As seen in:
MyPurMist
Handheld
Veridian
11-525
Mabis
Personal
Gurin
Latex-free
Vicks
Personal
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Good

Provides up to 20 minutes of steam therapy. Easy to maneuver. Self-drying design.

Functions as an inhaler and pore cleanser. Water tank can handle essential oils. Comfortable and easy to use.

An aesthetically pleasing medical device. Cool enough to be placed directly on the face. Accepts essential oils.

Essential oils can be used in this device. Mask is exceptionally soft. Easy to use and clean. Inexpensive.

Cool tap water may be used. Provides up to 15 minutes of steam therapy. Includes dual voltage power supply..

Bad

Water reservoir cannot handle essential oils. (However, manufacturer offers scent packs.)

Pore cleansing function may create steam that is too hot for some people. Water droplets may spit during use.

Some incidents of hot water "spitting."

Requires boiling water to generate steam.

Does not accept essential oils or saline solution. Water gets extremely hot and may slosh a bit.

Bottom Line

Although pricey, this lightweight steam inhaler is effective, convenient, and easy to use. It's the best available.

A personal inhaler that incorporates essential oils and also delivers beauty treatments.

Priced in the mid-range, this versatile unit offers owners a satisfying degree of control over their inhalation experience.

Durable, versatile, and easy to use, this steam inhaler offers top quality at an affordable price.

An entry-level steam inhaler designed for relief from occasional respiratory distress.

How we decide
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Products received from manufacturers
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Models Considered
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Hours Spent
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Experts Interviewed
192
Consumers Consulted

Best Steam Inhalers

Steam inhalation therapy is a popular treatment for upper respiratory issues such as allergies, common colds, sinus congestion, and stuffy ears. Once upon a time, professional-grade steam inhalers were prohibitively expensive and only available to medical professionals. Today, consumers have access to dozens of personal steam inhalers. Our shortlist of the top five steam inhalers is based on our own research and customer reviews. If you're congested and looking for sweet relief, read on:

Products we Considered

MyPurMist
Handheld
Veridian
11-525
Mabis
Personal
Gurin
Latex-free
Vicks
Personal

Considerations

Construction/Design

A steam inhaler is not a room humidifier, but people often use these devices interchangeably. Steam inhalers provide a concentrated level of steam through a facial or nasal mask. The use of commercial-grade plastic is not a negative in itself, but the nooks and crannies of some plastic inhalers can be difficult to clean. We evaluate each top product in terms of design, portability, ease of maintenance, and other construction/design factors.

Steam Generation

The best personal steam inhalers deliver vaporized steam, not droplets of scalding hot water. In this section of our review, we discuss each model's steam generation method in detail. Some steam inhalers tend to "spit" hot water droplets instead of a therapeutic form of water vapor. This is neither safe nor comfortable! Capacity is also a consideration, since different models deliver different amounts of steam based on tank size. In this section, we discuss the differences and similarities among our top five contenders in terms of steam generation, tank capacity, and duration of therapy.

Additional Features

Some personal steam inhalers provide users with several breathing mask styles. Some allow the use of therapeutic essential oils. Still others use hot air to self-dry between sessions. We particularly appreciate steam inhalers with temperature controls and automatic shut-off switches. If there's an interesting feature to be found on any of our top contenders, we mention it here.

Price

Medical-grade steam inhalers used by professional respiratory therapists cost a pretty penny, but similar results can be achieved through the use of a consumer-level personal steam inhaler. Notably, not all steam inhalers deliver the same degree of quality. If you plan on pursuing a long-term steam therapy regimen, we recommend a higher-end model. If you just need something for a short-term cold or allergy flare-up, an entry-level personal steam inhaler would probably suffice.

