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on December 4, 2010
I love Amazon because of the reviews. For the most part, the reviews are honest, detailed and very helpful, especially when a true defect or some other "quirk" is described. However, many of the reviews for this item are really...bizarre! I have to wonder what some of these reviewers were actually thinking. Also, are they are realistic in their expectations? It is what it is - an inexpensive humidifier. It WILL make some noise, It will NOT humidify your entire house, it WILL require cleaning and care, it will NOT last forever, etc.

1) This item is being shipped from a warehouse to your home. If it arrives broken, cracked, leaking or damaged in any way, contact Amazon- they offer one of the best return policies around. This is an issue with whoever shipped it, not a reason to leave a one-star rating.

2) This is a HUMIDIFIER and uses tap water and electricity to create a heated mist. Should you be horrified to find mold or mildew? NO. Does it require regular maintenance and cleaning? YES. There is no way around it. If you allow water to sit, mold will grow. If you use tap water, there is a good chance you will have mineral deposits. Inspect the humidifier each time you fill it.

When you re-fill the tank, give it a good rinsing out. It if smells, add a teaspoon of bleach, swish it around and dump it out.

If it has deposits around the heating element, pour vinegar into the bottom, let it sit for a few hours, take a small toothbrush to it and rinse it out.

If it has deposits on the plastic pieces, remove them from the unit and soak them in vinegar, same as above. It is not difficult to disassemble at all.

It is a fact of life, humidifiers need to be cleaned and maintained.

3) This is a very INEXPENSIVE humidifier. Is it helpful to compare it to a humidifier that costs 5x as much? NO. That is like comparing a Toyota Corolla (MSRP 25K) to a Bentley Continental (MSRP 175K).

4) This is an electrical device. Like anything that uses electricity, it has the potential to start a fire. Even though it has an automatic shut-off, I wouldn't bet my house on it. Pay a little attention to it and treat it like any other electrical device.

5) Seriously, having to carry it by it's handle with the plug on top is a big issue? Would you carry a bottle of water (or any liquid with a screw cap, for that matter) upside down? As for the leaking, screwing the cap on tightly and carrying it by it's handle would probably help.

6) Will it last for a lifetime? NO. Does any inexpensive product last beyond a few years? NO. Will the gaskets dry out if it is stored for long periods of time? It's entirely possible. Again, this is an INEXPENSIVE humidifier.

BOTTOM LINE: It is very reasonable priced, does a good job and lasts a couple of years if you take care of it. I am about to make my 4th purchase of this exact humidifier. I read the reviews to see if anything changed or if a better, similarly priced unit was introduced into the market. The answer is NO. This is the best deal for the money.

****UPDATE**** 11/19/2011 Almost one year later, last week I pulled out the humidifiers and gave 'em a nice, thorough cleaning, set 'em up and they are working perfectly. I am going on at least my 5th New England winter with the first one I bought, and it still works like new - whisper quiet, zero leaking, couldn't be happier for the price! From the looks of it, Amazon's price hasn't changed much either (although it does fluctuate day-to-day). It's still the BEST YOU"LL FIND in this price range!
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VINE VOICEon November 16, 2008
I knew i needed a humidifier, as i'm just not used to the dry air of east coast winters. But after shopping around on amazon for warm mist humidifiers, i was horrified by the reviews. Every humidifier seemed to be loud, leaky, and a hassle. I ended up getting this one because of the relatively low price, thinking that if it was as bad as all the others, at least i wouldn't have spent too much on it.

I have no complaints.

On the low setting, it's about as loud as a pot of water boiling in the next room. On the high setting, it might compete with a pot of water boiling in the same room. Every once in a while it gets a bit talkative, but that's rare and doesn't last long. I'm a light sleeper, and this unit never wakes me up.

On the low setting, a full tank of water lasts a little over 24 hours. On the high setting, it goes through in about 8 to 9 hours, perfect to run overnight.

The auto-shutoff works just fine, so i don't even bother turning it off before i leave the house.

It is a bit annoying to clean the unit, but that has a lot to do with the tap water here being less than perfectly clean. We switched to using filtered water, and now the humidifier is actually our way of knowing when to change the filter. When there's build-up on the heating element, the filter isn't working as well anymore.

