Despite what the Dyson AM10 Humidifier does well, it fails to justify its extraordinarily high price. That’s a fundamental dealbreaker. It humidifies effectively, as Dyson claims—but no better than the Levoit LV600HH, which costs hundreds of dollars less. It humidifies a room evenly, as Dyson claims—but no more evenly than the Levoit. And the Dyson has a litany of basic usability drawbacks that alone would prevent us from recommending it.
Take the most frequent interaction you have with a humidifier: refilling the tank. To do that on the Dyson, you first have to remove the large “air multiplier” loop, a two-handed job. Only then can you remove the water tank. (Water also condenses inside the large, hollow air multiplier and tends to drip on the floor when you remove it.)
The AM10’s design makes filling the tank difficult, too. The fill hole is minuscule, smaller around than a US quarter, so it’s easy to miss and splatter water on yourself and the counter. The tank is awkward to hold: Because it’s shaped like a section of pipe, with a big hole in the middle, getting a stable grip is tricky. (And because of that small hole, you have to hold it, at least when you first open the tap—there’s no way to reliably aim the stream at the hole if it’s more than an inch or two away from the faucet.) Moreover, the tank’s upper surface is curved, with just two tiny flat areas. You can balance the tank on those flat spots while filling, but it’s a precarious balance, and stepping away to let the tank fill on its own doesn’t feel safe.
Compare all that with the Levoit: The tank lifts off directly, requiring only one hand. At the sink, it lies rock-solid on its flat top, so you can step away while it fills and tend to another task. And the fill hole is huge—big enough to let a fist through—so it’s almost impossible to miss the hole and spray water everywhere.
Another important point: The Levoit’s tank holds 6 liters (1.5 gallons) of water. The Dyson’s holds just half that. So not only is the Dyson’s tank more irritating to refill, but you also have to refill it twice as often—multiple times per day if you’re running the humidifier around the clock. Dyson rates a full 3 liters to last at least 10 hours (PDF); we got up to 12. By contrast, during our tests and while living with the Levoit for weeks, we found that the LV600HH routinely ran for more than 24 hours between refills.
Maintenance, too, is much fussier on the Dyson than on the Levoit. For the recommended weekly cleaning, both machines need only a simple rinse and wipedown. But when it’s time for a complete cleaning (monthly, before you put the machine in storage, or when limescale or mold appears), the Dyson requires a complete teardown, and doesn’t make it easy:
- The air multiplier has to be pried open, wiped with a vinegar or citric acid solution, and put back together.
- The tank’s seal and the chimney have to be removed and soaked in the vinegar/acid solution, and removing them requires manipulating tiny, stiff tabs and toggles—anyone with large or weak hands may struggle.
- The tank gets its own soak with the vinegar/acid solution, but because the fill hole is so small, you have no way to give tough limescale or other undesirable deposits inside the tank an actual scrub.
- Finally, the lower housing gets a vinegar/acid soak and scrub, but you have to be careful not to get any liquid into the air intakes that encircle the housing.
The Levoit’s long-term maintenance routine is straightforward: Fill the tank with a vinegar solution, and reach inside to scrub off any tough deposits or stains. The lower housing also gets a vinegar-solution soak-and-scrub, and the chimney simply lifts out for a wipedown—no tabs or toggles to futz with. The design has no air intakes to watch out for.
As for basic livability, the Dyson has a feature that makes it harder than others to use in a bedroom at night: Its display is extremely bright and cannot be turned off. This is a common enough complaint that one owner has made a video showing how to “fix” the issue (spoiler: put tape over the display). The Levoit lets you shut the display off simply by holding the Auto button down for a few seconds.
The Levoit is also exceptionally quiet whether it’s set on low, medium, or high, measuring 35.2 decibels (the lowest reading our meter could take) at every setting at a distance of 1 meter in our tests. That said, it does make an audible mechanical hum. Placing it across the room renders it virtually inaudible.
In our tests, the Dyson ranged from 35.2 decibels with the fan on its lowest setting (fan speed 1) to 44.8 decibels on medium (fan speed 5) to 51.0 decibels on high (fan speed 10). For rough comparison, a generic 18-inch box fan measured 52 decibels on medium. The Dyson humidifier has no night mode, and may turn the fan up to 10 if you set it on Auto; to limit the fan speed, you have to set the machine manually.
And that brings up the final flaw: Both the Dyson and the Levoit come with remote controls, but the Dyson only has a remote. The Levoit also has a control panel on the machine itself. Lose the Levoit’s remote, and you can still access and adjust all of its functions. Lose the Dyson’s remote—it’s about the size of a Bic lighter, and the sort of thing toddlers love to grab and play with—and you lose all ability to make adjustments on it until you get a replacement remote (at $30 plus $9 shipping in the US). You can still simply power it on and off with the single button on the machine itself, but that’s all.