Considerations

Construction/Design

MyPurMist Handheld Steam Inhaler / Steam Vaporizer

A common complaint about personal steam inhalers is that the angle of the vaporizing mask is too extreme. This is not the case with the MyPurMist Handheld Steam Inhaler. The user places the mask on his or her face at a straight vertical angle and holds it in place (a hand strap is available) throughout the steaming cycle. Constructed from lightweight plastic, the MyPurMist is one of the easiest inhalers to maneuver into position, although its range is restricted by a power cord. Originally designed for hospital use, this product produces steam without the need for boiling water.

Veridian 11-525 Steam Inhaler and Beauty Mask

The Veridian 11-525 Steam Inhaler and Beauty Mask provides two separate services: therapeutic steam for inhalation and facial pore cleansing. However, because the steam's temperature may be too hot for facial treatment, we feel it functions best as a steam inhaler. An important design element is the upward angle of the Veridian's steam tube. The angle allows users to simply bow their heads slightly instead of assuming an uncomfortable, face-down position. Two separate compartments for distilled or tap water must be filled before the unit will activate.

Mabis Personal Steam Inhaler Vaporizer

"Stylish" is not a word that often occurs in a review of medical devices, but the Mabis Personal Steam Inhaler Vaporizer is indeed stylish. The purple and white plastic housing is aesthetically pleasing, and the compact design is stable and discreet. The water tank has just enough capacity for the standard six to nine minutes of therapeutic steam. A separate tray holds a few drops of essential oils for optional aromatherapy. The temperature of the steam is controlled by extending or shortening the steamer tube leading to the nasal and mouth mask. Droplet size is controlled by turning a dial. Smaller droplet sizes are effective for nasal inhalation, while larger droplets are better for oral inhalation.

Gurin Steam Inhaler

There's a lot to like about the Gurin Steam Inhaler, but customer reviews are decidedly mixed. We appreciate the dual chamber water tank because users may fill one side with saline solution (with or without aromatherapy essential oils) if they so choose. The other side of the tank collects condensed water as the steam cools. The mask is exceptionally soft and comfortable, although the angle may be problematic for some. An adjustable tube allows users to customize the fit, but we still find that an outside-the-box solution may be necessary for maximum comfort. Because the unit generates steam via boiling water, it's not designed for portability. Some people find the Gurin Steam Inhaler to be flimsy and top-heavy, but we would characterize it as unstable under pressure but otherwise sturdy enough for the usual applications. An in-line on/off switch and automatic shut-off function make this device easy to operate.

Vicks Personal Steam Inhaler

The Vicks Personal Steam Inhaler is probably the most compact and portable contender on our shortlist. It's also the first one consumers will likely see on department store shelves. For traveling purposes, we appreciate its dual voltage power supply. The plastic face mask may be at a steeper angle than other models, but users can back away from the mask to avoid hot steam or hold it to their faces for just a few minutes at a time. The tank accepts cool tap or distilled water but not essential oils or saline solution. Users can attach special aromatic pads (sold separately) to the mask if aromatherapy is desired. Although the plastic parts are easy to clean, we recommend a "one user per steam inhaler" policy.

Originally designed for hospital use, the MyPurMist Handheld Steam Inhaler produces steam without the need for boiling water.
Considerations

Steam Generation

MyPurMist Handheld Steam Inhaler / Steam Vaporizer

While other steam inhalers rely on boiling water for hot steam production, the MyPurMist Handheld Steam Inhaler uses a process called Capillary Force Vaporization to create small particles of water vapor from lukewarm, distilled water. One tankful of distilled water yields over 20 minutes of therapeutic steam! (Other steam inhalers generally produce between six and nine minutes of steam.) A four-setting control function fine tunes the vaporized steam's temperature. This is helpful, but longer steam inhalation sessions sometimes benefit the user even more. The distilled water reservoir itself cannot handle essential oils, but the manufacturer does offer special eucalyptus-infused scent packs for additional aromatherapy.