The daily maintenance takes no more than a few minutes. The weekly maintenance takes longer, but that's mainly because you throw some of the pieces in to soak. It's maybe 10 minutes of effort, plus however long you want to soak the pieces.

In all, i'm very glad i purchased this unit. (And the water tank isn't nearly as blue as it looks in the picture.)
1414 comments|1,373 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 12, 2008
Yesterday I went downtown to look for a humidifier for my bedroom. What I thought would be an easy project turned into one of frustration. I wound up going to three different drug stores to try to get an idea of what to buy. Most of the humidifiers I saw were by Kaz (Vicks), who makes many different models. To make choosing a model supposed easier, somewhere along the line the company put a graph on only some of their model's boxes to indicate which model to buy based on your needs. (I wanted it for colds and flu). This graph was at one point changed and updated. But the problem is that Kaz doesn't label their boxes too well as to what model applies to the graph. From what I can tell it is these newer graphs that grade their humidifiers as Best, Better, Good or nothing depending upon the purpose intended. But if you are trying to choose between warm or cool all Kaz tells the consumer is some people prefer the warm mist to the cool mist while some don't. How this is supposed to help the consumer decide I'll never know.

Anyhow, I wound up with this model (v745A) because it was supposed to be all purpose and being the winter here in the NE I thought warm rather than cool mist would be better. An added benefit with the warm mist is that you can add an inhalant and with my current cold that would help. I did have some concerns about whether this unit would be enough for my 16x16x10 room. Kaz only labels some of their boxes with the size room the unit is good for but this one does not say. All my observances below were made using this unit on the high setting.

BUILD: The unit itself is built OK nothing more (and I didn't expect more) but seems a little flimsy.

NOISE: OK, the noise. Come on people, this device boils water for steam, hence the name "Warm Mist". You should not expect this to be absolutely silent so stop whining. And for those of you with the "Princess and the Pea" syndrome do NOT buy it. But for those who want an idea of what it sounds like from 3 feet away think of it is like the sound of a rainy day or it is like having an aquarium in the room. It is not loud at all (certainly no louder than a fan on low speed) and could be soothing to those who like white noise.

PERFORMANCE: This unit does humidify my bedroom but it does take a while to have its effect, so I would start it before I went to bed. The amount of mist that comes out is probably not as great as if you were boiling water in a soup pan. [Please do not have unrealistic expectations: your room will not to turn into a steam bath and you will not see the mirrors fog up as they do in the bathroom.] Ideally, two of these in my room would probably suit it better. I can not say that the added inhalant has a great effect. I can smell it in the mist as it is coming out right above the unit but would not be aware of it otherwise. Incidentally, Vicks makes a personal model of these, but I would skip it in favor of this one because you could just breath in the vapors as it comes out of the top of this unit for the same effect.

CONCLUSION: Overall I am OK with this purchase. Frankly, I don't see how anyone could "love" this device or anything like it. It does what it does. I am not sure if another model would have been better. Kaz really needs to make choosing between these models easier. Having used it now I would only recommend a WARM mist for winter use (when most colds and flu occur). It would be too warm and uncomfortable at other times. I have not had it long enough to test its durability.
2929 comments|1,015 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 23, 2008
I purchased the vicks cool mist humidifier (v3100) while visiting my family out west for the holidays. I had a sore throat and that mixed with the heater running and the already very dry air and i was getting up to get a drink 4 times a night. the first night i spent with the humidifier i didn't get up at all. i decided to leave it there and use it every time i visit, summer or fall. and i liked having a humidifier so much i bought a warm mist one, the v745a for my midwest apartment. here is a comparison of the two.

i bought the cool mist for the desert because it was cheaper and will only be used a few weeks a year but will be both summer and winter. it does blow a lot of cool air and will be especially nice in the summer. some people found it quite loud but i thought it was reasonable and used it on the high setting. but i am also used to sleeping with a fan on during the summer. i liked the fact that its shape is lower to the ground making it difficult to tip over. and the seal for the water tank is easier to open and close all the way to prevent leaks. but even after one week's use at night the filter is already more yellow than i expected. if i was using it every day i would have to change it very regularly. it also does move a lot of air like i said before, but the vents are low and it seemed like it was blowing all that moist air right under the bed.

