People often don't realize that humidifiers and steamers are different things and that they're both needed. The humidifier moistens the air, while steamers are meant for direct inhalation. This is the only way to directly moisten the vocal folds. I've tried a lot of different steamers and created a pros and cons list for you.
Option 1: You can get a Vicks steamer or equivalent store brand from your local pharmacy and it works well. I used one for years and enjoyed it.
-It’s affordable and accessible-you can get it at most stores.
-You can use any type of water in the device.
-It uses boiling water, which can be dangerous and isn’t as effective as mist.
-You have to set it on a table and bend over to use it.
-It has to be plugged in.
Option 2: The Mypurmist corded steamer. This steamer is top notch and makes a huge difference when you are super congested or have chronic allergy and sinus issues. It's pretty popular amongst singers for how effective it is.
-It uses mist, which has finer particles and penetrates deeper than steam-this is a game changer for allergies, asthma, and sinus issues.
-You can control the level of heat and mist that comes out of it.
-It has a strap that allows you to steam without holding the device.
-You have to use distilled water ONLY in the device. It will break if you use other water. Luckily, distilled water is easy to find at grocery stores and pharmacies.
-It has to be plugged in.
-Price. It runs between $125 and $150
-I’ve had two break, BUT the company replaced them bother right away, no questions asked.
Option 3: Cordless Mypurmist. This is the cordless version of the above steamer. It’s similar, except that it has no cord.
-Same as the corded Mypurmist-it uses mist and you can control the amount of mist that comes out
-Cordless so you can take it with you and steam anywhere.
-There is also a strap for hands free use.
-You have to use special water pods that can only be purchased from Mypurmist. To me, this is a huge bummer that makes this product pretty unaccessible.
-It’s cordless, but not small. This means you can travel with it, but it still takes up space.
-It’s even pricier than the corded version at about $180.
Option 4: The mypocketmist steamer. This is a portable steamer that is truly portable. It’s handheld and can be literally put in your pocket.
-It’s super small and very travel friendly. It is truly a portable steamer that you can keep in your backpack, purse, dance bag, pocket, etc.
-It uses bottled water or boiled tap water, both of which are easy to come by. It needs the mineral content to work, so distilled water is out. If you travel with it, you can easily by a bottle of water at the airport and then steam on the plane. If you're at home you can just boil some water to use.
-It comes with both a mouthpiece and a mask so you can steam just into the mouth or both through the mouth and nose.
-It’s more affordable at $85
-It’s cool mist, which some people don’t find as effective.
-The mist stream isn’t as strong as the more powerful mypurmist devices, although you do still get 10 minutes of steaming.
-There is no strap so you have to hold it while steaming.
-$85 is cheaper than the mypurmist cordless, but still not cheap.
So what's the best option??
I think everyone should have a sturdy home steamer that works really well (Vicks or the Mypurmist options) and then if you travel a lot or need steaming on the go, invest in an additional travel steamer that fits your needs (cordless Mypurmist or Mypocketmist). I have the corded Mypurmist at home and use the Mypocketmist on the go. That works really well for me. At home I have my Pure Guardian humidifier and when I travel I use my travel humidifier for my hotel room. And of course I always have my Hydroflask filled with water everywhere I go, because…duh.