We estimate the Veridian 11-525 Steam Inhaler takes approximately 60 seconds to convert distilled or tap water into therapeutic steam. Because of the stability of its medical-grade plastic tanks, the Veridian also allows users to add a few drops of essential oils for enhanced aromatherapy. The advertised operating time per session is between six and nine minutes, but some users tell us their units only produce usable steam for about five minutes. Minor water leakage is an occasional problem, but this could be caused by jostling or adjusting the base during use rather than a product flaw. The steam temperature is somewhat adjustable, but it generally sits on the hotter end of the spectrum. We note some "spitting" of hot water droplets during operation, but there is no practical solution for that issue except to use caution.

The Mabis Personal Steam Inhaler Vaporizer converts water or saline to a warm, moist steam in 60 seconds. It's not a high-pressure kind of steam; the mist is forced through a tiny nozzle to provide a warm (but not boiling) water vapor. Few people attach the mask directly to their face; most lean over the mask until they find their preferred level of heat and moisture. Owners report some incidents of "spitting," especially at higher temperature settings. To minimize the risk of unpleasant contact with hot water, we suggest that users don't place their faces too deeply in the mask.

Gurin Steam Inhaler

The Gurin Steam Inhaler requires boiling water to generate steam. This is a serious consideration for young, physically challenged, and elderly users. The steam itself is steady and fairly strong. Notably, the Gurin works well with essential oils such as eucalyptus, tea tree, and peppermint, but we do have some concerns about the interaction between essential oils and the plastic water chamber. (Regular cleanings should minimize any durability issues.) The steam provided by saline or distilled water lasts six to nine minutes, which is an effective treatment time for most minor respiratory conditions such as allergies, mild asthma, and chest congestion. We would compare the healing effect of a Gurin steam inhaler session to that of a 15-minute shower.

The Vicks Personal Steam Inhaler generates steam via a heating unit in the bottom of the base. The result is a warm, gentle steam that can be adjusted with a dial. While other steam inhalers produce steam for six to nine minutes, the Vicks Personal Steam Inhaler provides up to 15 minutes of steam therapy per session. The water gets extremely hot during operation and may slosh a bit when handled. For this reason, we recommend leaving the unit on a flat surface and bringing your face to the mask. (It's possible to hold the base in one hand for a more comfortable head/neck position, but a spill or drop could cause injury.) Because of the extreme heat of the steam at full boil, we discourage unsupervised use by children. For adults, however, the level of steam produced by the Vicks Personal Steam Inhaler is akin to a long, hot shower or a 20-minute session with a room vaporizer.

The Gurin Steam Inhaler's ability to incorporate essential oils into steam is a useful feature that's not often found in products at this price.
Denise
Expert Consultant
Denise
Health Care Professional

Denise has a background in healthcare and physical therapy. She also has the unique experience of raising three boys. Through the years, she has coached her sons and many of their friends through their share of childhood health problems and accidents. When not helping others recover from their injuries, you may find Denise working in her garden or reading.

Considerations

Additional Features

MyPurMist Handheld Steam Inhaler / Steam Vaporizer

The MyPurMist Steam Inhaler is a handheld device. As such, the manufacturer includes a special hand strap for easy holding. Debate exists among users about the inclusion of essential oil scent packs, however. Some say the packs are included with the purchase, but others say they must be purchased separately. A feature we especially enjoy is the MyPurMist's self-drying design. A small fan blows warm air into the mask after use, allowing the unit to dry thoroughly. This is beneficial because a wet steam inhaler mask creates a breeding ground for germs. The MyPurMist addresses that problem directly.

Veridian 11-525 Steam Inhaler and Beauty Mask

The Veridian 11-525 Steam Inhaler arrives with several additional items, including a full facial mask for beauty treatments, a measuring cup, and a bilingual owner's manual. Users may want to invest additional money in an assortment of essential oils for aromatherapy. Some may choose to soak the separate pieces of the inhaler in a commercial sanitation solution, but vinegar water works equally well. For safety's sake, we urge users to wait until all of the plastic parts, masks, and base are completely dry before putting them away.