i bought the warm mist humidifier for my apartment because i will only be using it in the winter and didn't want the cold air when my heater is aready working so hard. and i figured it would be more useful during cold season because of the attached medicine cup. it is also for medium/large rooms while the cool mist is for smal/medium so i could move it to my living room if needed. and because i saw the filter on the cool mist got so dirty so fast i liked the fact that this one had no filter, no parts to replace. just weekly cleaning. and the cost difference between this one and the cool mist is about the cost of one filter replacement. it makes very little difference in terms of air temperature, does not heat it up as much as i thought it would, vs the cool mist which did make the room quite a bit cooler. i like the fact that the steam comes out of the top instead of under the bed and it is more quiet than the cool mist even when on the high setting. it does have automatic shut off so i don't have to worry about it boiling dry. i did some research online about warm vs cool humidifiers before purchasing them, and many recommended cool mist for children because of burn risk from using the warm. even after being on all night the unit is cool to the touch and it has a cooling chamber so even the steam that comes out is unlikely to burn. the only way i think a child could injure themselves with this unit would be if they tipped it over, took it apart and touched the actual heating unit because of the auto shut off. my husband guessed the warm mist might take more electricity to run but we'll have to see about that.

overall i am a little happier with the warm mist because i need it for winter, it is quieter and needs to filters replaced. but they are both excellent and inexpensive and once you get one you will wonder why you waited so long. (and by the way the cool mist is $29.99 at target and the warm is $34.99, sorry amazon)
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on December 30, 2007
We have had this product for a few years now. It works great. I read other reviews that mention noise. Well, it is boiling watter to generate the steam, so it does create some noise. But I have had other warm humidifiers that were noiser. So I would say that this is really not noisy compared to same type of warm humidifiers out there. And it has two different levels for low or high steam output. The low doesn't really do any good. I use the high all the time and it does put out plenty of hot steam in the room. The water container is very easy to carry and re-fill with water. It has handle on the top and bottom of the container. From the time you turn it on until steam comes out is about 2-3 minutes. I pulled it out a month ago and started using it. It wasn't working as good as last year. So I opened it up and there was ton of calcium deposits and miniral around the heating element. It was very easy to take it apart and clean out the area near heating element. I even poured some CLR (calcium, Lime, Rust) remover in there and completely cleand it out. It works like new. I love mine and in fact i came here to this site to find this unit and order a second one. I would highly recommend this unit.
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on February 22, 2009
I bought this little guy because this winter was brutal for sore throats, nose bleeds, and static electricity in my little home in upstate NY. The rabbit was going around looking like a charged puffball, giving off actual sparks. The cats cringed when I went to pet them, and I was simply miserable myself. I'm probably overworking the poor thing, but the sore throats have backed down, the cats are letting me pet them again.. and although the rabbit still looks like a static charged puffball, he's at least not giving off any sparks.

When I say "overworking", I mean that I'm using it to humidiate (I know, no such word, but it sounds good!) my entire 900+ square foot house, 24/7. So I don't expect miracles out of it, but any relief is... well, a relief. I use it on the Low setting, and it is not loud enough that it bothers me. Sounds a little like a muffled pot of boiling water. Had it on High once and it sounded like a slightly LESS muffled pot of boiling water. If you are a light sleeper and bothered by any noises, you might not want it in your bedroom, but I personally find it a rather comforting sound. Then again... it's not in MY bedroom.

I LOVE the fact that the tank has handles on both ends. I have fibromyalgia, and if there's a way to drop something, I can drop it. Two handles will cut that chance down just that much more. I also love that parts of it can go in the dishwasher. In fact, that was one of the reasons why I bought it - hey, it goes in the dishwasher! That and no filters! They saw me coming!

Down-side - only PARTS of it go in the dishwasher. The cooling chamber, medicine cup, and water tray CAN go in the dishwasher. The tank CAN'T. To disinfect the tank, you have to soak it in a bleach/water mixture. They recommend doing that once a week. Also, the water tray and heating chamber need to be soaked in vinegar once a week to remove any scale build-up. THIS IS IMPORTANT IF YOU HAVE HARD WATER. In fact, I'd recommend it MORE than once a week. I do have hard water, and I saw build-up in just two days. And just soaking and wiping didn't do it - I took a toothbrush to it.

I noticed several reviews saying theirs broke down rather quickly. If they didn't do the vinegar treatment or didn't do it often enough, I could certainly see WHY it would break down.

