Best Vaporizer For Baby Congestion and Colds

Your baby has come down with a cold. Are you desperately searching for the best vaporizer for baby congestion and colds? I hope your precious angel gets better soon. Yes, a vaporizer could help reduce congestion and make your baby more comfortable. Which vaporizer is best for your baby? Let’s find out.

My Top Picks

Here are my choices for the best vaporizers for baby congestion and colds that I will cover in my review.

Brand/ModelNumber of Amazon ReviewsAmazon Customer Rating
Vicks Vaporizer 1,380 3.5 %TICK-EMPTY%
Vicks Nursery Vaporizer **My TOP PICK** 578 3.5
Vicks Waterless Vaporizer 239 3.9
Vicks Advanced Waterless Vaporizer 164 3.7

Table of Contents

The Most Commonly Asked Questions About Vaporizers

Why use a vaporizer?

When you baby has a cold, their head can get clogged up with mucus. A stuffy head, combined with making it hard to eat and breathe, can cause a great deal of discomfort. Web MD recommends that using a vaporizer is one of 5 ways to clear a baby’s runny nose and stuffed up head.

What’s the difference between a vaporizer and humidifier?

A vaporizer uses heat to create steam. I hear you asking “But then isn’t it a humidifier?” And you’d be right.  

So what’s the difference? A vaporizer services a whole room and a vaporizer services a much smaller physical area. A vaporizer is perfect for a small nursery or where the baby lives in a confined space.

If you’re interested in a humidifier, check out my article on the best one for baby congestion here.

Who can use a vaporizer?

Anyone and everyone can use vaporizers. It helps ease your lungs when you’re congested.

How to choose a vaporizer?

There are two main types to choose from. Vicks offers:

  1. Regular water vaporizer. Uses water to produce warm mist.
  2. Waterless vaporizer. Uses replaceable pads which contain moisture and a menthol based gel.

Choose a waterless vaporizer if you are concerned about leaks or hot water being near your infant.  

What makes the best vaporizer?

The best vaporizers for baby congestion and colds produce a consistent mist to soothe your baby.

Prefer a water based vaporizer? Look for a unit that can take at least one gallon of water. That way it can run continuously through the night. If possible, look for a unit that has an automatic shutoff if it runs out of water. Also, look to see if there is a steam guard to keep little curious hands away from the hot steam.

Some people really like their vaporizers to have a nightlight built in. It allows the parents to sneak in and check on their baby without having to turn on the light.

How does a vaporizer help my baby?

Baby congested breathing and a stuffy head is really uncomfortable.

The purpose of the vaporizer is to help reduce congestion.

When you set a vaporizer in a room. the vapor gets into the nose and lungs. The warm air hydrates the dried mucus and phlegm.

When the phlegm and mucus is loosened up, then your baby can cough it out.  

When there’s less congestion, your baby can breathe better which leads to better sleeping.

If you use menthol, it acts as a decongestant. This thins out the mucus allowing your baby to cough it up more easily.

How can you get the best results with your vaporizer?

You should use the vaporizer when your baby is sleeping.

That includes overnight as well as naps.

A vaporizer should only be used to service a small area. That’s how it has the best effect to relieve congestion when your baby has cold. Don’t keep your vaporizer running while your baby is playing, especially if they’re mobile.

How often do you clean a vaporizer?

You will want to clean the water out every day and rinse off the parts.

Always rinse the parts that come into contact with water in a bleach solution before you store it.

If you use your vaporizer often, you will want to do the bleach rinse once a week to keep mold, mildew and bacteria away.

Do you need any accessories with vaporizers?

Vaporizers don’t come with timers or automatic shutoffs. So you may need a timer to plug into the outlet so your vaporizer turns off before it runs out of water.

What are some best practices for vaporizers?

The best time to inhale the vapor is when your baby is relaxed. This will let the vapor do its trick. So set the vaporizer to run when your baby is asleep. 

Organic vaporizers?

Here at Better Bed Solutions, we always try and explore the most eco-friendly, natural or organic options available to help you sleep. We find these options offer the healthiest solution.

Sadly, there aren’t any organic vaporizers.

The vaporizer units are made from plastic.

Are vaporizers safe?

You will need to wash a vaporizer regularly to keep bacteria, mold and mildew from growing inside the unit helping your baby to breathe better.

There is an alternative. Buy a waterless vaporizer which uses Vicks Vapor Rub in a gel. The active ingredients are like eucalyptus and peppermint oils.

My Product Review

Feature comparison table

 Vicks VaporizerVick’s Nursery VaporizerVicks Waterless VaporizerVicks Advanced Waterless Vaporizer
Water Tank Size1.5 Gallon1 GallonNoneNone
Automatic ShutoffYesYesNoNo
NightlightYesYesYesYes
FilterNoNoNoNo
AdjustableNoNoYesYes

Vicks Vaporizer

This is a flexible vaporizer.

It has a medicine cup that can be used with Vicks Vaposteam or Kaz Inhalant and dual scent pad slots for use with Vicks VapoPads for added relief.