Mabis Personal Steam Inhaler Vaporizer

The Mabis Personal Steam Inhaler Vaporizer's original packaging includes a small mask for nasal/oral steam inhalation therapy. (A large mask for home facial treatments may be ordered separately.) Users do not have to add drops of oil to the main water tank; a tray for essential oil diffusion is included. An owner's manual, written in both Spanish and English, addresses most of the questions a new owner might have. Although not promoted as portable, the unit stays cool enough for users to place the mask directly on the face for improved comfort and stability.

Gurin Steam Inhaler

As with most personal steam inhaler models we examined, the Gurin Steam Inhaler includes few additional pieces. Only one facial mask is included, but it forms a reliable seal around the user's mouth and nose. The ability to generate therapeutic steam with essential oils is a useful feature that's not often found in products in the Gurin's price range; we especially like this feature. The Gurin collects excess water in one of its dual chambers, preventing moisture from entering parts of the unit that are less accessible and, therefore, harder to clean. This may not sound like much of a feature at first, but it's an important part of the sanitation process. While none of the Gurin Steam Inhaler's parts should be washed in the dishwasher, they're easily disassembled and sanitized by hand.

Vicks Personal Steam Inhaler

As an entry-level product, the Vicks Personal Steam Inhaler does not arrive with a plethora of additional features, but we definitely consider the dual voltage power supply to be a great asset. The unit has one plastic mask that limits steam to the nasal and oral passages. Full facial steam treatments are not possible. Although the main tank does not accept essential oils, the suggested oil-infused pads do enhance the steam inhalation experience. These fragrant pads fit over special holders located in the mask and are "activated" by the steam. For those who seek a portable unit, the Vicks Personal Steam Inhaler is one of the most compact contenders on our shortlist.

A small fan blows warm air into the MyPurMist Steam Inhaler's mask after use, allowing the unit to dry thoroughly.
Considerations

Price

MyPurMist Handheld Steam Inhaler / Steam Vaporizer

The MyPurMist Handheld Steam Inhaler's retail price of $149 may sound excessive at first, but it's difficult to put a price on relief from congestion, allergies, and other upper respiratory ailments. Originally designed for hospital use, the MyPurMist boasts a professional pedigree. Conveniently, its Capillary Force Vaporizing technology eliminates the need for boiling water – an important consideration for young and elderly users. Whereas other steam inhalers aim for six to nine minutes of operation, the MyPurMist generates steam for over 20 minutes. These qualities combined make the MyPurMist steam inhaler worth the initial investment!

Veridian 11-525 Steam Inhaler and Beauty Mask

Ordinarily, a personal steam inhaler priced at $38 would be a little much for the occasional user. However, the Veridian 11-525 Steam Inhaler and Beauty Mask is really two appliances in one. Having the option of a full mask for facial treatments makes the Veridian more of a buy that it may seem at first. Users who prefer to use the smaller nasal/mouth mask will still receive all of the benefits of steam inhalation therapy, but others can use it as a pore opener and aromatherapy oil diffuser.

Mabis Personal Steam Inhaler Vaporizer

Configured as a medical device used for steam inhalation therapy, the Mabis Personal Steam Inhaler Vaporizer performs quite well at a mid-range price of $34. It's more aesthetically pleasing than entry-level models that tend to be more "function" than "form." Keeping the aromatherapy oils separate from the main water supply reduces the chance of long-term deterioration of the plastic tank. Owners who choose to invest in a full facial mask can use the Mabis for both health and beauty purposes, just like one of our other top contenders, the Veridian 11-525.