Other nifty things. It has a night-light! Also, on the Low setting, one tank lasts me almost 24 hours. And in case I do forget to watch, it also has an automatic shut-off. Like I say, they saw me coming.

So yeah, I love it. But ya gotta clean it. And probably often. But my cats love me again. And the rabbit? Well... a piece of papaya goes a long way towards making amends with him.

Edited to add:

Here we are, a few years later, and I recommended this to my mother. Warned her about the "YOU HAVE TO CLEAN IT EVERY WEEK. AT LEAST" factor. In fact, I warned her repeatedly.

Granted, she's always frantically busy, so I can kinda understand what happened next... She called me and told me that it had cracked and sprung a leak three weeks after she had bought it.

She hadn't cleaned it.

So there you have it. Proof positive. I used my constantly over the winter. Cleaned it every week. No damage.

She had it three weeks. Didn't clean it. It bled a full tank of water all over her kitchen.


It's coming up winter, and the rabbit is sending off sparks again. Time to dig this out and fire it up. Or is that.. water it up?
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on February 7, 2011
Humidifiers can be placed into 4 categories based on how they generate vapor: evaporative, ultrasonic, steam, and impeller. It took me a little while to figure out what I wanted, so hopefully I can save others some time by summarizing what I found.

Evaporative humidifiers move air over water, usually with an absorbing "wick" or spinning disks, for an accelerated version of the natural evaporation process. Electricity is used only to run a fan or other rotating element, so evaporative humidifiers are the cheapest to run. The physics of evaporation lead to two qualities: They are self regulating, as the water will cease evaporating once the air is saturated, and they have a slight cooling effect. The rate of humidity pumped out is relatively low. The wicking medium - usually a corrugated paper or paper/cloth material - can harbor mold, so you must change the water regularly and avoid letting the water stand around. The fans vary in noise level. Example: Vornado Whole-Room Evaporative Humidifier, HU1-0021-28

Ultrasonic humidifiers use a membrane vibrating at high frequency to atomize water molecules. The vapor output is high and the machines are the quietest of all humidifiers. Their energy usage is middle-of-road: more than evaporatives, and less than steam-based. The main drawback of ultrasonics is that the vibrating membrane atomizes not just water, but also anything else in the water - microorganisms, and particularly minerals, which may appear as a "white dust". This is a big con for allergy sufferers, so many units include replaceable demineralization cartridges and water filters to eliminate microorganisms and minerals before they get atomized. You can use keep replacing these cartridges, or keep buying distilled water, making ultrasonics rather costly. The vapor will be the temperature of the water - which is to say cool, unless you choose a unit with a heating element. Example: SPT SU-4010 Ultrasonic Dual-Mist Warm/Cool Humidifier with Ion Exchange Filter

Steam humidifiers heat water to the boiling point until they, well, boil and produce water vapor. Any microorganisms will be killed, and any minerals are left behind in the water reservoir, making steam humidifiers excellent for allergy sufferers. The left-behind minerals can be significant if your water is dirty, so these units must be cleaned regularly (rinsed out every couple days, and a vinegar soak one a week). Alternatively, you can use distilled water. Energy use on steam humidifiers is highest, usually around 200-300 watts, as they must heat the water. The vapor coming out will be hot - good for winter colds and flus, but also a small concern for those with small children.

Impellers are kind of a cross between evaporatives and ultrasonics. They pass water at high speed through the air, making them similar to evaporatives, but they do so with enough mechanical force that other particles are atomized as well, imparting the same problems of white dust and microorganisms. Example: Sunbeam Health 645-800 Cool Mist Humidifier

I needed strong humidification, so it was a choice between steam and ultrasonics. I was wary of the ultrasonics because I would have to live with white dust, or keep buying either cleaning cartridges or distilled water. They also tend to be the costliest humidifiers. So I chose this ~$30 Vicks steam humidifier, which does the job well and produces plenty of clean vapor. My water is pretty dirty and an unsightly crust builds on the heating element after a few days of constant use, but I'm glad it's in there and not in my lungs. The water volume is on the small size, but this has the advantage of being damage control when/if it springs a leak someday.

