottom distributes heat well which helps deliver the right heat without burning.

This mid-range size provides versatility for most dosa variations. The angle of the sides gives just enough purchase to help a lift and flip.

This unit gives good heat on electric ranges and excellent control on gas ranges. The handle doesn’t heat up over continued use making it great for big batches of scrumptious dosa.

5. Anjali Platinum Flat Multi Deluxe

This design delivers the best tawa for making paper dosa. With two handles and a larger cooking area of 30 cm, you can stretch that batter.

The two handle configuration makes it easy to move for adjusting heat. The lack of a central handle makes flipping extremely difficult.

Clean up on this unit is extra easy because of the lower edges. The nearly edgeless design also makes this a good beginner tawa. It is easier to see the edges lifting on a Sada Dosa and you can make up to 3 smaller dosa across the surface to test batters and cook times.

The aluminum design transfers heat well but it can overheat if you don’t adjust temperatures down after it has heated thoroughly.

6. Premier Supreme Non-Stick Tawa

This unit can be purchased in a variety of colors and makes an excellent gift for those staring in dosa creation. It is easy to clean and has high reusability.

The coating can be damaged more easily than others in this grouping. Consider wooden or nylon utensils only.

The 28cm surface area beings plenty of space for making all types of dosa. The handle had a good feel making flipping a joy.

Grooves on the bottom of the surface distribute heat well. The thickness provides good temperature control over higher heats. This is also an energy efficient model which requires less heat to reach higher temperatures.

This final trait makes it great of thicker dosa as it will heat thoroughly without burning.

7. Hawkins Futura Hard Anodised Tawa

Another entry from Hawkins, this tawa features a curved design with low sides. The design makes it nearly impossible to warp from heat. This means it can be used on outdoor cooking surfaces like campfires or grills without damage.

The non-stick material allows metal products to be used risk-free. At 26cm it is a good middle size for many uses. The handle can heat up, so again, a cloth or towel is recommended for prolonged use.

Finally, the unit heats well over several sources and stays hot on the surface and just above. This makes it heat thicker dosa without flipping. The handle works well for a flip when needed.

Always the Best

With all of this information, you are well armed to find the dosa pan you desire. While you get started on your journey into the Indian subcontinent and its renowned palette of flavors, perhaps enjoy a coffee.

Keep coming back for more product reviews and lists to keep your home at the forefront of technology.

Best Detachable Shower Head

Shower head

What’s the difference between a hand held shower head and a detachable shower head?

Nothing. They are the same thing. Some manufactures use different ways to identify their products, that’s it!

Best Detachable Shower Head

Nothing wakes me up like a hot cup of coffee and shower. Maybe you hit the shower in the evening to wind down or after a good workout. Whatever your preference, why settle for a lack luster experience? If you need to renovate your shower, there are a variety of shower heads, shower systems, and showers are available. Let me walk you through some key points for selecting a new shower head.

There are two kinds of shower heads: overhead and handheld. An overhead shower head is usually a semi permanent fixing on the wall. There are popular rainfall showerheads as well. Some of these will actually come out of the ceiling. Further down we talk about a rainfall shower head that comes out of the wall so it can function with the handheld shower head that comes with it. The wall fixture accommodates the most popular shower head models on the market. Since fixed shower heads can swivel, it is suitable for the needs of all family members. Fixed showers are typically made of a single handle, two handle, or three-handle designs to control temperature and water pressure.

Hand-held showers can be attached to the wall, and they have a long, flexible hose that connects to the shower head. You can attach the hand-held shower to the wall or “set it down” using a fixed vertical bracket. They easily to move them up or down to adjust for height so they easily function as both a fixed and hand-held option. Hand-held showers are perfect for those who are less mobile as well as for bathing kids. Cleaning the bathtub or the shower is also a quick task with the use of hand-held shower heads. Many shower heads offer massaging options.

DreamSpa Ultra-Luxury 9″ Rainfall Shower Head / Handheld Combo

The DreamSpa Ultra-Luxury combines a rainfall shower head with a hand-held shower head. The rainfall shower head is quite exquisite and has a 9-inch head for full water coverage, while its many jets deliver the effect of a rainstorm. It is an enjoyable experience. You can easily adjust the height of the shower head. This feature uses a lot of water.

The DreamSpa Ultra-Luxury shower head was designed with the highest standards. The handheld shower comes with a push-button for controlling the flow. The hand-held feature offers three settings: waterfall flow, flooding flow, and for regular flow. You can easily adjust the settings with the push of a button. With one hand, you can effortlessly switch the water flow settings and position the hand-held shower. The DreamSpa Ultra-Luxury works well as either a hand-held shower or as a overhead shower.

AquaDance High Pressure 6-Setting 3.5″ Chrome Face Handheld Shower

The Aquadance provides six distinct settings: heavy rain, massage, aeration, massaging rain, aeration by rain and water conservation. This shower head can be used as either a handheld or an overhead shower.

It has a comfortable grip handle and a changeable overhead bracket, making it is easy to place the hand shower in the best position and angle for operation. Aquadance uses a 5 ft. flexible, rust-proof, steel hose, making it quite durable. It is quick to connect and excellent for cleaning.

Hydroluxe Full-Chrome 24 Function Ultra-Luxury 3-way 2 in 1 Shower-Head/Handheld-Shower Combo

Today, Hydroluxe is one of the most popular shower heads on the market. It is possible to use each shower head independently. The shower head and hand shower settings provide excellent spray options such as for massage, power rain, a warm mist, water-saving economy rain, and pause.

The shower head face is 4-inches with great cleaning jets, and it has an angle-changeable overhead bracket. It also has a lock-nut to prevent swivel. The 5-foot hose is stainless steel, quite flexible and provides a secure hand grip. Installing Hydroluxe is quite easy as it does not require tools or a plumber. It comes with plumber tape and washers for quick installation and guarantees 100% leak-free operation.

As an early morning pick-me-up or as a reward for a long day, you deserve a nice refreshing shower. This guide should provide a great foundation for your research. The three options above are some of the best options available and provide real value for money.

 

Hopefully we’ve given you enough ideas to help you make a decision on the purchase of your next shower head!