Gurin Steam Inhaler

At a cost of $32, the Gurin Steam Inhaler sells for an appealing price. We have some concerns about the Gurin's stability, but we're confident in its durability and safety. Other steam inhalers at this price point don't offer the option of essential oil aromatherapy. Happily, the Gurin does offer this option. We like the manufacturer's use of an inline on/off switch and automatic shut-off function – two safety features generally found on high-end inhalers. The Gurin may not be as portable as the MyPurMist, but it delivers the same therapeutic level of steam at an affordable retail price.

Vicks Personal Steam Inhaler

The Vicks Personal Steam Inhaler's entry-level retail price of $28 makes it a true bargain for those seeking occasional relief from allergies and upper respiratory congestion. However, those with chronic breathing conditions such as asthma or bronchitis may want to examine higher-end models simply because of their additional therapeutic features. The Vicks Personal Inhaler is closer to a personal room vaporizer than an atomized steam inhaler such as the MyPurMist and Veridian.

The Gurin Steam Inhaler combats excess moisture, which can be highly problematic, with a collection tank for condensed water droplets.

Best of the Best

Steam inhalation therapy is a proven alternative to uncomfortable and/or messy respiratory and nasal treatments such room vaporizers, Neti pots, and steam kettles. All of the top contenders on our shortlist deliver relief through steam generation, but one stands out as the Best of the Best for its direct connection with hospital-level respiratory therapy. That product is the MyPurMist Handheld Steam Inhaler.

The MyPurMist Handheld Steam Inhaler began as a respected piece of professional medical equipment. Today, it continues to uphold its high performance level in the consumer market. While other steam inhalers rely on boiling water for steam generation, the MyPurMist employs advanced vaporizing technology that produces an extremely warm (but not boiling) mist. A user has the option of holding the base with the hand strap and bringing the generous breathing mask directly to his or her face. We especially appreciate the MyPurMist's extended steaming capacity of 20 minutes or longer. This generous run time is received well by those who require longer respiratory sessions. While the MyPurMist is not able to incorporate essential oils into its vaporized steam, the manufacturer's eucalyptus-infused scent packets are still powerful enough to enhance the therapeutic experience.

At a price of $149, the MyPurMist is not a cheap steam inhaler. However, its benefits are definitely worth it to those who want at-home steam therapy of the highest quality. We can't say enough good things about this product. It's simply the best there is.
Best of the Best
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Owners appreciate the MyPurMist's extended steaming capacity of 20 minutes or longer.

Best Bang for your Buck

Most steam inhalation treatments run for six to nine minutes. That's precisely the length of service our Best Bang for Your Buck contender, the Gurin Steam Inhaler, delivers. The Gurin requires just one ounce of inexpensive saline solution or distilled water to deliver enough therapeutic steam for a single respiratory treatment.

Unlike some other entry-level steam inhalers – and even some high-end ones – the Gurin allows users to add essential oils directly to the reservoir for additional aromatherapy. We appreciate the fact that this apparatus combats excess moisture (which can be highly problematic) with a collection tank for condensed water droplets. Perhaps best of all, the Gurin's affordable price of just $32 makes it an easy choice for those who want quality steam therapy on a budget. For these reasons, we happily deem the Gurin Steam Inhaler the best bargain among our top five contenders!

Some people instinctively reach for cough syrup or an OTC decongestant when they feel congested from a cough or cold. Others spend time in a hot shower or huddle over a room vaporizer to find relief. However, the beneficial effects of a personal steam inhaler like the Gurin should not be dismissed. Steam therapy directs beneficial steam directly to the user's nasal passages and throat, eliminating the need for decongestant drugs or messy home solutions. This handy little product is a natural choice for those who need occasional home therapy for upper respiratory and nasal congestion woes.
Best Bang for your Buck
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The affordable Gurin Steam Inhaler is a natural choice for those who need occasional respiratory therapy on a budget.
The team that worked on this review
  • Michael
    Michael
    Creative Lead
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Editor
  • Jasmin
    Jasmin
    Operations
  • Jimi
    Jimi
    Product Analyst
  • Ben
    Ben
    Operations