Another category to consider, by the way, are air washers, which usually combine an impeller design with electrolysis of water to both clean and humidify air. The humidification level is similar to evaporative and impeller designs, so they weren't for me. Example: Sanyo ABC-VW24 Air Washer Air Purification System with Electrolyzed Water Technology
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on January 5, 2011
Read instruction manual before ever using and followed the daily as well as weekly cleaning instructions. Worked well for three months until suddenly started leaking. The entire gallon leaked through the bottom of the unit without warning.
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on November 5, 2010
Despite the warnings from the other reviewers, I decided to go ahead and trust the good reviews. BIG MISTAKE. It worked for less than 2 months, then started leaking. Called Kaz Customer Service for warranty, they said I had to mail it back on my own expense. This will be the end of me buying from this brand.
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VINE VOICEon March 6, 2012
I think I read every review of every humidifier on Amazon. It seemed like every one of them is destined to leak, burst into flames or turn into a level 3 biohazard. In the end I decided that I agreed with another reviewer and it just made sense to buy one of the cheaper ones and see how it worked out.

To start off this review I think I have to let everyone know a little basic biology. Any time there is standing water it is a potential breeding ground for mold, bacteria, etc. This isn't only true in your little Vicks humidifier--it is true everywhere on the planet. If you have ever had a leak behind a wall you know how quickly standing water can turn into a problem and fast. However, there is not an abundant food source in your humidifier so the risk is manageable with some precautions. I'm just going to list them in no real order of importance because they are all important:

1) Don't let water sit in your unit when it is off. This includes the water in the little reservoir below the big tank of water. Yes, empty that out too if you won't be using it for a while.

2) It is much easier to prevent a mold or bacterial overgrowth than it is to clean up once one starts. In fact if you get any serious overgrowth (which can happen to any humidifier) it probably makes sense to just throw it out and start over.

3) Clean the plastic on your unit with a thymol based cleaner. I use Seventh Generation Disinfecting Multi-Surface Cleaner, Lemongrass & Thyme 26 fl oz (786 ml). It's great. It will leave behind just a tiny bit of thymol on the plastic parts and thymol is a natural germ fighter (derived from thyme).

4) Wash out the tank with bleach regularly. They say a tablespoon but I just pour in a bit of bleach and shake it.

5) Practice getting a good fit of all the pieces. There are, if memory serves, 6 pieces to this that need to all fit together like a Lego set. If you played with Legos as a kid this will be easy. If you didn't, don't panic, take a careful look and make sure you've fit all the parts together right. If you don't it will leak and you will be unhappy. If you feel like taking things apart and putting them back together isn't your thing you must look for a different unit.

6) There are only 2 settings--low and high. Low is really low and high is really high. In my roughly 10x15 bedroom the low setting will raise ambient humidity by about 13% with the door open and by about 20% with the door shut. So if I start at 30% humidity I'll get to 43% with the door open and 50% with the door almost completely closed. Note, I said "almost" completely closed. I find that in my size bedroom low will take the humidity routinely up over 50% if I close the door completely. That is too much moisture.

7) You need to also buy a humidistat. I like P3 P0270 Mold Alert Electronic Thermo-Hygrometer as it is responsive to small changes in the humidity level. Without a hygrometer you'll really have no way of knowing if you need to use high, low or just turn the unit off. Most people should be shooting for between 30-50% humidity. In fact when I get home most nights I don't even need to turn on the humidifier because the level will already be between 30-50%. Lastly on this topic you can't estimate the inside humidity by getting the % from the weather channel. It just doesn't work that way. The humidity inside your home will depend on a lot of factors beyond just what the outside humidity is. Do yourself a favor and get the hygrometer too.

8) Water has stuff in it. Even distilled water has stuff in it. So eventually you are going to have to clean the heating element with vinegar. When you do this it will be helpful to use an old toothbrush to scrub the metal part that heats the water as this will accumulate the most stuff. Also, don't blame Vicks for stuff in your water--talk to your local water department or building owner.

9) Don't ever ever ever use an abrasive pad to clean the plastic. Why? Because abrasive pads will leave tiny little scratches in the surface of the plastic. Those scratches make for a perfect home where bacterial colonies can get established. Only use non-scratch cleaning products to clean the plastic surfaces...nothing abrasive.

So yes, that is a lot of rules and guidelines. There is just no easy way to have standing water in your living space. If you are going to attempt it you have to be vigilant and attentive to the care of your Vicks.
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