Here in Seattle, we had a dry spell where there was no rain and the air was as dry as I remember in the Midwest. I’ve tried several types of humidifiers to keep our bedroom bearable, but all have been returned due to not doing enough, or being simply too bulky and inconvenient to use day in and day out. During this dry spell, I was thankful to have received the Roolen Breath ultrasonic humidifier to review. Ultrasonic had been the one type of humidifier I had yet to try, so I was eager to see how well it would do. Let’s see if it stays in the bedroom or gets boxed up and sent to the garage.
Inside of the box, you’ll find an already assembled humidifier, AC adapter, and instruction guide. The humidifier comes in two main parts; the water reservoir which is the top end of the unit, and the base which has the humidifying unit that converts the water into vapor.
The back of the humidifier has a lever you press for removing the top half of the unit, the power settings button, and the port where the AC adapter plugs into.
The top of the humidifier is like a funnel and the water vapor comes out of the small hole in the middle like a volcano. Even on low, water will condense on the top part, but it is a solid plastic and the water does not hurt the unit any. You can actually see the water vapor coming out of the top, which I liked, so I could see that it was really working.
You press the top lever on the back and pull up on the top of the humidifier to remove the top half of the unit that holds the water reservoir. Then you just unscrew the lid and fill it up with water. We chose to use regular tap water, which requires our unit to be cleaned weekly, but it is so much easier to just walk over to the sink and fill it. There is a “U” shaped cutout on the back side of the tank, and with that cutout there, I was able to fill up at my bathroom sink. I don’t know if Roolen was thinking of this when they designed this part of the unit, but it is definitely the easiest to fill of all the humidifiers that I’ve tried.
The bottom half of the unit is where the magic happens, so to say. Water comes in from the top unit, and vapor comes back out. Pretty self-explanatory.
The front of the humidifier is simple with a single light that changes based on what setting you are using. Dim green is low, bright green is high, white is auto-sensing mode, and orange is standby. When the water reservoir is empty, the light will turn red. There is no way other than this light to see what the water level is without taking the reservoir off, unscrewing the cap, and looking inside.
So, how well did it work? Since our air was quite dry when the humidifier arrived, I tested the high setting first. Our room went from 40% humidity to just under 60% humidity in about four hours. I was quite impressed, since our bedroom is around the ideal size for the humidifier. However, things changed the next day, when we turned it on high again and came back to water soaking the area around the base of the humidifier. The vapor had come down and settled around the bottom in a matter of just a few hours. Further testing (this time with a towel under the unit) showed that every time I used high, the towel would get soaked. In all this time, our room never got above 60% humidity, even with the indicator right next to the unit. This made high virtually unusable.
It took a while to finally get the auto mode to kick in. We left it on for days and our humidity level in the room hovered around 40% without the unit turning on once. Finally, when the room got to 35%, the humidifier turned on automatically, and got the room up to just over 40% humidity before turning off again. From the ranges on the website, I had thought it should keep it between 40-60% humidity. Not once did the humidifier come on again in auto mode in that week. So auto mode was pretty much useless.
Low, on the other hand, worked wonders. It lasts a good 20-22 hours before needing filled with water, and kept our room between 50-55% humidity consistently.
The style of the Roolen Breath, along with how easy it was to use really appealed to me at first, but with 2/3 of the settings of virtually no use, I cannot recommend it. The high setting is not really needed, since low was not too low, and kept our ideal-sized room in the normal zone despite our door staying slightly open. The auto mode has potential if they can tweak it so it turns on/off at a level you choose, or if the level it turns on is higher than 35% and turns off at around 55% or so. That keeps everything in the normal range. Lastly, they need to add in a water level indicator, just a simple, thin piece of plastic that goes down the back of the unit would do.
If you are looking for a humidifier, I would look elsewhere until Roolen can make some tweaks. I feel that the unit has potential, but right now, it’s not worth the price tag they ask.