ProsCons
  • Add in drops of your own essential oils. Eucalyptus and peppermint are natural decongestants.
  • No hand protection so you will want to keep the vaporizer away from your baby.
  • Larger capacity container water container. Use this vaporizer in small to medium rooms for up to 24 hours continuous running.
  • Can’t control the rate at which the steams comes out of the vaporizer. There is only setting. So you will want to check on the humidity level of your baby’s room so it doesn’t get too humid during the night.

If you have very soft water, some people recommend putting in a pinch of salt until you get the level of steam you want. You may need to test it out. Salt lowers the boiling point. What you want in a vaporizer is a low boil to produce gentle steam. Add a very little bit at a time if you’re not getting that after a few minutes.  There’s more information on this in the owner’s manual.

Vicks Nursery Vaporizer **RECOMMENDED**

ProsCons
  • Add your own essential oils to the water used for the mist. 
  • One setting for steam output. Because of this, you may want to leave the door cracked open a bit so the room doesn’t get too humid.
  • Hand protection means your baby won’t burn their hands if they try to touch the steam.
  • You need to change out the water regularly to reduce chances of mold and mildew growing.
  • Black flakes from the electrodes settle into the bottom of the water reservoir. That’s why it’s important to empty and refill the water every day.
  • Smaller water tank. Recommended for small rooms. Can run from 12-18 hours before it needs refilling.

Vicks Waterless Vaporizer

This vaporizer is unique in that it doesn’t use water.  Instead you purchase special pads that slide in. The unit heats up the gel and it fills the room with the menthol vapor.

ProsCons
  • Three settings of low, medium, and high to regulate the flow of the Vicks menthol vapor.
  • Replacement pads can get very expensive to replace. Some people reuse the pads and apply their own essential oils. Vicks does not recommend reusing the pads.
  • Has an electrical cord so you can keep the unit closer to your baby. Some parents put it on a dresser so it’s close but not within arms reach.
  • Can’t control the rate at which the steams comes out of the vaporizer. There is only setting.
  • Has a built-in nightlight.
  • Never have to worry about water leaking or spilling, or the room getting too humid because it’s waterless vaporizer. 
  • Don’t have to rinse the unit in bleach to kill off any mold or mildew because you don’t use any water.

Vicks Advanced Waterless Vaporizer

ProsCons
  • Perfect for an older baby over 10 pounds.
  • The pads can get expensive to replace. You shouldn’t need to use these units that frequently, however.
  • Less maintenance on this waterless vaporizer.  You don’t have to worry about disinfecting the unit because there is no water in the unit. 
  • Can’t control the rate at which the steams comes out of the vaporizer. There is only setting.
  • Don’t have to worry about carrying a container of water around to refill the tank since this vaporizer doesn’t have a water tank.
  • Three settings for diffusing the menthol vapor.
  • Built-in nightlight that’s not too bright. Unlike the other vaporizers, this unit connects directly into a power outlet like a nightlight.
  • Each pad is effective for 8-16 hours depending on how you have the fan set.

Vicks recommends not to use more than 2 pads in a 24 hour period for children between 10-22 pounds.

Could It Be Allergies Or Other Irritants In The Home?

How long has your baby had a runny nose? If it’s been longer than a week, allergies may be the cause.

One place to look for the allergy trigger is your baby’s bedding. If the baby’s crib mattress is made from latex or wool or any other potential allergic material, you may need to replace that crib mattress. Check out the Better Bed Solutions Buying Guide to Crib Mattresses.

It’s also a good idea to remove any common irritants from the baby’s environment while they are congested with a cold. Things like cigarette smoke, pet dander, dust and pollen.

Do you have a furnace of air conditioner in your home that your baby is exposed to? Make sure you change the air filter every 30-60 days of continuous use to minimize irritants in your home.  

What Other Actions Can You Take To Relieve Your Baby’s Congestion?

In terms of nasal congestion in infants, home remedies that are simple and easy are the best. You can set and forget a vaporizer in your baby’s room as they sleep. In addition to a vaporizer, try these remedies:

  • Try a nasal aspirator. This isn’t my favorite option. It’s not as simple and easy as it looks!
  • Make sure your baby stays hydrated.
  • Feed your baby foods high in Vitamin C to boost their immune system like citrus fruits and leafy greens. 
  • Feed your toddler some hot bother. Chicken soup for a cold is not an old wives tale. It works!
  • Try baby massage.

Which Is The Best Vaporizer For Congestion And Colds?

I believe the best all rounder vaporizer for your baby with congestion and colds is the Vicks Nursery Vaporizer. And here’s why:

  • Produces a plain warm mist to loosen phlegm and mucus
  • Designed for small rooms
  • Built-in soothing nightlight
  • Add your own essential oils to provide a more natural decongestant
  • Easy to clean.  Just remember to change the water every day and give it a good cleaning once a week if you’re using it very regularly
  • Safe for all ages.
May the zzz’s be with you!

All the best,

Jean